Kindred Spirit Lodge Presents
Perils of Porky
Temple of Clarity
by Porky (Oisin's Steed)
Erudite and companionable Porky had always been a popular horse down at the stable block. She delighted in regaling her fellow stable-mates with stories of the hapless idiot she had carted around on her back for many seasons now. Much as an unfortunate donkey sometimes has to cart a sack full of turnips.
Each sojourn with the Bard only seemed to supply more tales of ineptitude, woe and ridicule to keep the stables a place of merriment well into the night long after the humans had retired.
One of Porky’s absolute favourites that she was called upon to relay over and over was the time when Oisin decided to pray…
Being of Bardic temperament Oisin was inclined to drift off from time to time and muse of the more existential enigmas of life, like why with all her talent wasn’t she rich? Or why wasn’t Aria her bed warmer? Or why when people got mad at her couldn’t they just pay her to go away instead of all that shouting? And most baffling of all, why did Rider always get the last bowl of breakfast cereal no matter how early O got up?
One day the questions came so thick and fast Oisin decided it was time to pay a visit to her current favourite goddess…Clarity. O had been very fond of Clarity for ages and had collected all the songs about her and had a lovely mural of her in a skimpy toga on her bedroom wall. She also read everything she could in the magazine of and about the gods…Halo.
Saddling up Porky they left at early dawn (mysteriously with no breakfast cereal again!) in the direction Oisin had heard the young goddess was rumoured to soon appear. As the sun grew stronger so did Oisin’s lust for life and she broke into many old favourites at full volume to entertain herself and her trusty steed.
“Won’t somebody bring me some water?
Can’t you see I’m burning alive?
Can’t you see my Lady’s got another..aargh..!”
Ears flattened against the hullabaloo Porky had successfully managed to drift under the forest canopy and aim for a low hanging cypress branch catching the Bard in full serenade right in the kisser. Blessed silence ensued as Oisin picked pine needles out of her tongue.
Before long they came across throngs of people heading towards the vast marbled temple where Clarity was said to perform later that day. Frowning Oisin was very perturbed, didn’t they know Clarity was her goddess, she’d known about her since her first appearance as a demi-god before she became anywhere near this worshipped. Now it seemed she had to buy a ticket to see her, and the Bard couldn’t afford one, not even on the blackest of markets!
Crestfallen, shoulders slumped in the saddle she let Porky amble past the mad confusion that surrounded the temple and move on deeper into the woods. Aimless, directionless, all the things she wouldn’t be if only she had some Clarity, what irony. There had to be a sonnet in there somewhere.
‘Let’s see,” Porky pondered to herself as she ambled along, “the survey map states there are pre-Dorian archaeological ruins nearby that pre date this crass example of Hellenistic architectural pomposity. Might as well stroll by and suck up a little culture while Dufus is having a sob.”
Sure enough the steady steed guided them through a dense jungle of hanging vine and matted greenery, where strange primeval hooting and howling echoed in the canopy above. The latter being the Bards new song borne out of depression at the price of Clarity tickets…
“Lady you can sleep while I ride…
I got a horse full of hay…
And I gotta get underway so…
Lady you can sleep while I ride.”
Of course this was all fuelled by the copious amounts of wine she had been guzzling from her wine flask. Oisin knew it wasn’t wise to Drink and Trot as it made the wine fizz inside so she was rather pleased when Porky came to a sudden stop. Well, rather pleased when she picked herself up off the ground. There before her, draped in the finery of the forest, tumbled down yet eerily majestic stood a small temple of indeterminable antiquity. Abandoned but not alone for deep within the merest glimmer of a candle wavered in the stagnant air. It seemed the small temple had at least one visitor.
Entering the temple through a veil of overhanging vines Oisin moved carefully forward, sword drawn with great trepidation. She found herself in the main chamber of worship, the small vestibule having collapsed eons ago.
There before her sat three women, a young girl, a matronly type and then somebody’s cranky old granny. All seemed to be helping the matronly one spin a vivid red thread. The younger one looked as if she was learning, the older giving never-ending advice and the middle smiling patiently at both companions as her nimble fingers flew over the thread.
