Saturday, November 19, 2005

On the stump again

The storyteller is on the stump --
regaling passers-bye with wit and song.
The came this ...


One does nor command a wizard, of course -- not even a prince; but faint hope can create a ripple in the Current, that he would know and come.

"By proclamation this day remembered,
By the hand and benevolence of his Majesty,
Prince Ranjold, a celebration will greet
The birth of their daughter, Lengine.
Gifts by rank will be honored
And remembered in thrine."

All was right and proper by custom and joy -- after all, what was nobility for but to give excuse for holiday and amusement? It had been so when Ranjold had been born -- celebration and gifts; most by command -- some by plotted aspiration. All were gone now, forgotten, possibly abused -- the giver and the gifts. Only one singular gift remained -- nestled in a silk-lined box of gold filigree. Anuur had come that day twenty and four years past -- unbidden, scarcely expected. Amongst the piled treasures of homage and less he placed the twig of a broken branch -- grey, sharp, barren. No one dare speak or question -- even the scowling Queen, for all knew that flowers grew where Anuur passed and lightning praised his name. It was know that the wizard was alive. Would he come?

The child prince had never questioned the twig suspended from the cradle bow, nor why he later carried it within a pouch around his neck. It was called the "Thorn of Anuur" and it was enough. Thence, when Ranjold was fourteen the dreams came -- and he knew. He alone understood. He had been gifted life!

The branch jutted out into the road 'round a curve unseen -- tree long dead, roots uptorn by wind and flood. No matter. As the farmer passed by with labored cart of market goods and hopes for home and kin, the protruding grey finger snagged a sack of seeds. The tear was not great, nor the golden trail of grain but a scattered hint of fortune. It was enough. Had there been clouds in the sky they might have chuckled. Had it rained the farmer might have covered his load. Had it snowed he could have come another day. No matter.

At weighing time the farmer was dismayed to receive less in coin than required to purchase the new plow so needed for the spring. So he had to sell his favorite horse, also admired by his faire betrothed Anne. With smaller plow and lesser steed he returned to eventual loss of both land and bride. Such events were common to the time and place. No matter.

The farmer's horse was claimed by a young merchant and later a minor knight. Thus bolstered by apparent elevated in station and with a purse of wagers won the knight traveled far and wide. Eventually he became a captain in an attacking force that sieged the town. Such events were common to the time and place. No matter.

A hapless crow spied the trail of seed strewn about the road. He fed, and by some magick song called others of his kind. They found the spot to their liking and stayed a bit -- harassing travelers and creating an endless din. A wandering monk retreated and took another route, delaying in kind a wedding feast. With nothing to do save drink and quarrel the distressed quests destroyed the inn in which they met. The dowry sadly went for repairs and the groom had to quit his studies at the university. His dream of scribing a journal of popular medicine for home and hearth lay forever in the pile of broken dishes and maiden tears. No matter. Such events were common.

These dreams continued in many form and pattern -- rippling outward from a torn sack to shattered lives and endless grief. Life is not faire to be sure -- but who would ever know? One man did, and in passing the branch, returned a pace or two. Even he could not see the future, yet he knew the purport of the sharpened spine. Anuur broke it off -- simply that and nothing more. Later he chanced upon a celebration, and though not required, he left this smallish gift. Faith? Fortune? Magick? No matter.

When the Prince took reign from his ailing father he kept the twig close at hand. He listened closely to advisors and crones, educators and niggling relatives, but … Before he spoke a word of command or privilege, he always paused and pondered, "What joy will I bring this day? What chance remark or idle boast or thoughtless deed will harm another -- perhaps unseen? Where will fall the seeds of my thoughts?" The kingdom was peaceful and the people kind and bountiful. This was often so in that place and time.

The Prince wished that he could call upon Anuur -- command his presence and another gift, that his daughter might be so blessed -- but love commanded engenders only fear. So he tied the withered branch above the child's head -- and waited. Could life recycle by desire alone? Would the wizard come? No matter.


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