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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #2028721
Jenn and Matt discover their past lives as star-crossed lovers cursed by a sorceress.
Prompt 1

Word Count: 2,953

Gwen stood in the shadows of the palace ballroom watching the lords and ladies sweep around the shiny floor in their finest formal wear until she found prince Matrim, the guest of honor. His father was hosting the ball to celebrate the young prince’s sixteenth birthday, and the poor boy looked absolutely bored to tears. He danced with every woman waiting in line, but did not seem to delight in any of them. He seemed to be searching for something until he spotted her. Her breath caught as their gaze held for too long. She let it out in a sigh of disappointment, and looked away from him when a hand gripped her shoulder. Her young brilliant green eyes met the wizened matching pair of her mother, the Royal Magus, Morgan.

“You are staring again,” Morgan chided. “You both know it can never be; especially now that his betrothed is living in the palace.”

“I know,” Gwen sighed. She pulled away from Morgan, and stepped out onto one of the balconies. It was empty so she crossed to the railing and rested her arms on it; looking out past the village at the wilderness beyond. She wished she was there instead of where she was. As a Mage she should have been sent to the local Tower of Magi, but being born the Royal Magus’s daughter permitted her a perceived notion of freedom. On the flip side of the coin she was obligated to serve as the next Royal Magus. “Tower or palace, it is still a cage.”

“Gwen!” A familiar voice called.

She turned to see Prince Matrim coming toward her carrying a goblet. She spread the skirts of the green silk gown the King ordered made for her, and offered the Prince a deep curtsy. “My Lord, I hope you are having a wonderful birthday.”

“Almost,” Matrim smiled and offered her the goblet. “I have not danced with my closest and dearest friend yet.”

Gwen waved the goblet away. Matrim brought it to his mouth, which always seemed to be curved into a mischievous smile. Gwen watched his lips part to allow a small bit of the liquid in the cup to flow into his mouth. Matrim never was a big drinker. He preferred to part his lips for kisses. Gwen recalled a time when they parted to kiss her.

He found her at their special place after a fight with her mother. She was crying, and he tried to comfort her. His comforting included massaging her shoulders, and murmuring in her ear. His lips brushed her ear. She turned to chide him, and met his mouth with hers. Instead of pulling away he slid his fingers into her long reddish-blonde curls and his tongue between her parted lips.

“Gwen,” his voice jolted her from her day dream. She looked up into his dark blue eyes, and backed into the railing when she found him mere inches from her. He set the goblet on the rail, wrapped his arm around her waist, and took her hand in his. “Perhaps you drank enough tonight.”

“I only drank a sip when we toasted your birth—“she began as he swept her into a turn. She gathered her skirts, and followed his lead around the balcony.

“I was hoping you would be the first in line after Lady Brianne,” Matrim stated. “I was disappointed to see you standing off in the shadows.”

“My apologies your Grace,” Gwen stated. “I did not think it was my place to—“

“Oh please stop,” Matrim groaned. “If you address me so politely one more time I will remind you of what a scoundrel I can be.”

“Mat,” she gasped as his hand slid from her waist across her back to rest just above her rear. “We cannot play in such a manner anymore.”

“Who is playing?” he inquired giving the strings of her bodice a light tug.

“I believe you have drank a bit too much,” Gwen teased. She attempted to extract herself from his arms, and found herself back against the railing of the balcony again.

“Perhaps you have not drank enough,” Matrim growled. He leaned in to kiss her, and nipped her fingers when she pressed them to his pursed lips.

“Matrim,” she gasped. “We cannot. You know the law forbids…”

“I know what the damned law forbids,” Matrim grumbled. “I spend most of my days being schooled on the laws and what they forbid, and I say fuck them.”

“Matrim,” Gwen could not help her girlish giggle. She found his brazen disregard for social standards quite funny. “Your father and your betrothed would not agree with you.”

“Well fuck them too,” he whispered against her ear. “I want you Gwen. Let us get the hell out of here, and go somewhere we will not be recognized. I will farm and you can heal people with your magic.”

“Surely you have drank too much,” Gwen scolded. She grabbed the goblet from the railing, and tipped her head back downing the entire contents in a swallow before he could stop her. “There, now you need to stop saying things you do not mean.”

“You think it is the wine making me speak this way?” Matrim challenged. He grabbed her face between his hands, and pressed his mouth to hers. “I love you, I have always loved you, and I will give up my claim to the crown if that is what it will take for us to be together.”

“Is that so?” A calm cold voice inquired from behind him. They both looked to see a tall, pale woman with blond hair spilling down her back, ice blue eyes, and a set of full pouting red lips. “I thought I would find you two out here.”

“My Lady,” Matrim straightened, angling himself in front of Gwen.

