Short Story about two lovers whose lives are intertwined by the will of the gods.
The story teller moved to the center square in the town square. His gray cloak wrapped around his shoulder and his hood pulled over his face. The wind whipped his beard around his face like tendrils of smoke.
“Long ago, before the Elves left the world of men, and dwarves dug deeper into their tunnels, the greatest warriors our land has held aloft, Tahlier, of Illyria walked the land.”
Tahlier was once the greatest knight in the Kingdom of Crydee often referred to as the Dragon of the Northern World. In his life he had always devoted himself to protecting his Queen and his family. His devotion was such that he had never taken a wife, nor a lover or woman who’s occupation was love making. Tahlier had always believed that as the gods had seen fit to bless him with such ferocious battle prowess; it was his duty to protect those he cared for.
When Tahlier became an elder man, around fourty years of age, his family and his queen made him leave Crydee in order to find himself a loved one to start a family of his own and carry on the family name.
Having been raised to follow his family’s wishes Tahlier ventured out in to the world. Tahlier first traveled East towards Illyria and the forested wilderness it was hidden in. As was his practice, having no religion to which he formerly belonged, Tahlier would instead pray to the moon goddess Ellune to watch over his family.
Tahlier was raised never to accept anything without giving something in return. Thus it was that he promised Ellune the only thing he could give her in return. He promised to protect someone in return for his family’s safety.
This was Tahlier’s nightly routine as he walked through the woodlands. Each night he would pray and then he would eat his supper before preparing to sleep. However one night as he looked up to pray he found the moon had turned blue. His thoughts were then interrupted by the appearance of a beautiful woman wearing a blue dress. Her eyes were as blue as a crystal clear lake, and her hair was a deep but beautiful brown. As she approached him she spoke to him and her voice was like that of an angel, but one whose fear was evident.
“You have promised Ellune goddess of the moon that you would protect any one person of her choice… in exchange for the safety of your family is this correct?”
Tahlier stood and beckoned her come closer.
“It was my solemn oath fair maiden, are you her chosen?”
“I am good Sir Knight for this night until the sun rises, and every night that the moon glows blue my lady does bid you protect me. But continue your travels; it is her wish that I come to you.”
“Very well then my lady, I shall die before any harm should come to you.”
Thus was it that Tahlier and the woman spent each blue moon together. Though she did not sleep, and so neither did he. They talked each night until the sun rose, and then after wishing him well she would walk away and vanish.
As time went by Tahlier found that he would look forward to the nights where he was called to protect Ellune’s chosen. When the night next came he planned to tell her that he had fallen in love with her.
That night however, tough the moon was blue; Ellune’s chosen did not appear. Tahlier prayed to his goddess and promised her that he would seek out the woman and keep her from harm. He charged into the night and searched until the sun did rise, but he found no sign of the woman.
Ashamed in his failure Tahlier turned his eyes towards home. Fear that his failure to protect Ellune’s chosen would result in his family’s safety filled his heart and overwhelmed the love he felt for the woman and so he made his way home. On the night of the next blue moon, he ventured from his camp site, for he had traveled many years and thus had traveled far for home, and once more searched for the maiden that had captured his heart but found nothing until he returned to his camp.
She sat by his fire, her gown was now white, and her hair tied in braids. When he returned and saw her he ran to her and took her in his arms, before remembering that his place and releasing her.
“My lady forgive me, I failed you and your mistress.”
“Tahlier, you have not failed me, you looked for me every night when you thought that I was in danger. But you forgot the one thing I told you. I said that I would come to you. Do you recall that?’
Tahlier was silent; he had made a fool of himself and had acted as a newly made soldier would.
“But my Knight your prayers were not left unheard and you’re family remains safe. And what is more. You love was made known to me.”
“Then Ellune does speak to you.” He had not said anything to her that could have given anything away. He had only prayed each night that his love was safe from harm. He looked to her and waited silently.
“You told me Tahlier. You told me every night before you slept and right after you asked me to watch over your family. You told me every time you ran through the night calling out to me when you thought that I was lost.”
Together they returned to the fire, having no need to say more. And when the sun rose, she remained with him and together they made their way back to Tahlier’s family. When he returned and announced his engagement horns sounded throughout the kingdom of the mighty Dragon Knight and his love. The Queen herself planned the wedding and the entire country attended.
Thus it was that his life as a valiant knight ended, and his life as a devoted husband, and father began. In time Tahlier aged and became old. His children grew into adults and their children into young adults. While Tahlier had aged it seemed that his love had not. She had remained the same as she had the night they met. It was Tahlier who said once that it was Ellune’s blessings that gave his love her youth, even on his deathbed, he remained her servant.
When the day came that Tahlier knew was his end, he called his family together and told them that they were to protect one another and those that needed protection. He gave them his blessing and took his love’s hand. In the soft glow of the moonlight that streamed through his window, Tahlier became as young man again, and together he and his love were lifted to the sky and into the moons embrace.
And from then on, there appeared a face on the moon’s surface, a watcher in the night who looked out for all who knew to pray.
The story teller rose as the children cheered and ask him questions. One of them, a small girl with blue eyes and deep brown hair asked.
“But grandfather… was she Ellune or just one of her followers?”
The story teller smiled and stroked his beard before responding.
“You will have to decide for yourself my dear, or if you really want to know. Ask them yourself. You see, every night when the moon is blue Tahlier and his love return to this world in the clearing where they met, and they sit by a fire and talk through the night.”