Saturday, June 21, 2008

Okin of the Twilight Kingdom: Maro (Part 4)

Warm. Cozy. Tucked in. Ready for sleep to claim me. It was the best of times which meant the worse of times was just around the corner. Though I could feel the hardness of my wooden bed through the razor thin mattress, gently, ever so gently they were turning into a sheaf of feathers, carrying me up into oblivion. When out of the darkness there was an ominous gentle rapping at my door. Instantly, I silently and quickly made went to the door and opened it. Beautiful Juna, stood before me in her dark brown robes holding a flickering candle. Her eyes were bright and large like the moon, although tonight the spectre of fear shone from them.
'I am sorry to trouble you so late, Maro. The Elder has bid me to ask that you be quickly dressed for a long and difficult journey. You are to pack as lightly as you can carrying only the essential. You are also to wear the karank. Once you are done, you are to meet him at the Temple,' she said quietly though clearly, her voice trembling with fear. 'Oh Maro, I have never seen or heard of The Elder so distraught. And now you are to leave us.'
Ah, Beautiful Juna! The concern in your voice does fill my heart with courage and elation. So long have I admired you from afar, afraid to speak my love for you, for fear that I may offend; for you are bethrothed to another. We had caught each other's glances every now and again, and confined ourselves to matters mundane, but now suddenly I had to know. Did she feel anything for me? Might it be more than mere friendship? It now became more important than my impending journey.
'Dear Juna, I am certain that my leave should not distress you.'
She made no move to my words though a tear escaped her glassy large eyes.
'Oh Maro! I am thoroughly distressed! I love you. I have always loved you. Now you are to leave perhaps never to come back! I feel so foolish now to keep my feelings for you, only to tell you now,' she cried as she suddenly hugged me tightly. 'Oh Maro, you may not return!'
I was complete. My heart instead of beating wildly became intsensely calm. Death could have claimed me. I would not have resisted. I held her finally in my arms, feeling her warmth, her softness against me.
'Is it so dangerous a journey?' I asked.
'Yes. I overheard a little just before I entered the room. I think you are to take the Obayamaashi to Great Ankura in Suissen. The journey there is long and dangerous. From what I heard Great Ankura is more dangerous than the journey there Maro!'
'I have heard similarly. But I care nothing for that now. You have spoken of your love for me. So let me now confess that I too have loved you from afar, like a poet the moon. But what of your betrothal?'
'I shall never be with him so long as you dwell in my love, Maro.'
'Then I shall return to claim our love.'
Her grip around me tightened as she sobbed into my chest. Finally, her sobbing stopped and she looked up at me with her wet tear streaked face.
'This is beyond our love, my love. And already I have detained you too long.'

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