The Fruit of Passion: Chapter 16 – Part V

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Sil’s eyes flew open, his mind and body heavy under the sway of the trance; everything appeared to him as if illusory shadows passing through the misty glass of a mirror, false and out of reach.

His senses befuddled thus, he remained in a supine position, slumped against the bole of an ancient pine tree, his glance riveted on a file of brown ants that marched into their underground hill. Moments passed in absolute silence until gradually the spring chill of the dawn penetrated Sil’s skin, raising goosepimples on his exposed face, neck and hands, the awareness of his surroundings springing to life.

Astonished, he took note of no longer being in Caer Aval but in his natal land. For that was the woodland of Rumia, with its dips and fast-flowing streams that murmured otherwordly songs, with its broad-leaved and hollow trees, with its sometimes curvy ground and smooth inclines, with its bright, whispering flowers and myriad shiny crystals swinging from the robust branches of the oak trees, with its high cliffs upon which one could gaze right into the mouth of the sea fated to love the edge of the land with its immortal kisses.

I dallied long enough, thought Sil. I must set off towards the Old North and its wild forests. But as he made to shake off the leaves from his satchel–Olwen’s white lily attached to the edge of his left vambrace, just above the wrist–a cross-sound between a mewing and a whistle reached his ears.

His look darted around, alighting on a lapwing of black, rounded wings and a long crest, its back streaked iridescent green, a small scroll of paper tied to one of its short legs. Sil extended his palm; with a couple of leaps the bird nestled within it, accepting the warm fondling of his plumage without protest.

Sil withdrew the scroll, which he unfolded and read the message it carried: The agony of separation is burning me up inside. Nothing I do douses these flames. You breathe in every thought of mine. I shut my eyes and your form blends into my dreams. But what is a twelvemonth and a sunset compared to all the twelvemonths we shall spend united as husband and wife surrounded by our children and the delights of our awen? That is all I need to remind myself to find solace. For I know what awaits you far surpasses my own torment. As I know you shall take the Old North by storm.

The crystal bells brought us together and joined our fates. They serve no other purpose than that, so I shall not play them until you return to Caer Aval with the boons my father has requested of you. I’ve kept one here with me; the other I’ve left it in your care. You shall find it in a red box within your satchel. I know it shall be in safe hands.

When I was a child, I became the recipient of the sympathy of a great lady. In her gratitude, she thought I was worthy of a fine gift which I’ve never parted from: a pair of lapwings. But now it’s time to do so, as they possess qualities uncommon to the rest of their species. For they sense danger and threat with staggering precision and warn their companions through means of a mad tumbling flight as blood red dust floats from their wings. The female I hold in my keep. I pass the male to yours to shield you from any mortal threat.

I shall wake up and sleep with my mirror by my side. Do so with yours as well. I shall anticipate to learn your tidings.

Make the denizens of the Old North sing prayers to your name with the same reverence they do to their ancient gods.

Until I kiss your lips again,

Lady Olwen

Sil caressed the scroll, then wedged it under his vambrace next to the white lily. Collecting his possessions and with the lapwing resting on his shoulder, he propelled himself out of the woods in search of his kinswomen.

An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.

Please, share your views! All constructive feedback is always welcome.

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The Fruit of Passion:Chapter 16 – Part IV

cover the fruit of passion

The King drew near the couple and extended the cup to Sil.

‘’Chieftain, it would be appropriate that you speak your terms first. What purpose does a covenant serve if the boons required have not been discussed and accepted? Then we shall wet our tongues and seal our agreement. You’re far more experienced in such occasions, so you must surely see the sense in what I propose.’’

The King regarded him for a moment, rubbing his lips with his thumb furiously. ‘’Very well. I don’t have to guard myself against deception. I have your word, after all, and I’m holding you to it.’’

Having said that, he retreated to his throne and sank into deep thoughts. At last, he said, ‘’Listen well which the tasks that will fill your coming days will be. Seven boons I charge you with.’’

He took a breath and crossed his arms over his chest. ‘’Up in the Old North there’s a ruler, Rhydderch Hael. The Generous Chieftain they call him. He’s the owner of a powerful sword named Dyrnwyn, and never reluctant to pass it to those who ask for it. But do not think it will be easy to obtain such a weapon. When held in the hands of one who possesses valour and worth, the entire blade–from its white hilt to its shiny tip–bursts aflame, though those flames do not scorch the flesh. However, many have been the recipients who have rejected the sword upon learning of its properties.’’

Sil splayed his legs wider where he stood and, mimicking the King, crossed his arms over his broad chest. ‘’It will be easy for me to accomplish this, even though you believe otherwise.’’

