Daylight began to fade and soon the crowd outside in the courtyard and gardens began to thin. The lions continued to mill about, some playing while others guarded the people of the castle.  A tall, pale woman strolled in the gardens among the enchanted creatures.

She spied an owl circling about in a nearby tree.  Unfortunately, the creature swooped in only to be chased about by the lions that thought it dangerous.

Selva took pity upon it, for it was alone and terribly frightened.  She caught it on her gloved hand and asked it from where it came.  “I had thought we were done, you and I.”

The owl cowered, holding one wing over its face while it held up one leg.  Upon that leg was a small scrap of paper, tied carefully with a piece of thread.

She understood from where the message came.  Her voice took on a hard edge.  “I do not do her bidding anymore.”

But the creature insisted on waving its leg about pathetically.  The lady could only sigh and take the paper in hand.

“I have erred in my judgment regarding the Unthings and my stance towards them.  I wish to speak to you before I depart.”

“If this is so,” the lady spoke to the bird.  “Tell her I shall only if she comes here and promises upon her kingdom itself that she means no harm.”

Selva released the bird to the wind and off it flew.

A few minutes later, a gust  of snow blew in from the north.   The lions drew close to Selva, their senses sensing the true nature of the woman who would come before them.  The magical beasts stared at the thin, haughty woman.  Her face had a timeless, frozen look that would make any mortal being feel uncomfortable.

When she spoke, her voice was harsh and cold.   “They guard you well.  But they should know they cannot win against one who can freeze them. It is foolish for them to show me their teeth.”

And yet they continued to do so,  proving their courage and unwavering loyalty to the Wolframs.  “It is not foolish for us to show you her value. You will not take her. He is watching.”

The Queen knew they did not bluff.  But she was not impressed.  “So it is true that you have chosen this poor king with nothing left except the people in this castle and enchanted rocks to guard it.”

“I chose him because I love him,” Selva answered simply.  “That you have always understood.”

“And his curse? Your curse?”

“I believe it is gone. These noble creatures say so.”

The woman did not deny it.  “Even so, it will not be an easy life.  It would be better for you to return.”

Selva’s eyes flickered briefly. “And if I said no? Would you force me to go and do your bidding?”

The Queen blinked.  “Drawing the wrath of a new king would do me no good. In these times,I would rather have an ally than an enemy.”

And then Selva knew why the woman had come to her.   “You foresee trouble.”

Her slight hesitation was enough to answer the question for Selva.   “I think my student would best be advised to bring spring early for those she loves. I fear a great hunger will be in evidence this year.  Why it has come to this and who has caused this, I must find out.”

Selva suddenly felt afraid, not for herself but for the Queen.  “Where do you go?”

The woman began to disappear in the strong wind that blew from the north.  As she faded away, she whispered. “West, to seek the mirror’s truth.”

* * *

That mirror’s guardian stood at the edge of a deep bottomless lake while the sun began its descent.  The birds of the world sang while they came to rest in her grove of trees along this magical shore.

But it was for six particular birds she waited for to arrive. She watched as they came to drink the lake’s waters and shook off their feathers, becoming human once again.

And then she listened as they spoke of the new world they had discovered.



End Volume 1, Red Riding Hood

The Tales of the Big Bad Wolf continues with Volume 2, “The Queen of Swans.”

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Epilogue — 27 Comments

    • xD I would love fanfic. Although I’m afraid of your fanfic xD.

      It’s going to be a combo of Wild Swans and possibly something else There might be a hidden story in there, just as there was a “hidden tale” in this one along with some nods to Norse mythology inthis one. 😀

  1. I am hoping that as you work with The Wild Swans, you will also tie in a bit more of the Wolframs. Maybe with the hidden tale??

    • Yes – they are part of the larger story so I expect that they will appear. I’ll try to talk about this in the next update.

  2. Bravo! Nicely done, nicely done. I wish you the best of luck with your publishing efforts, and look forward to more of your work.

  3. What a brilliant and wonderful story!!! I have so enjoyed it from beginning to end. And am sooo relieved that there is a volume 2!! I don’t think I would be quite so glad of this ‘happy ending’ if it were ending with no more to come. But I am delighted with the who and how all came together. I look forward to reading more! Thank you for sharing your work with us!

    • Definitely there was a lot that didn’t get tied up — still a lot of questions to answer too 🙂

      Glad you’ll be back!

  4. Very nice story! I greatly enjoyed it! Looking forward to the next story arc. Reading your work continues to inspire me to continue with my own writing.

    • I’m glad that I am able to encourage you in some way. Please let me know if there’s anything I can read/review or suggest for you. I’ve been picking up a lot of good resources the past few years and would be happy to share what I’ve learned.

  5. Beautiful Story!! I am so glad that none of the main characters were harmed in the final battle. Especially Lord Wolfram and Selva. And Giles. lol Okay all of them. I loved it from start to finish. Though I did wait to read the final battle and the rest of it. Didnt want it to end. 🙂

    • x3 I know several readers really would hate me if I did anything bad to the characters. I can’t say that the next book won’t be harsher but we’ll see. Still a lot to think about …

      If you have certain things you’d like me to write as side stories let mte know. I have a few comments on the next page/vote page and they’re good ideas.

  6. DONE.

    Began reading the day before yesterday, read more yesterday, and finished today. Pretty good for a mother of two pre-schoolers, eh? (Pre-children, when I’d read a novel, it was usually a day before I skipped back to the Library to check out another. The one librarian was certain I just took it home, read chapter titles, then brought it back, teehee.)

