September 15, 2009

Light: Part III

“Are you ready to go yet, Benjamin?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Then I may be off! Farewell, my palace. Servants: prepare yourself for the Lady Anne’s arrival. Glory awaits this adventure!”

So off the brothers went, Philip in high spirits, Ben in turmoil. Somehow, he felt like a character in a story, except his mission was to capture a Queen, not to rescue a princess. His mind turned back to the days when he would read in the royal library. He couldn’t remember his love for knowledge, though, without a twinge of regret and resentment. The books, in a way, had locked him in. They had caused his thirst. They had lead to his poisoning. They had blinded him. But it was also his own fault. His love had turned against him. After reading was gone, life had dwindled into a stale dullness. Then the years of gathering news had awakened a spark of life. News, as an entity outside himself, revived him from monotony. Now he was off into uncharted territory (literally, he added to himself), off to find an aweful Lady. He must continue as a passive observer, he resolved. Involvement with people always backfired.

~

A villager had told them how to get to Lady Anne’s dwelling place, and after much travel, there they were, on the outskirts of her forest. Philip’s horse started forward, but he pulled the reigns.

“I’m getting off my horse,” Philip declared. “You should too. Now, come on, Ben, don’t be afraid. I suppose I should help you.”

“I’ve got it,” Ben answered. He was fairly resigned to being treated like this, and was only slightly discouraged by Philip’s brisk manner.

“Good, good…” Then Philip sighed in frustration, and snatched the reigns Ben held out of his hand. “Let me tie that up for you, I’m sure you won’t be able to.”

After securing the horses to a tree, Philip faced the forest with an expression of defiance. His eyes were bright in the hope of adventure. His nose was stately and held just a little up in the air. If any man was sure of himself, it was he. He resolutely walked into the forest. Ben followed, feeling around with his cane, quietly listening, his heart beating wildly. After walking a bit into the forest, he crouched behind a bush. He must not be seen.

Philip looked around, but couldn’t seem to see the Lady. No matter, he thought, she must be here somewhere. He gathered his thoughts, and reviewed his own tips to himself: 1. Be courteous and flatter her. 2. Speak in a cultured manner- you don’t want to look stupid. 3. Let her know of your greatness, it will make her like you better. He cleared his throat and began in a loud voice, “By order of the King Philip, I command you to come forth and let me look upon you. I have heard of your beauty, and I wish it to be my own. Lady, though I have not seen you, I desire you. And if my own devotion to you were not enough, I would recommend myself to you. I am a brave warrior, unrivaled in any known lands. I have been hailed by travelers from far away as handsome and lovely to behold. Show me that you believe I am worthy of you. Come out and let me see you.”

There was a rustling in the trees, and a voice replied, “I am here.” The voice was silver and gold: the deepest delight of any treasure seeker. The voice was cold water on a hot summer’s day: cooling, calming, and reviving.

Philip felt as if he had been rebuked. He grew irritated. “Come out, I say. Don’t play games with me. Show yourself.”

He received no answer at first. The realm of the lady’s thought was too occupied for the bridge of language to be crossed. Then Lady Anne spoke, slowly and sternly. “Do you truly desire me? Why have you come with words of self-adoration? I see your heart, it is full of yourself. You do not want me.”

“But I do, dear Lady. How can you say such a thing? I have come because I want you for myself. And, I want to see you. Please come out.” In that last sentence, Philip’s words of defense had turned to ones of entreaty. This invisible Lady was being very inconvenient to his plans. He wished she would cooperate.

Suddenly, he felt his body straighten, as if his shoulders were being held. The Lady’s voice sounded much closer, and said, “You and I are face to face. If you cannot see me, it is because your pride has blinded you.” She pushed him away, and shook her head sadly. “You will stay blind until your heart learns to see.”

Philip fell to the forest floor, resentment burning within him. He lifted his face to the source of the voice, again endeavoring to see her, but the space where she should have been was a black emptiness. The darkness grew larger, crowding out the view of mushrooms, leaves, and logs. Then all went black.

3 comments:

Michael said...

"Philip felt as if he had been rebuked." I like this.

"This invisible Lady was being very inconvenient to his plans. He wished she would cooperate."
Aha. This is rather convicting.

Micah E. said...

A twist! Hurrah!

Hayley said...

"He couldn’t remember his love for knowledge, though, without a twinge of regret and resentment." Our innate passions are both our strongest asset and our own worse enemy. Why is it that good things are so easily laced with self-destructive implications?

"Lady, though I have not seen you, I desire you." I think Philip gets some points here.