“Must be an evening class.” Oisin mused as she sheathed her weapon and approached, “Maybe I can ask them to do me some new socks…nice thick winter ones.” She smiled and crunched up her toes at the thought.
“Halt Warrior!” suddenly the crone rose leaning heavily on her walking stick and pointed at her with no uncertain authority.
“Damn.” Thought Oisin, she’d over-stepped that invisible mark again looking at the floor as if there was a chalk line or something.
“Why have you come thither Warrior?”
“Thither?” Oisin frowned to herself, she’d never thithered in her life…unless it was a good thing in which case she probably came like that all the time. Maybe it was a cross between a groan and a…a tether? Yes, that deep grunting rattle of chains on the headboard as you climax and tense against the slack of the restraints…
The crone watched the thought patterns slowly slide across the Bards face before dropping off the edge. Sighing deeply she tried again, “Why are you here, dear?”
“Hmm, I wanted to see Clarity but the crowd’s too massive. She’d just be a dot in the distance.” Oisin’s lower lip protruded slightly.
“Maybe that means you need to move slowly towards her, in order to see clearer.”
“Nah, too many people.” Oisin made pushing motions, “No way through. Might as well just give up.”
“But if you want to bring Clarity into focus you need to persevere.”
“Nah, too much going on, I’d never focus from way back there. She’s a blur grandma.” Oisin waved her thumb and forefinger in front of the wise woman’s face, “A wee dot. Miles away she is.”
The crone sighed heavily and tried yet again, “Perhaps you need to concentrate on what you wish to see….”
“Nah. Told you she’s too…”
“IT’S A METAPHOR YOU OAF!”
Oisin regarded the old woman silently for a moment, a studied frown of concentration on her brow, “Is that like a thither?”
It took the Maiden and the Matron together to finally stop the Crone beating Oisin with her stick.
“You can’t do that! There’s rules about hitting people in class!” Oisin squeaked.
“This isn’t a classroom you idiot child! This is the Temple of the Fates!” the Crone finally stopped for breath. She felt great, it was the best aerobic exercise she’d had in years. Thrashing a youth for five minutes solid…what a brilliant fitness programme for her generation…someone should merchandise a scroll about it.
“Well I didn’t know that.” Oisin straightened petulantly from her hunched position, “Your sign musta fell down…along with your door…and vestibule…and sanity.” She mumbled the last throwing a glare at granny.
The Matron stepped forward, strategically placing herself between the Bard and her Elder.
“This is indeed the Temple of the Fates Oisin. Only those Destined Few are allowed to find it but their time here is short and they must earn the answer to that which they seek. Do you understand?”
Oisin just looked at her blankly.
“Nevermind.” The Matron took Oisin by the hand and led her to the Spinning Wheel, “Do you know what this is Oisin?”
“It’s a knitting machine.”
“No, it’s a Spinning Wheel.”
Delicately she lifted the thin red yarn in her fingers, “Do you know what this is Oisin?”
“No, it’s the Thread of Life. It is the beginning and the end of all mortal existence.”
Gently she let it drop from her finger tips.
Turning to Oisin she looked her kindly in the eye, “You are here for a reason my young Bard. Now what is your question?”
“Do you do socks?”
Frowning the Matron cast a longing glance at the Crones stick. A little snicker from across the room brought her gaze round to a horses head leaning through a crumbling aperture.
“Is that your horse?”
Oisin glanced casually over her shoulder, “Yea, that’s Porky. She’s a stupid old mare.” Here she cast a quick hard look at granny. “She’s just being nosy s’all. Must miss me…”
Porky tugged on an appropriate vine and a small bucketful of dust, debris and spiders fell from the desolate ceiling onto the Oisin’s head. The Matron frowned again at the concise diametric that allowed the tweak on the vine by the window to skillfully and precisely dump rubble onto the Bards head. She wondered if a stronger tug might deposit masonry on her challenging visitor; she wondered if it would even be noticed!
Several violent sneezes cleared much of the litter off head and shoulders but unfortunately projected a lot of it wetly in the direction of the middle Fate. The Lady was becoming very tired of her Destined One, “Look, just tell me your question, all right?”