“Please,” Gwen chimed in. “He has been drinking; he does not mean anything he said.”

“Silence!” The woman shouted. “If you two wish to be together so much then you shall,” she raised her hands in the air, and an aura of magic surrounded her. She began to chant, and a vortex formed around Matrim and Gwen.

“What is this?” Matrim asked.

“It is a life draining vortex,” Gwen stated. “My mother told me about them, but only dark casters use them.”

“Can you counter it?” Matrim asked.

“No!” Gwen answered. Her heart tightened. This was magic beyond her. Matrim sank to his knees, and she knelt beside him. He was more susceptible due to his lack of magic training, but the vortex would claim her life soon as well.

The other woman approached the swirling vortex of energy. She stared through it directly into Gwen’s eyes. “You will both be reborn every hundred years in the same lifetime, you will know each other, and yearn for each other, but neither of you will ever tell the other. This is my curse upon you.”

At that moment Gwen felt the life drawn out of her, and she fell beside an already lifeless Matrim.

. . .

Jen awoke from her dream gasping for air. It was the same dream she had since she and her childhood friend Matt reconnected at college. They were good friends, and she hoped one day for it to become something more, but it never did. Perhaps today would be the day, she thought as she hauled herself out of bed.

As she showered she thought about how she wanted the day to go. Matt was driving her to the annual renaissance fair. It was not his favorite thing to do on a Saturday, but he was willing to be her escort for the day. She could have gone alone, but she knew that wouldn’t be any fun.

When her doorbell rang she rushed to the door, and paused to check her hair in a nearby mirror. A knock drew her attention back to the door. At least he’s as anxious as I am; she thought as she unlocked the door and pulled it open.

Matt stood on her front porch wearing a white polo shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and sneakers. His well-trimmed beard framed a shy smile that reached his dark blue eyes. He ran his fingers through his short cropped hair. She inhaled the smell of him as he stepped forward and embraced her in a friendly hug, which lasted a fraction longer than she expected. She gently extracted herself from his arms.

“Hey, Jen,” he smiled down at her. “That’s a pretty dress. I feel a bit under dressed. What’s the occasion?”

“Sometimes a girl just wants to look pretty,” Jen smiled. She slung her purse onto her shoulder, and followed him to his car.

He opened the passenger door for her, and she lowered herself into the car. “You don’t need a dress to make you look pretty,” he commented before closing the door.

As she watched him come around to the driver’s side of the car she wondered what he meant by that comment. He climbed in and started the car. He angled his body so he could see behind him as he backed out and stretched an arm to touch the head rest of her seat. As he turned to face front his arm brushed her, and she inhaled. They both rested their arms on the center console as he drove. She grinned when she felt his arm press lightly to hers, and added a bit of pressure from her own..

“Thank you for this,” Jenn said. “I owe you big time.”

“Not at all,” Matt shook his head. “I’m happy to spend the day with you."

“We haven’t spent a lot of time together since college, and I’ve missed you,” Jenn admitted.

“I’ve missed you too,” Matt stated. He casually brushed her with his pinky, and grinned at the surprised sound she made.

Matt smiled and turned his attention back to driving. The car crunched over the gravel in the parking lot as he drove up and down the aisles trying to find a parking space. He finally found one in the back forty. Matt eyed her platform sandals as he assited her out of the car.

“Are you going to be ok walking in those?” Matt asked.

“Yes,” Jen answered.

They walked to a set of stone arches, which served as an entry gate. Jen took the program offered by a woman in a bodice, and long skirt.

“Good Den Lord and Lady,” the woman smiled. “I do hope you enjoy your day in the shire.”

“Thank you,” Jen smiled back. “Good den to you as well.”

“Oh, thank you m’ lady!”

“Where to first, m’ lady?” Matt teased. He offered her his arm, and covered her hand when she gently gripped his bare forearm.

“Are you hungry?” Jen asked.

“I could eat,” Matt admitted.

Jen lifted her chin and sniffed the air. She caught the scent of fair food right away. “This way,” she said giving his arm a gentle tug. Matt allowed her to lead him to a food stand selling fried turkey legs, shepherd’s pie, and Scottish eggs.

“It’s on me,” she said when he reached for his wallet.

“Thank you,” he smiled.

When it was there turn in line they ordered a fried turkey leg, shepherd’s pie, and two soft drinks. They took their food and settled on a plot of grass under a shade tree. They each ate a portion of the turkey leg and shepherd’s pie. Once they finished their lunch they disposed of their trash, and strolled down a nearby macadam path. Jenn stopped suddenly by a dirt path leading away from the main fair. The sign beside the path was a wooden arrow pointing away from them, which read “Gypsy Camp”.

