The Story of URZENNA – Part 5
Now, into the petrified forest they rode on nine white horses, with two riderless horses behind them and Kenrya, the songthrush, flapping beside them, to face the towering terror of old mother death, armed with the knowledge that the tortoise had taught them and their faith in the merciful heart of god and that faith and knowledge emboldened them so that they were not even afraid when they heard the She-Monster singing her blood-curdling lullaby:
“Death is going to make you
a coffin for a cradle;
death is going to make you
a rattle out of bones.
Mothers going to catch you
and kill you if she’s able.
Devils come and take you;
and drag you to their home”.
And they were not afraid even when they saw the grim face of old mother death , rising like an evil sun upon the horizon with blood dyed hair braided into a thousand nooses and ornamented with the skeletons of a thousand hanged men; with her great grinning mouth full of sharp sabre teeth and dripping with gallons of scarlet foam; with her eyes as big as beer kegs and blazing red hot with anger and her creepy crawly, hairy knuckled hands with a sharp and crooked scythe sized finger nail upon each enormous, yellow finger.
“For our friend the Tortoise”, Urzenna shouted at the monster, “We shall give you one chance, for we know the secret of your shadow, now let us pass in peace and we shall not harm you”.
Old mother death laughed like thunder and lightning and her eyes blazed like two evil stars.
“Naughty children need to be taught a lesson”, she said as she cackled.
Then she undid a giant black sack that she pulled out of her own vast shadow and they saw that it bulged with something evil and squirming and then, out of the darkness that filled the sack, came two dark evil imps that grew in size until they were like dwarf giants and they had long, crooked noses; pointed ears, cruel eyes and sharp, black blood dripping daggers in their hands, “Children!”, she commanded her abominable offspring, “Kill them!”.
The monsters children were terrifying and as fierce as a raging fire but Urzenna and the priests fought bravely and even Kenrya, becoming human once more, seized up an extra sword to help them fight and, even though the ogre children were twice the size of the tallest among them, their monstrous corpses were soon lying, limbless, upon the ground.
Old mother death wept fire and wailed like a storm for her dead children but then after a moment of brooding, intense silence, she began to sing again and this time it was a song of evil enchantment.
“Sleep little children;
don’t draw a breath.
Sleep little children
in the arms of death”, she sang.
Then, over her deathly face, she placed a mask of motherly kindness and over her evil grin she put a maternal smile and, snared by her enchantment, Urzenna and the priests started to fall asleep upon their horses.
Only Kenrya, who had never truly known her mother and had been raised by her stern faced father,
was unaffected by the evil magic.
“Their minds are misted by her charms”, she said to herself, “I must do something to rouse them”.
And so, Kenrya turned her tongue into that of a songbird and called on all her brother and sister birds to gather around and sing loudly so that they would wake Urzenna and the priests and then
thrushes and swallows and sparrows and starlings; even raw throated jackdaws and crows gathered
to make noise and, when Urzenna and the priests heard their music they awoke with a start from the she-monsters spell.
“The songs of our mother nature have broken your evil spell. Now let’s have no more of your games, Mother Death”, said Urzenna and, seizing hold of a bow, he fired an arrow into the deep black heart of death’s shadow and Old mother death clutched her breast and screamed as she dissolved into the earth, her flesh rotting as quickly as snow melting on a fire and Urzenna and his companions cheered when they saw the wicked she-monster die.
“She’s gone to the earth now”, said Urzenna, “Gone to be one with the goddess. That, atleast, would make our friend, the old tortoise happy”.