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Thetallerestpaul t1_izzh1lq wrote

The tavern was quietening down, as the evening swallowed the light and the regulars swallowed their drinks. Those looking for fighting or fornicating had either found what they were looking for, or taken their search elsewhere. Those that remained were there for the company of friends or for drinking in silence. So it was with the group of young men and women talking loudly of romance and loss at one table and the single old man at the table next to them.

"....and every day she goes to wait for him, at the Lake of Longing", said the young man with a smile at the women to his left. "Hoping that today might be the day she is finally reunited with her love". The woman smiled back, both believing incorrectly that no-one else at the table saw them flirting.

"Oh, it's so beautiful", said the woman.

"Fuck", said the man at the next table. "Can you kids just shut up about it? There is nothing beautiful about what I help my lady do at that lake each day, and one day soon you'll know that first hand, I'd wager. She's not going to be able to carry on for long."

"I...sorry", said the woman with eyes downcast. The old man frowned. He'd not meant to be so harsh. It wasn't the girl's fault.

"What do you mean 'you help your lady'?", asked another of the group. "Who are you?"

"I attend the Princess", said the old man. "Have done for my whole life. And will do until one or both of us is dead and hopefully gone."

"Come", urged the man working to impress his beau, "join us, share a drink. You can tell us what really happens!"

The old man shook his head, but the girl who'd apologised looked up at him with a smile that was so like his Lady's that he couldn't help himself.

"I'll thank you kindly for a drink, and if you really want to hear it, I'll tell it". He eased himself from his seat and came to join them. "I'll snap straight to it, if you don't mind. I'm sure you don't want to spend too much of your evening with an old soak like me. You've got better things to be doing", he said and pointed at the flirting couple. "Especially you two", he said, to the amusement of the other drinkers.

The old man filled their glasses, and leaned in to tell his tale.

"You said that my Lady goes to wait for the love that never returned from war, but I'm afraid you are only part right about that. The Prince did return, and does return over and over again to this day. At least something that looks like the Prince. He came home many years ago. He spoke like the Prince and moved like the Prince, but both my Lady and I knew something was wrong. You know when you surprise someone, and in that moment you see what they really think, as the facade they were wearing slips? Well, it was like that. In a certain light, or when he thought no-one was looking you saw something else looking out from inside."

The tavern grew quieter, and a few other ears on other tables began to turn toward the old man and his yarn.

"My Lady grew suspicious. She hid his return from her family and instead took him out to the Lake, to confront him at the place they first fell in love. It was just those two, that first time, so I only heard it from her, but having seen it since I can believe her story. She came back that first night, alone, soaked through, and shaking in grief."

"What happened?", interrupted a man on another table, and get groans of frustration from the other listeners.

"She confronted him, and his true nature was revealed. It was not her Prince, but something vile that lived and grew in the suffering and filth of war, and it wore his likeness. She drowned it in the Lake, staring at the face she loved, to protect us all from what that thing could do to this land."

The old man drained his glass.

"And since that day I've helped her protect us all many times. It returns to the Lake. Sometimes months hence, sometimes years. But it always returns. It's hungry, you see. Hungry for suffering and death. The war that created it has only whetted its appetite. So it comes back and it tries to convince her it's her Prince. Each time it does a little better and gets a little closer to being convincing, but each time she sees through it, and drowns it once more, with my help."

"But one day soon, she'll be too old, too weak. Or it will find the right words to convince her this time it's really him. One way or another, she won't be able to stop it forever. So enjoy your drinks, and enjoy each other", he said as he stood up. "You might not have forever left to do either."




the-book-anaconda t1_j014gih wrote



Thetallerestpaul t1_j0158be wrote

This is not my normal direction. I'm more of a r/GoSleep kind of guy!


S4njay t1_j01a4t2 wrote

I was like, "that sub exists?". But as it turns out, it does exist!

Funny how most of the posts there are from you, though.


Thetallerestpaul t1_j01bdbo wrote

Yeah, and even that not for months. Someone on the WP discord server proposed it, and we all said go do it. But then no-one had any real energy to go and sell it to people, so its basically the 5 people who liked the idea on discord!


Rob-L_Eponge t1_j0086lx wrote

Happy cake day! You wrote an amazing story!!!


Thetallerestpaul t1_j011r0s wrote

Thanks! I now need to find some cake.


zephyr_man300 t1_j00q63x wrote

Amazing, this is pretty chilling!


