by Hector of the Black Height
Not so long ago, but longer than most, when the land was old as old, and the wisdom of the North whispered in the wind, the King of the Middle sent his beloved children beyond the Inland Sea, to claim the lands of the North for the Dragon Throne, and to rule them as his Regents, the first Prince and Princess of Ealdormere. This they did most willingly, for they were exceeding brave and dutiful. They gathered their retinue and made the hazardous trek to the southern shores of the Inland Sea, then set sail for the far shores, to take hold of the lands granted them.
They landed on the edge of the most beautiful land in all the world, and the Prince and Princess led the charge of their gallant band ashore, for they sought to explore the marvels set before them. This the party did, and in twos and threes they all disappeared into the inland forests, and along the sparkling beaches. The Prince and Princess strolled through the woods and along the shore, marvelling at the grandeur of the trees, the sparkle of the sunlight glistering on the water, and the lush richness of the hillsides. They marvelled and wandered until, before they knew it, night was falling. It was too late to go back to their berth along the shore, and the trees were casting their huge shadows across the forest paths, so the Regents of the North curled together under a tree and settled for sleep, under the sparkle of the seven stars.
The night was clear, and the Princess soon stirred from slumber, for her feet were cold. She reached beside her to her beloved Prince and pulled a warm cover across her feet, and soon was asleep, under the sparkle of the seven stars.
The night was still clear, and the Princess again stirred from slumber, for the ground was hard. She reached beside her to her beloved Prince and pulled a rolled-up tabard under her head as a pillow and soon was asleep, under the sparkle of the seven stars.
The night was still clear, and the Princess again stirred from slumber, for her shoulders were cold. She reached beside her to her beloved Prince and pulled a great cloak about her, and finally she slept soundly, under the sparkle of the seven stars.
Came the dawn, and the Prince rolled over to gaze upon his beloved in the first day of their Regency. He found her curled next to him, sound asleep, with a great bear lying across her feet, and a hare curled beneath her head, and a white wolf covering her body with its own. The three beasts saw their Prince awake, and as his eyes met theirs, they vanished into the forest. The Prince covered the Princess with his cloak, and waited her awakening.
When the Princess stirred from slumber, she smiled a smile as bright as the Northern sun across the snows, and told of the wonderful sleep she had enjoyed. Her Prince looked about her, and agreed this was a place of comfort and rest. She did not understand, when a wolf howled in the distance, why the Prince smiled a little smile at the sound, as they sat in the shade of the largest, tallest tree they had ever seen.
And so it is to this day, that her place of comfort and rest is still a place of dreams, for the place the Princess rested her head is the very spot where sits the centre of the high table in the Great Hall of Ealdormere, in the shade of the great maple by the Inland Sea.
This story first was published in The Book of the Reign of David And Tangwystl. A very early story (note the lack of references to the Ram of the fourth barony, Ramshaven). The references to "seven stars" refer to the arms of Duke Finnvarr de Taahe, who founded what became the Barony of Septentria. The seven stars can also be seen to refer to the constellation Orion, which in some versions of our Northern mythology has come to be called the constellation Ealdormere.
Copyright A. McLean 1991, 1998. All rights reserved.
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