Friday, March 14, 2014

Chapter Seven: Beacons

Chapter Seven


Though the friendship of the pauper and Alythia is casual, the former held it dear and special in his heart. He feared that one day she will shun him, as if he is a leper or its sort, for he is growing in his resolve to court the apple of his eyes.

He knew that he needs exacting guidance. The Great Master had been there all along to aid him. He read in the Book of Promises and Ordinances that “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of beacons there is victory.”

“Abundance of beacons? But where would I find them? How will I know that they are worthy of such stature?” The pauper prayerfully asked.

“I am faithful, my child. You know that. Do not be anxious. It will not add an hour to your lifespan. Hush your heart. The inner guidance will impress things that you do not know. Be still and be sure to hear and trust my still, small voice. I promise you, I am with you each step of the way.” These were the assuring words of the Great Master to him.

He observed the princess and her companion. He assessed his own fellows. He realized that they have common friends that they are both intimate with.

There is Lady Edisia. She was one of the former stewards in Shin Manor. But she was called by the Master for a special purpose and she needs to equip herself in academe of Shin Manor. She is renowned for her prayerfulness. There were occasions that the pauper gleans wisdom from this lady and he observed that she belongs in the princess’ circle of friends.

“Lady Edisia, how are you today? I have something to confide to you. You see, I have been Princess Alythia’s admirer since she came here in Excelion and I have reached certitude that want to pursue her.” Said the pauper.

“What noble desire, sir! She is a great prize. I say, hold your horses. Do not hasten courtship. Know her more. I tell you, you must saturate her with prayers. It is a good thing to love but I admonish you also to prepare your heart for the pain it will bring.” Lady Edisia counseled him.

He then went to the Elder Kannon and his wife Iem. They are zesty and vigorous even in their old age. They are not really perfect in wisdom but they are extremely zealous in offering sacrifices of prayer. It could be said that they are the bastions of prayer in Excelion.

They have longed prayed that the pauper will one day find his match. They have a high regard for him. They say that he is industrious and brilliant. There was one occasion that Lady Iem said that if only she had a daughter she would definitely approve the thought of her child marrying the pauper.

And they were very excited to learn that the pauper finally gave in to love. They said that he made a fine choice with the princess. She is dedicated to the Master and she seems to be nice to everyone. They promised him that they will always pray for him.

He also wrote his newly wedded friend Craolh in the province of Balpine Shire. He shared his heart regarding his growing affection for Alythia. He told him how he trembled besides her like a school boy growing pale in front of his crush.

Craolh wrote back. “You are in love. I’m excited for you, my friend. I remember when I was in your shoes. Take comfort in knowing that you will be in my prayers. Determine the appropriate time to tell her that you love her.”

He also wrote his Acropetros friend, Rhia. He informed her that he is dropping his romantic interest for Kohara. And he finally came to an informed decision to pursue the princess of Charisleb.

“I appreciate you for not taking any further steps than what you were really sure of taking at that point. You serve Kohara well as a sister and friend. Now I strongly challenge you to determine that may your new pursuit be based on the exhortation of the Book of Promises and Ordinances that says, ‘May your love abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Immanuel.’” Rhia wrote to the pauper.

He went to a few more beacons. Some of them told him to hasten the day and tell the princess that he loves her. Others have restrained him and told him to wait still.

He acknowledged the wisdom in all their words. But he is caught in the middle. He both wanted to wait and to propose courtship.

Sleepless nights. Thinking of her seemed to be breathing itself. Wandering mind. Running out of breath. Indications of his being in love but will prove less of a true, committed love. These manifestations were based on emotions that wane and soar.

He sought two more ladies in the Excelion. The first is Lady Thea. Lady Thea is the gentle lady who serves the Royal Magistrate of Excelion. She has been a foster mother to many of the youth in Shin Manor. And she has been his friend since he came to the city. He knew that Alythia treats her as mother too.

The pauper made an appointment with her. He recounted his story of how he grew in his interest with the princess. Lady Thea, realizing the sincerity of his yearning heart, and his aspiration for guidance, tugged him to the corner of her office and gestured to pray for him. It is her custom not to wait for a prayer concern.

