Matt looked up from the laptop screen to see Jennifer smiling at him.
“I’m going to bed now. Will you be very long?” The twinkle in her eyes promised Matt that waiting too long would be a poor choice, as she smiled widely and raised one eyebrow.
“I’ll be right there, lovey. A few more paragraphs.”
Jennifer leaned over and kissed Matt softly, and whispered, “Hurry. I need you.”
The Crafter placed the last mark on the statue with his blade, and stepped back with a sigh. Looking at the row of wooden mannequins he had built, a sense of relief washed over his mind. He had finished the Green Lady’s task, with a few hours to spare. The moon was full, and would soon reach its zenith.
Rushing to the large cabin at the end of the sand, the Crafter took off his hat as he approached her, sitting and staring at the water.
“My Lady, the work is done. I’ve finished.” His deep voice startled the Green Lady from her contemplation, and she looked at him with a smile.
She stood, thirty feet tall, her body constituted of trees and flowers. Her green hair flowed around her verdant body, small woodland creatures crawling over and through her tangled vines and branches. She stretched her limbs toward the sky, closing her glowing eyes against the wind and spray from the waves crashing against the rocky outcrop in front of the cabin. Towering over the Crafter, she shook her head slightly.
“The work has just begun.”
She walked over to the row of thirteen carved figures, as her botanical arms reached for her sides. Reaching the first, the Green Lady tore a glowing mass of living wood from her body, a pulsing, throbbing piece of her being, and began to sing. A soft, wordless melody flowed from her wooden lips, dancing down her arms and flowing like fire to swirl around her hands as they placed the living wood against the chest of the first statue. Light escaped from the statue’s eyes as the piece of the Green Lady melted into its heart.
Now a living man, the carved figure smiled. The Green Lady looked into his eyes and said,
“You are Hope. All will hold you, and feel both the beauty of your touch, and the cold cut of your blade.”
The glowing man nodded, and immediately turned and ran away from the beach, heading for the forest beyond the sand dunes.
She walked down the row, tearing pieces of her body away and placing them in the statues as she sang. With each new life created, she whispered identifying words to the creatures.
“You are Strength, you will lift the broken and defend the weak.
You are Love, you will tie together the souls of the earth.
You are Laughter, your sound will be a blessing to those who hear you.
You are Music, you will provide the beat for the dance.
You are Curiosity, you will lead wanderers down new paths.
You are Observation, you will see what is real, and make clear the skies.
You are Magic, you will hide in the spaces where belief is real.
You are Time, you will mark the passing of the sun, and bring new beginnings.
You are Wonder, your innocence will delight the hearts of those who know you.
You are Loyalty, you will stand unmoved in the face of storms.
You are Truth, you will reveal to all their true selves, and be hated by the weak.”
With each piece taken from her body she became smaller, each imbued being turning immediately away from the water and running. The Green Lady tore from herself the pieces of reality and placed them in her servants, and diminished herself with each step, until she empowered the last statue with a sob, saying, “You are Sadness, you will follow every other servant, and prove their worth.”
Now only five feet, seven inches tall, her body slim and lithe, her long green hair danced on the ocean breeze. She turned to the Crafter, and said weakly,
“Take me back to the cabin, please, dear.”
The Crafter wrapped her arm around his broad shoulders and walked her slowly back to her home.
The Crafter could scarcely believe both what he had seen, and the lightness of The Green Lady. Her once imposing figure was now smaller than his, and her weight was nothing to his broad frame. He smiled at her and lowly rumbled, “Well, that’s done now, My Lady.”
She smiled at him again as he helped her down to the earth in front of her cabin. He placed her carefully against the rocks which she had formerly dwarfed, now four times her size. She rested against the rock for a moment, closing her eyes. She looked at The Crafter, and began to cry, as she whispered, “There is yet one more task. You are a good and faithful servant, Jediah. Thank you for all you have been, for me. Your work has been masterful. You will be ever remembered by this world.”
The Crafter started to speak, to protest her praise, but a quick flash of light from her eyes stopped him. She beckoned to him, and he knelt before her. Reaching her thin hands toward her chest, she began to sing. She pulled a throbbing light from herself, and placed it against the Crafter’s chest. As it melted into his body, her feet dug into the earth, her body grew rigid as the Green Lady became a lovely willow tree, standing alone against a rocky outcrop, by the ocean. Her face disappeared as she whispered to the Crafter,
“You are Poetry, and you will ignite the fires of their hearts.”
The Crafter wept as he turned toward the forest and ran, leaving the lonely, lovely willow alone on her beach. The tree grew rapidly, soon towering over the rocks, as The Green Lady had before.
Matt wiped a tear from his eye as he typed the last word. He saved his writing and shut down the laptop, then walked into the bedroom.
As he lay down next to Jennifer, she reached her hand to his, and whispered, “I love you.”