Chapter Three: Stone Lady

As they walked through the fog, the ground started to seem to make wet noises. Elsie looked to

her feet, then to the male, "What's happening?"

"It's okay." he answered and looked to the ground himself, but it was unseen as the fog was thick. "We are near the lake. That is where we rest, Princess."

Elsie didn't speak at this. She only walked on. "Why is there so much fog?"

"A trick of the dead." he replied. The male stopped.

"Why have you stopped here?"

"We are at the lake…"

"Where? I don't see a lake…"

"It's right in front of my feet." he answered and moved a leg forwards, he tapped it in front of him. Water was heard. "The trick is; you don't see it." he told her.

Elsie watched him, "I don't understand all of this…" she told him. Her eyes scanned around the place, but fog covered most of the place. She sighed uneasy and moved her toe forwards. Yes, there was the lake the top of her toe was wet. She drew her leg back and looked at the male. It was very cold around him now, odd. "Don't you feel it now? You're freezing."

"I'm not cold. Like I said, thick skinned." The male said, not talking much upon the matter. He turned and walked to the left.

Elsie turned her head to face the unseen lake then back to the way the male had been. Her eyes went wide, he wasn't there, he was seen! "Where are you?!" she asked and rushed to the left, "Hello?!" she called, running, blinded by the thick white fog. Around Elsie just looked like clouds. Her heartbeat fast and she turned to the right only to be hit hard. She fell to the ground in a heap.

The male had watched, his eyes were very keen, they cut through the fog and he grinned, walking over to the fallen Princess. "Arise, Princess…" he said in an almost mocking voice.

Elsie flickered her eyes open, "What happened?" she asked. "What hit me?" she asked and she sat up.

The male pointed to what looked like a figure. Elsie stared at it, Unsure. She stood and seemed to hide behind the male a little, "Who is that?" she asked. The figure looked human, a woman. But what would a woman be doing standing out in the fog? She didn't move, the figure just stood there. Elsie looked to the male, "Why doesn't she move?"

"She is waiting." the male answered simply.

"Waiting?" Elsie asked quietly, her voice softly.

"Don't make me repeat myself." he told her, sounding annoyed.

"Oh…" Elsie said and brushed some hair out of her eyes. She stepped forwards towards this

person. "Hello?" she greeted, "I am Elsie, who are you?"

The figure didn't move. Didn't speak. Didn't even look at her.

"I said hello…" Elsie mumbled.

The male watched her and shook his head, "Did that knock on the head knock your brains out? Or in 'rich land' do you have talking stones?"

"Talking… stones?" Elsie asked and moved closer to the figure. He was right, the figure was a stone… well a woman… a figure of a woman. Every detail was perfect. Elsie gasped. The 'woman' had one hand held out and the other in her hair. Her hair came to her hips and she wore a dress. Elsie felt like a fool standing there, talking to a rock. She moved away until she felt the male take a hold of her arm and stopped her.

"Sit and rest." the male spoke clearly and lowered himself to sit upon the damp grounded.

Elsie followed his move and sat herself about eight foot away from him, she leant against a tree and looked to the stone woman, "What an odd place to have her."

"What?" the male asked, his voice actually sounded very hush.

Elsie took a double look at him as she heard his tone, "I-I said, what an odd place to have her… a statue of a woman… out by the lake. Does anyone live around here to see her?"

"No." he answered and snorted, for a moment, he seemed outraged but calmed a little.

Elsie looked at the statue of the beautiful woman and then to the cloaked male, "Has she a story?" she asked, "Was she someone great, that they built a statue of her to honour her?"

The male was quiet, the sound of the fish splashing in the lake was heard before he answered, "No." he spoke clearing. Once again, it stayed quiet until he spoke once more, "Her name was Liviya." he said as if he knew the name well.

"Liviya? I have never heard of the woman."

"You wouldn't of. You're to high and mighty, you'd of never heard the name of a maid."

"Then who is she?" Elise asked, starting to get fed up with his tone to her. Talking to her like this just because of her royal blood.

"Liviya was a maid of the town; Juin." he replied, "A fair, beautiful maid. She waits there for her love to come back…"

"Her love?" Elsie asked, eyeing the statue again, then tilting her head to look at the male, "What happened?"

The male leant against his tree but didn't answer her, he looked at the stone Liviya and then spoke in verse:

"She loved him so much it's frightful,

He came to her with flowers that were delightful,

He held her close and kissed her,

She thought that he'd be there forever

But darkness came and took him,

He slipped and tripped down sharply

He seemed to be lost to shadow,

She wept just like the widow

Wait for me at the lake he shouted,

She did, she wait and waited,

He never showed, her Prince was gone

Lost by shadow, lost her song.

Her lips were red as roses,

Her skin was as white as snow,

Her eyes they shined like emeralds,

Under the moonlights glow.

Her heart will wait forever,

Until he comes to get her,

She's stone now until he's there,

Friend of the sparrow and by the bear.

The fog, it comes upon her,

She's stone and waits forever,

Till spell is broke and shadows turn light,

Then her Prince will hold her tight…"

The male said, picking up his voice a little. Elsie listened, looking at the male and then the statue, "This Liviya sounds like she was a beautiful woman…" she said quietly.

The male gave a nod, "She was, she was beyond beautiful."

Elsie looked at him oddly, she raised an eyebrow, "You knew her in person?"

The male stayed quiet. Even though his face could not be seen, it could easy be told that he wished he hadn't of said that, "I hear only from stories." he lied and looked to the statue.

"Don't lie… you knew her, didn't you?"

"Hush."

"No, I will not hush!" Elsie said, standing up for herself, "Answer, Now!" she spoke loudly, "And stop talking to be like I am nothing!"

"You are more than nothing, I'll admit that!" he told her, raising his voice, "But if you don't shut up this very minute, I will punch the teeth from your mouth!" The male now yelled.

All fell quiet around them. Elsie turned and lay on her side, covering her face as she wept quietly. He watched her, but made no attempt to calm her. He looked to the statue.

The night passed without any problems. Elsie had fallen asleep about twenty minutes after she cried. While the male had stayed up for hours, humming and often muttering the two verses:

"Her lips were red as roses,

Her skin was as white as snow,

Her eyes they shined like emeralds,

Under the moonlights glow.

Her heart will wait forever,

Until he comes to get her,

She's stone now until he's there,

Friend of the sparrow and by the bear."

He seemed to go on for ages, never tiring of the words, looking at the stone woman, "You'll be free soon." he whispered and stood, slowly stepping over to stand in front of the beautiful stone woman. "Just give time, Sweet Liviya." He whispered, looking into the stone woman's eyes. He kissed two fingers together and raised them a tiny bite before bowing his head to her and backing off to sit back under the tree, where he soon was taken by sleep.