Copyright 2013. PATG LLC. All rights reserved.

Chapter 16

Royal Welcome

The dinner bells rang loud again,

And Perlameen was all dressed when,

A door knock came polite and clear.

“Time to come to dinner dear!”

The old maid said, her voice quite plain,

That Perlameen could not refrain.

Perla stood up, ready as ever,

To meet the master and whatever,

Her fate decreed in store for her.

Then gold door opened with a whirr,

Revealing full, the servant maid,

In fine lace dress, grey hair in braids.

“Come come” she said, reaching her hand,

“You look just lovely! You look grand!

We have, just one more thing to do,

One little gift from Bar to you.”

And from her neck, she took a charm,

A sapphire teardrop, flaming warm,

Hanging from its silver clip,

Which upon Perla’s neck she slipped.

“Oh! It suits you perfectly!

Oh what a princess you will be!

Hold tight my arm and walk with me,

And speak if you like what you see.”

Perla looked around some more.

As they stepped out her chamber door,

The hall was long and fiery lit,

With torches hot and tapestries knit.

The floor was hewn of polished stone,

Laid white as white, like sun bleached bone,

And gilt with golden wavy twines,

Depicting cloud and mountain lines.

But still the strangest thing of all,

Were armored knights who lined the wall,

That ran the full length of the hall,

And bowed their helmets without call.

As Perla walked past in her dress,

She felt she was their governess.

“This is all too much for me”

She whispered to the maid, softly.

“I do not know quite where I am,

Or why I feel just like a lamb,

A-walk before a lion’s supper,

Albeit primped and dressed up proper.

But I can tell you mistress maid,

I do not want knights’ accolade,

Or gobs of gold, guilt in the floor.

For it will take your master more,

Than such display to steal my sense.

I’ve never swooned at opulence,

And happiest, could truth be told,

Would be to be, back in the fold,

Of my cottage, and roaming free

With my friends and family.”

“We’ll see my dear, we’ll see, we’ll see”

Old woman said, her smile all glee.

The wrinkles on her face scrunched tight,

As if she’d filled with some delight,

Thinking of an inside joke,

Yet not another word she spoke.

Proceeding down the gold guilt floor,

They once turned left, then right, then more,

Past other doors and nodding Knights,

Until a sound came odd to light,

Like gabby gonks of gibbering geese,

Low noise at first, soft buzzing bees,

Then louder till its random roar,

Lay past the ending corridor.

Perla and maid stepped forward, right,

Into a great, and dazzling sight.

They stood atop a long grand stair,

Red rolled carpet laid out there,

And saw below a great ballroom,

Filled up full with hats and plumes.

Under each plume, swished silky dresses

Paired with every kind of tresses.

Beneath each hat moved fine cut coats,

Buffed brass buttons, tails afloat.

Waltz music played, and some were dancing,

Some were talking, some romancing.

But when to stairway Perla topped,

The music and the dancing stopped,

And painted masks, some sewn with laces

Framed a thousand upraised faces.

Smug lipped old maid stepped forward then,

Clearing her throat, the clucking hen,

And smiled at Perla knowingly.

“Dear friends and guests of company,

Come to heed my master’s call,

To his mask and waltzes ball,

Here is the peer you’re here to see,

Her majesty, her royalty,

The once lost heir and future queen,

Islegrove princess, Perlameen!”

Old maid stepped backward with a glare,

Nudging Perla down the stair.

And in that instant rose a cheer,

That strained the drum in every ear,

And caused the birds near flying there,

To fall to ground, out of the air.

Then at stair bottom, in shining frock,

Stood grinning Bar Kamal Kamock.

Perlameen stumbled, struck with shock,

One step two steps, stunned dazed walk,

Hands on banister, spread apart,

Staring staring, throat in heart.

Strong and gentle, Bar was there,

Crossing distance on the stairs.

Arm round her waist, and holding hand,

Supporting soft, so she could stand.

“This way my lady” dashing Bar said,

And lead slumped Perla to stairs head.

The laidies and the dandies there,

Now falling silent, smiled and stared,

Parting wide when Perla passed,

As radiant light, through art stained glass,

Reflected off her shining gown,

A beacon in a sea of renown.

“Let’s have some music!” Bar commanded,

Then the maestro’s white gloves handed,

Sheets of music to the players.

Of which they played resounding layers.

And ballroom’s bree, cacophony,

Returned to swirling dancing glee.

“What kind of fiendish trick is this?”

Said Perlameen, face all a-twiss.

But Bar close pulled her body near,

And whispered loving in her ear:

“No trick princess, no trick at all.

The people here, their dress, the ball,

Puts you, really, among your peers,

Who all hold Islegrove most dear.”

Perlameen felt queasy, ill,

Swallowing this bitter pill.

“But all live fully, under the Giant?

None are madd, or feel defiant?

All govern full their kingdoms still?

All serve the giant with free will?”

Bar nodded yes and polka waltzed,

While Perla contemplated faults

Of people doing the giants will.

