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Literature / The Red Maiden: Grace's Story

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The Red Maiden: Grace's Story is a romantic creepypasta written and posted by Beast on Reddit's NoSleep.

Heavily based upon the Irish vampire legends of the Dearg Due and the Abbartach, the story is set in the ninth century and told from the perspective Mac Luaithre. He tells the story of his romance with a noblewoman named Grace, of how she was married off to a cruel Chieftain, who tortured her for months leading to her death. However death is not the end of Grace's story, for a year later, she awoke from the grave as something not human any more. This is far from the last of their lands troubles as she brings with her an undead plague, tying together the fates of Mac, Grace and the Chieftain who wronged them both.

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To better fit into NoSleeps standards, a Framing Device was put into the story with a present day narrator, a descendant of the stories protagonists sharing a story of their "family history". It has a sequel/spinoff called Awesiaki, by the same author.


This story contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Grace's father is shown to be a greedy and indifferent man, not caring that he's marrying his daughter off to a sadist in exchange for an amount of land and wealth. After Grace's death, all he can ask is if he can keep what he acquired from her marriage, and is offered double his original pay if he marries off Grace's sister to the Chieftain.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In this story, Grace (as the Red Maiden) was able to bring a vampiric plague upon her lands, and become the leader of a small army. The Dearg Due, who was the basis of her character, was at best a independent hunter.
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    • An even bigger note, is Mac, who was inspired by the Dearg Due's lover goes on to become The Berserker as an undead and actually attempted to save her in life. The character he is based on was just noted to be a poor boy who disappears from the story after the Dearg Due is married.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Chieftain here is based off the chieftain from the Dearg Due legend, who while a sadist doesn't really get much development or do much besides victimize the Dearg Due, depending on the version. This character is also mixed with the Abhartach, from the legend of the same name; the Abhartach was also a cruel cheiftian over his clan, and became a vampiric tyrant to boot.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Grace's father goes back and forth between begging and demanding the undead Grace to spare his life when she has him at her mercy. It does him no good.
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  • Always Save the Girl: Mac made the effort to save Grace from her cruel husband by trying to assassinate him. This results in Mac getting his heart carved into, thrown into the sea...and later awakening as a draugr.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The initial narration claims that the current descendants of Mac and Grace have integrated into a society or organization that observes supernatural phenomena. When asked why Mac and Grace's plans to create a vampire empire didn't go through, the narrator states "Look to the shadows".
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Mac laments that his culture puts more stock in people's strength and wealth than they do what is right. The Chieftain is the primary example of this.
  • Ascended Extra: In the Dearg Due legend, the lover of the titular vampiress disappears from the story, and doesn't contribute much before her death. Mac who is based off of said lover, is the primary narrator of this story, and not only is their relationship explored in more detail, but Mac becomes a front runner the vampiric war.
  • Attack on the Heart: How the Chieftain killed Mac the first time around.
  • Back from the Dead: Considering the story is based off the Dearg Due and the Abhartach, this is a given as both legends involve people awakening as vampires upon their deaths. Grace, who is based off the Dearg Due, is the first to come back; the Chieftain, who is based in part on the Abhartach, also comes back as a vampiric tyrant. Mac also comes back as a vampire after his murder, and since then has become a chief over a clan of draugr.
  • Battle Couple: Mac and Grace become this when they reconcile and unite their armies together. They also fight the Chieftain together and exile him.
  • The Berserker: Directly mentioned as Mac learns the ways of Viking Berserkers as a draugr. Mac invokes the image of Viking Berserkers during his time in Scandinavia, where he learns and adopts the ways of the Vikings, and using his new power as the undead to create a clan of his own. At which point, they become marauders.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mac and Grace reunite, reconcile, and the story ends with their wedding; the Chieftain is defeated and overthrown. However, Mac and Grace remain unscrupulous by their experiences and plan on creating a vampiric empire together, which may not bode will for the humans living underneath them. The "bitter" is significantly downplayed due to the present day framing device and Foregone Conclusion dictating that the world isn't currently an undead cesspool, even if their family thrives in the present day.
  • Bond Breaker: The Chieftain apparently attempted to break Grace's hope by telling her of how Mac will never come for her (he tried, but got killed for his trouble). Later on he tries to literally force them apart or kill eachother when he has them captured.
