The Lady of Stellamare / by Joseph Castorino

 

Act I

When Cassano heard his wife was sick,

  He expected to find her in bed,

But by the time he arrived at their country house,

  She was already tragically dead;

His heart was completely broken,

  For she was a compassionate and loving wife,

So then he journeyed to a distant land,

  Because something was missing in his life.

 

Cassano’s wife had spoken of a wise old man

  Who lived in the Magic Mountains,

He lived for years in a craggy cave

  Above the enchanted Lake of the Fountains;

It is said this sage knew of a hidden city

  That was paved with precious pearls,

And rumors say that he knew of an isle

  Filled with beautiful fairy-like girls.

 

Hence he decided to set out alone,

  To try and find this most mysterious man,

So the sun soaked Cassano for several weeks,

  Until his skin became very tan;

When he saw the Magic Mountains,

  They were like stalagmites touching the sky,

The stunning spires were of gold and silver,

  And they towered so very high.

 

The Lake of the Fountains was nearly circular,

  And its sky-blue waters inspired peace,

Around the lake were lovely fountains,

  Whose watery spires would not cease;

Each of the twelve fountains gushed water,

  As much as three hundred feet high,

They were like volcanic eruptions of crystal,

  Glimmering as they touched the sky.

 

When he had finally reached the lake,

  It was very scenic to behold,

As the sun rose over the mountains,

  The frolicking fountains glistened with gold;

He rested that day near this delightful lake,

  For he was really beginning to tire,

But at night he looked up towards the summit,

  And he was sure that he saw a fire.

 

The next day he got up very early,

  And climbed the steep and rugged trail,

He was determined that his daring journey

 Would not ever be doomed to fail;

After three long days, he found the cave,

  In a clearing through the trees,

And he found himself wonderfully cooled

  By a mystical and refreshing breeze.

 

The giant sun slowly sank down,

  And it glowed a fiery red,

Then the darkness of night fell abruptly,

  Like a heavy curtain made out of lead;

Cassano peered around the corner of the cave,

  And saw a man with a very big frown,

The old man had a hood on his head,

  And his coarse cloak was all in brown.

 

This man had a long, ruffled gray beard

  That was visible in the torch’s light,

Being relatively short of stature,

  He was certainly not known for his height;

The old gentleman, named Petrio,

  Was perusing an ancient scroll intently,

Then, completely lost in his thoughts,

  He put it down quite gently.

 

Act II

Greetings, Florian --

As you well know,

I departed in haste

following Chiara's

tragic and unexpected

death,

so now I would like to

update you on all

that has happened

since I left.

 

After a long journey,

just after sunset,

I found the old prophet,

Petrio,

in a cave,

in the Magic Mountains.

 

With a gruff yet gentle voice,

the old man abruptly said,

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

 

I hardly knew what to say

because I was so taken aback;

there is no way that

he could have known I was coming.

 

So I engaged him in conversation,

and I very much welcomed

having someone to talk to

after so many weeks alone.

 

We spent all night

and most of the next day

talking together,

and I learned that

he was very close to Chiara

when she was a child.

 

I felt so comforted

by his words

that I was almost ready

to return home

to resume my life

without Chiara

when he suddenly said,

“It is your destiny

to follow her.”

 

Then he calmly added,

“You will see her again, alive,

if you listen to my words.”

 

When I first met Petrio

I honestly thought he was just a

crazy old man,

but the longer I was with him,

the more his words got

inside of me,

and I knew that he spoke

the truth.

 

A fire was burning in my heart,

as it still is now,

as I write to you

from an inn,

here in a little coastal

port town called

Mai Tornar.

 

So getting back to my story,

Petrio picked up

a little candle

that was within arm’s length,

and he gave it to me.

 

He also gave me

a scroll

that was rolled up,

and it looked like

it was made out of vellum.

 

Lastly, he gave me a

stunning, sparkling diamond

that was the size of my fist.

 

He said I needed to

follow his instructions

precisely.

 

Then he gave me a stern

yet kind warning, saying,

“When you cross

to the eastern side

of the Magic Mountains,

you will be severely tested.”

