In the five years since the princess defiantly left the castle many adventures in neighboring kingdoms befell her. There were fantastic parties, secret alleys, mysterious potions and dark magic’s from hidden realms. The Dark One sent his assassins time and again with no success. She seemed to slip through their fingers. Just as the young Princess newly emerged to womanhood was getting a grasp on grownup life beyond the protective walls of her father’s kingdom the Dark One grew inspired.
The Princess was learning quickly the hard way; she grew tired of the frivolity, endless parties, insincerity and the deadly arts that crawled the shadows. She was tired of being courted for her beauty or stalked for it. Worse was when some sniveling waster learned her true identity, many a suitor sought her hand seeking to claim a handsome dowry as well as her loveliness.
Deep inside this young woman of royal birth was growing a desire for the same things girls all over the world yearned for; her own domain, her own castle, her own king who would love her for herself. She desired the stability to be who she wanted to be. She returned to her father’s kingdom but she came with the determination and expectation she would be earning a living and making her own mark.
The King understood for he had forged his kingdom with his own two hands, the seventh son of a seventh son. Born without expectation other than to seek his fortune and he had done so fighting his own battles and carving out his own lands. For had he not married the daughter of a Dragon Lord? After all he was a child of the fae oh yes he understood this eldest daughters deep desire to make her own way.
The Dark One always seeking a way to mark this girl, control her path and lead her to him now whispered in the dark dreams of a water demon from another world. Wondrous visions he gave to this demon showing him the riches never before imagined and power untapped. All the demon needed was this eldest daughter of a small insignificant southern kingdom, whispered the Dark One.
This water demon was intrigued with his visions and dream-time. The promise he saw dangled in his nose sweet like perfume from his home world. With little thought other than the vision in his eyes of power and riches he put himself in the Princess’ path and there he snared her with demonic charm. He appeared nice and stable but her senses told her something stirred under the surface, being so young this intrigued the naive woman child. Her heart was elated for she had performed an ancient spell in the depths of her chamber; a spell learned in a neighboring kingdom to bring her one true love.
With dark arts gleaned from a millennium on another world the water demon enticed her. He wove enchantments in the very air and altered her path little by little. In her journey she was enchanted with this new road she traveled all in the name of making her own way. Surely as a spider weaves a web for the fly the demon pulled the princess deeper into his small underground realm. She wondered into the darkness and such was the magic she was enchanted with the shadows. Willingly she came into his lair.
Here was a rare turn of fate for this water demon; exiled from his own realm, in the shape of this lovely fresh daughter of a King. He had made many miscalculations on this new world and was frustrated with his own desire to return from whence he had come. For to return to his infernal realm he needed power and glory, power to repay those who had outcast him and glory to exult him over the weak who stood by. Seemed his luck was finally turning. Never once did he question the origin of the dreams or visions. Hubris would not consider an outside source, only his secret ego could have found him a way back, in this princess of royal blood. The Dark One never entered the demon’s mind, just as the Dark One wished it.
The demon at first thought only of her beauty and her strong clean spirit, the fire of her soul he would harness for years. His seed with her dragon’s blood would insure strong sons; son’s who would stand with him armed with demon power and dragons blood. Cuckolded by his primary wife with his older brother he needed the leverage of a powerful rightful heir; for surely he would destroy his elder brother. Many would pay for his exile and this beautiful princess from this mortal world was his tool. The arrogance in never questioning the source of the dreams or visions would lay the foundation for his failure and underestimating the dragon magic in this dark beauty would ensure his fate was doomed.
He wove infernal enchantments in the very air of his demons cave. He sang to her of strange magics that tied her to him as sure as the oxen are yoked to the plow. At first she was content, the demon was not always home and there were no demonic fits of rage. She reveled in building her own home here in this magical realm. He seemed to adore her beauty and showered her with gifts. He sang to her of ancient places, talked with her of beings long dead on outlawed worlds and their forbidden writings protected by enchanted creatures that neither breathed air nor required sustenance. Yes she was content for now.
The only mar on her happiness it seemed was the elder wife. She was kept in a home far away yet she knew they spoke. He swore she was the past they only held some things in common – things she could not understand of infernal bonds forged ages ago in another time. She basked in the lie. This time when something stirred under the surface it was not intriguing, it was disturbing.
Yet she chose the bigger lie, the one she told herself. As her time in the demon’s cave went from weeks to years the demon was finally rewarded. She began to increase from his seed.
Once the eldest child was delivered everything changed. She found herself fast bound to the demon, her moves were questioned and as surely as if she was in chains she could not leave; for the life of her only son was threatened by this demon that and utter despair for he promised to send her far from any who claimed to love her with infernal magics – if she left him – he would find her. Now she was truly at the mercy of the elder wife and this demon from another world for his true face was showing through.
In her despair she drew on the magic inside her and the All Mother answered; teaching her the Great Enchantments of the Elder Gods in secret. The All Mother shaped her future again. The demon was absent most nights; traveling abroad in his small realm. Then the All Mother would come, filling the imprisoned Princess with her knowledge and hope.
The demon’s true self showed more and more, cold fits of rage were the norm now. He never wore the mask of humanity or feigned mortal behavior when in his cavern mansion. She saw him for all his unworldliness and the ugliness that only comes from a dark evil spirit. The demon sensing the strength in his royal wife wove new enchantments aimed at eroding her very mind. A mindless pawn would be so much more controllable back home. Stronger and stronger magics he strove to weave in her mind yet always something thwarted him just short of pushing her into the abyss of madness.
The only bright spot in the Princess’ life was time with the All Mother and her son. The fae had gifted her beyond measure for one of their own had chosen to be born to her; in honor of her father who came of ancient elven bloodlines. The eldest son was a beautiful child so like his mother in face even though colored like his father.
The Princess would sing to him of faraway places, her own grandfather and nana. She opened small doors for him and the faerie came to play with him daily as they had played with her. She lifted his spirit and strove to present a better image of his father so he would be clean and straight inside.
The King and Queen made weekly visits to see their only grandchild. Fearing the elven blood for it was strange and immune to his infernal spells and seemed to bind with the dragon blood to make a fearless child the demon tolerated their visits, always being absent when they arrived. Hoping to benefit from the King’s coffers he never demurred when his son wished to visit the King and Queen. For it was rumored that more than gold was held in the King’s vaults a man who had roved far and wide belonging to secret ancient sects before building his realm. After all, the king’s throne would be a boon to the demon back home.
And by weaving more enchantments sang to the Princess while she slept the demon kept her chained to his cave as surely as if she wore irons. A magic beyond the demon’s ken worked here to his detriment though. His time away, his continued dealings with the elder wife and his lack of interest in his son continued laying the road to his ruination.
This only son while of demon blood on his father’s side was also a child of the fae and the dragon. A pure fae spirit inhabited his form. Thus the bond of elven blood between this child and the King grew strong and pure. Fed by the dragon fire of the Queen this first born child of the Princess grew straight and tall, with a pure heart – the heart of a warrior.
More years screamed passed and the princess grew despondent and unwell. She knew through her time with the All Mother and her own powerful divinations that she was slowly being driven mad. Toxic magics were fed to her spirit and mind to gnaw it away.
Eventually a second child was conceived. The Great Hawk Lord himself devised the coming of this child. Using power beyond the portal of time he conveyed the spirit of one who did his bidding in another land; a young man dedicated to the Younger God. This chosen knight whose body lay imprisoned in a foreign land was to be the instrument of the Hawk Lords. The Hawk Lord gave him part of his power and disguised him as the demon. Bringing this savior by celestial means through infernal pathways he delivered him to the Princess in the deep of the night. In the sweetness of a love yet unborn a child was conceived; even though the Hawk Lord knew the Princess would suffer more, the child was called forth.
The Princess knew that night that the divine had visited her and another special child would be born to her. She knew her demon captor had no part in the creation of this new life; for never had the demon been so tender or loving.
The demon enraged at finding his wife increasing yet again knew this was not from his seed. Yet just as surely he knew none could reach her for she was trapped beyond all hope. The Dark One looked on from afar and laughed for things were progressing just as he had foreseen.
Torture now came in earnest of the mind, spirit and body. The demon knew this child must not be born or all his plans would come to dust. He besought her to remove the child letting him use arcane means. Lying that that the child was an evil growing insider her. He raged against the Princess to rid herself of this unwanted life threatening to leave and take the elder child. But she had grown too strong in her own magic, she could see his corrupt heart with the all seeing eye of the Hawk Lord. Next he tried cunning means to slip her deadly drinks or cloud her mind with such evil she would fall from great heights; always was she snatched from death. The Lord of the Dead had sent his herald to watch over this favored child of the All Mother, Wife of the Lord of the Dead.
