Free Bonus Chapters

Bonus chapters: -

  1. Title: “The Curse on the Ortolan.”
  2.  Title: “Ethla learns of the death of Princes Hellalyle.”

 The “Curse on the Ortolan” chapter, was omitted because Targai Tarutin felt there was no satisfactory position for it in the publication.

The treatise “Etha learns of the death of Princess Hellalyle”, is also not in the book, as its inspiration came to the author after completion of the manuscript.

 

The Curse on the Ortolan:

   The breed of bird called the Ortolan, that extraordinary envoy
from the wilderness, had from times long ago been treated
with disdain by the dark forces of the underworld, but now it
would pay a heavier price for its allegiance and devotion to their
sworn enemy, the unblemished Hellalyle. For Satan now placed
a curse upon the birds ensuring them a grisly fate; for wicked
people began to devour the inoffensive creatures as if they were
a delicacy, but first they tortured them by imprisoning in cages
with no light or stabbing their eyes out, the darkness causing
them to gorge on grain, fattening their little bodies. They were
then thrown alive into alcoholic liquor to kill and marinade the
forsaken passerines. Lucifer then watched as his slaves dined in
gluttony on the now bloated little corpses while covering their
heads with a white cloth to hide from the eyes of God; such was
their guilt of this shameful act, for in eating the Ortolan they
were doing the Devil’s work.

   However, salvation will eventually come for that little bird,
when that lost, great comet, the harbinger of doom that mysteriously
appeared in the night sky all those centuries ago on the
day of Hildebrand’s first wooing of Princess Hellalyle, will once
again return after its epic sidereal journey through the firmament
from way beyond the Kuiper belt, distinct to the very depths of
the universe. There will be little, if any warning of its arrival, but
on the evening of its closest approach to the Earth, at the zenith
of its brilliance, Hellalyle will send her twelve knights to descend
on its beams of light – pathfinders to The Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse heralding the end to the curse on the Ortolan.

Ethla learns of the death of Princess Hellalyle:


   In one of the rooms of the abbey, a nun, seated, gently rocked
a cradle cosseting Hellalyle’s baby son. The crib had been
constructed quite skilfully by a passing craftsman, by adapting a
manger obtained from a nearby livestock barn – an object long                              associated with the divine.

   By a remarkable coincidence the artisan was the very person
who had been chastised and rebuked by the late princess for the
brutal assault on Ethla in the castle stables; the Russian Tsygan.
It was as if he had undergone atonement for his wicked deed – a
prisoner of his fate.

   It was not long before Ethla pestered the sorority, innocently
enquiring when she would be taken back to Preben to reunite with
Hellalyle. With her faltering enunciation she would repeatedly ask,
“Princess Hellalyle, when shall I meet her again? When are we
going to see Princess Hellalyle?” assuming the nuns understood
her clamorous utterances.

   The impaired adolescent, poignantly unaware of the passing
of the king’s daughter, possessed a character devoid of moral
wrong – forever positive in her view of the world about her. Never
a more cheerful little soul the nuns would ever meet. Her happy
disposition and angelic nescience stymied the hand of the nuns
in the religious order, for no one could bring themselves to be the
bearer of such calamitous tidings: the disclosure of the princess’s
murder.

   It finally fell to the abbess, who resignedly made the decision
to reveal all to Ethla. She took her to the room where the nun
attended the cradle where lay the newborn. Placing her hands on
the shoulders of the girl, she guided her over to the rocking crib
where both looked down on the sleeping child.

   “Ethla,” said Amora, “the time has come for you to learn the
truth of your mistress, Princess Hellalyle. It will be sad for you to
know that she is no longer with us, but in a much happier place, a
destination where we cannot go.”

   Before the abbess could say more, Ethla, surprisingly, knew
the meaning and burst into a flood of tears. Her sorrowful
outpouring knew no end, for she cried and cried, the front
of her garment damp from sobbing at the realisation that
the one person in all the world that she adored was gone. She would
never see her again. The nun, attending the manger, overcome at
the sight of the distressed Ethla, reached forward attempting to
comfort the distraught figure. Princess Amora leaned over, closer
to the one good ear of Ethla, and softly uttered in a soothing voice,
“Do not despair, little lady, for the spirit of Hellalyle is all around
us, endowed in every living creature, from the waters below, to
the land and the sky above. A woman so rare she need not ask of
the Almighty to live her life again – put right wrongs committed,
for the existence of the king’s daughter was perfect in every
way. Take comfort in the vision of the baby before us; it is the
princess’s own, and in her offspring memories of his mother will
endure. Recollections of Princess Hellalyle will never die; she
will become a legend and your name, Ethla, will be forever linked.”
The abbess, Amora, could not be sure if the words she spoke
were wholly understood, but both the nun and herself sensed
the girl knew something as an awareness came over Ethla.
She stopped crying to tenderly hold the tiny hand of the baby,
looking down at it in adoration, and then to a window with a faraway
look in her eyes, self-absorbed as if she was one of the magi
reincarnated from the stable at Bethlehem.

   Ethla’s transformation triggered a climatic change in the
heavens above. The leaden skies suddenly changed to that of white
billowing clouds and through them, smiling, sweet-faced, chubby
cherubs emerged seemingly lighter than air accompanied by the
music of the empyrean; ‘The Cherubic Hymn’ sung by an unseen
choir of a thousand voices. The beguiling winged angels carried
baskets full to the brim with sunshine, the contents of which they
cast out in handfuls onto the land stretched out below – at its
eye, the religious house of Thorbjorg. The golden rays splashed
upon the earth, illuminating the delight and delicacy of nature
in all its thralls – no scene of a more exceptional loveliness could
one behold. While in the abbey beneath, the expression on
Ethla’s face changed, her mouth agape in utter astonishment,
attention caught by the speckled colours of light dancing against
the glass windows and the sound of the Byzantine Chant heard
beyond – the girl’s limited mind overwhelmed by the exposure
to two enormous events, one of this world, the other beyond her
wildest imagination. This seemingly lesser mortal, considered a
changeling by the unenlightened, was unaware the choral and
light spectacular were the product of the protectors of Eden – the
unearthly spirits in the sky – the winged Cherubims, their bodily
appearance symbolic of the pudgy Ethla. The whole ensemble was
celebrating her extraordinary achievement, cementing her place
in the pantheon of humankind. While in the room with her, the
abbess and the nun of Catholic persuasion genuflected in prayer
before the Holy acclaim of the Orthodox; demonstrating, albeit
momentarily, a healing of the great schism of A.D.1054.

   In Princess Hellalyle’s manuscript there is a reference to the
above event inscribed in the hand of the mysterious polymaths.
It described how, many centuries later, under Celestial influence,
the musical genius Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wandered Europa and
Russia, curiously shunning sociality in search of the legendary
lands of Princess Hellalyle – Lake Eydis and the Mountains of
Orn. However, his search proved fruitless and he settled briefly in
Prussia, the ancient lands of Ethla’s people. While ensconced there
Tchaikovsky’s creativity was stirred by inspiration on high, and in
the year of our Lord 1878 he produced the ecstatic choral piece,
‘Hymn of the Cherubim’ – song of the angels.
His harmonious score, adopted by the Spirits of Heaven, was
not confined by the laws of the fourth dimension, but was able to
swing back and forth throughout the aeons until a time portal,
a gate, opened, allowing his masterpiece to regale the Abbey of
Thorbjog in that unique moment of the 13th century.

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