 

He told me to go to

Mai Tornar

and take passage on

the first ship I came upon.

 

Petrio said the tempests

on the Sea of Shadows

are notoriously perilous,

but I should light this candle

only if and when I encounter

the embodiment of evil.

 

As for the scroll

and the diamond,

he said I would learn

in good time how

to use them both.

 

Then he added,

“The Dark One

isn’t interested in

the diamond,

but he will try to steal

the candle and the scroll.

Resist him!”

 

Then he paused,

and looked with intensity

into my eyes and continued,

slowly but with great emphasis,

“You will meet a lady,

the Lady of Stellamare.

This scroll belongs to the King,

so make sure that she gets it,

because she will be

his messenger."

 

I have never before met

someone so resolute,

and pleasantly stubborn,

in fact, almost bordering on

friendly defiance.

 

But it was clear to me

that this old sage was indeed wise,

and there was something

utterly trustworthy

in his eyes.

 

I was both physically

and emotionally

exhausted,

and I slept for what

felt like days.

 

But I awoke refreshed,

and invigorated.

 

Petrio then gave me

his last words of warning

before I left.

 

With eyes alert like

a great warrior’s,

he told me to avoid

Inferno Island.

 

He said,

“If in spite of all

your efforts,

you find yourself

on this enchanted isle,

do not touch its fruit!

If you even so much as taste it,

you will certainly die.”

 

Petrio concluded by saying

that as soon as I would get

on the other side

of these mountains,

I would be crossing the frontier

into the territory of

the Dark One.

 

His last words to me were,

Never underestimate his powers!”

 

Act III

The next day Cassano got up very early,

  And heartily shook the prophet’s hand,

Then he set out towards the frontier,

  Ready for new adventures in that land;

The trail led him near the summit of the mountain

  Between the two highest peaks,

He noticed the weather quickly changed,

  And wind like icy daggers pierced his cheeks.

 

Billowy black storm clouds filled the eastern sky

  And swirled in a threatening cyclonic motion,

As if they had been quickly conjured up,

  By a wicked and malicious potion;

Daytime in this cursed and dreary land

  Was as dark as very early dawn,

There was strangled sunlight all around,

  And every vestige of hope seemed gone.

 

Underneath the dull, dismal sky,

  The Sea of Shadows was a gloomy green,

And under the squinty eye of the storm,

  Inferno Island could be seen;

A ring of fire blazed extremely bright,

  And it surrounded the mysterious isle,

A volcanic mountain was in its center,

  And its diameter was about a mile.

 

Its crater was filled with molten lava,

  And was a red eye glaring over the sea,

The Dark One’s presence was strong there,

  And no prisoner could ever be free;

Cassano saw all these various things

  From the Magic Mountains way up high,

Petrio’s words were quite prophetic,

  He spoke the truth and not a lie.

 

Cassano looked at the base of the mountain,

  And saw a very small town,

The wild waves attacked with open jaws,

  As if they were trying to gulp it down;

It was located on a bleak little peninsula,

  Over the south end of the bay,

No light shined on treacherous Mai Tornar

  On this very stormy winter day.

 

The wind was very strong and gusty,

  As Cassano descended to Mai Tornar,

The weatherbeaten buildings were weary,

  And they were all the color of tar;

This dirty town had quite a vile stench,

  Of burnt meat and the cheapest ale,

And then he saw dingy drunkards brawling,

  Behind the bars of the jail.

 

When he walked along the bluff near town,

  He looked for a ship to take him away,

But poor Cassano saw no sign of a vessel,

  And nothing at all stirred in the bay;

As he walked on the uneven cobblestones,

  He found an inn along the road,

But as he came through the front door,

  A man grimaced like a menacing toad.

 

This short, stout man was named Gonzalo,

  And he glowered with hellish hate,

When Cassano had been a captain at sea,

  Gonzalo was assigned his first mate;

It turned out Gonzalo was a petty thief,

  And between them a dispute had arisen,

But in the end Cassano got what he wanted,

  And Gonzalo got thrown into prison.