Thetallerestpaul t1_j012qol wrote

Thanks. I'm not normally one for ghost story type vibes, but once I decided it would be in a smoky tavern, I couldn't help it.


shadeslayer0930 t1_j013ju3 wrote

This is so good! Is this based on PTSD suffered by war veterans or something different and more on fantasy based? Because thats what im getting from the whole "he's been different ever since the war" vibes


Thetallerestpaul t1_j01541k wrote

Based on trauma, yeah, but then kicked up a level in the fantasy land where it's not the person that has been damaged by the experience, but a whole new thing has replaced them.


NotAMeatPopsicle t1_j026q5i wrote

I got Doppler/shapeshifter vibes.

For a moment I thought you were going to write in the Frog Prince twist.


Davikka t1_j00srnj wrote

Slow clap 👏


Thetallerestpaul t1_j012x3o wrote

I'm not sure if this is good or bad? Where I live slow clap would be for sarcastic clapping, but that might be different all over. Hopefully, it's a clap of enjoyment! Have a good one.


Davikka t1_j03dmf1 wrote

Ah sorry, to clarify this slow clap was in utter awe and appreciation!


Spriggan_42 t1_j01hthf wrote

Wow! Amazing story; this type of plot I find so fascinating, how it’s a promise of destruction and death that is yet thwarted by heroic characters!

Really well conceived atmosphere, I pictured everything really well!


Thetallerestpaul t1_j01l1hy wrote

Thanks Spriggan, glad you liked it. I enjoy the concept that people don't even realise how often they are saved, by new technology or medicine, or others actions.


SamuelVimesTrained t1_j0194a5 wrote

This left me breathless for a bit.



Thetallerestpaul t1_j01clfc wrote

Great username as well. I love a bit of Vimes in the wild.


SamuelVimesTrained t1_j01klkh wrote

Thanks. Lucky I could claim this.
But yes - it`s true too - many life lessons, including becoming a better me - I learned from Sir Samuel .


prejackpot t1_izyopt6 wrote

“There is no question of succession,” Princess Ireni said smoothly. “With the death of his father the king, Prince Reynaud is now King Reynaud the Seventh. We only await his coronation.”

“Your highness-” the archbishop began softly. “The prince has not been seen these twenty years.”

“For heavens’ sake, princess,” Chancellor Mors cut in. “You can’t truly believe that Prince Reynaud is still alive.”

Princess Ireni turned slowly to fix her gaze on the chancellor. “If I did not believe it, my lord, would I continue to stand at the Lake of Longing every evening, day after day and year after year? The prince is now your king. And he will return.”

“The prince is dead, Ireni!” Mors snapped. “He’s been dead twenty years, and your longing is a woman’s madness. I’m sorry,” he said to the rest of the royal councilors. “But someone has to tell her.”

“You poor man,” Princess Ireni shook her head. “Your poor wife, to have been married to you for your family name, her father’s lands. You know nothing of love. Love is not madness. Love is clarity. When two souls are joined as one, when one soul can look out of another’s eyes, yes, that is clarity. Reynaud and I have that love. I have that clarity. Reynaud is our king. And he is returning.”

The rest of the councilors shifted in their seats, glancing to the door as if expecting Reynaud to enter it there and then. Chancellor Mors hesitated, looking around for support. Finding none, he banged his fist on the table. “This is delusion!” he shouted. “The prince is dead!”

“Careful, my lord chancellor,” Princess Ireni warned. “To envision the death of your king is treason.”

“Envision? Treason?” Mors sputtered. “King Reynaud has died, and has been reunited with his son in the halls of heaven! These are not visions, these are facts this council must deal with!”

“Guards,” Princess Ireni said serenely. “Take Lord Mors into custody.”

“You will do no such thing!” Mors turned to the guards, but they seized his arms.

“My husband, when he returns, will judge your crime,” Princess Ireni said as he was taken from the room. “But I know he will show mercy.”

The doors closed. The room was silent. Sir Archambault, the Master Treasurer, was the first to kneel. “Long live Reynaud the Seventh!” he declared.

Next came young Lord De Rihe. “Long live Reynaud the Seventh! Long live Queen Ireni, the Queen Regent!”

The rest followed.

“It is done,” said Ireni softly to her attendant, Leyda, when she returned to her chambers.

Leyda lowered herself as gracefully as she could on her aging knees, until her forehead touched the floor. “My queen.” And, in a lower voice once Ireni told her to rise: “Your vengeance is complete at last.”

“He took all I had,” Ireni said softly. “Twenty years ago I took his life, but today I take his birthright.”

“Must we still go to the Lake of Longing, your highness?”

“Of course,” Queen Ireni gestured for Leyda to fetch her cloak. The weather was starting to turn, and the winds across the lake were cold. “My husband will return. I can feel it in my heart.”

(Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this story, I have more collected at


MindOverMoxie t1_izz2c38 wrote

Oooohhh… she never would have gained regency without her husband’s name.


