There are wolves in the wind this eve
A fierce wind that howls
Tormenting the horses and bending the boughs, lashing the manor with such might and main with bearing to rend the very earth right through, in twain
From whence came this tempest, monstorous havoc-bringer?
Look to it, atop mine chest of black poplar timber.
Though at present I be embowered privily aloft in the tower and know this not,
Mark me well, O ye of this earthen lot,
aye, it is able of this and worse as thou wilt witness,
afore this tale be told of dire doings,
phantastic and ruinous.
And so there it stood on mine chest,
or so I wilt guess,
As the penumbra of my chamber was pitch as the pit,
Permitting no vision, not a hands breadth, not a cubit.
No matter, yet
Even without light’s ingress,
this much I must confess,
it’s innocence was soon belied by a seething force I could descry,
as the nightish ether that compassed round it did feed upon,
by my soul,
a mounting nocturne whose power roiled and hissed,
hunger for the spark, from the flint, in my fist.
It was…. a candle, a candle it was.
Though not of the ordinary sort, nay,
it plainly was not.
once illumined doth fortell by what manner and what moment,
one who lit the gnarled wick wouldst enjoin the dead and depart the quick, or so legend doth purport.
I am a noble lady of the court, no seer with the sight,
however from the first,
this candle’s queer origins ‘twere enough to stir affright
Condemned in grimoire’s most malefic volumes, unlettered though I was in their glyphs and sorcery,
I wit enough to gather, this item were shunned by even the most perverse seeker of esoterica like a pestilence and no mere token of chance and folly.
Further lore would tell of an accursed criminal hung from the gallows and later quartered,
whose hand, worker of woe that it was,
had been rendered,
each finger to tallow.
Of the other four their whereabouts are no wise known, though all met unseemly ends amongst those,
whom did they own.
This candle, the witching finger, is all that remains and it is this, as fate permits, I shalt attain.
It art mine, and mine alone.
Enterprising I was, wanton I became
To possess it, this my boon and this my bane.
Dreadful white has begun to steal into my stately tresses, once a luxurious sable.
Wretched lines have etched themselves into my comely lineaments,
formerly smooth as Grecian marble.
The bloom of health by whose scent I were once suffused,
Hadst cruelly retracted all it had lent.
At two score years no amount of riches from the regal coffers could stay these carnal changes, nor allay these fears.
What of this enchanted candle, I wondered on and on,
What of the knowing of my end that it may proffer?
Thus resolved, lives and misery were bought and sold as was my wont, as was my cause,
Forget this not,
treachery can be the coin of the realm for one bedecked with royal helm.
Though not until the candle’s final keeper, a magus sequestered in sylvan hermitage, fens of mysteries deep and evil deeper,
was paid call,
did the candle give up its secrets and mine will ensnare evermore,
in its throes and binding thrall.
In times afore, my henchmen’s daggers would well open tender throats, yet ere this magus life’s blood suffused his rainment with deathly burnish,
twas with these grave words my retinue were furnished.
“The last of the five, the sigel of he who with all fortune lies!” and plunged gilded athame into his own breast, censuring any further inquiry, any behest
Madman and wood though he be, this only further vexed sensibilities.
For sooth, of fortunes he spoke,
Confirming the corpus,
musty scrolls and texts over which I poured – this candle, this darkly fetish, presages the means to the holder’s impending fortune.
Though lurking in my bosom deep,
seat of mine suffering where dread suspect doth claw forth
that this candle held other Arcanum,
other ends it worketh towards.
There it sat ‘pon my chest,
With a stillness almost sepulchral
There I huddled in my chamber recesses,
Crouched in form, maddened of mind,
Flint fragments turning over and over in my feverish hands in meter to the torturous time,
Of that power emanating creeping forth from that candle, cursed candle,
I could sense it with every fiber I wert conceived.
There in the darkness, I dare not wonder how
Wroth became the candle, it surely did, as I live and breathe.
These ponderings summoned that susurrus to redouble sure, as upon the gloom it fed and fed
The candle swore that all my yearnings for fortunes true and fortunes yet unmade, it would propitiate,
If only that wick I were to immolate.
A great restlessness possessed my frame,
Still in my hand, the flint scourged my palm flesh as it was turned, as it was turned, as it was turned.
Rings of beryl, jacinth,
And ambergris-scented silks,
title, and lands crowned.
Of what use be these?
When mine turrets crumble and portraits rot,
My die wilt still be cast,
In that common repose, I, as all am doomed to lie
Am I not?
I dare wonder no longer.
Across my darkened abode I strode candle-wards in spite,
Of that wretched candle,
Faerie spire or devils pike in the shadows it felt the same, alike.
The sparks leapt from the flint, forged in the furnace of my lusts
In the fires of desire, with reason left for dross
I am at a loss at to how with no draft present with guttering, with becoming
that flame did blaze, as by law it now must.
This was no light of welcome and balmy warmth,
not that of the coming dawn or the well-tended hearth.
More akin the light of Rapture,
A thousand thrones.
that which smites as wrath incarnate.
Owing to that candles eerie spell,
As a foundling calf at the abattoir’s entry doth arrest,
owing to the rawness of its own fear.
So didst my limbs go rigid, as by catalepsy or fit,
All together vapid.
while my eyes could stare
While my ears to hear
How to relate a light that does not illuminate
Rather decays the very darkness, in a cry so shrill as to pierce both plate and mail
To lay bare this scene,
lit just so,
on my chamber walls with an enchanted gleam.
My fortune that magus presaged,
Was the end to my mortal suffering,
‘twere not in many distant days in a time of wisened age,
Where my hopes be hung,
To my horror, that candle foretold within its dimly glowing portal,
That my very chamber with every content taken into account, shalt be my rest and requiem sung.
My chest of black poplar and myself, still as stone and facing front I last saw.
Darkness didst its dominion regain, no quarter given, as if over the chamber a heavy pall were lain.
Strains of that shrillness, the tempest flown
still hang in the vacant chamber heard by none,
Alas, I hast already passed on, a westering sun.
Shall I tell you the tale of one maiden’s woe
Penned in avarice and signed by ruth
Shall I tell her deeds and doings?
and what were sown?
Then let it be so, consider it told.