· In the Shadows Part 1
In the end none of it really mattered; it was meant to be I had been warned though; warned of things I couldn't for see. Why then did I fail in the quest that passed my hands? So much for granted, too many demands.
Tis cold here, my body trembles and oh how it does ache, I tried to tell them, "No, no was a most fearsome mistake. But to listen? No, not them; they would not. Now between these stonewalls I was left alone to rot.
Only a peasant, aye that was indeed what they called me, But the prince, oh how I loved him, why couldn't they see? He would come to me, such pleasure I often found in his arms, Was much, much too easy to fall for his charms.
Ceano, the captain of the guards, bade me go, I would be his demise, But I could not let go; I had only to look in his eyes. I thought he loved me, I thought his feelings held true, And days and days that passed my love for him grew.
Resist? Oh yes I tried, for royal blood swept through his veins, But no matter the clothes, the hair, the speech a peasant I remained. I swore no mistress I would ever be, but if not that what was I? Now was but only a tainted memory, a love full of lies.
The last of our time was just a waste of his breath, He promised much, and though not in words he brought me death. He did not return, surely he would, surely he didn't wish me to face them alone, But in truth it was so, for indeed my prince had really gone.
The castle awaited, through the streets in chains I was paraded A warning to others; beware of a love match so ill fated. I could hear the whispers, pity held tight their voice, But still their stones were cast, the kings guards giving them little choice.
I thought the hallway was long till I was led up the highest flight of stairs, Treason against my king it was said, "No, no, they were not being fair." "A trial, yes, yes, please," I begged, for my prince would come I was sure A stall for time only, but through the worst of trials my love would endure.
Oh I could not even think. Why, why? Why had he betrayed me? My heart would not let me accept, no it just could not be. But then why was I brought here? I had done nothing wrong, But my soul knew. Yes it had known the answer all along.
I was set up no other reason was there for there would be no trial, The evil looks from my captors, no pity, and no mercy, just their twisted smiles. Still we climbed; each step flesh ripping from the chains that bound me tight, I stumbled, my feet entangling, no matter though they drug me up the next flight.
Oh how badly I wished to beg, to ease my hearts deadly ache, My prince, oh my prince, my love for you was a terrible mistake. To only be back home, go back; go back to the good days, But yet if I did go back, could I have really sent him away?
I felt my heartbeat quicken, a door guarded well, What hid in its shadows? What ghosts? Perhaps creatures from hell? The weakness hit of a sudden, the pain so great I could not stand, Before me was the King himself and the guards under his command.
I was on my knees, bloody hair falling over my face, Knotted, matted, no longer me but a street urchin in my place. My dress hung in tatters the bite of the lash so strong, "Yes the king would help me," I thought, but no, I was wrong.
"You were warned Athena, you were warned to stay away from my son, You are a nothing, a nobody, a passing flame, but now it's done. Were you really so foolish to think that he loved you? Only a dalliance for the moment, a bet, oh yes he won it too."
Maniacal laughter echoed the room and it came from the king, What he said was true; I was only a peasant, a nobody, a nothing. "And now my dear Athena you shall pay for what you have done, Oh by the way, I have a message for you from my son."
"The pearl necklace he gave you must be returned for his future bride, But you can keep the old nag that he had given you to ride. I can assure you though Athena both presents you will give, For your life is now worthless, you haven't long to live."
"I cannot let you leave here for the prince's indiscretion will be out, And the commoners will not bandy his good name about." He raised his eyebrow and looked Ceano's way, "Treason against her king, Ceano? Treason did ye say?"
"Aye my king treason is the charge I heard it with my own ears, Mad she was over the prince's desertion,” and I realized my worst fears. Was death that would come though their charges, for none would come to my aid, None would defy the king and over time my memory would fade.
"Athena, Athena, why does that sound familiar do you suppose? Ah yes, the girl that committed treason now I know." But soon not even that would be remembered but what did it matter? A once perfect fairy tale ripped asunder; tarnished, torn, tattered.
But death would not come so quickly for me for flesh's tortures I must confess From the tower to the dungeon, but no, farther, farther into the bowels of darkness. What must I confess? Treason? No, that I would not do for that would be a lie, I wished my conscience clear besides either way I was to die.
But no they wished for me to suffer before death showed its face, Waiting, wondering, suffering, eager to leave this place. In darkness the day passed and the fear of the shadows I faced alone, Once started the tears would not stop, oh God please, I want to go home.
Aye the smell of blood was strong from the many wounds I bore, The rodents come now; I can see their shadows blending as they cross the floor. They sniff the air; ah yes still warm, now eager their meal was near, I tried so hard to be brave, I really did, but no; a coward filled with fear.
