Amanda Palmer © Photo-By-Kahn-and-Selesnick_1
by Stuart H. Nager ©
What is unknown appears known; of this, I am uncertain. Perchance beguiled, for last I knew I was there but, alas, here I be. This path through trees lacks familiarity, copses gnarled but tidy. A hedge I found to assist my invisibility, a vantage point to confuse me further.
So many passed by, speaking in words yet understood. I scent of fresh hops filled the air, roasted meats, and the stale sweat produced by the heat of the day. This was familiar, but the rest? Skin hues, the variances of body types, the way they laughed, swore, or what I took as such, were a jumble only experienced in the largest of gathering towns and cities.
Swords! In the distance, a clang of swords. Blade upon blade, the shrieking of steel. Cheers, mirth, sad wails erupt from that direction. As one, what I glean to be a crowd, yells, “Huzzah. Huzzah. Huzzah!”
I am undone.
My feet lead me away from the hedge, into the ebullient throngs. My spirits lift somewhat, having spirited away a mug of foul ale. Yet, I quaff to a drop as the mug refills. Foul but fair, I merrily wander to explore my thoughts and this strange happenstance.
The lasses are comely; the lads as well. Their states of modesty thrown to the wind. Music is precise. I join in the dances encountered, elevating the pleasures of all who participate. Some of the cavorting was of my accord. More of the repellant beer made its way into my hands and down my gullet. I skip off to find what I shall find. A need for the small forest calls.
Ho! A pair of churlish ruffians. Drunk, their lazy attempts to lay hands upon a lass are buffeted away. Yet still, they take no heed. She, red-headed and fair, yells with no results for assistance. Ah, this language is beginning to open. Help she will have. Swifter than an arrow, I am beside her.
Drolly, I smite the louts with my sharpened wit, enough so that their desires for the pretty turn to anger towards myself. I lead them on a merry chase, up and down, forward and back, until the befuddled duo collapse into heaps. Thanking them for this escapade, I return to the lasses.
She of red hair awaited my return, mischief in her eyes that complimented my own. She takes my hand as we become unseen behind a large oak. Their language is becoming more explicit still.
“Huzzah!” fills the air throughout.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Sunlight is fading, and I still find myself here. Megan of the red hair has left, alas, alas, alas, with friends dragging her away. She made a promise. Surprisingly, I gave one in return. Yet, the day has passed, more sweet beer drowning melancholy away.
Something has been pulling me throughout the day, drawing me further. Except for my Lord, I am nobody’s plaything. It was easy to turn this away with the ethereal emissions of the masses. Now, so few remain. This “Ren Faire,” as Megan related, closed down at true nightfall.
I give in to the call.
I have reached a series of small but fierce pavilions. Each draped with runes, gemstones, carvings, feathers, and lace, enveloped in candle glow. I walk down the lane, peering into each. Women, swathed in rich earth tones, turn their heads away as I come upon them. Except, this one ahead.
She is waiting for me, knowledge in her eyes.
I know her as well.
“Sprite,” she warbles, her withered countenance neither friend nor foe.
“Crone,” adding a shallow bow to her presence.
“Inside.” She hesitates. “Please.”
I follow. She deigns to sit on a wooden stool while I stand, examining her craft. The damask cloth covering her centerpiece table is of the highest quality, the colors swirling as they lay in place. I would say hypnotic, laying down such schemes myself.
“He was angry with you. Anger festered for a long while. The King almost commenced a Wild Hunt. My Mistress lured him to her bower. No Wild Hunt was issued. It was she who moved you here.”
“I see,” thank you, My Queen, for this gift. “I still owe him my fealty.”
“No, you do not. The King has withdrawn any compulsion over you. Residing as far away, and as long, as the Queen and King have, He has no need of you. Anymore.”
This news. I never wished for it. Yet, I surprise even myself at times.
I glowed inside. It felt. Good.
“What will you do now, Robin?
The question was an excellent one. For the first time, I feel befuddled.
“I do not” was left unfinished. There was a tap on the pavilion frame behind me. I turned.
A vision appears before me. Be still, my aching.
What a glorious smile. She holds out her hand. Our eyes meet. Our hands join as one. Megan leads me away from the pavilion.
I hear the crone: “Mistress, what fool this Puck be!”
Could she not stay quiet?
Her cackles followed us as we left the faire.
! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
This week, Shut Up & Write offered their monthly five-day challenge with the Prompt Theme of
Through a Stranger’s Eyes
Each day’s prompt was to give your character’s POV through their very first time at a specific place, meeting another, etc. No length restrictions. Any style of writing. Any genre.
I took on the challenge, even with the growing number of projects that I am involved with. If you’d like to read the five in order:
August 5th: Extreme Sports Lemmings to Slaughter
August 6th: Modern Exercise Level
August 7th: Big Events: Ren Faire Huzzah! (above)
COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME