One of the prompts from Search Engine Stories this week is painting a full moon.
I have done a little story about princesses and knights…..
I have an enchantment on my head. It imprisons me as soon as the sun goes down.
My father, the King is the cause of it. He banished Imelda the sorceress from the Keep on grounds of treason. She claimed innocence and vowed vengeance.
The vengeance took a strange, perverse turn as whimsical as Imelda’s changeable nature. I cannot venture outdoors at night or I will turn to dust. Only the palace walls can protect me.
It is a cruel and brutal fate. I am of an age when thoughts turn to marriage and I, Alene, only daughter of the King, wish to travel to balls and parties and faires. But I cannot, confined indoors at night indefinitely.
At first I disbelieved the enchantment. I scoffed. I would not be bound. So I ventured out into the gardens when the moon was full and slowly, ever slowly I felt the bones in my arms and legs begin to crumble.
I was bedridden for three months. My father’s physicians, soothsayers and healers worked through many days and nights to save me. I am healed, but one foot turns inwards and my left hand is so twisted I can no longer play the lute.
I am deathly afraid of the night. I fear the enchantment may change so that even a glimpse of the night sky will be my undoing. Despite this, I crave the sight of the sky at night. I want it. I dream of the lake turned silver by moonlight. Of my mother’s rose bushes quivering under white light. Of starlight. Of a deep purple sky at twilight. Of midnight blue clouds collecting around the moon as if holding hands.
Despite my isolation, my malaise, I have a suitor. Larick. He is one of my father’s most able Knights and claims undying love for me. He has asked me to send him on a quest so he can prove his love. I have not sent him away to find me rare jewels or the feather of a phoenix as he expected. Instead I have asked him to grant me something to ease the longing in my heart. I have asked him to paint me a picture of the full moon.
Larick comes from a family of artisans. His paintings imitate the way sun slants on water, the indulgent smile of a mother as she cradles her infant babe. My maidservant, Heidi, relays how his work is progressing as the full moon hangs like a bulging pearl in the sky.
She comments less on the painting and more on his appearance claiming the moonlight bedecks him in gauzy finery and that his silhouette sweeps the ground in a grand and magnificent manner. I suspect Heidi is a fledgling poet.
After the full cycle of the moon the painting is complete. It is more than I had hoped for. The moon stands solitary in the night sky, throwing lines of silver blue shadow over the lake. I can almost see nymphs carousing in the water, cloaking themselves in translucent muslin light.
The gardens are empty. Glittering with silence. The hedges lean, shadowy, eloquently peaceful. Flowers curl in the dark, snuggling like children.
Stars burst through the clouds. I weep as I gaze upon them, for it is their twinkling faces I miss the most. A bird sits in a shadowed oak, his tiny head under his wing. One of his feathers has fallen. It lies at the base of the tree, turned upright, an offering to the moon.
I place the painting on the wall beside my bed. When night falls and the curtains must be drawn the painting eases my burden.
My love for a man capable of reproducing such beauty grows stronger than my longing to gaze on the moon. Through his eyes, his hands, I can see. Imelda’s spell no longer seems like it will tear me to pieces, for if my love can paint the full moon, I can still see in the dark.