Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 11

Fiction By Anna // 3/24/2008

Chapter the Eleventh

So she became Court Singer, and every night she held the castle captive with the beauty of her voice. It usually took someone shouting above her song to stop her, for in her singing she felt joy, a new way of singing and worshipping God, and didn’t want to stop.
Because of the way she enchanted those who heard her, she was given the name "The Spellbinder", though never to her face, and usually only in very small groups.
Gilligan especially was spellbound. He almost felt as though he had discovered her, and was somehow more "his" than anyone else’s, though he also felt no one could really hold onto her if she decided to flee.
He began to seek her out. She was mysterious and evasive; if you asked her something, her answers were vague. She was always slipping away to "see the sky" or "visit the trees", and to sing to them. Now and again one of those songs would be carried to his ear on a breeze, but it would be faint, only enough to tantalize him, nothing certain enough to be able to dwell on, though the haunting, elfin side of it would not be lost; truly "a whisper that the wind left behind" and "an echo through the forest and the trees".
Gilligan thought it all very fascinating, but he didn’t have the slightest idea that Arianna was truly Aria. Aria was dead. That’s what everyone thought they knew, except Aria herself, who, though she couldn’t ever forget who she had been, was skilled at hiding it.

One early morning Gilligan became aware of very light footsteps, like feathers brushing grass, going down the hall. He looked round to see the green shadow that was Aria’s cloak slipping out into one of the courtyards.
The dew and fog fell heavy that morning, having had rain in the night. There Aria sat, poised on a smoothened stone, shrouded by a veil of sparkling mist. She looked like a mermaid looking on at the sunrise from a perch above the sea. A stretch of sparkling dew-dropped grass was all around her- the water. Then only thick, rolling white mist, not quite transparent, but not quite opaque.
It was a very still sort of day- practically windless, with little noise outside of birds singing to the sky. A faint breeze played with Aria’s hair. Somewhere a bird sang.
"Look," Aria said, pointing to some shadow Gilligan couldn’t see. Still staring off into the distance, she said casually, "I can see you, you know. So you can quit hiding if you will." She looked over her shoulder as he cautiously approached. "I have only pulled the clouds down for a visit, you see." Her large grey eyes were perfectly serious. "Doesn’t the morning after a rainfall smell lovely and wonderful?" she asked, a wild, faraway look in her eyes.
Gilligan said nothing, as though trying to remember something. Unable to recall whatever it was, he scowled.
Aria laughed. "Your mouth was not made for frowns. It is much better to grinning, I think."
"How would you know what I’m adapted to?" he laughed, half-surprised.
"I’m a mind-reader," she said simply, in such a way that Gilligan laughed again. "No, it’s true," she said, smiling. "Right now you’re thinking that I’m one of the strangest girls you’ve ever met, with all my knowledge of you and the castle and its people. But you are also wondering where I fit into all this. Where do I come into the story? How do I know? Where do I really come from, and what is my business? Who am I, really?" She shook her head. "You are thinking in fairytales. My life has been anything but a fable." She gave a queer laugh, short and bitter, such as she had given when told to announce herself in Torlith’s name.
"If you don’t mind my saying so, you are a fable. Whenever I see you I think unaccountably of fairytales."
She smiled sadly. "Maybe so." After a long silence, she began again, staring off into the distance, "I was not always as I am now." She thought, must teach you myself all over again, Gill?
She had long since realized she could not tell him who she was. What if Torlith suspected, and questioned Gilligan? She knew he would never tell, but how could she stand it if he was tortured- for her?
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You know exactly what I mean," she said, not sternly, just sadly, reminiscent of Wynd. "I was not always solemn and sad and mysterious and withdrawn-"
"You’re not sad," he interjected. "You laugh too much. You’ve got some sorrow in your eyes, no doubt, but you’re not sad."
"My eyes," she repeated, shaking her head. "That’s another thing. I wasn’t born blind, either. It was a fever."
"You’re blind?" He was surprised. He studied her. Her bright silver eyes sparkled, followed movement, seemed to see… could she really be blind?
"Oh, I’m not so blind as that- I can see that you have brown hair, and the sky is grey today. But I can’t tell you’re facial expression, or, say, that there’s a mist hanging over the ground."
"But then, how did you know I was scowling? Or that there even was a mist?"
"I have ways," she said, smiling a real smile.
"What am I thinking now?" he asked.
