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brigits_flame: Once Upon a Time

Jun. 7th, 2009 | 01:47 am

Title: Once Upon a Time
Word Count: 1,016
Notes: This was written for the June contest at brigits_flame ; the topic is "Ranch."

No one is so tired of cliché stories of heroism and romance as I, and yet, I find, even then, that these stories are timeless, forever relevant. Sometimes I think that perhaps "once upon a times" could be us, in other realities. And every once in a while, I believe that maybe dreams really do come true.
 
The story I tell is one possibly of love, but perhaps not. It is one of pain and sorrow and loss, yet still one of wonder and mystery and faith. This is your warning. Come forward those only brave of heart, as the hero shall come, and risk being trapped forever.
 
Our champion begins his journey, just like any man would, with a single step, a deep breath, and an unwavering belief in his mission. What mission is that, you may ask? Well, it may be quite obvious, as he is a prince, that his quest is to win over a princess and to return to his kingdom overlooking the sea. It, too, could be obvious that he will have to overcome amazing obstacles and display extraordinary character, which he will do, all in good time. For now, he starts his perilous journey with a cautious step, a slowly drawn breath, and the knowledge that he will return one day to claim his throne.
 
As every prince must, our man has his steed, which stands at his side. Partners in, well, not quite crime, they venture into the wilds. It is not long before the prince hears the cackling calls of laughter. He recognizes them as those of evil witches, and so follows the sound. He sneaks in quietly, reigning in his horse, to observe a tiny bundle in a tall tree, surrounded by  the dark masks of the witches, which have only patches of even darker circles for eyes. Their great wing-like sleeves are menacing, but he is a hero, and thus must be brave.
 
He takes his sword, and charges. His companion rises up on its hind legs. They slash and scream, and the witches quickly fly away on the twigs of magic; they identify him correctly as the prince, and are deathly afraid. The horse attempts to follow them, and is quickly drawn into a mad and hopeless pursuit. It will return when it has chased the evil witches sufficiently far away. Then, the witches are quickly forgotten as the prince once again peers up into the branches to see a baby, its cheeks red from crying.
 
The tiny parcel begins to rock in the wind, and the prince must act quickly to save the baby. He contemplates climbing the tree, but sees that even the lowest branch is much too high for him to reach. It continues to rock precariously, and so the prince has little choice but to stand under the child and hope it falls into his arms. He clips his sword to his belt, and a few minutes later, the bundle breaks free, and of course, our hero catches it in the most dashing manner. He smiles into the girl's red face and coos at her.
 
He looks up into the sky, and realizes his little foray has taken him far from his castle, it is near night, the time of the beasts. However gallant our prince is, even he cannot stand up to the horrors of the dark. The great shadow monsters that dwell in forest caves in the daytime extend their ghastly presences all through the countryside as soon as night falls. They are the beings that have always been and will always be. They are neither good nor evil, but seek only to cover the unprotected in darkness so bleak that there is no escape.
 
The prince glances fearfully at the horizon. The sun is already an angry red, warning the world that it can protect them no longer, still trying to drive away the night as it sinks into its resting place to gain strength for the battle it will inevitably fight again. The prince bites his lip and grips his prize closer to his chest, and begins his trek back to the castle. Halfway home, he is finally rejoined by his steed, but he sees that the horse is too tired to carry them back, so he continues walking.
 
But the darkness is quickly approaching, and he must be safely inside with his precious bundle before it descends. He quickens his pace, and it becomes a battle of speed as he races over hills and across bridges with the shadows nipping at his heels. He tumbles through the grass as the castle comes into sight, and the shadows pounce upon him menacingly, ready to tear his flesh apart. But his brave horse is at his side again, urging him to rise.
 
The prince barely escapes. He tumbles through a side door and slams it shut behind them. The shadows can only watch in sorrow as their prey looks lovingly down at his bundle. He didn't find his fairy tale romance, but he did find his princess in the form of a baby sister.
 
He smiles. She laughs, cheeks still red as roses.
 
Alas, every story must end, and this is the end of our story. As I said, there would be loss, and thus far, you may have realized, we have only gained another companion in our travels. So here is my admittance: no story ever ends where it says it ends. The prince will not always be a prince, and all heroes eventually fall.
 
So our prince must give up his fairy tale story, must shed the barriers of unreality. He returns to his kingdom by the sea of wheat fields and apple trees that his father grows, his shepherd at his side, to claim his wooden throne. The queen welcomes him warmly, and dotes upon him, as only a mother would her son, takes the child from him, and says that yes, he is the apple of her eye.
 
And here, we must leave our hero. But do not fret, dear readers. Stories never end.

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Comments {17}

cedarwolfsinger

(no subject)

from: cedarwolfsinger
date: Jun. 7th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. Interesting take on the prompt. Stories never end, indeed.

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 7th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
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Yeah... It didn't start out this way, but I did base it off the prompt, really!

