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Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who the whole kingdom loved and cherished. She was the epitome of grace and beauty.... and her name was Etoile, meaning Star.
But Etoile had a secret that she and her parents, the King and Queen, were enchanted never to reveal. Their daughter, Etoile was really their son.
With the King and Queen's blessings, nay their command, the evil witch Draconna had raised their son in a foreign land. He grew strong and valiant under her tutelage; and would one day become a just and beloved king in his turn. But instead of releasing her ward on the appointed day of his sixteenth birthday, Draconna cursed their lovely boy. The reasons were long and obscure, but had everything to do with a long-broken promise that the King now regretted with all of his being.
Part of the curse' magic was that no one would ever know that Etoile was anything other than what she appeared to be. The very fabric of reality had been warped so that only she and her parents would remember the truth. The magic was so strong that (though Etoile knew that she was really a young prince) she did not remember "his" name. All she knew was that "she" was Etoile... doomed to remain trapped in an unnatural beauty that she had never wanted. She would be adored and admired for her feminine grace and charms. Princes and commoners alike would pine for her love and be doomed themselves to woo her in a marriage that Etoile trembled to even consider.
"Yes my beloved?" her mother, the Queen, said with a smile that she couldn't help in her daughter's enchanted presence.
"I know that many are compelled to feel love and adoration for me... but I can no longer bear it! Though I can not speak it... You know who I am under... this."
"Yes my lovely Etoile."
The Queen wanted to express her concern and dread... but was only able to bestow a look of tenderness with a smile.
"Because of who I am.... and of my age... my suitors are becoming more numerous and bold. I fear for my very sanity Mother. Is there nothing that can be done?"
Etoile's mother looked with kindly compassion. There was nothing that could be done. The old witch had died for her crime.... but the spell had not become undone. With the witch's death... it appeared that Etoile's poor life was determined forevermore.
"We have discussed this before my precious beauty. There is nothing to be done."
"Then I no longer wish to live and will cast myself from the high tower!"
With that, Etoile gathered her flowing dress and volumes of diaphanous petticoats into her arms... and rushed from her mother's presence. A word from the Queen engaged a dozen guards, however, who rushed to catch up with the beautiful teary princess.
The guards who beheld her would have cast their lives down for her. The mere thought of her leaping from the tower had brought tears to their eyes too. The ones who had laid hands upon her to prevent such a tragedy had been doubly smitten and would forever love no other as their doom.
So Etoile had been brought captive to a windowless room. There were other ways for her to cast aside her tortured life however... and the King and Queen became distraught even as they commanded her to be bound.
They again called for the fair sorceress, Prinella. Though they knew that Prinella could not reverse a spell that she could only dimly perceive, she was able to offer a solution to their beautiful child's utter despair.
The royal parent's quailed at Prinella's words, but could think of no alternative.
The sad King said to his Queen, "This terrible decision is not ours to make. Etoile shall choose her own fate in this."
The Queen nodded before they both visited their lovely bound child.
"If you love me, you would let my die!" she sobbed, "I can not live like this! I shan't live like a flower when I am truly a lion inside."
"A lioness," her mother seemed compelled to correct with a smile.
"Etoile fought her bonds in anguish, tossing her head about in such a way as to render her halo of cascading locks even more lovely.
The King spoke.
"My dearest Etoile. We cannot fix what has been so wrongly thrust upon you, but there is an option for you to consider."
"Oh Father. Do not hesitate in the telling!"
"You seek the bliss of death, but we, your loving parents can no more allow that than we can allow our own hearts to cease beating."
"Go on," she urged.
"The fair sorceress Prinella can cast you into an enchanted slumber from which you will not awaken. We can not watch to you perish, but you will surely do so after your mother and I have passed ourselves. You will remain in your loveliness as you are today... but like a cut flower that will not fade."
"Shall I have thoughts or dreams?"
"You will experience nothing my love. Your passing will be delayed for the rest of us... but for you, time will cease. There will be no telling death from life in your slumber."
The Queen was already silently crying from the exchange... from the bright twinkle in Etoile's captivatingly dazzling eyes.
