Categories
Fiction

The Miracle at Arabella

The sound of ultimate suffering split the dawn. It was coming from a masked figure, all in black. It raced across the courtyard and knelt beside the dead man. [Roberts arrives too late (64, Dawn & 15 sec)]

“Inigo!” The cry bridged the gap between night and day, living and dead. Out of respect for her grief, the dawn left a cloak of shadow around them. The blade lay dull on the stone. [Mercy Stops the Dawn (65, Dawn & 26 sec)]

Faria raced to the courtyard. “Please, he is at peace now. His suffering has ended.” Faria, openly weeping, rested a hand gently on the figure’s shoulder. [Mercy in Mourning (66, Dawn & 30sec)] Rosaline pulled the mask from her face. Her hair cascading free with her tears. She took Death’s hand in hers. [Grief Unmasked (67, Dawn & 37 sec)] The survivors gathered in the arch ways of the arcade surrounding the courtyard. [The Wake Begins (68, Dawn & 40 sec)] Hugh’s smudging was deafening in the stillness.

Faria could feel the anger bubbling within Rosaline. She was quaking. He looked to Hugh on the balcony. Hugh nodded, they could move him. The eight survivors, those fools who tested their skill, read the silent conversation between the brothers. They moved into the courtyard. Rosaline stood slowly, her jaw clenched. The beatific face turned to stone though her tears never stopped. She stepped in front of Inigo. She was fury. These men owed a debt. They challenged when they should have observed. Their hubris hastened this moment. Inigo gave them life, he spared them. How many seconds of his life did they steal? [Fury Confronts Selfish Bastards (80, Dawn & 28 minutes)] These reckless men who stepped into his circle for their own glory. Children daring each other to poke a dangerous animal. Recklessly squandering the lives of their mothers, wasting the gift given to them. Never thinking of the life, only of the conquest. She hated them in this moment. She did not remember picking up the six-fingered sword but it was in her hand. The blade demanded vengeance.

No words were uttered. The tension in the courtyard began to crackle again. Macphearson’s approached first. Hamish appeared to skip lightly forward, his kilt barely moving. He knelt before Rosaline. Her eyes flecked with lightening, eerily cast shadows to the edges of her bones. Hamish thought he was a Master. He wanted perfection. Last night he was part of perfection but did not pay the price. Inigo paid, twice. He owed Death a Life. Without words he agreed to the terms. The blood in him required it. His life, his blade, was hers now. It was all he had to give, he knew it was inadequate. He offered her everything. He did not bow his head, but met her gaze so she could read his vows. She accepted the offering. The blade flashed.

One by one, they offered their blade to the Wizard’s Proxy. [Requesting Forgivness (82, Dawn & 30min)] Rosaline accepted their blades. She lifted each one. [The Offering (83, Dawn & 31min)] The penitent rose and Rosaline extracted payment. The blade flashed to the left cheek. Blood joined the tears streaming from their faces. [Unforgiven (84, Dawn & 32min)] Their blades clattered to the stone. [Penance Begins (85, Dawn & 32min)] Hugh ran to the courtyard and sketched the final three using Faria’s back as an easel. When all eight swords were at her feet, the acolytes tenderly lifted Inigo and carried him inside. [Death Laid to Rest (115, Dawn & 1h)]

Rosaline stacked the blades where Inigo had found his peace, beneath the reliquary arch. She sobbed, suddenly overcome. The six-fingered sword caught the light but no longer glowed with its own. She grasped the naked blade in her hand. It bit into her. Her vow written and was consecrated. The pain focused her. She placed it in the reliquary arch. Her blood shining ruby against silver.

Categories
Fiction

The Death of Inigo Montoya

Spain.

The horse appeared solid, heavy. It’s legs sounding into the earth, announcing its own existence. The rider was insubstantial. All in black, night and shadow struggled to believe he was there at all. Death twinkled in the starlight on their left side. They rode hard through the night, slowing only as they began the ascent to Arabella. The rider dismounted at the sign post before the small village square. The thin shadow of a man approached the fountain at the center. Death glowed at his left hip. The eerie light cloaked the man in shadow, nearly erasing him, confirming his lack of essence. The horse wandered behind him. It did not fear death. After drinking their fill, rider and mount parted company. The horse smelled grass nearby. The rider smelled frozen earth, pine, and death. Like the horse, he followed his nose.

Categories
Fiction

This is not that story.

