Letter To A Princess

A comedy short based in a low fantasy world where a young and clumsy guy decided he wants to 'woo' a princess.

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1. Letter

           The tavern in question was exactly as it said on the sign: 'The Wood and Wood Inn'; where absolutely everything was wooden, from the cutlery to the windows.            “ How... how am I meant to win her heart?” Vitras wondered. “Her dad'll find her a real man soon, so I need to take my chance now!” The tavern was quieter than he was used to, though at quarter past four in the morning, it was to be expected. How could he sleep when so pressed for time to catch his beloved's eye? But for the life of him, he could think of nothing he could do. He slammed his fist onto the table in frustration, making the only other customer in the tavern bolt awake, removing his sodden face from his grog, only to fall back to sleep with a splash.            Vitras shot the lonely gent a dirty glance and stumbled towards the door ready to leave and find somewhere a little quieter. He paused to think of where to go. Vitras travelled around often, (using the title 'adventurer' where others used the term 'unemployed') yet the only place Vitras could imagine calling home was a small town named Lindell. Of all the backward towns he could like so much, he chose the one where he stood out like cactus amongst baby bums. For a male to have badly cut long brunette hair, it potentially made him a laughing stock – he however called it a trademark and figured it added to his many brilliant traits. At this moment, however, his mind was full of more than just how handsome he was, it was also full of the noble girl he wished to endear to.            The floor was damp as Vitras stepped outside, mug in hand; he decided he'd head towards a place he knew as 'Rock', which was a place he could think quietly. Being such a travelling rogue, few would think him fond of a girl, so he craved solitude and 'Rock' was perfect for that.            “ Hey, bring my bloody glass back!” The barman burst out of the door of The Wood and Wood (which, if you weren't already aware, was made completely of wood) and snatched the mug from Vitras' hand, locking him with an icy cold stare. “Thief.”                                                          * * *              'Rock' was a stand alone boulder on a small hill just by the shore. It was still dark and not particularly warm, though it was as beautiful as always – especially as the sun would soon rise on the perfectly clear horizon. Vitras found himself perched up on the edge of the boulder facing the ocean before he even knew he was there, and whilst feeling the chilly breeze over his hands and cheeks and through his hair, a wet piece of paper slapped him in his face and stuck to him.            Peeling off the note and wiping his face, he saw writing on the page. The note stated:              “ To whom it may concern,              I am stuck in a large hole in the sand on the beach and cannot get out. Help me! Help me, please! I would very much appreciate a search party or perhaps a lone traveller with a rope, anything really to help me out of this hole. I am quite scared as the tide seems to be coming in hastily.              Thank you for reading.            Yours,            Julie”              The sun began to peek over the horizon and Vitras was silhouetted on the boulder with chin on fist and deep in thought.            “ I have it!” Vitras shouted, letting go of the note. “I'll write a letter to my love!” He jumped down from the rock and headed his way towards the Noble’s castle to the east of town: he needed to get help. He could not write to save his life. Or read to save someone else's. He ignored the note.                                                          * * *              On the hour long walk to the castle the sun had already risen with a bright cheery face screaming: 'Wakey, wakey! Rise and shine! Full day ahead!' which seemed to be the alarm for most nobles, meaning they had all recently got up to go about their business. From the outside everything seemed mostly quiet aside from chirping birds; happy because the crickets had shut up.            Swimming a moat and scaling a wall was pretty easy for Vitras, it was always the other side that troubled him. His head made the first loud noise he'd heard all morning when it thumped against an upper room floor. The window he had climbed through seemed to be unnaturally high and as his vision focused he found himself in a bedroom, one that seemed to have been designed by an overly expressive fairy with a fetish for pink. Brushing himself off, he heard speeding footsteps outside the room and figured someone was about to burst in – not knowing what else to do, he dove under the bed. The bed was only just roomy enough for one person, but he had to crouch a tiny bit to save his head poking out the top. The duvet hung over the edges so he felt safe enough but had to rely on sound. What followed was this: Rattle, shuffle, shuffle, scrape, shuffle, step, step, pause, bump, much louder shuffle, roll, roll. The next thing was feeling someone press tight up against his left hand side.            Looking over and sharing a few seconds of staring before the girl spoke.            “ ...Hey, who are you hiding from?”            “ Umm, you?” Vitras said before a further few seconds of staring.            “ Ahhhhh!” They both yelled at the top of their voices and scurried out from under the bed. Vitras ran out the room, still screaming and down a flight of stairs. He got quieter as he went an turned into a room before finding himself in a corner. Feeling a tap on his shoulder, he opened one eye and turned around. He was surrounded by books and peering down at him was a hunched and hairy old man in extravagant clothing.            “ Are you okay?” said the man in a very posh accent muffled by a beard.            “ What? Yes. I was, um, just trying to get some bloody attention!” He nodded at himself reassuringly “ ...Yeah, that's what I was doing.” Rushing to his feet and standing as defensively as possible realising that he was a fair bit taller than the elderly man.            “ And wearing clothes like that in a place like this isn't attention enough?” the old man chuckled. “Why are you here then? What kind of attention are you trying to gain? People tend not to run screaming through a library for no reason... usually.”            “ Oh you look the bookish type!” said Vitras.            “ That's not an answer.” He looked over each shoulder at all the surrounding shelves of books after books. “Though I can't imagine how you came to that idea?”            “ I need your help then, can you help me?”            “ ...Still not an answer, young man. I'll help you if you answer the questions I need to know.” He rubbed his long straggly beard. “Firstly, what is your name? Next, what is your occupation? How did you get into the castle? Why were you screaming and what do you need help with?”            “ I, um...” Vitras took a moment to note all of the questions in order. “Vitras. I'm a... free-lance jack-of-all-trades. I got into the castle by asking really nicely. I was screaming because there was some girl in her room. I need help to write a letter as soon as possible. Can you write at all, and is there somewhere more... quiet and proper we can go? It's getting creepy in here.” They both looked around the room at the hundred-odd surprised eyes beading their way. The old man raised his bushy eyebrows that almost knocked off his hat, and laughed.            “ The name is Cyrl.” He offered his hand, which Vitras gave a curious look, unsure what to do. “Follow me, if you please.” He dropped his hand. The man span around and waddled slowly towards the door. Vitras, in order to look casual to the peering eyes, leaned back in his walk, trying to act confident, and trying to look like he owned the place. It would have worked, too, if he didn't trip half way and tumble to the floor like someone kicked a rag doll.                                                          * * *              Cyrl turned out to be quite an important person , as he was the grandfather of the man who married the Queen's cousin, once removed. For all Cyrl's skill in writing and how helpful he was, Vitras couldn't help but feel the minutes were li ke hours. Whilst Cyrl tried to find all the right words for something sweet and suited to Vitras, Vitras himself attempted (sort of) to learn to read.            There were so many books in the old man's private library, there was no knowing where to begin. Everything seemed to be there from a book called 'A Short History Of Ducks: Volume 4' to something called 'The Karma Sutra For Dummies'.            Cyrl asked many many questions about preferences and ability and what he wanted the tone to be, and Vitras using words from the books tried to write something of his own. Using an alphabet book he'd just used to learn some letters, he wrote: 'A is for Apple, which is juicy like you. B is for 'Be mine', because I want you. C is for... Cat.' Which is only one example of Vitras' work. The others were so badly written and occasionally horrid, that when a boy broke into Cyrl's study a week later and went through his paper bin in order to steal something brilliant for a school project, he vomited in his mouth twice and vowed never to read again.            After three long hours of writing, Vitras agreed on a note of Cyrl's that was good enough, poetic enough and had a point, he loved it:              “ If I could dream any dream, I would choose you to be my dream, but a dream you will always be if you never consider meeting me. If I wrote how much I loved you on this paper here, I would run out of pages to write of you, my dear. So if I had to choose a place to meet for romance's sake, I would ask you to meet me at twelve by the lake.”              “ Brilliant, I'll just leave it for her to find.” Said Vitras.            “ I could do better with more time, y'know. Let us just pretend those are your words.” Cyrl said, putting on his top hat and giving Vitras a lopsided wink like a large hairy dog.            “Though one last question my lad. Who is this girl you're perusing?”            “ Her name is Leanna. Lives in the royal village, just outside this castle, y'know her?”            “ The Princess?” Cyrl choked. He regained his composure. “Well, good luck then I guess.” He rolled his eyes before giving Vitras another dog-wink.                                                          * * *              Downstairs at the ground level, the lobby was bustling with activity; scattered people all going their separate ways. Looking down at his own clothes, Vitras could see he clearly didn't fit in. He decided to try to mingle and head out the main gate, anyway. The exit was two massive wooden doors with smaller people-sized doors in the middle of each. In front of the only operating door were two fully iron clad guards. They were going to be a problem, but the door was his aim and that's the direction he headed.            