The One Who Causes
The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.
Once upon a time, there
was a beautiful enchantress
with hair as dark as the night and skin that was made from ivory and silk.
Princes and knights came from far and beyond to gaze at her face,
bearing jewels that paled against the beauty she bore.
"Attention, class, attention!" One, twice, thrice: teacher Cat claps his hands for the class to remain quiet, and Rue allows herself to smile. She holds her breath, her arms in the fourth position, her feet on the fifth. "Now, pay attention as Rue does a demonstration. Now, dear Rue, if you could?"
She smiles again before she closes her eyes and she waits just for the first Do to start. Then she's on her tiptoes and she's flowing, she has to make it look easy. The princess is begging for her loved one, 'please, please oh great king, save him, save his life'. Rue's eyes open and she reaches towards nothing and she has to stay like that in an arabaresque for four, five seconds before her leg lowers and her back curls with it.
It's like breathing, this yearning. She can understand it. Mytho isn't in the room but it doesn't matter because he's always there, always present, as if dark claws had a grip around her heart, as if the one reason she could possibly exist was this, trying to reach for him.
In the story, now, the princess crumbles forward as she begs 'please save him, please, please, I can't live without him, please, please' and as she does her last pirouette before she falls down, Rue hates this story and the princess' weakness with all her heart.
I'll protect him, she thinks. He doesn't need anyone else. I'll protect him.
Every day the
enchantress would go to a secret grove
and she would kneel and watch her face on the mirror of the water,
and she would ask:
Kraehe remembers being small and clumsy, nothing graceful on her figure at all. 'My uncute daughter,' Father would say. "My poor daughter, trapped inside a human body."
Before Mytho, she used to dream of turning back into a raven, dark and graceful like her father was, strong and wise and unstoppable. Before Mytho, she waited for the day where her white skin would be covered with feathers and her legs would be claws.
Kraehe remembers when Rue was born, a small and clumsy human girl who adored a heartless prince
She remembers kissing the Prince's cheek, making him vow that he would meet her later. Even if it meant that the dark boy would get mad at him.
"Promise me!" she would say, holding tightly unto Mytho's hand. Tell me you don't want me to let go. Tell me I'm hurting you. Tell me!
But all Mytho did was say: "I promise."
At least he was there, Kraehe remembers thinking that. At least he always was there.
"Am I the fairest
woman in the world?"
and only her voice would answer in awe
'fairest woman in the world, in the world, in the world'
and she would smile.
It's been nine years, she thinks, since the first time she met Mytho, when he saved her. In a place where time has been stolen, in a place where time does not quite exist, she remembers how much time it has been, perhaps one of two people who are aware of the way time and its minutes shift differently in Kinkan.
Her face is different, her voice, her body, and yet the Prince remains the same. His eyes, his mouth. Kraehe touches his lips and she remembers kissing him, moves her hand to touch his hand and she finds it cold, as it always has been (and she tries not to think about how it had been warmer, lately, and she tries not to think about how the Prince had looked when he had smiled. It hadn't been a smile for her, never for her, so she hated it, hated that look, hated it so much--).
Kraehe curls close to Mytho, and she tries not to think about how it would have been to do so with the faint whispers of a heartbeat that was barely remembering how to exist inside his chest. She whispers a kiss against the quiet-not-existent pulse of his neck and Kraehe closes her eyes tightly. Mytho's eyes are open upon the night, but they reflect no light, just like his body holds no warmth for her.
"I'll make you mine," Kraehe promises, softly, wishing once again for feathers upon her so that she can keep him warm. "Please, be mine."
Mytho doesn't answer, doesn't move. Kraehe waits.
But one day, when the
enchantress was not paying attention, "Are you the
fairest woman in the world?"
one swan had found it's way inside the grove as well,
the most beautiful swan that she had ever seen,
white its feathers, as pure as the snow and of dark ebony its beak
and the enchantress knew she had never seen beauty like the swan's before
so instead of asking the water, she made her question to the swan.
But instead of answering as it should, saying yes
the swan questioned her back:
"Are you the fairest woman in the world?"
(Mytho is scary now)
No! He's just different and becoming hers. So he now smiles to other girls, but it's only because they need their heart to feed it to her father. Father will grow strong and then Mytho will be hers.
(Mytho is cruel now)
No! He's harsher, perhaps, but he didn't have a heart before and he's learning. Loving is hard, of course it can tire you enough to say bitter truths that you'd rather not hear. Kraehe understands it. Mytho just has to get used to belonging to her and only to her.
(Mytho is breaking down)
No! Mytho is just... Mytho is just...
Mytho will be okay. Mytho is hers and he finally loves her. Even if he's scary now, even if he's cruel now, even if he's not the prince she once knew. He's Mytho and she loves him no matter what.
Kraehe wraps her arms around herself and she tries to remember how to breath.
The enchantress didn't
know how to answer that
for she had always depended on the voices that had told her
that she was the fairest one of them all
and only the swan's question remained,
it's clear eyes and pristine beauty too much to bear,
so the enchantress took a rock and bashed the swan's head with it.
As she dances with the raven that once upon a time was a prince, Rue finally realizes something. If she was a princess, she would have saved Mytho. It comes clear as the day, straight as an arrow hitting her chest, breaking what remains of her heart into shards that remain inside her. Her heart is too dark for the pieces to come free.
If she was a princess, then her love would have set Mytho free. Rue crumbles forward, even as Mytho, now a monster, wraps his wings around her, turning around, pressing close. If she was a princess, then Mytho would be happy.
Why didn't she realize this before? Why was she so blind? She sobs, even as the beast holds her form. She remains graceful and perfect, but she is not a princess. She's nothing but a doll, a cursed doll.
How could a cursed doll ever pretend to love a prince?
As the red blood
covered the white feathers,
and as she put the swan inside the water mirror,
she didn't realize that she had just become a witch.
Rue tries to keep on running but she trips. She's not graceful. She's not kind, nor majestic. She's nothing but a human girl who can't save a prince, her prince. She cannot be a princess. She cannot be Mytho's princess, she's not worthy, she can't be his prima donna.
But I love him, she thinks, feeling the way her own heart is breaking into a thousand pieces, and if he's not careful the pieces will fly away, and then she'll be nothing. She cannot bear to lose him, she won't, she can't, she can't...
If she can't be his princess and if the only thing she can do in her weakness is beg for his life, then so be it. There is one spot left in the story, and the story already has a prince and he already has chosen his prima donna.
I'll be his Tutu. Let me be the one who disappears because she loves him. Let me be the one who says--
"I love you! I've always loved you, always, always!"
In some versions, However, the one people like the
most says I wonder, I wonder:
which one could be right?
the Witch grows mad and, in her delirium, she jumps inside the water,
hoping she'd be able to find
the voices that once upon a time had called her beautiful.
that the tears her grief and sadness caused fell upon the mirror the water had made
and they woke up the Swan and it swam towards her,
and despite the fact that its feathers were now tainted red, just like her hands,
it embraced the Witch and called her the fairest one of them all.
However, the one people like the
I wonder, I wonder: which one could be right?