FROM CURSIVE TO CURSES- PART X
Rafe watched the two brothers from the place on his horse. How was it he got dragged along? He was a messenger, not some tag along with an adventurer.
The princess rode beside him on a stallion of the purest white. She wore a cloak that hid her fine clothes from the eyes of any potential robbers. He supposed that she was to blame for his involvement. It was by her order that he was to accompany them.
“There could be a chance that the barmaid was wrong,” Jacob said, irritation clipping his tone. He rode in front of them, besides his brother. Neither could concede the lead of the group.
“I have faith in the girl,” Wilhelm said with a grin.
Rafe looked at the princess. She was rolling her eyes under the hood of her plain cloak. Since leaving Snow White’s Kingdom, the brothers broke into constant arguments.
In the distance, birds sang. Light filtered through the branches of the forest’s canopy. It would have been a beautiful day. And yet…
“How can you be so naïve? Hundreds of travels pass through that tavern. The directions could have been wrong,” Jacob argued. He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose.
“So, it stands that she would know where to send us. For all we know, it is taking longer because you demand we stop and make useless stops,” Wilhelm said.
Rafe and Aledia watched a vein twitch in Jacob’s face. His face was as red as a sunburn. He looked as though he had eaten a lemon. Rafe wondered if he should have placed a bet on this argument. Jacob was sure to lose his temper.
“Gentlemen, perhaps we should stop and ask for directions. That would solve the issue,” Aledia chimed in.
Rafe recognized the attempt. “I agree. Let’s find a spot for lunch.”
“Keep out of this, lad,” Wilhelm said and ushered his horse past Jacob’s.
Aledia sighed and looked at Rafe. They shared an exasperated glance as Jacob charged past Wilhelm. They would skip lunch again because of their stubbornness. Aledia flicked the reigns, and the horse galloped behind the brothers.
The setting sun greeted them as they came to the edge of the kingdom. After all that, they were on the right path. Rafe wondered if Aledia ever questioned her meddling in the brother’s affair. He felt exhausted from the ride. His bones felt weighted down by lead and ached as if he ran for miles. She couldn’t have known this was the fate they would suffer from getting involved.
“Well, what do you know, looks as though I was right, older brother,” Wilhelm said. The jab went ignored.
“Let’s get to the castle and introduce ourselves,” Jacob said with a growl to his voice.
The barmaid was not wrong. The kingdom was to the south. So far south that it sat nestled beside the ocean. The smell of the ocean carried on the wind. Aledia licked her lips and tasted the salt from the sea. She hoped that there would be an excuse to go beach beyond the castle.
The horses slowed as they approached the seaside castle. The torches glowed like the evening stars as they speckled the darkened sky. A guard held up his head and blocked the entrance.
“Please state your business,” he demanded.
Aledia lowered her hood and smiled at the guard. “I am Princess Aledia of the Northern Kingdom. My father is King Theo Elandian. We would like to meet with their majesties,” she said. The tone in her voice left little room for argument. The diadem that rested on her brow and glittered in the torchlight also added to the effect.
The guard stepped aside and barked orders to have the King and Queen made aware of their guests. Wilhelm watched with an arched brow. Was it as simple as that to gain entrance to the castle? A crown and name? He looked back at the girl and shrugged.
They walked together as the guards escorted them to the throne room. Rafe hoped the brothers could restrain from bickering. At least until after they met with the king and queen. A knife could cut the tension between them.
The throne room was enormous and intimidating. Rafe rolled his eyes. He had been in so many castles. It was not new. The king and queen sat upon golden thrones. They sat above everyone in the room on a dais.
The king’s hair matched his golden crown and reflected the red of his tunic. The queen wore a sable gown. Her black hair was the mirror opposite her husband. The king stood as they approached.
“Welcome, Princess Aledia. How may we assist you this evening?”
“We are in search of a man that disappeared. He disappeared in much the same way as your father in law,” she said.
The king and queen looked between each other. He waved his hand, and the guards ushered everyone from the room. Aledia, Wilhelm, Jacob, and Rafe remained standing. Curiosity bubbled between them. This was either a good sign or a bad sign. The king sat with a sigh.
“My father was a tyrant. He tried to have my husband killed before we had the chance to meet,” the queen. A sad expression crossed her face. He took her hand and smiled.
“I was born lucky. This was my gift and curse. You see, a witch told my parents I would marry the princess of the realm. The king happened upon my parents and discovered the prophecy,” he hesitated.
“He tried to kill you as a babe?” Wilhelm asked, interrupting.
“He did,” the queen said.
“He placed his basket in a river in hopes that he would drown. As luck would have it, a miller’s wife saved him. Years passed, and I entered a tournament for the princess’s hand in marriage. I won, but he recognized me.”
“I still cannot figure out how. You were a mere baby when he had seen you all those years ago. Still, he sent him on a quest. He demanded that he return with a treasure and hair from the devil. The devil’s hair was made out of pure gold,” The queen said
“I completed this quest. At the sight of the treasure, he left us, and we married,” the king said. He placed a kiss on the back of his wife’s hand.
Both Jacob and Wilhelm let out a collective sigh. There was no connection to his tale to their father. This journey had been a waste. Jacob wracked his brain for some sort of link.
“I am sorry for the struggles you have faced. No one passed through, looking for this treasure after the king vanished?” Aledia asked.
Jacob had to give her credit as she sought a connection. He watched as the king and queen exchanged looks.
The queen stood and walked towards the group. She moved towards the brothers and looked between them. The brothers tried not to squirm under her steel-like gaze.
“There was a man that looked vaguely familiar to you both. He wasn’t looking for treasure,” she said under her breath and turned to her husband.
He sighed. “Stay the night, and we will discuss this over breakfast. There is still more to this tale…” The king stood and walked to his wife.
They walked to the large door. A guard stood beyond. The king ordered chambers prepared for their guests. Aledia looked up at Jacob and winked.
***Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction.
It is an adaptation of the characters created and owned by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
This story is not associated with Disney’s adaptations, their added characters, or story elements. ***