You Must Tarry

By: Jerome Brooke

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“You are most fair, Lady. Your hair is dark, like unto the raven wing,” I said.

The woman in the stream smiled, and turned to face me. She did not seem to have either shame, or fear of me. “Good Sir, you come upon me unaware. You wear mail, like a warrior, but your face is sweet and gentle.”

The woman stepped a few paces toward the rocks of the bank. She was a woman of middle years, and her face was deeply lined. The call of a bird sounded from the dark glen, as if the creature of the sky sought to have me gaze upon him. “Fret not on the discordant song of the bird. I knew him well, but now he flees from me,” said the dark woman.

“I am called the Scarlet Knight. I am in the service of the Queen. I have been sent by my Lady to ride to the shore. I have been commanded there to assist the lords of the coast, and to seek out the robber bands that harry the people who there do dwell.”

“Then your journey is long, and the sun nears the horizon. Tarry with me for a time. I will sing a sweet melody for you. You may taste of my wine, and you may leave early on the morn,” quoth the Lady of the Stream. She stepped from the pool, and opened a reed basket. She took from it a bottle filled with a light blue vintage. She drank from the bottle, and then did hold it out to me.

I dismounted from my horse, and did take the wine offered by the Lady. I took a sip of the wine – then looked once more upon the woman. She seemed to shimmer a little in the air, like a mirage on the horizon – seen in the deserts of the Saracen. I began to feel in need of sleep.

The Lady placed her hand upon my chest. “I am the Lady of the Glen. My dwelling does lie near, Sir Knight. Come with me, you may lay your head upon my lap, while to you I do sing. You may bide with me for the night, and taste of my many wines. Indeed, why leave so soon? You may stay the morrow, and prove to me that you fear not a lady like me,” urged the Lady of the Mirage.

A fine rain began to fall, and thunder sounded in the distance. I was taken aback to hear the thunder, since the sky had been clear. The storm was sudden, and unexpected.

The woman drew me close, and did to my neck give a gentle bite. I placed my hand upon her bare waist, and began to stroke her soft skin.

“I should not tarry long, Lady. I am a loyal knight of the Queen,” I said.

The Lady gave a gentle laugh. My neck, wherein the lady had sank her fangs, began to sting. I felt even more a need to rest for a short time. The Lady of the Glen placed her arm round my waist, and gently led me toward her hut in the dark forest.

“You are a strong knight. I am only a woman in your power, a woman you need not fear. Come, I will sing to you, and you may seek with your lips the sweet milk of my bosom. You must tarry here for a time, and fill me with your power. I am only a gentle woman. You have come upon me unaware!”

In the distance, there was another forlorn cry from the bird.

 

The End

Jerome Brooke

TWoM

Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana.  He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is married to Jira, a Princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has written The City of the Mirage (Book to Go Now), Mirage and Selected Poems, and Myth of the Eternal Return (Amazon).

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