Fantasy Drama

Bone dice dinged against my dinner plate. They teetered around the edge of the porcelain, falling silent while the room grew rowdy. Shallow chasms stared up at me. My head cocked to the side, a smile crossing my lips. Two ones, how fitting. 

The rainbow jester flounced up to the head table, his painted mouth curving up. “Our mute prince has rolled snake eyes.” he wiggled fingers in front of his face in a pathetic serpent tongue. “Perhaps hisss luck is looking up.”

The lady at my side giggled behind a delicate glove. Our colorful fool grinned as his ash stained hands snatched up the dice. He paused, gaze flipping from his palms to me. He bit his lip. A drop of blood welled under his teeth. A wave from across the room snatched his attention and he plastered on another grin. A shallow bow was offered as his feet whisked him away.

The woman flattened her skirts, leaning towards my chair. My smile faded. 

Her lips brushed my ear, “Can I tell you a secret?”

My hand brushed hers, fingertips slipping beneath her lace covering to flow over knuckles. She shivered, the quiver snaking up her spine until she vibrated against my cheek. I turned until my nose brushed hers. 

A wicked blush blossomed across her cheekbones. Hungry eyes bore into my black ones. “That fool gave five people lethal poison just to watch today's main event.”

My mouth twitched down. Blue eyes searched mine with a burning excitement. Those pretty brows fell.

I squeezed her glove, turning away to watch the feasting crowd. 

Disappointment broke her voice, “I thought that tidbit might impress you.”

My lips pursed. The jester wore his warped motivations coated on his palms. Snapping tongues beside my locked one told me of this so-called secret days ago anyway. 

The only impressive thing was that she still believed my silence was a hindrance. I faked a sip of wine to hide my smirk.

The king rose and the gorging room quieted. Shimmering eyes swallowed up the head table. His majesty clapped his hands. The main doors swung wide and bare feet slapped against the stone. A princess in a tattered ballgown strode in, chin high. Shreds of indigo, blue, and crimson recently woven together trailed behind her as a bride's train.


Her emerald eyes fixated on the plump king. My excitement fell. He may place the noose, but smooth hands didn't pull levers. 

His booming voice silenced the murmurings that had taken hold of the gossips. “Sleep well, Your Highness?”

A guard snickered but the princess remained motionless, gaze steady, “Did you not?” She licked her lips, letting her tongue slide slowly over every crease, “Your Royal Highness.”

His nose crinkled. “Careful, you’re here to take your peoples blame.”

I coughed into my tunic to suppress a chuckle. The king whipped toward me, ice burning his eyes. A fist balled up at his side. With a slow breath, it unfurled. 

The princess tilted her head. Practiced eyes traced the veins that popped up along the king's neck, the fake strength in his mitt, the slight wheeze in his breathing. 

Perhaps she wasn't a lost cause after all.

He turned back to the girl, “You’ll pay for your people’s pillaging and terrorizing in blood.” 

Her brow arched, “That's a declaration of war, your highness.”

“Your people already declared it.”

A smile crossed her mouth, “Not officially.”

He waved her words away. “Fools require schooling. Your life will suffice.”

“Confident that you will win?” Her grin revealed a dimple on her left cheek, “Ego has killed so many kingdoms.”

The king glowered, “You shouldn't even be talking. Have you never been educated?"

She pulled her lower lip between her teeth while that dimple deepened. 

He sighed, “It'll be lovely to be rid of your wretchedness. You’ll drop at tomorrow's sunset.”

It wasn't her who would fall. 

The room grabbed the rotten fruit hidden beneath skirts and jackets, vibrating with anticipation. 

I rose from my chair. The squeak broke the frenzy, a plum plopping to the floor from a startled child lord. Every face turned to mine. I strode to the princess, gliding past an exploding king. He snapped a meaty hand out to grab me. I sighed, spinning out of his reach. He marched toward me, the red of his forehead and chin so deep it matched the fallen plum. I grinned. He grabbed my waist and I leaned into his hold, a laziness overtaking my posture. His mouth opened, wicked words emerging but I snapped fingers in front of his nose and every torch blew out, plummeting the room into darkness. 

Shrieks rose from the audience. Rustling fabric enveloped the room as they tried to find comfort. If they paid attention they would have noticed I had removed their solace long ago. 

