The Knight of Cups returns to us for the second time in a row and it’s time for another segment in the Tale. If you remember, we saw Rasha preparing for her journey at the end of A Tale: White Horses.
One night, Rasha dreamed of her previous journey as Death’s companion. As dreams do, the images shifted from the remembered and familiar to the new and strange. She was walking through an enormous cave with high vaulted ceilings and unworked stone walls. It was brightly lit by starlight and moonlight shining through a tall arched window at the far end. As she approached the window, she heard, “it’s time, daughter, to find your people.”
Rasha sat up in her bed and looked out her own small window in her small home and saw the dawn was breaking. She knew it was time to complete her preparations and begin her journey. Today.
After placing the last few items in her pack, she swept out the house, and closed the door. She did not know if she would return again, but that was true in her previous journey, so she did not worry. Her silver armor was stored in the small barn with the white horse. “It’s time for us to go, Vala,” she said as she saddled up the jennet and then eased herself into the armor.
Swinging herself into the saddle, she clucked to Vala who trotted out and down the path she had arrived on. They were on their way.
Since Rasha had no clear idea of where to go, she headed toward the nearest city where she had heard there was a wise king. She decided to petition him for guidance. Once she had a clear destination in mind, she put aside all worries and rode easily, enjoying the lands she passed through on her way.
The days passed with warm days of sunshine and cool nights filled with stars. As she fell asleep each night, she remembered the window in the cave and the voice telling her to find her people. She didn’t know what it meant, but she trusted that what she needed would be revealed in time.
Late one morning, she came upon a traveler walking alone toward the city. He was dressed in physician’s robes and carried the traditional leather pouch for his herbs and tools. “Hail, sir, I bid you greetings.”
He turned, and startled, said, “Hail, my lady, how come you by these roads – and you alone?”
Rasha dismounted and let Vala wander nearby to enjoy the rich grasses while she spoke with the physician, Nelid. Realizing they were both traveling to the same city, they agreed to continue together to enjoy the conversation and company for the next few days.
That evening, they prepared the rabbit that Nelid had captured for dinner along with the bread and cheese Rasha had traded for at the last farm she had. As they ate, they shared their tales. She told of her travels with Death as he listened, amazed. In turn, he told her of his experiences with his father, the famed craftsman, and the journeyman who he befriended and then traveled with to the city they both now inhabited and had come to love.
Rasha listened, as she had learned from Death, with her ears and her heart. She hear of the deep love between the two men, of the pride they both took in their different crafts, and the eagerness which he desired to be home again. What Nelid heard, with his own heart, he would not share until he was reunited with Lodan.
The next day, Rasha told Nelid of her hopes to gain an audience with the King so that she could receive his wise guidance. He nodded and agreed that it would be for the best on this journey she was taking.
“I will have you know, lady, that my lover Lodan is in the service of the King and often has his ear. If you will, you may stay with us until you gain audience and I am sure that Lodan will plead for your audience.” And so it was agreed.
… to be continued
*Seren means “Star” in Welsh and is a popular name for both girls and boys.