Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Okay, as some of you may know, there will be a quiz at the Attic about twisted fairy tales. BevH has already made an awesome story, one which I'm still in awe of ;-)


However, here is one loosely based on Rumpelstiltskin. There is some implied violence, and some minor swearing as well as bad humor. So consider yourself warned.




Once upon time there was a poor, but proud kingdom named Balduria. For the longest time it had been enslaved by a grave, terrible evil. An all encompassing darkness that corrupted everything it touched, a force of such wickedness that its very name was spoken of in hushed tones: Sarevok. As is the nature of such events, the reign of this vile villain could not last forever. In the end, a doughty band of heroes rose up and defeated the foul abomination . This is not their story.


However with their newfound freedom, the people of Balduria soon realized the enormity of the problems that beset them. At least when they struggled under the dominion of Sarevok's malevolence, sheer necessity forced them to focus all their attention on their immediate survival. With Sarevok's departure, though, the kingdom had to contend with bandits running rampant, onerous taxes, and severe inflation due to the sudden influx of freed accumulated wealth from Sarevok's treasury.


Matters were so confused that one could shingle their house with gold for mere peanuts, but a potato was easily worth a man's life. In the midst of all this turmoil, one man rose to lead the nation, King Edwin the First; chosen by lottery and therefore by the grace of the gods.


And as seems to be the duty of royalty the world over, it was determined Edwin had to take a wife to secure the future of his throne. The beauties of the realm were paraded in front of the contemptuous king, and though the crimson-haired sovereign viewed each one, none seemed to garner more than a cursory glance from King Edwin.


For King Edwin had a secret, a secret that if revealed would have him lose his throne...and his head. Edwin was impotent, and while it was fine for Johnny Villager to suffer such inconstancy, the Baldurian laws were quite explicit in the case of royalty: if the reigning monarch failed to produce at least one viable heir, then his life was forfeit.


Edwin was nothing if not a shrewd man, though. He quickly took to spending a great deal of his time in the library, partially to avoid meeting the newest of the constant stream of ladies submitted for his perusal, and partially to find something, anything that could counteract his disability.


Then one day, as Edwin cowered in the stacks from a particularly persistent female, his gaze fell upon a leather-bound volume embossed with gold letters. Picking up the ancient tome, Edwin's eyes made out the gaudy title: Elminster's Pharmacopoeia: Better Living Through Bio-Thaumaturgy.


The newly crowned king turned the musty pages, but came to a sudden stop. His lips twitched excitedly as he read aloud, "Ye olde turnip is the vegetable of choice by alchemists far and near for curing problems of impotence. A simple poultice made of turnip paste, honey, and chicken gizzards applied to the afflicted region over a course of ten days under the light of the moon achieves amazing results...however, care must be taken for once initiated, the ritual cannot be stopped without disastrous results."


King Edwin snapped the book shut, rubbing a caressing hand along its spine and muttered, "Yes, this is what I've been looking for all along. With this I only have to suffer one overbearing matrimony seeking monkey instead of a whole troop of the scabrous baboons."


So at the first crack of dawn the next day, King Edwin let it be known through the length and breadth of his kingdom that he would wed the woman who could present to him a roomful of turnips. This sent shockwaves through the kingdom, for if potatoes were worth a man's life, turnips were more precious still.


One man eventually stepped forward, Count Keldorn the Stout-Hearted, and in order to make himself look important, told the king, "I have a daughter, fair of face, and sure of hand. She is a magus of no small skill, and capable of weaving gold into turnips."


King Edwin, intrigued by this claim, replied, "Turning lead into gold is mere child's play. Turning gold into lead is harder still, but not impossible. But gold into turnips? This is preposterous. Bring your daughter here, and let me test the veracity of your statement. If true, then I shall raise her up to be my queen. But if false? I shall have your beard pulled out hair by hair. I shall have jam poured on your extremities. Afterwards, Count Keldorn, you will find yourself buried in a pile of fire-ants. Face-first. Then, I shall get really creative."


