THAT is a brainful of a title for a mere blog entry, I apologize. But I’ve gotten my bathroom cleaned, my grocery shopping done, my job-work prepped for next week, and so I’m self-exploring today, and of all the overly dramatic titles I came up with, it was the most forthright.
Are you interested in a dark fairy tale? I’ve been working on it since this morning. It originally started as a navel-gazing, whiny reflection on a past hurt, a this-is-why-I-build-walls-dammit blog entry that got wieldy and really, really dumb. Then I suddenly felt like writing a dark fairy tale semi-based on it, and now here I am. It’s long and very much in shitty first draft form so some parts may be confusing or ramble-y with odd word phrasing and/or word choice. Occasionally my inner spell checker starts drunk-typing and writes pore instead of pour and the like. And you’d need some time. Do you have time? Are fairy tales super cliche? But I mean seriously, there’s a fucked up evil wizard and a betrayed sorceress in it and everything.
(…….seven hours later edit: I have to break this up into parts. I’ll post the other parts tomorrow and whenever I finish them.)
Once upon a time, there lived a sorceress. She was neither bad nor good; in fact, she really didn’t understand her magic or how to use it. In moments she did use it, it was simply to conjure a new fantastic flower she remembered once catching a glimpse of from an idea of a long-forgotten dream of a traveling, sleeping faerie nearby. Or she used it to sing to her bees, to encourage them to grow new trees dripping with inexplicable fruit that could feed armies, and soften long-hardened hearts with the sweetness of their juices. The Sorceress passed her time singing and dancing alone, sometimes in glittering garbs made from silk spun by fat worms under Harvest Moons, sometimes offering her pure, naked skin to the Sun god or the Moon goddess, glowing with their light as her wild dark hair teased and kissed dewy air.
Without inhibition or shame, she made fierce and free love to the gods and goddesses of wind and fire, rain and thunder, happily giving them her sighs and moans and deep throaty laughter with all the the other offerings from her Garden. Because though it was a hidden thing, her magical, mystic Garden, in truth the Sorceress had no known enemies. In fact, had one informed her of the reaches of her power, the Sorceress would have laughed a hearty laugh to hear of it, to learn she possessed magical skills that were near goddess-like. There were times, though, when she had quiet and thoughtful moments and tried hard to remember a Time Before, prior to when she’d arrived in her garden. She found she couldn’t remember being born, growing up, or how she had arrived to be in her garden. She could remember nothing except being alive and creating flowers and dancing and plotting with the bees, making love to her gods and goddesses choreographing grateful rituals of hedonistic dances for the abundance which sustained her. Because to the Sorceress, she was merely a gardener. She simply tended her plants with love, convincing the weeds by loving them to love each plant they grew near exactly as she did, that there was no reason at all for any living creature or plant in the world to kill or steal from each other; for the Sorceress it was simply impossible that anything in the world was incapable of living in beauty and harmony. And so in her garden everything flourished together with abandon because that was all she ever imagined and whatever she imagined passed into being.
Thus, whenever someone new and strange did stumble upon her and her home, she welcomed them into her garden without guile, bringing wine she’d pressed herself from dripping honeysuckle, feeding them enormous grapes from her own fingers, and wiping the juices that dripped from their corners of their lips slowly and seductively with her own tongue, teasing her guests until they squirmed with desire for her. The Sorceress would softly coax their deepest longings or dreams they’d long forgotten, from their hearts, then reach for either her flute or harp and quietly begin a song created only for her gobsmacked visitor, male and female alike, as she wove gentle tendrils of peace and love into his or her being, until they climaxed in waves and were exhausted and spent, drifting away on a patch of soft grass, with nothing but her garden’s soft, warm breeze wrapping them into a deep, satisfying sleep.
(I bet right now you’re going: Amy, the hell? How is THIS a dark fairy tale? That kind of starts further down, but not full-on dark until Part Two. Also: stop interrupting my dark fairy tale.)