 

So Gonzalo quickly hid in another room,

  And spied on him through the shutters,

He saw Cassano speak to a timid sailor

  Who continually stammers and stutters;

The little chap told him that sailing is hard

  Because of the inclement weather,

The last ship got tossed around by the waves,

  As if it were just the smallest feather.

 

The fine ship was called the Intrepid,

  And its wreckage was on the shore,

He said that the damages were heavy,

  And repairing it would be a chore;

So Cassano quietly sat down at a table,

  And he pensively ate some grub,

He was beginning to wonder if Petrio

  Might have committed a bit of a flub.

 

Many weeks passed and no sign of a ship,

  As persistent Cassano patiently waited,

Meanwhile Gonzalo continued to plot,

  For revenge on the man he so hated;

The town’s citizens were terribly lazy,

  And few of them had steady work,

They were thieves with sneaky eyes,

  Who in foggy lanes did loiter and lurk.

 

But one morning Cassano eagerly awoke,

  For an insight flashed into his mind,

The Intrepid was the first ship he saw,

  So that was the one he had to find!

He formed a plan to repair the ship,

  But he knew he couldn’t do it alone,

So Cassano created a financial incentive,

  And he sold his precious stone.

 

To the many people who wanted work,

  He gave them a respectable job,

Since Cassano gave them dignity as workers,

  They no longer needed to rob;

In wages he gave every single coin away,

  As he strove to treat workers fair,

In gratitude the citizens made a choice,

  And they decided to elect him mayor.

 

Although the project took three long years,

  The Intrepid was as good as new,

As the captain of this resurrected ship,

  He chose a brave and trusted crew;

The weather was sunny in this perilous land

  Perhaps only ten days each year,

So quickly the crew packed their supplies,

  When the sky abruptly became clear.

 

Captain Cassano saw his opportunity,

  So they cast off while the weather was good,

He wanted to travel a long way fast,

  And the crew nodded and understood;

The captain decided to set a firm course,

  Thus he chose the ship’s last destination,

Their voyage was to the Floating Icefields,

  So each one manned his station.

 

But unbeknownst to Captain Cassano,

  Gonzalo had sneaked aboard,

Nothing would make Gonzalo happier

  Than to see him bloodied and gored;

Now the first three days were uneventful,

  Which made the crew quite glad,

But after they saw a solar eclipse,

  The whole world seemed to go mad.

 

Suddenly there was an eerie wild wind,

  And the waters frightfully churned,

Bulging black clouds blitzed the sky,

  As the weather had radically turned;

The Sea of Shadows was darker than ever,

  But then there was another worry,

The Floating Icefields were in the vicinity,

  So the crew scrambled in a hurry.

 

Lightning struck like daggers in the darkness,

  Wounding the innocent air,

Thunder furiously raged and roared,

  As the storm gave the crew a scare;

Though no rain yet fell from the clouds,

  The wicked waves reached toward the sky,

The Intrepid bobbed around in the cauldron,

  And everyone thought they’d die.

 

Gonzalo was waiting in the shadows,

  Like a poisonous human weed,

He nervously stroked his stubbly beard,

  As he planned the dirty deed;

Gonzalo suddenly leaped onto the deck,

  And grabbed his bloody blade,

He rashly raised his knife high in the air,

  As the revenge card was about to be played.

 

Cassano was very busy steering the ship,

  When Gonzalo stabbed with his dagger,

But lightning struck the mizzenmast,

  And the explosion made them both stagger;

The sharp blade cut Cassano’s left arm,

  So his sleeve became rather bloody,

Then they violently brawled on the deck,

  Until their faces turned quite ruddy.

 

Cassano punched Gonzalo in the mouth,

  Bloodying his beard and lip,

Then Gonzalo tripped, and fell over sideways,

  And he toppled right off the ship;

The hungry flames caused by the lightning

  Quickly ate the ship’s old wood,

The crew tried dousing the flashing flames,

  Or they’d all be gone for good.