An introduction to Waverly’s Tale, part 3

The next part of this story is difficult to tell. It contains the strangeness that occurs when we retreat into personal cocoons and long to outgrow them. Heroines often have a space of time redacted from their history. We tend to avoid talking about how little girls become women, how common becomes uncommon. How truths become fiction. Goldman cuts this part from Buttercup’s story. He does it with the phrase, “What with one thing or another, three years passed.” Like Buttercup, we learned a lot. Though our education could be described as nothing more than intense drudgery with a side of general, Gen-x angst. We’re going to skip it.

What with one thing or another, two years passed…

Categories
Fiction

This is not that story

An Introduction to Waverly’s Tale, continued.

A lot happens to a kid in the 2190 days between 12 and 18. The once little girls who wove a self-styled cocoon of acceptance around each other, emerged as full-fledged pre-teens. This is a dangerous and difficult time for women. We’re fragile, yet flexible, eager to find the limits of our malleability. Our bodies expand and lengthen at alarming and completely random rates. We gain knowledge with a terrible cost; life is pain. Our internal organs declare war on comfort. The first battles of womanhood rage within us. We turn on those closest to us. Especially our parents. (Sorry, parents.) They knew this would happen. Every month? FOREVER!? It was inconceivable! It remains total bullshit. (Sorry, kids.) We learn to weaponize our self doubt and throw daggers of insecurity with surprising accuracy. We toughen our own skin and fabricate our first set of emotional armor. Bonnie was challenged by cherubic curves, all at once. She spent her days in agony as her spine took its time lengthening. I was challenged by sharp edges and stagnation. I spent my days honing acerbic wit and sarcasm. At night, I remained small and in the shadows of becoming but not quite.

Categories
Fiction

This is not that story

An introduction to Waverly’s Tale.

This is not a sequel to The Princess Bride. For years, I thought it would be. Maybe for years I hoped it would be. I spent a long time searching for answers. Who kills Humperdink? Does Inigo become the Dread Pirate Roberts? What happens to Fezzik? Is True Love really that terrible? (Spoiler: It is.) Why did you read this? Stay with me. Yes, it is a story about a lost Princess, a Pirate, of Friendship and True Love. Yes, there are giants and witches and miracle men and evil Princes. It is a story of how love change us. It is a story of Princesses and of Brides but it is not Morgenstern, nor Goldman. This story started with them. So, it is with The Princess Bride, the book and my obsession with it, that we will begin.

Categories
Fiction

Aboard the Revenge

Wherein past and future arrive at the present. Masks are exchanged and brothers are reunited.

The Revenge made way quickly. The eerie wailing fading behind them did not fade quickly enough. For days, the men aboard would have an echo of it seize them. Only one serious injury resulted when a sailor fell from the rigging trying to cover his ears even though there was nothing but silence and sea on the wind. Mostly it would raise goose flesh and cause an involuntary shudder. At least there would be no positive gossip to lead others to One Tree.

Categories
Fiction

Letting go and Holding on

The sea was calm but the ship was heavy and it’s passage threw waves and spray with exceptional force. There was a shadow behind it, but it was not the ship’s own. It was not yet dawn and the moon was new. There was no light to cast the ship’s shadow, but there was a shadow none the less. It kept pace with the vessel, occasionally causing a whitecap of it’s own. A lithe creature moved through the rigging. Barely visible. A liquid drop of ink hiding behind letters. It glided over masts, slipped down ropes, through partially filled sails. In the pre-dawn mist, it tricked the eye into doubting. Was it there? Liquid black dropped to the rail of the ship, silent and smooth, then it was gone. Over the edge to towards the shadow in the water.

Categories
Fiction

For the Horde: Law & Order

03: Law&Order

I have watched all 456 episodes of Law&Order several times. Most of them while working out or cooking. From “these are their stories” to arraignment is on average 22 minutes, the perfect amount of time to spend on an elliptical machine. Arraignment to post-trail re-cap is another 22 minutes or three sets of body weight exercises. If you’re motivated, you power through a fourth set as Jack gets on the elevator. (Or is forced to ride alone because the ADA is pissed.) You can prep and rest a full recipe of pita bread from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw (New York, Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1997) during a Law&Order episode. If you’re watching it on TV with commercials, you will over-proof the loaves but they cook perfectly between commercial breaks.

Categories
Fiction

For the Horde: End Times

02: End Times

I wish I could remember what I did that caused my Nana to smerk and pronounce, “You’ll be the cause of the End Times, child.” What ever it was, she enjoyed it. Perhaps this is why I have never feared the End Times. Maybe it is why I am determined to laugh through them. Anything to make Nana smile. Nana was not the only person to predict my dark destiny. I was told so often that my actions would bring about the apocalypse it became inevitable. You know when you say a word over and over until it loses all meaning? You wear out the concept of it in your mind. I took the stretched out, shapeless concept and wrapped it around me like a comfortable hug from my Nana.