A Subterranean Quest
(Picks up where Anasril’s Quest left off)
Light spilled in a gold wash; its rays arrowed
around the next bend bounced by reflective
shields mounted high on the tunnel’s narrowed,
jagged walls; such an ameliorative
sight that light cutting through the cave’s false dark.
Outside the sun’s face shines; Anasril feels
its sacrosanct warmth on her soul and hope sparks.
Maybe her quest is not in vain; she steals
a glance at Chero; he’s peering around
the next bend, squinting into refracted
light, then with an irreverent shrug, he bounds
into light, which she too is attracted.
Light blinded until her eyes adjusted
and what wonders she saw, she mistrusted.
~ ~ ~
Nothing hindered them but they stared a while.
Cut into the huge cavern’s roof, skylights
poured the spring sun into a crystal phial
suspended by a silver basket right
over the middle of the cavern where
dwelt a cluster of cottages all carved
from pink feldspar around a central square.
The phial pulsed showering white light on carved
homes, ramps and a small lake where swans glided.
Above that bluegreen water, blue violet and
white stone inlaid in a mosaic spread
o’er domed roof around whose oculus spanned
a very close approximation of
the shades of evening drawing down like dark doves.
~ ~ ~
Too busy staring, they didn’t see the swans
trade their underground lake for a stone ramp
curving up to where they stood staring; wan
and drawn from hours of toil, both swamped
by the incredible place, they didn’t know
what to do next. The swans’ expectant eye
and the feathered backs they presented goad
them into action; Chero caught her eye,
shrugged, then offered her a hand, which she took
wishing that hand had offered marriage bands
instead; she gripped black feathers; an arm hooked
around her waist, Chero’s; she squeezed his hand.
His father wouldn’t approve; she pushed that thought
out, concentrated on the aid she sought.
~ ~ ~
The swans’ smooth gait had Anasril nodding
off as the pair, one black and one white, slid
into bluegreen water around which springs
flowers and herbs and down below fish hid
as the swans’ shadow dragged ripples behind.
After they’d swam to the opposite shore,
the swans left the lake, padded off to find
their mistress, Eloaysa at the core
of the little town, its most respected
citizen and the best person to handle
magical visitors unexpected.
They genuflected; she set the candle
down and closed the loculus, crossed her heart
and then stepped away from the altar part.
~ ~ ~
“What have you brought?” Eloaysa bent, looked
at the two humanoid creatures blinking
from their interrupted rest; children looked
at her, neither more’n a foot tall, clinging
to each other with innocent eyes; wings,
butterfly like, whose glow gave their kind a-
way, Anandarwen, but what thing could bring
the pair to Bayasheru? Far away
for small ones to go; they ne’er leave their glen.
The female one with blue wings told her tale.
Her black winged companion stayed quiet when
she asked questions but the end of the tale
left Eloaysa shaking her head, nothing
her folk could do; they’re too small for this thing.
~ ~ ~
“You need the Tall Folk–mountain men–” she waved
southwards towards Mount Rayastill and then eastwards
to the tree top town of Ariest, saved
for last the vale cities quite far westwards.
A rare Groundling stood three and a half feet tall
but not her, she stood three feet exactly.
The girl roused at this opposition; all
fire now that her quest was in danger, she
said the one word that changed everything.
“He’s a Guardian! You must help him now!”
Yes, she must help him who protected kings
and every good Shayarin too but how?
She straightened, went to the bell and its chime
warned her neighbors it was meeting time.
~ ~ ~
The story continues in A Waiting Quest.
If you’re a fan of this lyric style of writing, pick up a copy of Stars and Angels Sing; it’s also written in verse and set in Shayari. It’s on sale now! Get your copy here.
~ ~ ~