Monday, December 10, 2007

Brialeanna and the Beast
Or Moo the Musical

Once upon a time there was a poor blood elf farmer from Eversong Woods near Fairbreeze Village who had a beautiful daughter. In fact, she was so beautiful that everyone called her "Beauty," even though her name was Brialeanna.

The year that Beauty was level eighteen the weather was very bad and the farmer's crops failed—he was able to harvest only enough to feed his family for half the year, with nothing left over to take to market, so he sent Beauty into the nearby forest to gather root and thorns, while he ventured closer to the Scorched Grove to gather whatever bloodthistle he could find.

Now, deep within that forest traveling on an important quest was a terrible beast, an enormous tauren named Bonden, who destroyed whatever hapless victims he could find wandering there alone. He heard Beauty moving through the underbrush and quietly crept up to capture her, but when his eyes happened upon her, the great tauren immediately fell in love and could not bear to think of any harm coming to such a lovely blood elf, so he silently withdrew to seek other prey. Soon afterwards, he came upon Beauty's father busily collecting bloodthistle to sell at market.

When the blood elf was captured and the tauren explained that the farmer was to be taken to Stranglethorn Vale where he would be thrown into the arena to fight for his life, the distraught father wailed, "I am no warrior, surely I will die! What will become of my little Beauty and my wife Eunice without me to work the farm, and even without my returning with the bloodthistle I have gathered today? They will starve!"

"Beauty?" said the Beast, remembering the blood elf girl he had seen not long before and thinking that would be an entirely appropriate name for her.

"My daughter. She has come into the forest, too, to gather earth root and briarthorn. Oh, I should not have said that! Now you will find her and capture her too!"

"Is she the beautiful young blood elf wearing a gray woolen robe, a pretty malachite pendant and carrying a red leather bag?

"Yes. Oh, you have already found and taken her! Woe! Woe! You may as well slay me, now. I have nothing left to live for."

"I haven't touched her! I saw her and fell in love with her and would never harm her. For her sake, I will even let you go, if you will bring her to me so that I may marry her."

This posed a problem for the farmer. With Beauty still alive, and unlikely to be harmed by the Beast, he no longer wished to die. But to condemn her to be married to such a horrible beast . . . that was not a fate she deserved.

"Could she come home to visit us every day?"

"No, but one day a year she can go for a visit, if she wishes."

"And no harm will come to her?"

"Absolutely none. I love her and want only the best for her. She will live in luxury, for my home is an enchanted palace far away in Mulgore."

"I'm not sure she will agree to marry you."

"Then I will come and I will capture you wherever you are, then I will slay you before your family and loot you for everything you own, a paltry prize I’m sure, but loot, nonetheless. So you had better persuade her to agree."

"I will do my best."

When Beauty heard that the alternative to her marrying the Beast was for her father to be slain and looted by the fierce tauren, she did not hesitate. She was a pure and innocent young girl, but she knew where her duty lay.

Dressed in her finest gown, she went with her father to the waters edge of the Azurebreeze coast—her mother was too upset to come with them—onto a clear beach the Beast had pointed out to the farmer. There was nothing there but a small, cute and docile looking manatee.

"I am to lead you to the palace of the Beast," said the manatee. "Your father may go no further."

So, after a tearful farewell, the farmer left his daughter, who followed the manatee across the great sea, then as the manatee took to cat form they ran along a twisting route, taking a branching path, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, but so irregularly that Beauty could not keep track of the way. Finally, they came to a place in a green valley where sat a tiny castle covered by overarching tree branches.

"It's so small!" said Beauty ever so disappointed. "I'm not sure I will fit insinde."

"It's an enchanted castle," said the cat, "larger on the inside than on the outside, as you will see as soon as you step through the doorway."

And so it was. Beauty stood marveling at the large entrance hallway lined with rich tapestries and furnishings, with a grand staircase with ornately carved balustrades that rose at the back and divided, to the right and to the left, ending at each side in an archway in the wall beneath the high ceiling.

The cat had followed Beauty into the castle. Sensing some movement behind her, Beauty turned to see the cat growing larger and larger, changing shape, and being transformed into a large, fearsome monster. She fainted.

Beauty awoke to find herself lying on a soft, silk-covered bed. Gradually recovering her wits, she half opened her eyes and turned her head, to see the tauren sitting quietly in a nearby chair, close but not too near the bedside. The expression on his face was as close to tenderness as was possible on such a visage, and his brown eyes had a soft, adoring look, or so Beauty interpreted. The mirror on the wall behind him showed the top of a broad back covered with black coarse hair, and the snout that protruded beneath soft brown eyes bore a gold ring through the nostrils, but he was not quite so repulsive as he had seemed at first glance.

When he saw that Beauty was conscious again Bonden rose gently from his seat, came to the bedside, took her hand gently and drew her up to stand before him.

"I want only to love you, not to frighten nor harm you. I live this way in this place because of a spell cast upon me by an evil gnome mage. Perhaps if you kiss me, it may break the spell, but, in any case remember, this is an enchanted castle and natures and appearances can change to meet your desires. You may close your eyes while I kiss you, then gaze into the mirror and you will see the guise I should assume that would please you, for I can take on any form that you desire."

Repressing a shudder, Beauty closed her eyes. A few moments later she felt moist lips press upon hers, and a kiss such as she had never had at home from her mother or father drew the very breath from her body, starting from her toes and rising gradually through her up to her mouth, leaving behind a vast emptiness longing to be filled, and while her lips tasted sweetness, yet they were aflame. To keep from falling into the abyss that seemed to open before her, she wrapped her arms around the body of the Beast and held tightly to him, until, an eternity later, he drew back and she opened her eyes.

Gazing into the mirror her vision was blurred, but as she tried to focus on the face and form of the Beast, she saw that he had changed from the horrible monster with the animal horns and ringed snout that Brialeanna had first seen. Now he had broad shoulders, and a blood elf’s demeanor. His elongated face transformed into and elfish cameo with a beautiful alabaster smile, while his ears pulled back to show long point pointy tips. His large eyes flashed with fire, as he now was revealed in majesty before her.

"What form did you wish me to change into?" asked the former Beast.
"None but what you are. You are magnificently handsome. I have never before seen such a powerful, impressive creature." And she once again raised her glance to the mirror behind him and longingly saw that elegant Blood Elf posture. She saw also that a pretty, gentle, sweet-faced heifer stood before him with a gaze of adulation at her lover.

MORAL: It's not so easy to rise above our animal natures.

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