“Our year is up” she said. “Will you go then?”
“I cannot stay and cannot go” He said. His eyes filled at the thought of leaving her but he missed his home and he knew he was needed. Could he deny himself and go? There was nothing but pain in this decision but he would do what he must.
He smiled at Nuala and held out his arms to her. The music was playing and they began to dance slowly, swaying with it. She laid her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. “You will be old again and in pain. I can’t bear it.” She sighed. “I know” He said softly. “You know my heart.” He hummed softly and began to sing with the music. “The red rose whispers of passion and the white rose breathes of love. None can compare with the beauty, of my lady and the moon above…” As he sang the last words she found her arms empty and wept.
He was in the cave again and his body that had been young and healthy for his too short time with Nuala had aged and the feelings, the aches and pains, hunger, thirst, all came upon him in waves. He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. The wall was covered with runes of protection. He knew that the cave would have been hidden by magic and so undisturbed until he returned. There was no fire and he was cold but more he needed nourishment. There would be nothing til he made his way down to the valley, to his home.
He slowly got up, saw his pack and staff, laying where they fell a year ago. He opened the pack and sprinkled the herbs that were left on the floor of the cave in gratitude for the gift of the last year and for returning him safely. He pulled on his cloak and once again took up staff and pack and set off. He had forgotten how painful each step was and he carefully and slowly climbed down from the cave, wishing for the path to be easier, but knowing that everything has it’s price and the cost for a year with Nuala would be great. His breath became labored and he was shaking from weakness but he kept going. Holding to branches, and clutching his staff he continued, nearly weeping from the struggle.
At last the ground evened out a bit and the going was not as tedious. The sun was coming up higher. He had been traveling in the half light of early dawn and was grateful for the light and the warmth. How he had missed the sun! The morning birds were waking and singing in the trees and the sounds of earth animals coming out of their burrows to greet the day. He walked on, weariness slowing him and yearning for home moving him forward. He finally reached the edge of his beloved valley and smiled as he walked just a tiny bit faster. Home was waiting.
Finally he reached the path that led to his house and as he stumbled forward, the sun was kind to him and warmed his bones, the same old bones that had dreamed of a lady in the moon. He staggered to his door and with barely enough strength to push it open, thankfully entered the home he had missed. He dropped the pack and staff and loosened his cloak. He drew some water from the old pump and drank thirstily. He toyed with the idea of eating but it would have to wait. He all but fell on his bed and slept til the sun set, knowing nothing for those hours. He woke with the moon and stepped outside his door to gaze up at the glowing iridescent orb that held his heart. It might have been his imagination, but he could have sworn that Nuala wept a tear that became a shooting star. It lit up the night sky over his valley for just a second and then as quickly as it appeared, was gone.
shhh – I’m back…
This post brought to you by the music of John Mayer:
Down to the wire
I wanted water
but I’ll walk through the fire
if this is what it takes
to take me even higher
then I’ll come through, like I do
when the world keeps testing me, testing me, testing me…
There is a storm coming in and it meant cloud cover at the track this morning so I got an extra lap in and then came home and helped finish mowing the lawn. Perspiration seems to equal inspiration 🙂 Come on sweet rain!
Like the reluctant wizard, we are never completely happy. We want and wish, and when we get, it doesn’t satisfy. We think if only…