Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Hot again. Cold again. Never ending, ceaseless night that mocks the burning in my soul with its cold ice winds. I remember nothing clearly, save a sharp unending pain that lasts the better part of eternity. It was in this eternity, where I found a sleep reposed of dreams that liken to realities cold hard truth. Time taking its sweet revenge on a palace that withstood such mockery for well o’re four centuries. And I but a ghostly form; walking the castle turrets, waiting for some handsome, pure of heart knight or prince to awaken me from the pain of endless unrest. I stand painfully by, watching as the sickly embrace of that most horrid of all elements dragged away all that I held dear throughout my brief life. Walls crumbled, curtains, tapestries, clothes became molding stumps of unrecognizable clothe and toys of my childhood rusted by the wayside. Most disquieting of all though, was watching as beloved servants, friends and family (all set to sleep until I myself awoke) eroding away to nothingness; the spell that enchanted them, obviously not being as strong as mine own. I wanted out of this eternal nightmare, to be free and have my life back. Thus I watched and waited anxiously for some sign of deliverance. Had I then but known that which I know now, my wait would not have been so anxious.
It was no prince who would so wake me from my slumber. Though he would have me believe it. His bitter lips have done not but wet mine own. Nay, he sent but a boy to do a man’s job. A pleasant youth of eighteen years to the prince’s twenty, and mine own eighteen. So, in age well met the two of us. Hand in hand and eye in eye; I knew it from the first.
The prince though, has his own delusions. To here him tell, he rode for months to find the castle in the woodland, fought a week to break through the briar patch, (I know the truth here to, as I watched from my dream state upon the castle towers), and rushed upon his maiden fair, glorious princess that I am, he says, to give the kiss that should awaken me from the slumber of the centuries.
In fact, it took but a fortnight to reach the briar, upon which his page, my truest hero and hearts desire, found him his way through. It was he that found the small, yet hidden path that no others had the insight to look for, let alone use. Nay, it would be an insult to any prince in that matter, save the rogue who at this very moment tries to woe from me, my affections for himself. When at last he did get through it proved for not. Up he ran to the tower (he was anxious, for no other maid would have him); it proved just as fruitless to his own desires. His precious kiss wasted on one who could not, nay would not wake to his mock affections. So, up with the page, who with only a single peck upon a lady too beautiful and refined for him to dare even dream of, my senses came reeling back in a murky flood of dreamlike memories.
Reality plays such cruel jokes. It preys on the senses of others; the prince believing that he will have my hand for his and make me thus his queen. Then there is my poor lowly page, who knows not of what I feel for him, have felt in fact, since first I awoke and looked into his eyes so bright and tender. Even I feel its wrath, knowing that this prince will not let go of me that easily, especially to his own page, who is but a child in his eyes.
So I play along with this cruel game of fate, for now. We journeyed to the prince’s kingdom and I feasted at his table. His father, the King, and his mother, the Queen, rejoicing in the fact that their only child and heir has, at long last, brought home a bride. The wedding is planned in two fortnights.
I have no retainers to speak of, no parents of mine own to give or refuse consent, no maids to dress me up as some such do. All of that turned to dust ages ago while I slept, and no amount of kisses on rotting corpses, or tears flowed over crumbling statues is apt to bring any of it back. I learned that the first day of my awakening, as I’ve come to call that fateful day. It was my awakening back into life, as well as my awakening into loneliness and fear for the future, for the first time in my life. For not even the curse from that dried up, old hag had ever scared me as much as the prospect of my marriage to a prince who lies even to himself, on the most basic of issues. So, the Queen provides me with some of her maids, whilst she petitions for some more for herself. Of my physical property, there was not but which I wore when my sweet angel of mercy, sent from the heavens above, woke me from my tender slumber.
With each day, I grow more restless, dreading what is to come. My page attends my husband to be, which I so call for I cannot bring myself to name him my betrothed. They have gifted me with tutors, to finish the lessons my parents had me start when I was but a lass of six. Stitching, music, riding, singing, and etiquette, these are the trades I learn. These are the trades befitting a lady of my stature.
Still, I learn other things as well, by listening to those that talk. The servants for instance, do not think any of the royalty pays attention to them. In that, they are only half right, for I am the only one that does. So, when they talk freely, whispered talks among themselves, I learn. I learn of the hidden passageways used so that servants might appear out of nowhere when needed. I learn of what goes on in the servants’ quarters, and how the prince’s page seems to be in love with his master’s betrothed, and at this my heart leaps high, for it is what I most desperately hoped for.
Some nights I walk the halls in the chance that I might catch a glimpse of his moving figure, running down some long corridor on an errand for his prince. On a few occasions he spies me and murmurs a whispered “Hello, your majesty.” Then, with a bow of his head, he is gone like the wind. I will catch the wind one day, on my mother’s grave, this I do swear. Other nights, I secure a wall sconce and explore these secret passageways I’ve heard so much about. For all that they have me learning, and the various tasks they have me doing, I manage to have so much spare time on hand. I use it wisely, exploring the ins and outs of this strange castle. It’s not long before every inch of it is etched into my memory. No other pays any note to my nightly explorations. After all, what is so strange about a young woman wanting to know all about the new home in which she will be spending the rest of her life?
I begin to think them all fools; excepting, of course, my handsome young page, whom I could never think ill of. He, alone, notices when I listen to the servants, when I explore the secret passageways, when I wince every time that horrid wedding is mentioned. I notice him noticing me, and I smile my warmest, sweetest smiles back at him. I am seducing him from afar; making love to him every time our eyes meet. He starts to come to me during my wanderings around the castle. He asks if he can help me find things. I play ignorant and let him guide me as if I do not know the castle that well at all. We spend many an evening this way, conversing, laughing and willing the night away in each other’s company.
It’s only two more days before the unbearable will happen, and I will lose my page forever. I must do something to stop that from coming to pass. I have become lax, though, so I do not notice at first the smoldering glances that the prince has started to throw us as he realizes that his “love” is in danger. There is no one in my world, save me and my page.
That night as we rendezvous in the garden I swallow up the courage and confess my feelings to my page. I tell him everything, from my knowledge of who truly awoke me to my playing ignorant of the castles twists and turns so that I might spend more time with him.
He returns the love, first with words, and then a kiss. So unlike the kiss he used to awaken me, this second kiss, passionate, unencumbered by rank. He is no longer the lowly page, I no longer the unreachable princess. We are a man and a woman, as simple as that. And we let the passion carry us as a man and a woman. I’ve learned this castle and its secrets, and now I learn his body and its secrets; its sweet tingling, erotic secrets, just as he learns mine. It doesn’t take long to learn those secrets. It’s as if we have always known each other. I can feel his manhood erupt like a fiery volcano as he moves inside me. Again and again he erupts; again and again I let him. Enjoying the ecstasy he brings with each writhing moment. He is gentle yet firm, soft yet hard in his lovemaking. It seems to go on forever, this moment of pure unadulterated passion. We are no longer man and woman, we are one. When we are finally spent, we lay in each other’s arms afraid to let go. Afraid we will never be together again. That fear envelopes my heart, tearing it to shreds as I think of the upcoming nuptials tomorrow, to a man I can’t even stand the sight of, let alone the idea of him touching me. Not after my page and I have finally come together.