"Twined in Gold"
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Characters: Ensemble Cast
Summary: The more she sees of the world, the more she sees it for the glorious palette of colour it truly was – so different from the black and white tales Gothel had always told her.
Notes: This year I am playing around with the 50 sentence challenge over at another site - which prompts one to write four stories a month based on a set of fifty prompts. The fifty prompts result in one sentence each, and then a whole story is formed from the snapshots provided in those sentences. Obviously, this challenge will slaughter grammar, and bring out the seldom seen fandom from the muse - but is a fun and curious thing that has already been incredibly interesting. If you wish to, you can track my progress in my profile.
For Table II I tackled Tangled– because I needed something light and fluffy after my previous run of stories. As always, I thank-you for reading.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.
If she was very quiet, she could sneak past the sleeping Gothel to peer out the tower window in order to see where the sky was brightening with lights just beyond – and, as if they were lit for her alone, Rapunzel vowed that someday she would be there to see just what they were made of – and why they called to her so.
Their daughter was stolen, but not forgotten – never forgotten – and so every year the King and Queen flooded the night sky with light in order to lead their own back home, sure that as she had been born by the grace of the sun, that she would be returned by its light as well.
"Yes, Pascal – there are still quite a few places to hide here in the tower; and no Pascal – we are not moving this game out there. . . Mother wouldn't appreciate that at all."
"The world is a dangerous place," Gothel weaved in a wine hued voice, ensnaring the child with her tales so that in time the girl wouldn't see her tower as a prison – but a sanctuary.
If she stood back and watched the paintings on the walls, the colors and rhythm of the lines started to dance before her, a secret in the larger pattern that she couldn't quite put her finger on – not yet.
The child was lonely, but her laughter rang of a magic that the lesser folk instinctively recognized and responded to – and so Pascal stayed with the girl with the golden hair, filling her life with colors she wouldn't be privy to otherwise within the confines of her tower.
Sometimes Gothel remembered it – remembered the twin looks of horror and despair in the eyes of the monarchs she stole the child from, and the more and more Rapunzel's gaze started to mirror Heulyn's, the more often the memory came back to disturb her – an inkling of conscious soothed by the weight of gold in her hands, sustaining her youth as her flower sung.
Her grip on the frying pan trembled – but it didn't effect her aim one bit as the unaware man fell heavily before her.
The sight of the man didn't cause fear to spike through her (after all, the intruder didn't have pointy teeth, and he didn't seem to be cannibalistic as Mother had said all men were), actually, a small part of her wanted to smile at the look of him . . . right before he woke up again, that was.
The diamonds on the crown caught the light, casting playful patterns on her face as the dainty ring sat upon her head as if made for her.
Heulyn felt strong arms wrap around her from behind, a warm grin and sad eyes meeting her own with a smile that tried to coax her to smile as well – finding a solace and peace only in the other as their daughter's eighteenth birthday came closer and closer – another day to be marked alone, and alone to stay.
She could be content, she tried to tell herself – she had her mother, and she had Pascal's company - the years would pass slowly, but they would pass easily, peacefully; spared the pain and mysteriousness of the outside world.
That arrow was a little too close for comfort – but Flynn had become nothing if not competent over the years at dodging pursuers – and angry ones, at that.
. . . and yet, the fanatical horse who fancied himself a bloodhound was a new one for Flynn, just saying.
Gothel felt a cold feeling of dread spike through her as she took off after her missing daughter, the fear not completely for the source of her eternal youth – but for the child who was her own in all but name, even if the connection was of treachery born.
The girl was tiny – cute and curved without being voluptuous, with glass boned fingers and dainty bare feet – nothing about her was threatening (minus the mass of hair which bound him) . . . and then his world went black – again.
Somewhere halfway down the tower Rapunzel let herself grin at the feel of the wind in her hair – blowing through her skirts and stinging her eyes as she voiced her delight to the skies, the incredible feeling of beginninga giddy rush through her very veins.
She had never felt the grass beneath her feet before – the stream was a new sensation to her fingers, and everywhere different sights and sounds assaulted her until she was almost overwhelmed, the gates of her life finally open before her, and leaving her trembling in the shadows they cast.
She catches a cold not even two weeks after their adventure together – and there was something misting over Eugene's eyes (like regret) when she couldn't heal herself, even as her fascination with her symptoms almostchased away the sour taste of memory with humour's balm.
Her hair never ended – it just went on and on and on and onuntil he wondered how on earth she was able to get through her day without screaming in frustration (or how she escaped a rather wicked run of migraines, at that).
Her fear disappeared as her indignation took over – Flynn was herguide, and no amount of ruffians and thieves could take him from her before she had seen her lanterns and was safely returned to her tower.
Theirs was a dead end, a tunnel with no light at the end (save for the one he would really rather avoid), and so he let forth his secrets in a wave of remorse and despair over a life half lived as the icy water rose higher and higher still.
Okay, so her hair glowed when she sang – no big deal, he could get used to that . . . oh dear Gods, but her hair glowed when she sang, and it even healed, and for once this was something he most certainly was not making up!
On the shore Eugene saw the two brothers, and in his hands the satchel was heavy as he made the decision to completely sunder himself from his old dream in favor of one new.
"What?" Rapunzel asked in bafflement, her clear voice vexed at his laughter as she blinked innocently at him, "I was trying to make the smolder."
Sitting in the shadows away from the fire and her two unlikely companions, Gothel looked in distaste at the grey that was beginning to thread through the raven cast of her hair, drawing a chuckle from one of the brothers – the one with the sideburns, "you know – I've always had a thing for older women myself."
