Journey | Oubliette

I decided to do something new: write a short vignette about the image below, similar in style to Erin Morgenstern’s flax-golden tales (I love them!). The difference? The shorter vignette fits into a larger story, which I will continue to write until the characters tell me I’m done.

Feedback always appreciated.



“Once upon a time,” Father begins, and his words fall into an ethereal cadence that puts me in trance.

Once upon a time, there was an old knight who sought only one thing in his last days. He had slain dragons, saved damsels, and broken curses. He knew war and conflict as old friends, but he sought the company of  a new bedfellow: peace. So the old knight did what all knights do when they are restless: he went on a quest. 

His travels were solitary. His days were his own. No racing across borders and against time. When he came across a magical object, he let it be. His newfound reverence for the mundane pleased him.

One day, the old knight came across a deep chasm he did not remember from before. He climbed down and down and down, and the space became narrower and narrower. When he reached the bottom, it was cold and dry. The space was big enough for him to lie down, and the sun was a tiny circle above him. He decided to go back up, only to realize he could not remember the way. Each place his hand rested felt strange, and so he resigned himself to his fate.

‘This is a peaceful place,’ the old knight said, and he curled up and slept for years until a woman fell on top of him. She wore strange armor of boiled leather, branded with odd symbols. 

‘Who are you?’ The old knight asked.

‘I’m a knight. Who are you?’ She responded.

‘I’m a knight, too! What are you doing here?’

‘I’m on a quest,” the lady knight said.

‘I am, too!’ the old knight crowed. ‘What do you seek?’

‘Adventure,’ the lady knight smiled, ‘though I think I have come to the wrong place. What is your quest?’

‘I don’t remember,’ the old knight replied. They stared at each other in silence, and then he began to chuckle. The lady knight giggled, and they launched into loud, throaty laughter that echoed up out of the oubliette. 

For years they laughed until they cried, tears streaming down their faces. One day they stopped, and it had been so long neither could remember anything except that they were an old knight and a lady knight at the bottom of a forgotten oubliette.

‘No one is coming,’ the lady knight said. ‘No one knows we are here.’

‘We know,’ the old knight said. ‘And it does not matter. This is a peaceful place.’

They curled up, forgetting who they were to each other – questing knights, father and daughter, husband and wife – and slept. 

One day this story will make its way down on a lost current of wind and they will wake and remember. They will climb out of the oubliette, and she will find adventure and he peace.

This is why my father likes fairy tales.

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