Ádhamh, the Paladin, Tiger-soul, the Elf, and the Watermaid, Líadan

*

A Poetic Fantasy….

A rippled stream through woodlands ran
wending through giant trees and tangled fern
rippled and sang all the way ‘round the foothill, through the woods
and onto to the  calm reflective bay;

Juniper grew beside cherry beside oak beside ancient fig
ferns and mosses in twined disarray  sprung from dappled bank
and half-hidden caves…

And it was there, where lay-lines met and energy sizzled
where rippled stream and foothills met
it was there amid the layers of dappled green
that Tiger-Soul sought the council of Ádhamh, Paladin of the Forestways…

Ádhamh sat in thoughtful repose…
A golden feather held gently between his fingers –
but still he knew Tiger-Soul had entered the glade
and bade the young elf come hither;
“You are troubled, little friend” Ádhamh murmured
“yea that I am”… with this Tiger-soul drew from his pocket
an amethyst crystal of purest beauty and what appeared to be
an ancient artifact in the form of a carved wooden stick
adorned with ancient symbols and etched with endless swirls;”
Tiger-soul’s hands shook… “and I see you have acquired a golden feather”

Ádhamh held the amethyst up to the light…
“Have you ever seen the amethyst
shine so brightly as now?” he muttered, almost as if to himself
“Where did you find it?”

The elf shook his head, cornsilk hair gleaming in stippled sunrays
“Well, I can’t talk Porpoise, but one momentarily lunged upon the shore, depositing it at my feet”
Tiger-soul paused… “a message I should think”

“It would appear so… and the Talking-stick? Where did you find that?”asked Ádhamh.

“The old grey wolf, Múirnín, dumped it at my feet” Tiger-soul said… “take it to Ádhamh he growled
And here I am;
And what of you Ádhamh? Where did the golden feather come from?”

“It was dropped from the sky by a goshawk” Ádhamh responded, his eyes lost
in a far-away gaze.

“This does not bode well for Líadan” the elf shook his head.

“It does not bode well at all … ahh my sweet Líadan, my willow-the-wisp watermaid… my mavourneen” Ádhamh allowed himself a moment of whimsy
before leaping into action…
“The Talking-stick indicates that the Crone of the Sea has acquired a concave mirror
and is using it to imprison Líadan’s spirit… she languishes in perpetual sleep!”

“The amethyst, of course, represents Líadan herself and the golden feather can only have come from one place… the crags above the watery tomb of those lost at sea… for that where the golden eagle nests..
the old Crone must have Líadan in the sea- cave that opens into the bay…”
Ádhamh paced furiously, trampling  Ruby-hued wildflowers and fragrant clovers;
“I’ll not linger a moment longer” he said to Tiger-soul  “Do you travel with me Tiger? Distinguish your path, soul of light, for those who do, balance their plight…
… and forever a hero be”

“I come” was all Tiger-soul said.

*

Paladin & Elf travelled the path of the sun… wading over narrow streamlets
listening, as they walked, to the wise whispers of the trees.

“Have you ever found yourself half way up a tree, enthralled with the tales
etched into the very fibre of the bark?”  Tiger-soul asked.

“Aye” Ádhamh chuckled softly… “many a time.”
My greatest delight is laying on the overhanging oak branch
the one that juts out across the break where stream meets bay…
… for there I  meet my Líadan, tales to share”
“ We will rescue her Ádhamh” the Elf offered quietly.

But Ádhamh’s face was creased with a determined set and he spoke no more.
*

The un-named sea cave was known to all as the home of the old crone… seaweed entwined her hair… waving behind her like slimy eels when she swam;
she was green and mean, wove nightmares from dreams
and conjured up the wicked of might of storms.
But she had a weakness, Ádhamh knew and had not come unprepared;

The Elf could swim better than the Paladin and so it was Tiger-soul who plunged into the cool salty waters of the bay… on a mission to find Octopoda, the Mother of all octopuses in the 11 oceans… and personal friend & guardian of the watermaid Líadan.
Octopoda and Tiger-soul arrived at the mouth of the yawning damp cave
filled as it was, with hollow winds and watery echoes;

Octopoda had turned ashen grey with rage and in each of her tentacles she held loosely woven net bags, filled with the purest amethyst on land and in the sea… amethyst- the old sea crone’s one weakness…

The three rescuers entered the cave with silent stealth… creeping, sliding, slipping
through dank darkness and putrid air… until
until they reached the central cavern, where lounged The old Sea Crone, picking her teeth with
a starfish thorn…

Ádhamh saw Líadan’s prone form crumpled on a mound of seaweed… she did not move, and
to Ádhamh it seemed she did not breath…
Rage and fear and love boiled over inside his soul… only Octopoda managed to foil the Paladin’s  reckless plunge towards his sweet Líadan’s side…

*

Octopoda had rendered herself invisible… amethyst seeming to float and dance in sprays of light…
… and the sea crone who saw only the glimmer of crystal was, soon enchanted, then mesmerized; Octopoda’s tentacles wavered & danced
teasingly close… until the old crone spun with delirious fervor…
…  Ádhamh ran to scoop Líadan up into his embrace- but no!
his movements caught the sea crone’s eye… and she screeched
like all the banshees in the world, shattering the air and piercing everyone’s souls…

All but Octopoda were caught in the sea crone’s trap of noise… and Octopoda hastened her sinuous movements, amethyst tantalizing the crones gaze once more…
Ádhamh threw Líadan over his masculine shoulder, racing the watermaid back across the cavern to the vast opening…
… and Octopoda gave the sea crone her prize… 36 bags of amethyst, piled atop the crone like a burial cairn and her banshee howl ceased;

*

Silence descended upon the cave… filled only with hollow winds and watery echoes;
On the soft warm bank of the bay, Líadan woke to find herself in Ádhamh’s gentle embrace…
… she looked around, seeing Tiger-soul and Octopoda… a hushed calm breathed across the land
as day and twilight mingled;
Shimmer did the trees, she thought… how moonlight becomes them.
*
Image and Poetic Fantasy by SharonleeGoodhand ©26-Jan-15

ÁDHAMH: Irish form of Hebrew Adam, meaning “earth” or “red.”

LÍADAN: Irish Gaelic name derived from the word liath “grey,” hence “grey lady.” In legend, this is the name of a poetess.

MAVOURNEEN: Irish name derived from the phrase mo múirnín, meaning “my honey, my sweet one.”

3 thoughts on “Ádhamh, the Paladin, Tiger-soul, the Elf, and the Watermaid, Líadan

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