The Prince and the Storyteller. Prologue.

"A Storyteller?" The Painter's Daughter repeated, looking towards the Lord's Son with interest. Her hair was a riot of red curls, her eyes greener than any jewel the Lord's Son had seen in his entire life. She looked stunning in the dress he'd given her, the blue silk making her lovely features stand out all the more. Then again, she had been beautiful in the common cotton she'd worn when she had arrived with her mother to the Lord's manor to work on a commission. It was then that the Lord's Son had decided to court her with all of his attentions.

"Yes," The Lord's Son answered, amused with the curiosity in the girl's eyes. His gold eyes glittered as he took a hold of her hand, their fingers intertwining together. He ignored the occasional looks from the townspeople. In his family's lands there was no need to be discreet. A Lord's Son could marry a Painter's Daughter without strife, and that's exactly what he planned to do once they were both of age. "He travels through my family's lands and stays here for a few months, taking a break from the roads. We often invite him over for dinner to hear his tales." The Painter's Daughter looked thoughtful.

"They must be good stories, for the Lord to invite him over for dinner." She said, letting the Lord's Son direct her through the busy streets of the town, towards the large fountain that marked the Town Square. Venders shouted from their carts, some holding out rich, steaming foods that made the mouth water, other was showing off their crafted goods. Children ran about in the streets, their faces always familiar. This was home to her, plain and simple.

"The best. He sent word that he'd be arriving today, and I planned on meeting him. I wanted you to hear one of his tales." The Lord's Son explained, leading the Painter's Daughter to the base of the fountain. It was a priceless work of art that the Painter herself had designed for the Lord. A large, marble angel, clad in stone robes stood, ringed by arches of water. It's wings were spread wide, water falling from the ends of its feathers like rain, joining the pool at the angel's feet. The Painter's Daughter gazed at the fountain, feeling a sense of pride, before looking at the Lord's Son. His blonde hair seemed to shimmer, even in the shadow of the Angel's wings, his eyes staring out across the Square. She was completely enamored with him, even though her mother didn't approve of of her daughter being courted at such a young age. She watched as his eyes widened a fraction, delight filling them.

"Aha! There you are!" He pointed, and the Painter's Daughter followed his finger to a tall figure clad in a myriad of colors. His cloak was stitched together of various fabrics in every shade, from a deep purple to a bright green, with a splash of bright and cheerful orange in the mix. The stranger's hand was raised, waving to someone in the distance, causing the colors of the cloak to shine and flicker in the sunlight. The Painter's Daughter thought the cloak a work of art, much like her mother's fountain, and she couldn't help but admire it as they walked towards the stranger. The figure turned, and the Painter's Daughter was surprised to see that the traveler was a man with golden eyes, much like the Lord's Son. Only while her suitor's eyes reminded her of the sun in the morning sky, this man's eyes reminded her of a cat, full of mystery and secrets.

How strange.

When they reached the man, the Lord's Son placed a hand on his shoulder, grinning widely. "It's been forever since we last saw you. Staying out of trouble, I would hope?" The stranger grinned, and up close the Painter's Daughter saw that he was indeed quite tall, his skin as gold as the wheat during the harvest.

"For the most part." The man replied, patting the hand on his shoulder, before he gaze was drawn to the Painter's Daughter. "Is this the little miss you were talking about? The one that wants to hear my tales?" He asked, smiling at the Painter's Daughter.

"I'm not a little miss." The Painter's Daughter replied, looking insulted. "And I don't even know if I want to hear your stories." The Lord's Son looked at her in surprise, but the traveler just laughed, throwing his head back so far that the hood of his multicolored cloak fell, revealing pitch black hair.

"Ah, the heart of a dragon, this one. I can see why you like her." The man waggled his eyebrows at the Lord's Son, before motioning to the lip of the fountain. "I have quite a few tales about dragons, if you'd like to hear about your kin. Have a seat, Painter's Daughter, and I will tell you them. After all, I am but a humble Storyteller, with nothing but my memories." He moved to sit down on the seat of the fountain, and the Painter's Daughter looked on in confusion.

"How do you know who I am?" She asked, surprised. The Storyteller grinned as her, motioning to the sleeves of her dress. They were speckled with paint from the portrait she'd been working on earlier this morning.

"Who else would allow such a pretty silk dress to get stained with paint?" He leaned back, relaxing in the shadow of the fountain. The Painter's Daughter blushed, hiding her hands behind her back. "Not to mention the Lord's Son sends letters to my Traveling Companion all the time describing your beauty. I could pick you out from a crowd with my eyes covered." The Painter's Daughter looked at the Lord's Son, smiling at the embarrassed look on his face. "Now, did you want that dragon story or not?"

"No." She replied, moving to sit next to Storyteller on the fountain. He looked at her from the corner of his eye, surprised. "I want to hear a story about true love." The Storyteller blinked, before chuckling.

"Still a girl at heart, I see. Nothing wrong what that, of course." The Storyteller added at the look on her face. "In fact, my best story happens to be one about true love. It's a long one though, would you still like to hear it?" He asked, and the Painter's Daughter felt a strange excitement build in her chest. She hardly noticed the Lord's Son sitting down next to her.

"Yes, I want to hear it." She answered, and the Storyteller grinned. "What is it about?"

"It's about how a beautiful Prince fell in love with a simple Storyteller." He replied. The Painter's Daughter blinked.

"You mean a Storyteller like you?" The man laughed in response.

"Yes," He answered, his eyes glowing in the sunlight. "Someone very much like me."

A/N: The beginning of a new Malec tale! This is obviously set in an alternate universe, complete with magic and true love. Various characters will be making their appearances, as I'm sure you can already tell.

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