by Sir Paendrag
A tale of time and faerie folk and where they dwelt within
|Hail then back to the days before the men had come to rule over all the forest and wood…
Molly O’Malley was the girl every other girl who lived in the dell wanted to be. She was bright and sunny, and she knew all the answers in school. All the boys liked her and they listened to every word she said. It was nice to be Molly, but not today. Today Molly was not bright and sunny. She did not know the answers, especially the one she needed most. And, oh my, she definitely was not someone anyone else would want to be. Today she was blue. In fact she was in more trouble than she had ever been.
Molly had lost the Founders' Rune Stone, and she had no idea what she could do about it.
However could she have lost the stone? Well, she had not actually, personally lost it. No one would have given the stone over to a girl not even out of her first hundred years. But then no one was supposed to have ever been able to hand the fabled Rune Stone over to anyone. The Rune Stone was the symbol and the vessel of all the Magic in the Little Faery World. A thousand years ago the Rune was supposed to be sealed in the Ray of Amber and never be able to be moved. But she had and they hadn't, then they had and...oh my, what a mess.
The Druid himself had come to see her (and scare her out of her wits). He lifted up his terrible voice to tell Molly she had twenty-four hours to get the Stone or else. Molly didn't have any idea what “or else” meant, and she was so sorry, and she hadn't even done anything. "I have to find Pol," she said, weeping.
She knew where to find him, down by the river bowling with his “lads” of course. Sure enough, when she arrived face red and eyes swollen, Molly could see Pol was laughing and bowling having a high old time. "Well, where have you been," she yelled at Pol, her eyes afire but her voice breaking like the frightened young girl she was. "Here and I've been through every misery, threatened by the Druid himself, and stolen the Rune Stone, and “or else”, and here you are just having a fine day. What have you to say for yourself?"
Pol looked at Molly. She was clearly in a fuss as he had not ever seen her before. Clearly she had been through something awful, making up things about the Druid Himself and all, but Pol didn't really know what had happened, although he knew it would somehow be his fault.
Pol decided to resort to trickery, and let the girl say what the real problem was for herself. "So Molly, what could have happened that was so bad you'd resort to saying untrue things about the Druid? Don't you know that He can hear anytime you use His name? Do you want him to bring down the lightning?"
Molly's face got redder, and she raised her voice to a pitch no one had ever heard from her before. "How DARE you tell me I am lying about the Druid. I will have your hide if you ever say such a thing again." At that point, unable to withstand feeling so betrayed, Molly started bawling, full out.
Pol ran over to her as fast as he could, stammering with every step," I am s-s-so-o s-s-sorry M-Moll-ll-y darlin'. I was wrong and I'll never do anything like it again.” He smiled down at her as he was proud of the way he had handled that. Then he thought again, "Wait a minute. If I was wrong about everything, and you were truthin' about the Druid, what on earth did happen?
"Oh, Pol, I am in so much troub-b-bl-l-le," she stammered and cried at the same time. Tears streamed down her face, and Molly sniffed up with every syllable. "I was on the guard, and the Rune Stone, the village's whole history and its whole magic is gone. I stole it."
Molly, you are too honest for your own good. "While it is the rule that the one at guard is responsible," Pollis said, with great understanding, "but, Love, you didn't steal it." “Surely,” he spoke, “No Druid is going to take it out on a young girl of the very Fae who earned it?" At that, every person in the bowling square agreed that he had to be right.
So it was that Pol had gathered up his best friend and they had gone to the Faery Tree. None but Pollis' family even knew of the Tree. Together they had said the ancient words of Pollis' family. There in the light of the moon at the bole of the hollow tree, after the words were spoken they saw the 'Great Book of Knowledge'. The book was sacred. The village folk had only ever used it at “most dire need” (in other words, never).
Pollis read the book with eager anticipation, knowing full well his Da would have his hide if He knew Pol had handled it. Pol was pretty sure that if he could read it the right way, the “old” magic, which his family handled for all the tribe, was there to be used by one of the Royal Blood. All he had to do was trip the trigger the right way. He had to hope he could find the trigger. There was a reason a young hothead wasn’t given the words. The gods knew he had right on his side. Pol promised himself that Da would never ever find out.
They did finally put the words together, piece by long piece, with Jack writing down everything Pollis said.
Thou Gnost the key the thing of old,
To speak of holding true;
The way of finding binding power,
To stay the hand of the two;
Then lay your plan against the fen'
to put the sword back home again;
Reciting back the rhyme o'glen
knogh lay crietz and Tam Lin
the first path lay a white coat' the Hill along the Bonnet's lie,
The lake the mien of his hair
when Tam Lin did not die.
Tis this place where you will find,
the next face of a power's rhyme,
And know tis you now,
answer time, the way poor Janet did
"Do you have any idea," Jack asked, his heart beating so loudly that Pol could hear, “what the heck this thing could be talking about?"