Keldorn's face fell as he realized the extent of the danger his own urge to climb the social ladder got him into. Even worse, he now had to figure out a way to break the news to his daughter who's fiery temper was almost as famous as Edwin's bachelorhood. So, when Keldorn arrived home, he immediately went in search of a beer to add glibness to his tied-tongued. Unfortunately, the hapless count found his scarlet-haired daughter in the kitchen trying to unionize the cooking staff yet again..


"There is strength in numbers!" Keldorn's daughter shouted fervently, her voice growing more strident with each moment, "If you stand as one, then he will have to deal fairly with all of you."


Keldorn's quiet, unexpected voice cut through his daughter's diatribe, "Nalia, dear, may I have a moment of your time?"


The young woman's fiery persona quickly disappeared as she turned and looked at her progenitor demurely, "Yes father, what is it?"


Nalia ignored the collective sigh of relief from the kitchen staff behind her, and followed her father into a small alcove.


Keldorn hesitantly asked his passionate daughter, "Have you ever been to the palace, my dear? It is quite beautiful this time of the year."


Nalia's peaceful expression immediately turned into one of anger as she ranted, "That archaic vestige of patriarchal oppression? One would be better off going to hell's half-acres instead. It is the singular greatest tool of cruelty and domination left of the oppressive upper-class. If we rid ourselves of it, then we unburden the last vestige of tyranny from the land. Who in their ever-loving right mind would go to that dump?"


"You would," answered Keldorn weakly, a sickly grin pasted on his face.


Nalia's fury hardened into a smoldering, cold mask and with great self-control, she said through gritted teeth, "And father, pray tell, why would I be doing such a thing?"


Keldorn squirmed under his daughter's fearsome gaze, and meekly replied, "Um, well, you see, I sorta told the king you could spin gold into turnips. And he sorta ordered me to bring you before him. And he kinda implied that if you couldn't spin gold into turnips, he would have my giblets for dinner."


Nalia breathed deeply, slowly counting up to ten and back down, and exhaled. Keldorn glanced anxiously at his daughter, never able to gauge her reaction when she was in this state of mind.


"Father, father, father," wistfully said Nalia, "What am I going to do with you?"


"Um," Keldorn started to answer.


"The question was rhetorical, father," Nalia dryly stated, "You know, I think grandmother was right. Instead of sending you to Baldur's Gate U. and joining the fraternity, you might have been better off in military school. What was the name? Ah yes, the Brotherhood of the Luminescent Spleen. Still and all, I love you, even if you make me want to strangle you. I shall go to the king, and see what, if anything, can be salvaged from this situation."


And so, when Nalia approached King Edwin the First the very next day, the monarch found himself strangely attracted to the woman. Maybe it was the way she held herself as his equal, quiet, composed, self-confident. Or maybe it was due to the fact Nalia was the first woman not impressed by his social position. If anything, he found her cold quiet contempt oddly familiar, a situation which he was quite acquainted with in his pre-royalty days.


"You summoned me...sire?" Nalia bitterly asked, resisting the urge to spit on the immaculate floor after issuing Edwin's honorific.


"Indeed, I did, Lady Nalia," Edwin replied, rubbing a well-manicured hand along the side of his fulsome face, "Has your father enlightened you as to the task I require of you?"


Nalia slowly nodded her head in the affirmative and Edwin felt his heart skip a beat at the stoic beauty's gesture. The king rose from his throne, and beckoned Nalia to follow him. The red-haired ruler led her down such a long series of criss-crossing tunnels and descending passageways the female mage quickly became lost, and so confusing was the route even a trail of bread crumbs would have done her little good to get out.


It wasn't too much longer before Nalia realized that path started to slope upward. A few more moments passed when Edwin stopped and unlocked a final door. Nalia stood uncertainly before the door when the king gave her a rough shove forward. Reluctantly, the female mage opened the portal, and cried out when an intense flash of intense, yellow light momentarily blinded her.



"A little bright isn't it?," Nalia asked, her forearm covering her dainty brow and shielding her eyes. As her sight adjusted to the room, she could see that the room was almost entirely filled from floor to ceiling and side to side with gold bars. Back towards the western wall she could make out a large, iron-barred window. Nalia quickly realized that between the brightly polished gold, and the afternoon sun that streamed through the window which caused her momentary blindness.


