Chapter 14. I tell my story.
Once upon a time, not in an Ancient Age, but in our own, stories were built upon stories, and each story was something like and something apart from all others. And none could remember or discern which was which. Such were the stories of Meganna the Enchantress and Farquill the Lame — as Elf and Goblin, as Air and Fire, as Venus and Vulcan, as Lady Gwaine and Chief Twixt.
“Acceptable so far,” said Lady Gwaine.
“I could vastly improve this story,” said my sword.
Seduced by the subtlety of Farquill’s art, Meganna at last agreed to wed the Master Craftsman, but she remained aloof and coy until Farquill, in a fit of rage and passion, forced her to his bed. From this single union, a child was conceived. Meganna favored this child far above her husband and, as was her practice, gave this child to her Faeries to hold and protect.
But the Faeries of Meganna were jealous of their Mistress’ child. For was it not they who searched endlessly among the first cries of newborns? Was it not they who selected the most talented and lovely? Was it not they who Meganna commanded and rewarded for all children stolen and all changelings delivered?
“This story grows increasingly foreboding,” said Lady Gwaine.
“Not enough fighting,” said my sword.
One among these Faeries, both weakest and most clever, was the wingless and crippled creature that Farquill had made Goblin. This false Faerie, this first Goblin, noted the mood of its brothers, and the deception of its Mistress, and the passion of its Master. It noted the truth – and the falseness – of all things.
And, based on information available, the Goblin killed Meganna’s child.
But the child did not die.
The child’s body was dissolved into the wet leaves and dry moss of the Great Forest. There, in quiet and solitude, the smallest creatures of the forest, in respect and deference to the Enchantress who had revealed in art their life, and in tribute and loyalty to the Engineer who had designed in form their spirit, created a new body for the lost child of Farquill the Lame and Meganna the Enchantress.
This new child’s body was gnats and lice, fleas and ticks, the tiniest and simplest of all things that hovered and swirled and collapsed and expanded in the boundary between what is and what is not.
“The Banshee,” said Lady Gwaine.
“Still not enough fighting,” said my sword.
This Banshee, remembering little prior to its transformation, was pleased by its new body and held no anger towards any who had provided it. Imbued with the eyes of its mother and the hands of its father, the Banshee roamed freely, without care or concern, and soon moved beyond knowledge and control.
Meganna was sorely vexed to lose her child and was convinced that Farquill, in league with the Goblin, had stolen it from her. In response, Meganna mounted a great Faerie army to destroy the forges of her husband.
Farquill was enraged to learn the fate of his child and blamed this fate on the false and duplicitous nature of Meganna. Working in the fever of rage, Farquill built a vast army of his own: sullenly resolute golems, with the first Goblin as their General, to resist and repulse Meganna’s attack on his workplace.
Lady Gwaine interrupted and motioned for me to stop the telling of this story.
She commanded her attendants to bring her the Beautiful Sword, the Sword of Severence, the Light of Elves, from the tent behind her. She laid this sword unsheathed on her lap. Her hawk came to rest on the hilt of this sword, and the Elf archers and warriors around her tightened their cordon, with me at its center.
“I like this story much better now,” said my sword.
“I am not finished,” I said.
Lady Gwaine motioned for me to continue.
“But take heed,” said Lady Gwaine.
The golems and the Goblin and the many artifacts of attack and defense that Farquill had constructed buried themselves, like hard-shelled locusts, in the grounds and fields. There, inert and silent, they waited for Meganna’s Faerie army to advance above them. And then these weapons, living and non-living, rose, like plague, in ambush.
“No more!” said Lady Gwaine.
The sorceress rose from her chair, startling her hawk to flight. She held the Sword of Light in both hands, its tip resting against the thick soot and ash of the burned forest floor.
“I have heard stories that Farqhill the Lame himself crafted the Ugly Sword, the Sword of Severity, the Bane of Goblins, from his flesh and spirit. I have heard that the Ugly Sword can be wielded by none other than who Farquill has chosen as his champion. Is this the sword you wield, Chief Twixt?”
“I have no story to tell of this.”
“And the ring?” asked Lady Gwaine. “What does your story say of your ring?”
I slipped the ring from my finger and tossed it high.
There, in the air above us, the ring shimmered and became as it had always been, the First Goblin, a fatally crippled Faerie, with the ability to see the truth – and the falseness — in all but itself.
“What service would you have me perform, Master?” said this Goblin.
“Goblins serve no Master,” I said. “We destroy that which would claim us.”
“Finally,” said my sword.
Goblins and golems of all sorts and sizes, counted and uncountable, living and non-living, with scarred faces and broken bodies and crippled legs, rose like hard-shelled locusts from the ashy loam where they had lain, like plague, hidden.
Orphans fell upon fathers and sons; waifs fell upon nephews and cousins.
I took three paces towards Lady Gwaine.
Elf arrows stopped me from going further, but the Ugly Sword, its momentum unchecked, sped onward.
Is the value of your life revealed at the moment of death? Is the ending of your story read aloud for you to hear?
From what I have observed, based on the information available, there is only the denial of all subsequent revelations.