Threads of Silver: Chapter 12 ©

Gitano followed the oblivious old dwarf straight to the cottage where Adala sat in view of the attic window. From a nearby tree top he watched as she wove intricate patterns into a piece of blue fabric identical to the ones he had just seen in the market place and the song she sang was so enchanting it almost felt like the stones themselves would soon come to life. The merchant knew he had finally found his prize. Silently he slithered down the tree trunk, mounted his horse and set his course for the palace city.

After two days of long, wearisome traveling Gitano finally stood waiting in the king’s private chambers with a blue woven blanket tucked under his arm. His head hurt, his body ached and somewhere in his soul the feelings of guilt began to make him very uncomfortable. He shifted his weight to his right foot, then to his left, then back again to his right. He cleared his throat and stared at the ornately painted ceiling. “Oh come now!” he muttered to himself “You don’t even know this weaver. For all you know she could be as wicked as the king! Just do your duty and be done with it.” Suddenly the great silver doors burst open and startled the merchant out of his one-man conversation. King Dempsy waddled into the room with an unusual feather plume rising from the collar of his royal blue robe. His cheeks were red and his eyes were wide with impatient excitement. “Well, have you got what I want or not?” he demanded. “Of course, your majesty.” replied Gitano recovering his composure. Bowing low he unfolded the blue blanket. “I have found your magic weaver, your majesty.” King Dempsey reached out and fingered the intricate patterns of the soft blue fabric. “Truly exquisite.” Said the king with indifference “But if this is actually from the magic weaver then this blanket should make me sleep in peaceful bliss… or so the legends say. Obviously there is only one way to find out if that is true.” With that he snapped his fingers and ordered his servants to take the blue blanket and prepare his bed chamber. “Wait!” said Gitano as they snatched the blanket out of his hand “What am I to do until you’ve completed your test?” King Dempsey smiled a cruel smile, snapped his fingers and began to waddle out of the room. Before Gitano knew what was happening two burly guards seized both of his arms and began to drag him down a side staircase. “Wait! What’s this all about? I haven’t even told you the location of the weaver! I demand an explanation!” King Dempsey casually turned around to face the enraged merchant and said in a cold voice “First of all, I am the king and you demand nothing of me. Second of all, I am well aware that you have not told me the location of the weaver which is why you will spend the night in my dungeon until I have verified the validity of your claims. If the blanket does what it should then we will chat in the morning. If it does not then you will face the gallows at dawn. Very simple I should say.” Gitano felt all the life drain from his face as he watched the ridiculous form of King Dempsey disappear behind the great doors. His arms felt like lead in the vice grip of the guards and his feet barely met the ground as they led him down a dark stone hall way. When they finally came to a stop Gitano was shoved into a tiny cell with nothing but a straw mattress and a bucket. The poor merchant rubbed his sore arms, leaned against the cold stone walls and slumped to the floor. “Curse that confounded King!” he growled under his breath “Who knows if there even is such a thing as a magic weaver and now I am probably going to be hung by that ridiculous peacock for getting involved in nonsense! Nonsense!” For the first time in Gitano’s life he felt he did not have control of the situation and it made him angry, scared and enraged all at the same time. One minute he wanted to punch the king in the face and the next minute he wanted to simply run for his life. He tugged at his thick, black hair, looked up at the grey ceiling and then sighed a sigh of resignation. There was nothing to be done but try to sleep and wait until morning. Curling up on the dirty straw mattress, his eyes drooped but his mind kept reaching for the hope that somehow the legends were true and there actually was such a thing as a magic weaver.

(All content on this page is copyrighted by Angela R. Sexton, all rights reserved 2013)

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Threads of Silver: Chapter 11©

The sun rose in the crisp morning air and a gentle wind rustled the leaves outside the bedroom window where Jinx was just waking from a deep sleep. It was market day and the old dwarf was as grumpy as he usually was when he had to go to town. He stumbled out of bed, put on his trousers and headed to the kitchen where Adala was making fresh biscuits. “Good morning!” she said cheerfully placing some hot tea and a fresh biscuit on the table. “Are you all ready for market day?” Jinx just rolled his eyes sarcastically as he took a sip from his mug and replied “You know I don’t care for crowded places and all those crazy merchants tryin’ to sell me stuff I don’t need, but it’s gotta be done so I do it.” With a knowing smile on her face, Adala gently kissed his forehead and said “You take such good care of me, how can I ever thank you?” The old dwarf couldn’t help but be softened by the girl’s sweet spirit and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he finished his biscuit. When he was all done he put on his wool coat, cap and boots and turned to go. As he reached the door way he stopped and watched Adala clean the breakfast dishes while humming a soft, almost haunting melody. Somewhere inside of him the feeling of fear began to wrap its cold fingers around his heart. He couldn’t understand where it came from or what he was afraid of but it was most certainly there.

