“No king am I, for destitute must I be.” Moaned the once great king Arta, whose wretched form did slump against the damp stone of his cave wall.
“No king are you, for destitute must you be.” Rang back his prison, and Arta did wallow and shudder, for the walls did torment the troll with echoes and mockery. “No king are you, for destitute must you be!” Cackle in delight they did as their prisoner began to cry and cower, falling into oh so much sorrow that deep in his heart his strings did snap and fling him into great slumber.
His sleep was awash with twists and turns, convulsions and illusions. Of flight and fluster, plight and illustre. Arta did witness lands beyond his cave stretch far beneath, retracing ways back to the once great castle of silver spires whence the waves did claw from far below. Through the window of its tallest spire did Arta’s dream so take him and round and round he did fall from that place he had proclaimed his title oh so long ago. As if forever he did tumble and great panic did steal him in anticipation of that landing which never does come.
Arta did throw himself forward in frenzy as he emerged from his slumber with misty eyes and shrouded conscious. A shimmer still sheened from his dream, though soon he knew his cave would return to contort him with relentless torment. But his eyes they did focus and no cave did he notice, for his vision saw nothing but silver grandeur.
Arta leapt from his rest and looked upon himself born anew from his sleep. Lesions once multiple had shrunk most ample, no bulbous form remained save the body of a young and noble king most fair and able; Arta abounded. He ran through every hall and hopped up all his towers, disbelieving in his fortune. “How do I deserve such blessing!?” He did question, “And how do I thank thee for releasing me from my torment?” Answers there were none, save a knock upon his gates which did shock him so, for none had visited before.
Racing through his castle to greet his guest a song fell quiet upon his ears, of such beauty and grace that Arta almost froze where he did stand, for only one could produce a sound so sweet. He pushed himself closer to his gates – the song how it brought broken strings back atwine – so far now were the taunts of the damp cave wall. Arta did come upon the gates of his silver spectacle and oh how he hesitated at first, held in the splendour of a moment so sure, though resist he could not to pull the lever and watch those great silver doors creep apart to reveal an angel in human form. Oh how Arta’s heart did hum.
“Great King Arta, I am but Princess Erela. Watched I have your journey since that day you sought my hand, and oh how I’ve awaited your return! Your sorrow I saw in that cave and your bulbous curse too, though now you are home my voice sings only for you.” Now Arta was awestruck by the beauty of a princess so fair and with a voice so kind. He strode with a shake towards his Princess and fell to one knee whence he’d met her, taking her sweet hand and pressing it to his lips – oh how Erela did giggle. Arta did rise and the King and his Princess did gaze unto one another for a time before embracing each other in arms, a rightful pair exalted.
King Arta and Princess Erela did then forevermore live happy in a great silver castle, and the waves below did crash ever harder against their cliff though never to avail. Arta remembered always his lesson at the hands of the White-Haired Witch, for every eve at sunset he would climb his highest tower to thank her for her guide. And upon his return Erela would welcome him with the grace of her smile and the beauty of her song so Arta could sleep – for the cave still lay dormant in his heart, though never could its shadow live in Erela’s light.
Happy was Arta and lonely no more, for the warmth of his heart was strong and Erela’s too, forevermore.