Edwin replied, "So is a lemur. Now listen well, you sarcastic simian, I want to have all this gold spun into turnips come the morning sun, or else I will wear your father's guts for garters."


"You wouldn't dare!" Nalia growled, finally letting loose with her outrage at Edwin's disrespect of her progenitor.


"Well, I admit that sinew makes a better sewing agent," Edwin answered, "But what can you do? It's tradition."


With that said, Edwin closed the door, and Nalia found herself alone. Swearing, Nalia grabbed at one of the bars of yellowed metal, and hefted in her hand.


"And just how am I supposed to turn you into a turnip?" she asked the golden bar, "it can't be done. Like produces like. You're metal, a turnip is vegetable. It is impossible to go from one to the other."


Nalia sighed, and lowered the gold bar to the ground, and gathered her concentration. She started to sway on her feet, and hum while all around her a white nimbus of color formed. With a final, decisive shout, Nalia stabbed her finger toward the gold bar. Nalia opened her eyes only to find that the bar of gold was still as it was.


So Nalia worked hard through the day, but to no avail. In fact, as the afternoon wore on, Nalia grew more and more hot, for along with the increased brightness of the reflected sunlight, it also started to sunburn her skin. It wasn't until the skin split the on back of her unshaved knuckles that Nalia became aware of her danger. Of course, the other blisters along the length and breadth of her exposed skin might have given her a clue as well.


"Great, just great," she scowled, "Now I'm going to have to worry about uneven tan lines. Damn you father, was it too much to expect you to keep oppressing your own people?"


Nalia continued her tirade when a voice interrupted her, "Hey you, upstairs, can't you keep it down? Some people are trying to sleep! Why, it's just like my cousin niece's cousin's grandmother who kept everyone awake with her incessant chatter about the blue-finned fairies that lived in the privy. "


Nalia looked around the room, and chuckled, "Great, not only am I talking to myself, now I'm answering myself in a rambling fashion..."


"I swear, the manners of some people, worse than griffon trainers" muttered the mysterious voice once more. From the corner of her eye, Nalia saw some of the gold bars actually rise up, and then fall with a loud clatter as a figure emerged from the floor beneath, holding a small rectangle of castle floor up as if it was a trapdoor.


A small, craggy lined face squinted dismissively at Nalia. Running his other hand through his graying beard, the little man stated, "Well, you got me up. I hope you're satisfied."


Just what I need, Nalia thought, now my hallucinations are berating me.


Nalia sighed, and she tried to answer but found herself barely able to speak. Her throat felt parched, for along with her sun burn, she also was dehydrated, enough so it felt like someone had an iron grasp across her throat. In the end, Nalia managed to croak out, "Water...please."


The little man sighed, but nodded, and he quickly disappeared back into the firmament, the floor closing with nary a sound, the only evidence of his departure the scattered gold bars.


Guess my mind has finally left me, Nalia giggled when she unexpectedly felt a cool, refreshing liquid on the tip of her lips.


"Drink," commanded the gruff voice, and Nalia swallowed deeply, and found the ache gone from her throat.


"Thank you," whispered Nalia in gratitude.


"Don't thank me just yet," said the voice.


Nalia shifted her position slightly to take a good look at the man who quenched her thirst. Slumped as she was, she gazed into the deep, brown eyes of an individual who wouldn't even clear her waist in height.


"There, feeling better?" grumbled the man, "Now maybe you could explain to me why you woke me up. I swear, a fellow can't even get a decent year's nap anymore..."


Nalia giggled once more, but this time a little more hysterically, "Well, you see, I have to turn all this gold into turnips, but if I don't, King Edwin is going to turn my father into his new wardrobe. Of course, it's not like I can do anything since I'm busy talking with a hallucination whose name..."


"Call me Jan," interjected the little fellow.


"Thank you Jan it is. Never hurts to be polite, or so says Auntie. So here I'm busy talking with a hallucination who blames me for waking him up," continued Nalia, "Of course, as everyone knows, it is impossible to turn gold into turnips..."


"No it isn't," interrupted Jan.