IML_42 t1_izzp8no wrote

“Look, Sir Marwin. Lady Rina sits still at the lakeshore awaiting the return of her long-lost prince. Isn’t it romantic? A love story come to life.”

“Ok, look. Ever since I moved to this Kingdom this has bugged me. Until now I’ve stayed my tongue for fear of execution, but…God I can’t contain it any longer.”

“Speak freely, Sir Marwin. Tell me of what it is that bothers you so.”

“That’s a lake right? The ‘Lake of Longing’?”

“Yes. Named for our Lady’s devotion to the great love of her life.”

“Ok, but it’s a fucking lake…”

“…I’m not sure what you’re getting at, good sir.”

“The dude didn’t sail off to war across a god damn lake. Why the hell does she think he’s gonna float in from across the lake? It’s a small lake for god’s sakes. You can see the other side!”

“But….Sir Marwin. I was there on the day that Lord Humphrey sailed into battle. It was a most somber affair. He climbed aboard a small vessel at the lakeshore—the very place our Lady stands to this day— and sailed away and into battle.”

“You must tell me then: was this a foggy day? Was visibility poor? Did other men go into battle?”

“Why…yes it was a very foggy day. Our Lady oft remarks that her love was swallowed by the clouds. And a small crew ventured off with our Lord but the others had already ventured into battle in the hinterlands.”

“Ok…and how did these other men go to battle? By horseback I imagine?”

“Well, yes. But Lord Humphrey said that there was strategic benefit to his seafaring mission. He would flank the enemy and this maneuver would prove the death-knell of the resistance.”

“Come on. Surely I needn’t pull out a map and show you how he could never have possibly ‘flanked’ anyone. He would have been sailing north while the battle raged 100 miles south of here.”

“Sir Marwin, it is not my place—nor yours—to question the strategic acumen of one such as Lord Humphrey. Surely he had his reasons.”

“Tell me, what is across the lake? Is there a town?”

“Yes, Sir. A town most foul. We are forbidden to step foot in that disgusting place by order of Lady Rina.”

“Yeah. That does it.”

“Whatever do you mean, Sir Marwin.”

“That dude isn’t at battle! He never was. He sailed across the lake to the town, and probably had a bender—probably stumbled his way through a brothel or two. My guess is Lady Rina found out and told him to stay the hell away.”

“Blasphemy! I will not tolerate such words. Do not besmirch the good names of Lord Humphrey and Lady Rina. I say, Sir Marwin. Take your leave of me at once and never speak of this treachery again.”

Sir Marwin bowed and walked away. Lady Rina turned away from the lake and walked toward her attendant.

“Ah Lady Rina, how was thine time at the Lakeside.”

“Oh, fine Cyril, just fine. No sign of that philandering bastard. Probably either drunk in a gutter or dead in the streets.”

“Excellent, my Lady, last time you sighted him it was not a pretty sight.”

“Indeed. ‘Tis wise my father taught me archery and how to light a fire. That bastard won’t try to sail across any time soon. And god knows he’s too lazy to walk the 2 miles around the lake.”

“Hell hath no fury, right my Lady?”

“Damn right, Cyril. Any news for me?”

“Nothing of import. Sir Marwin has volunteered for the war effort in the South. I suggest we send him on his way by morning.”

“Ah, after conquest and glory I see.”

“Something like that.”


W3475ter t1_j00b3km wrote

I like how only the knight speaks old English lmao


IML_42 t1_j00c3sk wrote

Haha Knights gotta keep it formal!


animewhitewolf t1_izzqbo7 wrote

TW; mild gore and topic of sexual assault (not explicit)

I walked down the gravel path to the lake. It was almost twilight and the leaves were golden. I'd normally enjoy it, but not while I carried this box.

At the end of the trail, I saw the princess standing along the shore. She was smartly dressed in a long, green, velvet dress and a matching shawl draped over her shoulders. As I approached, she turned to look at me. She was still slightly pale and stoic. She gave a nod, motioning me to place the box on the ground.

"Is it in there, then?" she asked.

"It is, my lady," I said. The princess turned back to face the lake.

"Now that it's here, I'm scared to look inside. After everything that's happened. It's silly, isn't it?" She reached for her arm.

"Not at all, my lady," I said comfortingly. "If you wish, I can dispose of this myself. You can be done with this forever."

"No." Her voice had more strength in it this time. "I will see this through. Open it."

I obeyed. I inserted an iron key, turned it, and the steel box opened with a loud thunk. The princess looked inside, and let out a deep breath.

It was the prince, to whom she was betrothed. Or more accurately, his head. His face long since drained of blood and his eyes completely blank and empty. But there was no mistake; it was him.