The more she sees of the world – a veritable palate of hues and colours before her, the more she fails to understand Gothel's bleached out tales of black and white.
"I see light," the Roma woman whispered in a heavy voice, her ancient eyes fond past her parlour tricks and futures whispered in exchange for coin, something truly blazingin the fates of the two she read before her.
She tackled the history of her land with an eagerness that surprised even her tutors – for while she had been shut away for so long, knowledge of any kind was her great delight, and Eugene was treated to the stories of the kings of old every evening when she couldn't help but spill the great stories to him – her eyes bright as she imagined herself – and him – added to their ranks.
She sketches him with a concentration that amuses him – her tongue sneaking between her lips, and her brow creased most seriously – and he has to thank her for having the courtesy to get his nose right.
She was almost a fairytale creature to him – a girl with magical hair who coaxed ruffians to sing of dreams, instilled justice over the law in a fanatic horse, and had him– swashbuckling, devil may care Flynn Ryder posing as Eugene and risking his life for reasons completely without gain.
"You feel warm – is it a fever?" Rapunzel inquired, her eyes large with concern, and Eugene had to stifle a chuckle as he wondered how to tell her that it wasn't a fever, but a much more human failing that he wasn't quite sure how to yet explain to her.
The lanterns raced to greet the night sky, and as close to the heavens as she could get in the small boat, Rapunzel reached a hand out as if to touch them, her smile bewitching and joyous as she blinked back reflected starlight – and something inside of Eugene flared into life like the ocean of light around them.
She covered every inch of her room in the palace with murals, and when she runs out of room, she started encroaching on his quarters as well – someday, Eugene joked, she would run out of walls to paint and she just smiled and said that they would have to build more.
"I mean she's nice and all – really nice, too nice even – and she's pretty, and she has that goofy little smile she gets every time she sees something new for the first time . . . aaaaand, I'm talking to a horse, that's just great," Eugene ran a frustrated hand through his hair as Maximus wore his single thought quite clearly on his face: idiot.
The King's hand was heavy on his shoulder – and instantly, Eugene found himself standing tall in reflex, expecting criticism or disapproval - but instead the kindly monarch's eyes were glossy as he hoarsely said, "Thank-you . . . for returning our daughter to us."
She stood in the rains for the longest time, completely silent, something almost inhuman in the splendor of the storm, her small body shuddering under the wealth of new sensation – sometimes, when all she was learning, and experiencing overwhelmed her, she'd retreat to moments like this – letting the water wash the whole of her anew – a blank canvas all over again.
"And so the bad-guy I will be," Gothel seethed, stalking towards the headstrong girl – who while always unconsciously carried the grace of a royal now held the haughtiness of one as well – her steps slow and measured, and every bit as sinister as her life had shaped her to be.
Her hair was gone, the comforting weight of it destroyed and the skin of her neck left cold to the tower air – but it was nothing as to the grief that threatened to consume her as she gathered the broken man to her – drawing everything in her that felt warm – like healing– and pushed it out through her song . . . and fervently, she wished.
Somewhere down the line, his affection for the girl had turned into an unspoken oath – she was his to protect and follow, and the distance between the prison and her was one he was determined to cross (nooses and enraged guards were a trite technicality which he was still trying to find his way around).
The tower stairs were narrow and dark, and she couldn't go down by his side – so instead he led her, hand in hand; a small part of him marveling at the almost ethereal rush of feeling in him – gratitude, devotion and determination and so much more.
"You see, mother used to . . ." with a flush of her cheeks Rapunzel let her gaze drop from the Queen as she remembered, and Heulyn paused from where she was weaving flowers into her daughter's hair - the woman who had forged a relationship with her daughter in place of her own once again holding a black shadow over all of them.
"Not that I don't love the idea of this, Blondie, but your Father actually likesme, and I'd like to keep it that way," Eugene tried to protest when Rapunzel sneaked into his rooms one night when the storms raged outside, but the girl was already nodding off – and the smile on her face was nothing but innocent, killing his concerns before they really began.
The face in the mirror was ravaged by stolen time, sickly and grey with yellow eyes glaring out at her in an unnatural seething - a hate that she carried with her the whole of her fall until to dust she was returned.
"You know that this is all for you," Eugene said sullenly as Rapunzel helped him with his frankly torturous garb of state – knowing that the only reason he was attending the Western Lord's coronation ceremony was for the girl before him.
"My hair is the same color as my mother's," Rapunzel whispered, her tone awed while she ran curious hands through the short flare of her bangs, soothing Eugene's remorse over her loss (really, if he had known about the whole not-growing-back thing, he would of cut it neater – or tried to, anyway).
"That warm feeling . . . that's called love, my dear," Heulyn smiled softly, bemused as Rapunzel took in her words – a small glow rising within her as she realized that there were things she still was able to teach to her daughter, yet.
"This isn't quite what I had in mind when I set out for a crown," Eugene quipped nervously, adjusting the ring of gold on his brow with fingers that didn't quite tremble – the idea of a kingdom and a kingship before him an adventure more terrifying to him than anything he had yet faced.
"Normally this is done the other way around," Eugene said warmly, trying not to grin at the vision of Rapunzel kneeling down on one knee before him, holding a simple gold band out to him with an earnest smile on her face, asking for the honor of his hand.
For her nineteenth birthday, Rapunzel was at her parent's side when they lit the first lantern – together - her intended's hand warm in her own as around her the kingdom – her people – filled the sky with their thanksgiving, and hopes for the bright future ahead.