Pol answered, “Will you be terribly upset with me if I say not a bit?”
“What?!!”, Jack asked.
“Okay,” Pol said, a little shaky himself, “I have some idea, but I really don't have it all figured out.”
“Well,” Jack asked in a voice littered with some impatience, “What do you know?"
"I do know," Pol said, looking a little sick now, "If I don't figure it out by tomorrow at sunset, either Tam Lin or Cuchulain will be here to kill me."
Jack groaned loudly, "Oh Pol".
Pol interrupted, "Or both of us." At which Jack turned green and mumbled incoherently.
"So is there any good to this?" Jack pleaded.
"If I do figure the rest of it out," Pol stated as though it were the most matter-of-fact announcement he ever made, "Molly will be saved."
"It's about time you came up with some reason why I've always held you in such stead.”, Jack said
"Okay, Pollis said, “just hold on and let me think. It means the way is to the right up the path to the lake. Oh Jack, that's the tree with the rope we swing into the lake with."
"And then, Jack asked?"
"Just hold your pants on lad, Pollis said, a little exasperated. The next part should mean right again, then 100 steps, then down. "Down? Pol inquired, scratching' his scraggly red beard, his wooden pipe puffing like a chimney." They followed as far as the way seemed to go, and looked around. Then they looked some more.
Jack, looking frazzled, came back around the edge of a group of rocks, "Pol, I don't see anything, I think maybe we go back and look over by the tree some more".
"Quiet, Jack, pol said, irritated now, I'm sure it's here somewhere; I just need to find it...” with that, Pol fell sideways into a trap of some kind, partly hidden under a bush growing from the hillside. He had slid and fallen twenty feet or so and yelled up from the hole. "I'm OK, I think I found it."
Jack quickly jumped part way down into the hole, "are you Ok, Pol, I'm here to help ya'.
“Pol laughed, you don't have to remember to ask if I'm OK when I've already told ya'...and thanks, I'm fine."
Together they had a laugh over that one and after a minute, settled back down. “All right then Jack, we need a torch” Pol said.
After a few minutes, they had scrabbled together a few materials, started a small camp fire, and made three torches, figuring that should do. It was nearly dark when they finished and soon they had their plan made, and were walking down to , what they hoped was not their doom.
It seemed there were pits and potholes every two feet in what appeared to be an old mine they were walking through. With short (even for them) ledges and digouts in the walls, and occasionally a timber holding up a piece of the ceiling. And sometimes it was a timber that held the ceiling long ago, but no more. In places there was litter scattered about, old boards and plates even an old lantern. After a bit, with what must have been hundred-year-old alcohol, they got the lantern burning and left one of the torches behind.
After what seemed like hours, they came to a distinctly different break in the way. Up till then, every little bit (twenty yards or so) they would come to a left-right fork or just turn, with one side leading to a small cutout. Obviously these were places where the mine had run out so it stopped. This time, they came to a place where there were three of the paths from the room, and room it was. It was easily twice the size of any other bypass they had seen, and each way seemed to go off into the deepest darkness.
"Well then Pollis," Jack said, "do you think it might be time for a little help from the Elders and the village?"
Pol swung around on young Jack, eyes blazing. "Do you mean, Jack, the same village that has me da' in it as one of those Elders, the one it would take till morning to get back to?" Is that the one you mean, Pol said? I hate to tell you this Jack, he said sarcastically, but by the time we got back the Druid himself would have Molly and maybe killed her, so... NO!
"Oh yeah, I forgot, Pol, never mind" Jack said, like a dog with his tail between his legs.
"But you can tell me, Jack, if you have a mind to, when you got your famous book-learning, of which you are so proud, which way did you read?"
"Uh, Left-to-right, Jack said, obviously confused, why?"
“Well, reasoned Pollis, each of these three timbers holds a door frame, right?' Jack agreed. "And the first is brown, the second black and the third is white, am I correct?" Again, Jack nodded his head. "We go this white way, just like Janet did, Pollis laughed, so happy he was to have figured out the next part. Jack laughed too, knowing Pol was right, it was the way she saved Tam Lin.
The next part of the way the path was steeper, the air was getting much hotter, all the while they walked. Jack and Pol got tired and soon were thirsty too. They were hoping they would soon find water when they found another pass, which was broken down. Half the doorway was blocked by fallen rocks, with stone scattered all the way to their feet, halfway up the rise of the path. Pol looked panic stricken.
When Jack asked why, Pollis got his thoughts organized and said,” I thought we would see this place, with another pass, And I thought I would see a hole,” Pol said
Jack said that was what they had found and asked, "Why, Pollis?"
“We found the place; these rocks have, on their faces, an adder a newt and a lion.” Jack looked through the rocks and found they did indeed have the faces Pol had said they would, asking why they were there? “ I have to grab the Lion and hold on, no matter what happens, then I should get a weapon or ought to get back the Rune, but if they are wrecked, I can't. “
Jack was beside himself. He turned to pol and asked, "What do we do?"