The princess fell to her knees. "It's done! I'm finally free of you!" she whispered to the head. She turned to me. "It is truly over?"

"Yes, my lady. Everything went according to plan. As far as the princes army thinks, he's still captured by the enemy. Even if they find the rest of him, they'll never recognize him without this." I gestured to the box. It hadn't been as difficult as you'd think. After I told the Captain what he did, he was on the hunt like a wolf from hell. All it took were some disguises and the right moment to steal the prince away. Now, the prince will never return from war.

The princess let out a shaky breath. "Did you know, this was where he... the first time he took advantage of me?" She said. "He told me I was to be his bride. That if I refused, our kingdoms alliance would fall." She began to cry. I forgot my place, and embraced her.

"He'll never touch you again. No one will ever touch you again, I promise," I consoled her. She returned my hug. I know shouldn't think such things, but I could have held her for years.

She finally composed herself. She wiped off her tears, and I was happy to finally see some color in her cheeks. "Thank you. I'll need to thank the Captain when we're alone. But first," she turned to the box. Her strength returned as she stared into the pale eyes of the prince.

"I want my face to be the last those eyes see for eternity."

She shut the box and locked it. She then threw the iron key into the lake. "Please take this to the blacksmith. Have them seal box and the lock. Then bring it back here and throw it into the bottom of the lake."

"Yes, my lady." I picked up the box and began my way back up the path.

"And Millicent," the princess called out.

"Yes, my lady?" I asked.

She smiled. "You don't need to call me 'my lady.' I've already told you that."

"Sorry, my lady." I gave her a friendly wink, and carried the box back up the path. It never felt lighter.

> A bit darker than I usually go to in my writing. But at least there's a sort-of happy ending.


frog_with_gun t1_j004z0q wrote

Shaking I looked at the princess. She looked as beautiful as ever, her dark hair flowing in the wind. But there was something off about her stare.

"Princess?" I called gently. "It's time for supper." She didn't move. "The chef made your favorite! Steak and mashed potatoes!"

She turned to look at me. Her gray eyes filled with grief. I knew that look all to well. I knew what she wanted to do.

"Would you like to see it again?" I asked. She nodded. I pulled a dagger out of my dress. It was small and had a gold handle. It was also very sharp. One poke could have you bleeding.

She picked it up and smiled. "This was his dagger. He said he loved it as much as he loved me." The grief faded from her eyes. So it was working.

She wiped her tears. "When do you think he is coming back?" I laughed and told her I didn't know.

But in all reality he was most likely making friends was the people of heaven. I commented on supper and she skipped away. Talking about how it's her favorite.

But I know. That the dagger she's holding, is the same one she used to kill her prince.


bluebirdmg t1_j00empw wrote

“Come, Princess Fianna. Let us return home.”

“Faust, do you think he will ever come back?” Her pale gray glazed eyes stared aimlessly over the water.

I shook my head, “I don’t know, but I fear for the worst.”

Princess Fianna let out a solemn sigh. She turned and held out her hand. “A little more to your left.” I said “There we go.” I took her hand and we began to slowly make our way through the meadow and back to the castle.

“Faust. I’m not giving up hope.” She proclaimed, slowly hobbling along. Her long blonde hair dangling down all the way to her ankles. “Kydell…he’s out there somewhere. I know it.” Princess Fianna could not see. Nevertheless she persisted. She was a kind hearted, yet fierce and stubborn woman.

“Miss Fianna. If Prince Kydell was to return wouldn’t he have done so by now?”

“He will return. I will wait by the Lake of Longing for the rest of my life if I have to.”

“Princess forgive me but, it has already been three years. We go to the lake every day. I just worry about you.” I paused and contemplated if I really wanted to say what came out next. “Don’t spend your life living for something you’re longing for. Live it for something you already have. Your kingdom…your people.”

She fell silent for a moment. In part she knew what I said was a valid point. Still, she fought back tears. “Faust. He is the one person who ever managed to make me see anything other than darkness. He saved me -no- he saved the entire kingdom from my evil sister’s reign of tyranny. Without him…the war would still be raging and I’d still be caged in the cellar.”

“I understand that but you must find a different reason, don’t let your purpose in life be to wait around for him when we don’t even know if he’s alive. You have a duty to your people.”

“Faust!” She screamed, tears filling her eyes. I had seen the princess beaten down and broken many times. But this, was entirely different.

For three years I had been racked with guilt over one terrible fact. Prince Kydell was undeniably dead. I knew this to be true as it was my last order under the previous ruler, Fianna’s evil sister Iris. The Princess’ lover’s blood was on my hands.

She wiped the tears. “I need to hold on to the belief he is alive. Let me have this. Without it I would feel no different than I did as a prisoner.”

Though her eyes could not see, I felt as if they saw right through me at that moment. Seeing me for all I was. A broken man with a blood stained conscience. “Very well.” I said with a heavy heart. “Very well.”

Edit: This is a sort of spin-off of a story I’m working on called The Garden of Fianna. A young knight is making rounds at the castle he finds a blind girl in the garden. After a lovely talk she tells him to hide. She is then promptly taken back inside the castle. Kydell returns the next day, and daily from then on, to meet in secrecy with this prisoner. He soon discovers she is the true heir to the throne. Princess Fianna! Her power hungry sister Iris was furious to discover their parents wanted Fianna, a blind and weak girl to rule the kingdom so she conspired to fake Fianna’s death and hold her captive in the cellar of the castle.

That’s the first part, at least.


grudthak t1_j00mzr1 wrote

"Legends are a funny thing, funny to the point of daft sometimes but nevermind; you are here to press about the story of the Princess at the Lake of Longing aren't you? Well come inside then and mind you wipe your feet ; I will put the kettle on."

The old maid shambled over to the hob and swiftly setup the old black iron kettle turning to admonish us swiftly.

"And close the bloody door, you are letting the draft in!"

She busied herself as we sat at her cluttered table, my darling Monique gasped as she noticed a huge and heavily scarred old tabby cat leering at her through his one good eye. We were then interrupted by the woman as she joined us with fresh mugs of hot tea.

"Oh pay no mind to old Greebo, he's a big softie really! Now then..."

She snapped and looked us both over in a manner that felt like we were being appraised like horses at stud.

"You both want to hear about the Princess at the Lake? No doubt you took young mistress here to the theatre and watched a play? Nice choice there lad!"

She shot me a wink that seemed to heavily imply carnal knowledge that would be illegal in many kingdoms. Befors sighing heavily.

"I never should habe told that story to the playwright, he took a few liberties, and thats saying something coming from me! Yes, there was a Princess, and a Lake, and even a Prince, although he was never involved in THAT part of the story."

Monique interjected suddenly

"What do you mean Mistress? I thought that the Prince sailed on the Lake to war and she waited every day to return!"

She scoffed

"Shows what you know; why sail across a Lake when you can march AROUND it! Which may I add, is EXACTLY what the Prince actually did!"

I had to ask

"So why did the Princess wait at the Lake every night for his return?"

The old woman winked again.

"She wasnt waiting for the Prince, she was waiting for the fisherman!"


mintyfresh25 t1_j00fzjk wrote

I take a good long glance into my beloved's eyes. I caress her cheek as her long brown hair fights with the wind. "Just as beautiful as the day we met." I smile. She settles her hand on mine as she looks back with a a content smile.

"You always were a charmer, my prince." She pulls my hand to her soft lips and gives it a peck. Her eyes pool with love and... concern. I know where this is going.

"No." I respond. " I can't."

"Our people, they will welcome you. They are already enamored with the idea of the Lake of Longing. I welcomed you back into my arms the moment you returned. Must you be so stubborn?" Her brown eyes contrast themselves, being filled with both annoyance and soft tenderness.

"I could never show them what has become of me. Only through your kindness and grace would you accept me." She smiles at me tenderly, as she reaches for the mask that covers my face. I freeze on instinct and clasp her hand to stop her. She shakes my hand away and unmasks me. I look down ashamedly and catch a glimpse of my face in the lake's reflection. Hideous. So many scars mark my face that I look more monster, more inhuman than man. I turn away from my reflection, turn away from her. My heart aches that she even has to look at me.

She takes both her hands and clasps my face with them to turn me towards her. "You are the same man. Just as handsome to me as the day we met." I feel tears pool to the corner of my eyes, but deny them. She pulls me in for a tender kiss. When we pull away, she gives me another smile. "Perhaps more. The scars prove what you went through, what you fought for. I wish you'd stop hiding them from me and from your kingdom." I give her a mischevous smile and pull her close.

"And what if I'm just pretending so that I may call you my lady and fufill your one and every desire? What of that then?."

"Every desire?" Her eyes light with fire as she looks at me. Ah. That look almost makes me never want to put that mask back on. Almost. She pulls me even closer and crashes her lips into mine. Perhaps I shall have to rename this lake the Lake of Desire if I ever decide to reclaim my throne.


thepollenthatfell t1_j00ppt2 wrote

The air is cold this morning—so cold that when the princess releases a small sigh, I can see her breath freeze in the air. The lake shimmers with a thin layer of frost, and the grass beneath our is skirts green with the first breath of spring. Winter has always been her favorite season. No one visits the lake in winter.

No one but us.

I watch her round eyes skate over the surface of the water, watch her hem flutter and stray wisps of hair float in the wind. She turns and catches me looking. I don’t look away.

