The Lady of the Tower: Part XVI

This piece is the last installment of the novella, ‘The Lady of the Tower.’ Imagination hopes that you enjoyed the story, and wonders what your thoughts are.


Sua decided to stay to keep her company. After all, he had always liked Gwendolen.

He galloped up the dark stairs ahead of her carefully ascending feet, and then paused on a stair until she had caught up with him. His catty shadow of an arched back, a long tail, and pointy ears stretched up against the wall. Although the stairs were normally in complete darkness, the brightest thing in that world was illuminating them at that moment. After only fourteen steps there was a door, and beyond that door was a large cool room of stone, tinged blue. Sua followed Gwendolen to the iron pedestal in the middle of it. Gwendolen carefully placed The Light back onto her pedestal, and the room was filled with sunlight.



The Lady of the Tower: Part XV


Gwendolen walked to the very edge of the mountain, over the sea where the song had come out. It was still there… It was somehow more amiable now that she knew it. As Gwendolen gazed down at the tiny rolling waves of the sea below, she thought that it had somehow helped her through…through the change that had happened…through the change that she had asked for.

Perhaps for all of the wrong that had occurred, it was worth it once it had been done. Here she was, holding in her arms a part of herself…Finally she knew what she had been guarding. As if in response to her thoughts, The Light slowly floated out of Gwendolen’s hands, and hovered in the air over the sea. For a moment Gwendolen was frightened that it would drop.

Instead, The Light said, “I am glad that you believed in yourself in the end…that you believed in me.” The Light slowly descended and landed in her hands.

Gwendolen turned away from the sea below, and walked to her tower, as something was calling her from the inside.

When she opened the door, they were all there. The Seven Elders with their long white beards all bowed their heads to her and held their moment of silence. And then they all raised their heads, and two of them parted for Sua to walk through.

He sat in front of Gwendolen with his black tail twitching. “This can never happen again,” he said.

“Then rid me of all emotion” said Gwendolen, “I am exhausted of being affected by them.”

The Seven Elders all shook their white fluffy heads. The Seven Elders all wore different coloured woollen robes. High Wizard Piecebly always wore a white robe. He was Gwendolen’s favourite for a reason that she could not say. “That is not the way. You need emotion, my dear,” he wheezed. He looked around at the others. “But you should not be able to be deceived in such a callous manner. This was not your fault…but ours. And now we beg your forgiveness.”

Each one of them watched Gwendolen uncertainly. For the first time in her life, Gwendolen knew that they really did care for her. She was not really their prisoner—not any more than she would be trapped in a world of normal people, trapped inside of herself.

“…I forgive you,” Gwendolen whispered. She went to Wizard Piecebly and he wrapped his long white-sleeved arms around her. Sua rubbed himself against her legs.

The Lady of the Tower: Part XIV

 Thunder came from above and a streak of lighting reached across the sky. The strange girl suddenly stood in front of Dumbee. It was as if he blinked, and in that time she appeared out of the air.

Strange black stuff pulsed and spun around her; her eyes were in flames and somehow penetrating; light danced around them in rings; her face was intensely white. “Why did you do this to me?” she whispered.

“Let’s talk this out,” Dumbee said as he cowered with his arms over his face.

The strange girl went over and picked up The Light from the ground. Her eyes grew wide and her lips moved with no sound coming out for a few moments. “No,” she said, turning, “no more talking.” She drew in a breath, and shouted in an unearthly tone, “YOU SHALL NEVER FEEL THE LIGHT AGAIN. You were ignorant,” she spat at them, “—in the dark. And so was I. Now go.”

The Lady of the Tower: Part XIII

‘Oh, why?’ a little voice cried inside of Gwendolen’s exhausted but frightened mind, as she ran through the night, from a thing of the night itself at her heels with outstretched arms. Mostly she did not think. She could not think. Her legs felt like lumps of stone as she lifted them from the dark ground, and ran—and ran—and ran: her lungs and heart could burst. Branches kept seeming to reach out and try to seize her—to catch her by her sleeve, or to tangle into her long flying hair.

And every once in a while, when her magic lagged with her will to keep herself going, she would not go quite fast enough and the shadow would reach her. It would draw up her and wrap itself around her tightly. Gwendolen would force herself to fall onto the ground to bring it down with her. Once it was attached to the ground again, she would jump up and run away.

Suddenly Gwendolen stopped and turned around, facing it. The shadow slowed but did not stop as well.

The anger which she had felt that morning awoke. It resented her fear and weakness—resented that she had been deceived. “No more,” it said. The shadow stopped.

Gwendolen could feel her magic pouring out of herself as the night drew in around her in a black pulsing air. Her eyes ignited and turned to flickering candle-flames.

In her shaking hands was fire. The shadow fled, but the fire shot out of her hands in a pillar to it and she burnt it into the ground as it tried to escape her.


The Lady of the Tower: Part XII

Dumbee and the others climbed the mountain as they had the day before. ‘This time,’ Dumbee thought in frustration and despair as he held The Light under one arm, and ran the other hand along the mountain-side, ‘all hope…is lost.’

When they reached the top, the sun was setting. Dumbee sat down with The Light in his arms and watched the sun until it had disappeared somewhere below Cacklewitch.

“So,” Cilious said. “How do we get that strange girl to come back so that we can give her…er…that thing?”

“We don’t,” Idior said, grinning, “because I threw the book down the mountain. I thought we probably didn’t need it anymore. I wanted to see it drop.”

Dumbee jumped up and kicked Idior in the shin. Idior hopped about on one leg, clutching the other and howling in pain.

