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  1.     Once upon a medieval time in the Little kingdom of Essethe, which was located in some ambiguous area in the European countryside, There lived a lovely teenage princess that went by the name Annabelle LaBelle.  Her hair was a long tawny cascade of bouncy curls that tumbled down her back and contrasted nicely against her fair skin. Her eyes were big and round, like that of a doe; except that they were the color of the sky on a sunny summer afternoon. She was on the short side, with a petite but muscular structure from her frequent outdoor excursions. She lived for nature, riding her horses, and tending the flora and fauna of her land. Despite her typical princess-like beauty, it’s clear that Annabelle wasn’t quite your quintessential princess.
  3. Before our little tale even began, Annabelle was in an arranged marriage to Prince Henrik Casimir of Aadderon. He was an incredibly handsome man. Henrik was 19 years old, just a year older than Annabelle. He had dark eyes the color of a stormy sea, and caramel hair that was always perfectly messy. He had high cheekbones, full lips, a toned body, and tanned skin that had not a single blemish upon it. Prince Henrik was, well-- perfect. Even so, he was an extremely haughty and rude individual, which usually overshadowed his outer beauty to those that knew him. In the prince’s eyes, no one was better than himself.
  5. Anyway, Annabelle had many emotions about the marriage, but the thing she felt most of the time was indifference. The union was purely political, uniting the two kingdoms and assuring Prince Henrik’s royal power. Though they were engaged, Henrik thought Annabelle was much too peasant like, being that she was so outdoorsy; and Annabelle thought Henrik was nothing but a spoiled brat. Either way, Henrik was extremely handsome, and Annabelle was incredibly beautiful, and so neither of the two minded being married to the other. As long as Henrick gave her space to go have her little adventures, everything was great for Annabelle. All she felt that she had to do was just force herself to like Henrik. Love wasn’t necessary.
  7. One night, Annabelle was all snuggled up under her soft gossamer sheets as usual; snoozing away in her enormous bed. She had awoken the middle of the night to a loud rustling noise that shattered the stillness of the dark. In a confused and sleepy haze, she managed to decipher that the sound was coming from outside her bedroom window. This was strange, because usually she couldn’t hear anything from below, being that her room was on the fourth floor of the castle. She sat up in bed, and groggily called out into the darkness of her bedroom, “Um.. hello? Is anybody there!?” And as soon as she had uttered those words, the noise stopped abruptly. “Very strange.” She thought aloud.
  9. Now fully awake and rather curious, she crept out of bed and padded across the floor to her window without making a sound. Quietly, she opened the wooden shutters, and peaked her head out, gazing toward the shadowy horizon. She looked down, and as soon as she did, something had swooped out of the darkness below and snatched her up, and she screamed at the top of her lungs. She knew something had grabbed her from the window, what it was was the real question! A warm, smooth substance wrapped around her and held her tight from  head to toe. She was completely blind, but she felt the fast-paced motion around her, as the brisk night air swept above and below her body. The more she cried out, bit, and clawed for dear life, the surface constricted around her even tighter. Just when she thought her head may just pop off, the movement stopped. The surface slackened, and she could finally breathe. She looked up, and saw the night sky once more. She knew they must have been miles from the kingdom by now. But the scenery wasn't the only thing in her field of vision.
  11. It was a huge, human-like face staring down at her. She couldn’t make out many details because of the pitch darkness around her, but she could see the beast’s glittering green eyes, and she knew she was in a hand. It’s hand. Her heart skipped a beat. “No, please, don't --” she murmured, scooting back toward the edge of his palm. “Oh. My. God.” She continued to whisper, in shock. “Wait! I can explain!!” The thing boomed. Annabelle screamed and scooted back even further, nearly falling to her death. “Woah there, girl! Hold on!” The colossus jerked his hand forward, sending her flying into his cupped hand, and she screamed again. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” She shrieked at him. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! LET ME GO THIS INSTANT!!” The face grimaced. His voice depressed a bit. “Please, miss. Just-- let me explain.”  “NO!!” She roared defiantly. The giant sighed, annoyed. “Fine. Have it your way. I’m sorry about this.” With that, she felt herself being wrapped in scratchy burlap-like material, and passed out.
