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Title: The Kingdom by the Sea (subtitle: The Path of the Heroine)
Author: jacedesbff
Pairing/Character: Veronica/Logan, most other cast members also present
Word Count: 2,404
Rating: PG
Summary: Season 1 as a fairy tale
Spoilers: Entire Season 1
Disclaimers: Thanks to Rob Thomas for the world of Veronica Mars. [CURRENT COMMENT: Well, you know *this* was posted a long time ago. *snorts while rolling eyes*] Thanks to the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen for my love of fairy tales. :-)

Author’s Note: thank you to my beta, Merc4. We are all grateful for her diligent read-throughs of my fic—she saves us all from horrific grammatical errors and the like. Thank you VERY MUCH to everyone who has given me feedback in the past. It is very welcome and appreciated!


Once upon a time there was a beautiful kingdom by the sea that was ruled by a king who truly did his best to serve his people. He and his queen lived with their children, the prince and the princess, in a magnificent castle that stood in the center of the kingdom, its spires so high that they seemed to touch the heavens. The king’s land was kept safe by the captain of the guard and his brave soldiers; for while the kingdom was very pretty, there were still dangerous people about and the citizens of the kingdom by the sea slept better at night knowing that their safety was watched over by the captain and his men.

Now the king was a very forward-thinking king, and he believed that all of his subjects should be educated. Therefore, he had a magnificent school built and declared that all the young people in the kingdom—the prince and princess, the children of nobles, and the children of servants—they would all be educated there together.

This made many of the people in the kingdom angry—even the queen felt that commoners should not be educated alongside her children. But the king stood firm and his will prevailed. So all of the kingdom’s children, both rich and poor, now went to school together. Even so, the nobles stayed with the nobles and the commoners stayed with the commoners, and the two rarely interacted. There were exceptions, of course. The prince, for instance, began a romance with the captain’s daughter. The captain’s daughter also became best friends with the princess, who was betrothed to the dark knight, the son of the king’s champion. The four of them became fast friends and had many adventures together until one day, with no warning, the prince cast the captain’s daughter out of his life. While the maiden was heartbroken, she had no recourse and it seemed as though life must go on for her, shattered though she was.

Then one day an even greater tragedy befell not just the lovely maiden, but the entire kingdom. The princess, the vivacious and outgoing daughter of the king, was found dead, the victim of mysterious evil forces. All of the citizens of the kingdom were devastated. The princess had been beloved by everyone. No one was more distraught than those who loved her most—the king and queen, the prince, the dark knight who adored her, and the captain’s daughter, who counted her as her dearest friend. The captain of the guard set out to find the malevolent forces who would take the life of the beautiful princess and to his dismay, all of his inquiries led him to the door of the one person that he had never suspected—the king himself.

The king became enraged that his captain would ascribe—even for a moment—such evil deeds to him and he immediately had the captain removed from his post. The disgraced captain, his wife and his daughter were all forced to move from their home within the city walls to a small shack outside the city walls. No longer were they surrounded by well-kept homes and neighbors who wore the most beautiful clothes in the latest fashions. Their new neighbors lived in dingy, cramped hovels and wore ugly, patched clothing. The former captain’s wife was unable to handle their newfound poverty and fled the kingdom, leaving her family behind. The captain’s daughter, now motherless and friendless but determined to stand by her father, decided to prove to the nobles that she was still worthy of their company and so attended one last ball inside the castle walls. For her trouble, her virtue was stolen from her, forever robbing her of her innocence.

Our fair maiden, no longer a maiden in the eyes of the world, had a decision to make. She could turn her back on her father and try to reclaim the life that she had once had, or she could remain loyal to her father and forge a new path for herself. She chose the latter and decided to follow the path of the heroine—a difficult path, filled with perilous trials, rites of passage, and dangerous missions. This road was unfamiliar to her, requiring independence, bravery, resourcefulness and courage. No longer would she be able to hide behind others; instead she would have to take the lead and invite others to follow her example. It was a path that the once fair maiden embraced, and so began her most perilous quest. While the new captain of the guard had found a man to accuse of the horrible murder of the princess, our heroine did not believe that the man locked in the deepest dungeon of the castle had in actuality perpetrated the crime. In order for her to truly become a heroine, she knew that she would have to find and bring to justice the real murderer, and thus began her journey.

Our heroine’s father, the former captain of the guard, became a hero for hire, putting his deductive skills to use helping those in need (for a small fee) and in this way was able to keep a roof over his and his daughter’s heads. Our heroine engaged in similar activities, working primarily with the very students at school who shunned her. Female champions were not entirely unheard of in this kingdom. After all, the dark knight’s mother had been a heroine in her own right prior to her marriage to the king’s champion. After a few years, though, she had found it to be too difficult to maintain both her duties as a heroine and her work in the home, and she had given up her role as heroine. The king’s subjects remembered, though, and while the king’s champion received most of the attention for his brave deeds (the slaying of the evil dragon, the freeing of a beleaguered neighboring town, etc.), the citizens understood that some of the greatest champions were women. Many fellow students, both nobles and commoners, began to seek out the help of our heroine. This brought her a level of respect and introduced her to new friends. The leader of the dangerous band of ruffians, the talented alchemist, and the kindest of the noble girls—all saw beneath the new tough skin she had created and became friends with our heroine.