Casually mingling with the crowd, Vitras got all the way to the door and placed his hand on the handle as if to stroll out before a voice stopped him, it was the guard to his right. Both guards, however, were motionless and looked directly ahead.            “ Can we 'elp you, sir?”            “ Not really, I'm just on my way out!”            “ Well, may we ask 'ow you got in? Peasant.” Said the left hand guard. The 'Y' shaped gap in their helmets were now fixated on Vitras, and he could feel their eyes rather than see them.            “ Err, I came in earlier in the morning, don't you remember? You didn't say a word then. Or were their different guards on, you all look alike, to me.” Vitras continued to act as cocky as possible. “If it was you, you must have some awful memories, I mean look at the way I'm dressed – you'd think you'd remember!”            “ Careful now, peasant. We don't 'ave to stall this, you could be going right in to the dungeon. We wouldn't let the likes o' you in, so 'ow did you get in?”            “ Well I didn't sneak in, if that's what you think. How dare you! May I take my leave now?” Vitras said to the left guard, who nodded to the right guard who shook his head.            “ Not 'til we get an answer, peasant.” was the reply.            “ Well, even if I did sneak in, surely it's fine for me to just sneak back... out?” Vitras grabbed the door and pushed but the lock held tight. He panicked and backed away from the guards who began to move in towards him. Pushing some passers-by who had gathered to see the commotion, Vitras leapt towards the guards, clambering over one of them and jumping off his head to get purchase on the wall behind. The crowd started making a lot of noise but Vitras didn't look back, he pushed forward on a vertical sea of stone as fast as he could to get to the window at the top. The crowd started to throw things at the escapee-spider, but not one person actually hit him: bits of potato, stones, a book, a fish and an anvil which severely dented the wall.            Reaching his foot through the kicked open window, he followed through with the other and managed to keep his footing for the descent: better than usual. But after a very short distance he managed to misplace his footing for the second time that day and fell.            Managing to grab onto the lip of the large gate on the outside, he knew he was closer to the ground, regaining himself he made the extra distance and place both feet firmly on the outer drawbridge. Turning around to leave, he came to an abrupt stop at two metal plates.            Looking up, he squeaked at the guards.            “ Ehh, hi?” before each guard grabbed an arm and dragged him back through the now open door. Thrashing about wildly, he realised he could not resist the oafs of security so he sat back and allowed himself to be dragged into the dungeon. After a few seconds, however, he realised he was no longer in possession of his love letter.            The beautiful note, on beautifully indestructible paper, tied with a beautiful red ribbon gently drifted down the moat towards the river's opening. Vitras was never to know.                                                          * * *              “ It's so peaceful and romantic here.” Leanna said to herself, sat on a bench by the lake at some time around quarter past twelve.            The sky could be seen reflected in the water that was shimmering on top and cloudy underneath and about as deep as a house in the middle. It was so shiny on the surface, that the reflection of the moonlight could blind and eagle, and for all the lake was worth, it was as deceiving as an onion painted red to pretend to be an apple.            People liked to believe their lake was magical. That in the middle was a Sphinx that would ask riddles to passers-by and occasionally fight with the Kraken of the depths for territory as thousands of fish watched on; feeding on the faeries that flew atop the water. As if sparkles fluttered about and it could grant mystical powers such as healing or shape-shifting. None of this was true, however, and everyone knew so. The lake was dead; full of salt, so potent that a human could barely dip in their toe without it dissolving.            Nevertheless, people loved their lake because it was theirs, it was beautiful, and it was a perfect place for a romantic meeting.            Leanna, a nice, beautiful young girl was watching the wonderful waters when a small piece of paper, wrapped in a ribbon, happened to float by. Being careful of the water, she fished it out and read the note.            “ This is beautiful! Was this for me? It must have been because this would be far too much of a coincidence. I would certainly like to meet this person who is likely to be so very unsuited to me, but I will persuade my father anyway so that we can get married and have lots of middle class children – oh my!” She looked all around the lake to see if anyone was nearby before sitting back down on the bench. She rolled up the scroll and patiently started to wait. Prepared to wait for the man, for the writer of the note; just waiting for her love to arrive. If only he knew.
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