  13. Annabelle awoke to golden daylight kissing her face. She sleepily rubbed her eyes and yawned. She rolled over and quietly muttered to herself, “What a weird dream. So realist-” She stopped abruptly and sat up. She was not home. This wood beneath her body was not her goose-feather bed, and the cheap cloth covering her was most certainly not her gossamer sheets. She looked around at the vast room surrounding her. She was sitting on a table that was at least 70 feet wide, with chairs that completely towered over her. Finally, she came to her senses. This was a kitchen; a huge one, but a kitchen nonetheless. “This-- this isn’t a dream” She stuttered.
  15.     Annabelle heard a thundering voice behind her. “Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but yes. This is all really happening. Sorry if I’ve caused you any trauma, ma’am.”  She spun around, only to be looking into the enormous face of her captor. His expression wasn’t threatening. She recognized his sharp green eyes; but now she could clearly see his messy brown hair and some stubble on his jaw, accompanied by a few little pimples here and there, and wearing something similar to what a peasant would. He was lanky but muscular. He had all the awkward features of a teenage boy about her age, except completely oversized. She thought he was kind of cute for someone who was supposed to be a monster, but that didn’t mean that she was any less angry. “Who do you think you are, pulling this kind of stunt!? Do you realize the punishment for kidnapping a princess?” She shouted, her voice shaking. “I highly recommend letting me go now, then maybe I’ll let you live.”
  17.  “And who, little one, would want to go up against me in battle?” The giant chuckled condescendingly, “I’m not trying to sound cocky, but come on.” He gestured to himself. “Last time I measured, I was 39 and a half feet tall. Thats quite a bit taller than you people.” He laughed. Annabelle snarled, “Oh HA HA. You’re so funny! Now let me leave!” “No.” He stated bluntly. Annabelle was stunned. She wasn’t used to people denying her what she wanted. “I am amazed at your insolence. I’ll have you know that my fiance Prince Henrik has never lost a battle. I’ll bet he is on his way to save me right now.” The giant smiled weakly and looked down. “You know, I’ve never lost either.” His voice changed, sounding just the tiniest bit forlorn. But sometimes, I wish someone could have done it.” He spoke softly. “Only a ‘hero’ can kill one of us. We giants are unable to do it ourselves. I think it has something to do with magic. To me, its a curse.”
  19. Annabelle felt a sudden pang of sympathy, but didn’t let it show. “Why would you want to do that to yourself?” She said roughly. He responded, “Well, I feel as though my life isn’t worth much anymore.” Annabelle frowned at this, but didn’t say anything. “My family kills human beings for sport. Sickening right? Well, lets just say that I was born with high expectations to do the same.” The princess cringed at the sheer thought of it. “Their bloodlust is renowned throughout our kingdom, and I was expected to continue the family tradition. I mean, even my name means ‘One who slaughters many’” He sighed in defeat. “Wait, what’s your name again?” Annabelle pondered. “Mardochaios,” he replied casually. “But you can call me Mar. What’s yours?” “Oh, I’m Annabelle!” She tried to muster a polite smile, as Mar continued. “Anyway, I’m only 182 years old, and my whole kingdom basically disowned me because I refused to be savage and kill innocent humans like them. No one wants anything to do with me.”
