Elizas fancy (a faery ro.., p.3
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       Eliza's Fancy (A Faery Romance Part One), p.3
 

           Zachary Harper
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  fast as a blink he made her his slave!

  Back at his home, a wondrous palace,

  he stuffed the poor girl into a cage,

  and every night when he returned from work

  on the poor girl he released his rage.

  He would shout and scream what no one should,

  he would shriek and screech as loud as he could;

  he would bark and bellow and box her ears

  he would yell and yelp till she came to tears.

  Every night! Every night!

  In a cage that the moon couldn’t spy;

  Every night! Every night!

  The mean merchant made her cry.

  With all the pearls, the merchant thrived

  and became every day even richer,

  so he hired a boy to cook and clean

  and constantly refill the girl's water pitcher

  (for she couldn’t go dry!).

  Well one night, as the girl lay on the ground

  after a particularly furious beating,

  the little servant boy sneaked boldly in

  with his hands in a tight ball, clasping.

  Without a word he silently sat

  and put his hands right next to her,

  offering the girl a tiny gift,

  so slowly did she stir.

  She placed her hands out on the ground

  and the boy, ever softly, ever gently,

  released into her dirty hands

  a single little firefly,

  then slipped away,

  with no hello,

  no goodbye.

  She grasped her present ever tight

  and pressed her red and swollen eye

  up against her finger's cracks

  and spied upon the firefly.

  ‘How beautiful,’

  she gasped;

  ‘What colors!’

  she sighed,

  and then she opened up her hands

  and released the little firefly.

  That night, the merchant came

  with belt in hand and barbs in mouth,

  but tonight! oh, tonight!

  the little girl could not cry,

  for she only thought about the firefly.

  Her master, furious, swung ever harder,

  and cursed ever louder,

  but every blow he rained upon her

  just made her ever braver.

  Finally, exhausted, he left her there

  wondering if she’d lost her magic,

  for never before had the little girl

  remained so very stoic.

  That night, the boy returned

  with a new-found present:

  a caterpillar bright green and red!

  with feet that tickled so very pleasant.

  And as he left, for the first time

  in years and years of memories,

  she smiled! she smiled!

  (I’m sure somewhere an angel sang!)

  oh what bless-ed beauty!

  For a week, the merchant tried

  to tear from her a single tear,

  but every night the little boy

  would rob from her life’s endless drear

  with a bug or a petal

  or a bright piece of glass

  that he’d found outside

  in the woods or the grass.

  ‘She’s out of pearls’

  the merchant said,

  and one night threw her out,

  in rags and without a blink of sleep

  looking like a little lout.

  And as she sat on the street,

  the door to the merchant’s opened,

  and her young guardian stepped out

  into the merchant’s garden.

  Right up to her, he walked,

  right up to her and grabbed her hand,

  and with a smile led her off

  to a distant, distant land.

  She could have cried,

  and they’d be rich!

  The little boy need but hit her,

  but never! never would he dare

  make but the kindest, softest gesture.

  She could have cried,

  and they’d be rich!

  But neither child once wished it.

  Instead they lived, poor as could be,

  but happy! happy forevermore,

  for whenever the world seemed mean and harsh,

  she thought of her boy

  and his gift of a firefly.”

  As Eliza’s eyes swelled with tears,

  and Quenton downed the last of his wine

  from the door a knock sharply rang!

  Eliza knocked her cup right over

  while Deilos, from his chair, sprightly sprang.

  Chapter VII

  To the door Deilos strode,

  calling,

  “Enter, dear friend, enter!”

  The hinges squeaked

  and the dark slowly seeped

  in through the sullen entrance,

  and a hooded form

  tattered by some past storm

  stood against the moon in the distance.

  “Come in from the cold!

  We have wine and bread,

  a warm place to rest your head,

  and have no need for traveler's gold.”

  In stepped the stranger

  and pulled down his hood;

  he had a striking face,

  stood with a gentle grace,

  but seemed just barely out of boyhood.

  His clothes were well-made,

  but beaten from road and weather,

  his hat was wide-brimmed,

  providing much shade,

  tbut at some point had lost its peacock feather;

  and at his side was an ornate scabbard

  holding a sword, hilted-silver.

  With eyes pale-grey

  that shimmered with the light;

  a mouth soft and mournful

  and skin ivory-white,

  his figure noble,

  his form a pleasing sight,

  the young man bowed a bow most polite.

  “Hail to you,

  I am named Lupo Thaias,

  much thanks for the shelter

  for my search has been quite aimless

  and now I’m lost in the darkness.”

  “What do you search for

  in the midst of the night?

  What caused your quest,

  what began your plight?”

  “I am a fool, a fool,

  my good Friar.”

