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Once Upon A Time emiT A nopU ecnO
Once upon a time, there was a princess. She lived in a castle that was grand and well-known. Her father and mother were kind and ruled in a golden age where the realm flourished. The people loved their king and queen and their only daughter. The dragons, ogres, and barbarians didn’t bother them, and the soil was fertile and the weather was always good. Everyone was happy. Everything was perfect.
And the princess hated it.
She felt trapped, a bird in a cage. She knew that, when her parents either grew too old to rule or else died, she would inherit the throne. She would marry a prince, and together they would rule the realm. Then she would have children, and when she either grew too old to rule or else died, they would rule. And the circle would continue until either the barbarians overthrew them, there was a mutiny, or by some happening her family would be unseated from the throne.
The princess wanted to see the world, learn the arts, and live under the stars. She wanted to have a life of freedom and independence. And she just wasn’t going to have it due to the circumstance.
Now, one day, the princess had to abruptly inherit the throne. Her father had died of a sudden cardiac arrest, and her mother had, while looking through the magician’s supplies for a way to bring him back, made herself vanish. Her body has yet to be recovered.
The princess wasn’t pleased. For one thing, she had just lost the only family she had ever had, and she had to step up to rule. She couldn’t back out. She really was not happy at all.
The day she was made queen, her court pestered her to choose a prince to marry. They showed her men from all over the world, they even presented the most eager before her. And what did she do?
Well, you can imagine, she turned them all down.
It turned out that, while still a princess, she had fallen in love with a Gypsy.
Now, the definition of a Gypsy is far different than what you would expect. See, a Gypsy, while human, has strange magical powers that they can just barely contain. The mark of a Gypsy is black line that traces their eyelids, comes out and touches their ear, then arcs across their cheek to end at their jaw. This is a mirror image, so it is on both sides of their face. Many people consider it a witch’s mark. The Gypsies ignore this of course. They are healers, both with their magic and with their knowledge of herbal remedies. They travel together in a Caravan which could be a group from three or four to as much as ten or fifteen. They sell their wares, pottery, art work, herbs, jewelry, all sorts, in the market. They also sing songs and tell stories of kingdoms long past and of myths and legends that make even the bravest man shudder.
The princess had happened upon her Gypsy as he was telling a story of a Temptress who had lured a ship into the seas. He had sun-tanned skin; wild, tousled dark hair; long, artist’s hands; brilliant green eyes like emeralds; sharp cheekbones and long, thick, black lashes; he had a sharp nose and thin lips that hid brilliant white teeth; and he had a voice like silk. It could paint a picture without any need of brush or paint, it could bring to life one of the fearsome water serpents that stalked his stories and tame it at the same time. It could make you laugh, cry, wage wars, search for hidden treasure, or tremble in fear. His name was Muse.
He had been sitting on a crate, one leg curled under him and one swinging over the edge. His pants were of doe-hide, soft and brown and ballooning around his legs; his shirt was made of rough, woven cotton that also hung off him and had ties to lace up the collar and sleeves; a strip of brightly colored silk was wrapped around his head to keep his wild hair out of his eyes. His skin was dirty from being on the road for months. From the circles under his eyes he hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep for a very long time. Yet when the princess set her eyes on him, she decided that he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. When their gaze met, they fell so deeply in love that it would seem they had found something stronger than the locks a merchant was selling down the way.
They met at his tent every night just to be with each other, sometimes talking or otherwise basking in the light of their love. He made her a locket that, on the front, had a dream-catcher’s web inscribed upon it. He told her that the dream-catcher’s web would keep away her nightmares that had tormented her since she was a child. In it he had placed her name written on a piece of parchment in one side of the locket, and on the other had placed another piece of parchment with his own name written upon it.
“I have made a matching one that I will wear everyday so that I will always think of you,” he told her as he placed the locket on its silver chain around her neck.
“And I shall do the same, and you will always be on my mind, my love,” she murmured, and kissed him.