A trembling torch base was forced in my hands. I captured the servant's palm before he could disappear, tracing a circle along his ring finger. A place his wedding band should have rest. He quivered, pulling away and vanishing into the blackness. 

I floated to the princess stunned motionless at the center of the room. I lit the torch.

She jumped back, her nose mere inches from mine. The fires glow licked across her skin, bathing her in eerie shadows. My face would hold the same demonic resemblance, I’d made sure of it.

She shrunk back. Her wide green eyes shifted so there was only a faint ring of color around huge pupils. I placed a hand on her shoulder and she flinched.

My grip softened as I coaxed her to turn. Her head remained stationary, her gaze latched on my face that had morphed into her nightmares. The face of a dead man. She had placed the pungent flowers at his grave.

Her feet twisted and it forced her to glance at the room. The firelight illuminated people curled beneath tables, others rocking themselves as they watched monsters only visible to them. A dribble of blood splashed onto the stone floor from the jesters hands. He’d attacked his palms, rubbing beyond flesh as he tried to remove the stain ingrained in his very bones. 

I curled a finger under her chin, bringing her back to me. Her jaw hung completely unhinged. Blood flushed my cheeks and I released her, reaching into my tunic. Twin blue iris flowers emerged. I raised the slippery petals to my nose and let their sickly sweet incense consume me. Butter slicked my throat, strong enough to cover the stench of any burial. The princess shuddered as I set a flower on each of her fallen shoulders. 

“You’ll kill us all,” She whispered. I focused on the irises, arranging them so they teetered against her boney frame. She shook as a petal brushed her neck, “Will you even lift a finger?”

I pressed my index to my lips. She barked a laugh, the edges of her voice trembling. 

“How do I live through this nightmare?”

My brow arched as a disappointed smile rose to the corner of my mouth. She shook her head, staggering backwards. “My people have wanted this war for years.”

I glided forward. She tripped over her feet, falling with a sickening crack. I stood over her, dark eyes absorbing every quiver and tremble. She fidgeted with her dress, trying to find comfort in the tatters she'd woven before entering. Each piece fell apart under her touch. 

My free hand folded behind my back, mouth a thin line. A tear escaped her lashes. “Okay, we’ll surrender”

I clicked my tongue. It echoed off the walls and a chorus of shrieks followed. Her gaze darted to the shadows. She planted a palm on the floor to push away and a petal crunched under her. Despair coursed through her veins while butterflies erupted in mine. Broken eyes met mine. “I would be turning on my people.”

I dropped to a crouch. She winced. My lips pursed as I leaned in. My nose touched hers. I blew a stream of cool air into her face. Her entire body went ridgid, inhaling a smell she'd forgotten. I smacked my lips. Vanilla was always such an interesting flavor. 

“You, you-”

A nod.

“Everyone who knew about that died.”

Not everyone.

Defeat ravaged her shoulders. “We’ll execute the rebels. Uprisings against you will be-” her voice broke.

I unfurled the hand behind my back. A piece of parchment, quill, and ink were dropped into my palm. I placed the equipment beside the princess. 

Huge eyes darted to mine, "But I'll give you my word!"

A long sigh broke through my filter. Silver shimmered against her waterline. She sniffled. I blinked at her.

She straightened, the tremors receding until only the occasion shake rocked her body. "Well played."

I inclined my head and rose to my feet.

A curse passed her pretty mouth. My chest vibrated as a surprised chuckle rumbled through me.

"Should have known my word wouldn't work when I smelled vanilla." She said. The quill tip dropped into the ink and she began scribbling. "That prince would be alive if it meant anything."

She should have known long before that.

I flipped the torch between my palms, absorbing the terror coursing from those surrounding us. Ink sprayed as she threw her hands up, ready for the flames to fall on her head. I blinked.

If I had wanted her dead it would have happened a long time ago. 

I twirled a finger at the parchment and raised a brow. She shivered and returned to her work. "How do you know about him?"

The torch flickered and shadows consumed my features, twisting them into her nightmares. At my stillness she glanced up, and jumped. She scrambled back, the green in her eyes gone. The petal of the fallen gravesite irises brushed her finger and she shrieked. I swooped toward her, dragging the writing materials with me. She curled into herself. A slow rocking overtook her slim body. I dropped everything at her feet, placing a hand against her knee and the other under her chin. 

I needed a princess, not a ball of hopelessness. 

Never should have let her loosen her walls with the letter. 