 

The crew forgot about the ship’s helm,

  For they were busy fighting the fire,

Then the Intrepid rammed into a glacier,

  And the situation became more dire;

The vessel had a huge gash in the bow,

  And swallowed a great deal of water,

The dying Intrepid shivered and shuddered,

  Right before it started to totter.

 

Like a corpse, the Intrepid keeled over,

  Like a harpooned whale in the sea,

The crew fell out like lumps of sugar,

  And were stirred into the murky green tea;

Cassano latched onto the captain's skiff,

  And he rowed with all his might,

His goal was to get away from the ship,

  For he refused to give up the fight.

 

Act IV

Faithful Florian,

let me tell you about

my latest adventures.

 

I captained a ship

called the Intrepid

from the port of

Mai Tornar,

but,

due to a sudden storm,

our vessel was

struck with lightning

and caught fire.

 

The flames

that engulfed our ship

reminded me

of that eventful night

when you saved

Chiara’s life,

courageously

charging into the barn

as the wooden beams

holding up the roof

started to collapse.

 

But back to

my story.

 

Everyone was so focused

on the fire

that no one

was at the helm!

 

Just as the lightning flashed,

a man attacked me,

but with a dark storm

brewing around us,

I couldn’t

see him clearly.

 

At first I thought

I saw a ghost,

for he looked like

that old villain

Gonzalo.

 

Later,

I learned that

it was no ghost,

but was truly

Gonzalo himself.

 

I thought he died

like everyone else aboard,

and thought myself

the only survivor.

 

The ship hit a glacier

and the whole crew --

including myself --

fell into the sea,

but this was just

the beginning,

dear friend.

 

Then it began

to rain.

 

Lucky for me, when I turned  

around, I saw my skiff floating

aimlessly in the water, so I swam

towards it with all my might.

 

I pulled myself in,

and I looked under the

old blanket that covered the

top and was happy to see that

my hidden chest was still there.

 

Then I looked quickly inside

to make sure my things

were all right,

and I saw that the

candle and scroll

were still there

and were still dry,

so I latched the chest shut

to protect them

from the rain.

 

In the distance

to the north

I could see

the flames of

intimidating

Inferno Island.

 

I was carried

on the waves

directly towards

that island,

and I shuddered

momentarily

with horror

as I remembered

Petrio’s words.

 

The closer

I got to the island,

the stronger was

the wind --

which almost seemed

to be purposely

steering me there.

 

The closer

I got to the island,

the stronger was

the rain that fell,

until I was about

a mile away

from the island,

and the terrifying tempest

twisted about me

as if in wicked glee,

with lightning

uncontrollably exploding

all over the sky

as if it were

going mad.

 

The thunder

became deafening,

and it sounded like

five hundred legions

of warships

were continuously

firing their

cannons at me.

 

It was as if some

unseen evil force

had caught me

like a wriggling fish

and were reeling me in

towards the isle.

 

The fiery red eye

of the volcano

seemed to stare

at me

as if it were

obsessed

with me

somehow.

 

So I approached the isle,

and I could vividly see

the black-sand beach

completely encircling it,

engulfed in

perpetual flames

that seemed to

welcome me with their

contorted and convulsive

dance of delight.

 

Only when the waves

crashed onto the shore

did the flames

briefly die out,

but other than that

the fire formed

a formidable fence

around the island,

as if it were a prison

of some sort.

 

I was on a collision course

with the coastline,

and I realized that

I was heading

right at those

furious flames.

 

A large wave was forming

underneath me,

so at the last moment

I leapt off my

battered skiff

and dove under

the surface of

the water.

 

I thrashed about

under the wave,

before it burst apart

on the beach.

 

I found myself

facing downward,

on the wet and toasty

black sand.

 

I quickly looked around

and saw that the flames

had been momentarily

murdered by the wave,

but after only

a few seconds,

I saw the flames already

returning to life again.

 

So I snatched my

chest and

clumsily crawled

and scrambled

off the beach

like a crab,

then I turned around

and sat up against a palm tree.