This is the story: Prince Lucion was called to battle the night before his wedding to Princess Aryllen. He donned his armor and his sword and left at dawn; they say Princess Aryllen came out in her wedding dress, tears shining on her cheeks, to kiss him goodbye.

This is the story: She spent the next day at the lake that introduced them, the day he’d been fishing and she’d been picking the little yellow flowers that only grow on the lakeshore—the one they met in again, and again, and again, each time less of an accident. She spent the day after that at the lake, as well. Then the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that. Spring turned to Summer, Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter, and Princess Aryllen never once wavered in her routine. Every sunrise, she was there, her dutiful attendant by her side.

The once-secret lake became famous, renowned by the entire kingdom. Great painters travelled from far and wide to capture her essence at the place she fell in love, tourists flocked in droves to see her—wistful, they say she is, and always just a little sad. The spot was given a name: the Lake of Longing, where lovers now come to greet the Princess and offer up a coin to the lake, in the hopes that they will never be separated. That she is bearing the burden of loneliness for all of them.

Of course, she is never entirely alone.

I am there by her side, every sunrise, every sunset. I rouse her to wake, dress her in fine chiffons and silks, brush her hair and bedeck her in jewels. I walk beside her on the path, sit when she does and remain there until she rises. I am by her side through hordes of poets, packs of bards, all of the so-called artists who will spend their entire lives trying to know her. Little do they know, that is a privilege only one of us has received.

This is the story: on the night before her wedding, a princess was crying on her bedroom floor. Her attendant finds her, and begs her to tell her what is wrong. Through the tears, the princess confesses that she does not want to marry her betrothed. That she never has. That he asked her, and because he was a prince, and she was a princess, she said yes. That she wished she could have said anything but.

She cried and didn’t stop crying. Not until that attendant pulled her in by her shoulders and kissed her petal-pink lips.

That night, as if by divine intervention, the prince was called away to war. It was a far-off kingdom, a dangerous rivalry that had been brewing for far too long. It was a sword to the heart and a body dumped in an unmarked grave. It was every answer buried—and every promise along with it.

Now, Princess Aryllen smiles, just slightly, and it warms me more than any fire. Her hand slides over mine—the feeling of her skin, smooth and soft from a pampered life, sends a shiver up my spine. It has been like this since the first time I set foot in her chambers. It was only on the brink of our total destruction that we could finally pull it into the light, coax our desires to reveal themselves.

Some call the princess a widow. Others, a tragic virgin. Everyone agrees on one thing: that she will spend the rest of her life alone. But they’ll never know of the rumpled sheets on both sides of her bed in the morning, or what goes on once I lock her doors for the night. They’ll never know of the little yellow flowers she left on my nightstand after she went out to the lake, that first life-shattering time.

She squeezes my hand and looks back out over the water. I return it, and feel no cold at all.

I call her Aryllen. And I know that everyone is wrong.


Ihavebadreddit t1_j00nyrg wrote

"Princess the coach is ready." Marda said, as young Wanda entered the room and nodded, taking her place along the wall with the other house staff.

Marda remembered her first years serving as a member of the castle staff. Having to run those stairs to nod to that old hag Reena. Wanda no more than 15, wasn't even winded and not for the first time Marda was glad to have her position at this age. Her mouth twitched at the idea of running those stairs herself now.

"What is it Marda?" The Princess had caught her twitching and a sly smile said she had some idea as to what the reaction had been from.

"I started as a runner for the stable master when I was a young girl." Marda said as she signaled the attendants to start opening the doors and raised her arm to let Princess Galla go ahead of her.

"Oh yes, I remember and the memory of those stairs was clear in your grimace at little Wanda." Princess Galla said as she made her way out of the doorway and into the long hallway of the royal bedroom wing. Marda couldn't see it but she well knew the smirk painted across her royal lady's face was entirely too smug over the thought of Marda running those stairs now.

"To the lake today my Lady?" Marda said, changing the subject. It had been a day or two longer than usual and Marda was a little worried by that in truth. "Would she still go if I wasn't around to insist on it?" Marda wondered to herself.

"Yes, to the lake." Galla replied, her melodic tone not giving away her sadness at the thought of visiting the place, even so long after. Though Marda often saw it in her eyes, such a pain was not so easily hidden from someone she'd known nearly her entire life.

The carriage ride of course was as bumpy as always. Marda remembered a time when the paving stones of the lake road hadn't been felt in her bones and back. But even that seemed many years ago now. The snorting and shifting of the horses and the guards alongside the carriage distracted her enough to put the pains out of mind. Watching a younger looking fellow with a spectacular jaw line under his helmet, bounce along beside her window. She very likely was three or four times his age but that motion..

