The old oracle’s hand snapped quickly across the parchment and opened depositing five stones. The oracle leaned closer and let out a slow whistle.
Well?!! What do the stones say??
Patience my queen, patience, the old oracle whispered as she leaned back and reached for her mug.
My Queen, you shall be victorious, you shall have your heart’s desire. Happiness will find you. Patience will be your challenge, the old oracle hissed through her rotting teeth.
Is that all it says?? The queen barked back.
No my queen there is more. Beware the color blue, the same as the color of the deepest of the oceans. For water and its depths are to be feared. Do not allow thyself to be consumed by the closeness of the waters depths or the confines of the earth’s great walls of rock for they will take your breath from your chest weakening you and you will not prevail. If you wish to prevail, drape thyself in red and don only the finest and purest of silver for all other metallic adornments will weaken you.
Well, well, that is interesting. The queen said as she sat back and brushed her hair away from her face causing it to cascaded back around her neck.
I will do as you say oracle. I take my leave. The queen stated as she stood brushing her garments off.
Wait! The oracle stated almost shouting. There is something else.
What is it? The queen hissed back, her patience truly being tested.
There is a man, a man out of the old world that will come to you. He will be unlike any man you have encountered. He will follow the old traditions. He will be irresistible and test your resolve. The oracle cowering back from the queen’s glare.
A man! A man! What do I need with a man you old hag! You are wrong I need no one I am the queen and I rule all I see! I shall have you burned at the stake for such impertinence! Men are the cause of all that is wrong, liars, cheats and destroyers of all that is good. The queen clenched her fists, turned, pushed her escort out of the way and stormed out of the old oracle’s hut.
The old hag stared at the ruins on the parchment and let out a sigh seeing her own fate in the ruins. The oracle stood and rose as the queen’s escort grabbed her arms.
But my queen he will bring you great joy, laughter and such happiness. The oracles last prediction fell upon deaf ears as she was escorted out of the castle.
At that moment at the edge of the queen’s kingdom a lone warrior clad in winters garb rode. He stopped at the edge of a large ridge and surveyed the land. Even from this distance he could see the castle; Justice, its highest peaks spiraling into the sky. The amazing site caused the warrior to gasp as he realized his search may finally come to an end. His search had taken him to the four corners of the world and yet he had still to find his heart’s desire. His search having begun years before after an old woman had told him he must seek his heart’s desire close to the water, away from the crushing mountains of the earth but in a land where justice prevails. There you will find the one that will challenge you and if you are worthy, you will receive the reward you so desperately seek. You must seek reds embrace, the touch of the purest of silver as it protects the innocence of the land. The warrior had no idea what the old woman had meant but his heart’s desire drove him on quest.
Now at the end of the world with all his past failures behind him he was now in the land of Justice where he had learned a great queen ruled. The queen he had been told was also a great warrior and protected her land and her subjects with a great determination. She was fare, kind and yet she was always prepared to defend her beloved land with her life. As a result, many had challenged her and she had never lost a battle. The warrior had also heard the queen was a beautiful woman with eyes that changed color with the garments she wore. The queen had a smile that would melt the snow off the highest mountains and skin so soft that not even the softest pelts in all the land could compare. Her laughter would cause the flowers to bloom and the birds of the sky would give pause to hear the sweetness of her voice. The warrior had been captivated by the tales and had ridden with all his speed to this great land at the end of the world. All the while hoping his journey would end. The warrior pulled a water flask from the saddle and drank deeply wondering what this great queen would look like. He replaced the flask and kicked his horse into motion towards the towering peaks of the castle.
Inside the castle, the queen went about her business managing her kingdom with a thoroughness for detail rarely seen in a queen. The queen on this day was draped in a red cape with pure sterling silver earrings. Her gown was made from the finest silks of her land and flowed as water over every movement of her body. The queens hair was pulled up and back exposing her neck to the day’s fresh air. The queen took a drink from her flask and set the parchment she was holding on the table to examine it closer when her aid entered the room at almost a dead run. The queen hating to be disturbed looked up with a glare so penetrating the aid froze in mid stride before reaching the table.
What is it? You know I do not like to be disturbed when I am working? The queen stated through clenched teeth.