After, what seemed like an eternity Adala noticed him still standing in the doorway and asked “Is everything alright, Jinx?” The old dwarf shook himself out of his contemplation, cleared his throat and replied briskly “Of course it is! I’m just movin’ slow this morning. I’ll be back soon, my dear, keep safe ‘til I return!” He walked quickly to where his donkey and cart were waiting outside, trying to forget the feelings that seemed to tug at him from some dark, unknown place. However, as he set out on his journey Jinx grew more and more troubled. His thoughts kept drifting back to that night when Adala had thrown the silver garment into the flames and begged him not to tell a soul about the special thread or the power that it possessed. He couldn’t help but wonder if maybe it wasn’t really over… if maybe talking to Grenada was really a terrible mistake. His mind swirled with so many thoughts he barely noticed the time passing and if wasn’t for a deer almost running him off the road he might have missed the turn off for the market place all together. When he finally approached his destination the hustle and bustle of the crowds began to draw his attention away from his fears and back to the task at hand. “Ho there, Jinx!” came a friendly shout from a tent directly across the road. It was Old Macintosh; a stout old man with wild gray whiskers who had been friends with Jinx for over a decade. Jinx smiled and brought the donkey to halt beside the tent. The two men greeted each other warmly and quickly got lost in conversations about the weather, the bad roads and the ridiculous food prices. They didn’t notice the well-dressed, dark-haired merchant who was now strolling by to peer inside Jinx’s cart. When his eyes fell upon the stacks of exquisitely woven blue blankets, a smile of satisfaction curled the corners of his mouth. “Hey! Can I help you?” said the gruff voice of Old Macintosh. The mysterious merchant casually turned around and said “Now Mac is that any way to talk to an old friend?” “Gitano? Why I usually only see you when you come by the shop, what brings you out to the market?” “Well, you know buyers are getting picky these days so I thought I’d come see if there was anything interesting to be found out here. I just now noticed these blankets and they are quite exquisite… I don’t think I’ve ever seen the like. Tell me where do they come from?” Poor Old Mac shifted uncomfortably and replied “Well… uh… Jinx, he brings ‘em. We uh… we don’t really know who makes ‘em… but they sure are the finest! Can I interest you in one?” Just then Jinx came up from behind and eyed the merchant suspiciously. “Who’s this?” he huffed. “Oh this is Gitano he’s one of the merchants who visits my shop every month. Gitano this is Jinx.” As Old Macintosh made the introduction Gitano smiled warmly and stretched out his hand to the dwarf. Jinx huffed again, half-heartedly shook his hand and walked to the cart to start unloading. Unruffled, Gitano turned Old Macintosh and said “You know Mac these blankets are simply too exquisite to pass up, I will just take the whole lot of them. Can you give me a good deal?” Old Macintosh’s eyes lit up under his bushy gray eyebrows and Jinx nearly dropped the blankets he was holding in his hand. Of course Macintosh made him a deal and Gitano paid an errand boy standing near-by to take all but one of the blankets to the local inn where he always stayed. Now with all his merchandise sold Jinx was grateful for the excuse to leave the market early and after saying farwell to his old friend he saddled his donkey to go home. Little did he know that following in the shadows at a safe distance behind him was Gitano, and the fears that had troubled him on his market day journey were soon to become reality.

(All content on this page is copyrighted by Angela R. Sexton, all rights reserved 2013)