They all looked happy, smiling still.

“You can be just as happy too!”

Bar spoke gently, smiling through,

His eyes which sparkled deferential,

And probed hers deep for signs potential.

“Never Bar Kamal Kamock,

Will I be swayed by all this crock!

We took you in, we fed you grand,

But all you did was bite the hand…”

She stopped her speak and cut off short,

Lost of the words to her retort.

For there, holding her waltzing hand,

Was Bar’s white palm, five fingers and,

Without a single scratch or scuff,

As if it had not been cut off.

She grabbed the other from her waist,

And held up both in puzzled haste.

Her eyes met his, searching and lost,

Dropping his hands and arms now crossed.

Bar looked at her and calmly said,

“There are some things above your head,

That you will quite soon get to know,

Once a few days come and go.

We think that after you live here,

The grand picture will be quite clear.”

Lifting his hands he closed her lips,

Then placed them on her supple hips,

Feeling the daint of lacey lace,

And spoke intently to her face.

”After the ball we can more talk,

I’ll prove I am no monster mock.

I’ll show you my entire home.

The aviaries, the catacombs,

The stables and the dining halls,

The gardens and the water falls.

You’ll see that I am just like you,

Doing what I have to do,

To make best of a situation,

And live in safety in the nation.

But for now, enjoy this time,

Dance gay with me, share food and wine,

My home tonight has little strife,

Just for this eve, make it your life.

These people here acknowledge you,

As one of them, belonging too.”

And then the slow waltz changed its molka,

To happy, skippy, bouncy polka.

It made Perla think of love,

And dancing round the Blacksmith’s stove.

Just as at home the people here,

Where skipping dancing without care.

And that was when the part of her,

Stunned by the grace and the grandeur,

Of seeing happy people dance,

And sing and laugh and sigh romance,

With bodies moving tight in sway,

Made her caution melt away.

She observed Bar’s searching face,

Hypnotic eyes, no lying trace.

And her head felt oddly well,

Swooning under a happy spell.

With her heart at fluttered pace,

“How odd” she said, “to see this place,

Just as my sister always dreamed.”

Bar looked questioned, but she beamed,

And in her face the lines of tension,

Calmed with new appreciation.

After that her mood set changed,

And Perla felt no more deranged.

She danced, she drank, she talked, she ate,

She laughed with lords and ladies late,

About their lives, their fears, their cares,

Thanking them for welcome cheers.

She danced well past the mid of night,

Bar at her side, her shining knight.

When the lamp oil wicks burned low,

Bar took Perl’s hand and bid her go,

Apart with him through small side door,

That opened on a corridor.

It lead outside, where eyes would pardon

A stroll amid his moonlit garden.

Go she glad she did, and so they walked,

The garden pathway’s cobbled rocks,

While moon was full, and scent was sweet,

With petals growing at their feet,

Of daffodils, chrysanthemums,

And vines of roses, white and plum.

Tall birch trees swayed in gentle breeze,

And honey suckle buzzed with bees.

In garden center, on seat of stone,

Was where they sat, moonlit, alone,

When Bar soft said “sweet Perlameen

You are a princess, you have seen,

How grand your life-path could have been,

How still it may, what it can mean.

I’m sorry that we left your grove,

I took you because I’m in love,

And couldn’t leave without at least,

Confiding with you of the beast,

That fights to tell you of my heart.

I knew it from the very start,

When I woke up, and saw your face,

Tending me, in your bed’s place.

Perla said nothing for a space,

While down stone seat her fingers traced.

What were these feelings in her breast,

That left her dizzy, short of breath.

She peered up to the starry night,

A pure delight, the mood felt right,

And yet, still something seemed amiss.

She gazed at Bar confused at this,

With open mouth to speak distress,

Her heart contused, her mind a mess,

But to her lips Bar’s fingers went,

And whispered he, “don’t answer yet.

I’ve something for you, that is yours,

I’ve kept it for you safe in store.”

Bar’s face and cheeks flushed white and red,

He thrust one hand behind her head,

Then pulled it back in front of her,

Moving  quick, in such a blurr,

She felt his hand brush soft her locks,

Wherein he held a tiny box.

“My shoulder Pixie, Waterfall!”

Perla cried, in joyous thrall.

“I cannot open it” Bar said,

“I’ve tried and tried without much head.”

But Perla took the box she knew,

Straight from Bar's hand and softly blew.

Slowly, it opened and there indeed,

The shoulder Pixie slept and breathed.

Waterfall opened up her eyes,

Seeing Perla, stunned, surprised,

Observing Bar so close to her,

And wondered, wondered, where they were.

Spooked to alarm she flew up high,

Her pixie dust trailing the sky,

But then she saw the garden setting,

And calmed down some of her distressing.

At once she flew to Perla’s shoulder,

Glaring at Bar, green eyes bolder.

Perla laughed in sheer delight,

Doubts pushed away, or taken flight,

And then and there in garden’s bliss,

She planted Bar a deep-felt kiss.