Indeed, the Sorceress and her garden were legend. Both traveling peddlers and battle-scarred knights who knew of her and had somehow managed to stumble onto her mythological Eden would awake on its soft grasses at the edge of it at least once on their many journeys. Some would even pluck a rose or two as either a souvenir or proof or both, then boast of their fortune at taverns where they rested. There, still reeling from her touch, they would tell stories or sing songs or recite smitten, drunken poems of sleeping under her trees while being caressed by gentle, warm breezes even in the middle of frozen blizzards. They told stories of smelling sweet grasses and honey, of dreaming impossible images filled with colors they could no longer find words to describe. Some who’d woken and bravely wandered even further into her magical space often tried to detail, to anyone willing to listen, the swiftness of the sparkling tails that swept softly past their faces or behind their backs by the hundreds, and swore they felt gentle fingers tracing their brows, drawing mysterious and protective sigils onto their foreheads then their shoulders and chests and backs while a faraway voice hummed lullabies to them, sweet songs they recognized as the very ones their mothers had once sung to them long ago, while they nursed at full, silken breasts dripping with rich, sugary milk.
They’d hold up the souvenirs they’d stolen for their audiences, roses that never withered or died, that stayed ever red or white or yellow or pink, with ethereal glows that seemed to emanate deep from their stamens, as their listeners stared in slack-jawed disbelief, yet determined by an inexplicable pull to experience it all for themselves one day.
Eventually, though, the Sorceress’ visitors would eventually come to doubt their memories as they grew into bedridden old men, broken by war and life and thousands of nightmares they’d created for themselves out of millions of nightmares they’d cast upon innocents they’d pillaged and raped.
Surely their impressions were merely the dreams of lost, war-torn soldiers wandering long from home, building fantasies around themselves to mend mutilated minds gone mad from both the loss of innocence and the taking of it. They would die, mere shadows of the giant warriors they’d once been, now withered and bald and toothless and wrinkled old men mumbling fantasy stories of a Sorceress and a garden, their voices cracking and bitter and tired, weeping of their craving to return to its safe warmth, as they clung to a vague hope that the recollections they had of silky hair caressing their sleeping eyelids had, indeed, been real. They begged silent deities their ravaged bodies, now as dry as leather and forever covered in dank sweat that sat and crusted between their wrinkles did truly once feel soft lips trailing the entire lengths of their bodies, creating shivers that once sent their minds reeling in swirls of indescribable ecstasy. They would often cry out in their sleep into cavernous, black nights silent of echoes, nights that were ever increasing in their lengths, their bony fingers beginning to scratch at the corners of the the life and breath the old knights clutched at desperately, sobbing at the memories of feeling pleasures that now came to them in thin wisps, that they would never have again now that life was leaving their weakening bodies.
All the while grime-covered grandchildren wiped at runny noses as they sat spellbound on the floor near their grandfathers’ deathbeds, listening intently as they poked sticks into crackling fires and listlessly stirred boiling kettles of broth concocted for their dying grandfathers because it was the only thing old men could keep down, and their witch-like grandmothers had told them to do it and they knew their angry, lice-covered mothers would take the switch to them mercilessly if they didn’t. The children all knew these tales weren’t real at all, because the dead roses their grandfathers clung to were black and withered things, just like the world outside of them. Yet they were pretty tales to think of, and they thought maybe when they were bigger themselves they would escape this life and go out into the world to become bards or peddlers, and weave them into songs or stories to tell in front fires on their travels and perhaps earn an extra coin or even a kiss from a maiden they might pretend was their very own Sorceress.
There were, once upon a time in this same land, fretful wizards who saw the beauty and power of the Sorceress’ magic – they glimpsed, in the choking smoke splutters from their spell-castings, her enchanted flowers and streams of glittering waterfalls with mermaids that splashed in rainbow pools and unicorns and the elusive Pegasus of lore that ate from her fingers, that allowed her, and only her, to tame them and ride them, barebacked, into inky night skies glittering with stars and wisps of clouds, softly snorting as she combed their manes with her deft fingers, untangling the barbs and massaging their neck muscles of knots. The visions blinded the wizards, awoke lecherous lusts to understand the Sorceress and her magic, so they could use it in their own spells. The most talented wizards knew how to cast dark spells of furious magic that made them rich men, bringing creatures of mystic forests to their knees in supplication, and offering them fantastic treasures which incurred them favor and honor with kings and lords. Yet even their most powerful magic always seemed to lack the kind of true strength they suspected existed in the world, dominance that rightfully ought to belong to them, and only them. The wizards deepest needs were hungers that often matted far down in the nethermost caverns of the murkiest parts of their souls, the bottom of black abysses. So the wizards were never quite sure what their desires actually were, but sensed if they could just possess the right magic, the kind of power only known to gods and goddesses, they would finally be able to access their every need, wishes even their own souls were unaware of, and their dominance would be realized, and quite permanent.
The most dynamic and efficacious of these wizards was a very nondescript, gap-toothed yet unattractive, pale man who often woke paralyzed by fear and hate.
His name was Stephan the Forgotten, and he didn’t know it, but the hovel of a hut in which he existed touched the very tips of the Sorceress’ garden he’d begun to spend his every hour seeking fitfully, both awake and dreaming.
Stephan lived alone, his tiny pigpen of a home covered in soot from the constant fire that burned in the center of his one-room home, a black kettle on it always, filled either with Stephan’s dinner of bland stew or a foul concoction of a spell that Stephan would sell to lords and ladies, kings and knights, serfs and commoners alike…who he bartered with never mattered to Stephan, as long as he was paid and tales of his magical abilities were spread far and wide. His coffers were always filled either with gold or bread and, once in awhile, an oh-so desperate farmer in danger of being evicted from his own hovel, would bring him one of his somewhat comely but filthy daughters so Stephan could terrorize, torture, beat, and rape her of her virginity and innocence before discarding her in a village somewhere far from all she knew, to a life of whoring, which is all Stephan truly believed women were worthy of. Stephan did this regularly to the peasants of the valley in which he existed, from the village he lived in but also villages near and far, in exchange for a drop of dark hope from his kettle, a bottle to be drunk under a new moon after slaughtering a pig or a cow and bringing that as well to Stephan. In exchange, he gave them promised magic that next season’s crops would produce more than they had this season, and thus the lord would allow them to stay on a bit longer, continuing to eke out any bit of existence he possibly could, even though he would turn over almost all of it to the lord of the manor in the castle high above his pathetic existence.
For the kings and knights, lords and ladies, Stephan wove spells that shrouded their dreams with images of spices from exotic places, or promises of lost relics from the Holy Land, of triumphant battles that would win them the hand of a princess along with a noble title and all the land and riches that came with it. Stephan wove spells that gave them even more riches, even greater glory, bigger castles with deeper moats and the strongest weapons. In return, they filled Stephan’s hovel with jewels and gold coins he added to wooden boxes he buried in the dirt floor beneath his hut, boxes so spilling with rubies and emeralds and pearls that Stephan was constantly carving new wood into more boxes.
Ladies who found Stephan’s unusual looks strangely enchanting wove him intricate tapestries by their own hand. Some of these bore simplistic pictures of mundane life, others attempted to seduce him with bawdy depictions of ladies sucking the appendages of men who looked very much like Stephan, lying in amazing positions with their legs wide open to be probed with the men’s stiff members which were often the size and width of oak trees. These he hid away in piles in a separate, much smaller hut that leaned to the right which allowed the rain to run off it in rivers and kept the contents it sheltered safe and dry. Inside, next to the tapestries, were also dented goblets and shimmering fabrics and ancient coins with strange-looking rulers adorning one side…all from the Holy Land that a rowdy, drunken group of Knights Templar had once brought him, in exchange for vials of heady-smelling oils laced with spells of greatness and promises to make their seed the most virile, bringing them male heirs who would continue building their families’ wealth, ensuring their names endured for centuries, long after they were dead and forgotten.
Stephan had been proposed to by queens and princesses and duchesses and ladies-in-waiting. He had been offered the bodies of the fairest of maidens, had been kissed alluringly, with the supple and teasing tongues of widely desired beauties who possessed eyes of all colors, lashes as long as horse mane’s, and hair like sunshine or black as night or red as sunsets. But he denied them all, deferring politely and shyly, preferring instead to secretly release his vulgar needs into the holes that existed between the legs of the greasy-haired, dirt- and manure-covered daughters of the serfs who surrounded him.
For Stephan the Forgotten was completely and most utterly disinterested in love; his visitors would never know the story of when he was a young wizard just learning magic, of the day he’d met his witch, a wily and weak but pretty witch he’d discovered hiding in a nunnery, cloaking herself in holy water and crucifixes to avoid the villagers intent on burning her at a stake for her evil deeds. Rivulets of copper brown curls hid beneath her wimple and veil, utterly bewitching him the night she’d first let him have her, shaking them around her shoulders, covering her full breasts and taut, pointing nipple she would demand over and over he bite until she screamed in pain.
Soon after finding her, Stephan left the apprenticeship of the hunched over, acrimonious wizard who had already begun to bore him with his teachings of paltry, insignificant magic mere traveling peddlers used to steal petty bits of coins from their stinking audiences. He whisked his enchanting find away from the nunnery into a cold wintry night, after placing the nuns under a simple but long sleeping spell. Stephan believed the Witch’s words, wild promises she’d woven in his brain, pictures of a life filled with brawny lads and dutiful lasses she’d gift to him from her womb and a lifetime of fucking and magic and stealing from both the rich and the poor, which all left him dizzy with her hedonistic visions and completely, utterly besotted and seduced.