“Dunno. Didn’t think I had one.” Oisin snuffled, “Mmm, let me think, what’s the…no, why does…no, when will…”
“Oh fer heavens sake!” huffed Porky, “Ask me! I want to know how the Universe can expand faster than the Speed of Light if light itself bends in gravitational fields caused by matter?” she looked at the Matron hopefully.
“Oh, I know…” Oisin suddenly became animated, Porky groaned and hung her head, “…if love is blind why do we have lingerie?”
The Matron lunged for the stick but the Maiden swung it away out of her reach much to the disapproval of the Crone who felt everyone should have more exercise.
“No.” Now the young girl spoke, “She is here for a reason and we must set her tasks even if she has no true question as yet.”
Turning towards the Bard she gracefully approached, hips sensuously swaying, pert breasts high and proud. “Oisin Warrior Bard of Erin, I have a task for you.”
The Matron stood before her, “Oisin Warrior Bard of Erin, I have a task for you.”
And next the Crone, “Oisin Warrior Bard of Erin, I have a task for you.”
Oisin shoulders slumped all she’d wanted was a little bit of Clarity.
A hush fell and the candles flickered as the Maiden intoned her Task, “To me you must bring the tresses of a virgin. In recompense for this I will spin the Thread of Life and imbue the forces of youth and vigour into its very fibre for you.”
Oisin’s eyes twinkled at the sweet young thing and she casually swaggered over hand reaching towards the Maidens own beautiful blonde curls, “Well maybe I don’t have that far to look sweetness if you’ll only let me snip a little…”
Slap! The Crone gave Oisin’s hand a hefty crack with her own and placed herself full square between the Bard and the furiously blushing young girl. Oisin stepped back rapidly keeping a wary eye on the black Hawthorne stick by the old bats side.
A distant rumble of thunder accompanied the Crones Task as she delivered it, all the while giving O the evil eye, “Bard, bring me a creature that has four legs in the morning, two at noon but stands on three by nightfall and I shall imbue the Thread with wisdom…”
Oisin smirked, she was a Bard, and had heard this story a hundred times. The answer was Mankind; four legs as a baby crawling, two as an adult walking and finally in this case three as a cranky old bat with a stick… Ha Ha! Suck it up grandma one down two to…
“…and the answer’s not Mankind!” The cranky old bat smirked right back.
Oisin twitched, “D’oh!...Is it a star fish, a badly injured star fish? With its legs growing back?” Granny just kept smirking evilly.
The Matron placed a kindly arm around the young Bards shoulders and led her away from the other two flustered Fates. “Oisin, you can’t find the meanings immediately, you have to search for your answer. And your answer will be unique to you, not found in some ancient scroll or right under your nose.” She gently explained.
“Is it some sort of caterpillar? That’s having a very long fight with a spider and…”
“Sssh, Oisin.” She placed cool fingers upon the Bards lips to still her. “Here is my Task. You must bring me a piece of your heart. And if you do I will spin Love into your Thread.”
This statement was accompanied by lightening. Oisin jumped and then turned to look at the Matron, “My heart? But it’s standing here right beside you.”
“Not really Oisin.”
“Yes it is.”
“No, not really.”
“Do we have to get into metaphors again???”
“Okay, okay.” Oisin muttered huffily, “But I think you lot are cheating. I can see all the answers in this room already…a maiden’s hair, my heart and a silly old woman with a stick!”
“What did I just say about the answers not being right under your nose!” the Matron scolded her patience wearing thinner than it ever had in an eon of minding the affairs of mankind and the very gods themselves.
“And what am I gonna do with all this thread?” Oisin continued to moan.
“The Thread is Clarity, Oisin. Complete the Tasks and the Thread will become stronger and longer and Clarity will prevail. Otherwise Her time will be foreshortened.”
Oisin gasped horrified, “You mean she’ll disappear as a Goddess!”
“Yes!” cackled the Crone, “For every Goddess there are a million demi-goddesses waiting in the wings to steal Their worship. Even as we speak the usurper Beyonce gathers her disciples.” Oisin gasped even more horrified.