"Marda you're no better than a wolf leering at sheep." Princess Galla shattered her thoughts. Marda looked up to her ruler and saw the joy of having caught her in such a moment.

"Princess I'm not dead yet. This mind is still willing even if the flesh has grown weak." Marda chuckled as she said it, a bright smile letting the Princess know she wasn't about to back down on this topic.

Galla sighed "I suppose one could say I have the opposite issue Marda. Or neither really. If you weren't here I wouldn't make this trip, I'd be no better than that first day."

Marda lowered her eyes, her smile slipping away. She knew the truth of it really, that the Princess would likely always be that same broken girl. Never letting go of what was lost.

"One day at a time my Lady. There is no need to rush such things." Marda reached across the carriage and squeezed the Princess's hand. "No need to rush it at all, someday, some bright and beautiful day. But there's no rush."

Marda remembered the day it happened. When the Princesses betrothed went and got himself killed, fighting an evil deity of all things. Him, the King and nearly every man able to hold a stick on this side of the continent. She remembered how it had broken Galla. Remembered how she had grown sick and pale, how she had become bed ridden and refused to eat. When she had asked to be taken to the meadow one last time, Marda had been sure it was the last few days she would be in the service of the princess.

"Lake ahead." Shouted the captain of the guard from ahead. Breaking Marda out of her reminiscing mood. She'd done this once a week, for how many years? Why was today such a trip down memory lane?

The carriage stopped and the box was placed at the door as the two climbed out of the carriage. The guards knew to make a wide circle around the edges of the meadow, their backs turned away. The attendants went about sweeping any leaves or debris that had blown in off the lake or from the forest, out of the small seating area. And began assisting Princess Galla in removing her clothing.

Marda gazed out at the lake, clear calm waters disappearing across the horizon. The Lake of Tears.

Galla had shed her clothing and her naked skin seemed to merge with the mirror film of the lakes surface.

The magic that so long ago poured from her own eyes, over the battlefield of her dead lover and father and half her kingdom, sparked and spiraled across her skin. Marda remembered the day so long ago, when a girl only a few years older than her had wept so true in mourning that the magics of a dead god responded. That same magic inspired by her then, now kept her young when all others faded. Marda had been the stable runner then, 14 years old, joining what all thought would be the last outing for a dying royal. Now, now she was soon to be 70 and Princess Galla hadn't aged a single day.

Marda sat down on the wooden bench by the water, watching the Princess soak in the magic of a dead god and relaxing knowing she had at least an hour to herself while Galla soaked in dead god soup, she turned her head to see if she could find the back end of that spectacular jaw line from earlier.


Krail t1_j00psup wrote

As every day, Princess Elmyra spent her afternoon waiting by the lake, attended by an old woman. They repeat this same refrain every day.

"One day..." The princess says wistfully.

" One day, my lady," her attendant replies.

"Prince Tomason will return."

"So he will."

"And when he does," the princess placed a hand over her heart.

"When he does," the old woman said.

The princess raised a determined fist in front of her face, "I'm going to punch him so hard his grandmother will feel it."

"Very good, my lady," the old woman said, dutifully polishing the princess's heavy iron gauntlet.


MarcoYTVA t1_j01j067 wrote

The irony is not lost on me.

"Your majesty, please understand he most likely perished in battle." I say to her. "No man I know is so resilient as to survive the circumstances he was last seen in."

"No man YOU know." She replies sternly. "Don't forget you have only been hired after he dissapeared. You do not know what he was... Is capable of."

I turn around, my senses sharp from a lifetime of training, to yell "Can't you see the princess is grieving!? Leave her in peace!"

A man who was watching us fell out of a tree and ran off. "All of you..." Two others up and leave as well.

"This charade is exhausting" I say, turning back to her.

"You know why we have to do this." She insists.

"I do." I don't want my abusive parents, barely royalty themselves, to receive any of the royal treasure, so if I want to marry the love of my life, I would have to do it as someone else.

Playing dead was my only option.

"I do, darling."

The irony is not lost on me.


justafriendofdorothy t1_j02zhc2 wrote

This woman scares me. She killed him! He came back form the war, the was waged in her name and honour and laid his heart out to her. He asked her to marry him, and loved her dearly - I could see it in his eyes. He looked at her like Marla from the kitchens looks at that horrendous stable boy of hers. And she drowned him. I understand her not wanting her father, the King, knowing about her… proclivities, and to turn down a noble knight of her father’s court would be foolish. Moreso, an insult, after he fought for her in this war. Still to kill him is... She’d not be the first woman to enter her marital bed impure. It’d only need some cock’s blood and discretion to fake the evidence. And now, visiting his watery grave everyday?! This macabre practice of her’s shakes me to my core. He’d die for her, fighting a war started by her- who on Mindu tries to sleep with a foreign man, a neighbouring king, and then whines when he rejects her? He was fool to call the princess a whore, in the middle of her father’s hall, no less, but still. Sometimes I think the only reason she drags me along is to remind me. Scare me to silence. Gain some perverse joy form my terror too, perhaps. But most importantly, to let me know that this could become my grave too, one day. I can no longer tell in my hands tremble from the winter’s cold, or mine own fear.