‘’Though this be easy for you, there is yet that which will not be so. In the sunken kingdom of the Lowland Hundred a ruler retains his reign by the name of Gwyddno Garanhir. He’s the owner of the hamper of plenty. Any quantity of food put within it is increased a hundredfold. You are to take hold of this hamper and bring it to me.’’

‘’It will be easy for me to accomplish this, even though you believe otherwise.’’

‘’Though this be easy for you, there is yet that which will not be so. Up in the North treads a mighty warrior, Bran Galed, son of Ymellryn, of the Coel Hen lineage. A peculiar habit, though, sets this warlord apart from others. The wine and honey of his drinking horn he never shares with his warriors while a feast rages in his opulent court. Thus, amongst his people, he’s called the niggard. And a most fertile and blessed vessel this is, for whatever drink one pours within, the quantity becomes triple at once. Though it will be impossible for you to rouse this man’s generosity so as to hand over the horn to you.’’

‘’It will be easy for me seize the horn, even though you believe otherwise.’’

‘’Though this be easy for you, there is yet that which will not be so.’’ King Pen gestured to the maid again. As soon as he sated his thirst with the fresh water she brought him within his golden goblet, he continued. ‘’In King Arthur’s court, in the Forest Grove at Land’s End, serves a warrior by the name of Llawfrodedd Barfawc. Many are the treasured items he guards, but none more cherished as his flint knife which he uses to serve a company of twenty-four men in the blinking of an eye at the dinner table. Though hard for you will be to rip it from his grasp as he only parts with it when he sees fit.’’

‘’It will be easy for me to claim the knife, even though you believe otherwise.’’ Sil once more mimicked the King and drank some water from his silver hip flask.

An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.

Please, share your views! All constructive feedback is always welcome.

The Quintessence of our Techne: Spikes vs Poppy Petals

Lilaia Moreli - Words Are Sacred

”The story is the king,” people say. ”The word is the queen,” I say. Down with this tyrant king! Long live the queen!

From the dawn of time, humanity has been an ever-moving mouth whispering tales. It’s our nature to create something out of nothing, to record and decode life inside a palpitating web of words. But the truth is this: any fool can spin a yarn. It doesn’t take any particular skills except for a little bit of an active mind. Anyone can make up a story. People have been doing it all the time in all the languages of the world, from the little child whose imagination is galloping at the speed of light to the average Joe and plain Jane, from the middle-aged adult to the sweet, old lady next door.

But if this is an innate ability, then what exactly sets the writer apart from the…

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The Fruit of Passion: Chapter 16 – Part III

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Sil eased onto the marble slab next to Olwen, taking further courage when she didn’t shy away from him or order him away. ‘’The lost lands of ages and ages I braved to fulfill my own yearnings. What are yours, Lady Olwen? And why did you choose me to fulfill them?’’

‘’Because I sensed your strength in the arts, and it called out to me from the moment you turned yourself a wanderer amongst the lost lands. I can count on my fingers all the otherwordly denizens whose awen has roused and fused with mine. That you, a mortal, stand on equal ground, if not higher, than them is a thing of wonder and delight for me.’’

Her words had an intoxicating effect on Sil who swelled with pride at his powers and sent his silent gratitude to his kinswomen, for without their guidance his gifts would be wasted on him. ‘’Many thanks, Lady Olwen. It is an honour to receive such heartfelt praise from a creature like you.’’

Olwen slightly lifted her feet off the ground for a moment, and a cluster of three white lilies sprung up at the spot. Her soul must be as pure as the fires that burn in a sacred temple, Sil thought, for his mother had told him tales of rare people who were so detached from

malice and perfect strangers to vice that every step of theirs was so fertile it brought life and breath to the world.

‘’Tell me more of your mother.’’ Olwen slid closer to him, their knees almost brushing against each other. ‘’You said she’s called Cordelia. She must be very potent in the arts.’’

‘’Of a truth,’’ replied Sil and related it to her all the troubles and sorrows his mother and aunt had suffered from the moment they fled their homeland in the east until they were shipwrecked and beached on Rumia. Then he lost himself in vivid narrations filled with tenderness about Rumia’s High Priestesses and their many teachings as he left his childhood behind and grew into manhood. Then concluded with the tynged they had placed upon him and later their aid in ushering him to the lost lands when he kept his word.

‘’So we’re both orphaned, it appears. Fated to live under the shadow of a parent’s absence. The paternal figure has remained a mystery to you, just like the maternal figure has forever eluded me.’’ Her eyes glazed as if she sought for her lost mother in faraway worlds hidden beyond veils of mist or others residing only in dreams.