  • Bullying the Dragon: Grace's father, after everything he allowed her to be put through, and seeing how much power she now has as the Red Maiden, has the audacity to try to demand her into sparing him. He is decapitated for all his troubles.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Grace and Mac originally met as children, and their relationship grew as they did.
  • The Chosen One: Invoked. Grace received a blessing from a mysterious woman of how she has a great destiny. She comes to the conclusion in her undead state that it is her destiny to rule over a land of the undead.
  • Crossover Cosmology: This story is partially based off to Celtic Mythology, taking primary cues from Irish legends, and a brief reference to the Celtic war goddess, The Morrigan as the possible identity of the woman Grace encountered; it also references King Arthur as the Lady of the Lake is mentioned as another possible identity. And finally, Norse Mythology is tied in when Mac ends up in Scandinavia, integrating himself into Viking and Berserker culture, as well as the implementation of the legend of the draugr, which is used as an explanation for the vampiric creatures in this story.
  • Cruel Mercy
    • The only known wife the Chieftain willingly spared from death, he annulled the marriage in order to make her an orphaned prostitute after mutilating and breaking her.
    • Since there was no known way to kill the undead, rather than finish off the Chieftain after he was overthrown, he was instead stripped of his former power, and cast into the sea, knowing his name and who he was, has no power anymore.
  • Dark Messiah:
    • Grace, as the Red Maiden, gains an undead following in her conquest of the Celtic Isles. She believes this to be her destiny prophesied to her as a child by a mysterious woman. Mac joins her in undeath with the ambition of creating a vampire empire.
    • The Chieftain becomes this with a following of his own when he becomes undead. This was brought about by his previous status in life, causing some to revere him as a risen savior. He offers "protection" from the Red Maiden in return for child and virginal sacrifices.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The Chieftain fed off of forcing others over this in life. He told Grace that Mac doesn't care for her and wouldn't save her when he murdered him in secret during Mac's attempt to do so.
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: Grace abandons the Chieftain's tower where she was kept prisoner, leaving her abusive past behind her entirely. She also tracks down her greedy fathers new home and razes his lands to the ground before slaughtering him.
  • Devoted to You: Grace and Mac where this to eachother, to the extent that Grace gave into despair after being told that Mac wasn't coming to save her as a prisoner. Mac creates and undead army of his own, starting a Berserker clan from them just to prove that he is worthy of her. When they reunite and marry, they literally promise the world to eachother as a show of devotion.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Grace's first order of business as the undead, was to slaughter the men who wronged her starting with her greedy father and culminating in her cruel husband.
  • Domestic Abuse: The Chieftain has a reputation and hobby of torturing his wives over the years to the point of breaking them. Usually he mutilates them as a pastime.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Subverted with Grace. While she has this reputation was "The Red Maiden", the story is told from Mac's perspective who prefers to remember her as he knows her, over what legend says she's become.
    • The Chieftain was this in life, as many knew of his cruelty but loved in fear of the power he had over others. Many were to afraid to stand up to him, and those that tried were mutilated and murdered.
    • When Mac becomes the leader of a clan of draugr, he boasts they became the reason the draugr were feared.
  • Entitled Bastard: Grace's father sold his daughter out to marry a man he knows will torture and murder her, for a large sum of land and money. He asks the Chieftain if he can keep these despite Grace's death, and offers her sister in exchange for double the pay. Despite everything, he has the gall to try to demand Grace to spare him when he's at her mercy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Even when becoming the Red Maiden, Grace still loves her mother and siblings enough to spare them after murdering her father. She and Mac are both still devoted to eachother as the draugr, and it seems they care for the children their clan takes in.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even when he became the head of an undead clan, for all the marauding they've done, Mac is peeved at the idea that some would sacrifice their children to satiate him. Doesn't stop him from taking them, not to feed of them but to adopt them.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Chieftain was in his sixties at the time of his death, and became worse in his undeath.
  • Family Disunion: Grace reunites with her family after she awoke from death. This is done to punish her father for betraying her, and in the process kills him and destroys his new home.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Grace mentions she considers she undead state this, but that doesn't stop her or Mac from taking advantage of the newfound power.
