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Monday, April 27, 2009

A short story - continued part 5

The White Mare was slightly in the lead and together she and Numair rounded the last bend to where the gate house that led to the castle was. Slowing, the two horses came to rest in front of the gate.

Standing there was the gate keeper, he spoke bowing, "Welcome Princess Belle, your highness. The Lady waits inside." Shafiq replied, "Thank you Kadeen. It is a good morning, is it not?" Kadeen bowed and said, "yes, your highness," opening the gate to let them through. Belle turned and looked at Shafiq, thinking 'Oh, "your highness."' She only said, "It is a good morning Shafiq, ...your highness," with a nod of her head and a smile. He replied, "A blessed morning Princess, shall we proceed, Belle?" She said, "of course, Shafiq, thank you." They rode up the pathway, long and winding. On either side of the pathway were rose gardens with myrtle trees lining the path. The myrtles were in blossom with long luscious purple red clusters. The roses were blossoming as well, deep velvet burgundy red and golden yellow and dark tyrian blue and snow white. As the horses walked up the path, Belle was looking at the myrtles, and it came to her mind the words of the Prophet Isaiah - "Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. By this miracle the Lord shall be named for an everlasting sign of his power and love, that shall not be cut off." And she thought, 'but where is the Tamarisk tree?'

They approached the castle of the Lady of the morning. Outside was an even more beautiful garden of snow white roses and one deep red rose in the middle. 'Oh! thought Belle, the Rose.' The horses stopped in front. Belle and Shafiq dismounted the White Mare and Numair and left them to wait. They walked side by side up the walkway to the castle door where Shafiq moved to the front and raising his hand said, "I have returned. Open to us and greet the fairest princess." Belle looking ahead at both the door and Shafiq, was calm and waited. The door opened and there were the ladies of the court of the Lady of the Morning, who moving around Shafiq, drew Belle inside with them, greeting her warmly, "princess welcome, welcome! Welcome good lady!" They escorted her in to the outer court room. Shafiq then walked up to her side and said to Belle, "it is time to enter the court of the Lady of the Morning, the Queen of the Dawn, and hear her counsel." The large double door in front of them opened and they all, in procession, walked through.

There upon a golden dais sat enthroned the most regal Queen that Belle had ever imagined, the Lady of the Morning, Queen of the Dawn. She was resplendant and beautiful, yet with gentle and goodly countenance. Shafiq led the way and Belle walked to his side. Together they stood in front with the courtiers arraigned around the courtroom. Shafiq and Belle bowed and said, together with one mind and voice, "good morning, your highness, we are at your service." The Queen rose and spoke, "Welcome young prince and princess to my house. We will speak at length, but first the feast."

-to be continued-

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