"You are thinking that I remind you of the Princess." As soon as she said it, she regretted it. It was dangerous to associate herself with who she had once been. She was treading treacherous ground, and she must gently steer away, but slowly enough that Gilligan didn’t get suspicious in any form.
Gilligan bowed his head.
She continued, choosing her words carefully. "You do not know why, but I remind you of her. Yet we are altogether unlike."
He looked up again. "Yes," he whispered. "You do. She… she was bright and merry and laughing… not beautiful, but somehow…" He began again. "She had this way of- of looking at a fellow- just looking, even if it wasn’t directed to address him- that made him feel that if he jumped up, he would keep rising and rising until he was flying- and always, always flying with her, never alone."
Aria was thoughtful. She hadn’t known…
"Her smile could cheer up the sunshine; her scorn, bite the frost. If she touched your hand- always impulsively, it was never very meaningful or serious- you wanted to grab it and run away with her. If you glimpsed her dancing alone in the starlight or the trees, you wanted to join her, glide with her, fly with her. I was fortunate. We were friends- no, it was more like comrades. I was with her much of the time. She would lead me in such imaginings…"
"Did you love her?" Aria looked as though she were concentrating very hard.
"Well-" he stammered, "she was only fourteen-"
"Did you love her?" she repeated.
"I could have- if-"
"Did you? Were you in love with her?" Aria’s voice was soft but insistent; her eyes commanded answer.
"Yes," he whispered, burying his head in his hands. "I loved her more than I’d ever loved anyone else- except the Lord. If it weren’t for Him I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. When- when she died, I thought I could never gather the shards of my heart. But, somehow, I did… no, that’s all wrong. God did."
Aria wanted to tell him now more than ever. If only I had known then… If only…
"I can’t imagine why I’m telling you all this," he said, very quietly.
Aria’s enormous silver eyes blinked once, questioningly. She didn’t know either. But he loves me! No, he loves Aria, Princess Aria, she thought. I am so different now it’s as though Princess Aria really has died. But still… he loves me.
And for the first time, she felt an odd sensation towards him, something with of the adventure of old comradeship, the fondness of old friendship, the longing to be with him, the sweetness of fulfilling that, and also glimmerings of something new. He loves me, she thought again. And for a moment, though it was soon flown from her grasp, she realized that she might love him too.
********
That was the first and only time in about two months that they had a long, open talk together. Aria for the most part stayed aloof from everyone (that last encounter she had come too close to revealing herself, and it had frightened her into retreating into lonely corners), and though Gilligan continued to look for her now and then (much to the other knights’ and soldiers’ amusement), he found her only a few of the times.
Aria was in the meantime re-exploring her old home. It was painful the way things had changed, some of them very small changes. Where a fountain had been, a statue of Torlith stood; where a tree had grown, some ugly commemorative of Torlith’s deeds had been erected. The gardens were all out of order, or destroyed, or replaced, or redone, and the old beautiful Rose Grove was reduced to a pitiful corner. Thankfully the woods Aria had loved were still mostly intact, Torlith having a strange dread of trees. So to there was where Aria mostly fled. The woods were lovely, silent, and deep, and Aria felt them fairly breathing with magic, and found herself breathing magic with them. She even found a frail, fairytale-like abandoned tree-house she had never before noticed. Unfortunately, it was to fragile to climb into, though Aria would have dearly loved to try.
********
Marche. Lunge. Balestra. Parry.
Gilligan paused. Why in the world am I fencing when I could be doing something better? he thought.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like fencing. But today he was indoors (it was raining), in a tighter space than normal, and he just didn’t feel like it.
He answered himself.
Because I’m bored, and I don’t have anything better to do. Grr.
He put away the sword and leaned against a wall. There’s got to be something to do, he thought. Of course! He could try to talk to Arianna. He hadn’t tried to do that for about a month now (he figured she should have some privacy).
"Maybe she’s outside, since she tends to like that sort of thing," he said aloud, grabbing his cloak and fastening it at the shoulder. He walked to the nearest window, flung it open, and swung himself out it.
**
Gilligan wandered around the gardens for awhile, trying to think where he would be if he were Arianna. Of course the problem with this is that he was not Arianna. He kept thinking if he were the one in question, he would hang around the armory (inside), the library (inside), or even the archery range (outside, though archery in the rain is not the best idea).
