Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Missing Piece

By Master Hector of the Black Height

Many years passed, and the tales of Ealdormere spread, and the people kept their pieces of her secret heart and shared them. Finally, so many tales spread and so many pieces were treasured that, of their own accord, the people resolved to challenge the Fates and assemble the secret heart again.

From far and wide the people came together in the depths of winter's darkness, and they brought forth their pieces. The oldest and the youngest handed over their treasures, and those who remembered past days were amazed to see that they had received all the pieces of the secret heart and more besides, enough it seemed for two hearts.

With care and compassion the people assembled two hearts, and found there was but one piece missing from the pair. The people rejoiced at their good fortune, and then wondered at the one piece that denied them a second hero's heart.

And the stars twinkled and Ealdormere spoke and said, "I will take back the complete heart, and leave the incomplete with you; give what remains with you a home." And Ealdormere took the complete heart into the stars, and it was never seen again by mortal man. The people were confused by this selfishness, but they obeyed her command and made a home for the second heart.

This home was beautiful and pure, yet humble. It had strong arms for the sword and bow, and gentle hands for the young and hurt. Its eye was clear and its voice was sweet. Its memory was long but its imagination vast. Despite a missing piece the second heart fit, and Ealdormere seemed to walk the land again.

The Three Sisters again knew that someone walked the world without their consent, and they resolved to punish Ealdormere once more, but from the skies Ealdormere hailed the Sisters and said, "I am here. I am punished. Your curse holds me. You cannot read my wyrd twice." And the Sisters were still, for they saw that the heart that walked the earth was incomplete, and they did no more in consequence.

And the people were glad, but their gladness was held in check by the knowledge of Ealdormere's selfishness. The new hero sensed the reservation of the people, and she asked what grieved them so.

The people said, "Your twin, who was so generous and kind, saw that when your hearts were assembled there was one piece missing, and she took that piece and left you lacking. This we do not understand, for she was a hero."

And Ealdormere said, "The one piece of her former heart my sister would not share was the bitterness that cast her from you. I lack that bitterness, but bear all her other attributes. I am not complete; but I am whole, thanks to her. She is as you made her, and as you made me. She is a hero, and thanks to her sacrifice we all may grow."

And so Spring came and the Northlands bloomed, and in the night skies her sentinel heard Ealdormere singing again by the fires, and the stars shone brighter for the joy of it.

(copyright Arthur McLean 1991-2000)

No comments:

Post a Comment