Friday, January 18, 2013

Winged With Fire (Part 2)

          Philania walked wearily through the castle grounds, her bony face and hands were dirty and cold. Her clothes were ragged with big gaping holes; her shoes were broken and too small for her feet, her toes broke through the nose of her left shoe and the right shoe was strapped on with a strip of clothe torn from her dress. She was picking through the rubbish of the castle dwellers, searching for anything edible, when she smelled lamb being roasted over a fire, her empty stomach gave a loud moan, she looked and saw ahead of her a market place, hoping perhaps someone would take pity on her there.
          In the market she wandered from shop to shop, looking at all the food, her eyes wide and her mouth moist with saliva. She licked her lips at the vegetables, breads, and meats. Her hands reached for a loaf of bread, when she realized that the shop keeper was peering at her with raven eyes, she quickly withdrew them. She wandered on still, she tried to ignore the hunger groans from her stomach, she tried to focus on walking, but she couldn’t, she thought back to the events that happened a week before.
Her mother had been yelling at her to wake, half asleep she obeyed, she listened to her mother telling her that her father had been found in the river, dead, after getting drunk at the local tavern (as usual) he had staggered home, only he didn’t make it, instead he fell into the river and drowned.  Her mother was telling her that she could barely afford to keep the little ones, so Philania would have to go to the streets.
          Philania was overcome with anger and misery that she wasn’t paying attention to the slippery mud below her; she fell and hit the mud hard, she was covered all over with gushing mud that was cold, she was distraught and in pain, she broke down and wept, for this was all she had strength left to do. She was overwhelmed with tears, her vision was distorted between the tears and mud in her eyes, but she knew that no one cared. Then she felt a hand wipe the dirt from her eyes. She looked up and saw the kind face before her, it was young man of about twenty, with raven black hair, dark thick eye brows; his jaw was a triangular shape with dark whiskers. His eyes were a stunning blue, like a light piercing through darkness. He had a sweet smile that curved at one side of his mouth. He spoke gently to her as he lifted her to her feet,
           “It’s gonna be okay, are you hurt?”  
          Shaking with fear of this stranger and from the pain of her fall, she weakly replied, “No sir, not exactly, but I don’t feel well, in fact I feel like I might be sick.”
          With that she vomited on his shoes, and then started crying again, not just because she ruined his shoes, but because she expected him to throw her back to the mud, however, to her surprise, he did not.
          “Don’t cry, and don’t worry about my shoes, I should thank you actually, I have been wanting to get rid of these shoes for a while. Come sit down little one and I’ll buy you something to eat.”  He sat her down on a bench and ordered a shop owner to bring her food.
          “My name is Quinlin, what’s your name and how old are you?”
          Philania hesitated, she was still overwhelmed with everything that had just happened, who was this strange and kind man? Then she said,
           “My name is Philania, I am twelve, how old are you?”
At that Quinlin laughed, his blue eyes lit up with such beauty Philania couldn’t help but stare at them, then they darkened with sadness.
          “I am twenty-one. And twelve you say? You look only to be eight or nine. You haven’t eaten in a while have you?”
          “I probably will never be able to repay you for this kindness sir, but I thank you so much and I will be praying that the God above will bless you, bur I really must be going...” She started to leave, when he caught her arm and motioned her to sit back down.
          “Consider this me repaying you for helping me get rid of my shoes.” He winked.  “Now please, tell me your story.” Obediently Philania did.

* * * * * *

          A few weeks later Philania returned to the spot where Quinlin had told her he would wait for her every Sunday afternoon. When she turned a corner in the market place, she spotted him and ran to him with a big smile and hugged him tightly. Quinlin had managed to get her a job working for the Queen, after a week the Queen fell in love with her that decided to make Philania her ward. The Queen made sure that Philania was healthy, plump, and happy in three weeks.
           “How are you dear? Quin asked her as he gently stroked her cheek. “Is there anything else you need?”
         “Sir you do not need to give me anything, thanks to you I am now being very well cared for by the queen!” She replied.
          “I am glad, it gives me great joy to see you flourishing and so happy. However, you are a young lady and all ladies desire something…so there must be one thing you want…name anything.” Quin said.
          “Well, if you are adamant about this, there is one thing…”  She said sheepishly.
          “Alright what is it?” He asked.
          “Will you swear that on my eighteenth birthday…that you will ask for my hand in marriage? And until that day, you will save yourself for me?” She said in a quiet little voice.
          Quinlin stared at her for a long moment with an odd sort of look on his face; then the corner of his mouth curved into a grin and he laughed. Nodding his head a little he said, “You amuse me, but let me ask you this though, why do you want this?” When he asked that, there was sweetness and seriousness in his eyes.
          “You are an honorable man, full of gentleness and kindness, you are also honest. I trust that you will keep your word. I want to be a wise woman and I know that a man with your character is hard to find. I also know that when I become a lady of the court it will be wise to marry someone of equal or greater status, the same goes for you. You also deserve an honest wife, who is wise and merciful, who will love, honor, and respect you. And in all humbleness, I believe that I am and will be that woman. I believe that it is a wise decision…for both of us.” She said.
He chuckled, more amused than ever,
          “I see you have really thought this through, you have humbled me with your courage and wisdom, especially at such a young age. I accept, I swear to you this day that I will save myself for you and you only. I will wait for you until your eighteenth birthday.” With that he kissed her on the hand.

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