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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A short story - continued part 7

The Queen continued, "Prince Shafiq, you are entrusted with this quest and Princess Belle. Her safety is paramount. I, your mother and your Queen, am charging you before God and all, to bear this responsibility with your life. The King of the Land of the Two Rivers, Belle's father, and I conferred many years ago, before his death. I knew since then of the visit of the angel and the gift of the amulet and the warning from on high. The White Mare, Belle, serves me well, a gift from your father to me. I return her now, she is yours. Let her bear you to safety. Kadeen come forth. Kadeen is not just a gatekeeper, Belle, but a prophet. Hear him, both of you." Kadeen stepped forward and was dressed now in formal attire as a wise man and prophet. Kadeen began to speak, "Prince Shafiq and Princess Belle, you will reign one day as King and Queen of the joint kingdom of the Land of the Two Rivers and the East, the Land of the Dawn, if you complete your quest. Beware young Prince, obstacles lie before you. Princess Belle, always keep the amulet that the angel left you and trust the White Mare's counsel. On your journey, both of you help one another with unstinting love and trust, for things will at times test you. Your quest is to prepare for the great battle to uproot and throw down the evil King from under Mt. Damavand, Asmodeus and his consort Lilitu. The first part is before you, to recruit the Daughters of Astarte, the Warriors of Lady Ishtar, as the guard and phalanx of Princess Belle. Prince Shafiq you will lead, but always heed the voice and counsel of the Princess, for she is your equal and royal in her own domain. As you go, both of you, but you Shafiq, most of all, beware of of Aêšmi, nephil-demon daughter of Asmodeus. Numair and Maysa', for this is the White Mare's name, and well fitted to her proud gait to carry you safely Belle, will be waiting for you saddled and ready in the morning to leave on your road's journey. Now I give my blessing in the name of the Almighty God." Kadeen blessed them, having finished, and turned and sat behind the Queen. The Queen said to Belle and Shafiq, "Now you both have a long road and will start early. Go to the rooms prepared for you and rest well until before dawn. Tommorrow I will bid you goodbye at your quest's beginning." The courtiers led the Princess and Prince to their rooms for the night.

* * *

Aêšmi was hungry, ravenous in fact. She prowled, menace in her every move. Like a demon cat that she was, she moved swift and silent. She was hunting in her cat form. She stopped for a smell was in the air, blood of a mortal man. Her hunger was intense, even painful. She did not notice the high presence of the angel of God watching her. It was for Shafiq to conquer this one, the angel's mission was to protect Princes Belle. It was for this reason that the angel followed the demon daughter, to prevent harm to the Princess. Aêšmi hunted all day and at early evening she found where the trail of scent led her to. A simple merchant upon the road, unsuspecting in his cart, his horse whinnied nervously at the unseen presence of Aêšmi, the merchant went on unknowing his danger.

Aêšmi stepped out on the road, in her form as a seductive woman, and beckoned to the merchant and said,"coin for an evening's pleasure, sir?" The merchant licked his lips and said, "woman, you are clothed well and I see not much to know your charms." Aêšmi cast aside her dress and the gossamer veil clung to her frame. The man sat forward with a start, seeing how alluring she was, and said, "how much?" She said, "you be the judge afterward." He replied, "come up to my cart and let me lift you up here inside." As she approached, the horse turned aside as far as he could. She stood at the bottom of the cart's step and the man grasped her with his hands to lift her up, not knowing beforehand the ripping of his hands the gossamer would cause and the excitement that would provoke of the succubus.

The horse had broken harness and ran. The succubus had fed.

* * *

Belle and Shafiq had adjoing rooms with balconies that were side by side. Neither being sleepy, both were outide looking at a beautiful full moon and gorgeous stars above. Belle turned on her balcony toward Shafiq on his and said, "my leige, you are indeed a Prince of this house, I know now, how do you think we will rule a joint kingdom?" Shafiq would only say, "when soft and gentle beauty of soul and heart which has held mine forever, is secure upon a throne, then shall be." "Good night sweet Shafiq, we must leave early tommorrow," the Princess said with a deep and solemn smile. She turned and went to her room and bed. Shafiq said, "tommorrow my Princess, and God bless your sleep." Shafiq turned to his room, entered and sat upon his bed stool and thought long and with reverent countenance, before laying his head upon his pillow to sleep.

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