Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Kal-El/Bruce, mention of Thomas/Martha, The Jester, The Green Archer, The Red Archer*
Genres: Romance, Fairytale
Rating (this chapter): G
Summary: When Prince Kal-El falls under a spell, can the Dark Knight save him?
Chapter Summary: The Dark Knight’s Guide brings him to the Sleeping Beauty.
Date Of Completion: June 1, 2008
Date Of Posting: June 14, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1555
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Happy Birthday, starsandsea ! :) When I think of your writing, I often think of fairytales, so this came to mind. ;)
All chapters can be found here.
The Dark Knight
Brave and bold,
Fell in love
With the Prince of Gold.
“The Tale Of
The Sleeping Beauty”
14th Century C.E.
The Dark Knight traveled many lands, seeking what he knew not.
Perhaps just a testing of mettle, as Great Events were prophesied, but all was well back in his Kingdom.
He rode his black stallion Ace, obsidian armor shining in the sun, a dark cape trailing behind. His shield bore a generic symbol, the practice of young noblemen who wished to test themselves without benefit of a family name.
He approached the Kingdom of Kryptonia, once the most prosperous in the land, now fallen onto hard times.
It was said that the Kingdom was cursed since the disappearance of its Crown Prince. Some said that he had died. Others said he was bewitched and awaited deliverance from the spell.
Whatever the reason, the Kingdom was a dismal place indeed as his steed trotted by hardscrabble farms and peasants dressed in rags, their ribs sticking out as they tried to eke out a living.
& & & & & &
The Knight stopped at a tavern, creating a stir even within such a moribund place, the patrons drinking to forget dull lives.
“You’re far from home, Sir Knight,” drawled the bartender, a bald man with a hard face and muscular arms. He was one of the few people not emaciated in this cursed land.
“Is it always cloudy here?” The Knight had not seen the sun since crossing the border into Kryptonia.
“Every day, when it doesn’t rain.”
The Knight drank his ale, then asked, “What of these tales of the Prince? The one who disappeared?”
“What of him?” The bartender’s voice was wary.
“Are they true? The tales?”
The other man shrugged. “Who knows? The Prince disappeared a long time ago.”
The Knight finished his ale and resumed his journey.
& & & & & &
Rain fell softly on the blighted land, the Dark Knight glad of his visor. Darkness held this land in its grip, no doubt.
He allowed Ace a gentle pace and decided that he would seek shelter if the rain grew heavier.
His parents supported his Quest, despite not knowing what he sought. His father had said, “Seek your Heart’s Desire, my son,” and his mother had nodded with a smile.
As the rain plinked on his armor, he wondered if he would ever find his heart.
& & & & & &
The next day the clouds obscured the sun, but it did not rain. The Knight peered at a figure several yards down the road. He urged Ace to go faster.
He reached the traveler, astonishment on his features.
The traveler was a young boy, dressed in a traditional jester’s costume, the bells on his foolscap jingling as he made his way jauntily down the road. The costume was a shocking combination of red, yellow, and green, and the boy’s legs were bare, bells jingling on his pixie boots.
The Knight reined in his steed. “Hail, boy! What are you doing out here all alone? You should be with this Kingdom’s Court or with traveling minstrels.”
The boy looked up, his smile dazzling. He wore a black domino that revealed bright blue eyes.
“Hail, Sir Knight!” His smile faded. “Alas, this Court could do with jest, but ‘tis not to be.”
“So, why are you alone?”
“I am to be your Guide.”
“My Guide?” asked the Knight in amusement.
“Yes!” The boy somersaulted, jingling madly. “Let me upon your horse, and I will guide you to Precious Treasure.”
The Knight agreed, as he had no appointments to keep, and the boy amused him. The small Jester hopped up and settled in front of his benefactor in the saddle.
As they rode, the Knight asked, “You love color, I see.”
The child bounced lightly. “Of course!” He twisted around. “Why are you garbed so somberly?”
“Ah, well, at home I go about in silver. I wish to remain cloaked for now.”
The boy considered. “May I know your name?”
The Knight smiled. “It’s Bruce.”
“A good, strong, name, Dick.”
Dick beamed and turned back to face the road.
& & & & & &
They stopped for the night, the child sleeping within the folds of Bruce’s cloak on the ground, and they rode for another day and for another night.
On the second night, the child eagerly ate the fresh apples and sweetmeats that Bruce carried in his rucksack, and the Knight asked, “Are you far from home?”
