Daughter of Regals & Other Tales by Stephen R. Donaldson

Daughter of Regals & Other Tales by Stephen R. Donaldson

Author:Stephen R. Donaldson [Donaldson, Stephen R.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781101625125
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2012-12-30T16:00:00+00:00

From that day to this, I have seen no evidence of magic and have had no need of it. I am Mardik the blacksmith, and I stand as tall as any man in the village, though it’s true some muttered darkly about me for a time until I silenced them. I do what I will, and none can say me nay. For my sake they treat mad Festil with respect.

And yet I am not what I was. There is a lack in me that ale cannot quench and work and women cannot fill. For I have failed the testing of the Lady in White in my way, and that is a failure not to be forgotten or redeemed. There was a thing that I needed, and it was not in me.

The Lady in White, I say, though I do not expect to be believed. I have thought long and painfully of all that has befallen me and have concluded that the wizard was like the demon-creature and the leprous crone—another test. By means of testing, the Lady in White sought to winnow men, seeking one worthy of her love. This I believe, though Festil gives it no answer but his smile and his joy. Well, smile, then, Festil my brother. You have won your heart’s desire, though it has made you blind. But I failed the tests of the Lady; verily, I failed them all and knew it not. But this, also, I do not utter aloud.

In truth, we do not speak much of the matter. Betimes Pendit the son of Pandeler comes to our hut in the evening, and we three who have endured the ordeal of the cottage sit together in the darkness, where Festil’s eyes are as good as any, and better than most. But we do not speak of what we have endured. Rather Festil spins dreams for us in the night, and we share them as best we may, loving him because he sees the thing that we do not.

Her old pot I keep in the name of remembrance, though without mending it is of little use.

There are some who say that we have been blighted, that we have become old and withered of soul before our time. But we are not blighted, Festil and I. For he has gained his heart’s desire, and I—why, I am Mardik the blacksmith, wheelwright and ironmonger; and despite all my failures I have been given a gift worthy of treasuring, for I have been kissed by the Lady in White.


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