Fight them off I could not, they would win, this I knew, And the endless tears I shed for there was nothing I could do. Chains bound my hands tightly behind my blood soaked back, Powerless, so powerless I could not fight their deadly attack.
Greedily they lapped up the trail of blood and then they were upon me, I screamed and screamed, twisting, turning, my body moving fiercely. "No", I screamed, No I could not end this without a fight, I remember looking up and once was a darkness but soon gave way to light.
So now death had won but perhaps it was for the best, At peace would be my soul though my body would remain, the dungeons guest. Though I tried I could not look upon the light, So I closed my weary eyes and slipped into the shadows that held the night.
Was I a ghost to be floating around then? Had I taken wings to fly? I could hear the voices; such anger could not come from angels in the sky. Hell then? It must be so for the flames struck me furiously as I was tossed about, No, No, I don't belong here please, I beg of you, please let me out.
In my mind was the forest meadow and hidden in the shadows of an oak tree, Was my prince, calling my name, yes, oh yes he was calling for me. He had not betrayed me, lies all lies, they had made me believe, But once again I had been so easily deceived.
Though I feared I could not rest till my where a bouts I became aware I forced my eyes open and at my prince I could only stare. Sent quickly a bogus mission meant only to keep him away, Till they rid themselves of the peasant who led the prince astray.
What strange fate held him led him on a quick return, And as he spied the emerald necklace the flames in his soul burned. No, no she could not do this to him; she had stolen his heart, And now, now she had left him after swearing they would never part.
He could not sleep, and he could not eat, he cursed, he cried, he ranted and raved, Aye she used him, took advantage of the love he so freely gave. His father had told him of her message; she scorned him and ran off with another, And the man, who was he? None other than Creata his sworn blood brother.
Revenge he swore, revenge on the both of them this he vowed, "I will find you, I will find you," his voice bellowing loud. He walked the halls at night restless, trying to forget, But would he ever? His life, his soul, he knew it when they met.
Soon his body demanded sleep but dreams of Athena came, She was hurt, she was afraid. Her voice trembled so, as she whispered his name. He could feel her pain, he could see her blood, and his heart wept, He cursed her hold on him, he bade the dream go, and on he slept.
Morning's sunrise he must ride to expel her from his soul, He had to forget her before he lost all control. Faster and faster till he came to the forest searching for the old oak tree, In his dream it had come and the feeling came upon him that it could set him free.
A rage unlike any he had ever felt before Creata lay in wait, And the prince never before felt such a consuming hate. A gypsy was he and he had saved the prince's life, Sworn forever to be brothers their blood joined by the edge of a knife.
But never more. He saw her not but where she was he would not ask, His feelings were hid well his face but an emotionless mask. "My brother come, feast with us, I have much to tell you, No longer brother Creata I care no longer what you do."
"Do not be a fool Triano listen well to your heart, Of a purpose is the feast now come it is about to start." I do not wish to see her nor you that has betrayed, Stand aside now before in death you are laid."
"Ah Prince Triano you a fool? This I would not have believed Strike me then, yes strike me now, oh so easily you were deceived. But by me, no never my brother she is still your lady true, I've heard the story, believe in me as I believe in you."
"Come please, Moriah has the answers you seek, His visions hold true please just let him speak." No it could not be true his father would not treat her so, But true or not he needed to find out, he needed to know.
I had no more strength to fight, death was so near, Death come swiftly I prayed, for now life was my biggest fear. Soon the madness would be upon me I had seen it all before, Feeding on the rats, eating the slop that was thrown upon the floor.
Heavens sunshine? No, it could not really be, It was only my imagination that had been set free. I could not even begin to guess my destination, Till my eyes adjusted and he held my fascination.
My prince sat in a chair sleep held tightly his eyes, And farther around I looked needless to say I was surprised. Was I in the palace? If so then what room was this? I saw the robe, his boots, his hat, oh my God this room was his.
What magic this? Was this a sorcerer's spell to make pleasant my last days? Was it only a beautiful dream to send me on my way? He stirred, then he smiled, and oh how my heart did melt, For no matter the trials I faced it was still love that I felt.
Swift justice deep in the night the King had died, Failure of the heart but his conscience cleared he confessed he lied. He was forgiven by his son the prince and even by me a nobody, In the end of it all everyone's heart was set free.
"Push my queen, push hard. Look, look there's its head, And my king smiling as he knelt by the side of the bed. Flowers surrounded the bed, orchids in full bloom, And then a loud bellow echoed throughout the room.
A handsome little boy hair of gold and eyes of green, All swore he was the handsomest lad they had ever seen. He bore the name Triano just as his father had done, And the king lay by his wife and watched as she nursed his son.
A fairy tale? Yes, perhaps it is so, Well it could have happened but only I know.
© Cynthia Clark