Chapter 33

Spellbound


In the carriage, Poepilandia,

And her sister hugged ad nausea,

While Perlameen’s handmaiden there,

Named one Andria, combed Poepi’s hair.

“Welcome home!” Perlameen said.

“Home?” said Poepi, shaking head.

“I know it is confusing you,

To see me in this gown of blue.

You must wonder, how it is,

That I am here, with Bar and his,

Acting like one full compliant,

With the jailer and the Giant.

All will soon be clear to you,

Once we reach our castle’s view!”

Then Andria got straight to work,

Humming with a little smirk,

Pouring water into a basin,

Stripping Poepi, and stepping her in.

She scrubbed off Poepi, all the grime,

Cleaning her cuts and Girloi slime.

She donned and put fresh underclothes,

On Poepi’s bottom, and her nose,

And perfumed her with sent of lilac,

And laced her hair, and tied it back,

With ribbons red, and white, and blue,

And weaved them into hair braids too.

A mirror in Poepi’s hands she placed,

Who did not recognize the face.

“Oh Perlameen! I’m beautious!”

Poepi gasped, incredulous,

That only just a few hours past,

Through a monster’s mouth she’d passed.

“You are a princess” said her sister,

Methodical eyes, checking her.

And then she said, “I must confess,

You were born to wear this dress!”

And from a covered basket there,

Andria showed a dress with care.

And as she did, the bright sun shone,

Through carriage windows, reflecting on,

The most magnificent weave of dress,

That could belong, to a princess.

Without a wrinkle or a fold,

Its woven fabric, orange gold,

Was trimmed with silver metal lace,

While chains of velvet lined the waist.

Studded diamonds covered its breast,

In feathered rows, up to the neck.

The sleeves had studs of jade sewn in

Spiraled from shoulders, to open end,

And in the skirt, there was a pattern,

Of flying birds, plump and fattened,

That ran to waist and back to hem,

Wound through tight with sapphire gems.

Her face amazed, her sadness gone,

Poepilandia put it on.

It felt as smooth as mother’s milk,

Soft as clouds, sheer as silk,

Smelling well of sweet perfume,

Like a fragrance warm in June.

Its weight was light and airy fluffy,

But made no sound or crinkles scruffy.

Dressed up in the matching hues,

Of pinks and reds and greens and blues,

Amid the orange and the golds

That shone and beamed, bright and bold,

Poepi held her skirts and sighed,

And for the first time, felt inside,

The princess that she longed to be,

Closing eyes, and filled with glee.

Opening them, she looked outside,

Drop jawed at the sights she spied.

For as the carriage, emerged from trees,

It drove a road, cobbled and clean,

With stone, and cut red marble brick,

Upon which wheels and horseshoes clicked.

The cobbles lined beside wide lawns,

With grazing deer, and rabbits, and fauns,

Among tall trees, in regal stances,

And jays and robins in their branches.

On the lawns, groomed gardens grew,

Roses, and tulips and daffodils too,

While workers bent, weeding and pruning,

Beneath the sun, their pointed hats moving,

Slowly amid the beautiful setting,

Stopping to smile, unrelenting.

What country is this?” Poepi sighed,

Giving a sniff and drying her eyes,

Gawking wide, at all they could see.

Perlameen smiled. “This is your country!”

“Now you are near, right next to me,

And we can live here, and each of us be,

A Princess of Islegrove, in the Grand City!

Regal, and loyal, with nobody’s pity!

For we are just like the others here,

Royal monarchs, from far and near,

Who left their castles out of hand,

To govern, fairly, from this land.

In this place we all shall be,

A common class, a family,

Each with lands, and brand new castles,

And servants, and horses, and past times and vassals.

They are waiting for you and me,

To welcome us in revelry!”

“City?” said Poepi. “what city? I thought…”

But then she looked out, through window, and caught,

Sight of the trees and the gardens departing,

While far up ahead, the brilliant sun starting,

To shine on spires and buildings in view,

Looking like nothing Poepi knew.

The red cobble road climbed up and down,

And wound around, and around, and around,

In among, the sky scraped towers,

A lady bug, amid the flowers.

As coach wandered in among them,

Poepi marveled, mouth hung open,

And people walking on the streets,

Stopped and cheered, hoping to greet,

The passing coach, as if they knew,

Who Poepi was, and what she’d do.

But what shocked most, from tall to small,

Was what she noticed, last of all.

The people were clean. They did not look,

Haggard or hopeless, or hungry or shook,

By any lifestyle they were leading,

Or any workload they were deeding.

