If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write - Stephen King, On Writing, p. 147

The Knave

The Knave watched as the princess giggled inanely at the long streak of blond masculinity who had just returned from killing three dragons, two ogres and one somewhat aged Cyclops. Even the damn King had a crush on this hunk of princeliness who flounced around the kingdom like he owned it.

The Knave paused in his venomous vitriol and shrugged. Technically he did own at least half of it, that being the way of things. Kill an endangered mythical creature and instead of being reported to the Royal Society for the Protection of Mythological Fauna you were lauded, feted, adulated and generally worshipped.

“I’d rather see him defenestrated” the Knave muttered as he gave a token tinkle with his bell bedecked hat and waved his bladder somewhat limply, he'd never really got the knack of it, before retreating back to his corner to sulk and mutter.

Sixteen bloody years of making a fool of himself, cooing over her cradle, pretending he didn’t notice the unprincesslike scent she wafted after her as he amused her through potty training, making fun of her tutors as they tried to stop everything that went in one ear pouring out of the other in seconds and not to mention kowtowing to her parents to ingratiate himself for the big day. This was definitely not how it was supposed to go.

Everyone knew the right ending. The swineherd, or in his case bumbling court jester, turned out to be the only one who could save/wake/find the princess and wake her from her slumbers/rescue her from her tower/return her through great perils to her grateful parents at which point he was revealed to be the long lost son of local nobility/heir to ancient kingdom/heroic son of heroic dead father, delete as necessary. But oh no, his varied and admittedly interesting searches through every record he could lay his hands on had turned up bugger all.

He watched the square-jawed, blue-eyed, empty-headed pretty boy propose in front of the ooh-ing and ahh-ing court, beneath the fond gaze of a queen who was known to throw cooks to the moat monster for placing her soldiers a miniscule degree off on her breakfast plate but had apparently lost her mind at the thought of a royal wedding and the slightly confused smile of a king whose mind was really considering if he could afford a dowry now he only had half a kingdom. Wasn’t anyone going to rescue the princess, even if it was against her wishes? The Knave had time invested and he was buggered if he was going to see it all go down the privy!

The following morning as flags were lowered to half mast and preparations for a hero’s funeral were getting underway, the Knave came upon the princess, staring forlornly out of the narrow, glassless window on the fifth floor of the castle. She turned at his approach and threw herself sobbing into his arms.

“How could he have fallen?” she wailed and the Knave tried really quite hard not to relish the image imprinted on his mind, An image of blond curls and legs that were far too long and muscular, just showing off really, disappearing out of the window accompanied by a swiftly terminated cry of ‘What the f…’

“Perhaps he slipped” the Knave answered, surreptitiously kicking a tinkly little bell into a dark corner as he offered his princess what comfort he could and tried not to grin too broadly.