Finally he saw a cloaked shadow around the edge of the woods. He raised his hand to hail her, and called out. "Arian- oh." The figure had turned around, revealing a fellow knight of medium height and build. "Sorry, Jonathan. Why are you out here?"
Jonathan, who was a half year younger than Gilligan, pushed his wet blonde hair off his forehead. "The truth is somewhat… degrading. But I could think of a marvelous fabrication for you, if you’d give me a chance." (Jonathan actually didn’t have a good imagination, but he liked to believe he did.)
"No," said Gilligan, who was rather tired of Jonathan’s tales.
"Well…" Jonathan hesitated. "I’m looking for the cook’s helper."
Gilligan stifled his laughter, but couldn’t suppress a small smile.
Jonathan managed a weak laugh in return. "I don’t usually run errands for the cook, but I didn’t have anything else to do…"
"It’s fine, I’m looking for someone, too."
"Let me guess…" said the other knight with a wide grin.
"Don’t," said Gill in a warning tone. "I may not show it, but I hear all the little jokes that you make about me wanting to befriend Arianna, and they do hurt, believe you me. And you know something? She hears too."
"Sorry," said the knight, "but sometimes it’s so tempting. It’s such a laughable situation, the way she avoids you."
Gilligan groaned. "Alas," he said with a laugh, "It isn’t laughable to me. Rather lamentable, actually."
Jonathan put an arm around Gill’s shoulders. "No worries, I’ll help you look. The cook’s helper can wait."
Gilligan felt like groaning (Jonathan was more of a bother then a help, though Gilligan, being the polite person he is, never would have put it that way), but smiled instead. "Thank you, Jonathan," he said lamely.
**
Gilligan didn’t have much more luck with Jonathan than he did alone. But after a half hour or so, they accidentally ran into the cook’s lad, and after delivering him safely to the kitchen, heard the Head Cook mention to one of the lesser cooks about seeing "that strange Singer girl" run past the kitchen in the direction of the dining hall.
She was not in the dining hall.
She was in the adjoining room.
Jonathan was actually the first to spot her. Perhaps he expected Gilligan to run up to her and start talking to her, but he didn’t. Instead he just sort of stood aside and watched her.
Jonathan proceeded to criticize him for this course of action. "I don’t understand you at all, Gilligan. You spend all this time searching for the Spell- I mean, Arianna- and dragged me into it, might I add- but when you finally find her, you don’t try to talk to her?"
"Remember, you volunteered to help; it was your own doing. As to Arianna- as soon as she notices me, she’ll run. She always does."
"Then why do you bother with her?"
Gilligan sighed, resting his chin on his palm. "She fascinates me," he said, staring at her laughing over something.
"The knight Gilligan is captivated by the Singer Arianna, his damsel in not-so-much-distress," laughed the other knight, his eyes twinkling mischievously. He would have gone on, but Gilligan punched him in the arm, scowling.
"What did I say about little jokes? Well, what did I say?"
Jonathan hung his head in mock humiliation. "Sorry, couldn’t resist." He paused. "Ask her!" Jonathan said emphatically.
Gilligan looked horrified. "Ask her to marry me? I barely know her!"
The knight was incredulous. "Not that, you dolt," he said with annoyance. "I meant ask her to the ball tomorrow, or at least for a dance."
Oh, the ball. He had forgotten, despite that the whole castle had been in a flurry of preparation for the last week.
Gilligan returned his gaze to Aria. She was gently brushing her dark hair out of her face with the back of her hand. "I really don’t know," he said slowly.
"Well, I do," said his friend. He gave Gilligan a friendly shove, propelling him stumblingly in Aria’s direction. "Hullo, Arianna!" he called. "Gill has something to ask you!"
Gilligan shot him an angry glare.
Aria whirled around, startled, and her long hair nearly hit Gilligan as her head whipped around. But even though she desired to run, she could not. She cocked her head, her eyes sparkling questioningly. She was uncomfortably conscious of all the people around them, for they were in a crowded room where Aria had been trying to escape attention. Now this plan was foiled by Gilligan who, by bringing her into a conversation, had drawn notice to her. "Yes?" she asked, her eyes meeting his.
Gilligan looked down, "Well, you see, there’s a ball," Gilligan stammered.
Aria nodded, looking at him curiously. Her eyes were half-filled with confusion, half-amusement.
"And- well-" Gilligan continued, "I was wondering if- if- well- if perhaps you would… dance with me?"
A smile flitted across her face. "You’re inviting me?"
He nodded, trying to look dashing and unabashed, though he felt like neither. He took a deep breath. "Let me start again," he said. He swept a fine bow. "Lady Arianna, may I escort you to the ball?"
Aria’s face brightened even more as she curtsied to him, as she had done so long ago on the Great Lawn. "Yes, you may, Sir Gill," she said. Leaning over, she whispered in his ear, "And I like to be called Arianna- just plain Arianna." She knew as soon as the words were out of her mouth that she could never avoid him again.
********

