esson 11: Sword Queen, Sword Six and Sword Seven

he following morning I set out from the stone circle, traveling until I come to a clearing where a woman sits polishing a sword. She looks up at me and says: "Ah, I heard there was a seeker in the realm. It's about time you came to introduce yourself to your hostess!"
"What do you mean, my hostess ?"
"I'm the queen."
"Oh!" I attempt an untrained curtsey, and she says, somewhat impatiently, "Oh really, that's not necessary."
"Well, let me introduce myself. I'm Moonchild," I say, extending my hand.
Taking my hand, she replies, "Greetings, Moonchild. You can call me Lyn. Come, sit beside me."
"Moonchild, you have much to do. Yet here you are wandering in the woods. What are you doing?"
"I don't know . . . gaining experience, looking for you . . . finally, questing for the Sword Hallow.""And why do you want to achieve the Sword Hallow?"
"I don't really have a solid answer for that. I don't like weapons, and to tell you the truth, I am and always have been hesitant to grasp the hilt of any sword. But I'm discovering the journey to be quite valuable in itself.""Naturally, but that doesn't mean you have to go wandering all about the countryside either. The Sword will help you focus on your journey and cut away unnecessary side paths--or cut your way through them, if you prefer. If you want something, you have to go after it. IT doesn't recede from you--YOU recede from it! I know the journey is long and difficult. Let me help you make some progress. Come."

   She leads me to a small stream where a boat sits along the shore. "Go in this boat," she tells me. "Your mind will be able to wander where it will, but the stream is straight, and will lead you where you need to go. Have a safe and prosperous journey."

   I climb aboard and push off. It's a lovely day, and I recline in the boat and float with the current. An oar lies in the boat also, but I don't take it. Lyn said the stream would take me, so I let it. I gaze up at the blue sky, and try to work on my "aircraft recognition skills."1 I start to worry about all the other things I should be doing, but I can't do them while I'm in the boat, so I put it out of my mind and watch an osprey returning to his family in the treetops above me.

   Finally, the boat bumps against the shore. I rise, expecting to see *something,* but there is only open countryside surrouning me. I follow the course of the stream through trees and pastures. Then I spot something floating past me. It looks like a stone with a sword protruding from it. I wonder if the Sword Queen sent it down the stream after me. I run ahead and find a fallen branch, and go to a narrow part of the stream. As the object nears, I use the branch to ease it over to me. Moss grows on the underside, and minnows nibble at its edge. There is a spiral design on one side and writing carved on the other side of the stone, but it's an unfamiliar language.

   I grab the handle of the sword and try to pull it out of the stone. It doesn't budge. Then, focusing my energy, gathering my strength and taking a deep breath, I try again. It starts to slide ever so slowly out . . . then stops. Maybe if I brace my feet on the stone . . .

   I stand on the stone and prepare myself for another effort. As I grab it, the stone drifts into the stream. I pull with all my might . . . and fall into the water. The sword and stone drift off, and I get out of the water, watching them go and hoping to catch up to them again someday--better prepared and ready to try again.

1) I'm working on a Fleet Information project for a European airline alliance. I'm really into it, and even brought my work home for the long weekend. But yesterday, I was lying in the sun. When my husband asked me what I was doing, I told him I was working--on my aircraft recognition skills. IOW, I would watch the sky for the occasional passing plane, and try to guess its make and model. Tough job, but . . . {back}

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