Rose Red, a ROSE story by @NathanRedland

Reposted from here.

In a land east of the Sun and west of the Moon lived two sisters, fair of face and pure of heart. The eldest sister was as pale as a winter’s day, and so she was named Snow White. The younger sister had cheeks that flushed with life and colour, and so she became known as Rose Red.

As they grew older, they became more and more beautiful, until Snow White’s beauty came to the notice of the hated and lustful King of their lands, who possessed an enchanted mirror which showed him all the maidens in her realm that possessed more beauty than the Queen he had usurped years before.

The King dispatched soldiers to bring the maiden to him, by whatever means necessary, but Snow White saw them coming from the attic window and fled into the frozen forest.

Numb with cold and exhaustion, the young woman came upon a small cottage, almost hidden amongst the brambles and briars of the wood. She found the door open and sheltered inside, finding it to be cramped, dirty and kept in poor order. As she was making it more hospitable, seven dwarfs returned from a long day mining silver beneath the mountain.

She greeted them with kindness, yet the dwarfs, seeking an unpaid servant to labour in their kitchen, placed Snow White in enchanted shackles that robbed her of her voice and forbade her to leave the cottage.

Years passed, and Rose Red also appeared in the rippling surface of the King’s mirror. Once again, he set soldiers to capture her for himself, and once again, their quarry saw them coming and escaped amongst the trees.  Yet Rose Red’s grief for her lost sister had hardened her heart and sharpened her bravery, and she placed a trap for the soldiers, leaving six dead and their captain mortally wounded. Taking his sword and dagger, she knew that more would come this time, and she melted away into the night.

She soon came upon the dwarf’s cottage, where her sister laboured in chains while the dwarfs slept. Seeing her plight, Rose Red fell upon the sleeping dwarfs and slit each of their throats so fiercely that she collected seven long beards. Yet she was unable to break the shackles that still bound her sister, for they had been quenched in the blood of an elder dragon and no mortal steel could break them.

Donning the cloak she had woven from the beards of her sisters dead captors, Rose Red roamed the kingdom with sword and fury, striking terror into the hearts of the King’s men as she sought a way to free her trapped sister. The women of the kingdom heard her tale and their hearts lifted.

Together they took up arms and freed the Queen from her prison, placing her back on the throne. It was said that Rose Red’s sword took the King’s head from his shoulders, yet once again she disappeared, her quest still unfinished.

by @NathanRedland