  With the air of a good priest

  who wishes but the best for a wounded sheep

  Deilos invited Lupo inside

  to comfort his soul that seemed hurt so deep.

  “Call me Deilos,

  the small one is Quenton,

  Eliza is the young lass.

  Sit, sit! Share with us our simple meal

  and share with us your past.”

  So Lupo sat at the tiny table,

  while Eliza crawled up in one of the pews;

  and though certainly a noble,

  he talked as an equal,

  for a foolish choice

  makes the stoutest of prides diffuse.

  “When I was a boy,”

  Lupo began,

  “I was raised in a castle

  built on the richest of land.

  My father and mother loved me greatly,

  and sent me to the royal court,

  so there I was raised amidst the noblest of blood

  and met a girl of the kindest sort.

  Oft’ would we play in the day,

  and oft’ would we study at night,

  she was clever and sweet,

  sharp as a knife,

  and as we grew up

  not once did I think she should be my wife.

  A fool am I!

  A fool am I!

  I grew into this face of mine.

  Curse it, curse it!

&nb
sp; I began to treat women as I treated wine.

  Like a hummingbird in a field of flowers,

  to and fro I would hum and float,

  never seeing the sweetest nectar

  in the letters my young friend daily wrote.

  She loved me!

  She loved me!

  How did I not know?

  I had no heart,

  nowhere for it to grow;

  instead of taking her perfect hand,

  I chased every fair-faced minnow.

  A few weeks ago

  she sent me a letter,

  but I, chasing another,

  thought a different time would be better

  to peruse what I knew was an important thought,

  for her mind, seldom frivolous,

  never wrote for naught.

  So I spent the night

  talking of nothing with a dame

  who spoke not a worthy word,

  whose eyes held no flicker of flame,

  and all the while,

  the girl who loved me true

  was preparing to leave

  to a place she did not name;

  she asked to speak to me

  and under the moon

  she would reveal to me her aim.

  A fool am I!

  A fool am I!

  I found out too late.

  She left, she left!

  For I was not worth the wait.

  Two weeks I dismissed it clean,

  telling myself

  ‘She was but a friend,

  not as noble as the Queen

  whose daughters do daily dote on me.’

  But my heart began to hang heavy,

  and soon I began to see

  how her letters had brightened my spirits daily,

  without them, the court became empty, dreary,

  and the women I had chased seemed gloomy, bawdy.

  A fool am I!

  A fool am I!

  I lasted but a month more,

  before depression wracked my soul apart,

  and for the first time in my short life,

  in my chest beat a broken heart.

  So now, now that she has long departed,

  I search for her in hopes,

  pointless hopes,

  that we can begin again from where we started.”

  Once more, Eliza’s soul soared in her chest,

  “One more friend, one more friend!

  We are most certainly blessed!

  Come with us, dear Lupo Thaias,

  we too, search for love lost to us!

  A wizard lives in the tower in the mountains,

  together we hope to mend our hearts with his magic!

  Four together are far stronger than four apart,

  stay with us the night, and in the morning we will start!

  Tomorrow to the tower we will depart.”

  Lupo,

  touched by Eliza’s hopeful words and loving spirit,

  heartily agreed to give the wizard a visit,

  and thus were the four friends bound together,

  each held by lost love’s tempting tether.

  Chapter VIII

  They set out at dawn from the Friar’s lawn

  when the sky glowed golden-grey,

  where the gargoyles sat on the lush-green grass

  seeming to settle and rest for the day.

  Quenton rode a small sorrel donkey

  that carried Deilos’ tomes and scrolls arcane,

  and Lupo gave Eliza a soft silk cloak

  to protect her from any sudden rain.

  From the church where Deilos preached

  the land turned flat and wet,

  for a vast valley spread about

  where farms were periodically set

  overlooking rich stretches of golden wheat

  that glimmered in the morning

  and glowed in the sunset.

  Small villages were spied from afar,

  quaint yet regal in simplicity,

  and merchants would nod as they pushed their carts

  from tiny huts toward some distant city;

  their wares they showed as they passed along,

  from useful tools to dolls quite pretty,

  to house-wares crafted from wood and bones

  and fine silver-wrought jewelry.

  Children would walk beside our heroine

  (if they could escape their mothers notice),

  juggling stones and climbing trees

  so well they could have joined a circus!

  Deilos would hand them some daffodil bread,

  or sweet peaches from his pouch,

  and away they'd run!

  Quick as mice!

  Back home with their new-found fortune!

  Some children played a mischievous game

  they called 'King of the Noble Saddle'

  wherein they tried to knock Quenton down

  and climb onto the startled sorrel.

  But the mis-shaped man was strong, indeed!

  and was never once dismounted,

  yet laughed and shouted and played along

  while from atop the stunted steed he taunted.

  “Come, foes!

  Come, giants!

  Charge my well-armored steed!

  Come, daemons!

  Come, goblins!

  I will cut you down like weeds!”

  As they traveled, Lupo told

  stories sang at the royal court;

  of kings and queens and heroic armies

  and faery-tales of the noble sort.

  “There was once a forest of three kings,

  each ruled one third of the land,

  and every year the trio convened

  at the point where their three lands met.

  Each king had a beautiful daughter,

  each daughter was their kingdom's treasure;

  for each of the three were pure as a lily

  and their magic had no measure.

  One annual meet, the first two kings

  arrived earlier than they should

  and in hushed voices on a shadowy hill

  they spoke on evil matters of statehood.

  ‘Two kings could better rule,

  two kings are often wiser;

  let's split our brother’s land in half

  and raise our kingdoms all the higher.’

  So when the third king arrived

  the plotters took his life

  and the land was ruled by two.

  The third king’s daughter,

  in constant sorrow,

  fled to her father's tower;

  and there she wept night and day

  like a pale dew-dripping flower,

  and every year, she sang a song

  that vibrated with her magical power.

  Many peaceful years passed

  and the land forgot

  of the third king and his singing daughter,

  but the lust of men came again

  and the rulers minds returned to slaughter.

  ‘One king could better rule,

  one king is often wiser;

  I’ll take my other brother’s half

  and raise my kingdom all the higher.’

  But both kings were too evenly matched,

  no victory could be won;

  the peasants bled, their sons all dead,

  so the kings begged their daughters for an omen.

  They listened to the wind,

  they listened to the stones,

  they listened to the flowing water,

  and there, in nature’s quiet song

  they heard a message for their fathers.

  “To kill he you hate,

  you must first kill she you love;

  to catch this falcon unaware

  you must first sacrifice a dove.”

  Each king listened close,

  each king had only one desire;

  so the first king fed his daughter poison,


  and the second burned his in a fire.

  One last time, two armies met,

  at their head two confident lords;

  from sunrise they clashed till murky sunset

  when they finally crossed bloody swords.

  Both kings died on the very hill

  where they had murdered their third brother;

  they had slain their daughters,

  the prophecy fulfilled,

  then they had slain each other.

  The people sighed as the tyrants died,

  but this stillness could not last;

  for if a worthy ruler wasn’t found

  some daemon would surely take the task.

  But neither king had an heir,

  their children sacrificed for power;

  but, ah, the third king’s sad-songed daughter

  still mourned in her father's tower!

  The nobles humbly approached

  the ruins of the once great king,

  and thus began the golden rule

  of the serene Elfin-queen.

  They say she caused a great tree to grow

  in the tower where her father lived,

  and among it roots she held her court,

  its branches formed her children's cribs,

  its leaves were woven into gowns,

  her crown was its twisted twigs.

  The Elfin-queen birthed the race

  of forest-faeries called the Elves,

  and as the tower-tree slowly grew,

  so did the Elfin powers.

  The Elves can dance at the tops of trees,

  can walk out on the smallest leaves;

  they can sing to the birds and buzz to the bees,

  share the monkeys fruits and the bears honeys.

  But once a year,

  on the fated day her father died,

  the Elves return to the tower-tree

  and listen to the Elfin-queen’s mournful cry.

  Perhaps another time I will sing

  the song of the soulful Elfin-queen,

  but not today, not today;

  for the sun doesn’t like such doleful words,

  and we don’t wish to offend his pleasing rays!”

  Chapter IX

  Dearest Eliza!

  The things you saw,

  the sights you passed!

  The billowing waterfall

  whose water did boil and crest

  and stop halfway down the cliff,

  forming a dense fog like a shivering nest,

  then spread out across the stream below

  and rained, oh it rained, not fell!

  and where it rained, such wondrous things did grow!

  Trees that rose up into the sky like spires

  and dropped fruit that floated slowly down;

  bushes with long leaves like spindly wires

  that would stand up and walk

  as if just heading to town;

  flowers that glowered and blinked their eyes

  and lowered their faces as if they were shy;

  but the grass, the grass, dearest Eliza!

  the grass would all at once begin to fly;

  swirling with the wind, soaring in the breeze,

  only to settle down again with a calming sigh.

  The small spring that weaved through the hills

  seemed to bubble and froth with happiness;

  and lo! there ran a nymph on its banks,

  her skin as pale as the morning clouds

  and long green hair hiding her body like a shroud,

  running with none of propriety's restraints

  but with a freedom that only faery-blood allows.

  She giggled and waved

  as you passed over the spring,

  and gathered an armful of dandelion stems,

  then she blew the fine hairs, and away they flew!

  the tiny thin white parachute pins

  scattered all over the grassy hills,

 
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