    • While the Chieftain isn't killed, he is exiled, tied up and cast into the sea alone. This would be bad enough, but it's implied the greater punishment is that he lost everything; his small empire, his titles and former status, these were the things people put value in, and thus were where his true power comes from. Without any of them, he'd be nothing.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Both Mac and Grace briefly become this; they become more powerful in death than they do in life, but Grace was tortured into despair under the belief that Mac won't come for her; Mac by Grace's death and his failure to save her - notably Mac was killed by his heart literally being cut in half.
  • The Hedonist: The Chieftain is shown to be a sadistic version of this, taking pleasure in ruining the innocence of others. This is showcased when he hosts a carnal masquerade with his followers and their sacrifices.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sure the Chieftain is cruel, heartless tyrant who becomes worse in death, but in destroying both the innocence of Grace and Mac, they both end up becoming vampire masters who willing lead and undead plague at the expense of living people. Mac even describes himself as a Chieftain in his own right by creating a clan in Scandinavia. By the stories end, the two lovers plan on spreading their empire across the world.
  • It's All About Me: Grace's father only cares about his own new wealth and status at the expense of his family. He sold Grace to be married to a man he knew would kill her, and agrees to marry off his other daughter when the time comes at Grace's funeral.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The initial narrator (of the Framing Device) mentions that the organization his family works with "observes" websites like Reddit to see if any supernatural phenomena slipped through their fingers, and implies that is very much the case.
  • The Lost Lenore: Grace was briefly this to Mac on account of her death. This gets inverted as the two reunite as the undead.
  • Lust Object: Grace is considered a version of this to the Chieftain; specifically, he sees her purity and innocence as something to corrupt.
  • Masquerade Ball: Mentioned but not fully detailed. The undead Chieftain hosts a rather carnal one involving his followers and victims of sacrifice.
  • Might Makes Right: Part of the Deliberate Values Dissonance, Mac laments that people of his culture put more stock in the strength, riches and power a man holds, over what is in their heart or morality. To Grace's father, the fact that the Chieftain was the ideal groom for Grace. It was because of the Chieftain's power and status, he was more revered as the undead than Grace. When Mac becomes undead, he uses his new power and strength to make a name of himself as a berserker among the vikings, creating a clan of draugr to his name, and becoming their chief.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Based off the folklore of the Dearg Due and the Abhartach, the undead figures in this story are meant to be vampires. However the term "vampire" isn't used or brought up; instead they use the word "draugr" which comes close to the description and would be a better known term of that time period.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • How the Chieftain killed the father of one of his forced brides, as punishment for not paying his taxes. Ruining his daughter was further compensation.
    • Grace also murders her own father this way.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are meant to be vampires, however they are referred to as the draugr. They can apparently come back from the dead from being improperly buried, and there's no way of killing them mentioned in this story. Mac notes that despite initial thoughts, they were still capable of producing biological children within their ranks.
  • Overprotective Dad: Grace's father was always objecting to her relationship with Mac, at one point trying to threaten him regarding Grace's virtue. As it turns out he was a more abusive version of this due to Deliberate Values Dissonance, as he was more concerned with her value as property than her actual well being; his idea of a "worthy man" is one who will pay him a large sum of wealth and land, which turns out to be the Chieftain. He doesn't even care when his daughter dies, making a deal with the Chieftain to marry off his other daughter when the time comes for double the original pay.
  • Pet the Dog: Even when Grace and Mac become vampire masters who plague their lands, they still display their humanity despite their lost innocence.
    • During Grace's initial revenge, she spares the lives of the rest of her family, and saves the current wife of the Chieftain, advising the latter to flee the land and take some of the Chieftain's wealth with her.
    • When Mac creates his clan, they were offered sickly children as human sacrifices. Rather than kill them, Mac had these children adopted into their clan.
  • Resurrected Romance: Grace and Mac's love is reaffirmed when they reunite...as a pair of vampiric beings, and now they are free to pursue their romantic relationship more openly. Their story ends with their wedding, and promising eachother the world.
  • Serial Killer: The Chieftain was this mixed with being a Domestic Abuser. His MO involves marrying young women in his clan, especially the pure and innocent, and torturing that innocence away for months until they become "broken and worthless" in his eyes, at which point he usually feeds them to rats.
  • Uptown Girl: It's unclear what Grace's social standing is, but Mac was a dirt poor orphan boy when they first met. Mac was a lowly peasant and not someone that would be seen as a worthy man in the eyes of many. Max's lack of riches mean less to Grace than it does her father, who is more interested in acquiring more wealth for his family.
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