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Myriam

Ruth Nestvold and the late Jay Lake, both multiple award-winning authors, wrote these tales together. Please check out other tales in their series at Tales of the Rose Knights.
When the Rose Knight Myriam arrived in the farthest reaches of the magical lands of Hy Rugosa, she was already so pale she soon became known as the Gossamer Knight. She told no one from whence she hailed or why she had sought out the lands of Hy Rugosa, but rumors abounded: that she had assassinated the leader of the Inner Sea, that she had poisoned the Prince in Point-of-Sleep, that she had betrayed her fellow knights in far Chemeketa. Some thought they heard the lilt of the Moonwood in her voice, others the exotic strains of the Farmost West.
One thing all the stories agreed on--she had been banished. She was mourning. And every day, she disappeared a little bit more.
The Oldest People knew her story, but they did not tell.
Now, while disappearing a little at a time can be seen as a misfortune, it can also have its benefits, especially for a Rose Knight. The more she disappeared, the more at a disadvantage were her opponents, be it in a battle or a tourney, since they could not see all of her to aim their weapons, only her armor and the way she held her own sword and shield. But as her physical person became fainter, her rose fragrance did not, and those knights who had the best chance against her were those who had the best sense of smell.
There were others, however, who insisted that Myriam's increasing invisibility gave her an unfair advantage and called for an assembly of the Rose Knights to do something about it. There it was decided that no knight could participate in tourneys who threw no shadow when naked.
The Rose Knights of Hy Rugosa gathered in the town square the next afternoon, wearing only leggings and surcoat, while the Oldest Ones stood in the shadows and gossiped and chuckled. One by one, the knights stepped in front of the mayor and stripped, and each and every one of them threw a shadow. Finally it was time for the Gossamer Knight. An empty surcoat of pale pink strode forward and bowed in front of the mayor. Then the surcoat was being pulled over an invisible head and dropped to the ground, followed by leggings of the same hue.
And it was found that Myriam's shadow was as long as the day and longer.
The mayor nodded. "Gossamer Knight, you are herewith officially permitted to take part in all tourneys under my jurisdiction."
The pale surcoat was lifted off the ground and settled over a figure slightly recognizable again.
"I think not," Myriam said. "I see now that the other knights were right, and by losing myself, I gained an unfair advantage over them. There is no longer any place for me here in Hy Rugosa."
The Oldest People stopped their chattering and chuckling and moved as one to join the invisible knight. "You belong with us now, Gossamer Knight."
And thus it came to be that Myriam went away with the Old Ones. But she left behind her a scent of citrus and vanilla and the most fragrant rose that ever bloomed, as well as a tale told for generations; a tale with a mystery at its beginning and no moral at its end, a story different with every telling, because only the Oldest People knew the reason for the disappearance of the Gossamer Knight, and they do not say.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016


Tales of the Rose Knights.

- Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold

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