Dumbee stared down on The Light, glowing in her safe little bubble, nestled in the dark grass. ‘Your anger is your end,’ he heard her say inside of his mind.

The Lady of the Tower: Part XI

“It is I,” Dumbee proclaimed as he strutted down the cobblestoned street, “Dumestovall, your king!” The people on the crowded street gave Dumbee a queer look and kept on with their business. A boy with a satchel and a letter in his hand passed the party on the other side.

“Boy,” Dumbee said as he crossed the street. He grabbed his arm. “Which way is to the castle?”

“I dunno,” he said, looking up at Dumbee with curious brown eyes. “And my name’s not ‘boy’.” Then he looked at the near-glowing girl, and wriggled free and ran away.

Dumbee looked up and there was the castle, only a block of houses with a verdant lushly growing hanging garden over them away. As the party approached it, it became more obvious that people were watching them with interest. Their eyes stayed with them as they passed by on the street. A crowd was forming of on-lookers as they came to the bridge which crossed the moat to get to the castle courtyard. This pleased Dumbee greatly. He looked down at a black cat suddenly trotting beside him, as if Dumbee belonged to it. “Go away,” Dumbee muttered in annoyance at it. ‘People might think it will bring bad luck with us,’ he thought.

“I am not an it,” said the cat in a deep man’s voice, looking up at Dumbee with clever green eyes. Dumbee stared as the cat turned his head forwards again and trotted off ahead of Dumbee with his tail in the air. When the party entered the courtyard, the cat was nowhere to be seen.

Dumbee turned to one of the two guards with dark pointy hats and robes at the top of a small flight of stairs by the entrance. “We are here to see the high wizard of this castle,” Dumbee said as politely as he could.

“Ah,” said the guard, “yes, he is expecting you. Keep climbing the stairs until you reach the top. He likes to sit in the far right tower.”

Dumbee thanked the man, and wondered as they went inside, ‘how can he be expecting me? They must be wizards,’ Dumbee guessed.

There was an ankle-deep layer of dust as well as bird droppings spotted about on the floor, and little holes in the walls where daylight was coming through. Dumbee looked about The Great Hall in disgust. He ran up to the thrones, his feet echoing, and knelt before them. He could cry. The once fine fabric was now moth-eaten and speckled brown in places, and the metal which bordered it was severely tarnished with lack of care. All of the precious stones had disappeared, and there were only empty spaces where they had once been. ‘Stolen,’ he thought. For the time in which he grew up and lived his life poor in The West, his rightful castle had at the same time disintegrated. The high wizard who now inhabited it did not seem to care.

Dumbee ran in a rage through the dim halls, with specks of dust illuminated in the squares of light which came through the cracked windows, to the far right tower stairs, and ran up them. The others panted as they tried to keep up with him.

Dumbee burst through the door and there was the old man, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor and quietly scribbling with a quill-pen into a large leather book. His long beard was a snowy white, and so was his woollen robe with a diamond-shape pattern.

He looked up at Dumbee, and then his eyes went to the ceiling as he laid his quill on a page and closed his book with a ‘wump!’ Dumbee stared at the old man, as he breathed heavily—he stared at the polished stone floor and dark wood desk and chair and the perfectly clear glass roof.

Dumbee heard the others come through the door behind him, out of breath.

“I am now king,” Dumbee said, his voice like gravel.

“I see that you are quite severe,” said the wizard as he continued to stare up at the ceiling. He spoke with a dawdling wheezy thoughtfulness. “I will introduce myself as High Wizard Piecebly. I will now tell you that you were sent away because every king in your blood-line did a terrible job at being king. Perhaps you do not remember your tyrannical father, as he was only briefly king. Being king means to take care of the people, not to become rich—to rule everyone with animosity, executing whoever one pleases with hatred—to want everything one’s own way.”

This infuriated Dumbee. “But I will be a good king,” he said between clenched-teeth. “No matter what you have said, I am now king,” he repeated, “and there is nothing that you can do to prevent me.” Dumbee turned around, his back facing the wizard, and looked at the near-glowing girl. “I have acquired a powerful being,” he said quietly. “It will insure that I am king of all of Inglid. Now do as I say, and make it so.”

The wizard chuckled in long wheezy bursts. Dumbee turned back around in shock. The wizard looked straight at him, into his eyes. “Do you know what this thing is that you have with you?” said High Wizard Piecebly. “You have The Light!” he exclaimed. He bent over, laughing and laughing.

What?” Dumbee said through the wheezing bursts. His voice had become rather small and astonished.

“Come forward, my dear,” the wizard said, smiling. He held out his hand and The Light went to him and took it.

“I cannot do as you ask,” said The Light. Dumbee stared into her flickering candle-flame eyes and she stared into his. He had to look away because they seemed to burn into his mind.

Wizard Piecebly said, “the Light cannot tell a lie.” He stood and spread his hands around The Light. She shrank until she was little again—the size that Dumbee had first seen her as, and then a glassy casing grew back around her. The wizard took the bubble out of the air and held it in his long woollen robes.

A seriousness seemed to creep into the wizard’s face, and somehow the shadows on it deepened. “And now, you must return her, or we all shall die because she is time and happiness itself. She is everything that keeps chaos from roaming freely. In this world of magic, can you imagine the variety of ways that one could cause harm and evil to others, merely by closing their eyes and willing it to happen? Without her, we would not be having this conversation at this very moment.”

Thank Pixabay

Each special image attached to each story is from the extraordinary site of Pixabay, where pictures are free of copyright.




The only picture which is not from Pixabay is the picture of Gwendolen and The Light. Imagination wishes to illustrate a representation of each story. More illustrations created by Imagination may appear in the future…