Soon, he told me,
I must be given to the Court.
—A tradition, and only as worthy as that, he told me.
For, at most auspicious times it was mannered,
for one to put forth their lives
in service to a crown. He laughed,
no, it was not only they who had ever believed that.
But it was only they still up-held themselves so…
‘Maybe we are a little anachronistic?’
Really? Mithril musing? How surprising.
Then there would be a Ball at the season’s end,
Summer’s late conclusion drawn in to
Daughter Autumn’s lend.
The giving over of one season to another,
our world was so full of such mighty affairs.
And I must be ready.
He tutored me then, in my place of Court
the skills of our wordy-trade.
He called tailors and dresser’s
of hair and facade.
Never would, he claimed, little
of make be made—before crawling,
catching eyes, would he.
And neither I, we seemed to agree,
would serve as their bait.
I then, to be made up and imaginary.
He stood and watched as
artless grace turned to oiled finery and,
to match their fey race perhaps. He said,
‘Ah! Beautiful youth!
And here,” said, taking touch of my left cheek,
‘Let him shine like all the sons of Man
as they do, in all our many hearts.’
Outside the Ballroom I awaited my turn.
Without the authority, the crowd pretended not
to see me till I was introduced.
‘Young Dalsarion Snow-Mithril’s Son.’
“Young,” a snide synonym for “mortal.”
Though Mithril had tried to teach me
the etymology of the “Snow” prefix-
But finally suggested, ‘who else would know?
Dear boy, make it up if you are asked.’
In I come dressed in diaphanous robing.
My hair a beaten-gold halo proclaiming…
Such nothings, as one may wonder to their origins.
And made of my poor reflection in those eyes to see
a creamy skinned complexion of emotion and person,
rendered pearlescent by lacquer and painstaking hands.
All jewelled-eyes turn beneath their statue’d hands
this hard, smoothed body burns from under my varnish.
Walking across the large room, I present
to all intended eyes, disdain.
The lazy mannered movements–
so comfortable to wear–
a ruling on etiquette, for those, beware.
The arrogance and terrible aristocratic beauty.
All around me, spacious katas played out.
Courtly dance lacking only razor knives.
They all dance with such industry, as if
alone on the floor, each movement running off,
coiled from partners we may not see.
Intricate and finitely balanced against an article,
ballad or object of much invisible grace.
Though I pretended urbanity, truly,
they leave me with quickened breath!
My breast! But they do not really play my instrument.
And, question the worth of my presence there,
but my attention sought only one to sustain.
Mithril appeared late by my side, and with short pains,
an introduction to the crown was made.
But my mind was on other things, so shortly after
adrift, I wandered. Mithril did not stop me,
only whispered small words of embarrassment
to my ear. Under the make, I turned scarlet,
how did he know my mind so dear?
But I waited by the portal…
The Princess Jaq’Oliean must come!
I waited there with music in the beat of my step,
for perhaps the main of the Ball.
My mind was scheming! She was waiting, of course,
for the point of entrance to be fine.
And as the shadows of the charades–
the heart of our empires’ politics–
stretched and flickered on the floor,
when the candles, then muffled, sent streamers to the dark
hidden, and obscured sky.
Wrapped in dew dappled dress,
the lateness of our night so apparent,
her soft skin, layered in the warm night’s light,
playing off the golden lines of her face
she was the only player within this,
now, poor court, who walks with genuine intent
to place. And suffers not
from untidy contempt of her natural grace.
To say the room fell to whispers is a mistake,
already silent, her presence called voices forth
from indulgent traditions and elegant space.
The crowd of few, scattered to the floors, came so close to her movement everywhere she went, forged links,
with her there, none could forget their place.
Yet all too quickly, the greetings were spent, and
our precious princess in her flower, must retire
But I would not let her away!
So I chased her down tree-lined halls
the shadows ahead of me giving no-thing away.
She moved fast!
Then on the edge of my sight, I saw her, down, away.
And I called, ‘My princess! Oh, my Jaq’Oliean!’
There she stops, and looked over her back,
to see who so hailed her
breathless, and with hearty exertion I approached.
‘Yes?’ She breathed.
I am struck dumb. What do I have to say,
to beauty before me? What
do I have to say, to her–anyway?
‘I love you.’
* * * * *
* * * * *