As they traveled from village to village, beguiling peasants of their food and what little riches they’d saved, Stephan and his witch plotted the kind of castle they would build together with their magic, magic they’d continue to learn and grow by their own cleverness. They dreamt of the power they’d cultivate and wield, together, over peasants and nobility alike. Stephan would lie with her under trees in forests, broken twigs digging deep into his back creating painful but pleasing welts as the Witch writhed on top of him, her eyes taking on a sharp hunger for something he instinctively knew had nothing to do with him. When she fell asleep under his cloak, her head resting on one of his thin, hairless forearms, he would spend most of the night just watching her sleep, his throat dry and parched from pleasing her, his eyes swimming in tears of disbelief, wondering how he’d fallen upon such a creature. He did not think he would survive without her, and could not imagine how he had reached the age he had without ever knowing she existed with him in the world.
Each time he thought of their couplings now, Stephan’s face contorted in pain and disgust. His devotion to the Witch had been stupid, his heart weak and too trusting. He’d taken her at her word when they arrived at the moat surrounding the castle of that region’s richest lord. The Witch promised Stephan she simply wished to visit the lord of the manor to enamor him, and relieve him of some of his jewels and gold. These were treasures they’d been seeking for many months together, the very riches they’d been dreaming of that would bring them so much closer to their destiny.
Three nights later, his witch returned, informing him a secret enchantment spell she had begun working on long before he’d rescued her from her villagers and the nunnery had worked. The grey castle’s lord had become enraptured with her, he had requested her hand in marriage, and she had accepted. Giggling, the Witch had then opened both hands so Stephan could see the lord’s dark and wet heart wiggling as it beat against her fingers. Then his witch had kissed his forehead, straightened his most errant lock with a bloodied thumb and forefinger, skipped a charming little dance to a ballad only she could hear, and she had spun away from him on one of her barefoot heels, the very heel he had licked with abandon a mere fortnight before. The Witch left Stephan stunned and alone, the now chilly and dark forest frozen and engulfing him, its small animals frozen too, warily watching him, their insides instinctively stinging with an ancient, inborn caution that caused their paws to quiver, their fur to stand straight up from its skin, and their lungs to cease their intake of air until the wizard moved and they knew in which opposite direction to run. Every living thing surrounding Stephan in that moment knew: this was a wounded Wizard, haphazardly trained, and one cast without warning into a dank cave of loss and despair, where the most dangerous of magic was always formed. Creatures as small as hummingbirds had only to make the fatal mistake of flying too close to one of these kinds of warped magic makers once to forever serve as cautionary tales that wove themselves into the genetic memories of each one of their descendants’ bodies.
For years after her goodbye, Stephan stayed where The Witch took her leave of him. His body and mind ached with rage and loneliness, desperate to touch his Witch just one more time, yearning to feel her blazing breath on his loins, to release himself one last time into the muggy depths of the nebulous and mossy cave between her legs. As soon as he could, one last time, he thought he might take his dagger and plunge it into her wicked heart as soon as the last drop of his seed left him and settled into her black, deceptive depths. Then he envisioned turning it on himself, to end his tortured existence, in the hopes they would end up together forever, somewhere in the abysses of the Underworld.
He decided to live in the trunk of the ancient oak under which she’d announced her betrayal. He carved out its guts with both magic and his own sinew, setting up an alter when he finished, dedicating it and his soul to Gwynn ap Nudd, god of fallen warriors and the hunt, but adding his own dark and wicked twist by infusing his offerings to the god with the rotting hearts of the forest’s reptiles and barnacle-geese for which he traveled for miles, once every three months, by foot and enormous, winged dragons he conjured from the fiery depths of Earth, until he reached the rocky beach pounded infinitely by furious, salty waves where the barnacle-geeslings hatched and he could capture, kill, and rip out their innards by the hundreds for the most evil of his blackest concoctions.
All for the perverse love of a corrupt witch.