Threads of Silver: Chapter 8 ©

Just south of the palace city there was a tavern hewn out of the side of a mountain. It sat along the main road leading to the rest of the kingdom’s villages and was well known as a favorite gathering place for the traveling merchants. It was owned by Mel and his wife Madeline whom everyone called Miss Maddy. They were a jolly couple; a bit rough around the edges but generally speaking honest folk who enjoyed good ale, hearty food and plenty of merriment. Thus was the atmosphere of the tavern. However, on this particular day the place was busier than it had ever been before and the air was filled with an unusual tension. Agitated boots scraped against the stone floors, tin mugs were slammed down in frustration and the sound of conversation was more like the low rumble of a coming storm. In the corner of the room stood a small, much worn oak table with four men huddled round it. The first, who sat sipping ale with sullen expression on his thin face was named Falan. Next to him was a round, clueless looking man named Osbert; to his left was a fellow by the name of Evander with eyes that clearly betrayed the fiery spirit of youth; then the last man at the table, sitting between Evander and Falan, was an Italian merchant called Gitano. He was dressed in a deep red doublet accented with gold and was clearly the cleverest of the group. Now all four men sat discussing the king’s edict. “How in God’s name are we going to find this confounded weaver? We don’t know where to start looking or really even who we are looking for?” shouted Evander. “It’s all a ploy just to double the taxes, that’s what I say.” Falan muttered into his mug. Osbert, who was always quick to deem any task as impossible added “Well whoever it is, the people are protecting her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have stayed hidden this long. It’s a fool’s errand if you ask me.” “How do you even know it’s a girl?” asked Falan. “I don’t, that’s just what the legends say.” retorted Osbert. Gitano who had been sitting silently during this exchange finally spoke in a calm tone that suggested he already had a plan. “It is obvious that if the weaver exists then someone is protecting her. The key is simply to find out who it is and discover their weakness. Everyone has a weakness and once you’ve found it you can exploit it to get what you want.” “Anything sounds easy if you say it like that” Falan replied sarcastically. Then Evander raised his glass and said “Well, gentlemen we won’t find anything just sitting here talking about it. Let us depart on our mission and may the best man have success!” At that, all four men raised their mugs and said “Here, here!” in chorus. Then one by one they gathered their things and wondered outside the tavern to where the horses were tied up. Each mounted and waved a final farewell but their thoughts were consumed with the task at hand.

(All content on this page is copyrighted by Angela R. Sexton 2013, All Rights Reserved)

Threads of Silver: Chapter 7 ©

At the palace King Dempsey had summoned all of the merchants in the kingdom to appear before him. No one knew the reason for the summons but the entire court was abuzz with speculation. Of course, it was common knowledge that the king was vain and some suggested that he wished the merchants to find him some rare garment to wear for his extravagant parties; others whispered that the king intended to marry again and was searching for an exquisite jewel to woo the bride-to-be. But despite all the gossip, the king seemed unusually calm. He sat in his throne which was made of solid silver and ornately carved into the shape of a peacock adorned with ruby eyes, sapphire feathers and onyx feet. The throne room itself was covered in carved silver with onyx insets throughout the floor and all the tapestries hanging from the enormous stained glass windows were made of blue velvet, tied back with strings of rubies. It was a ridiculous display of extravagance; as was the emerald green robe trimmed with peacock feathers he had chosen to wear, but this was what was to be expected of King Dempsey.

At long last the merchants were all gathered before the throne and the royal herald rapped his staff on the ground, indicating that the king was about to speak. When the curious murmuring descended into silence, King Dempsey spoke in cool but deliberate tones. “My noble merchants, I do not desire to waste my time so I will plainly state the purpose in summoning you here today. It has reached my ears that the legends of a magic weaver are true and as I am king, I desire to have this talent in my court. All of you sell threads and buy garments in the villages; therefore I command that starting this very day you are to make inquiries in every thread shop and market place to discover the whereabouts of this weaver, but you are to speak your purpose to no one. Whoever finds what I seek must report directly back to me without any delay. The merchant who delivers my prize successfully will be rewarded handsomely but all those who fail will be required to pay double taxes on their garments and threads. Now be on your way for the clock is ticking and I will not be kept waiting.” With that the King waddled out of the room with his feathered robe trailing behind him. All the merchants were left muttering to themselves and cursing the thought of higher taxes if they did not succeed in what seemed to them an impossible task.

(All content on this page is copyrighted by Angela R. Sexton 2013, All Rights Reserved)

