Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: In the Wolf's Tower

Welcome to my blog! This month, I'm showcasing lots of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. We'll start with one of my own, In the Wolf's Tower.


This story practically wrote itself, which was a bit of an adventure in the first place. I got the idea when my godson Quentin wanted some help understanding Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur. In the list of the knights of the round table, we stumbled upon this passage, which I thought would be a great jumping off point for a story:

Sir Marrok, the good knight that was betrayed with his wife, for she made him seven year a werewolf . . . Book XIX

In Mallory's tale, he is only stuck in wolf form for seven years, and when he is freed he gets revenge on his unfaithful wife. Now, despite this little bump in the road, he still has a place of honor at the round table and is part of the honor guard, but the king in my story is not quite so noble as King Arthur.

This story is a twist on Beauty and the Beast, but as you'll see as you read, our beast Marrok didn't do anything to deserve his punishment, which makes him want revenge even more. Of course, Josette is not what he expected at all, so his plans for revenge begin to falter and stray the moment she arrives......


Josette’s father needs gold to fight his war, so she goes from princess to prisoner in an instant when Lord Marrok offers the needed treasure in exchange for her. Once her father’s most honorable knight, Marrok is now shunned and feared. Why? Marrok is a werewolf. Josette goes to help her people, and soon discovers that Marrok blames her father for his curse. He claims he wasn’t looking for a bride, but his gaze screams seduction and she soon questions his reasons for demanding her in exchange for the gold. What sort of revenge does he have planned? And what will happen to her once he has her locked away in his castle?
Josette entered the kitchen and found Marrok finishing his dinner. “I thought you would want me to do that.”
“Did you? Can you cook?”
She nodded.
“Rare talent for a princess.”
“Not for a bored and sheltered one. I was under the impression I was going to be slaving away in this castle in one way or another.”
He pushed his plate away and stood. “So you imagined yourself chained either to the stove or to my bed, did you?” he asked as he moved toward her.
“My father was vague. He said I owed it to him but that I should expect the worst. When I said I would go willingly, he actually choked on his wine. He seemed pleased though and dismissed me to pack without another word.”
He stood only an inch away from her now. “And given the choice, which would you prefer?”
She looked up into his eyes and tried to ignore the masculine scent of leather. She turned her head and eyed the stove before stepping back and eyeing him as well. His gaze never wavered from her face. “It’s a very nice stove.”
He roared with laughter. “You must be a changeling. You have more wit and personality in one strand of your hair than your parents had put together.”
“I’m my own person. No one and nothing will ever change that.” She went to the table and gathered his dishes. She walked them to the sink and began looking around at the well-equipped kitchen.
“Not even your present situation?”
She let her breath out in a huff. “Are you determined to have me unhappy? What does it matter? My father will never know! For all he knows I’m locked in the dungeon or on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor in rags.”
He let his gaze shift down her body. “I’d stay in the castle more often if you get the urge to spend much time in that position.”
She turned away so he wouldn’t see the flame of color on her cheeks. She told herself she was very lucky he hadn’t forced himself on her. She shouldn’t be having such sexually charged thoughts. A man like him would surely pick up on them and tease her all the more. Or worse, tempt her to act on them.
“I really can cook. I’ll cook every meal if you like. It’s the least I can do for the expense I’ll be to you.”
“Money is of no concern. You’ll learn that soon enough.” He moved to stand behind her, but he didn’t force her to turn around. The heat from his body made her blush even worse, and something about having him so close behind her sent a thrill up her spine. “I eat at eight, one and six. I’ll unlock your door shortly after sunrise every day.”
He walked toward the door, but then he turned. “And leave food out for the cat starting tomorrow. He prefers chicken twice a day. I kill one for him every morning.”
Despite the flush still on her cheeks, she turned to him. “Cat? You’re a werewolf, but you own a cat?”
“Why is that so very odd?” he asked, though he didn’t stay to hear her answer.