The beautiful Etoile had clearly made up her mind, but asked one last question.
"Will there be any chance of being roused from this blessed slumber of Prinella's?"
"There is only one way, though it shall never come to pass."
A cloud passed across Etoile's perfect brow. The power of the curse made her delicate frown touch her parents, who's sadness grew with the desire to again bring forth Etoile's light-bringing smile.
"Speak of it Father, and ease my heart."
"If the love of a true prince brushes his lips with yours in a kiss... you will awaken as if rising from a midday nap. You will swoon to his kiss and (regardless of who you know yourself to be) you will love him with the swelling or your souls."
Etoile's father, the King, shifted his words to erase the pain of her lingering frown.
"But none of that shall come to pass my precious daughter. You shall have no fear of it. You will be laid to repose in this very windowless chamber. Yon door shall be replaced by the strongest stone... except for the tiniest gap for your mother and me to see you by and to cherish. Prinella will weave a spell so that no man, woman, or child but your mother and I shall pass even the lowest tier of this turret and live. No my love and my life. As much as it pains the depths of my very being... you will be cast into a dreamless slumber and pass upon the last of our own breaths."
The furrow on Etoile's brightened. The light in her eyes and smile made the King and Queen's hearts soar in spite of the doom they would soon bestow upon Etoile.
It was over too soon. The King and Queen pined for their beautiful daughter, the heavenly Princess Etoile, even as the last sparkles from Prinella's wand fluttered themselves out.
Looking through the tiny gap in the new stone, they could see the vision of Etoile's loveliness... the blush of her lips... the soft perfection of her features... the fullness of her charms. Her halo of curls was wreathed in delicate flowers that would not fade. Her dress was of the finest of silks and satins. The jewels at her slender throat and ears were made lovelier by Etoile's own beauty... instead of the reverse. The bouquet clasped in her dainty hands would remain unstained by time.
The sad King and Queen stood by that little stone gap for hours. The fair sorceress Prinella had long been thanked and properly gifted. Eventually, they descended stairs that only they could tread without perishing.
Days passed. Years. Rumors of an enchanted slumbering princess of incomparable beauty spread far and wide... but none had ever seen her. No prince could persuade the King of even hearing their pleas. Except for the daily worship from the King and Queen themselves... no man, woman, or child was able to pass even the first tier of that turret without perishing.
The formerly handsome young Prince Xavier did not know where he was. He did not know whose castle or lands he had stumbled upon. He did not know himself at all. After escaping from the dark leather pouch that he had been imprisoned inside... he twitched and twittered in the bright light. The whiskers of his mouse' face bristled as he cast about himself for anything familiar. Failing that, he scampered across the sturdy wide drawbridge that was crowded with carts. He saw a stately King and Queen turn a key and enter the first tier of a strongly fortified turret.
The mouse, Xavier, gave no heed to the bones scattered about the entrance. He recognized royalty and needed to reach them. A King would have sorcerers or magicians in his court. Mouse or not, there had to be a way to communicate and impress upon the King Xavier's need.
There were many steps, but Xavier scurried upwards to follow the royal trail. He scampered into an empty room and found a dark shadow to catch his breath in.
He did not know what was happening. The King and Queen looks both pained and overjoyed as they gazed into a tiny space in the stone wall. They took turns silently staring at something that seemed to cause tears... tears that they kept coming back to endure.
There was no way that Xavier could intrude upon their reverie. He waited two long hours before the King and Queen passed him without notice.
A part of him wanted to follow... but the greater part felt compelled with curiosity. Xavier felt stained for even thinking of spying on something that was so clearly private, but scurried towards the rough wall nonetheless. The joints of mortar were both wide and deep. It was not easy, but he was able to climb.
When the little mouse reached the tiny hole, he was paralyzed with wonder. Within the tiny chamber laid a vision of beauty and grace that reached into the very depths of his tiny heart. He spied a beauty that did not seem possible and felt a love that knew no bounds.