 

Florian,

please pay attention

to what you

will now read,

for I’m certain

that it will utterly

amaze you,

much as it

has amazed me.

 

When I saw that the

wave had subsided,

and the ring of fire

had fully fenced me in,

I realized that

I was now a prisoner

inside this

fiery fortress.

 

But, oh, what an island!

 

As I turned and

looked about me,

I almost thought

that I was in paradise --

so different it was

from its forbidding exterior!

 

First of all,

I felt like I was in a

protective bubble.

 

Out on the sea it was

cold and windy and stormy,

but on the island

it was tranquil.

 

I could still see the

rapid-fire lightning flashes,

but they were silent,

and there was no thunder --

a very peculiar sensation it was!

 

I looked up,

and I could see

that it was night.

 

The sinister squinty eye

of the storm was

directly overhead,

and it must have been

about the same size

as the island itself.

 

It was a dark sky,

but I could see stars.

 

I could also see the clouds

of the cyclonic tempest

whirling like a giant

wheel overhead.

 

Thus, it was raining over

the Sea of Shadows,

but not over the island.

 

The temperature

was warm,

delightfully warm.

 

As I looked away from

the coastline,

and towards the

island itself,

I saw before me

what seemed to be a

tropical paradise.

 

I could see lush green

trees and shrubs

that had a unique

beauty to them,

and they wafted

to and fro

in the light breeze.

 

Here and there I saw

peaceful volcanic rivers

branching out from

the eye of the

volcano.

 

The lava sleepily

crept down the mountain

and through the forest

like harmless serpents,

before they emptied out

into the sea.

 

They gave off just enough

light to create a

wonderfully romantic,

yet eerie,

glow.

 

It was the most

enchanting place

I had ever seen.

 

Yet,

at the same time,

it was also the most

bewitching.

 

Then,

to top it all off,

the aroma of

exotic spices

filled the air.

 

It was hard not to

imagine

just how delicious

the fruit on this isle

must taste.

 

And then I noticed

that there were many

tropical fruit trees,

with large leaves

that were dark green,

and interspersed among them,

in great abundance,

was a fabulous flurry

of fantastical fruits.

 

They were round in shape,

about the size

of an orange,

but they were every color

of the rainbow,

multicolored,

even on the same tree,

ripe,

and ready to eat.

 

I began to wonder

if all this fruit

was dangerous,

or if Petrio referred only

to a certain color of fruit.

 

As I was wandering

around in this paradise,

and musing upon these things,

I suddenly heard

a woman’s melodious voice

speak my name:

“Cassano.”

 

I turned around abruptly

as if I had been

ambushed

and shot in the back.

 

When I saw this woman,

somehow I felt alarmed

by the sight of her.

 

She was strikingly

beautiful.

 

How can I describe

her to you,

Florian?

 

She was leaning,

in a teasing position,

against one of the

blooming fruit trees.

 

Her long, wild whirl

of thick black hair

sensually swirled down

over her shoulders

and culminated in

a comely cluster of

sweet serpentine ringlets

that dangled

to the middle of her back.

 

She wore an alluring gown

that was blood red,

and it draped over

and clung to her

voluptuous goddess-like body

like smooth

liquid lava.

 

With her head angled slightly,

she looked askance at me

with a lustful left eye

that was as

black as midnight.

 

Then she slowly and

seductively sauntered

towards me,

walking on the island sand

with her bare feet.

 

Now that she

faced me head-on,

I noticed that her

right eye was a

different color

than her left one --

it was a

sultry sea green.

 

Those eyes of hers were

mesmerizing.

 

As she neared me,

the right corner of her lip

curled upwards playfully

in a suggestive smile

of conquest --

she was like a warrior

going in for the kill,

knowing her opponent

was no match for her.

 

Then she fired

her secret weapon,

a stunning, bright,

captivating smile.

 

When she saw

that I was

dumbstruck,

she continued,

confidently,

in her melodic voice,

“My name is Thaliela,

and I am the queen of

the magic maidens.”

 

It was then that

I realized

that we were not

alone.