Threads of Silver: Chapter 5 ©

Meanwhile back at the palace, King Dempsey’s lust for admiration had driven him to the verge of insanity. He threw lavish parties at which he would feature himself as the singer for the evening; although his voice reminded his audience of a horse with a sinus infection. When the dances would begin, he made extravagant efforts to be graceful but in the end he only succeeded in making a spectacle of himself. He invited the most important and intelligent members of the nobility only to make every attempt at upstaging their intelligence on matters of state and society. Of course he only made a fool of himself and even attempted to challenge a knight, quite distinguished in the art of war, to a duel even though he had never so much as ridden into battle. The knight, knowing the king’s lack of knowledge, politely declined and excused himself to the hallway where he burst into riotous laughter. Thus was the unhappy life of King Dempsey. The more ridiculous he was, the more obsessed he became with himself and the more obsessed he became with himself the less he slept and the worse he treated those around him. He yelled at the palace housekeepers, ordered beatings for the servants over the slightest offense and threw things at the cooks if the food was not just to his liking. It was a sad state of existence for everyone. Then one sleepless night, as the king was angrily pacing about the palace halls he overheard a stable hand telling one of the servants that his grandmother had been given a blanket with magic qualities. “You know my Grammy has suffered a long time, not being able to sleep…” the stable hand said “…but just last summer she was given a blue blanket by a merchant from one of the villages and ever since then she says her sleep is sweeter than when she was a baby! I think it’s that magic weaver from the legends, I do!” King Dempsey listened closely as the servant responded. “Those legends are a bunch of hogwash! That blanket was probably just extra soft and warm so that your Grammy could sleep better. There’s no such thing as a magic weaver!” “There is so!” The stable hand shouted back “Why I heard just last week that Old Gimpsy from the wash room was given a scarf from his cousin’s wedding and you know he ain’t never been able to sing worth two cents but now he sings so sweet the birds sit by the window just to hear him hum a tune! What do you say to that?” “I say Old Gimpsy’s just finally got himself sober is all that is!” retorted the servant. On they went arguing but the king now had an idea stirring in his wicked mind and he scurried off to his chambers to formulate a plan.

(All content on this page is copyrighted by Angela R. Sexton 2013, All Rights Reserved)

Threads of Silver: Chapter 2 ©

Now the kingdom in which Adala and Jinx lived was called Eben and it was ruled by a vain, arrogant man named King Dempsey. He was pale, short, very round and had a pinched sort of face with a pointy little nose. He had an insatiable desire to be admired and his bitter jealousy burned towards anyone that he saw as being more knowledgeable, talented, or handsome than he was. Each night he tossed and turned, fretting about what people thought of him, which of course made his face appear even more pinched than it naturally was. However, this was not the worst to be said about King Dempsey. Nearly twenty years ago he had been married to an exquisitely beautiful Spanish princess named Isadora, whom he was sure would make him the envy all of his peers. The princess, who became his queen, was not only lovely but kind and possessed many talents. She was an exquisite dancer, enchanting singer and spent much of her time among the people, listening to their problems and doing what she could to help. The queen also had very special book that she simply called The Book of Wisdom. It was an account of the Great King of creation who made himself human to save the world from a terrible curse. He was the essence of true love, ultimate sacrifice and the wisdom that gives life to all things. This she read to the people on her visits throughout the kingdom. As she spoke the words of the story, her silvery voice would carry it like a song straight into the hearts of all who would listen and before long the entire realm began to pulse with a sense of life like it had never known before. Of course this did not please King Dempsey at all. He had wanted Isadora as a beautiful ornament to adorn himself with, but instead he got a queen who completely outshined him in every way. He felt discarded by his subjects, which caused jealousy to seethe inside of him until he could stand it no longer and he began plotting to get rid of her. However, before he had the chance to carry out his evil plans, the Queen became pregnant and soon gave birth to twins; a boy and a girl. At first the King was happy and for a time his jealousy towards Isadora softened.

Years passed and the twins grew to be as enchanting and lovely as their mother, which meant the King’s jealousy once again burned towards his family. Sadly this time he would succeed in his efforts to get rid of them. On a dark, moonless night King Dempsey sent assassins to kill Isadora. The Queen tried to escape and got as far as the outskirts of the forest before she was finally caught. No one knows what happened to the children, not even the king, for their bodies were never found. Some say that they must have been drowned in the river; others say they remain locked in some forgotten chamber of the dungeons but in truth, no one really knows for sure. Even the queen’s precious Book of Wisdom mysteriously vanished. Of course, King Dempsey claimed it was all the work of criminals and even put on an impressive display of mourning to obtain sympathetic attention, but everyone in the kingdom knew that he was the reason for their disappearance. When the King did not get the admiration he had anticipated, his temperament became darker. Everyone was forced to continue on with their duties as though nothing had happened but the feeling that all the light in world had been snuffed loomed over the kingdom like a cloud of suffocating smoke. The village festivals slowly disappeared and even small celebrations seemed to have lost their warmth; the gardeners could no longer hear nature’s sweet songs and their tasks felt like the purest drudgery; the artisans lost their sense of purpose and most of their work was completely devoid of creativity. Thus the kingdom became a very sad place indeed. But in the quaint little town where there was a magic weaver and an old dwarf, a whisper of life still existed and it wouldn’t take long for the King to find it.