The Seamstress. That was what she was known as, the most omniscient witch in all of existence. She held in her palms the tapestries of every world amidst the crevices that peered through time and space. Each era, each incident, each recollection, was etched into her omnipotent needles. Regarded as the Stitcher, the Embroiderer, she resided in a land that surpassed all imagination, a place one couldn’t reach even if they closed their eyes and envisioned. Slender, long turrets that were visible amidst the shimmering azure, disappearing behind the clouds at times. A silvery river rippled by, its edge falling down into the universe below, the watery memories, the dreams of many being dropped upon the endless number of worlds as irregular quilts, patched together by the witch, threads of age seamlessly curling and weaving to form a new tale.
However, she was mischievous in a good-natured way. There was nothing more she enjoyed than what she dubbed the ‘intricate design of match-making’. Squinting into the brook of time and space, hoping to help young people find love, she zeroed in on something that piqued her interest. She giggled. Using the turrets as her needles and enlarging the tiny drops of water to form a gossamer yarn, she began to spin a fable, eyes glinting in glee.
Olden times; World of Heliovale:
The Commander of the army gazed up in alarm as he witnessed the castle slowly crumbling, tongues of vermillion flames swallowing the fortress into its slobbering golden maws. The battlefield was enwrapped in an orange pool of light as the Commander dropped his sword on the ground and darted in the direction of the falling castle.
“Princess, please be safe!” he prayed.
The scorching heat was too much to bear, but it was nothing compared to the blazing passion the Commander harboured in his heart for the lady he was rushing to rescue, the emotion stamped down deep into the abyss of his despairing soul as he silently swore fealty to the prince, the man he was meant to throw aside his life for.
“My Lady! Where are you?” He dodged a flaming plank that thudded to the floor. “Can you hear me?”
He searched about madly, only one image plastered in his mind; the long tresses of silken hair, the demure eyes, the parted, soft lips, the fair, unblemished skin.
Since he heard no reply, he ran towards the upper floors, hoping she would be in her bed-chamber.
The Seamstress was exasperated.
“Why yearn for someone who will never spare you a glance, fool? The Princess has long since escaped! Find someone who really needs saving! And that’s why…”
Modern era; World of Arlefield.
“Mamma! Please help me! Mamma! Papa!”
The girl was crouching at a corner of the room, whimpering, as the monstrosity known as hell-fire inched closer, the temperature almost killing her. In a state of delusion, she kept calling out to those who had tossed her away for failing to become a doctor, tears cascading down her soot-smeared cheeks.
“We shouldn’t have wasted our time and money on you, worthless girl!”
“Why I even considered hearing out your confession is beyond me!”
So this is how I die, she mused, shoved aside by my parents, rejected by the person I liked, being useless; clumsy at everything I did, the epitome of all that is undesirable. Oh well. This is for the best, then. She closed her eyes, relaxing.
The door was suddenly slammed open.
A myth of two worlds was stitched to form a new reality and the beautiful embroidery was set to float down the river towards the dancing stars underneath.
The witch sighed. “Well, I’ve sown the seeds. How you tend to the harvest is up to you.”
The Commander halted before the bed-chamber of the Princess and forcibly pushed open the door. However, the woman he sought wasn’t there. Additionally, the interiors were very different. And the girl at the corner was staring at him wide-eyed..
“Did you come to save me? I thought no one would come.” She was trembling violently. “I believed even God had abandoned me like everyone else did.”.
He didn’t have the heart to confess that he hadn’t dashed here to protect the guileless, ill-fortuned girl. So, he smiled..
An infantile world where the past and the present are embroidered as one..
The two of them landed atop a wooden bridge atop a pond filled with lotuses. In the Commander’s concerned arms, the girl was still shivering, like a timid doe being hunted..
“There’s no fire anymore, see?” He endeavoured to comfort her, tone soothing. “We’re in a lovely grove. Look around, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
The girl was clutching the front of his clothes tightly, her hands blistered. Then, as though getting pulled out of her reverie, she stood up abruptly and jumped backwards like being stung by a hornet. .
The Commander was confused. “What’s wrong?” She was looking at him, hands clasped respectfully in front of her..
“Sir, it was wrong of me to do that! I’ve been called ‘clingy’ in the past, a disposition most unbecoming, dishonourable. Thank you for rescuing me even if you didn’t mean to.” Then, a beam broke out on the girl’s face, startling the swordsman, for; she was also crying at the same time..
“Who told you that?”
“I loved someone; you know. But he said, ‘who’d ever want you?’ ”
She isn’t the Princess, the world at her fingertips, thought he, pained, this girl is empty. Unlike the Princess, she looks at me as though I matter.
The Commander approached her. “Wishing for someone who’d protect you for life is never inappropriate. I did stumble upon your situation, yes. Now, however, if you’ll allow me, things can change. Will you let me be your guard?”
“Is this pity?”
I’m not in love with her. Not yet. But I think I will be. Soon.
Dibyasree Nandy began writing at the age of 27, two years ago, after completing M.Sc and M.Tech. Since then, she has authored six books and several of her works have appeared in anthologies and literary journals.