 

As I looked through the

green foliage,

I saw a myriad of

black and green eyes

peering at me

with curious delight.

 

Although I couldn’t

see them well,

I knew they were all

women,

because of the

musical sound of

their delightful giggling.

 

Thaliela drew unusually close to me,

and then whispered.

 

She said,

“I know you have

a scroll and a candle

with you,

and I’ve been waiting

for you to bring them to me.

 

“You see,

I am

the Lady of Stellamare.”

 

When she spoke that name,

I felt a sense of confusion

deep inside of me.

 

I felt a sense of excitement,

but also of danger,

on this strange isle.

 

Then she made a proposal:

“If you give me your

candle and scroll,

I will make all your

dreams come true --

even my lips are flavored

with spices!”

 

I could feel the warmth

of her breath

upon my face,

and I drank in its aroma,

which was that of

exotic spices.

 

Her eyes were

wide open and

alive

as she said this,

and she stroked her

sleek, silky fingers

across my cheeks

and onto my lips.

 

I was,

quite honestly,

breathless

and perplexed.

 

Thaliela had a magnetic

power over men

that was hypnotic,

and almost

irresistible.

 

She added,

“While you retrieve

your little treasures

for me,

I will prepare

unspeakable delights

and pleasures

for you.”

 

Next, she reached up

and plucked a

ripe red fruit

off of a nearby tree,

and its juice dripped like

bright blood

on her fingers.

 

She offered it to me.

 

I hesitated,

ever so slightly,

then took it in my hands,

which were moistened

by its sweet-smelling,

sticky juice.

 

I do believe

my hands were

quivering slightly,

and I immediately remembered

Petrio’s words of warning.

 

Thaliela persuasively urged me,

“Here… take this, Cassano...

eat of it.”

 

Then she drew even nearer

so that the tip of her

cool delicate nose

touched my

warm ear.

 

And she whispered,

even more softly,

“This luscious fruit

will help you relax,

and it will make our

time together

even more memorable.”

 

Then in a coy manner,

she stepped back slightly,

she slowly licked her lips,

she winked her black eye at me,

and briskly walked off

towards the interior of the island,

her hair bouncing in waves

as she strutted like a peacock

alongside the banks of a

lazy lava river.

 

Springing out of their

Hiding places,

The other magic maidens,

Like frolicking fairies,

Chased after her

In a sea of giggles.

 

Act V

Cassano was troubled by Thaliela’s words,

  And he was feeling very confused,

Was this charming queen trustworthy,

  Or perhaps was he being used?

Petrio advised him to avoid the fruit,

  Yet Thaliela said it would be delicious,

He was enticed by Inferno Island,

  Though Petrio said it was really pernicious.

 

But what ultimately caught his attention,

  Was what he felt deep down inside,

One person was characterized by selflessness,

  The other by puffed-up pride;

Thaliela’s presence was very exciting,

  But a nagging agitation wouldn’t cease,

Meanwhile, Petrio’s words of wisdom

  Filled Cassano’s heart with harmonic peace.

 

Then he remembered Petrio’s warning:

  That he would face a very severe test,

He wondered about Thaliela’s intentions,

  For she seemed to be very obsessed;

The candle and the scroll she wanted --

  This much was crystal clear,

She was ready to pounce like a wildcat

  If ever he would let her near.

 

Instead of doing what his passions craved,

  He decided to do what he ought,

So he dropped the fruit, and chose sides for the

  Battle that was finally ready to be fought;

He ran over and found Petrio’s candle,

  Which had a signet seal on each side,

One was a cameo of the respected King,

  The other was of a beautiful bride.

 

Thaliela was frozen with incredulity,

  As she watched Cassano light the candle,

She spied him through her looking glass,

  And it was more than she could handle;

At first the candle’s flame barely flickered,

  And it was really very, very small,

But ever so gradually it grew much larger,

  Until it became exceedingly tall.

