Only a few moments before dusk was to settle in. The small pond reflected the warm orange tint that it received from the sun. Clouds were scattering, and birds were flying away to their homes so that they may settle in for the night. In the middle of the pond laid a young woman with bright snowy white skin floating on top of the water. Her hair was long and black. She had soft pink lips that would melt in your mouth and a bountiful body that any man would fawn over terribly. The young lady sang, as she would every day at the break of dusk, a gorgeous tune that filled the forest with beautiful melodies complemented by an almost supernatural-like voice.
Another day flies past…
In this pond of mine.
I beseech thee to wind down and rest
For the Moon is soon to Cast down the light…
A slight rustling was heard in the bushes. The song stopped. A visitor? The young water nymph thought. The thought made her heart beat faster than it ever had in centuries. After all, the pond was so difficult to find, and she worried if she left that the Forest would be in danger somehow. But that did not stop her from fantasizing about what sorts of wonders hid beyond the limitations of those woods. Maybe she could fall in love, have children… Or maybe find other nymphs like her and make friends. The young water nymph was giddy. The rustling got louder. Whatever was coming, it was getting closer and closer.
A young man, with long locks of black hair emerged from the bushes. He was tall and built strong, it was clear he was a warrior of some kind. The young spirit sprung up from the water and approached the man closely. She had never seen a human man before…
“You’re naked.” The young man said.
“Naked?” The young water nymph was confused.
“You know, without any clothing.” He was trying to look away from the well-endowed body of the water spirit, but his flushed cheeks gave him away.
“It’s ok, you can look.” Nakedness was the spirit’s natural form. She wasn’t embarrassed about that. But she was a little flustered considering it was the first male to ever lay eyes on her in forever.
The two were locked in conversation for hours. Dusk turned into the deep blacks of night. The stars above were joined by a full moon that lit slightly the small pond. They sat on the short grass close, but not close enough for their bodies to touch. But as the night grew longer and darker, they inched closer to one another until their hands interlocked. What came next was obvious, the man pulled her lips onto his and wrapped his strong arms around her delicate waist.
That night they made love.
For weeks, months or maybe longer, the water spirit did not really pay attention to time, the two met and made love in the presence of the moon and the pond that she guarded. The young nymph was delighted. She had never been happier. Not only did she meet a mortal, but she had a lover! Everything was wonderful. She sang all day long awaiting the arrival of her love. He would tell her stories of his city, the war, and the issue of who would inherit the crown after the current King died.
“See, the King did not have any children and he refuses to give the throne to anyone in his family. So, he decided that the heir would be decided through a contest and whoever won would be crowned king.”
All this talk about Kings and wars did not interest the nymph much. It did not matter who was King or what happened in the outside of the Forest. She was happy living in her little pond and making love with the man. That was enough, she thought. But as time passed the man demanded more of her. He insisted that she should come with him to the Kingdom and that they could start a new life. She was unsure of this. While the idea in of itself was not appalling to her, she did want to have children after all, she did not want to leave her pond or the forest alone. She was sure that leaving was not the right thing for her to do. This was her home.
“Come on, nothing bad will happen. Not as long as I’m here to protect you.”
He lifted his sword into the air with a grandiose expression on his face. The nymph laughed and smiled. They made love once more.
That night, when the man came back from the Forest, one of his fellow warriors told him that there was an urgent meeting to be had in the King’s palace. With a quick pace, they made their way to the palace.
“Gentlemen, the contest will be decided two days from now. As a reminder, the winner shall be he who brings the most impressive offering.”
The room was silent. The greed, the lust for power was throbbing in the air. Only the most important of soldiers were to be considered as candidates for the throne. The nymph’s lover had not found anything of value for the king. But his desire for the crown bested even the most loyal of warriors. He wanted to bring end to the war. The people were suffering the backlash of the prolonged nature of the fight and his own sister had succumbed to death not so long ago due to poor care for the sick. Those with the knowledge of healing were forced to fight in the battlegrounds and the only ones left behind were the elderly, children and the wives of those who served.
I must be King he thought.
After the gathering, many of the warriors went out for drinks. Most of them were ones in a similar position to the nymph’s lover. They had either not found anything at all or what they found was not impressive in any way for a King.
“Fuck this contest! It’s so stupid!” said an already drunk soldier while waving his mug around. Little splashes of beer spilled from the cup onto the floor and on his friend.
“Fuck off, man you’ve gotten me wet with your beer! It’s your own fault for not finding anything worthwhile.”
“Fuck yous—Maybe I should bring him that nymph that’s always in the pond. A little sex slave for the old man. He got the eye of pervert.”
“The like-minded can spot one of their kind as they say… Jokes aside, I don’t think that’s a good idea. They say the nymph of that forest is not to be messed with. Right, Therion?”
