The Tower

She sits in the tower looking out over the forest. The leaded glass windows are open trying to catch a bit of breeze since it’s a humid summer morning. You can tell she’s a princess since you don’t lock up an ordinary girl in a tower and she’s very beautiful but she’s wearing a sturdy pair of canvas pants and the tawny hair on her head looks like it has been chopped at with wool shears. She is soaking her feet in a tub of warm water looking at them ruefully. Despite the lemon scented salts they had become rough from all the tramping about in the forest without shoes on. It was really too much. She had asked for a sturdy pair of shoes from the wizard uncounted times and all that was sent was delicate silk slippers.

The dragon was sleeping in the courtyard below. You had to have a dragon to guard a princess in a tower yet the old girl was half blind and barely roused herself to snack on a goat occasionally. In the beginning the princess had crouched in terror at the top of her tower fearing fire blasts if she ventured outside but then she realized that if she didn’t go out and fetch wood and water there would be no fire in the fireplace and water in the bath. From there she had started exploring far beyond the meadow all the way to the salt marsh and the little islands one could swim out to and take a little holiday on the sand.

She has been fishing. Bon bons and larks tongues were all well and fine but the belly did rumble if all you ever ate were delicacies so she caught fish and dried them on a rack so there would be something in the pantry. She also collects nuts in the forest and has pried the door of the armory open. Among all the rusty bits of armor she has found a serviceable bow and hopes to add some venison to her menu soon.

She likes being alone. It’s much better than living in a palace. It’s been a lovely day and she’s done exactly what she wanted and there were no slack jawed yokels hanging around hoping to marry into the royal treasury.

“It’s not like I don’t want a man to snuggle with you know.” she said to the air.

“Well you’re a princess and some hero prince has to come rescue you.” the air responded

“I don’t have any say in this whole thing? Just how long am I supposed to pine away here before Prince Charming shows up?”

“Soon.”

“You sound like we’re on a trip to the seaside and I’m an impatient child.”

“Look it’s part of the story.”

“I like it here. Maybe I’ll go find an outlaw and write myself into a different story.”

“You’re a princess you should act like one and not run around getting sun tans and muscles.”

“Anyone that find his way to this god forsaken desolate forest is going to appreciate a woman with muscles. You don’t see any peasant girls flouncing around in sun bonnets.”

“It’s a magic wood.”

“Oh come on just how clichéd can this get?”

“A great wizard has captured you and put you in the middle of a magic forest for the hero to quest around in before he finds you.”

“Oh bother some beefy lunk-head with a big sword is out having fun and games with all sorts of dungeons and quests and I’m the big prize at the end aren’t I.”

“Well you’re an attractive woman what man wouldn’t want to quest and adventure for you?”

“What if I want someone reliable. A sensitive guy I can talk to? Make one of the quests writing a love poem to the princess or something.”

“You really are starting to get difficult.”

“I didn’t ask to be the big reward for winning the bonus round. Heck you don’t even know my name do you? I bet none of the big muscle bound idiots are even making it through the dark wood of seven enchantments.”

“It’s Fleur the treasure of Merryholme.”

“Are you serious? Do I have to go change my name to Fleur now or is it even that important?”

“Look the hero is going to find you and you’re going to fall in love. That’s the way these things work.”

“Out here in the middle of one of the most diabolical magical forests ever conceived of?”

“I admit some of the puzzle traps and dungeons are quite brilliant.”

“Can’t I be the wicked Queen or something? They have a lot of fun.”

“Not you’re going to meet the hero in the woods after his last challenge and nurse him back to health.”

“How about wicked witch. I could have flying monkeys.”

“You don’t have green skin or warts you’re a beautiful princess.”

“I could have one of those really tight black dresses with lots of cleavage. I could bend over and gaze into my crystal ball like this.”

“Stop that you’re chaste and virginal.”

“I haven’t been virginal for quite a long time now. There was that handsome equerry…”

“Will you stop that you’re about as subtle as a freight train.”

“There’s a dragon down in the courtyard you’re not supposed to know what a freight train is.”

“Will you just stop it!”

“You’re one of those misogynists aren’t you. I bet you’re imagining me in a chain mail bikini with a little wispy bit of leather covering my naughty bits. There’s probably a secret room around here with my magical armor in it.”

“No it’s in the………….Hey!”

“I don’t want to be in this stupid game anymore.”

“You don’t have a choice.”

“There are bears in the woods that will eat you if you try to run away.”

“Oh that’s really cheap. I bet you get hit by a lightning bolt or something if you try to go into unfinished areas too.”

“There are even more dangerous monster in the deep woods.”

“Oh bollocks if you don’t have a head of wood you can just avoid all the rabid squirrels. What person in their right mind goes poking around in a dungeon. It’s a dark hole in the ground full of dangerous monsters. Just walk around it.”

“You won’t get far.”

“You just watch.”

She gathers up the bow and ties a bundle to the sturdy spear she’s found. The heart of oak shaft will make a good walking staff and the blade is razor sharp. On the way out she opens the door of the goat pen so the dragon will have something to eat and then walks down the path to the edge of the woods. Soon she is out of sight of the tower on her way to her own adventures.

“Now I have to find a new princess.” The voice in the air grumbles but nobody is listening anymore.

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2 Responses to The Tower

  1. Penny says:

    Joe, I loved it. More please

  2. ~Q~ says:

    Very enjoyable. Thanks Joe.

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