Today’s blog comes from the pen of Maree Ward Russell, with poetic prose from myself, and is taken from the forthcoming novel, Lion Hearts. Click here for the Lion Hearts fan page.
Elsewhere was first mentioned in my essay, “Elsewhere” Found Here
Merek could only sit and try to drift away from the pain. The bruising throbbed deep at his side where the mail had bit at his flesh, as his foe thrust down upon him in that instant. He had turned just in time. His arm was true. He hit the ground back first, the grass now a sea of ruby, awash with the mortally injured and the dead.
His blade had sunk with ease upward into the throat of the faceless stranger who collapsed on top of him before he gasped his final agonizing breath. But his own fate had not been sealed in the moment of desperation and he had fought gallantly against the tide of oppression and the urge to simply fade away.
The pungent smells of Myrrh and Achillea swam dizzyingly around his head. He ignored the pulling and pressing as those ministering to him removed his mail. Stripped bare of his bloodied trappings he flopped back onto the hide he lay upon and closed his eyes, allowing sleep to lure him away. The sounds of battle cry and torment soon became lost. Before him, lights of wonder; cascading blue with wisps of white began to float soothingly in front of his eyes. He blinked slowly. A deep sense of calm filled him.
In his mind’s eye, he looked and was surprised to see a row of golden oaks shimmering midst a carpet of lush velvet meadow and a woman beckoning to him from the other side. Her distance made her only vaguely familiar, until like the dawning a fresh new horizon she smiled. Her face was a gift that could only be born of angels and leaving his battle worn body behind, he hastened to her with his heart lifting with renewed energy and light. She ran lithely into his open arms.
“My Lilly,” Merek breathed.
She looked up at him and smiled once more. Her soft hand cupped his cheek and it quieted him.
“I felt your need my Knight and I came,” she whispered softly.
“Thank you my Princess for this time my need was great.”
“I felt it Merek. I always know,” she looked upon him gravely.
Merek closed his eyes and kissed her forehead tenderly, lingering long enough to feel the delicacy of her skin. She spoke in earnest. “My burning heart comes with the desire of a soul to melt and be as one. Where your shadows cross you shall find me. Where pain of weary battle reigns, you shall feel me. Walk away from the passage of solitude and move toward my light. I am your keeper that brings a love so mighty that heaven shall be our door. Call me whenever you have the need.”
Merek stood back and ran his fingers through the length of Lilly’s golden hair. A softness of touch that would equal all the silk that nature surly provides.
“If only I could stay lost in your arms forever my Lilly. A man could not die a happier death than tied by my soul to you. A half of the whole, as bodies entwined; more pleasure, than one God could provide. But alas; by darkness kept, the press of skirmish comes – but I see only the light. As noble thoughts and charge with honor, I fight in crusade, not of cup but for your heart.”
“You are as noble as you are brave. Never a man shall exist that shall covet my heart with such admiration and devotion as you. You are so much more than I deserve, which is why I pledge such promises that by blood and sword I shall keep. To always come to you in your time of need. You shall only have to close your eyes and you shall be elsewhere in that instant and tied body heart and soul unto me. You are my breath; you are my heart, my love for all time, in this life and any life beyond.”
It was as if time itself had stood still. Not the flutter of leaf or whisper of breeze could be felt below the shimmering love of the oaks. Merek had found salvation in his dreams. The ministering of hope and love had come in the speed of time when his heart had almost lost its battle.
“Merek; always stay close to my light. There and only there shall you find me, lost a midst stars and devoid of reason, we are forever fused as one.”
He allowed the music of her tone wash through him, as the tides of ardent longing began to stir. It served its purpose. His strength was returning. He gazed down into Lilly’s eyes and knew there was a reason for this madness. Above everything else there was her. He leaned down and kissed her softly, but found to his dismay, she wasn’t there. He looked around in desperation and noted the timeless meadow was fading, with only a hint of her voice on the wind.
“I am with you my Knight – now and always,” it sang.
Merek woke with a start. All around him the makeshift camp bustled with the injured and the weary and those who were charged with their care. The horses stomped restlessly close by, still steaming and drenched in sweat and the blood of their riders. The skies overhead were almost dark.
“Can I get you anything else my liege?” A young boy, no older than fourteen stood in front of him. He was dirty faced and dressed in worn clothing, carrying dry bread and water. He offered it to the Knight with a stiff bow.
“No – thank you,” Merek answered in a daze. “No, wait! Parchment. Bring me parchment and a quill.” The boy hastened off and returned quickly offering his Knight what he needed.
Merek took the paper and dipped his quill that had barely enough ink in ration and wrote. As he did, he looked toward the sky and spoke to himself.
“I understand Lilly,”
With that Merek gave a full account of his time away, with renewed strength and vigor and in the firm knowledge that Lilly was intertwined in his fate.
My Dearest Lilly,
As come battle while gone the light – for tomorrow may end in flame.
Gone the destitution and slow march as made by shadow, I am taken from the clemency of your smile and delivered at journey’s edge. In mire and kaolin, bridged by torch and haunted by utterance of death – we breathe.
While Erebus consumes, your light holds me in smile. There is no darkness in your presence and my heart feels you near. In clutch of slumber as enervation given to flesh, let evenfall embrace me and take me to your side!
It shall be that we will meet once more, between the shades and elsewhere – away from the bicker of hammer and absent of all fear. Again to be lost to summer gaze as wells from the truest care.
In touch of souls, as spirits dance, come tears as washed and two hearts bursting. By breath of silver and burning flame, my lady comes in blaze. Wish not now of waking thought, but be given to tender dreams.
Come breathless days and endless skies, new light, in touch as one. Where tenebrous fields did laden fall, aglow their acres fold. Gone now, the misery of passage, in end to absence and pain of solitude from love.
With fortitude and without shadow of doubt, may gallantry reign above weakness! Let innocence be spared the nature of fools, for war is plain in fight of dreams.
In custody of my soul, you are the keeper and I shall always be yours.
You are the half of my whole and I am one. You are the glory of the beginning and the wonder of time passing. You are the hope of tomorrow and on to forever and beyond by one day. As come battle with newest light – today may end, but our love shall linger.
Love Always – Your Knight.
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