Today I am feeling a little worn out. Frayed at the edges, or as Bilbo would say “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” So I am going to lay off any deep, exceptionally long post about how to be awesome. Instead I am going to offer a story that you can use for an adventure, or not, as you please. That story is to be inspired by a roll of my virtual story cubes for your consideration. So here is the roll.
The Amulet and the Princess
Once there was a famed amulet. It was more of a large emerald at the end of a fine golden pair of chains, but that emerald had an unnerving glow to it. The sort of glow that would make you question your own identity if only you looked into it for long enough. The amulet was famous as it was worn around the neck of a famed princess of a country now long forgotten to time. Her beauty was unquestioned yet none ever painted her portrait for to stare at her was to stare at the amulet and if you did this for too long you simply ceased to be.
This princess was the envy of many and was courted by many favourite princes from lands near and far though none ever seemed to please her for long as she was fickle and evasive. Some princes claimed that she was a witch who stole the souls of those that fell in love with her. But all of these princes were killed by the princesses father for their blasphemy.
There one day came a man. He was not a prince, nor even a courtier but he appeared in the kingdom’s court and none sought to ask him what his purpose was there. He had simply turned right at the castle gates and continued walking until he was amongst the richest of the land. He did not look out of place as he wore fine clothing and the powdered wigs that were fashionable at the time. He simply walked in to the court and stepped down to the court floor and took up a seat opposite the princess. Many did not even notice him for some time but the princess noticed him for he did not look on her with love as all men did when they first came to court. He looked at all the paintings and regalia that filled the hall but did not spare her a glance.
At the end of the proceedings the man stood to leave and the princess stood swiftly to intercept him. “Good sir, will you not stay and share your story with me? I do not believe that our acquaintance has yet been formalised.”
“Milady,” he began as he first laid eyes on her. Eyes that were the colour of the dew resting on the petal of a rose “we are friends of old but it is not time for our acquaintance to be formalised.” And with those simple words he pulled his arm from the grip of the princess and walked forcibly from the chamber drawing many curious glances.
The princess retreated to her rooms and had her maids attend her. She was troubled by the mans visage and words. Calling the court spymaster to her rooms she told him all of the man that she knew and of the encounter that they had shared. The spymaster advised her that he would be found and bought to her before day-rise so that he may suffer whatever punishment she sought to deal out.
The sun was well in the sky before the spymaster returned, in his hand a robe of silks hung from his clutched fist. He whispered to the princess that they had found the man she sought and approached him to apprehend him. But this man was a magician of sorts and as he turned his eyes on the spymaster and the guards that approached him they all felt the man stare into their minds and seek through their memories. Each knew now that the man had learnt every secret that they sought to hide and the kingdom was exposed as the spymaster had many secrets. As they leapt toward him the man vanished entirely leaving only his robe to float to the ground. the princess looked at the robe and knew that the story the spymaster spoke was the truth and that her vanity at the perceived insult from this man as he did not look at her now threatened to envelop the entire kingdom.
The princess waited until nightfall and took up a torch, intending on seeking out this man and making amends. If that failed she would make him stare into her amulet and make him forget. Make his spirit leave his body as many had before. Her father had given her this amulet to protect her from those that would hurt her but she soon unlocked its powers to make everyone love her. She learnt enough magics to alter the amulets effect so she could turn it on friend and foe alike rather than just those that sought to do her harm. With this amulet she had toyed with her suitors and slaves, forcing many of them to separate their spirit and body, becoming mindless husks so that all obeyed her now without question. She would force this man to do the same or he would suffer the same fate as all those others that would not listen to her.
It was early in the morning, perhaps an hour or two after the witching hour when she came across the man. He was cavorting naked in the cities fountain. His fair features had reddened and he was in a state of fervour as she approached. Surely this mad man was not the same man that had ventured into the court only a day ago. At the sight of his eyes though she knew the truth and as she approached him her hand unconsciously went to the famous amulet.
“You are on time milady.” The creature, now no longer a man turned to her and showed her his arousal at her presence. “Tonight will be the consummation of our acquaintance.” The creature laughed aloud as his body formed into a serpentine like creature but still with those same unnerving eyes.
“Your filthy tongue betrays you fiend!” The princesses voice came only as a whisper as she had not seen such powerful magic as this creature possessed but she held the amulet out, her trust in it absolute. She watched as the creature coiled and raised its head to the amulet staring deeply into it like all the others had before. She knew then that she would triumph and the fiend would bother her no more.
But instead of falling limp it stiffened and then stared sadly at her. “You may not trap me in a place that I already call home princess.” It licked its lips as they were shredded to pieces by razor like fangs that erupted from its gums. “Your father trapped me inside that gem giving me free reign to steal the souls of evil doers. I did this faithfully for years as you grew up. But your innocence did not last and your meddling with the magics on the amulet have allowed me to manifest to take the life of the greatest evil I have felt since being in the amulet. The evil of your own blackened heart.” The fiend rose up and tore the flesh from the princess. She had fallen silent and did not utter a gasp of pain. By the time the night was over the only sign that the fiend or the princess had ever been was the singular emerald amulet with the strange glow laying on the cobblestones.
So heed this warning friend if ever you were to find this amulet. Make sure your heart is true before placing the amulet over your neck and use it only to protect against those that would do you ill or else the fiend within will swallow you whole.