Huge oval eyes were coaxed to my face. Many of my features had returned the moment I abandoned the torch on the stone. 

A real tear spiraled down her cheek, "He's going to destroy me isn't he. I loved him and I buried-"

My thumb caught the drop and I rested my forehead against hers. She trembled like a rabbit in my arms. I removed my palm on her knee and retrieved the parchment, all the while retaining contact between our heads. Her eyes fluttered shut.

I released a slow breath, forcing her back with the sweet vanilla scent that submerged a kingdom. 


Long fingers lifted the letter from my hands. I leaned back. She dipped the quill and scratched out any words she'd already written. Sharp sentences flowed under her hand and she shifted to the bottom, signing the deadly message.

"Here you are, wicked prince."

I lifted the page from her grasp. A giggle bubbled up as I scanned her page. She had called me this new title in her letter as well.

I clapped my hands. Light flooded the room. The servants who had brought back torches vanished into their shadows. Lords and ladies rose on wobbly feet, finding their chairs. Bleached faces turned to one another, words on their lips but fear swallowing them whole.

The king cleared his throat. I rose, offering a deep bow to the princess. She glared at me, but as her eyes were still bulging it was more of a constipated expression. 

"What did my useless son do?" The king hissed at her.

She frowned.

I glided to my seat. The lady of poor secrets beside me had passed out, her own history being too much to handle apparently.

The king marched toward the princess, his weeze significantly worse. 

She stood, "We surrendered." 

He paused, an evil glint in his eye. "My threats to your life made you reconsider I see."

She laughed. A deep belly laugh that shook the room. 

No one else was chuckling.

She swallowed another outburst, "I'm sorry, I completely forgot."

"Then what, pray tell, made you commit treason on half your people?"

Her eyes flicked to mine.

This time, the king was the one brushing happy tears from his cheeks. "My son is useless. He can't even speak."

"Then can I keep your useless prince?"

The king's laugh died. "For some reason there is already a line of people who want him."

The princess's brows clinched, "What did he show you?". 

"Show me? All he did was spin out of my grasp to sit with you."

She blinked. Words formed and withered on her tongue.

I raised my wine class in salute and took a deep swallow. Citrus and grapes washed away the vanilla coating my mouth. 

The king swung his head between the two of us, a bead of sweat blooming on his forehead.

Memory loss was always an interesting fear to work with.

I left my chair, striding to the king and placing the letter in his fist. His eyes widened. "When did-"

He cut himself off and cleared his throat. He stared down the princess, "This letter will fly in front of you. We'll send you with a convoy to make sure your commitment is followed."

She nodded.

"I will know if you break your oath."

Her eyes latched onto mine and an icy shiver broke through her lazy stance, "It's not you I'm worried about."

May 12, 2021 07:22

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06:10 May 13, 2021

This was very exciting and it felt like there was a lot of world-building beneath the surface that we didn't get to see, which gave it a real depth. It was a little bit underexplained in places, I felt. I got a bit muddled with what happened with the vanilla etc, and who the princess loved, and so on. But I did enjoy it very much!


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Ruth Smith
13:30 May 12, 2021

Very interesting story. Some of it is a little confusing, such as are all of the characters snakes? The princess has green skin, but feet also. Maybe this could be made clearer without disrupting the wonderful flow of the story.


Kathleen Doidge
23:23 May 12, 2021

Thank you so much for reading! The characters are humans but I can see how it could be confusing. Snake eyes is an expression for when two dice are rolled and they both land on the number 1. I altered some bits to help make the character descriptions a little clearer and will continue to tweak to make the story clearer. Thank you again!


Ruth Smith
02:57 May 13, 2021

You are welcome! I will read it again.


Ruth Smith
14:44 May 13, 2021

I read it again. Your changes cleared up a lot of my confusion. Very good job!


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Ed Vela
03:22 Jul 05, 2022

Well DONE 🌟 Latest adventure in the Luger/Pyke saga... https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/rnqtsk/


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Larry Rhoton
14:16 May 20, 2021

Kathleen, I enjoyed reading your story. Well done~


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16:13 May 17, 2021

I enjoyed reading this story, the worldbuilding seemed very full, and the character writing was good, although in some places it felt a little strange (Such as when the princess said she'll surrender so quickly.) I do wish i could see more of this world and story, and find out more about these characters. All in all, i really enjoyed this story, great job!


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