Meiradriel of the Mountain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short, traditionally styled fairy tale about a foundling princess.

Submitted: November 30, 2016

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Submitted: November 30, 2016

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Once upon a time there was a mighty kingdom that lay at the head of a narrow valley between three colossal mountains. A good king and gentle queen reigned over these lands, alas this handsome couple had no heir. This was a great sorrow to them, for they longed for a child, but could bear none.

One day, as the Royal Company rode through the forest that lay on the flank of the closest mountain, they came across a deserted caravan. The procession appeared to have been ransacked by robbers.

All were dead, or so the king’s scouts reported, but as the Royal couple set off to return to their castle and the rest of their party left to alert authorities, the queen heard a faint cry. Turning toward the trees where the cry emanated, she glimpsed a small shimmer glittering amongst the leaves strewn across the forest floor round a large tree.

The queen treaded through the undergrowth, stooping to pick up the strange object. She discovered that it was a small silver rattle engraved with the words Verum intra Dignitas. A wail again cried out and she followed it to a knothole in the trunk of the nearby tree. Peering inside, she saw cradled in the hollow, a baby girl swaddled tightly in thick purple and silver coverings.

Embracing the child, the queen bore the foundling to the king whom elucidated that the infant must have been concealed in the tree by its parents in hopes that it would be spared. The queen, quite enchanted with the small girl’s brilliant violet eyes and wistful flaxen hair, proposed to the king that they might keep the child till her closest kin could be found. The king agreed and the baby was brought home with them.

Months past and no relative could be located in the neighboring kingdoms and no clue to the baby’s heritage apart from the mysterious rattle. The king, whom had grown fond of the child himself, decided that they should keep the girl and raise her as their own. They named her Meiradriel, after the mountain where they found her.

Little Meiradriel grew to be a lively young woman, curious and bold as any son, and a striking beauty to match. Her features were as delicate as her spirit was robust. She was the joy of her parents and the pride of the kingdom, and, although she was not a princess in blood, she was most decidedly so in their hearts.  

The rumor of the maiden of the mountain spread through the valley and many suitors came to win the hand of the enchanting ward, but all failed. She was sharp as a whip and unimpressed with the hollow charm and material glamour of aristocracy. She was kind and down to earth, often spending her days with the commoners in the nearby village. This made her very akin to the troubles of the poor and she wished for the same in her husband.

One summer’s day, when the Royal vineyards were heavy with plump grapes and the castle gardens overgrown with flowers, the kingdom was making busy with preparations for the summer solstice.  On this festive occasion a young man called Luka arrived from a faraway kingdom claiming to be sent as an emissary of the royal family. He was welcomed into the celebration and given a seat at the kings table.

He became a favorite of the townspeople and well-loved by the castle staff for his kindness. Proving to be well-traveled and a man of astonishing intellect as well as ravenous generosity, Luka gained favor with Meiradriel. The two spent mornings together in the castle gardens and afternoons reconnoitering through the village. They would exchange books or recite verse with each other and, before long, the two were greatly attached in a kindred love and admiration.

Upon the end of summer he requested an interview with the king. During this audience, Luka revealed to the royal family that he was not an ambassador as he had claimed, but the Crown Prince of the distant kingdom. He had come to see for himself the renowned maiden of the mountain and fallen in love with her, now wishing for her hand in marriage. Meiradriel informed the king that she would be overjoyed to accept Prince Luka’s offer, and so her parents happily consented to the match.

The kingdom was in the midst of the couple’s engagement preparations when a messenger came from the prince’s homeland. The page informed them that Luka’s father, the king, would not allow the marriage on the grounds that Meiradriel was not a princess of blood, and therefor unworthy. It also notified Luka that if he went through with the nuptial, he would be disinherited and no longer in line for the throne on the charge of polluting his family’s line.

This was distressing to Meiradriel and infuriating to the prince, but he did not falter, and the wedding proceeded on schedule, to the kingdoms delight. The couple lived happily together in Meiradriel’s father’s castle and, though disappointed, they were not affected by the denouncement. Not long after, they heard news of the passing of the prince’s father from a throw off his horse; and his kingdom was thrown into upheaval and rebellion, the throne passed from illegitimate hand to illegitimate hand.

As time passed, Meiradriel gave birth to twins, strapping young Terran and lovely little Pippa. Upon the celebration of their birth, an ambassador arrived from the reclusive and enigmatic fae kingdom that resided atop the beautiful but treacherous peak of Mount Meiradriel, bearing wishes of good faith. Whilst the company dined, the ambassador noticed the rattle that little Pippa clung to so fervently and inquired on its origin. The queen happily relayed the well-told tale of how Meiradriel had come to them as the ambassador examined the small silver trinket.

When the queen finished her story, the ambassador burst forth with joyous laughter. Once his raucous fit subsided, he explained that some twenty years before, the king and queen of the faery court were killed in siege of the castle by the king’s power-hungry brother whom wished to seize the throne by force. The little princess, whom had been born just a few months before, was smuggled from the kingdom in a caravan hoping to seek refuge in the distant kingdom of the dead queen’s homeland, but never reached its destination. The princess and company were assumed to have been intercepted by the rebels and all killed. And the rattle, that Meiradriel had been discovered with, was undoubtedly the rattle given to the princess on the day of her birth by none other than himself, having been at that time trusted advisor and friend to the faery king, Meiradriel’s birth father, and godfather to her.

He presented them all with the coat of arms adorning his satchel of rich purple velvet and silver trim, on which was embroidered in scrolling letters Verum intra Dignitas, identical to the inscription on the handle of the silver rattle.

Hushed wonderment and awe fell over the hall as the family and guests alike shared in the realization that all these years the maiden of the mountain had been the lost princess of the fae court. Once excited conversation was freshly ignited and thoughts given time to settle, Prince Luka gleefully exclaimed that he had married a woman of noble birth, therefore revoking his father’s unjust accusations and restoring his claim on the family throne.

Overcome with joy, the celebration resumed and continued for nearly a fortnight, not long after which Prince Luka and Princess Meiradriel, along with their children, traveled to his homeland. The two of them ruled side-by-side many long years and became the most well-loved king and queen of their time; and their many children, and their children’s children resided happily in their castle between the mountains for scores, and scores, of years.

 

THE END


© Copyright 2017 Tess Sullivan-Knobeloch. All rights reserved.

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