The prayer of the lady brought soothing relief to his bewildered soul. Tears flowed to his cheeks as Lady Thea poured her heart in praying for the pauper.

After the prayer, the pauper realized how he lacked in faith in the ability of the Master to help him. He went to the Holy Chamber and sought the audience of the Great Master. He confessed his offense to him. He committed his heart and longing to the Master’s feet and vowed to trust him, whatever it takes.

Xalie was the second lady he sought. She was the closest friend of Alythia among the commoners. The pauper does not have any acquaintance with Xalie. But the urging of the inner guidance is so strong to consult her. The urge started when he saw upon the colonnade of Excelion the portrait of Alythia and Xalie. There was something in the picture that indicates a deeper meaning to their relationship.

Xalie worked in the Chambers of Annals before but she left to pursue a profession in Herald Shire. She paid Excelion a visit when it had a fair. The pauper grabbed the opportunity to inquire about Alythia. Xalie said that she loves the princess so much and admires her for her love for the Great Master and his cause. The pauper asked if the princess would entertain the possibility of courtship. She said that it would be better to wait for the right timing and the conviction of the Master. Thus the pauper decided to wait.

To be continued…

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chapter Six: A Sick Princess and Contenders for Her Heart

Chapter Six

A Sick Princess and Contenders for Her Heart

He gripped his mug of hot malt in the coldness of the morning. The pauper woke up early disturbed by the dream he had. He dreamt of Alythia and the man with her. It has an appearance of a royalty, and he surmised that it is her father. The pauper asked if it is indeed her father. Realizing that she has not introduced the pauper to his father, he readily acquainted the former, Lord Demas, to the latter. It appeared true but it was surreal.

He readied himself and set out for work. Some of his fellow laborers greeted him upon seeing him. They observed that there is something special in him these past weeks that makes his countenance glow. Some inferred that he is in love, and they teased him. He burst in laughter. One of their fellows, Kinsley, a servant commissioned from Shin Manor, was not aware that the pauper is planning to woo Alythia.

He is quite close to the princess and he mentioned that there are young men he knew who are also planning to woo her. Kinsley also said to the pauper that he will have a hard time pursuing the princess because she came from Charisleb. It is well known that their people do not intermarry with citizens from another kingdom.

These things troubled the pauper. Small comfort from a fellow he thought would give him the best encouragement. This caused the pauper to be distressed almost all throughout the day. He tried to focus his thoughts in his work but he often caught himself thinking of Alythia.

It was midday already when he saw the princess. She pointed her fingers to her throat and nose. He did not understand the gesture she made. So she beckoned him to go nearer. The pauper promptly obeyed and went to her direction. “I am sick, sir.” She whispered. “I can’t speak well because my voice had become hoarse.”

She appeared exhausted. “I will just eat in Potsherd Tavern and then I’ll go home to rest.” She told the pauper.

He went to the Chamber of Annals to know the latest reports from the herald. But he was not concentrating on the reports. He is anxious of the princess’ health. He went out of the Chamber of Annals and went to the tavern and asked if he could bring her home because he would pass by their villa on his way to the trade fair. He said that he needs to acquire some tools there. Alythia agreed.

The princess was too weak. The pauper strained his mind because he doesn’t own a carriage. He could have brought the princess speedily to their villa but they would have to walk to the main thoroughfare to get a common carriage. They were walking under the heat of the scorching sun when the Royal Carriage of Shin Manor passed by.

It stopped. A familiar face went out of the carriage’s window. It was Alfric Horus.

“Where are you going, my lady Alythia?” Alfric shouted.

Alythia managed to raise her voice and told him she’s going home.

“I’m sorry but we are going the other way, maybe next time.” Alfric yelled back. And he went inside and the Royal Carriage went its way.

The pauper cannot understand why but he was quite jealous of Alfric. He became suspicious of Alfric. He was reminded of Kinsley’s remark. He dismissed the thought and alerted himself on getting a common carriage. He wanted to ease the discomfort that the princess is feeling by at least giving her a comfortable ride.

A few more minutes and a carriage came their way. He beckoned it.

On their way to the villa, he admonished the princess to rest well. They reached the villa.