 

It slowly hardened into a sword’s blade,

  Of a bold bright dazzling gold,

Cassano fell to his knees in sheer wonder,

  And was awed if the truth be told;

The golden sword gleamed with brilliance,

  Almost like the noonday sun,

The Dark One was filled with fanatical

  Fear, for he was about to be undone.

 

Then gradually a luminous orb appeared,

  Over the glowing magical sword,

And rays of light from within its center

  With dazzling brightness poured;

The fuzzy form of a woman appeared,

  In the midst of this mystical vision,

Then there was a blinding burst of light,

  As if two stars had had a collision.

 

Cassano squinted his eyes, as the brightness

  Very gradually began to subside,

And standing before him was a beautiful

  Woman who was regal and dignified;

Her aquamarine eyes were fully alive,

  And their goodness melted his heart,

Her smiling red lips were full of joy,

  Piercing his being like a delightful dart.

 

Her long, light-brown hair, cascading over

  Her shoulders, was like a lovely waterfall,

And she wore a very beautiful white gown,

  As if she were attending an elegant ball;

This woman had a slender physique,

  And was brimming with poise and grace,

But what struck him most was the feeling he had

  When he looked at her compassionate face.

 

“Do you know who I am?" she asked,

  Almost as if she were feeling sorry,

Cassano replied, “Without a doubt, you are

  The honorable Lady of Stellamare”;

To affirm that he had spoken the truth,

  She nodded with a very sweet smile,

Never before had Cassano met someone

  So completely free from guile.

 

As Cassano looked at this Lady’s face,

  It most certainly made him start,

He noticed it was the same one carved

  Into the candle with such art;

The Lady said, “Let’s try to move quickly,

  For the Dark One is on the alert.”

She knew that danger was approaching,

  And she didn’t want Cassano to get hurt.

 

So she gripped the sword in her hands,

  And took her stance in the ready position,

Her face showed no signs of fear,

  For she was ready to complete her mission;

Then Thaliela appeared with her maidens,

  Which assembled in a very large pack,

They totally encircled the two of them,

  And awaited the signal to attack.

 

Thaliela had become very wild-eyed,

  With her left eye swirling black and red,

It looked like a hypnotic hurricane,

  And Cassano was filled with dread;

This same black-and-red hurricane

  Spun also in the maidens’ left eyes,

Cassano had no doubt whatsoever

  That Thaliela spoke nothing but lies.

 

Then Thaliela, like a threatened animal,

  Madly screeched a beastly battle cry,

And the volcano exploded with a deafening

  Blast, so that the lava was shooting high;

At that instant Thaliela’s hair transformed

  Into fanatical fiery flames,

He realized this island was insanely evil,

  As indeed the prophet Petrio claims.

 

Meanwhile, molten lava rained down

  Like meteors from the maniacal mountain,

There’s no doubt that this vicious volcano

  Was now a convulsive, fulminating fountain;

The magic maidens were seething with

  Hatred, and forward they frantically rushed,

It truly appeared as if Cassano’s great

  Hopes were finally about to be crushed.

 

The Lady horizontally swung the sword,

  Its golden blade flashing bright,

And shooting out from it were pearl-like

  Orbs of sizzling, crackling light;

With strength and swiftness, she spun

  Completely around, athletic and alert,

Thaliela knew that danger was near,

  So she very abruptly hit the dirt.

 

As the magic maidens rushed forward,

  They were speared by the hot beads of light,

Then, black and red, their blood gushed

  Forth before having the chance to take flight;

The Lady saw her opportunity, so she

  Quickly took Cassano by the hand,

Then speedily they ran side-by-side

  Toward the beach’s burning black sand.

 

Like multitudinous meteorites, molten

  Rocks crashed and exploded all around,

They revengefully ripped open the island’s

  Flesh and terrifyingly tore into the ground;

For Thaliela things were not proceeding

  According to her insidious plan,

So faster than the speed of darkness,

  With flaming hair she obsessively ran.

 

She tried to overtake the escapers, for

  She wanted possession of the candle,

And the painful thought of it eluding her

  Was more than she could handle;

As the Dark One’s favorite servant,

  She was given special magical powers,

But now that she’s losing the battle,

  Her mercurial disposition really sours.

