VI.

The glittery court
turns to see as young Ailfrid
bending knee, awaits.

What must the lad do
to serve his king and his home
They wait in stillness.

The old King says naught.
The Chamberlain whispers soft
He beckons Ailfrid.

There’s a quest for you
he says, kindly eyes smiling
will you accept it?

Your father was brave
your grand-sire most bold as well
your mother served too

They took on a quest
To serve their kingdom, their home
Not counting the cost.

Thus I ask again
Ailfrid, will you take this road
adventure unknown?

Said Ailfrid loudly
Yes Majesty, I serve thee
I go where you point.

My life shall not rest
Until this questing complete
And I home again.

Only say what the quest?
What to be righted? What wrong
you would have me right?

VII.

Ailfrid, young quester
pauses to receive the quest
and hopes for honor.

In glory attired,
the King pulls Ailfrid closer
and whispers “Night Star”

“Night Star, great jewel
of our realm, gift of the night,
savagely stolen!”

The Queen, fair of face
leaned and hung a heavy chain
about Ailfrid’s neck.

“Where hung the Night Star
The kingdom’s sky is blackened
Light no longer seen.

A thief most horrid
snatched the sky’s most precious gem
and faded away.

What blackness of heart
tore the starry crown away
and left but darkness?”

She spoke but softly
A tear, sparkled like a star
on her pale soft cheek.

“Your braveness must go
to return our joyful gem.
Bring it safely home!

Gone the graceful light,
the joy of the Night Star light
Bring it safely home!

VIII.

Ailfrid bowed to her
and to the King gave respect.
His heart was bursting.

Gear and food given,
Escorted back to the door
“No map?” he wondered.

Shown the wide-paved road
Full of coming and going
The daylight most bright.

This time, departing
with no fond waves of farewell,
Just marking distance.

Further down the road
Again the choice: right or left.
no map. no idea.

Ailfrid sat looking down
the road he’d just followed down
then right and to left.

“No idea where to go,
and no hint who to pursue.
Not even a clue.

Not going further.
Perhaps the moon will whisper
a hint in my ear.

He sat and he watched
the darkness, just listening
to the quiet night.

The moon sailed on by.
The night said nothing at all
Ailfrid slept at last.

IX.

Something near his ear.
A fluttering near his head.
He opened his eyes.

A small blue bird there,
perched on his knee, stopped singing
and looked right at him.

Bird, unexpected
and welcome sight this morning
after lonely night.

Have you news from home?
Helpful news from the castle?
How to find Night Star?

The birds small head turned
one side and then another
and then he sang out.

While there are no words
in the song of a blue bird
there is a meaning.

The trilling poured out
Ailfrid closed his eyes to hear
and listened deeply.

He fingered the chain
and turned his face to the sun
as the bird sang on.

When the song finished
then Ailfrid opened his eyes
and looked right and left

The road to the right
was bright in morning gold light
glowing in welcome.

X.

To the left shadow
lay deep in the road’s folding
purple and darkling.

Ailfrid stood to look
shouldering his pack again
opposite the bird

He looked once again
toward the sun toward the darkness
adjusted the pack.

He gave a whistle
in answer to the blue bird’s
trilling morning song.

“So off we must go
no gold-lighted road would call
the thief of Night Star.

So off we must take
the way of shadow and rogue
and evil intent.”

The bird kept singing
though it flew near, here and there
Cheerily singing.

The shadowy cool
The morning blocked from his view,
The road continued.

His face, he turned from
the delight the morning held
his goal close to heart.

The trees dark, looming
the sky darkening, gloaming
where fled the new day?

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