“ Let’s go back to to your chambers, my princess. It wouldn’t be wise to risk catching a cold in this weather.”

With a speculative last glance at the lake, the princess turns to leave, towards the castle. I glance once more at the watery depths. Woe, thy name is love. Death, thy angel, pretty. Arthur, thy grave a lake.


A little spin/fanfic on Arthurian legend, but i guess all Arthurian legend we know today is fanfic/ vids of the oh Arthurian legend, so idk. At first I wanted to go with either Gwenyvere or Morgana, but in Le mort d’Arthur Morgana is his aunt, and while Gwen is indeed an acolyte for the destruction of Camelot (in Le mort that is) because of her affair with Lancelot, I decided against giving the princess a name. If if it was a prince I’d go with Mordred, but it kind of destroys the premise of “visible purity on the matrimonial bed”. I think I like imagining her name’s Niniane/Nimue and thus putting in perspective that her giving Arthur the sword/ bestowing him with the promise to fulfil a quest she sets, and kind of a mirroring of how she was killed at his court bu Ser Balin, but idk. Any criticism, ideas or advice are welcome, please!


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Otfd t1_j03a49j wrote

I know the truth, we all know the truth. Ever since the day the princess went berserk and slaughtered her prince and dozens more. She waits here wondering where her prince has gone. Mysteriously, the king was murdered months before this incident. Which many believed to have fueled the princess behavior.

I can still remember the fire in her eyes as she ordered her guards to hold innocent peasants down while she cut them open to watch them leak. Something is wrong with the princess, she isn't who she used to be. We come here everyday, while the princess stares at the lake of longing. Seemingly clueless to the events that lead up to this despair.

We are headed back to the castle now.

Move along now- is your mind wondering says the princess.

Her words pass me by without a second thought as I am consumed with confusion. She was the sweetest most honorable princess in all the land, now the entire kingdom lives in fear of her.

As we enter the kingdom the princess wants to visit the local shopkeeper. The princess likes to bring a gift everyday to the lake of longing and proclaims she needs something special for tomorrow.

How may I help you? in a timid tone - the shopkeeper.

The princess says I want something beautiful and something shiny and something dead.

The shopkeepers face fills with confusion as he says we have nothing dead in this shop princess.

The princess says okay just give me something shiny, and beautiful.

She shopkeeper lays his most beautiful pendant on the table and the shiniest dagger in all the land.

I help the princess by holding the pendant as we leave the shop.

My curiosity encourages me to inquire about why the princess wants something dead.

As I begin to ask "Why did you need something de-

I stop.

I look down and realize the princess has plunged the dagger deep into my back.

As I fall to the ground and time slows. I recall the princess buying another pendant and dagger days before the king was murdered.


Book909 t1_j03ndfp wrote

They say, that as you walk past the Lake of Longing, you might chance upon something most peculiar. People tell tales of witches and monsters, murmurs, creaks and groans heard near the lake, and of the princess that braves it all to one day meet her prince. What a joke.

As I walk back to my mistress' hut, content with having driven out the last of the onlookers hoping to meet her, she runs outside, haggard and weary, with dark bags under her eyes, crying out "I've got it! I've found him! Come quick, Mary, so you may see!"

She grabs my arm and drags me inside, past books scattered across the floor showing strange formulas and runes, and jars full of strange items tipped over and hanging open, to a cauldron, where, inside, you can see the image of a handsome young man, riding plainly across a field, towards the setting sun.

"Finally! I can see him... Now, where were those books on curses..."

She trails off as I stare into the pot. Hoping for her beloved prince to return? What a farce! All I see is one woman who holds so much hatred for her betrothed that she had to run off and learn witchcraft to finally be rid of him, and one man, so arrogant and stubborn to chase after his princess, that not even a war could keep him down for long.

As I ponder this, my mistress returns to the cauldron. "Eye of newt. Toe of frog. Three little worms. And... aha!" and there, in the image of the cauldron, the prince keels over, clutching his heart, never to reach his destination after years of searching.

Finally done with her goal, after so much work and effort, she cheers out happily and sighs, "Now that that's finally over with, lets see how mother is doing with her own king-sized problem!"