  21. Annabelle became more calm. “Wow. I’m sorry... that sounds... just horrible. You must be so lonely, Mar..” The boy nodded silently. After a moment of silence, the princess sat forward. “Wait. You just said you’re 182 years old. Did I hear right?!” She questioned in amazement, just realizing what Mar had said. “Oh, sure.” Mar said nonchalantly. “And to top it off, I’m one of the youngest and smallest of our kind; about eighteen in your human years. The elders can be up to 800 years old and 200 feet tall!” Annabelle looked up at the giant in wonder. “Geez, you really know how to make a girl feel insignificant.” She laughed and Mar grinned in return. “Oh, but you’re not insignificant, you’re the princess of a kingdom that I could practically crush with my pinky finger, remember!” He said, in his best sarcastic tone. Annabelle pouted playfully in response. “Such a comedian. You’re not that big.” Mardochaios sighed, still smiling. “Yeah. You’re right. I’m already big enough.” He pulled out the chair closest to Annabelle. “Usually, humans like you think I’m too big.” Mar said, his green eyes looking somewhat sad. “Most tend to try and escape by now.”
  23. “Oh. You mean your captives?” The princess asked innocently. Mar groaned and rolled his eyes. “‘Captives’ is such a harsh word. My intentions with you people aren’t even bad.” Annabelle scooted closer, intrigued by his reasoning. Mar looked down at her, and rested his head on his hand, exasperated. “You humans think just because I’m big means I’m going to hurt you.” “No, not really.” Annabelle retorted. “Ninety-nine percent of the giant population wants to kill us, which makes us assume that you want to too.” “Ah. I understand” Mar mumbled. They both paused for a moment before the princess spoke again. “What do you do with us, Mar? I know it’s not bad, but why?” Mar stared blankly at her. “You really can’t figure out why?” Mar chuckled lightly and shook his head. “I’m just so alone here all the time, Annabelle. My family and friends don’t want me, and everyone else is too afraid of me to even see what kind of person I am. I’m desperate. I bring people like you back here in the hope that maybe one day I’ll find someone who actually wants to stay with me. If they don’t want to, I never make them. And although it would break my heart to see someone as charming and as beautiful as you to leave me, I won’t stop you either.” He rested his head on his arm quietly.
  25. Annabelle was speechless. She just felt so horrible. She could practically feel her heart splitting in two. Mar was such a nice guy, he was just completely misunderstood. No one would even bother to give him the time of day to prove himself as a person. She needed to show him that she wasn’t going to leave him like the rest. After all, she was starting to like him. As ridiculous as it seemed, she could even see herself becoming more than friends with this kind of guy in the future. He was everything she had been looking for in a companion, just much larger than expected. But hey, everyone has their flaws. She stood up quietly and walked over to his massive arms where his head rested, and leaned up against his forearm and wrapped her arms around it in a sort of awkward hug. She had never felt quite so small. Mar carefully rotated his head to face the little princess clinging to his arm, and smiled ever so gently. “You’re the first person to ever do this, you know. To actually come and try to hug me.” He faintly chuckled. “Well after all this, you deserve a bigger one. Sorry, this is all I can give you.”  Annabelle giggled. Mar picked her up in his hand and growled playfully. “Watch out, if you get too close I might grind your bones to make my bread!” They both laughed, lighthearted, and the happiest either of them had been in a long, long time.
  27. In the midst of their conversation and laughter, they heard tiny voices coming from the kitchen door, along with some rustling. They both stopped abruptly, and Mar sat straight up. He looked to Annabelle and put his index finger to his mouth, signaling her to be quiet. Annabelle looked over to where the noises were coming from, trying to see who was making the noise. As she crept to the edge of the table, she saw twelve royal soldiers coming in through a crack in the door and marching toward the table, led by Henrik on horseback. They all looked like roaches from atop the table. Apparently Mar had seen them as well, so he stood up from his chair and stepped towards the warriors, menacingly towering above them. “Who goes there?” Mar thundered, looking down to the squadron. He was obviously trying to play up the whole ‘big mean giant’ act by deepening his voice. “It is I, Prince Henrik Casimir come to save my beautiful Princess Annabelle LaBelle, and I know you have her, villain.” He called up to Mar. Mar looked to Annabelle, who was crouched on the table, as if to say, “Your turn to talk.” So the princess stood up close to the edge of the table, smoothed her silk nightgown, cleared her throat, and looked down to her subjects. “I am here, Prince Henrik. Safe and sound. There is no reason to fret.”