Nalia stopped her ramble, and gave Jan a look she usually reserved for the cousin who insisted 'Yes, he could fly. The trick was to throw oneself at the ground and miss.' and promptly jump off the roof.


"And why isn't it impossible?" asked Nalia.


"Just watch," Jan grinned, revealing a series of yellow and brown teeth. The small man snatched up a gold bar, and gave it a tentative sniff. Jan held the strip of gold between the palms of each hand, and the bar slowly drooped in the middle. The little man grasped each end, and rotated his hands, one over the other in a flurried circular fashion. Jan's hands moved so fast that all Nalia could see was a golden, hazy ring.


"Gold is used as a form of currency in some places, and currency is nothing more than a fancy word meaning money, and as we know, money makes the world go round, and yet money is also the root of evil, and turnips are root vegetables, it means gold is the same as turnips if you make it go around and around." Jan explained, "And here we go."


Nalia's attention had wandered as Jan gave his explanation, but at his final exclamation, her eyes turned to his hands, and saw a large, white vegetable gently held in Jan's hands.


"How...it's impossible...no...it isn't," stammered Nalia, then stopped as she took in the rest of the room.


"Could you...change all the gold in this room?" Nalia asked feverishly.


Jan arched a shaggy eyebrow, then nodded, "Yes, I can do it. But it won't be easy. It's going to cost you."


Nalia laughed, and said, "But what could I give you in recompense?"


Jan's smile widened, "Why, just your first-born child, of course."


"Certainly, if that's what you want," Nalia agreed easily, briefly wondering how a hallucination would come collect an owed debt.


"Then it is agreed," Jan said, his voice growing dim in Nalia's ear and sleep overtook the young woman.


Nalia woke the next morning to an earthy, bitter tang in her nostrils, and shouts of "Calloo! Callay!" in her ears.


For where there had been a room gold, there was now a room of turnips. And as per his agreement, the king promptly wed Nalia, much to the mage's great chagrin. In the intervening months, Nalia forgot her fevered promise to Jan, though the little man hadn't forgotten their agreement. For within a year of her marriage, Nalia had a daughter, and Jan came to collect.


The little man trundled into the throne room, though Jan could swear he didn't remember the curtains being as dark as midnight, or the silvery manacles gleaming in guttering firelight. Then his eyes were drawn to a lithe woman in glistening, freshly-oiled black leather lying sideways on an onyx and obsidian throne. He couldn't help but follow the taper of the woman's legs to her thigh-high stiletto boots. Jan could only see the cinnamon brown color of the woman's eyes since the rest of her face was obscured by a jet-black mask.


"Yes?" drawled the woman on the throne.


Jan gulped, "I am here to see Queen Nalia. She is in arrears and I've come to collect."


"Ah, so my hallucination did have a basis in fact. And I gather you have come for my child?" said Nalia in a bored tone, "What if I don't intend on giving her up?"


Jan, feeling definitely out of his depth, responded, "It doesn't matter what you intend or don't. We have an agreement, and it will be carried out. Though if you can guess my name, my full name, the child will remain yours..."


Jan stopped as he noticed the icon above the throne. It was a cat-o'-nine tails, and there were crimson, dried stains on the barbs. He glanced over to a corner, and saw a tall unkempt man cowering. The bedraggled figure kept mumbling, "Suffering simians..." over and over again .


"Hmm...a challenge," Nalia purred, "It's been so long since I've been challenged. Very well, little man, I accept your challenge."


Jan started to nod, but instead hit the floor as a crack like thunder echoed in the throne room. The small fellow grasped at his neck, finding that he was having a hard time breathing due to whip wrapped around his neck.


"So," hissed Nalia, rising from her throne, "What is your name, little man?"


"It's...it's...Jan..." rasped Jan.


"No, it isn't," said Nalia sadly, and she flicked her wrist, tightening the whip just a little bit more, "Now, what is your name?"


"My name..." Jan whimpered, "is...slave."


"Good boy," Nalia replied, and patted the little man on the head.


And so, the savage reign of Sarevok gave way to the mediocre rule of Edwin the First which gave rise to the Queendom of Nalia the Apropos. And thus, they all lived happily ever after. Well, Nalia did at least.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...