Thank you for reading.

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cedarwolfsinger

(no subject)

from: cedarwolfsinger
date: Jun. 8th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
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You are most kindly welcome. I do my best to read all the entries. I like to see what people are doing with the prompt -- especially one like this. By the way -- are you new here? I don't recognize your screen name. If so -- welcome to the Flame. I hope you like it here!

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 8th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
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:D Thank you! I've actually participated before, but under a different name. It was way back when the community first started, though.

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amused4ever

(no subject)

from: amused4ever
date: Jun. 8th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
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For some reason when I finished reading this, my first thought was, "OH KELLY YES THIS IS YOU." 8D A good thing, I promise. I love it when people go in an entirely different direction than expected with a prompt. And I don't know if I'm reading too much into things, but I think I definitely see some symbolism here? Was the story supposed to be a kind of extended metaphor? Because I was kind of drawing from that, especially in following with the prompt.

I especially like the end, because oh that is so true. xD

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 8th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
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Awww, your comment made me smileeee! :D :D

It's definitely a metaphor, and I'm glad you saw that... Can't get anything past you... ;P I was hoping people wouldn't be like OMG DIDNA FOLL0W PROMPTZ!1! ... Not that any Flamers would do that. Haha. Flamers. Hah. Hah. Yeaaah.

Hearts!

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(no subject)

from: libra_dragon
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
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I really enjoyed reading this...nice flow and painted a picture in my mind as I read it.

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
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Thank you for reading; I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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13_stories

(no subject)

from: 13_stories
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
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Nicely done. Although at first glance I couldn't see the prompt as an inspiration for this story, by the time I got to the end, it was clearly lurking there. Of course, my own didn't obviously follow the prompt either.

You have a gift for setting mood. I like your story a lot.

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you got it! I was afraid it wasn't going to make any sense.

:) Thank you. I'm happy that you enjoyed it.

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merthin

(no subject)

from: merthin
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
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You're drawing on some very primal archetypes with all of your characters. The piece was well constructed and the images sharp and bold. I especially enjoyed, "Their great wing-like sleeves are menacing...." This is such a vivid image. Keep up the excellent work. :-)

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ephemeralbreath

(no subject)

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it... I really like studying Medieval legends and that type of thing.

P.S. Your icon is awesome.

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merthin

(no subject)

from: merthin
date: Jun. 9th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
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Ah yes, Siegfried from the original Soul Caliber game, the fallen knight redeemed. (And speaking of archetypes... ;-)

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Second Editor

from: transitiongodin
date: Jun. 12th, 2009 08:48 am (UTC)
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I really, really liked the style and feel of this piece and I liked the way you dealt with the prompt.

On to the edit. I didn't find any actual mistakes, so these are just suggestions.

"No one is so tired of cliché” you might want to change "so" to "as" because "as" flows better and gives more a feel of the fairytale aspect.

"And every once in a while, I believe that maybe dreams really do come true." the "and: is unnecessary here, It does well reading "Every once in awhile I believe that maybe dreams..." etc... The comma would also then not be needed.

"Well, it may be quite obvious, as he is a prince, that his quest is to " you might try putting "as he is a prince" in parentheses instead of inside comma's, and removing the commas altogether.

You've put an extra space in "surrounded by the dark masks " - 4th paragraph

"his little foray has taken him far from his castle, " this comma should be a ; - 7th paragraph I think.

Thanks for bearing with me. You have a lovely way of writing. :)


-Leander



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ephemeralbreath

Re: Second Editor

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 14th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much! I agree with all of your suggestions; I try hard to have a certain rhythm to the pieces I write and I think your editing shows that you saw it. Thank you again!

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(Deleted comment)

ephemeralbreath

Re: Edit!

from: ephemeralbreath
date: Jun. 15th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for your edit; I agree with all of what you said. Actually, I considered every one of those sentences when I was proofreading, but I have this problem where I can't seem to change things dramatically once I put them down. =/

Haha. I think I was unclear about the "sister" thing... I didn't mean it as she is literally his sister, more like an adopted-sibling type thing. I can see where the issue was there, though. I think I was just working too hard to make sure that the princess thing wasn't construed in the wrong way.

I definitely like commas A LOT. Dx I try to avoid splices, and I know grammatically I usually do okay, but awkward-sentence-wise, not so much (previous statement a prime example)!

Thank you for your suggestions, in particular, the ones that show better versions of the sentences in question; I think I'll really take that into consideration next time I think I can't improve something! I'm glad I have too; I'm trying this new thing where I try to keep in touch with people and things I once loved, and writing is one of them!

And it's no problem that you're late. I'm just glad I got it. :)

Kelly

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major pip

(no subject)

from: pipisafoat
date: Nov. 16th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
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*finally wanders in from the showcase*

i loooooooooove it. :) *has nothing smart to say*

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