He entered the walled chamber, which was lit as if from the maiden's beauty in that windowless space. His little paws felt uncouth and repugnant for even daring to touch her; but he could not stop from scampering upon that perfect soft chest to better regard her face... where he was smitten to his deepest core.
The blush of her perfect lips seemed to call to him, and he cursed his mouse' features. He longed to touch human lips to hers... to feel the promise of their soft perfection that made his whiskers tremble.
"This is an insanity to even think it..." he mused without words as he placed two little front paws on her chin.
It was insanity. There was no point but to further torture his soul to touch his little mouse's mouth to her... but he did. Mouse whiskers tickled her skin even as his toothy snout presses against the soft pillow of her lower lip.
Xavier pulled away; feeling a tingle that made the fur on his skin bristle. He jumped off her soft chest as it suddenly rose beneath him and the fair princess drew a soft breath. But unwilling to scurry to the floor, he endured a growing pain gripping his body as he perched on the edge of the bier to regard her utter perfection. Those faultless lips parted in a soft cooing sigh and tiny yawn, which utterly captivated him... allowing him to ignore the pain that might otherwise have ended him.
Her feathery lashes started to gently flutter open, revealing a dazzle of blue that threatened to engulf his very soul as he gazed down upon her.
He was unaware that he even was able to gaze down upon her... instead of having to look up from the top of the stone that she was lying upon. Xavier was as yet unaware of his human form that their kiss had restored. Prince and Princess were oblivious to the sparkle of magic swirling about them as the tiny hole swelled back into the door it had once been. As they gazed deeply into each others eyes, the world fell away from any thought or regard. Even the bright pealing of bells was unheard by them, which suddenly terrified the King and Queen who knew what they portended.
Etoile awoke to a horror that could not be expressed though her smiling countenance. Knowing in an instant what had occurred, she was unable to draw her gaze from the eyes of the adoring prince above her.
Without a word, she felt his strong powerful arms collect her billowing gown under her knees and slide under her delicate back. Realizing that she should have been the one with powerful arms... that she should be lifting a princess... Etoile could only scream inside as Prince Xavier lifted her like a feathery prize. She could only smile as their silent gazes remained unbroken and she felt an unwanted flutter of intense longing betwixt her silky thighs.
She imagined taking unimagined joys from twisting fibers upon a distaff rod. She envisioned spending long happy hours spinning at a wheel that she suddenly knew how to use. She pictured herself abandoning all thoughts of glory and valor and being utterly content to be at her loom or embroidery. Etoile hated and feared the overwhelming desire to yield to the handsome prince smiling into her soul... to feel his masculine strength and power... to receive him so completely within her impossibly willing flesh.
Her mind reeled from the vision of bearing him sons and heirs... of feeding them at her breasts... of raising them with courtly manners and religious beliefs before they would be taken to learn manly arts that Etoile felt fading from her mind.
There was a clatter on the steps below. There rose a throng who did not perish as they followed their King and Queen beyond the turret's first tier. Xavier heard them long before they arrived and misread the one and only sign that Etoile could ever reveal.
"My love. Why do you cry?"
Smiling even as the single tear rolled down Etoile's perfect cheek, she answered, "I do not cry tears of pain my beloved. If my eye leaks, it only does so from an overflowing joy that cannot be contained."
The King and Queen arrived with a throng of unwitting witnesses as Prince Xavier smiled upon the vision of beauty in his arms.
"Then we shall be wed before the light of this glorious day fades my beloved."
Looking up into her true love's eyes, she replied...
"Yes we shall, my love and my life."
Whatever the King and Queen felt, they could only smile as Prince Xavier turned to face them with their doomed lovely child in his arms. They could only express a joy from hearing him ask for her hand... and from being able to bestow it with unreserved elation.
The wedding was more spectacular than its hastiness could explain. With a sparkle of magic in the air, Xavier and Etoile were wed to the joy of all. But if Etoile was torn by both the horror and utter longing of the marriage bed that she was carried to... she could only tremble with anticipation to her husband's touch.
She expressed only unbridled joy that he and the rest of the world could only interpret as a blissful...
"Happily Ever After".
Happily Ever After © 2008 by StacyInLove
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