“See Oisin,” The Matron led her towards the door, “If you fail in your Tasks Clarity will be lost forever and a new goddess will rise to replace Her. You have until the New Moon. Cheerio.” With that she pushed the Bard out into the rain storm outside where a sodden Porky stood looking miserably at her.
Sighing she gathered her reins and swung up into the saddle, “Okay Porky, first things first. We gotta find a virgin. Where better to start than back at the Lodge. I have just the very frigid little madam in mind!”
“Give it up bitch!” The dagger glinted in the early morning sunlight as it shone through into the Lodge dining room.
“Have you finally lost the last morsel of mush you try to pass off as a brain!” squealed Astral at her armed assailant.
“Get your scrawny ass round here now before I take a bigger chunk outta you than I need to.”
“You so much as lay one finger on me and so help me Hecate I’ll project your clitoris into the next county…unattached!”
Oisin hesitated, could the inept wizard do it? Did O want her clitoris in another county, it pays to advertise but what if she couldn’t get it back??
“AH-HA!” Astral leapt dramatically into the ‘position’ not unlike a ninja only slightly more wizardly.
“Eeep!” Oisin backed off both hands swooping to protect her girly bits.
This slight hesitation was all the time Astral needed to make a quick break for the door as fast as her feet would take her.
“Oh no you don’t, Sneakyshanks!.” O’s quick leap brought them both back into contention across a broad dining table which they both slowly circled.
“Think you can fool me? You’re all magicked out you has been! You couldn’t project that dish from one end of this table to the oth…”
The dish in question was quickly snatched up and flung directly at her head.
“Ack!” she howled.
“Suck on crockery pigface!” Astral tried a feint in the opposite direction to which they circled, Oisin shuffled to shut down her attempted escape. Again they slowly circled.
“Gimme a lock of your hair!” she bellowed.
“No! Why?” Astral yelled belligerently back.
“Cos you’re a frigid, under-sexed, unfuckable, cootie-ridden virgin! And I need a lock of your greasy stringy hair for an ugly voodoo doll!”
“Fuck you! I am NOT a virgin! I’ve been with Darla O’Grady and…”
“Hah! EVERYONE’S been with Darla O’Grady! A WORM has better finger action that Darla O’Grady! Believe me if that’s all you had up you you’re still intact, now get over here and…”
“And Rider…I’ve been with Rider…so there!”
“D’oh!” Oisin couldn’t believe it, her first Task blown out of the water by the randy Stable Master, “Typical, bleedin typical! You couldn’t trust that woman with one little virgin, not for one little minute!” Oisin ranted waving arms and dagger about in her huff.
At that exact moment the good Captain entered the dining hall and hesitated on seeing two of the younger Lodgers either side of a table in an aggressive stand off, one armed and the other decidedly edgy. “Ahem!” She cleared Her throat.
“Eeek…” Oisin threw herself into a guilty attention turning to face the Captain whilst hiding the knife behind her back. Astral, at last regenerated of a modicum of magical energy threw her arms in the air wildly, “Exitus shit fasticum!” and exited in a mighty boom and puff of acrid blue smoke.
“Aaaargh…wheeze…gasp!” Oisin fell to her knees clutching her throat gasping for air, before her the Captain stood impassively for a moment watching the youngster writhe and twitch theatrically on the floor before calmly turning and exiting without a word. “Ye gods,” thought Oisin as she tearfully crawled towards the nearest exit, “Doesn’t the Woman ever breathe?”
Less than an hour later Oisin was perched morosely on Porky’s back as they ambled down to town for an afternoon tipple at Ye Olde Squeaky Duck. “Oh Porky, it’s useless. The Tasks are impossible and Clarity is already lost. Curse you Astral you sneaky little trollop!” she waved her fist futilely at the clouds above.
