The world as you know it does not exist. What exists is a world with two distinct parts, both equal, yet not entirely separate. One is the mundane, boring, everyday world of cars, planes, trains, computers, and our pathetic jobs for which we are sorely underpaid; and the other is a world of pure poetic magic where Sidhe and man co-exist invisibly.
The separation of these worlds is like a silent curtain: it keeps the two worlds apart for the safety of both. It is protection, it is shield, it is cover of night, it is the fog that hides, it is the aether of old; and it is what the elders have named "The Grande Charade."
This spectral wool is pulled over the eyes of prosaic men to hide the truth, for if they--the many who are unskilled and disbelieve--were to happen to experience the truth or see first-hand the effects of magic, their credulity of the so-called "real world" would be broken and their psyche would shatter like glass. And quite possibly insanity would creep in; and a man without proper sense could do great damage to both worlds.
Some born can see the other side and move among the other. They can influence events with magic and are called wizard, warlock, shaman, or a host of other names--many too insulting to list--such as denunciations as freaks, pariah, crazy, or fools.
They are none of those degrading things: they are the special few that in ancient times were the most trusted leaders of clan and nation, now relegated to a status of sideshow performers. Yet still their gift remains, and there are those that use this power for the betterment of all Mankind.
And just as truly there are those that use their gift for ill, destruction, and self-gain. These are the thralls of the Sluagh Sidhe--the restless dead--who would destroy for their own amusement or anger. The evil spirits these men serve wish to take back all lands from the living. These powerful foes and their human allies wreak havoc in both worlds in hopes of bringing a cataclysmic merger which would tear apart the foundations of all creation.
But do not be fooled, for not all the evil Sidhe are so blunt or serve such a lofty goal: the Leanan who would love you and make you their life-slave. These beautiful women are the devastation of many artists. Acting as muse, they adore utterly; and in their adoration is the magic, and that magic saps the will and strength of the man, leaving him but a slowly dying shell. Yeats called them a malignant phantom--wise words for a human to utter--and any would be well advised to avoid the embrace of such lovely beasts.
The Sidhe are not chaotic, for they have their own laws that are to be followed. Among them there is but one authority: their queen, who is named Tamberlyn. Her power is great and her beauty equally so, and of those whom are her loyal subjects her word is law.
It was in her court the law was pronounced--do not interfere with the lives of Man. All present bowed gracefully; but not all who were there took her word as their law for it would undo their machinations. And Man, being weak, or so it was thought, was too ripe a fruit not to pluck from the vine.
These Sidhe were renegade then in spirit and in action, and they feigned obedience in public; but in the dark wold where none would see they wished in their hearts for the coming end of her reign and a terrible doom for the dominion of Men.
As vile as they were they sold their services to an evil more ancient than they, and imbued with additional power the renegade Sidhe assaulted the queen publicly and in secret as well. Yet her eyes were not blind and her ears were not deaf, for she learned of their treachery early and confronted it as a warrior-maiden--in her youth she was often impetuous--but her power was too frail against their combined might.
So, in desperation, she sought out champions to aid her; and of those most skilled and worthy, she found but seven.
Seven, it was discovered, who were pure and good, was just enough to keep the evil at bay and a stalemate grew. Never was there a decisive victory as the light and the dark warred on. Some victories were taken, some losses were endured; some advances were made, some retreats were hastily ordered. But always there was balance, and as long as there were the seven the queen was safe.
But the seven, themselves, were not safe. A candle that burns at both ends may burn twice as bright but burns only half as long--and these knights burned brighter than any other. So much brighter that even their immortality could not resist and end. Thus it was that every seventy years a search had to begin to find a replacement for a knight that would soon be lost.
Throughout the entire realm the search would inevitably find a good Sidhe that could become a knight. For many uncounted centuries this hunt would take place, and as always one good soul would be found among the Sidhe--a soul so spotless, so bright, that the knighthood was but a foregone conclusion...until this year.
This is the seventieth year, and the search had been going for some time, and of all the Sidhe, not one could be found worthy. Not one could be seen as pure. Not one could be found among all the spirit or fey that could become a knight.
And the queen worried, and her worries compounded daily. She would pace the halls, wringing her hands, glancing with eyes of hope and fear with the coming of each new herald and messenger--they that in times past would triumphantly announce the finding of a new knight. But since the beginning of this year no such proclamations came, and her time, she knew, was running short to find a replacement.
The dark Sidhe knew this, and waited for the end of the year, for while the knight still lived they had no hope to win; but should the first day of November come without a new knight--the reign of Tamberlyn would come to a climactic, and bloody, end.
With a great enchanted reflecting pool she scryed the realm and found nothing. Frantically, she searched high and low, across all the gulfs and mountains, in the glens and dales, through every town and city. No knight--no person that would be able--could be uncovered that could be counted upon to learn the craft, to take up arms, and defend the queen and save the world.
In a fit of anger and despair she spun the bowl, turned and wept into her hands. From her eyes the drops spilled into the pool and ripples formed out to the edges. She collapsed to her knees and let loose a cry that no Sidhe had ever made before.
Though many tried, none could comfort her.
Then began a sound—the ring of a bell--slight at first, then growing louder. It began to fill the chamber, then the hall, and it took the attentions of all who were near. A small flitting fey, who had been silent until then, flew to the pool and looked deep, and her eyes were made wide by what she saw there.
"My queen," she began with her tiny voice, barely audible over the ringing and the sobs of the queen. "Look there!"
The queen rose slightly and looked into the pool and saw that she had accidentally turned its scrying gaze to the human world, and its focus had fixated, unyieldingly, upon an unsuspecting person, whose face was obscured beneath the black, bat-like tarp of an umbrella's dome all while the world around was awash from a pummeling rain.
"A human!" came the small faerie's cry.
"The knight!" her majesty realized.
"No human could ever serve as a knight, my queen--" a royal advisor chimed in.
"Find this human!" came the order, and all present obeyed, bowed, and gathered to discern who it was that would be the hope of them all.
But one of them, who did bow and gave a semblance of obedience, did so not because of her command; rather, he did so as to gather information for his dark masters, for the dark Sidhe were also not blind or deaf, having set loose a spy in the middle of the royal court.
And he mouthed to himself the very same words, "Find this human," but did so for very much different and far more sinister reasons.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The Grande Charade
Not sure where I am going with this...Just sort of popped into my head and had to get it out. But I do hope you enjoy the ride....
Posted by Phil Hall at 2:35 PM