• Dream of Shadows

Ripples by Rie Sheridan Rose (July 2021)


Such a simple word... but what profound consequences have come from it.

To begin at the beginning, I have served my lady princess for more than a decade now. I came to her side when I was but a Wood Elf seedling of eight and she an older and wiser ten. I’m not without royal blood of my own – being the younger daughter of an allied house, but still, I am a servant. Call it lady-in-waiting if you will, but the true name is servant.

I accepted this fate, for Talitha was beautiful – in the cool, sculptured way of the High Elf – and I’ve been in awe of her since we met on my fifth birthday. Perhaps I fell in love that day.

The duties were pleasant enough: help her dress, brush her hair, write her letters… and, for the last year, warm her bed. The last was most pleasant of all.

I loved and felt loved in return. I thought my life was missing but one thing: a hand-fasting, as we had talked about in many a whispered bedtime conversation.

I commissioned a ring. I bought a new dress. I ordered a lavish meal to be laid, with the finest silver and crystal in the palace at each place.

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, I went down on my knee before my princess and asked her to be my life-partner.

Her answer was a single, quiet word. “No.”

Anger surged within me. “No? After all the promises in the dark. After all the…”

Furious, I threw the ring at her face, cutting her perfect cheek, not considering the consequences.

As a result, I was dismissed from the castle and sent home to the wood in disgrace.

As a result, my father felt insulted and declared war on hers.

As a result, many hundreds on both sides lie decaying in the fields.

As a result, their marble castle stands breached, the forest burns, and my love is dead.

Ripples upon ripples… all from a single “No.”




Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Killing It Softly Vol. 1 & 2, Hides the Dark Tower, Dark Divinations and On Fire. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.

Head to for general news and info, check out her Steampunk series at, read Horror news at or adventures in housecleaning at or check out her Amazon author page at

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