30    Reunited

Remembering Bess’s prophecy, Catherine threatens to cut Thomas out of Sylvie’s world.  Afraid of losing Thomas again, 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



Instantly the court solidified. Whereas previously everything was gay, lavish drapes of black crepe now subdued the magnificent ballroom; while the courtiers were sombre in mourning attire.

The queen wiped a tear as she spoke to Thomas. “My love ‘tis true, ‘twas fury, not heart that bitterly railed to you. For without you, je suis perdu. The world is but ash in my mouth!”

“M’oiseau sauvage!” Thomas answered passionately, 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, handsomely.

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.

“Without you, life has no meaning for me.”

“Without you, I have no reason to be.”

“Your lovely face is all I desire to see.”

“In your loving arms I am safe for eternity.”

“Oh my love,

“Oh my love,

“Hold me and don’t let me go.”

They sang for a full five minutes as a frogman, in black rubber wetsuit, diving mask and flippers, accompanied them on a solitary lute.

While 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, as blood red roses were thrown at the couple.

Sylvie and Thomas separated, taking bows like seasoned players. Graciously, the queen pointed to the lute-playing frogman who bowed in turn to a new frenzy of applause. 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.

“We brought you Thomas!”

She paused as though considering. “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 only Bess’ last prophecy to guide him

Jack must now make the decision of his life



Thomas the Rhymer

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