“I really appreciate your concern and your willingness to bring me home with a carriage.” Then the princess quickly went down.

The pauper went straight to the trade fair quite happy that he was able to serve the princess.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chapter Five: The Anniversary

Chapter Five

The Anniversary

The pauper learned of Alythia’s anniversary in one of their discussions a month’s time in the past. He taught of arranging a surprise. He wanted the princess to feel really special. There are other people that could be preparing something but he was not deterred by the possibility that his efforts could be kept back.

The pauper just finished attending an assembly of commoners when he passed by the hallway of the Chamber of Annals. It was the eve of the princess’ anniversary. She appeared cheerless, while holding an archive. He wasn’t expecting to see Alythia in this manner, for he was intending to present a proposal.

He felt awkward but he has to try. He mustered all his courage and strived to remain calm.

“My lady, you look so sad.” Said the pauper, who is still unconfident. “Oh, I’m sorry. Do I look miserable?” The princess responded and tried to smile.

“Do you have something before you for your anniversary?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“Do you think your friends have something in store for you?”

“I’m not really sure about that.” And she continued with her reading.

“This could be my chance.” He thought. Attempting to utter what he intended to say and not to waste time, he tried to invite the princess to dine with him. Alythia seemed apprehensive at first but the pauper pleaded.

“Please, my lady, you won’t have to bother about spending a single cent.”

“Hmmm... okay, I’ll go with you tomorrow then.”

The pauper left the princess and glanced her smiling at him. He returned to work elated with his fortune. His heart thumped thrice as fast than normal. He felt like walking in fluffy clouds. He is in a daze. He wanted to shout. He wanted to jump. But he tried to keep the thrill inside him.

He was all too grateful to the Great Master. He was jumping in front of the Holy Chambers, still ecstatic just thinking of spending time with Alythia. Then he snapped to a realization that he needs to think how the dinner should go. They are not that intimate of acquaintance to dine exclusively.

“My Master,” he prayed, “I want to be alone with her so that we could converse better and know her well. But it seems to be out of place. There has to be a companion. But who will I take with us? It has to be someone we are comfortable with and someone that could help facilitate a good exchange of words and ideas.”

It is her anniversary already. Even though the princess agreed to dine with the pauper, he was still uncertain and unconfident that the dinner would be realized. But even so, he tried to appear well-groomed. He was ready to whatever will happen.

He saw Alythia unusually beautiful. She was wearing a nice flowing dress. It accentuated her simplicity. He greeted her and she smiled and thanked him in return. He wanted to say how beautiful she was but he stammered. He was enthralled.

It was almost supper. He has to ask the princess to confirm the appointment.

“Uhm... my lady, I... I just want to ask if we will still push on with our dinner.”

Alythia’s countenance suggested that it won’t. But without delay, she invited the pauper to join her and her friends. They would go to the traveling fair of Trycitus. She said that there are various sights to see. There are notable entertainments also. And there is an abundance of delicacies that will satisfy their gastronomic desires.

The pauper’s heart sank but he is not altogether sad. If he would join the princess and her company, he would be safe from any suggestions that he has a particular interest with the princess. But he felt that he’ll be a stranger in the group. Though one of her friends, Freia, is familiar to him because they both came from Acropetros, they really don’t have a good acquaintance with one another.

The group headed to the fair first. The pauper trailed. He struggled. He wanted to go home instead but he is reminded of the firmness of the princess’ invitation. He does not want to fail a royalty, especially someone he esteems so highly.

He reached the fair and tried to locate the group of the princess. It was not that difficult to find them. He was readily welcomed by a warm smile from the celebrant. There were other young men who joined, including Wahrin. Alythia was a fine hostess. The pauper was treated as one of them because of her hospitality.

Alythia’s friends had several commitments to attend. She was left with the pauper. The pauper wanted to leave also but it would be uncaring to the princess. Besides, this was opportune time to have a privy moment with Alythia. They rode a common carriage towards home. The pauper brought her to her lodge. He was astonished how grandiose it appears. They bid each other goodbyes. And he left.

The pauper was in a daze until he reached his humble abode. He is thankful and prayerful.