Head bowed lost in her own self pity she didn’t pay attention to anything until Porky came to a halt. Raising her gaze O expected to be before the Duck, gods knew Porky could take her there and back blindfolded and in fact had done on many an occasion. This time her stupid steed had gotten disorientated and taken her to another part of town, poor Porky was getting senile it seemed. Suddenly Oisin noticed where they had come to a halt. A huge happy grin spread across her face…of course! Arias old hairdressers, before they’d flung her out for taking overly generous liberties with the truth!...and the staff if the rumours were right.
“Now why didn’t I think of this before? It’s a good job you’re as lucky as I’m smart Porky.” Dismounting she bounded up the steps and entered the ‘Celibate Curl: Hair Emporium for the Pure and Chaste’ with a tinkle of the door bell.
Oisin picked herself out of the dust; she had lasted just twelve seconds in the Celibate Curl before being ejaculated in the strongest possible manner to land at Porky’s hooves in an indignant heap.
Rising to her feet and straightening out her jerkin she waved a fist in the general direction of the Hair Emporium, “You better believe I’m NOT gonna recommend you to all the Ladeez at the Lodge!”
“HAH!” Came back the desultory answer.
Clambering onto Porky they both gave an outraged snort and trotted off. No sooner had they rounded a corner than Oisin giggled, leaning into Porky’s ear she shook a fistful of tresses and whispered, “As they were dragging me by my heels across the floor all this hair got scooped up in my jerkin. We got our virgin tresses Porky! Whoohoo, one Task down two to go…d’oh!”
She remembered the Crones Task…the critter that walked on four legs then…damn…evil old bat! “Let’s do that one last Porky. What was the other one? Oh yes, a piece of my heart…d’oh!”
Oisin became more and more dispirited as they left the small town far behind and headed back towards the Temple. She was clueless as to how to complete the last two tasks. Deeper into the forest they meandered with hanging heads, “Perhaps if I took my dagger and nicked the smallest sliver offa my heart? I wonder what part of it is least used?” Oisin mulled and mused aloud.
Porky just rolled her eyes and looked for a suitable low hanging branch to shut the Bard up. “Pity it wasn’t a piece of her brain, we could offer the whole lot up on a platter with absolutely no side effects!” The horse thought dourly.
“Oh look…” Oisin reigned Porky in and they stopped to look at a wooden sign nailed to a nearby tree, “Wicked Witch Wendy’s One Stop Shop for Weary Warriors. We sell Cream Teas 50 cents.” She read excitedly.
Porky frowned funnily enough her translation went something like... ‘Come to the Hellhole of Agonising Death. Only the stupid need apply. We sell your Creamed Knees for 50 cents.’
“Thank gods Porky, it’s about time we got a break! I’m gasping for a cuppa.”
Usually Oisin could never get Porky anywhere Porky did not wish to go. In fact it was Porky who managed the logistics of all the Bards horseback movements. But on this occasion the lure of a cup of tea was too much and by pulling and pushing and being the more mulish of the two (which actually happened more regularly than expected) Oisin finally managed to bribe and bully poor Porky up the lane to Wicked Witch Wendy’s One Stop Shop.
This unfortunately turned out to be a ratty old tumble down cottage in a terrible state of disrepair. “Can I help you young’un?” a wheezing cackle came from behind making all the hairs on Oisin neck stand on end. She turned slowly and her eyes began to stream at the foul stench emanating from the bent and gnarled little goblinized witch before her.
“Ack...” Oisin opened her mouth to speak but only managed to inhale more of the odorous filth.
“What say ye, young’un?”
“Ack…” O thought she was gonna lose her lunch then and there her stomach protested so much at the company she was keeping. Even Porky staggered slightly under the heavy wave of decaying evil.
“Ack..ack..ack..tually,” she finally managed to rise above her near faint, “I was wondering what happened to your One Stop Shop. Looks like you had an accident.”
“Ah yes,” the truncated beldame wheezed, “an experiment with gingerbread that went horribly wrong.”
“Gingerbread as a building material? How ingenious!”
“Not if the birds get at it!”
She eyed the young warrior bard up and down as if calculating weight times hours in the oven…unless of course she was in the mood for sushi, then it would be so much quicker. “So young’un, what brings you here in need of a nice Cream Tea?”
