Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happily Ever After; Part Two

Write at the Merge; Week 9

The prompt: A fat, wet snow fell here this weekend, and while I knew we’re already turning our faces towards spring, I want you to draw your inspiration from a snow fall and a secret revealed.

I'm trying something a little...well, crazy here this week.  I have been writing and linking up to several prompts every week.  I've combined prompts and I've written separate stories to the individual prompts.  This week my goal is to write one story, and split it into parts.  Each part fitting one of the prompts I use.  It's my hope that each part stands alone, yet makes one understandable tale all together.
Part one is here 

Princess Meeribel leaned on the window ledge of a tower in the farthest reaches of the palace of the Realm of Windmore. The first snowfall of winter was throwing its white shroud over the castle grounds. She saw her life reflected in the bland and featureless landscape.

"Milady?" Katten, her maid puffed into the small room, “Milady, the Prince wishes your presence at dinner.”

Meeribel’s shoulders slumped, she had hoped Prince Arlord might take this one meal without her. She felt as trapped in the palace as she had slaving for the herbwife and Witch Willin in the farthest reaches of the realm not so long ago. Wearily she turned from the window, “Thank you, Katten. Please tell my husband I shall join him shortly.”

She left the tower behind, stopping briefly at her apartments to drop off the shawl she’d worn in the cooler space, freshen her hair and face. No need for the Prince to know she was unhappy.

“Milord, I apologize for my late arrival, I lost track of the hour.” Meeribel conjured a bright smile for her husband. “I hope you didn’t wait too long.”

“Ah! My Princess, not long at all.” She nearly winced at his obvious lie. The gravy had practically congealed in the bowl and the fluffy concoction of fruit salad had lost its fluff. “Come, Meeribel, sit.”

“Thank you, Husband,” she murmured as she took the seat next to him.

The serving maids heaped portions on her plate that were far too large for her poor appetite. She spent most of her meal pushing food from one side of her gold edged plate to the other. Arlord ate heartily, telling her of his day, seemingly unaware of her disinterest.

She nodded in the appropriate places, or said a word to show she listened. But, she was sure she’d be unable to remember any of the conversation.

Suddenly, Arlord was silent. She lay her fork on the table, and met his eyes. He had been watching her for some time without her knowledge.

“Milady, will you not tell me what bothers you? You smile, but it never reaches your eyes. You accompany me, but you are not with me.” Arlord pinned her with his gaze, gently demanding an answer.

Meeribel looked at her hands, then back to her husband. “Milord…my Prince. I have a confession to make.” She breathed deeply, determined to tell the truth with as steady a voice as she could muster.

Arlord waited patiently as she composed herself.

“I have deceived you, Arlord. I used a potion to make you love me so you would take me away from a life I hated. I thought I could be a good princess and a good wife. I was so very wrong. I made a terrible mistake.” She raced through the words before she lost her nerve.

Arlord looked at her for a long moment, his chin resting on his knuckles. He finally spoke, and Meeribel held her breath, awaiting her punishment. “My Princess, since you have made your confession freely, I shall offer my own confession.”

As Meeribel blinked in confusion, Arlord continued. “I admit, I made an error by accepting your cup of tea. My own witch was absent that day. She rejoined us, you'll remember, several days later. She immediately made me drink a rather nasty brew to counteract the effects of your own.”

Meeribel gasped, “but, why then..”

Arlord raised a hand to quiet her, “Since I had been proclaiming my love for you through half my realm, it seemed more prudent to just marry you than look the fool.”


  1. More than one secret revealed! Wonderfully done.

  2. Whoa! That's a great twist. Makes me wonder what they're going to do now, though...

  3. Charming. It's a wise prince indeed that can recognize the folly and accept it nonetheless.

    A minor concrit: you used "farthest reaches" twice, first to describe her location in the palace and then to describe her previous location in the realm. If/when you revisit, I suggest changing the first "farthest reaches" to maybe "the most isolated" or "the tallest tower" or something to that effect.

    I loved that she trapped herself in her own web of deceit, and mostly how casually he accepted it. Well done!

  4. Ha!
    Love it. Sauce for both goose and gander here.

  5. Fair enough! At least they both were honest with each other, though he seemed less bothered by it then she did. Nice twist. ;)