#4 Halys of the River’s Echo

| November 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

There once lived two girls, one who could Change the nature of things and one who–

–wrong time period. Flash-forward to not present day nor any day that matters to us. When does not matter much in stories except for happily ever after and once upon a time. So let’s go there. Not to happily ever after. That hasn’t come yet. And might not come at all. Happilys are so hard to obtain.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Halys. Whether she was beautiful and kind with other narratively-pleasing characteristics did not matter, because she had been born the middle daughter and the middle child, immediately dooming her to a long and boring life with no guarantees that it would even be a comfortable life. Her elder brother would get the financially comfortable life, inheriting the family printing business (which was lucrative and dangerous, due to the inherent power of words; not just anyone could do it, and not anyone who particularly liked having the same colour of hair for more than a week and clothes which would not spontaneously blossom) when their father passed. Her elder sister would have a comfortable if somewhat boring life, as it was already proposed that she marry the son of the local Aedile (which is something like a mayor, judge, and town crier all rolled into one). The younger twins were set for life, being the youngest son and daughter. It had only yet to be seen if it would be a long and exciting life, due to the high narrative casualty rate of fraternal twins.

Doomed by birth to inherit nothing and not even stand a ghost of a chance of striking out and seeking fortune and adventure (well, successfully seeking those), all hope seemed lost. The Royal Magic Conservatory might have taken her and her home-made Charms. However, the local Mviri (which is like a lawyer and a banker holding the hangman’s noose) wanted her for a bride and her parents accepted on her behalf. Oh, for the days when her opinion mattered.

The wedding bells have started to ring, preparations are being made, and Halys wants to run away more than ever, damn her stupidly low chances of survival and success. Or even just one of the two.

At the same time, the Kingdom resounds with the Gracious Lady‘s words:

“Try again.”

This time, the Lady (or Conduit, rather, but there’s not much difference in the end) haunts the streets of Halys’s town, which does not have a name so much as a description: the River’s Echo. She wanders the streets day and night, waiting for the one who will be her Consort this time around. A foolish, troublesome story that their kingdom has become trapped in with no hope of escape because the tale has no end.

Well, who knows. Maybe a runaway bride, no matter her order of birth, can bring about a happily ever after.

Or at least an end.

(Wouldn’t that be nice, my love?)

Category: 2011, Drama, Fantasy

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