IronwoodKopis t1_j9vkoii wrote

Princess Carina stacked her book onto her leaning pile that now stood a head taller than her seated self. She reached over to another book and looked over the index with studious intent. Her eyes narrowed in on a chapter and flipped through the pages to the correct section. She tore through the illustrations and notes, yet she her teeth began to grind all the more as her eyes welled with hot, salty tears.

The royal launched the book out the window that fell next to a sleeping cat that ran full force into the fence. She crossed her arms under her chest and growled lowly before the tower of tomes came crashing down on her.

The door to her room opened slowly as the grandfather of the knight who rescued her lushed his way into the room. “Princess, are you alright?”

“Leave me be!” she roared with as much fury as the dragon that formerly held her hostage.

The old man picked two of the books revealing that they were in fact volumes.

Types of Rescuers Vol. 5 Types of Rescuers Vol. 13

He took a seat near him and thumbed through the books. It detailed the many scenarios of people that could one day be the lady’s rescuer.

“I’mma guessing yer not to fond of ma grandson savin’ ya, huh?”

The princess rose to her seat. A drape of hair overtook her left eye. “I’m just disappointed is all.” she huffed.

“Been there plenty o’ times.” the old man said with a knowing chuckle. “What thorn pokes ya the most though?” He stroked his cloud of a beard as he spoke.

The lady tossed her hand over the room of books. “I thought I had it all figured out. I even thought of what would happen if another dragon freed me. However, I never thought of how to react to someone who already . . . I just don’t know why he would go through the trouble if he . . . “

“Try to think on my question.” he said while pumping his hand. “What thorn hurts the most?”

The princess thought on the question for a longer than usual moment. She curled her knees in and rested her chin on them. “I think it’s the fact that I kind of feel useless. Rescuing me was supposed to be a great feast for knight. Yet, I feel cheated. Like what happened didn’t count.”

“I see.” the old man sighed in revelation. “You walked to be the reason someone was elevated in status.”

“I sound like I’m whining, don’t I?”

“You actually sound like you’re confused.” he responded. “Come. I’ll show you something.”

The old man brought the royal outside the manor and took a spot on the porch. He let a grunt escape as he rocked back in his rocker.

“Why don’t ya take a look-see out here.” he pointed out to the fields where the hired hands were hard at work. “Ya see them? Them’s criminals turned farmers. Weren’t good fer nothing till Shamus gotta hold off ‘em.”

He pointed out to the grassy field where the knight’s lady was playing with her children. “That woman right there was the meanest, nastiest, most drunkest harlot in the kingdoms.”

“Ya see the pattern yet?”

Princess Carina digested the words for a bit. Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates in realization. “He didn’t save me because he wanted to increase his value. He saved me because I needed saving.”

The princess smiled as she turned to see the ear to ear grin on the elder’s face. He took off a piece of an apple with his pocket knife and handed it to the lady.

“Some people’s, like ma grandsonny, are just more noble than noble.”


IronwoodKopis t1_j27u4n4 wrote

I let a deep sigh escape from within my soul. Despite knowing this would come up one day, I still felt ill-prepared. So, I reached deep within my soul and mustered up as much courage as any husband could when his wife is tapping her foot underneath crossed arms.

“Okay, so what happened was-“ I already could see the life in her eyes dying from annoyance. “So, you know when we were dating, and I went to the mountains with the boys? The hunting trip when I brought back the eight point?” I gestured to the mounted head above our fireplace.

“Well, Danny showed up.” I froze when Alivani’s hand shot out to stop me. She strolled over to the liquor table. The mouth of the bottle did not but kiss the rim of the glass before she chucked the latter behind her and gulped heavily.

“Continue.” she said.

“It’s not as bad as it sounds.” I assured her with pumping hands. “I know Danny doesn’t always have the best ideas, but this one was solid.”

“You mean like the time he blew up half a mountain?” Alivani reminded. “Or the time he pressed you all into being military conscripts? Ooo! Ooo! Or, was it as good as when you kidnapped a crime boss’ wife?”

“That last one was Vortre’s idea, actually.” I corrected politely. “No, so Danny caught up to us, and, as it turns out, we were camped near some ruins with supposed treasure.”

“It sounds crazy, but I knew for a fact it would be safe because a group of adventurers had cleaned out the goblins the week prior.”

“Wouldn’t the adventurers have taken the treasure?”

“Well, the hope was that we could get the scraps.” I responded. “So, we get there, search a bit, and then we get attacked by a shade.”

Alivani’s eyes didn’t blink as she took a hearty swig. “A shade?” She took three more. “It took your soul?”

“No.” I said. “I took its soul.”


IronwoodKopis t1_j1ujjfy wrote

Vilani was hysterical about this. Her graceful cheeks were streaking with tears and her thin lips were shaking so badly you’d think if was February. My heart sank as I saw this distress ruin the mirth we once had. She just stood there in the middle of grocery isle struggling to breath. My arms curled around her, and I pulled her in close. She did not reciprocate the embrace.

I put her back at an arm’s length and held her face in my hands. “My love, you don’t have to worry about such things right now. I’m not even half way through my twenties yet, so I have a good, long while before I kick the bucket.”

“Maybe to you.” Vilani whined poorly. “Not to me. I’ll still have five hundred years without you. Five hundred years of mourning after you, after every child, grandchild, great grandchild . . . “ Her voice trailed off into the void of anxiety.

I searched my mind, but no answer came. However, my heart gave the answer. I grabbed her by the hand and tugged her along. I brought her over to the large corner of the store and presented the dominating object.

The oakwood structure towered a few heads over Vilani. The small pillars that separated the tiers we made of varnished skulls with tattoos carved into them. Palm leaves and cactuses created a border at the base of the tiers to create a pseudo fence. Behind this fence was an array of photos, intricate drawings, and other objects dating back to who knows when.

“What is that?” my elven lover asked said with raised eyebrows.

I chastised myself for not explaining this before, but I remembered we met in January when this wouldn’t be up. The falling leaves rustled and scrapped outside as the autumn wind howled. Feeling poetic, I used that to my favor.

“For you hear the gust as we approached?” I asked earnestly. She nodded slowly. “That wasn’t the wind, but the voices. The voices of our passed brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even friends.”

“We” I continued “remember them every Dia de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead. Legend states that every year, for one day, our relatives and friends who have gone to their rest cross over into the world of the living to spend time with us.”

“I don’t understand.” Vilani shook her head. “What does this have to do with me?”

“Ah, see?” I felt my face split into a pleased smile. “There’s just one thing that comes along with this. You can only cross over to be with someone if they have a representation of you on the ofrenda, AND they must have known you in life. If both conditions are not met, your soul goes to the final rest. So I’m told. After that, they can no longer cross over.”

I let the words sink in for a moment, and I felt my heart leap when I saw my lover smile again. Her eyes were as wide as dinner plates and her mouth hung agape.

“That means, I can remember them for longer!” Vilani bellowed.

“Five hundred years of seeing you even after I pass away.” I said as I grabbed both her hands. “Five hundred years of family history preserved by you just being you.”

Vilani kissed me hard and hugged my tightly. “Ugh! I feel much better about the you-dying-thing.”

“And dying doesn’t seem so bad if I get to spend so long with our family.”

“Our family?” she looked up at me with hopeful eyes.

I kissed her gently on her head and met her soulful orbs. “Our family.”