Ariane Hofmann

The Dragon Bride

Once upon a time, when wishing still helped a young and noble prince with the name Heram of Dinai was on a quest to kill a dragon, which was said to terrorize the small island of Acirema. Prince Herams ship landed safely on the shore of the island and with the help of his companions the prince soon found the cave of the dragon. He trapped it inside and finished the monsters life with a single well aimed strike of his mighty sword Waterhand. The beasts head rolled in front of his feet, painting a trail of blood and there it turned into a beautiful maiden. Naked she lay there, shyly lifting her eyes which never had been seen by a human and his gaze met hers. He was so charmed by her beauty that he didnt know a right word to say. Instead he offered her his hand, which she unassertive accepted, and let him help her up. His cape around her bare body she did her first steps on the island's ground. And the more steps she made the more of her memories came back to her mind like birds in spring.
Heram and the maiden spent the next days together on the island and grew very fond of each other. On a clearing in the forest that covered almost all the ground around them, she told him her story. She was Princess Naira of Egyan, who was kidnapped and carried off from her fathers realm as a little girl. As it happened Dinai and Egyan waged war since years because Nairas father blamed Herams father to have stolen his daughter. Heram grew up in his land in wartime and here he had the gorgeous reason in front of him and the chance to create peace in both kingdoms forever. Princess Naira told him in her birdlike voice that it was an old sorceress, who had wished for nothing more than an own daughter, who committed the crime. The Graue Erimesa was the witches name and to keep her swag hidden, she had turned Naira into a terrible looking dragon and cursed her severally. Only through the sword swung by a princes hand she was ever to have her former shape back. So she had lived alone and shunned by humanity for years and years in the cave only to come out at night and sing songs with the waves of the endless ocean.
Now she had gained her human body back and she felt the deepest thank inside her heart towards the prince. And also Prince Heram could not believe his luck, to have found a treasure like her in the disguise of a dragon, and that she the most adorable maiden he ever met through his travels was opening her heart for him.
On the seventh day on the island he could not hold it in his mind any longer and knelt down in front of her and with a ring he made of the vines of forget-me-not he asked her to become his wife and to come with him into his fathers castle. But instead of joy in her eyes he saw tears full of lugubriousness pearling down her pink cheeks. She knelt down, weeping in his arms. Heram was full of terror not knowing what he had done.
After Princess Naira calmed down, she told him, her gaze on the ground, that the curse wasnt completely lifted. She couldnt come with him, because she was bounded to the island. The Graue Erimesa had foretold the princess that when she was to leave the island she was to die. Prince Heram, shocked by the message, entwined his arms stronger around the princess and holding her close he whispered in her ear. By the life of my dear Mother and my proud Father I swear I will wipe out The Graue Erimesa, so she wont have any power over you anymore, for I know I cant life without you any longer. He slipped the ring over her finger and by the gaze of the good gods they were bonded forever.
The very next day Princess Naira watched silently the white sails of the ship of her beloved disappear behind the horizon. Her heart was torn apart, for she knew her beloved Prince Heram would possibly never return. Ylati, the hidden country, the land The Graue Erimesa lived in, was far away on the other side of the world and known for its cruel beasts the witch kept as pets. She resided in a stronghold high above the cliff and dragons and other cursed souls flew around it. Never had anybody ever come back, who came to see her. She also ruled the creatures living in the sea bordering her realm. It was also said that never anybody came close enough to harm her, because a gaze of her deadly eyes could kill a whole army instantly.
But also Princess Nairas hopes were not the highest ones, they were there and she believed in the strength of her lover and she prayed to the goddess of the wind, Geren, to keep him safe and lead his ship in the right direction. She prayed every day and night and only ate what the ocean washed in front of her kneeling legs.
Prince Heram stood on deck of his ship, looking at his wife who was left back alone on the island, because she didnt want anybody of his companions near her, and he held a curl of her dark hair in one hand and a mirror in the other. Two gifts she gave him by there parting. He saw the silent tears on her cheeks and turned around.
He had to find Ylati the hidden country and kill her evil owner. Not for long and a strong wind came up and blew strong in the sails, so the ship went all the way across the ocean towards Ylati and he thought of his wife whom he thought hearing praying in his dreams.
And indeed on the twentieths morning of his quest his watcher called for land and everybody was on deck and prepared to await the most gruesome fight. Waterhand high above his head he yelled the scream of sincerity when they strand on the shore of Ylati. The water clear before was red and a looked like dark blood now, the sky was filled with black clouds and smelling fog and bright lightening shoot through the air and the thunder was so loud it deafened and blinded half of his man. When they set foot on the sand they felt sick immediately. Prince Heram felt like snakes twisting and curling up in his stomach and when he emptied it, it were eels instead. He wasnt sure if that were only tricks of the sorceress or if it was real, but the other half of his men got mad and run frightened in the blood red sea to drown themselves. Wiping his face with his hand he stood up, proud and determined not to get fooled by The Graue Erimesa. And he heard her booming voice in his head.
Wants to steal my daughter away, for never never will that happen. Find me in the highest tower of my stronghold and see if you are worthy of mine.
Prince Heram, the beauty of his wife in his mind and how she probably is suffering alone on the island, raised his sword and stepped forward even though it felt for him like walking against a wall. The Graue Erimesa angry that he indeed tried to reach her scraped her skin and blew it over him where it turned into a blizzard. The prince still going on was frozen to the bones in only a few seconds. He saw his mission failing as he felt Nairas curl in his pocket. And as he twisted it between his fingers it started to grow, bigger and bigger until it was a big warm coat the laid itself around and warmed him, so he could go on. The Graue Erimesa, who had him believed dead by now, was more than astonished when he knocked with Waterhand, which seized all the demons and beast on his way, on the door of her chamber. Before she could make him look into her eyes he had pulled out the mirror and held it in front of her face. Her scream was heard in all worlds of this universe as she died away and vanished forever. Not even her soul could stand her own view. And with her dead all the curses and bans she ever spoke were broken and all the dammed souls in her realm were free. The sky cleared up and Geren the goddess of the wind herself came down from heaven and carried Prince Heram on her cloud body all the way back to Acirema where his wife still knelt on the beach and prayed. He knelt in front of her and lifted her chin at what she opened her eyes. This time her tears were full of nameless joy and both were holding each other for a day and a night.
Gerem was still waiting and willing to carry both to Dinai, where Prince Herams parents where waiting full of anticipation for the return of their son. And when he arrived with his bride in his arms and messenger were sent to the royal house of Egyan to tell them about the destination of their dead believed daughter, there was a festival on earth like never before. Both realms celebrated countless days for the return of their royal children, the end of war and the death of a bad threat. And Prince Heram and Princess Naira were to become the noblest ruler the two kingdoms had ever seen.
And if they didnt die, they are still living today.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Ariane Hofmann.
Published on on 06/05/2006.


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