Well, I am thinking maybe someone came and tried to work the magic, and maybe that is why the rocks are down, Pol said. It was right at that moment, when pol had caught a twinkle of something shining in the dirt of the path floor.
Suddenly the lads heard a rock sliding along the top of the path. "Aye, and you're not such a bonehead as we all thought, came a voice out of the darkness." But I'll be taking that rock with the lion's face, and keeping the Runestone safe enough with me, Ha Ha"
The voice was quite deep, and clearly belonged to someone larger and older than he or Jack, Pol didn't know what he would do. As quick as the lion on the stone, Pollis made up his mind, grabbed the rock, and held on to it with all his might. "I cannot let you have the stone because I love my fair Molly, and she could die without the Rune to prove her innocence." Kill me if you must, Pol intoned, but I cannot yield. While he was talking, pol was working his way around the side of the room of the three passes. As he got to the place where he had seen the glint, he looked carefully at the cut in the dirt, which was the same shape as the rock with the lion’s face.
Suddenly a figure walked out of the shadows, revealing itself to be the source of the terrifying voice.” Ha Ha Ha , Pollis, my boy, you have done your last deed. I’ll have that stone.”
As the guard entered, the lads had seen the sleeve of a Guard’s uniform stick out of the Giant Thief’s coat sleeve, so they had known what he was. They also knew the blackguard was there for mischief of his own or for the Queen herself. But, quick as a flea’s hop, jack took up some dust and cast it into the great Faery guard’s eye, while Pol placed the stone in its exact home and said again what he had started before.” I love my Fair Molly, and I cannot let her die. Kill me if you must, but I will never yield.”
Now, with the stage set, and the guard disabled, at least for a moment or two, Pol held onto the stone with all he had, as it shook and swung all over the place to throw him off. The cave moved and swung, throwing rocks and Faery alike.On Pol held and on it raged, till a little below him in the wall a stone started to slide off to the side. Pol had no time to be sure what he was doing, as the guard had come around and could see something was going on that he didn’t like a bit.
“I’m going to rip off your head” The Giant thief Guard shouted in his scariest deepest voice till Pol though he would lose his mind with fear. The guard’s hand came around with a huge black knife in it to kill Pol.
Just as the guard started to come down with the knife, Pol drew his arm out of the hole that had been behind the rock. “I‘ve got ya’ Pol screamed, and there in his hand was a jewel encrusted short sword, with a light all its own and a crystal blade. The sword was true and sliced right through the Giant Guard’s arm, taking it clean off with one fell swoop. “And that, Pol said bravely, for one who would ever wish harm to my own true love, the rightest lass as has ever been born, you foul lout.”
But brave Pol had not the ways of the world that the foul Guard had, and did not see that he wrapped his shirt sleeve around his stump of an arm and drew a sword of his own, quietly and was in full swing, with Pol unable to do a thing to stop him.
T’was then that young Jack Hannon, remembered to this day, took the rock itself and pushed it toward the Guard’s sword. The rock could never stop the full size sword of a full size Guard, of course, but it deflected the swing and knocked it into the wall of the cave, where it shattered. Unfortunately, it was not before it bounced off the wall to the side right into poor Jack’s head, and killed him instantly.
With a rage he had never known, Pol shot right up the path to the Guard and swung low to the Guard’s leg, cutting it to the bone. Pol swung it high and caught the Guard high on the throat, and blood poured like milk from a pitcher. One last time, Pol looped his mighty blade to the middle of the blackbearded tarry throat and took the black-hearted miscreant’s head clean off.
As Pol rounded the last curve out of the mines he caught a sight he could not believe: the Faery Queen herself, pacing agitatedly, without a Guard in the middle of day. Pol The Excited took two great leaps with a strength he could not believe and was in front of Her. She was just starting a curse and threatening in every way. “No you don’t, said Pol the Terrible, in his Righteous wrath. In the name of my love, whom ye would have had killed, you shameless thing, and the name of Jack, who never hurt anybody, and I hope his Spirit pays you back tenfold.” In one more swing, her head was on the ground too, due to the charm of the jeweled sword.
But even with the head on the ground it wouldn’t shut up “I would have had that girl too, if it weren’t for you: Molly this, Molly that, all the children adored Molly, when it was me they should have loved.”
Sadly, it turned out Pollis wasn’t able to kill the evil Queen, but he does have power over her when he needs it, and that is a bitter pill for her to swallow. The children, and Pol, still love Molly. Jack is remembered as the lad who saved the mightiest warrior of all The Mighty Pollis. Pol had many more adventures over the years, though whether I’ll be telling’ them all time will tell.
© Copyright 2011 j_darling (UN: j_darling at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
j_darling has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.