“Is that part of the fair?” Matt inquired.


“Well, shall we check it out?” Matt asked.

Matt took her hand, and they started down the path. When they stepped into the circle of tents Jenn felt a chill pass through her body. She stopped and scanned the circle of tents. “Is everything alright?”

“I feel strange,” Jenn admitted. “Like something is waiting for us here.”

“Not something, dearie, someone,” an old decrepit voice croaked. They both looked to see a hunch backed crone hobbling toward them on a gnarled walking staff. Jenn instinctively stepped back, and to the side, putting Matt between herself and the creepy old woman. “I have been waiting quite some time for you to arrive. Follow me please.”

Matt looked back over his shoulder at Jenn. He took her hand, and led her forward. She followed his lead as he followed the crone. She led them to a tent on the opposite side of the circle, and pulled back one of the entry flaps, motioning them inside.

“Hold on,” Matt stopped in front of her keeping Jenn behind him. “Who are you? And how did you know we were coming let alone who we are?”

“Oh, Mat,” she gave him a patient smile. “You are always so inquisitive, and so protective. I will answer all of your questions, but we must get inside.”

The crone’s eyes looked past them at the path leading into the camp. Jenn looked to see what drew her attention. A tall blond woman was heading toward them. She wore a navy pants suit, high heels, and her shiny blond hair was pulled into a tight bun on top of her head, giving her face a more severe look. Her eyes were cold blue steel, and her mouth curved in a wicked smile. Jenn felt those eyes see right into her soul. She turned back to Matt and the crone.

“I’d rather trust the kind old lady than what’s coming our way,” Jenn protested.

Matt looked in the direction they both looked and saw the woman coming toward them. Though he found her attractive, he also felt a sense of terror and urgency to get away from her. He pulled Jenn into the tent as deep as he dared without seeming intrusive. The crone entered behind them, and pulled the entry flaps shut. She murmured a few words and then stepped away from the entry flaps. She motioned to two cushions on the opposite side of a low set, rectangular shaped, wooden table. Matt led Jenn to one of the cushions, and settled her on it. He settled on the cushion beside her. The crone settled onto the cushion across from them. The walls of the tent rippled as if being blown by a breeze. Jenn shuddered and scooted closer to Matt. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and held her close.

“I am Morgan, mother of Gwen,” her eyes rested on Jenn. “I was also the royal magus to his majesty King Jarrod, and his son prince Matrim.” Her eyes moved to Matt.

Both Jen and Matt shifted under her gaze.

“Matrim and Gwen became very close friends. Their friendship blossomed into something more. The King never knew, and he arranged a marriage for his son with a daughter from a neighboring kingdom.”

“Lady Brianne,” the name escaped Jenn’s mouth on a trembling whisper.

“What?” Matt looked at her his mouth open in surprise.

“Yes,” Morgan confirmed. She reached out to Jen. “You’ve been having the dreams? Please enlighten us?”

The wind began to howl, and the walls of the tent rippled more violently. Matt’s face showed genuine confusion. Jen’s eyes widened and she began to shake as violently as the structure around them. Matt’s expression morphed from confusion into concern, and his one arm embrace tightened around Jen.

“Oh, don’t worry about the tantrum outside,” Morgan assured them waving a dismissive hand in the air. She took both of their hands in hers, and stared into Jen’s eyes. “If you are too frightened to speak, allow me to help you show us.”

A surge of power flowed from Morgan into Matt and Jen. The three of them witnessed the death of a young couple that resembled Matt and Jen. When they came out of the vision Jen sucked air into her lungs as if something actually stole her life.

Matt paled and his body trembled. “What the hell…”

“The curse has followed Matrim and Gwen for centuries. Each time they are reborn they are able to come closer and closer to breaking her curse. However, she is able to stop them by killing one or both of them before they can truly be together,” Morgan drew Jen and Matt’s hands together and clasped them. “You two have come very far very fast. She was not expecting this.”

“Who?" Matt asked. "What does this have to do with us?”

“You two are the reincarnations of Gwen and Matrim,” Morgan stated. “And the storm outside is an attempt to destroy you.”

The seams of the tent began to tear. Morgan moved to their side of the table. She wrapped both of Matt’s arms around Jenn, and Jen’s arms around him.

“There is no more time for explanations,” Morgan stated. “No matter what happens don’t let each other go; even if you get separated on the journey.”

“What do you mean?” Matt inquired.

Morgan stepped away, folded her hands, and began to chant. Matt and Jenn closed their eyes as a bright white light enveloped the world around them. They heard a shriek of rage and the tearing of fabric before their bodies were pulled into a vacuum of nothing.
© Copyright 2015 Vixey Todd (jlh1982 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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