Continued from part one ...
As for the troll, without the treasure, he had no means to buy passage on a Viking ship. His long held dream of distant shores spoiled in the same manner that most dreams are, because of a single encounter and in an instant of time. Realistic about his options, but far from dejected, he returned to the clearing in the wood and his circular, mud hut amidst the tribe, slipping back with nary a troll noticing he had been absent from their presence.
At home, he was content to hide the flute in his cupboard, taking it out when he was safe to admire it alone for he was wracked by paranoia and obsessed with protecting his prize from wanton eyes.
But, the flute would not be ignored and placed a strong burden on the troll, tormenting him in mind and spirit and affording him no place of refuge, till she be filled with the breath that gave life to her notes once more, till she subdued another soul under her spell.
Seeking a private liaison with the flute, for he wanted to share her with no one, our troll snuck to the banks of the Red River under cover of night. There, with gusto and abandon, he made music under the stars, undetected.
Or, so he thought.
Now, the Red River was treacherously deceptive for it looked calm on the surface but below, deep currents ran swiftly. Lore had it that the river was named for the amount of blood spilled into the river from hapless victims who were dragged down into the miry, river bottom by hungry crocodiles to feast on. For the waters were infested with those terrible lizards and many villagers told the tale of a loved one who had gone to the banks of the river for a picnic or to collect the excellent spearmint that grew there, and were never to be seen or heard of again.
And, on the other side of the river, arose a cliff high into the sky. On top of the cliff, overlooking the river and wood below, was a snug, little home with a high tower, all made of stones.
In the tower lived a bride, fair to look upon.
She was the wife of a farmer who lived his life pragmatically and void of passion as he found tremendous comfort in the familiar and peace of mind in temperance. He was gentle and spoke softly, treating our fair lady kindly but failing to treat her well. For, he regarded her as somewhat of a mystery and lived in constant fear that she’d break somehow. And so, he kept her at a safe distance, a place she abhorred.
Now, it was pure folly for that troll to believe he could send forth music from the flute and contain the magic through isolation. That flute was endowed with all the wicked proclivities of her maker the witch, and the spell was her spirit. The music would certainly not return void, but accomplish it’s purpose. And, it’s purpose was simple and unrelenting. First, master someone, and then everyone, and then everything.
Alas, folly is common to both man and troll.
As soon as the notes left the flute they sought out our bride’s silent soul and began igniting a fire within.
“Do you hear that, husband?” She was drawn away from the bed where they’d already retired for the night, to the window overlooking the river and the wood beyond. The unmistakable sound of music, a gay and lively tune, was visiting their abode.
“Hear what? What is it?” The farmer strained to listen, but could hear nothing.
“That.” The lady insisted. “Why, it’s so lovely it makes my feet want to dance!”
The farmer cocked his ear towards the window and furrowed his brow, trying very desperately to hear what his bride did.
“It’s nothing but the wind moaning over the river, my dear.” He finally concluded.
In a flash of enlightenment, she realized that she owned a connection, a strange and wonderful fellowship with this music, her husband was incapable of sharing. It was as if this flute took care to serenade her alone. No, it was as if it were speaking to her alone. Her vanity immediately allowed her to indulge her feelings of privilege.
“Yes, it is as you say,” She said, practicing deceit for the first time in their marriage. “Silly me, I have overreacted, I’m sure.”
“Of course you have.” The farmer agreed. “Now, come back to bed, dear heart.”
“But if it is all the same to you, the crisp air calms my stomach. I will spend a few moments here at the window.” She continued in her deceit. “Do not fret over me, husband. Go to sleep.”
In the silver light cast by the full moon, she was like a pearl on a string, beautiful and refined. Her hair cascaded down her back like rose petals tinged gold at the tips and her shapely figure was outlined in iridescent, moon glow. The farmer gladly drank in the sight of her by the window and so did not object. He watched her till his eyelids closed with heaviness and slept, her body filling his dreams.
She listened to the wind delighted at the secret it held for her. The music rose and fell, rose and fell, the notes swirling and chasing each other in a language she understood.
Why? The music asked.
Because. Her soul answered.
Why? She toyed back.
Because. The music bantered.
What a queer, and most brilliant flutist, she thought, who can hear the music of my soul without me having to make a sound. Within the magical melody they shared, her strangled soul breathed again.
Suddenly, her tower seemed less a prison to her and her day seemed less interminable than it did before. Instead, daytime was but was a brief prelude to the opera she shared with her invisible tenor, the whisper like flute on the wind. Every night, after her farmer slept soundly, she stole to the window and waited for her music to come to her, and it never disappointed. She longed to be able to give voice to the song in her soul, to sing in harmony with her flute.
My flutist discerns my desire, she thought, and will come to me in due time.
Sure enough, when the fullness of the magic dwelt in her, her desire became manifest, taking the form of a bird with fancy, rose plumage tinged gold at the tips. Her soul emancipated, she left her stone tower and flew for the great beyond, unbidden. Swiftly she soared into the night sky, higher and higher, a crescendo in air.
By the window in the tower, her body still stood, a mere shadow of her former self, hollow and vacant.
“I am no longer sad.” She thought with a giddy twitter. “How light I feel!” And immediately her song, in trill and warble, escaped from her throat and met the flute’s melody in perfect harmony.
Across the river, on a boulder for a chair, the troll heard the quavering harmony and wondered. It was as if the melody of the flute, and this mysterious harmony had met up together in the air, together. Intertwining and cleaving, the two became one.
Suddenly a chill scampered down his spine. Deep calls unto deep, he knew. And this music had sought out it’s own.
Our lady circled high over the land that had just that afternoon seemed her confinement. Suddenly, she was staggered by the beauty of it all. Over the river, once so threatening but now a festive red ribbon tying the green earth as a Christmas present, she circled and swooped, flying ever closer to her flutist until, at last, she spied him through the leaves of a great oak. Seeking a handsome limb on which to land, she waited for our flutist to notice her.
“You’re a troll!” She threw her beak into the air and let out peals of laughter, once his eyes met hers.
“Aye.” Admitted the troll. “But you are no bird.”
“At night, when your music calls me out, I am.” She responded defiantly.
This all seemed mysterious to the troll but he accepted it as so and promptly began playing the flute again. To which our bird joined in happily making beautiful music with him.
And thus, they passed the summer.
To be continued..
by C. C. Kurzeja
2005 All Rights Reserved