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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Balls, Bells, and Baubles"

This poem came out of the October 1, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from technoshaman, rowyn, rix_scaedu, and Dreamwidth user Gingicat.  It has been sponsored by janetmiles.  This poem belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis.




"Balls, Bells, and Baubles"



Shaeth really should have known better.

It was habit, of course --
the two of them
had been enemies for ages --

so as soon as he saw her,
he lashed out with his strongest spell
which unfortunately was nowhere near
as strong as it had been the last time they'd met.

This was how Shaeth came to be
hanging upside-down by his bootlaces,
tied to his own rafters.

Koravi the Trickster Goddess
stood there in her cloak of magpie feathers
and laughed her fool head off.

"Not quite the match for me
that you used to be, eh?"
she said, cocking her head.

"You've had your laugh at my expense,"
Shaeth grumbled.  "Now go away."

"Actually, you're not the one
I came here to laugh at,"
Koravi said, turning serious.
"Abredin told me that you're looking
for ways to fight bottle demons."

That was true, but Shaeth
wasn't about to give her the satisfaction.
He'd only end up owing her
and that was something to be avoided.

"Yes, we are," Trobby said
as he used a poker to try
and untangle Shaeth's laces.
"Could you get him down from here?
He's rather heavy and these knots are tight."

Koravi whistled three sharp notes
and deposited Shaeth neatly on the floor,
his bootlaces tied -- and not even to each other.

Shaeth wondered what was going on.
"What do you want?" he asked.

"I brought you some things," Koravi said.
She held out a handful of baubles --
balls made of colored glass
like miniature fishing floats,
others of brass and silver filigree,
bronze bells and copper beads.
"Put these on your bottle lanterns."

Shaeth poured the shining, chiming things
from one palm to the other.
He had no experience with such whimsies.

"Give them to me," Eshne said.
"I have decorated candles.
Bottle lanterns can't be much harder."

"What are they for?" Shaeth asked
as he poured them into Eshne's hands.

"They bring laughter and cheer,
such things as bottle demons despise,"
Koravi explained.

That was valuable information.
Shaeth frowned at her, suspicions
riffling along the back of his neck.
There had to be a trick or a trap
somewhere in all this.

"Why are you telling me?"
he asked her.

"Well, you know," Koravi said slyly,
"drunks can be funny."

Shaeth and Trobby looked at each other.
They had been working as entertainers,
transmuting empty bottles into dancing glass skeletons.

"We might not be as opposed now
as we once were," she concluded.

So it hadn't been a prank or a trap after all.
Shaeth was left confused
by the trick that wasn't a trick.

"It's up to you," Koravi said,
"if you want to become allies
or remain enemies."

Then she turned into a magpie
and flew out the window.

He hadn't seen this coming,
but it was a nice surprise.
With Shaeth having changed his position
and Evil held only in regency,
of course the alliances would be shifting.

Shaeth should have known that too.

* * *

Notes:

Bells are used for protection and banishing.  They are most often made of bronze, but can be made of other materials.

Glass balls include witch balls of hollow glass used to entrap evil spirits.  They can be turned into pendantsBalls of metal filigree are also used for warding and decoration.

Bottle lanterns come in several styles, made from upcycled glass.  Here is one version of a decorated candleholder.  You can learn to make a hanging lantern from a wine bottle.  I recently bought a green bottle lantern at a street fair, because it reminded me of what Eshne and company are making for their temple goods.

Bottle trees are a protective arrangement.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
rowyn From: rowyn Date: October 16th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Shaeth needs to improve his manners in greeting guests a bit. :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 16th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well...

Various things are going on here.

1) Shaeth forgot that he has lost a great deal of power. His reflexes haven't caught up with that yet. This is a pervasive problem, with no quick easy fix.

2) He saw someone he considered an enemy in his territory. Most people will react stridently to that.

3) He is just starting to get the hang of being Good. He hasn't really figured out how to make it work under difficult circumstances yet; he's lucky if he can do it at all.

So, yes, Shaeth needs to think things through more carefully and change his knee-jerk reactions. But he's trying to change habits that are millennia old. It's going to take time.
2 comments or Leave a comment