“Oh forget the tea, I’m not hungry anymore,” Oisin suddenly felt another wave of biliousness at the thought of this grubby little woman anywhere near foodstuffs. “I’m on a quest to deliver a bit of my heart and I’m not sure how to extract it.”
A dark cold gleam lit up the beady little eyes.
‘Oh shit, here we go!’ thought Porky.
“Don’t you worry young’un, I can help you separate your heart from your body.”
“You can?” Oisin’s face lit up with hope.
“Of course I can. Are you sure you don’t want tea? After all you have arrived at suppertime!” and with that she cackled wildly and thumped her stick repeatedly on the trampled earth.
Oisin and Porky looked at her with great discomfort at the screwball behaviour until they heard a heavy fluttering and flapping as if of a thousand leathery wings. It pulled their attention away from the now shrieking crone as a dense dark cloud sprung up from the remnants of the cottage. It spun momentarily in a liquid mass and stilled before swooping down upon the frozen bard and her valiant steed.
At the last possible moment, even as she reached for her sword Oisin watched with horror as a swarm of blood bats fell down on her in their hundreds.
Disclaimer: Rider is not allowed to read this section of the story. Would all Stable Masters please move straight to part 8. Thank you.
The shrill whistling of the black seething mass echoed in the clearing chilling all other forest life into silence. Part of this cacophony was the Bards own screams and she vainly swung her sword at her liquid tormentors. Every wild slash flashing though the vile cloud only succeeded in parting it like so much water, very few bats fell to her blade.
Gliding and sliding under her swing they soon attached themselves to every available surface of her body whether cloth or flesh, their small fang rimmed suckers sniping into her skin draining her blood away in a hundred tiny swallows. Her free hand grimly fastened on the oily black bodies vainly ripping one after the other off and stamping it onto the ground, only for it’s vacancy to be replaced by two more from the brood. Tiny emaciated leathery carcasses began to swell and plump up as they ingested the Bards freely flowing blood as her heart beat drummed her quickly towards death.
Beside her she could hear the horrific screams from poor defenseless Porky. She bucked and reared and whinnied in agony and horror as her entire body was engulfed with the maddening creatures. Her large eyes and ears were a particular target for the hellish bloodsuckers and as each engorged body fed and fell away replete another took it place and feasted on the poor animals flesh. Her agony was immense and added completion to Oisin’s own as she tried and failed to help her mount. And yet Porky wouldn’t run, she refused to streak from the glade and leave the Bard behind. She reared and roared hooves lashing and stomping on what few of the frail bodies she could dislodge.
In minutes both Bard and horse were weakened almost beyond endurance. The evil cackles of the witch as she watched her pets slowly devour her victims enraged Oisin more than even the hellish blur that surrounded her. She could hear the phlegmatic gloating to her right and in one act of pure malevolence towards the architect of her agony she blindly swung her sword in a mighty slash and cleaved the head clean off the unsuspecting witch. So sudden was the whipcord decapitation the hag’s body stood momentarily frozen, perched on her magic cane.
All was still for one otherworldly minute and then with a bloodcurdling shriek the mass of black hell flayed itself from its feast and in a spiraling cloud of vileness poured itself into the gaping neck of their beheaded Mistress. Down into the caverns of her carcass they flooded in their hundreds magically absorbed by the remains of that which made them.
Freed from the agony Oisin fell to her knees totally torn and weakened by her blood loss. Beside her Porky staggered in equal pain and shock until she too fell, her bloodied flanks heaving as she fought to draw in air.
For minutes they lay together struggling for separate survival. Then Oisin crawled towards her stricken steed distraught at the condition of the poor animal. Ripped, shredded and blinded Porky lay heaving breath through her torn mouth and bloodied nostrils. She was dying. Oisin draped her arms across the thickly muscled neck and buried her face in the matted mane and howled in abject heartache.
“Oh Porky, Porky, what have I done to you. I love you Porky please don’t die. Please Porky please…” She struggled to her feet and grabbed the bridle determined to drag the horse off the ground and onto its feet. Any thing, anything but leave her lying there, anything that gave her an excuse not to die. She pulled and yelled and admonished, and slowly, slowly the blinded beast rose, weak and suffering but always responding to the Bards tearful voice.
