The Labyrinth – Chapter 6

Morning had come and gone slowly and in the same speed the rest of the day slipped away over Tabea, until twilight fell again. Alick was still gone and Dylan lay somewhere down in the Labyrinth. His lady sighed and slowly walked back and forth in the great room. She missed her children and husband and couldn’t stop praying for them. Most of all she wanted someone to talk to, to give her comfort, but no one could be found. She went to one of the windows in a melancholy attitude and rested her head against the glass, staring out at the last rays of day. Tonight she only let one candle burn, a lone flame, a symbol of her solitude. Perhaps soon she’d be free of this place and back in Dylan’s arms, the children at her side.

No sooner had the last rays of the sun vanished, than did she hear a quiet knocking on the doors. Tabea suddenly felt chilled, watching one of the golden doors open. What came through made her scream. It was not Alick, but a shimmering figure of a young woman in flowing robes. Golden hair fell to her shoulders and down her back. Her eyes were a sparkling gray. The door closed silently behind her. To Tabea it seemed that a light radiated from this shade. She frantically wondered where she could find a weapon, all the while knowing it was useless.

In a moment the shade had spied her and slowly floated across the room, carefully navigating around the furniture. It came to a stop in front of the shaking lady.

“Don’t be afraid,” came a soft voice colored by deep sadness. “I will not hurt you.” Tabea’s eyes narrowed.

“I am a prisoner here, just like you,” the shade sighed.

“Prisoner? Of whom?” Tabea asked, her voice shaking slightly. She knew this woman, but from where?

“Of the sorceress.” The ghost moaned quietly once more and then sat down on one of the couches. “I am looking for my name.”

“Your name?” The fear of this strange being was slowly leaving the Lady of Carrock, being replaced by an unexplainable pity She walked over and sat down next to the shining figure.

“Yes, my name. If I can find it, I’ll be free from this prison.” The gray eyes turned towards the lady. And suddenly Tabea knew...

“Do you know my name?” the shade asked. The woman nodded.

“I do.”

“Tell me.”

“You are Alisande à Carrock, the foster sister of Dylan à Carrock and married to Stev Pulleny, the grand ambassador of Carrock.” The ghost shook her head.

“No, no, that can’t be it,” she whispered.

“It is, Alisande.” She reached out and took one shining hand in her own. It was solid, but strangely cold. Tabea knew what she must say.

“There are two steps to freeing you, Alisande,” she began, her blue eyes gently gazing into her sister-in-law’s. “First you have to hear the truth, but then you have to accept it. If you don’t do it, then you won’t come free.” The shade pulled her hand away and rose, floating just a bit away from Tabea.

“I can’t believe it, I just can’t. It’s wrong.”

“Why?”

“It feels that way.” The shining woman turned back and tears were glistening on her cheeks. “I wish I could believe it.”

“Say your name,” the Lady of Carrock ordered quietly, rising and coming to the enchanted girl.

“I — I can’t.” Tabea reached out and grasped her by the shoulders.

“Say it.”

“I am — Alisande,” she said slowly, her tongue falling over her own words. Suddenly the eyes became clear.

“You’re right, Tabea,” she laughed. “I am Alisande à Carrock! I’m free!” She stepped away, slowly beginning to fade from the room and twirled around.

“Thank you, sister,” she called, her voice now sounding, as if it was a long way off. “You’ve broken the enchantment!” And suddenly she was gone, leaving the Lady of Carrock alone in the throne room.

• • •

Roanna sat up on her low cot. Something had changed in the atmosphere, she knew that, but what? Slowly she rose and snapped her fingers. The candle on the table came to light. The sorceress reached into her cloak and retrieved a small mirror, looked in and gasped. Only her own face reflected in it, not Alisande’s like before. The spell was broken! A loud curse came from Roanna’s lips.

“When I get that Lady of Carrock in my hands...” she hissed, grasping at the empty air, her fine fingers suddenly like long claws. Now she must make her revenge complete. Those in the Labyrinth must not live!

• • •

Alisande blinked her eyes open in the low light of her room in the castle of Carrock. She felt strangely exhausted, unable to remember what had happened. It all seemed like a dream. She sat up and looked around. The wind howled outside her window and a lone torch on one wall illuminated the room. Slowly she got out of bed, standing up on her feet and yet having to sit down again, before the diziness subsided.

It was then that she realized she wasn’t alone. There at the window stood a figure, the sandy head bowed and resting against the glass panes. Silently she rose and tiptoed across the room.

Stev had his eyes shut, trying to fight against his tiredness and and frusteration. If only Alisande were awake again, he’d be able to concentrate on the problems at hand. The whistling wind held his mind and so it surprised him to suddenly feel someone wrapping her arms around his waist. He straightened and turned.

“Alisande!” he cried joyfully. She was standing there in her nightgown, gray eyes clear. She had finally been disenchanted.

“You’re back,” he whispered, drawing his little wife to him.

“Was I gone that long?” she asked.

“Too long, dear. The enchantment...” She stepped back, the memory now returning to her.

“Oh, yes, Roanna and the children... Tabea freed me!” Stev smiled warmly.

“So it was her after all. I had hoped for so long!”

“Well, here I am again, dear husband,” she said with a smile. “I’m all yours.” He just brushed her touseled hair with his right and laughed quietly.