Copyright © 1995, 1998 Robert G. Ferrell

#60


Cynric of Bedwyn

Ex Tempore Table of Contents

A gentle zephyr from the hinterlands wafted across a verdant meadow. Around the small clearing huddled the myriad trees of the forest, their deep green cloaks casting circles of cool, rich shade. The lea bustled with the commerce of many different creatures. All made their way in harmony; the occasional inevitable squabble was no more than a passing squall in the ocean of grass and flowers. The flowers were especially lovely in this meadow, brilliantly hued and magnificently sculpted. Even the most ill-tempered animals were charmed by the fragrance and imposing grandeur of these heavenly blossoms.

Yet even in this place of beauty run rampant, one singular flower rose above the rest. A creation so perfect, so superbly crafted, that none could remember having seen a more exquisite sight. For all her beauty, though, she did not bear herself with haughtiness or disdain for those less favored. No, she was gentle and loving to all, a breath of purest spring even in the bleak misery of winter.

When the winds howled, as they are wont to do at times, and the rain was driven into lesser creatures as though it were nails of iron rather than drops of water, still she did not cry out. The wind might toss her petals about, and the rain beat upon her with its many fists, but she stood as though carved from stone, a shelter for all those who found the tempest too fearful.

She was well beloved. She ministered to any who sought her out, smoothing each wrinkle and lifting every burdened spirit. Her wisdom was such that none could gainsay her when she spoke of the things she loved; the meadow, its creatures, its place in the grand scheme of creation. The light she cast was the light of hope, the light of strength, the light of nurturing.

For many years she was the focus of the meadow, around whom all activities centered. Her beneficent influence spread throughout the meadow and beyond. For countless leagues in all directions her goodness was known and her praises sung by the silver-throated. So far afield were her virtues extolled, alas, that one day Death himself heard her word-fame. Anxious to behold such a vision, he sought for her. His quest was not an easy one, for no one wanted to point Death in her direction, but in the end he found her, as he finds all who dwell in the mortal world. So utterly taken was he with her grace and stature that without even dismounting he leant down and snatched her up, and in an instant she who was so full of life was gone, lost to all those who so dearly loved her.

Now the meadow is quiet. The flowers are still sweet, and the birds still sing their welcomes to the dawn, but something vital has departed, something that breathed life and joy into the world. Perhaps it shall return someday, in another form, for renewal is part of nature's course. While joy and hope and love for life may find their way back into the meadow, no flower now lives that can compare with the one we have lost.

Farewell, Caitlin.