Comments

Poor Gilligan

His courage in battle is amazing, but when it comes to Arianna... poor Gilligan.

Ezra | Mon, 03/24/2008

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

=]

I really love this story Anna! Its the best =]

Tamerah | Mon, 03/24/2008

..........................

I do love this story!
I must say it is my favorite, hands-down!
PLEASE write more soon!

Sarah | Mon, 03/24/2008

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Awww....

See, I knew you'd bring Gill back...and hee hee, I can't wait to see how you bring them together in the end!
*************************************************
Whatever you are, be a good one-Abe Lincoln

Heather | Tue, 03/25/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

What do you mean, "poor

What do you mean, "poor Gilligan"?

Thanks for all the comments, despite the lull in the narrative. (From a strictly plot-wise, action point of view nothing really HAPPENS in this chapter except for development of characters, cathcing up, etc... But the next chapter should have some action.

lol ... and if you say it's the best you need to read more books... but thanks. :) it means alot.

posting update: decided to keep posting. for now. Until I come to the next black hole at least.

Anna | Tue, 03/25/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

haah

I mean the best story on apricotpie, its my favorite at least.

Tamerah | Tue, 03/25/2008

I'm not sure I agree, but

I'm not sure I agree, but thanks! =)

Anna | Tue, 03/25/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

LOL

LOL... I guess that's just from a guy's perspective. He is in love, but he has no idea what is going on - stumbling over himself and every thing.

Ezra | Tue, 03/25/2008

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

The guy's perspective is

The guy's perspective is appreciated! I'm far to romantic in my thinking and am at a loss about him.

How do you think he would be reacting?

Anna | Tue, 03/25/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Oh, I think you're doing a

Oh, I think you're doing a good job. He would probably be very defensive to anyone who said anything about her.

Ezra | Tue, 03/25/2008

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

ok thanks

ok
thanks

Anna | Tue, 03/25/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Ah, yes

I, too, sympathize with poor Gilligan. Boy, if I'd been him and Jonthan had just announced me, I wouldn't no what I'd do!
Looking forward to the next chapter.

James | Sat, 03/29/2008

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

NOTE TO ALL

I am slowly but surely updating old chapters. I also changed the title of the book to Stars Over Llorleya because The Stargazer wasn't all that original and doesn't really have anything to do with the book.

I haven't made any huge changes in the plot, but there ARE changes in case anyone wants to re-read them.

Anna | Tue, 04/08/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Ah Romance

Well the course of true love never did run smooth.

Poor Gilligan. It must be so confusing. I'd probably be like Jonathon though sad to say. ^.^

Ooh a ball, how romantic.

I <3 Gill. Not much else to say.

Anonymous | Wed, 07/09/2008

awwww

Gill reminds me of Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables books. Which put another way means he is awesome and I love him. I'm going to the next chapter now... can't wait for the ball!

~~~^@
Katie:-)

"We never need to be economical in our imaginations, thank heaven."
-Anne Blythe, "Anne of Ingleside"

KatieSara | Thu, 01/15/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

awwww

Gill reminds me of Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables books. Which put another way means he is awesome and I love him. I'm going to the next chapter now... can't wait for the ball!

~~~^@
Katie:-)

"We never need to be economical in our imaginations, thank heaven."
-Anne Blythe, "Anne of Ingleside"

KatieSara | Thu, 01/15/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

awwww

Gill reminds me of Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables books. Which put another way means he is awesome and I love him. I'm going to the next chapter now... can't wait for the ball!

~~~^@
Katie:-)

"We never need to be economical in our imaginations, thank heaven."
-Anne Blythe, "Anne of Ingleside"

KatieSara | Thu, 01/15/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

Hehehehhhee

This story is sooo good. This chapter was soooo good, it was also kind of funny!:) I like Gilligan!

Kendra | Tue, 03/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

*Sighs. I think I love

*Sighs. I think I love Gilligan even more than Rhys!
Awesome, I hope Gill figures out who "Arianna" really is soon!1!!

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Sat, 03/28/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

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