Pool of Stars

Dany reached her hand into the water. The liquid was cool, lightly cold, but refreshing. The pool her hands were in was small, just a large bowl really, perched upon a graceful stand. It’s legs, though spindly, were made of finely wrought silver that stretched open at the top to form open arms that held the white marble bowl. Inside, white points of light shone out, like stars in the night sky. It was these points of light her hands were reaching for, trying to collect them in her small, delicate hands.

Behind her stood Magnar, her silent guardian and protector. The centaur had been with her for many years now, keeping her safe from harm. His strong arms and quick wit had seen them through many dangers. His bare chest spoke of his strength, and his sharp eyes, wary even here for any potential harm, gave the impression he always knew what was going to happen.

Not that she needed protection here, standing as they were within the plane of Natura. It was just a small pocket of that wide dimension really, a room within a much larger demesne. Green grass flowed across the ground like a blanket of natural carpet. Flowers bloomed here and there, their fragrance filling the air with a soothing and sensual aroma. Light shone from all directions, soft as a glimpse of morning on the first day of spring. It was always like that here. The ground rolled softly in small hills across the whole of this parcel of tranquility, smoothing only where the bowl where Dany now stood, and the glowing gateway where they’d entered.

Dany’s hand flowed gently within the still waters of the pool, causing small ripples at every movement. The stars within waved gently as the waves washed over them. She caught a speck of light within her hand, and lifted it gently out. Her heart grieved at what she was doing, but she knew deep down that she had no choice. The water flowed out of her hand, leaving that small point of light all alone within the palm of Dany’s small hand. It looks so lonely now, she thought. For a moment, she considered abandoning this madness, putting the star back in the pool, and facing her foes. But that was impossible, she knew. If she were to fail in her task, the world might never be set right again. Slowly, with tears beginning to flow from her bright blue eyes, she settled that small point of light into the magic bag she’d brought along.

Again her hand went into the pool of lights, and again she came up with another solitary point of light. It’s sparkling seemed to speak to her, asking her what she was doing, perhaps it was begging her for mercy. Did it know what was transpiring, in the outside world? Or was it ignorant of all, completely innocent in the ways of the world? Did it have an intelligence? It seemed to, perhaps that was only her imagination. Her tears continued to flow as she laid this star gently beside it’s brother within her small magic bag.

Dany dipped her hand into the pool until all the points of light were gone, stuffed within her bag like so much garbage. She hated herself now, for what she was doing, hated them, for making her do it. Why did evil have to exist in the world? Why do we suffer it so?

“My lady?” the deep voice of her guardian called out, startling her. She turned to face him.

“I’m sorry, what?” she replied, confused.

Magnar’s face was as troubled as her own, his eyes seeing deep into her sadness.

“You asked why we suffered something, but I do not know to what you refer.”

She looked into his dark brown eyes for a moment, seeking the wisdom he always seemed to have on hand.

“I didn’t mean to ask that out loud, really. But why must there be evil in the world? Why do we suffer it to exist? Why can’t there be only good?”

Magnar didn’t answer her right away. He returned her gaze, looking deep into her soul, searching for what she truly meant.

“We do not suffer it to exist, do we? Are we not now fighting against it?”

“Are we,” she asked, her voice shaking, “Aren’t we doing evil’s bidding. We shouldn’t be in here, these are not ours to take. But we’re doing it anyway.”

“We are here because the consequences against this action are far worse, are they not?”

Dany wanted to tell Magnar that he was wrong. She wanted to tell him that they should return to the world, smite their enemies down with righteousness, and purge evil for good and ever. But she didn’t, she knew it just wasn’t that simple. Why couldn’t things be simple?

“Trouble not your heart with ponderings of heavy doubt. Endeavor we must to change the things we can, for good and all, but worry not about those matters beyond our reach. As to the nature of evil’s existence,  it has always troubled man and beast, since e’er the world was made. Fathom not it’s existence, for we can never know it’s purpose. Our lot is to war against it, fight it back at every turn. And it is in this way that we now act. You know this to be true, my love. Settle your heart, and let us return to the battle at hand.”

Dany’s eyes had ceased their weeping as she listened to the centaur’s wisdom. He was right, of course, as he always was. As they turned to make their way to the gateway that would take them back to the outside world, Dany made a solemn promise to herself to return each and every one of these stars to the pool, no matter what it cost her.

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