After ten years had passed, Stephan finally not only understood but also accepted his love had been used, twisted to suit the Witch’s deepest desires and dreams. By then, he had conjured demons and the darkest of the Underworld’s gods. When visited by black magic’s most perverted goddesses, he always drew forth his dagger and lunged at them; all feminine energy was suspicious, lewd to Stephan. He had no use of it. His power had grown in ways he never once imagined it ever could; yet his witch remained impossibly steadfast to her dark lord in his grey castle atop the hill overlooking the shadowy depths of Stephan’s oak den. Each night, he slept in a chair he’d fashioned from twisted birch branches, which he carefully placed so he could stare at the window behind which he’d watch their bodies cavort, swapping sweat and saliva and the lord’s vile seed and the Witch’s foul secretions that leaked between her legs. Stephan sat, each night, watching every act of fornication, and his heart turned black. To be betrayed and rejected was hurtful enough. To know this clumsy bear of a mere mortal had such control over something that belonged to him, created a searing pain deep in his colon. He vowed to make the lord pay for his thievery, and his Witch for her treachery.
As his power grew, so did the blackness choking his heart. But his witch knew; for every night she watched him watching her. Her glittering, green eyes stared at Stephan with calculated consideration from under the lord’s thick, hairy back as the wide shoulders moved over her, back and forth. The Witch watched Stephan watch her; she stared back at him from over the lord’s muscled shoulders, a look of slightly bored but interested caution on her face, daring him to try it, daring him to kill her, and take her lord too.
Each night, Stephan silently accepted the Witch’s challenge again and again, his tortured screams keeping the nocturnal animals well away from his tree as he raced around its inside circumference, mixing dried and poisonous weeds and the bones of real and mythical creatures that killed with his bare hands then eaten their flesh and ground their remains into powders, forever in search of a way to do it, a way he could end her, and stop his pain.
The more powerful and clever he became, the more Stephan knew he would never be able to bring himself to do it. That meant her magic was far more powerful than his own, even as it increased with formidable darkness and evil, night by night, in all its increasingly dangerous power.
And for that, Stephan both loved and hated The Witch. He had never been so powerful, yet so weak.
After ten years of this, Stephan finally felt it was time. He could bear their nightly ruttings no more, could no longer breathe the rancid air of the forest around him. He gathered up his Book of Shadows, its pages covered with blood and soot and wrinkled from splashes of strange, wet mixtures Stephan had concocted seeking rage and revenge. He packed his most powerful and precious magical tools into skins he’d made from stags and bears he’d slaughtered by magic, pushed down his years of raging thoughts and vengeful plans, hushed them sternly as they protested, promising them they’d one day have their time again soon.
And then Stephan the Forgotten left. To start some a new life, promising he would forget her until he could make her his again. He took out a dark spell he’d worked on for three years, knowing from a nightmare this time would come, a binding spell to make himself as forgotten as she had made him feel the night she left. As he walked away from his oak tree, he could hear the Witch laughing at him. Coward, she whispered, Where go ye? Why leave now, after all this time? Pathetic chitty-faced afterling of a weak man. You’ll be back for more, eventually. The bile rose in Stephan’s throat, because he would be. But she was wrong; he would forget her until the time was right. He’d forgotten his boyhood, and his mother. He’d forgotten a dirty peasant girl he’d once fancied he loved for making him a man, and by leaving this haunted place, turning his back on the Witch’s obscene couplings with a man he could never be, he’d amass the riches they’d planned by himself. He’d forget she existed, but not what she’d done. And for a very long time, he did.
Until the day he arrived at a peaceful, strangely happy and well-fed, well-kept village of peasants nestled in a valley owned by a renowned Knight just home from, and made wealthy by, the Crusades, who was favored by the King, all of which was as far removed as could possibly be from his tortured oak tree, from his witch’s mocking laughter, from the shadows of her hairy lord’s grey castle. It was here, in this quiet little village, that Stephan the Forgotten, a most powerful wizard most studied and learned in the darkest of the Dark Arts, both indebted to and in command of demons and dark gods of the Underworld, decided to begin his forgetting and build a modest, straw-thatched hut from which to live and continue to grow his dark magic while beguiling the lord of the manor, his peasants, and every nobleman and lady who ever passed his way of their riches. And he chose to start his plan, to build his cottage at the edge of a garden he didn’t know existed. A garden with magic far greater than his, magic Stephan the Forgotten would one day attempt to harness, a garden he began to listen with great interest in as visitors began to frequent his hovel for his potions and tell him of, a garden that possessed a beautiful Sorceress with great power that could help him win back his Witch, a Sorceress who he lived for quite a very long time unaware was, in fact, living right in his very own backyard.
(end Part One.)