 

When the Lady reached the beachfront,

  She carefully removed each sandal,

Then she waved her hand over the sword,

  And it transformed back into a candle;

With patience and poise the Lady lit it again,

  So Cassano could reach his ultimate goal,

Then she sweetly smiled at him, asking

  Him to loudly read the magical scroll.

 

It was in a melodic yet mystical tongue,

  Full of guttural sounds and trills,

As the evil Thaliela rapidly approached,

  The sound of it gave her the chills;

White smoke gradually materialized,

  And rose up from the ancient scroll,

It became a cloud most dazzlingly bright,

  Though the night was as dark as coal.

 

The delightful fragrance of this cloud of

  Incense made Thaliela cough and wheeze,

Then the little cloud gradually disappeared,

  In a magical, mystical breeze;

Thaliela looked around quite puzzled,

  For her enemies had taken flight,

Through the King’s unconquerable power,

  They had victoriously vanished from sight.

 

Thaliela and her maidens wailed in pain

  And their hatred grew and grew,

And at that instant the volcano burst

  Open and was totally torn in two;

The vanquished volcano was wounded,

  And its bloody red guts poured out,

Truly the Dark One had been outwitted,

  Of this there was certainly no doubt.

 

When Cassano awoke, he was blinded,

  By a dazzlingly brilliant light,

He desperately needed some assistance,

  In order to regain his sight;

Then the Lady touched both of his eyes,

  With the candle’s flickering flame,

Without even feeling the slightest pain,

  Perfect vision to Cassano soon came.

 

Then above, he saw rippling white clouds

  That looked like waves in the skies,

Below, the blue ocean sparkled so bright,

  Like millions of starry fireflies;

Glancing to the right, he saw great grandeur:

  A palace of glittering gold,

Like the lovely tips of a towering tiara,

  Its diamond spires were a sight to behold.

 

The city streets and sidewalks were paved

  With the most precious of elegant pearls,

And at the entrance to the main gate,

  The kingdom’s flag peacefully unfurls;

The people contentedly walked about,

  At a relaxed and comfortable pace,

They all seemed so cheerful and happy,

  With not a frown in the entire place.

 

Surrounding the palace, along the coast,

  Was the striking city of Paradise Bay,

The people’s houses were made of gems

  That gloriously gleamed during the day;

With twelve varieties of colorful stones,

  The splendid skyline was very pretty,

Truly Cassano had never yet seen

  A more breathtakingly beautiful city.

 

There was red jasper, flaming gold topaz,

  And sapphire of a brilliant blue,

There was luminous lavender amethyst,

  And the most elegant emerald too;

There was caramel-colored sardonyx,

  And an attractive aquamarine beryl,

Twelve in all lined the magnificent streets

  That were made of the most precious pearl.

 

Then he saw his beloved wife Chiara

  Under two blooming magnolia trees,

She was holding the most exquisite rose,

  And her brown curls blew in the breeze;

When they both recognized each other,

  Time almost seemed to stand still,

He exuberantly and rapidly ran to her,

  And they embraced atop a hill.

 

Then he cavalierly took her by the waist

  And quickly swung her right around,

Cassano had thought she was gone forever,

  But what was lost had now been found;

Giddy with joy, they toppled right over,

  And rolled to the hill’s very base,

As he looked into her deep dark eyes,

  The happiest of smiles was on his face.

 

Cassano felt a serenity like never before,

  Experiencing an incredibly beautiful bliss,

He caressed Chiara’s cheek with his hand

  Before giving her a loving kiss;

The Lady knelt down before her King,

  Returning the candle and the scroll,

Cassano finally found his long-lost wife,

  So the Lady had accomplished her goal.

 

The King nobly nodded in approval to all,

  For the fulfillment of his master plan,

Cassano had bravely proven himself,

  More like a knight than just a man;

Cassano listened to wise Petrio’s words,

  Of this, truly, he was never sorry,

He was grateful to a very special lady,

  The magnificent Lady of Stellamare.