Ariadne's Story

photo credit: Claudio.Ar via photopin cc

The fire is fading. Light still flickered around him softening the ancient features of a face recently twisted in anger, the softness, only illusion.

His words still echo, “Ariadne, you will! It is your duty!”  
She answered softly, “I am too young and I don’t love him.”

“That is of no consequence,” he thundered!

“Yes, Grandfather,” whispering as she retreated into the shadows.

Ariadne did not choose this path; it was a consequence of life, thrust upon her by her birth and sex.

Entering her chamber, she walked to the corner cabinet withdrawing a small chest belonging to her mother. These things should have come to Ariadne by inheritance; however, she took them by stealth. Grandfather had her mother’s chambers sealed after her parent’s mysterious deaths. Ariadne had carefully forced the seal; removed the chest and replaced the seal. The door would not survive close inspection, but the servants, and her grandfather never go to that part of the castle, out of some unknown fear. A fear that Ariadne thought she now understood.

Over the months, she studied the contents of the chest. Ariadne discovered that her mother came from a family of powerful enchantresses. She wondered at the meaning this could have to her troubled life. Since her appeals to Grandfather fell on deaf ears she must now try something different. She selected the small volume inside. Opening it she read the instructions written in her mother’s delicate hand.
Muddy water makes a potion
With which I cause stop to
Beauty’s motion. The One
Who looks upon this soul.
See always ugliness and
Lost devotion!

Count Jovan, my granddaughter."
“My Lord,” she curtseyed deeply, then lifted her head. “I am honored by your proposal.”
Count Jovan gasped, backing away in horror. “Excellency, we must speak in private!”

Later, the court murmured at Jovan declining the hand of the Lady Ariadne. Grandfather blind with anger, thought the Count, "quite mad, "
"Ariadne is many things, but not ugly." He must look elsewhere to make an advantageous match for himself, with the girl.
Ariadne accepted the bowl of warm, perfumed water from her attendant. Carefully dabbing the potion from her face, she spoke the magical words written by her mama. Smiling at her face in the mirror, she is assured of a new pathway. She whispered, “Thank you Mother. I will study hard.”


July 1st, 2010 by Ed Grabianowski Robot Viking

She is watched constantly and never allowed to wander, since the guards noted the broken seal on Mama’s former chambers. They reported to the Duke, her grandfather, that nothing appeared to be disturbed. So the secrets of the chest are still hers.

Ariadne lived a marvelous life in Oberan, before these awful times. Growing up she rarely saw the old man. Her life revolved around Mama and Papa’s rooms, courtyard and a tiny bewitching copse of trees, surrounding a grassy hillock forming a small hidden maze. Here, she romped and played.

Mama was beautiful and vibrant. Ariadne was often by her side as she spoke of mystery and magic. Papa was elegant, but somewhat distant. He was often away, as he attended to Grandfather’s business. She had a blissful and limitless childhood, protected from the intrigues of grandfather’s ducal estate.

As Ariadne entered pre-adolescence, Mama often became ill. More and more of her nurturing and education, left in the hands of her attendant Tilde. When she felt well, Mama still encouraged her imagination and cleverness. However, those days became rare as her health deteriorated.

Her mother died when Ariadne was almost thirteen, followed the next year by her father’s brutal murder, attacked on the road, returning from a mission for the Duke. Ariadne tried not to dwell on the despair she felt when Grandfather sealed up the door to her happy home, moving her into other rooms near his chamber. Now she sat on that same enchanted hillock of her childhood, looking over the herbs she collected today.

“Lady Ariadne, we must return to the castle before the duke asks for you,” whispered Tilde.

Ariadne answered her impatiently, “Tilde, the guard is by the trees and we are well protected by the spring. This is fine mucgwyrt, hand me the bag.” She tossed the root into the bag, inhaling its earthy fragrance.  "I will concoct the empowerment spell and elixir, tonight.

“My lady we must hurry, the guard!”

“Yes. Guard, we’re ready to return,” smiles Ariadne, bringing a sweet posy of violets to her nose. “Grandfather, mustn’t worry.”
                                       The Magic Spell

Magic Spell-Forever Arts
Feigning a headache; Ariadne sent regrets to Grandfather about missing the evening meal. Dismissing Tilde, she worked alone in her chamber, gathering the elements needed for her spell. The evening is warm, fearing that Grandfather’s allies and cronies might be about the courtyard below, she moved to close the window.

Birds and insects hummed at her window, waving them off she closed it to assure privacy. Taking her mother’s book from the chest, it opens right to the spell she will use. She scrutinized the directions one more time and begns. Pulverizing the violets and herbs in her mortar, she added a wine doctor to the compound, to make the elixir liquid. "I am ready to pronounce the spell,” she said, as she opened the chest. Lifting the silver chalice she placed it next to the mortar. Into this, she placed the mucgwyrt gathered earlier in the day. Holding the chalice high, she turned to each four quarters and chanted.

"Gaea, watch over me in this spell-working,

Empower me, with your protection

I draw on your strength and energy.

Gazing in her mirror, she placed the chalice before her and poured the elixir on the mucgwyrt. Holding the sacred candle to the mixture, Ariadne ignited the mixture, causing a crimson surge of flame to erupt from the chalice. A dense layer of smoke and vapor issued forth, instantly filling the room. Gasping for air, Ariadne fell to her knees sputtering the last words of the spell.

"To all essence, visible and invisible,

Now present in this ritual,

Depart in peace, with my thanks and blessings."

