30    Reunited

Sylvie gives Jack three guesses to find his brother

Fairy queen Sylvie and Thomas the Rhymer

Voices at last intertwining like two wild roses
growing from the tombs of star-crossed lovers.

Art: Gloria Dexter

“M’oiseau sauvage,” Thomas answered, embracing his queen.

“Wild bird no more, for without you my heart is caged,” she confessed, all aflutter.

“The sight of your heart in a cage puts all of heaven in a rage,” replied Thomas, gallantly.

Soft strummed chords rippled through the ballroom as Sylvie tremulously sang, “I embrace you.”

Her voice, rising and falling like a sob, left all who heard it desolate yet filled with indescribable longing and irrational hope.

In a high plaintive echo, Thomas answered, “I adore you.”

“What is life without you?” she sang, tears forming.

“Would die for you,” he joined, brokenly.

“Without you, life has no mystery.”

“Without you, death has no victory.”

“Embrace me,”

“Embrace me,”

“My sweet embraceable you.”

They sang the words together, voices at last intertwining like two wild roses growing from the tombs of star-crossed lovers.

As they sang, the chandeliers brightened and the courtiers resumed their former splendour. With the last refrain fading, even before the echoes of their voices died away, the court burst in rapturous applause. There were cries of brava, encore, and thunderous clapping. Blood red roses were thrown at the couple. Thomas picked up a handful of the long stemmed roses strewn across the floor and threw them back at the ecstatic audience. Sylvie caught Catherine, Jack and Ken staring with open mouths.

“Are you still here?” she sighed impatiently.

“I want my brother back,” Jack snapped.

“You people are so tiresome,” she snapped back. “Let no one call me ungrateful. Take your brother, if you can find him. You have three guesses,” she added smugly, “as in all the best fairy tales."

from Chapter 27    Queen Sylvie of Elphame

With Bess’s last prophecy to guide him, Jack must make the decision of his life

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