Oisin didn’t know what to do. Where was the nearest help? How could she lead her blinded companion? If she left to find Rider she knew Porky would fall down again and die.
“Come with me Porky. Please follow me. Please girl.” She kissed the snout tearfully knowing she was asking the impossible. Porky managed to limp with her for several steps before stilling, too weak and injured to continue on a mangled leg.
NB: No horses were hurt in the writing of this section…only Bards. Please do not attempt to emulate this on a Bard at home.
Night was falling and the cold air rushed down from the surrounding mountains. She had led them both to the very gates of Hell with her stupidity. She was losing her best friend because of it.
The soft call came in triplicate. Oisin raised her tear blurred vision towards the sound. Three figures emerged from the descending gloom…The Fates.
“Can you help me.” She called back, her voice thick with emotion. “Porky’s dying. Please help me.”
“The Tasks Oisin?” the Matron came into focus as she came closer to the bedraggled Bard.
“I failed the Tasks. Help Porky, please. Help Porky and I’ll do a million Tasks. Honest I will. I’ll do anything. I’ll try harder. I promise…I promise…anything.” her ragged sobs distorted her words.
The Crone leaned into her tearstained retched face, “Four legs in the morning, two in the noon, and three at night.”
“I don’t knowwww…..” Oisin wailed distraught, “I don’t know!”
“It is your horse.” The Crone answered, “She cantered to town this morning, she reared on two and fought this noon and now she limps on three and dies.”
Oisin just shook her head confused and bereft, chest heaving with aching sobs.
The Maiden approached and gently whispered, “The maiden’s hair Oisin.”
Oisin slowly dragged her hands across her body, her jerkin was shredded her cargo of tresses long lost. Her shoulders slumped, her hands fell defeated.
“Your hand Oisin. You are caressing the mane of your horse. She is a maiden animal, un-mated. You are holding her hair.” Oisin just looked at the younger Fate stupidly and rubbed her runny nose absently, her eyes sullen with lost hope and failed understanding.
The Matron stood before her now, “Oisin, your heart is broken because you are losing you companion and friend. You have brought me a million pieces of your fractured heart. All Tasks are completed.”
Oisin’s chest and throat hurt so much with pain for Porky she could hardly speak, “I don’t care about the stupid tasks. Help Porky, please. You can do magic…make her better…please!”
The Matron produced with a hank of scarlet yarn, “This the Thread of Life spun on the Wheel of Fate. It is full of vigour and strength, wisdom and love. It is yours.”
“Will all that stuff heal Porky?” the Bard asked hopefully, fat tears still streamed down her ripped cheeks. “And Clarity?” she was asked. Oisin shook her head, “Porky is the most important thing in the world to me…” she answered in a thick voice.
“Then you already have Clarity Oisin.”
The Matron placed the hank around Porky’s neck as a garland.
The trees swirled until all the greens and browns and earthen tones ran into one, the starlit sky spun, and Bard and horse collapsed gently onto grass as strong magic enfolded them.
A strong sun and happy birdsong awoke them. The skies blazed with cerulean blue and bees hummed energetically nearby. Both blinked with bright focused eyes and leapt upward with eagerness and an immense hunger. It was going to be a good day, the sharp air told of great adventures and happy outcomes.
Smiling Oisin bounded up on Porky’s back, and with a loving stroke to the glossy coat pointed them both back towards the Lodge.
“You know Porky I had the weirdest dream…and guess what? No hangover! Whoohoo! I think I want waffles for breakfast.”
As they trotted off Porky took a last look over her shoulder at the little tumble down ivy encrusted Temple of the Fates that the Bard had not even noticed. They had mysteriously come into consciousness before it. With a quick toss of her head and a little whiney Porky paid her respects as she bore her cargo away on a path the Bard would never again find.
As they rode Oisin failed also to notice the new adornment stitched onto the
leather of Porky's saddle, three stars embroidered in thick shimmering red
Continued in - 'Porky's Perils; Puppy Farm' - by Porky (Oisin's mare)
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