    Compliments, compliments, compliments! If I wasn’t reading the story in my 3 child-free hours of the morning, I was trying to take it apart and find all those splendid little hints that authors leave (intentionally and unintentionally, heh) on which direction the story would go next. Some I guessed, some I did not (but that still delighted me!)

    I like the ‘hidden story’ you wove in–it, beside of Puss-in-Boots–is one of THE favorite fairy tales of my youth and my children’s. (I won’t rat out what it is–I despise Spoilers, and refuse to be one myself!)
    As a little girl, I’d daydream _I_ was the heroine in the tale, and played with all the variations I could bring it to a conclusion. In the Barbie-phase almost all USA girls [have the misfortune to] go through, of course Ken & Barbie and an appropriate action figure for —– would be acted out.

    Now, on to that Unicorn story…The Last Unicorn is another one of my favorites, and I have been admonishing myself patience before seeing if there’s a similarity. Must go now, though, for I hear my two children waking up. (Looks like I begin reading on Monday instead–we have ‘Net-free weekends here.)

    You have been bookmarked!

    • Thank you for your comment! It gives me pleasure as well as a sense of relief to find that the story holds up when someone plows through in a short period of time. It’s really hard to make two years of continuity hang together and as I started editing this week I really have begun to worry about this a lot if only because I don’t want the ebook to be a very choppy experience for a reader who digests it largely in one sitting.

      I have not read The Last Unicorn but did see the animated movie. I am a humongous fan of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Many of the animators affiliated with that project went on to contribute key animations to LU and Nemo before going on to Ghibli. (The scene with all the unicorns coming out of the sea is gorgeous.)

      I do want to read the book at some point because its author, I have been told, is a very lovely person who comes out to conventions and patiently signs books. I also heard there was a fantastic graphic novel out there, so hope to run across it soon.

      I don’t think there is anything directly inspired by that specific work though based on the timing of when that was written vs. when I finally saw the animation. Rather, the influence is more “Twelve Kingdoms” written by Fuyomo Ono – a beautiful light novel series that was animated and released here some years ago and translated by Tokyopop before it went byebye. As a Unicorn fan, GO read :).

      But as for the short story “Unicorns Walk Among Us” — this is a good choice to read now while I’m on break. One character in there is critical to the next volume.

  7. I have to say that I loved the story up until the last part of chapter 34. All I can say is that it felt rushed and I needed a bit more for me to feel that that part of the story is finished. But you are the author and if you are positive that the story has ended the way you want then be very proud on creating a very good story that kept me glued to the screen. Can’t wait for more ! 🙂

    • First off welcome! Thanks for delurking to let me know your thoughts. If you are able to eventually put a finger on what that “bit more” is/was, I’d love to hear it. (For example was it additional things you wanted to see wrapped up? MOre time with certain characters?)

      IT’s a strange game ‘ending’ a serial only to begin again with another connected story, so admittedly this is an ending trying to work for a book crowd (who I want to recruit as I go into the next “book” as it serializes) as well as try to wrap up enough aspects of this story so I don’t have too much baggage launching into the next one. That said, I don’t have the objective distance right now to think about whether Chapter 34 and the epilogue were enough. I need some time and perhaps more of volume 2 under our fingers before I can figure out whether to revise.

      In any case, I do appreciate your honest “Hmm” here and will hope you participate actively when I restart again soon!

  8. Great work! I have really enjoyed reading and following the different characters trought the story. I grinned when I saw the hint to Norse Mytholigy – those being myths close to my Norwegian, dragonloving heart. Keep up the good work, and although I haven’t commented much thoughout, I have loved following the whole story.

    • 🙂 Aryn – I do not know enough about Nordic mythology. Admittedly my exposure has largely been through the small pieces put forward in a high school text as well as games I played (blames MMOPRGs), so if you know of any books in English that you’d recommend I pick up, please do so! (I love myths!)

      As for dragons, I really hope to bring them in but am not sure when/where yet.

      Thank you also for commenting and staying with the story until its temporary end 🙂

  9. Will there be a “Next” button on this page to take us to the next story, or will you put the new story in a different place?

    • It will have its own table of contents (kind of like RRH does right now) but since you asked, I can update the bottom here when it goes live.

  10. Like Etak, I’ve read this entire ebook in about three days…give or take. I’m not quite sure. Anyway, I LOVE it! Are you going to publish it? Because I would definitely want a copy! Also, like Jesse I kind of flt sort-changed by the last bit, but it might just be cause I really wanted to hear more 😉

    • I’m really impressed by your effort! (And your patience.)

      I put up the ebook version right away so it’s “published’ in a sense. But for the print copy I’m still working on a softcover version. I had hoped to have it done for Anime Weekend Atlanta but I lost a lot of time just trying to figure out the technical issues (like why fonts weren’t showing up clearly) and then got to rereading and found a lot of things I would like to fix like bad commas and awkward wording.

      I won’t be able to resume work on my proofing until October it looks like so I’ll hope to have it ready to order before the holiday season. Based on what the print version looks like though (a hefty 500 pages) I want to warn folks it’s likely it will be an expensive paperback. 🙁

      And let me know whether your impression changes as you resume the next volume? I know there are lots of things that did not get answered in the first “book” and I’d be interested to know if where “Queen of Swans’ appears to be heading is picking up on the “what you wanted to see more of.”

      Thanks so much for leaving me a comment here btw! I love hearing from folks who finish the serial – whether it be here or on Wattpad.