Their tummies were round, and chins were too,

The old had teeth, the children had shoes,

And shops of commerce, lined the streets.

A-hustle with bustle, of people who meet.

The pleasure and leisure of company,

Was everywhere, everywhere, plain to see,

And Poepi stared, confusing faced,

Stunned to see, this idyllic place,

Alive in a world, she never knew,

Where flags of the hated giant flew.

“I expected, I expected….”

“Poepi stuttered, disconnected,

That all the lands the Giant holds,

Would be haggard, its people cold,

And disenchanted, with their lot,

Wishing only, to be forgot.

“And that’s what I thought.” Perla nodded,

“When Bar stole me, from the cottage.

But People here, are truly free,

And live their lives most happily!

There are mothers, there are fathers,

There are sons, grandparents daughters,

All with fortune living lives,

Who thrive beneath the giant’s eyes.”

Poepi shook in disbelief.

Her face scrunched up, and teared in grief.

Her mournful mouth pointed down,

Her past a weight, upon her frown.

But then she looked outside once more,

And knew what Perla said for sure,

Was true, and that in this country,

The citizens were kind and free.

She smiled a broad epiphany,

At this visual symphony,

And as she thought, twirling locks,

Perla presented Poepi a box.

“Quick” Perla said, “Lift the lid!”

And pausing a moment, Poepi did.

Inside the box a lovely crown,

Of platinum and jewels round,

Inlaid with gold and metal lace,

Greeted Poepi’s astonished face.

“A grand princess of Islegrove,

Is who you are!” Perl said with love.

“And now a joyous celebration,

Shall precede your taking station,

As a monarch of your nation!

Welcome to your coronation!”

The carriage stopped, and Poepi propped,

Her eyes to heaven, as door popped,

Slowly open by footman’s hands,

Letting in a cheer of thousands.

As Poepi stepped out, voice all gone,

Her bright crown flashed, a beacon shone,

As did the gems and gold inlaid,

As did the silver, in her braids,

As did the rubies, round her waist,

As did all gems, that had been spaced,

And sewn with reverential spiff,

Into her dress, and it was if,

A billion voices screamed their worth,

And sun’s fire lived, and walked the earth.

Up steep steps, each widely paced,

With spires and walk-ways, interspaced,

Poepi slow and slow ascended,

Holding Perla, never-ended,

Until they reached the very top.

“Will the cheering ever stop?”

She thought, facing the frenzied host,

Legions wide, their voices lost,

As pebbles scattered on a beach,

Faces blurred, minds out of reach.

In Poepi’s heart, something caved,

Her face lit up, and she waved,

At the thousands waving waving back.

Her throat swallowed, her lips smacked,

Then she smiled, eyes wide cracked,

With flames of joy, burning track,

Back and forth, back and forth,

Feeling megalomanic growth.

Perla watched her awestruck sister,

And for a moment, gently kissed her.

And when Perl tugged on Poepi’s arm,

Poepi felt none, for the charm,

Of adulation held her well,

Captured underneath its spell.

Into the palace Poepi stepped,

And all her nagging doubts, had left,

With complete, capitulation,

To her childhood aspiration.

The servants curtsied, and bowed low

With guardsmen in saluting rows,

While Perl and Bar Kamal Kamock,

(Rejoining them from soldier stock)

Watched with every satisfaction,

Poepilandia’s reaction.

“I take my leave” he said, low bowed,

Kissing Perla’s cheek and brow,

And she kissed back, with affection

Hugging him in loves affliction.

Their hands traced down each others arms,

Until at last their fingers warm,

Released each other and they turned,

In quiet regret, and gentle burn,

To face their next respective task.

Bar left before Poepi could ask,

Where his presence was now due,

And what it was, that he might do.

“Poepilandia, I love you!”

Perlameen squealed, delighted true,

With arms wide opened for embrace,

At last enthroned, and face to face.

“I have some things to show you, Poepi!

So take my hand and come with me!

The garden walks, the palace rooms,

The stables yards, the weaving looms,

Our ballroom halls, the choir’s verse,

And many splendid goods of commerce,

I will show to you, and more,

As we explore the giant’s shore.

The world for me has drastic changed.

It was before, confused deranged.

The people here, their loves, their friends,

All live their lives, to their own ends.

Among the many living here,

The Giant is revered, and feared,

For bringing forth prosperity,

As in the coming months you’ll see.”

Poepi nodded, caution free,

Eager all these things to see.

She laughed out loud, feeling proud,

Stepping back out to the crowds,

And as they cheered in revelry,

Poepi shouted, “Perla show me!”

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