  28. “Oh Annabelle, sweet, glorious, divine, Annabelle. Come down to me, my love!” The prince called as he dismounted his horse. Annabelle rolled her eyes at the prince’s dumb act to make the soldiers think that he loved her. She knew he could really care less. The only reason he had come to save her was that if she had died, he couldn’t be heir to the throne. He needs a wife of royal descent who can bear a son, so he can take the crown after Henrik. Annabelle was his only option. Mar looked to her for approval, which she nodded. He took the princess in his mighty hand once more, cradling her like some precious gem, and placed her on the floor in front of Henrik. Mar stood protectively behind her, glaring at the prince the whole time. Henrik grabbed Annabelle’s hand roughly and tugged her away, but she didn’t budge. “Come dearest. Lets get you away from this ugly beast.” Mar growled and Annabelle heard some of the soldiers whimper. “No, Henrik.” Annabelle’s words had slapped him in the face. “Pardon me?” Henrik said after a moment of tension-filled silence. “I said no. Henrik, you’re handsome, but you have a terrible personality. I’m not going back to be your wife just so you can be the heir to the Adderonian throne. I don’t even like you. How could I marry you?” Some of the men gasped, others laughed. Mar grinned. Annabelle stepped even closer to him. “Go home, Henrik. Find another princess. I’m not interested.” She slipped the golden engagement ring off her finger and let it drop to the ground. “Oh, and by the way, the real ugly beast here is you.” Henrik was bright red, a mixture of rage and embarrassment. He roared at Annabelle, “You WILL come home with me, you foul wench!! I need you to become king! As soon as you bear me a son you are to be executed!! Until then, you’ll spend all your days locked in a tower!” He turned on the soldiers next as they cowered in fear. “And if YOU men say anything, you’ll be killed as well! Got it?!”  
  30. By this time, Mar was blazing with fury. He picked up Annabelle and placed her on his shoulder. “You will be doing nothing of the sort, Prince Henrik.” He boomed down to them, hands on his hips. “Annabelle is staying with me. I will be merciful to you this time, you insect. I’ll give you five seconds to apologize to Annabelle-- or else.” Henrik cackled in response, insane with anger.
  31. “I’m not apologizing--”
  32. “Five.”
  33. “to that miserable, ugly excuse for royalty!! Give her to me--”
  34. “Four”
  35. “so I can be king of Adderon!”
  36. “Three”
  37. “She is of NO use to you, giant!”
  38. “Two.”
  39. Mar raised his massive foot over the prince. “Are you sure you want to travel down this path, your highness? All I want is an apology. This is your last chance.” The prince stood in place, defiant and unwavering. “Cover your eyes, Annabelle.”
  41. - S Q U I S H -
  43. And it was all over. That was it. Done. Capische. Prince Henrik the jerk was no more. He would no longer keep people under his reign of terror, or force Annabelle into a life of misery. She opened her eyes, and saw nothing but Mar’s foot where the prince once stood. The squadron stood, quite literally shaking with fear. They stepped back, murmuring things like, “Please don’t kill us” or “I’m too young!” Mar spoke again. “Go home, soldiers. Let them know Annabelle is safe and that the prince is no more.” As soon as Mar had finished his sentence, the armor-clad men flew out the crack of the door faster than greased lightning.
  47. After that experience, Annabelle and Mar ended up becoming close friends, and soon lovers. The couple cooked, cleaned, talked and enjoyed nature together. The two got into fights sometimes, but that’s completely normal. Eventually, they were married, and even though they couldn’t have children, they got a bunch of big dogs which they cared for instead. They made frequent visits to Annabelle’s hometown, where people came to know Mar as a good person, a great husband, and even a hero. In short, they lived happily ever after.
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