Apologies, I got sidetracked and forgot to post this yesterday!
I have no way of gauging the time here, but I do know that my incarceration has been so lengthy that it cannot be long before I must face the doom that Grimwald delights in taunting me with.
I know my father has not handed over his kingdom to Grimwald, nor would I have wanted him to. But I believe it is a decision that would have broken him, for now I, his only daughter, must die.
I will not lie and say the knowledge that my life will end at the hands of the evil, foul devil-man who imprisons me against my will does not disturb me, and I cannot believe my father would have done nothing. I am quite sure he has sent the finest and bravest champions that the noble shire of Impalia can offer to find me, but none have come to my rescue. I am left to speculate that they have all been defeated by the horrors of the Wildwoods and the Bleaklands; if they have, my heart breaks to think that it is my misfortune that has contributed to theirs.
It is dark in this dank and dismal oubliette. I have no windows, only the flame of a torch mounted on the wall to give me some light, but the smoke and heat makes the air fetid. I have no books, no company. There is nothing to distract me from the terrible fate that awaits me.
I am scared, so very scared.
But it would not do for a princess of the royal blood of Impalia to bewail her dire fate. I will not demean myself and satisfy Grimwald with theatrical displays of tears and rage.
All I have is hope. Hope diverts me, it keeps me sane.
I see him in my mind's eye, as clear as if I was looking at him through a crystalline dawn light. I see the face of my hope; the man who will be my saviour, my brave knight; my Prince Charming.
I see him walk through the door into this wretched hole.
He is tall and strong, with golden hair and broad shoulders atop a strong, deep chest which accommodates his brave and kindly heart.
I see his armour; it gleams with the radiance of a thousand suns and his clothing beneath it is elegant, yet simple; practical, yet fine. It traces the sinuous lines of his body like water flowing over marble.
I see his face and it is a work of art; a masterpiece of such beauty that I am left breathless to behold it; I feel somewhat faint and I have to lean against the wall to remain standing; it would not do to collapse into an undignified sprawl in front of this excellent man who has endured such hardship to free me. The sculpted contours of his handsome features have a certain ruggedness about them; a product of the warrior's life he has lead, but it lends character, not coarseness.
He approaches me and I gaze into his sea-storm eyes; hypnotised by the shimmering strands of gold, amber and green swirling within their depths.
I realise I am saved and in my relief, I give myself over to him, swooning into his powerful arms. He gathers me up with a tenderness that belies his obvious strength and carries me with great care to his steed, a magnificent animal, white as the foaming ocean and just as spirited.
His stride is long and elegant, but urgent, and as he walks, he speaks quietly to me. Deep and melodious, his voice is a healing song; a balm that soothes my shattered spirit. I lose myself in the honey-sweet tones and they carry me away from this terrible place as surely as his mighty arms do.
This unnamed man is my hope. An invention of my fear and despair, he is all that fills my hours as the unforgiving march of time carries me toward my end.
My end which is almost upon me. Oh, where is my brave knight?
The princess sighed, brushing her fingers listlessly through her blonde hair; its golden sheen dulled by smoke and neglect, and sat herself down on the bare cot which had been serving as a bed during her imprisonment.
She had barely been seated a moment when the heavy wooden door to the dungeon burst open and two dishevelled, mud-caked figures stumbled through it. One dropped to his knees, while the other fell over him with a yelp and faceplanted across the dungeon floor.
She leapt to her feet and stared down at the two figures. Their ragged clothes looked like they had been through a meat-grinder and, she observed, they seemed to have an odd shortage of sleeves.
They were liberally coated in mud, dust, and blood and brought with them an odour that made the oppressive redolence of her burning torch seem like a spring bouquet in comparison.
She blinked, and stood up, squaring her slender shoulders. She was a royal princess of Impalia, it would not do to be staring at such a spectacle with her mouth hanging open like the village idiot.
Were these Grimwald's guards, come to take her to her execution?
Sam clambered to his feet with a groan, hauling Dean upwards as he did. Turning to the princess, he delved deep into his limited knowledge of etiquette when in the presence of a royal personage and dipped clumsily down into a brief crouch which appeared to be an awkward hybrid of a bow and a curtsey
Dean shoved Sam irritably; "Watch where you're goin' in future, you clumsy great friggin' Sasquatch," he grunted before turning his attention to the princess.
"Uh, hi," he mumbled; "uh, pleased to meet you, your – uh, high-majest um – yeah ..."
He bowed stiffly, and the residual giddiness from his petrification ordeal almost pitched him over again; he was saved only by Sam grabbing him by the back of his breeches and dragging him back to his feet.
"Um, look," he pulled himself up to full height, and spread his arms toward the princess in a gesture of openness and support; "you're safe, don't worry; me an' my squire here, we're here to rescue you."
She glanced between the two men, still mute with stunned shock.
Hope, you have a very strange sense of humour.