Day by day he showed his true form for torture rained on her from all sides and truly her heart was in shadow, yet a glimmer of light was growing the All Mother had shown her the way. Once the child was born it would matter not what means the demon and his elder wife used.
Then came the day when the child was delivered, the day after the Elder wife had sought through evil pacts made with their dark triple deity to kill the child before birth. It but hastened his arrival. Arrive he did, in pain and blood he drew his first breath, a child of the dragon and the fae – a pure spirit blessed by the Hawk Lord himself. Twice now the Elder Gods had snatched victory from the demon who now understood beyond all hope his elder son would never be the tool he had hoped for. The younger child he feared for he was created outside the world.
The Princess grew strong in her magics, a great sorceress and conjurer she had become in secret. Fear began to gnaw at the demon’s heart. Then the Princess dealt a swift cunning blow to the elder wife and the hideous seed she had spawned from the demon’s elder brother. Her magic removed them from her plane of existence – forever.
Now the demon indeed feared for his life, yet he could not leave; his enchantments on the Princess snared him as well. Magic has a price and the demon was loathe to give up the only plan he had to storm his own realm.
So he searched for more diver forms to serve him, calling to him venomous creations from across time and space bearing poisons unheard. He contracted with nameless fearsome beasts to take from her those she loved best.
The poison worked slowly, too slowly. Their affects were never constant and always at odds with the power of the Princess herself. Yet they ate away ever so slowly at her will to love and live. Her two sons were protected. The demon learned immediately that the fae protected their own and the Elder Gods themselves watched over the younger child, for the blood of the dragon ran strong in each child. Every barb the demon threw was thwarted. For awhile he toyed with turning the boys against their mother yet he was not sure he had time to do this, for time was slipping away from him like sand under his feet.
Then the demon again in a dream seemingly was inspired with an idea that struck a most effective blow at the Princess and his eldest son. He performed the most insidious of rituals under a moonless sky on a dead world that had perished from its own evil; its name had been erased from the annals of history by the Elder Gods themselves. There on this world where the malevolence lingered in the very rocks the demon broke the soul of the King – removing his mind forever. In the kings mind he planted a serpent of unholy appearance and lethal intelligence, whose very venom corroded the hearts of the vigilant.
The Princess and her oldest son were devastated for the ruination of the King’s mind was utter and complete. The King’s counselors had him removed to a place where none could find him and the evil was . . . contained. The Queen was torn apart, as such she deferred her Kingdom to the care of a regent until her daughter was well enough or her grandson was grown. For all knew the tragedy visited upon the King was evil devised by the demon.
Changed forever the Princess wove a deep spell on the eve of the new millennium. She called from beyond the heavens and cemented to her soul and the soul of her sons a curse of fire and vengeance Now the demon in his great fear sought more arcane poisons, milked from his own fluids to destroy her living flesh. Small terrifying creatures he summoned under the cover of full sun to infect her heart. She grew deeply ill; hovering on the edge of death the All Mother came to her and sustained her with her Elder arts.
Now the demon thought of a heinous deed to rid himself of this weight around his neck, this royal beauty who would destroy him if he could not eradicate her first. His hope of a glorious return to his realm was utterly ruined, now he only hoped to survive this battle of wills and power with his skin intact. In a final desperate act the demon turned to the most infernal of enchantments to destroy this beautiful yet lethal nemesis. It all came to naught when the demon was surprised in his pursuit of kidnapping and murder most foul by the father of a virgin girl whose blood he needed. He fled into the night –fearful for his very life.
The magical traps, snares and enchantments fell away from the Princess, blown to dust as surely as a windstorm sweeps the plains bare of life. This storm was the Princess’ storm, a storm of cleansing The Princess though pained was free. Her grief was real and deep, grief that someone so evil and manipulative had changed her. This cursed child seemed to still be cursed. Evil followed her into this world and had not left. She wondered what it would take to be free.
She needed an enchanted place where none could enter. A place in between spaces; created between the space of a breath and accessed only in that eternity between heartbeats.
Her own fortress where she controlled all and none could enter save at her behest. The fae had gifted just such a place to her father. It was hers now by right of birth, blood, death and spirit. Yes she would go there never to be cursed again.
Halfway around the world the imprisoned knight was suddenly free and crossed to new lands in search of the vision the Younger God had burned in his heart during captivity. A deep peace was on his soul for he knew surely she whom he sought he would find.
The dragons’ tears sang their song more clearly . . . for the fabled stones were awake and destiny danced to their tune.