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07:30 pm: So now here is a story that crowds in all the things I hate from the meme, to make fun of them.
At [info]sabotabby's suggestion.

Here it is. It also hits two minor pet peeves of mine, the story whose title has nothing to do with its contents and the heroine named something “pretty” which people didn’t research enough. ETA: Also, the "rule" that so many fantasy characters must have names with Y in them.

The Gates of the Moon

Chlamydia buried her head in her hands, sobbing. Yvette reached out to touch her gently on the back. “There, there, it’s not the end of the world, my lady—“

Chlamydia tossed her head up. “Yes, it is!” she cried. “He was the last one who wanted to marry me, who understood my dreams of swordplay!” And she ran down the tower stairs.

Yvette gazed after her lady, sighing. Chlamydia simply couldn’t see that those who undervalued her were jealous noble ladies with heads full of air, who didn’t dream beyond the ends of their needles. Chlamydia was endlessly beautiful, and she would be a powerful mage when she gained control of her illusions, which right now wandered through the castle causing havoc. And she believed that she was a freak because her bridegrooms’ hearts kept bursting at the sight of her lovely face. No matter how often Yvette tried to tell her the truth, she never wanted to listen.

Yvette turned to picking up the room. Someday, her lady’s prince would come.


Chlamydia sat in the castle’s garden, moodily picking at her dress. Her mother had forced her into the gown, again. She had said that Prince Tyferth was visiting that afternoon for his brother’s funeral, and Chlamydia had to look good to impress him. She didn’t see what difference it would make. After all, he would hate her. She had killed his brother, her last betrothed, the last she would ever have. Her mother had reassured her of that in hateful whispers as she told Chlamydia to sit up straight during the funeral service and not to daydream.

Not for the first time, Chlamydia thought she should run away from the castle to where she would be better-appreciated. She could be a healer, chasing away the diseases from the common folk. She could be a skilled swordswoman, dashing the blades from the hands of unchivalrous knights and teaching them the proper way to go about saving maidens. She knew she had the talent to do both those things, if the master healer had just accepted her tendency to drift off into daydreams and the master-at-arms had accepted that she wanted to improve at swordplay now, to fight the unchivalrous knights, not in a few years.

A step behind her startled her. “My lady? I hope I didn’t startle you.”

“Well, you did,” she snapped, and whirled around.

A prince stood behind her, shifting uneasily. Chlamydia stared at him. He had intelligent eyes of a blue so deep she could drown in them, and golden hair like cornsilk. Her hands started to tremble with the need to touch that golden hair and make sure it was real and not a sculptured crown.

“You’re the Princess Chlamydia,” he whispered.

“And you must be Prince Tyferth,” she said. “You could be no other, as handsome as you are.” She dipped into a curtsey, flushing as she tripped a little on her gown. She just wasn’t used to wearing them. Now she thought she knew what a woman who had been raped by one of those false knights felt like. There was no greater sense of violation in the world than being made to wear a skirt.

“I know you for the Princess,” he replied, “because of your face.”

Chlamydia flushed and turned her head away. “If you’ve only come to make fun of me,” she snapped, “go away.”

“No, not at all!” he asserted, stepping forward and capturing her cheek in one soft hand. He tilted her face up to his again. “You are a vision,” he whispered.

“A vision of monstrous ugliness, you mean to say,” she corrected him, and wrenched away.

“No, no,” he said. “Not with the way you stumbled on your skirt.” He ducked his head and gave her a shy smile. “I like that. Most ladies of the court are too full of hot air to do so. They would bob up if they tried. I like it that you’re more sensible than that, and prefer to wear trousers to skirts.”

Chlamydia smiled at him, and giggled. She had often been told that her laugh was extraordinary, but Tyferth only seemed enchanted, instead of shocked, as everyone else had. She held out her arm. “You may come and walk with me, Your Highness,” she said, “since you are so good and kind to a helpless damsel others have treated poorly.”

She was startled to see his face darken with anger. “Tell me who has hurt you,” he demanded, putting his hand on the sword he wore and which Chlamydia had failed to notice before. It was a greatsword which shone like the dawn. “I will hurt them for you.”

Chlamydia shook her head. “Oh, no, sir, I couldn’t ask you to do that!” She lowered her eyes, flushing. Really, the jealous noble ladies who giggled at her were just what Yvette had often said they were, jealous. And the men who kept their faces covered around her for fear of her ugliness were also stupid. And it had been a long time since Yvette had hurt her. Once, Yvette had claimed to have fallen in love with her and whispered ridiculous words in between kisses that frightened Chlamydia, but Chlamydia had berated her and told her that women did not love other women like that; that was for men and women. Her example had so inspired Yvette that she had immediately married and borne children to a handsome knight, while she became Chlamydia’s handmaiden in thanks. Now she helped undress Chlamydia every night, and brush her hair until it shone, and Chlamydia was glad that she had helped her unlearn impure thoughts.

“I would do it for you in a moment, regardless,” said Tyferth.

“I know.” Chlamydia smiled at him. “But I am a freak, sir. I could not ask you to kill.” She stretched out a hand, deciding to show him some of her magic that no one else ever got to see, and the flower curled around the fountain turned and arched towards her. “I have dreamt of fighting,” she admitted, “but it was only a dream of saving others. If I slew someone else, I could not talk to the animals, nor dance in the light of the moon again. Women are the children of life. We were not meant to kill with steel.” That did not mean the master-at-arms should have laughed at her when she said that she wanted to learn the sword in hours, though. A chivalrous man would not have laughed.

“You are as wise as you are beautiful, my lady.” Tyferth seized her hand and kissed it fervently. Chlamydia felt her eyes welling up with tears, and she tore her hand away and ran to a far corner of the garden.

“I’m not beautiful,” she sobbed. “I’m not wise. Please, don’t, Tyferth. Don’t.” She pulled her head into her arms and cried, though she knew she would only make her face uglier. Her sister always said that she was uglier when she cried.

Tyferth came to her, though, and put his arms around her, and kissed her. “I am resolved to marry you as soon as I can, my lady.”

“Why?” she asked hatefully, pulling away and turning around to stare at him. “Because I’m a hateful freak?”

“Of course not,” he said, stroking her back to soothe her. “Because I know that you are my bride. I knew it the moment I saw your face. The Goddess came to me in a dream, Princess, and showed me the features of the woman I was to marry. I never knew her name, though, or I would have come as soon as I heard of you.” He dropped to one knee. “The Goddess gave me a prophecy, as well, Chlamydia. Our daughter shall bring back the ancient art of wolf-riding, and our son shall be the most chivalrous knight in the land.”

Chlamydia stared at him. “Truly?”

“Truly.” He touched her hands to his lips and kissed them. “I love you forever, my darling, my dearling, my heart.”

Chlamydia leaned forward and kissed him back. She had never been happier.

Perhaps it was for the best that rocks fell from the castle walls and killed them both in that moment.

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