Such was her concentration and so deep the longing etched on the countours of her face, Sil feared she might sprout wings and fly away in search of the woman who gave birth to her and then forsook her. Whatever emotions plagued her, Sil felt them burrow themselves within his own heart–as if an invisible string bound their ribs together.

For, even though, the path of his thoughts didn’t veer often to his father, when it did, Sil couldn’t easily shake off the restlessness that assailed him for days and made him roam as if a wild beast in the woods and streams and hills of Rumia.

Tentatively, Sil laced his fingers with Olwen’s. ‘’The past is often pregnant with unfortunate memories, and no good thing comes from dwelling on it. Though you may call me a liar, for that is a piece of advice I don’t always follow with success. Like you, I think of what could have been. But I’ve been taken care of and loved and taught precious lessons that have led me to be the man I am. And I believe you’ve wanted for nothing. Hasn’t King Pen raised you as if you were a child taken shape from his own seed?’’

An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.

Please, share your views! All constructive feedback is always welcome. 

 

Book Review: The Child that Went with the Fairies

Lilaia Moreli - Words Are Sacred

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Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s short story The Child that Went with the Fairies narrates the tale of a poor widow and her four children living in a sublime Irish landscape. While the three youngest are outside playing and the sister and mother are busy doing their tasks, the youngest of all the siblings, Billy, is taken away by the ”Good People” as the fair folk are called in the story. Little Billy returns to his family from time to time until one day he vanishes altogether, never to reappear, and is considered dead.

On the surface, The Child that Went with the Fairies, resembles a typical, supernatural tale where a child is kidnapped by some otherwordly folks under mysterious circumstances and is forever torn apart from his loved ones. But Le Fanu is an astute writer who knows how to add layers upon layers of meaning, rendering his work…

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“Little they slept that night”- fairy love and fairy passion

British Fairies

tamlaine

James Herbert MacNair, Tamlaine, 1905

I return to a subject that has an abiding fashion for many visitors to the blog- and apparently me too: fairy sexuality and sensuality.

Fae lovers

From the very earliest times, it seems, the idea of Faery was synonymous with irresistible beauty.  Elf-women were called ‘shining’ by the Anglo-Saxons (aelfsceone) and this idea by no means ended with the arrival of the Normans and of the fairy women of romance.  English writer Layamon in his history of Britain, The Brut, described the queen of Avalon, Argante, as the fairest of all maidens,  “alven swithe sceone” (an elf most fair).  The concept of radiant beauty persisted: the fairy queen who met Thomas the Rhymer at Huntlie bank was “a ladye bright” and, as late as Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, the faes’ royal lady is still “radiant” (Act V, scene 5).

Great beauty…

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Warrior Women — The Battle of Britomart and Radigund the Amazon Queen

Under the influence!

Imaged by Frederic Shields [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)] (Cropped) Wikimedia Commons

This article was first published under the title of British Legends: Warrior Women — The Battle of Britomart and Radigund the Amazon Queen on #FolkloreThursday.com, 28/02/2019 by zteve t evans

The Faerie Queen

The epic unfinished poem, The Faerie Queeneby Edmund Spenser, published 1590-96, created a parallel of the medieval universe that alluded to events and people in Elizabethan society. The narrative draws on Arthurian influences, legend, myth, history, and politics, alluding to reforms and controversial issues that arose in the times of Elizabeth I and Mary I. It is an allegorical work that both praised and criticised Queen Elizabeth I, who is represented in the poem by Gloriana, the Faerie Queene. The six human virtues of holiness, chastity, friendship, temperance, justice, and courtesy are all represented by a knight. Spenser raises many questions about Elizabethan society, especially…

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The Trickery of Gwydion

Here’s a post from fellow blogger Lorna Smithers about the trickster and anti-hero Gwydion who appears in one of the tales, Math the son of Mathonwy, in the Mabinogion, the earliest collection of prose tales of the literature of Britain that revolve around Welsh mythology and tradition.

Fruits of Annwn

Gwydion's Wand

I. The Trickster

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the trickery of the magician-god, Gwydion son of Don, and the trouble he causes within his own family, the House of Don, and to the people of Annwn.

In the Fourth Branch of The Mabinogi,Gwydion and his brother, Gilfaethwy, plot to rape Goewin, the virgin footholder of his uncle, Math. Math cannot live without his feet being in the lap of a virgin except at times of turmoil. Therefore Gwydion steals the pigs gifted to Pryderi by Arawn, King of Annwn, causing a war between Math, ruler of Gwynedd in North Wales and Pryderi, ruler of twenty-one cantrefs in the South. During the conflict Gwydion helps Gilfaethwy to rape Goewin in Math’s bed. Returning to the battle he then kills Pryderi, son of Pwyll Pen Annwn, who is implicitly also Arawn’s son, ‘because of strength…

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