“Be careful what you set your heart upon–
for it will surely be yours,” said Baldwin,
a chap who went by James and lived upon
an isle o’errun by glass and steel within.
Anonymous woman shook her head, cleared
such anachronistic thoughts from her mind.
Concentrating on the task at hand sheared
away all distraction from times unkind.
Transcontinental travel via pow’r
required iron control else she risked
dropping her and her passenger–whose glow’r
said it all–on a hard, unfriendly disc.
The disc below spun round, became a sphere,
blue and green–her destination is there.
~ ~ ~
“You do know where we’re going right?” asked prince
not charming, master of the obvious,
then King of Storms, rescued the previous
day from a whirling thing made of malice
and thought, a maelstrom, bent on eating brains.
That’s the impression she’d got from its kiss.
A sky-eating cyclone devouring brains
just sounded like an awesome opponent
for this world weary anachronism.
Dropping down through clouded haze’s concealment
towards Shayari, where spring’s activism
should bear budding fruit but alas, more snow
hides spring’s activities from those who know.
~ ~ ~
A hammered copper sky gives sunset’s hour
as a young man steps out holding a fan.
Behind him, a shore curves, a wooded bow’r?
A circle stood with boxes in its span.
Her companion, Istan, now that ice’s
crown fell from his brow, stoops, scoops up star beads,
lets them slide through his long fingers like rice.
One white brow wings up o’er a pale eye; reeds
sway in the breeze created by fan boy’s
running away and those boxy things sway,
dangle from that circular giant’s toy.
“Where did you bring us?” Istan asked as day’s
last rays gilded his regal robes; mem’ry
brought to life that wedding eve in summ’ry.
~ ~ ~
She felt again that low cut top’s promise,
rings twinning hearts and fates, words spoken
that one time and never ‘gain, promises
to stay through it all, a promise broken
by harsh reality when mad leeches
showed up and tried to steal her pow’r, arcane
knowledge–all she’d fought to acquire, leeches
that no magic bonds could fully restrain…
“Stop! It’s that damn maelstrom. We didn’t escape.”
Istan shook her, his eyes intent, conscious
only of his mind diving through mindscapes
she could not perceive to fight obnoxious
things crawling around her head, that’re worming
deeper into her memory seeking…
~ ~ ~
It wants your name. Don’t give it, hold it tight,
Istan’s thoughts whispered right across her mind
like fingers trailing in a calm pool, light,
yet creating ripples–the trembling kind.
He knew her name; side by side their names lay
on a marriage contract before he took
up winter’s mantle, long ago, that day.
He’s the son of a thunder god, a crook
who blessed his heirs with long life and the jerk
then pissed off everyone and got them cursed.
Her eyes opened wide; not her name, that smirk-
wearing dark smudge in her mind wanted–it thirst
for her psychic rescuer, a god still
revered, one whose will it couldn’t break until…
~ ~ ~
She’d showed up with the key locked in her heart.
His true name she knew; he had whispered it
skin to skin, driving it in, kissing it
deep and impressing it, so they’d ne’er part.
In that marriage bed of white rose petals,
where magic bound what spoken vows left out.
Mem’ry rewound ’till she lay on petals
entwined; liquid syllables fall on doubt–
a name inscribed on her heart, now stolen.
Everything grayed, the strange beach scene faded.
Istal exhaled, crumpled like a golem
onto icy tiles; silver ichor bled,
dripped from his nose as his glassy eyes rolled–
by their marriage bed, petaled by snow, cold.
~ ~ ~
“No!” She grabbed power, felt an old way near,
ripped it open and dragged her dear one through.
She’d no time for math, forms or worry where
they’d end up; quick escape she needed so–
through the old way into a nightmare gray
she fell with Istan who lay unmoving.
‘Round them the Gray Between life and decay
spread in a formless jumble, darkening
as the doorway irised closed but stopped when
a tendril of smoke and thought shoved through, seized
Istan’s leg and yanked; she pulled, forgetting then
the one rule of this place. Dark swarmed, no pleas
did it hear; the Gray Between gives no light.
Here hope lights candles, snuffed by despair’s blight.
~ ~ ~
The Quest continues tomorrow…
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It’s an enthralling tale told in verse with a quest that centers on finding the heart of this winter season.
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~ ~ ~
Memory’s Quest incorporated the following challenges: Color Your World: Copper & Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Writing Prompt 132 Collage 10, which provided the leading image.