The aid gulped as sweat poured down his temples. A warrior has arrived in Justice my queen.
Why do I care about a warrior? Many warriors come to Justice seeking work. Have him see the captain of the guards if he wants work. Now leave me alone to work!
The aids knees weakened as he whispered, but my queen the warrior is asking to see you, my queen.
The queen straightened herself to her full height. Her patience now truly only a thread away from being cut. I do not see common warriors for higher! You know that! Now GET OUT! The queen yelled her final shred of patience lost to the wind.
The aid knowing he would not survive his next statement squeaked, my queen he is outside the door.
The queen’s face turned a crimson red matching the color of her cape as she moved from the table with such quickness that the aid fell to the floor awaiting his queen’s wrath. The queen however on this day, luckily for the aid, had been thinking about the oracles prophecy for some reason and she began to wonder. Is this the man the oracle spoke about? What would he look like and would she really find him irresistible. We shall see. The queen spoke to herself as the revelation caused her to pause. The queen composed herself and helped the aid off the floor. Show him in then, the queen said in the most regal of voices. The aid stood, knees shaky and weak, turning in wonderment towards the door to let the warrior in.
The warrior still amazed at the magnificence of the castle was staring at the celling when the doors to the queen’s study opened. A wave of nervousness washed over the warrior as he stepped forward into the study. His stomach tightened as he looked around the room for the queen and he almost fell as he caught his first glimpse of the queen. He had heard so much about her that he was amazed at her beauty. His mouth dried instantly and a small gasp escaped his lips as he looked into her eyes. His mind began to swirl as he saw a thousand stars staring back at him. The warrior’s heart began to pound and his knees weakened as he slowly moved towards the queen. The queen herself was also caught by surprise and she could not help but smile at this man who had come to her land seeking her.
Come sit with me. The queen stated in the most regal voice she could muster. The warrior moved towards the queen and took a seat across from the queen feeling all the strength finally leaving his legs. The queen’s gaze was so intoxicating the warrior could not turn his gaze from her.
So warrior, the queen began, what is it that you want of me?
The warrior swallowed hard trying to bring moisture back into his mouth and his voice cracked as he spoke.
My queen I have come seeking you.
Oh? The queen replied now curious to see what this warrior would say next.
I was told I would find my heart’s desire if I found you. The warrior replied in almost a whisper.
The queen sat back feeling a strange energy fill the space between her and the warrior and she felt her resolve began to weaken. What is happening, the queen thought as she stared back into the eyes of this warrior she hardly knew.
What is your heart’s desire warrior? The Queen asked in voice so sweet it even surprised her.
To find the one, my queen, the one that will fill my heart with joy. The one that I was told I would forever find happiness and joy with.
The queen’s brow rose as she said in wonderment; how am I to help you find the one? I know no such person. You may seek such a person amongst my subjects but why seek my counsel warrior?
Well my queen, the warrior began, I was given signs that would lead me to that one person and now I am here before you.
Signs, what signs? The queen questioned.
The warrior began from the beginning and told the queen the prophecy the old woman had told him and his adventures leading to his arrival at the queen’s castle. All the while the queen listened a strange feeling was stirring in her stomach and it slowly radiated out through her entire body.
How can this be? The queen spoke not realizing she was speaking aloud.
The warrior not understanding asked, how can what be my queen?
The queen then told the warrior of her encounter with the oracle and her prophecy. When she was done both the queen and the warrior sat quietly neither of their gazes leaving the others. After some time the warrior unable, to contain himself any longer rose slowly and he moved to sit beside the queen.
Long I have searched my queen and up until this moment, I have met none like you. As I sit here next to you, you have stolen my heart and I am forever your servant. The warrior taking the queens hand in his, his eyes never leaving hers, his chest pounding, his inner being crying for her touch, slowly reached up with his free hand grabbing her cloak.
Looking deep into the queens eyes the warrior whispered. You are the one. He pulled her closer and for the first time their lips met in a kiss that sent explosions rippling through their bodies. At that moment an old woman paused, the knife she was holding fell to the floor.
It has happened they have found each other. The queen has found him, a smile slowly spreading across her face as she bent over to pick up the knife. Not too bad for an oracle, now it begins, she said as she chuckled and went back to work.