Jingles as the boy nodded. “My home is where the wind blows, and I fly upon it.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow but let the boy have his cryptic words.
“And you are far from home?”
Bruce nodded. “I come from a Kingdom not that far from here, but still a journey. Our land is prosperous, unlike this blighted land.”
Sadness shadowed the boy’s face. “Kryptonia does suffer.”
Gently Bruce suggested, “Now, tell me a story.”
Dick immediately brightened and began to weave a tale that amused Bruce no end.
& & & & & &
Bruce groaned. “’Tis not even dawn.”
“There is a sight you must see before the sun rises!”
Sighing, Bruce indulged the child, whose endless supply of song and chatter was delightful companionship.
“Come, on the horse.”
Dick shook his head. “The rest of the way, I walk.”
He somersaulted down the road, Bruce laughing, and he urged Ace to follow.
& & & & & &
Bruce wondered at the Pixie’s energy, and also at the path they were taking through dense woods. Bruce led Ace by the bridle. It was black as pitch, but he could see the brightness of the costume and hear the bells.
Suddenly his senses began to tingle and he reached for his sword.
“Do not complete your motion, Dark Knight.”
The voice was firm but not cold. Bruce peered into the darkness and his eyes finally made out a man aiming a bow-and-arrow at him.
As the sky began to lighten with the first rays of dawn, he saw that the man was dressed in forest-green, his blond hair thick and wavy beneath his cap, a beard covering the lower half of his face.
“Who are you?” Bruce demanded.
“One who guards the Treasure.”
“Dick!” Bruce called. “Are you all right?”
“I am, Bruce! Please, Sir Archer, let him pass.”
The Green Archer raised his arrow, but his emerald eyes stayed on Bruce. Bruce’s glove still rested on his hilt, but then he drew it down.
“Your partner is very skilled at hiding,” the Knight said.
The Archer smiled. “Roy!”
A young boy appeared, garbed in red, his hair aflame. He looked to be about Dick’s age.
“You may pass,” the Red Archer said, waving a hand loftily.
The Knight hid his smile and passed, the two Archers melting back into the forest, Boy Archer and Jester exchanging smiles.
The Dark Knight followed his Guide, who said, “Here,” in a reverent voice.
Bruce entered a grove.
Dawn was just beginning to fully break as Bruce stopped, eyes widening as he saw a man stretched out on a bed of fragrant flowers, garbed in armor. As Bruce moved close to this wonder, full sunlight flooded into the grove.
Bruce gasped, nearly staggering.
The sun caressed pale skin that coalesced into the fairest face that Bruce had ever seen. Rick, dark hair tumbled endearingly in the form of an errant curl upon the alabaster brow, and the lashes were long and lush. Lips that were perfection enticed him as the vision’s golden armor shone like a starburst, a shimmering, scarlet cloak half-draped over gold, sapphires glittering on his chest in a stylized pattern. A sword studded with sapphires, rubies, and topazes glittered in a matching scabbard shot through with glittering emerald.
Bruce’s heart soared. This is what he’d been seeking! This beautiful man was his Heart’s Desire!
Bruce ran forward and knelt by the glass bier, and he kissed perfect lips.
Disappointment flooded him as he pulled back. “He still sleeps?”
Sadness was heavy in Dick’s voice. “He is bewitched by the Enchantress.”
“Yes, but surely a kiss…” Despair sank like a stone in his stomach. “I am not his True Love.”
“You may be.” Bruce looked at the Pixie. “The enchantment can be broken by a kiss, but only after you have passed three Trials.”
Bruce rose, then looked at the armor’s chest pattern. “The symbol…this is the House of El’s symbol! This is…!”
Stunned, Bruce’s hand rested on his sword, the hilt encrusted with amethysts. “He is not all alone here.”
Dick nodded toward the direction from which they had come, and then waved toward the northeast.
“A kindly couple tends this site with much love.”
“What are the Trials?” Suddenly he frowned at Dick. “And how would you know unless you were a minion of the Enchantress?”
He drew his sword, ready to smite, but he looked into the courageous eyes of the child and slowly lowered his weapon. He heard the rustling of brush behind him, then silence.
“I cannot say more, m’lord, except to guide you through your Trials.”
“Very well.” His instincts trusted this boy. “Tell me of these Trials.”
* Of course, Dick, Ollie, and Roy! ;)