Ariadne closed the book and surveyed the chamber. The vapor is crystallized and appears as snow falling to the floor. Ariadne rose, hoping the spell was successful. As she opened her window, she heard an easy twittering of laughter coming from below. Warily looking for the source, she saw no one, only the insects and hummingbirds, fluttering merrily midst the fragrant jasmine and climbing roses. "How very odd," she murmured.


Ariadne awoke to Tilde shaking her vigorously. “Lady, lady, the Duke commands you to join him at court this morning, you must get up!

Still groggy from her efforts last evening, she gazed around her chamber, hoping for a sign of success. She saw that nothing had changed. Tilde was busy making preparations for her toilette. So Ariadne reluctantly arose to prepare for her day.
Walking to her balcony window she opened it, sunshine flooded the room. She stepped back as she realized there was a bustle of activity below. “Tilde, what is going on?

“I'm not sure; riders arrived in the night, and they have been closeted with the Duke, since,” she replied.

 Ariadne sat in her grandfather's ante room waiting to be called into his presence. The door opened and closed many times as servants and courtiers moved back and forth, but in preparation for what, she could not imagine. She had not seen such activity since the death of her father. Ariadne craned her neck to see past the opening and closing of the door. She was shocked to see some dark creature sitting at the duke's desk, “What is that,” she thought, blinking her eyes? When the door next opened, she looked again, expecting an answer. However, she saw only her grandfather, seated on the chair, presiding over the chaos. “I must be seeing and hearing things,” she thought, remembering the intangible laughter from the courtyard last night.

 “Bring in the girl,” she heard him order.

 She entered the room uneasily and bowed. “Grandfather, you wished to see me?” Amazed at the uproar around her, she questioned, “What is happening? “

 The duke had to juggle all the demands upon him and appeared angry. “Ariadne, we go to do battle with Themis. We will leave soon. You will stay here under the eye of the chamberlain. You must obey him as you would me.”

 “Grandfather, Why?” she whispered.

 “Silence," he thundered! “They are demanding you be returned to your mother’s family. That’s unsupportable. While I am gone, you will not leave the confines of your chamber or courtyard.”

 She quickly retreated, terrified by her impending confinement.

After Ariadne, left the room, the duke ordered everyone to leave except Count Reiner, the chamberlain. “Count, you will be responsible for the Lady Ariadne. No one is to attend her other than you and her maid Tilde, you will post a guard near her door at all times and information about this campaign is to be kept from her. She cannot be returned to her family in Themis.” “Excellency, I will do as you bid. May I ask why the family wants her return? She is after all, your grandchild and heir,” queried the chamberlain.

“Her mother was sent here many years ago, in a hostage exchange of sorcerers with Themis. It was to ensure the uneasy peace between our realms. The hostages were forbidden to use magic by the wizards of Megara, who brokered the peace.” The Duke continued. “I believed she enchanted my son into loving her, so that she could spy for Themis. I kept her in line by threatening the safety of the child. It was an uneasy alliance, made more difficult by the prohibitions of the wizards. With this ultimatum, the peace between Themis and Oberan is over.”  
“Do you intend to use sorcery,” asked the Chamberlin?
“I am the ruler of all I see,” he bellowed. “I will use anything necessary, even the child to prevail.”
Ariadne was grim when she returned to her rooms. “Tilde I am to be a captive while the duke goes to war. I am not allowed to leave my chambers, and I am to receive no one, but that vile Count Reiner. If I can go only to the courtyard, how am I supposed to study my spells?”
"Oh lady, we shall manage, I will still be back and forth and should be able to get what you need for your magical experiments,” Tilde answered. “I can keep watch on the guard in the passage way as well.”
“Yes, I will have to count on you to be my eyes and ears.” Ariadne slumped dejected in her chair. “Oh mama, I don’t understand why this is happening.” Later that week, Ariadne watched from her window as the military left the castle.

                                   AIRE AND SKYE

Later that afternoon, Ariadne sat in the courtyard, looking at her mother’s book. She was frustrated that her spell had not worked. “How am I going to protect myself from grandfather, if I can’t concoct a workable spell?” She wondered aloud. “This is the same as imprisonment.” Exasperated she tossed the book into the flower bed, raising a flurry of dust, scattering insects and birds.
“Ow, Arie. That hurts!”
Startled, Ariadne saw coming from under the book, a glowing orb, growing larger amongst the jasmine. It burst open and Ariadne saw, a beautiful creature rubbing her head in pain.
“Oh my,” Ariadne whispered. “Are you a Fairy?”
“Oh no, I am a Deva!” She laughed derisively. “We are guardians of nature, much more important, than Fairies. We’ve been watching over your family for eons”
“Why, have I never seen you before? “She asked as she picked up and brushed the dirt from her book. Ariadne could not remember any little people wandering around the castle grounds, but she did remember, that only her mother called her Arie.
“Arie, you have!” she rejoined. “I am called Skye; you were young when last you saw us. The duke and his people could not know of us. So, we have not been able to use this appearance since your mother died. “
Ariadne probed further, “Did my spell allowed you to come. Was it really successful after all?”
“Yes, indeed, just in time,” Skye replied with a smile. “One should unquestionably be a fully-fledged Sorceress by thirteen! We have much work to do here.
Skye continued, “Your mother would have been your teacher; however, the duke’s machinations have delayed your training. Spies are everywhere. You must learn magic to counteract the prying of eyes and the charms he may have left behind.”
“Someone is coming!” Skye glowed then turned into a humming bird. Ariadne heard laughter as she disappeared.
Tilde dashed into the courtyard, “Count Reiner is here, demanding an interview!”


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