The young man had no knowledge of any stories regarding his lover. But he had nothing to be worried about, they were much in love. If they would see the look on her face when he arrives they would know those stories to be a coward’s tale and nothing more. Still, his curiosity bested him.
“Why is that? Is the nymph dangerous?”
“I don’t really know the specifics, all I know is that any man who crosses her path ends up with a curse. At least that’s what they say.”
That same night, Therion went to visit the water nymph. Unsure of what to make of the newfound information he’d deemed it better to just act like normal. It would not be hard. The young nymph was infatuated with him completely.
“My love, you’re back so soon. I thought you had other matters to attend.” She leaned in close and held him by the waist. Her lips were supple, and her eyes looked into his in a way only a woman who was in love could.
“Yes, well, I um… needed to calm my mind so I decided to be with you.”
“What troubles you?”
He couldn’t ask her about the stories. It did not seem right. She was a wonderful being and her presence was the only light that Therion had experienced ever since his sister’s passing. The water nymph was his greatest gift. Nothing else in his life could compare to her. Indeed, there is nothing quite more beautiful than the love we share.
“Well, maybe this song will help ease your thoughts…”
The nymph let go of Therion’s waist and retreated to the pond. Her feet grazed the water not more than the ripples caused by a feather and she began to slide gracefully in a dance. Therion was taken aback. He had heard her sing when he stumbled upon the pond, but only slightly. This time she was pouring all her love into music. The notes floated above them in the inky night sky and seemed to put not only Therion’s heart but the entire forest at ease. What was I thinking! How could I have doubted a love so pure…
That night, Therion thought that it wouldn’t be so bad to settle down here in the forest. He could build a small house for the two of them and they could live off the land. The dream was enticing, but he still desired to be King more. It was simply necessary.
It must be me. No one else.
“Today, a decision shall be made. All of you have brought something to me that you deem of value in some way or another in hopes that it will be enough for the crown to be passed down onto you. One by one you shall present me with your gift. I will come to a decision by the end of the day or if your gift is unique enough I might make the decision then.”
And so, it was, one by one each of the renowned soldiers presented their gifts to the king. Most were obvious: jewels, gold, silver, weapons. The King barely even batted an eye. Others were much more creative: magical objects, a lock of hair from some minor God, rare metals. However, the King still had not come to a decision. It was finally Therion’s turn.
“Therion, you are a wonderful soldier. What have you to present to your King?”
“Milord, I’ve brought you a rarity that no one else could match.”
No doubt this will make me King.
“Oh? You have my attention young warrior. Show me.”
Therion then gave a nudge to the guards situated at the entrance to open the gate. A large iron cage carried by four men by each corner slowly came into the palace interior.
“This, My King, is a water nymph.”
The four men lowered the cage and inside it lay the young water spirit unconscious on the cold surface of iron. The King stood up and peeked inside with a stare so vile and full of insatiable lust that it made Therion’s heart wrench. He clenched his fists tight and steadied himself. Just a while longer. Therion had done it. He knew by the look in the King’s eyes he would make him King on the spot. Clearly his gift, was the most impressive of all. A gift that contained all his love. He had locked his heart and sacrificed it all for the greater good. He needed to be King and this was the price to pay, at least that’s how he convinced himself as he put the nymph to sleep in their last night together.
There is no curse, after all.
As he predicted, Therion was named the heir to the crown and in less than three days the throne would be his. He would never see the water nymph again as the King moved out of the city while taking her with him. Therion assumed the worst. His early years as King were the best. He ended the war... He reformed the laws so that those with less could at the very least be guaranteed treatment by healers (inspired by his sister’s death, no doubt) and many other good deeds. But like the transition between night and day, Therion’s demeanor changed. He became rude, maniacal, perverse and extremely violent. Whoever questioned him was sentenced to death by hanging and those who tried to run… They were too afraid of him to go very far. He did not understand it. He felt torn by his actions. It was as if he were merely audience to his own body’s actions.
Then, he remembered his love. The song she song so beautifully. Only now did he understand the words she sang, and this realization haunted him with an iron grip until his last breath. But on that night, the only thing he could muster to feel was his guilt that poured down as tears unto his hands as he gripped tightly each of the throne’s arms.
Slowly she knew of the burden he bore,
Of the pain that grew stronger,
Like waves in a moonlit shore.
To thee, my beloved I share thy soul
But only if your love is unwavering
Like a fire sparked of divine coal.
Betray me if you must, my dear,
she whispered in his ear,
For time will come to haunt you
And this curse forever you will hear.
P.S: Comment if you liked it! Or tell me why you didn't! Any feedback is welcome as long as it's constructive.
Gracias por leer!