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Literature / The Wishing Maiden

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The Wishing Maiden, by R.H. Berry.

"If I could have any wish,
I'd wish that I could wed a prince.
Be happy every moment since,
The dearest wish that I have."
The shop girl's lament.

Written by R.H. Berry, The Wishing Maiden is available here.

Red-haired rogue Jacquotte leads the infamous Red Quintet, a team traveling where ever they please and doing as they like, all in the pursuit of adventure. Circumstance brings them to Felicitie, a thriving kingdom in which the citizens have fallen into the mindset that living in peaceful prosperity is dull, and are starting to grow restless...

Particularly as tales of a legendary maiden, who grants every wish she hears, start to spread as more than myth.

The Red Quintet is charged with tracking down the Wishing Maiden on behalf of the Prince Caietanus and his showpiece of an adviser, Balthazar, in exchange for not being thrown in prison.

Interspersed with rhyme, The Wishing Maiden is a fatalistic Fairy Tale that explores the more destructive aspects of hope and dreams.


Tropes found in The Wishing Maiden:

  • Action Girl: Jacquotte.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Asha makes mention of a man named Willem who loved her, but avoids stating how she felt about him.
  • Anti-Hero: Jacquotte is on the wrong side of the law and is shown unrepentantly killing a vanquished enemy.
  • Bar Brawl: The Red Quintet starts one, and are subsequently caught by the lawmen.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Not the overall message of the story, but significant nonetheless.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Asha, despite being cuffed at the bottom of a well for a hundred years, is still beautiful. Possibly a Justified Trope in that it's implied someone wished for her to be that way.
  • Book Ends: The beginning and closing rhyme follows the same structure.
  • Braids of Action: Bron, the most physically powerful of the Quintet, wears her hair in a long braid.
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  • Complete Immortality: Asha does not age, or die.
  • Dream Sequence: The Wishing Maiden first appears to Jacquotte in one of these. She comes to her again the same way later, when being held prisoner in Felicitie.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Possibly Jacquotte; she is referred to as having long hair and being quite pretty, but there is some overlap due to her roguish tendencies and ability to fight capably.
  • Literal Genie: Asha cannot help but be this.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The four other members of the Quintet all have names that identify a key personality trait: Grete is greedy, Bron is brawny, Lyall is loyal, and Sly is...well, sly.
    • The Wishing Maiden's name is 'Asha', meaning 'wish, desire, hope'.
    • Jacquotte Delahaye was a French pirate known for her vivid red hair.
    • The Wishing Maiden is rife with this, including the names of places (Felicitie being a reference to 'luck', and ship they arrived on being called the Pandora...)
  • Mystical White Hair: Asha.
  • Power Degeneration: Every wish Asha grants causes her extreme, potentially deadly, pain. However, since she's also cursed with Complete Immortality, it just hurts like she's dying.
  • Power Incontinence: Asha has no control over which wishes she grants.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Asha put herself at the bottom of the well.
  • Yes-Man: Balthazar, for his prince. He loathes it.