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Snow White: Child Eater

You might think of dwarves as jolly creatures who sing and whistle while they work, keeping tune to the rhythmic clanging of their pickaxes against stone in the search for riches. Perhaps they did sing once. There may even have been a time when they were jolly. Alas, such dwarves have not existed in many an age. They keep to themselves, mostly; they hole themselves up in their mountains. Very few venture out into the sunlit world, and those who do never travel alone, or without a darker purpose.

It is said in hushed whispers that the dwarves found something in their quest for riches. Something that ought to have remained buried. Creatures of the deep are not meant to rise to the surface, but the dwarves either cared too little, or had no choice. Their greed unleashed a force of nature unnatural to the world outside of darkness. Whatever power they found, they worshipped, and it changed them.

Gone, the songs. Lost, the mirth. Now, the rise of evil.

Dwarves are no longer seen as they once were. They skulk through shadows and steal through villages like a breath. Where they go, death surely follows.

As rumour spread, giving rise to superstition, years passed. Years turned to centuries, and centuries made way for forgetfulness. The dwarves vanished altogether from the minds of man, but forgetfulness never means the forgotten disappears. Forgotten things are patient.

Beware the forgotten that chooses to make itself known.

Once upon a time, long after the dwarves fell into forgetfulness, there was a fair maiden who was taken to be the wife of a lonely king from the faraway land of Trylslava. Though he doted on her, did all within his power to make her smile, smile she did not.

Shortly after the arrival of their new queen, the kingdom began to suffer a terrible plight. The land fell into a state of unrest. Children began to mysteriously disappear, and try as they might, the army could not protect against an enemy they could not see. It seemed Trylslava would fall to utter ruin and decay.

During this time, the queen grew fat with child. As the child within her grew, she fell further into depression. Nothing in this strange kingdom could bring her joy, and the horrors outside the castle walls only worsened.

To protect his people, the king hired huntsmen, mercenaries, and detectives. The people willingly gave up their life savings to the cause, and soon, all the land had been squeezed dry. With no money left in the treasuries, those who had been hired took their leave. In their absence, terror descended on the kingdom. Children were kept locked indoors. Even parents refused to leave their houses.

And soon, winter came. It brought with it a secondary fear. The fear of starvation.

On the coldest day of winter the land had ever seen, the queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with skin as white as the raging snow, hair as black as pitch, and lips as red as blood. Much to the dismay of the king, the queen died shortly after. None knew the exact cause, but they found her corpse clutching the child to its breast, her own pale flesh as cold as the ice frozen on the windows.

The child received the name Snow White, and she grew to be as fair as her late mother. The king loved her dearly and spoiled her every chance he got. She was favoured by the people as well due to her pleasing visage. She was the crown jewel of Trylslava.

Though the disappearances stopped, winter continued to ravage Trylslava and its people. Unable to care for his young daughter and search for ways to restore his kingdom, the king remarried. His new queen was a great beauty much like the first. How the king came to find her, or from whence she appeared, none knew. She seemed to have manifested as if by magic. But her presence could not save Trylslava. Shortly after marrying her, the king took ill and died.

Queen Daemarra took over the rule of the kingdom, as Snow White was not yet old enough to ascend the throne. The people were not pleased, blaming her for a rise in taxes. She also kept their beloved princess locked within the walls of the castle so that none should ever look upon her. Rumour spread that she had been the one to kidnap their children and place a spell on the king in order to take over as queen. Hatred and distrust plagued the land alongside the fear and terror that already held sway, and the people lamented their fate.

Though she lived like a prisoner in her own home, Snow White continued to mature in beauty until not even the walls of the palace could keep it hidden. The servants spread the word of her loveliness in hushed tones until all the kingdom had heard. One and all longed for the day their beloved princess would take back the throne and restore Trylslava to its original glory.

One day, during the early morning of a fine spring day, Snow White escaped from her room. She secretly made her way to an overgrown section of the gardens where her father had built a wishing well in honour of her mother. As she dipped her finger in the water, she sang a song of longing. Her voice was so pure that even the birds ceased their own music to listen.

Now, as it happened, a visiting prince was passing along just on the other side of the wall that surrounded the garden. He heard the song and immediately scaled the wall to see who was singing. Dropping into the garden, he crept through the overgrown brambles and bushes to find the owner of the voice that had captured his attention.

Pushing his way through an especially large hedge, he froze in place when his gaze met that of Snow White’s. It took only an instant for him to fall in love, mesmerized by her beauty. Staring into her eyes felt like falling into a blissful dream. His heart pounded furiously in his chest as the princess smiled back at him.

“You’ve come,” Snow White whispered wistfully. “But it isn’t safe for you to be here,” she continued, walking over to the prince to touch him on the cheek.

Her fingers were cold to the touch, but he was only aware of it vaguely.

“You must leave before she finds you.”

“I won’t leave you,” the prince declared, taking her hand in his own.

She smiled at him sweetly and placed a soft kiss on his cheek where her hand had lingered. “Go, my prince.”

At her behest, he returned to the wall, slipping over it as soundlessly as he’d first arrived.

Unbeknownst to the two of them, the queen stood watching from her tower. Horrified by what she saw, she called secretly for one of the personal huntsman she had hired upon ascending the throne.

“How may I serve you, my queen?” the huntsman asked.

“I need you to do something for me, Bjorn.”


Queen Daemarra pulled out an ornate box of stunning craftsmanship. The lock was shaped to look like a heart pierced by a nail or stake. “You will kill Snow White and bring her heart back to me in this.”

The huntsman gasped. “The princess? You know the people will only hate you more. Are you sure about this?”

“She is a danger to all I’ve worked for, and that is all you need to remember to fulfill your duty. Take this and go. And remember, take care.”

With shaking hands, Bjorn took the box and pardoned himself from the queen’s presence. He found Snow White on her way back from the garden and hesitated only a moment before approaching her. “Excuse me, Princess,” he greeted, being careful not to look her direct in the eye. He lowered himself, bowing before her. “What are you doing out of your room?”

“Would you keep me a prisoner?” she asked.

He bowed his head lower. “I meant no insult, Princess. I thought perhaps you might be sneaking off.”
“So, what if I am?” she challenged.

“Then allow me to offer my services. If I may be so bold, as you are already here, would you care to join me on a stroll through the woods?” He asked this in hopes of finding a secret place to carry out the queen’s orders. He didn’t want to be seen.

Snow White lifted his chin, forcing him to raise his head, and smiled at him. “I would be delighted,” she said almost too sweetly.

Cloaked and hooded so none would see their faces, he led her deep into the forest where they would be quite alone. A chill ran down his spine that had nothing to do with the chill of winter that still held sway within the woods. Spring had not yet reached the depths of the forest. His frosted breath could not explain the icy terror that gripped him. The warning of the queen echoed in his mind as he watched the princess’s back just in front of him.

When he was sure they had gone far enough, he paused to withdraw a knife from his boot. Knife in hand, he crept closer to the young maiden, but when she turned to face him, he saw himself reflected in her eyes. In that moment, he could not bring himself to harm her.

He fell to his hands and knees, pressing his face into the snow. “Forgive me, princess,” he wailed, as he crumpled. “The queen ordered your death. She wants me to bring back your heart. Please, you must run far away from this place that she may never find you.”

“You have done me a great service,” Snow White said, gently placing a hand on his shoulder.

When Bjorn looked up, the princess was gone.

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