Despite these successes, our heroine’s status as the daughter of the disgraced former captain brought more than its fair share of trials. The nobles at the school were harsh in their judgment of her. She was ridiculed, hated, and became the target of vicious campaigns of lies. Only her newfound sense of purpose, discovered on the path to becoming a heroine, saved her from giving in to the onslaught of hatred. Even then, she was barely able to withstand the worst betrayal of all—that of her former love, the prince, and his best friend—formerly her friend, as well—the dark knight. The dark knight was unrelenting in his persecution of our heroine. Misplaced rage for the stolen life of his betrothed fueled his fire, but the fact that it was unfair in no way lessened the pain it wrought upon its victim. But our heroine held her head high and continued down her path, unwilling to let the dark knight know how much his anger wounded her.

Then one day another tragedy befell the kingdom. The wife of the king’s champion, the former heroine, jumped to her death from the tallest tower in the castle. Her body landed in the river that flowed to the sea and was never found. Everyone who knew her was deeply saddened, but no one more so than her son, the dark knight. In his desperation to prove that his mother wasn’t really dead (after all, her body hadn’t been found), he turned to the one person that he knew might be able to help him. The brave young heroine who had been the object of his relentless torment was now the only person who might believe him. And indeed, our heroine did find proof of his mother’s fate—but of her death, not of her continued life. And it was to her that the dark knight found himself turning for comfort as he came to terms with his mother’s death. His best friend the prince had become more and more distant since his sister’s death, lost in a fog of his own making. Most of the other nobles at their school lacked the depth necessary to help anyone face a significant challenge. And so our heroine and the dark knight began to remember the olden days when they had been friends. And while the wounds inflicted since that time did not vanish immediately, their sting began to lessen and the sores began to heal.

Meanwhile, our heroine continued her quest to find the princess’s killer. Several times she believed that she had gotten closer to the answers that she sought, only to find that she was searching in the wrong place, or had the wrong information, or the discovery of a key piece of the puzzle only led to the discovery of more missing pieces. The search was long and frustrating and often she despaired of completing her mission. In the course of her search, however, she did gain a valuable piece of information that explained one of the earliest tragedies that had befallen her. Our heroine discovered that her mother had at one time been mistress to the king, and that her own parentage was in question as a result. The prince had not left her because he did not love her, but rather because he was afraid that she was his sister. A weight that she had been carrying with her, the fear that she had done something to offend the prince, was lifted and replaced by another one, the fear that her beloved father might not be her father at all.

Time went on and our heroine continued to provide heroic services for her classmates, albeit now aided by the somewhat clandestine help of the dark knight. The prince continued to be an odd mixture of kind and aloof, but now she understood his motives and felt compassion for his struggles instead of hurt. And then one day, to both of their great surprise, she and the dark knight shared a passionate kiss. While she had not been without male admirers over the previous months, nothing prepared her for the devastating onslaught of emotions wrought by the embrace of the dark knight. Their passion burned as brightly as had their former enmity, threatening to consume them both in its unrelenting flame. The two of them kept their mutual feelings a secret from the rest of the kingdom, lest the judgmental eyes of the nobles and commoners alike fall on their relationship and choose to target them. In the end, though, the dark knight stood up to the condemnatory population of nobles and declared his love for our heroine. It seemed as though love might finally stand the test of time.

But old hurts do not always vanish as easily as we would like for them to and scars have a way of reminding us of what wounded us in the first place. Circumstances conspired to cause our heroine to doubt the love of the dark knight, genuine though it was, and she resumed her quest alone. Not long after this, she and her father discovered, to her dismay, that the most likely suspect in the princess’s murder was no less than the dark knight himself. Her father insisted that they inform the new captain of this development and our heroine worried that nothing and no one that she ever loved would be able to withstand the cruel whims of time and fate.

This belief was thankfully challenged, however, when her father provided conclusive proof that he—and not the king—was her father. On the heels of this discovery came an even grander revelation a few days later—the answer to our heroine’s quest. The dark knight had not killed the princess. Previously, as she and the dark knight had reforged their friendship, she had learned some startling truths about his father, the king’s champion, who was not as heroic as he seemed. In fact, he often beat his son and belittled his wife, which had in large part led to her suicide. Our heroine now learned that the king’s champion had committed the ultimate betrayal towards both his wife and his son by conducting a clandestine series of trysts with the princess. When she had threatened to tell the king, her father’s champion had killed the princess.

Upon discovering this terrible truth, our heroine rushed to tell her father. Unfortunately, the king’s champion had learned of her intentions and intercepted her on her route home. Had the heroine’s father not arrived in the very nick of time, our heroine would likely have been killed. Instead, our heroine and her father were able to bring the king’s murderous champion to justice, restoring the honor of their family in the process.

After reassuring herself that her father had safely survived the injuries he sustained in her rescue, our heroine went home and fell deeply asleep, exhausted from the day’s trials. In the early hours of the following morning, the dark knight appeared on her doorstep. Our heroine had sent one of her friends, the leader of the ruffians, to find the dark knight as soon as she had discovered the conclusive proof of his innocence. When the head ruffian found him and told the dark knight of our heroine’s genuine love and concern, the dark knight had realized another truth—neither he nor his beloved heroine would gain anything by holding past deeds against each other, and they had both suffered enough already without continuing to deny themselves love. He had then gone straight to the home of our heroine to declare his continued love for her.

Upon seeing him on her doorstep, the heroine had fallen into his embrace and the two of them had rededicated themselves to their love. While they knew that the road ahead would not be free of obstacles, they also knew that their love was strong enough to withstand those obstacles.

And they lived happily ever after. (It is a fairy tale, after all...)

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sanya4
Jun. 13th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
I love fairy tales! This was really cute, especially the last line.

I have to add that I just couldn't stop laughing after reading your current comment in the disclaimer :D
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )