Hi there! (Just in case someone happens to come by and see this and feel greeted ^-^)
Little by little, I'll be uploading my fics and writings over here. I tried bringing them from the other page but there seems to be some code problems, so reposting it is!
The first here is the last I’ve made so far. A small story of Samhain that I created out of a random idea. It started to grow and change as fast as I walked up the street until this came to be, again as I was writing, unplanned.
I hope it gets some points from you.
The night was clear and peaceful. The moon was coming out in all its splendour, a dame with her frock fully pearled with celebration, ready to begin the dance of the seasons, the dance of the ages always given in her honour. Whoever said she danced for the Earth was completely mistaken; it was the Earth who danced glorifying her, flatteringly, inviting her to join in the dance around the ceremonial fire, always attentive to her every whim and decision, always following in the rhythm of her silver trail in the endless waltz of the cycle of life. Not the opposite. The Old Goddess of bleidonii was preparing her ceremonial garments to begin her journey to the Underworld. Everything was gathering to witness the beginning of the journey of the Old Goddess, worshipped beyond her age. Even the Moon was there to join her in her travel, inseparable friend of the eternal cycles, giving each other the energy for the dance they were about to begin.
A young woman was approaching the circle of trees in the heart of the forest. The girl walked without concern, barely noticing the path she was instinctively following through the trees where there was no visible trail, yet she followed it unconsciously without giving one false step out of it. Her pale face was shining under the moon, her hand holding her eternal cigarette was swinging, keeping time with the song she was humming through her red lips. From some distance behind her there came the sound of footsteps on the grass of the forest which she ignored completely, keeping with her song always the same distance between her and the footsteps. Once in a while came to her from behind the sound of a broken twig or a groan when the owner of the footsteps got entangled with the tree branches or tripped on some hidden roots on his way.
"You're old. Can't you even walk carefully?"
"Did you know something funny? There's an open pathway made by the villagers to bring the carts with the offerings and the wood for the bonfire that leads right up to the center of the clearing. Why don't we take it?" He answered pulling out another branch that had hooked strongly to his tunic and didn't seem to want to let him go.
"And missing the fun of watching you grumbling over a bit of green?" Her eyes were twinkling merrily.
"It's not the green that bothers me," he said; "it's the brown of the branches. They seem to be following me." He took out another branch entangled in the fringes of his long sleeve.
"You're always talking about how well you get along with the forces of nature. Now I can see the truth of it. They love you so much they want to keep you, bit by bit." She mocked smiling.
He didn't answer, he simply continued grumbling while taking more branches out of his way while she walked on unconcerned, without tripping or getting entangled, and her dress was even longer than the golden tunic he was wearing and was now adorned with green and brown from the leaves he was walking through. In front of him, her long black hair was undulating with her laughter in the middle of the forest. A true wood nymph. When he found her she was just a little medium girl earning her living with little tricks which fooled the common eye but managed to give her at least a meal every day. What the little orphan girl was doing weren't tricks but well controlled spells. At such a short age she already possessed the gifts of a powerful witch and he wondered who could have abandoned her like that. His curiosity made him take her in, train her, teach her how to manage her powers to achieve great things, and also to find out more about the sassy girl who stared at him without flinching or wasn't amazed in the least by the greatest exhibition of devastating power, but who stood spellbound at the birth of a flower in a wasteland or the flapping of a butterfly in the middle of a marsh. She was a person who emanated the essence of Life from her whole being. Someone who was in communion with Death like him understood that better than anybody else.
"Try not to damage the tunic, will you? A ragged official is unseemly." The mocking voice pulled him out of his thoughts to notice another branch stuck in the hem of his robes. She was standing right in front of him, one hand across her waist, waiting for him to move.
"Don't worry about me. I'll manage when we get there. Better worry about your dress. The bonfire is traditionally made with wood, not cloth." He answered pointing with his eyes to her cigarette which was hanging dangerously close to her skirt.
"I can handle my accessories, unlike you." She retorted lifting her hand to her mouth to take a puff from her cigarette, then throwing the ashes aside. "I never scorch, not even with the ashes."
"I'm glad, because if that flammable cloth is set on fire, the only thing I see around to put it out is the one you're standing on. Your dress would look striking yet suitable covered in dead nature."
"You wouldn't dare." Her eyes flashed in alarm.
"I wouldn't let my protégée die burned either." He said with a voice of innocent concern.
Instead of answering, she turned around and kept walking straight ahead in front of him, still keeping the same distance that was between them from the beginning of the trip. Always keeping her distance in front of him. It was the best. From the first time she met him, she had noticed that the quiet and smiling man was actually fearsome. She didn't know why she felt that but she always trusted her instinct and it told her this man wasn't what he seemed. The first thing he did was look at her with passive eyes that hid a marked interest that nobody else seemed to notice. Only she with her very acute senses no normal person had could notice it. Everywhere around her, people were passing by without noticing the presence of that man. And when he got near her, she became invisible as well. It was like he was covering her with a cloak that protected and separated her from the rest of the world.
She had accepted to go with him because she had nowhere else to go to anyway and that choice was as good as any other. She'd learn from his abilities, she'd have a roof and food, a place to shelter. It didn't seem a bad idea at the time. As time went by and she was growing, a change was taking place in her. No matter how much time went by, she still treated him in exactly the same way as when she first arrived. Always keeping the same distance with him; never close but never too far to loose sight of him. And that was precisely the change.
Just at that moment she was able to make out the lights from the clearing and she walked faster to get there now that she was so close. The cigarette was forgotten in her hand as she looked amazed at the swell of lights and decorations everywhere. She couldn't stop looking at all the many gathered colours at that cold and bare time of the year. The blackthorn branches were the most prominent, hanging from the trees, over the many ribbons that joined the tree branches in the edge of the clearing, creating a fence around the ceremony. A little girl approached her when she saw her arriving, tugged at her dress to make her look and handed her a folded cloth. When she took it, the girl smiled and ran to rejoin the others. The woman unfolded the cloth and saw it was a brown tunic with golden embroidery of patterns of harvest and fruits all over the garment.
"That's your tunic to participate in the rituals." He had arrived where she was with his own tunic resplendent, no longer with any traces of leaves or twigs hanging on it. He had surely used some sort of trick, as usual.
"But I only came to watch, I can't participate."
"I disagree. Your gifts make you more than suitable to participate in the rituals. Besides, you've already been chosen for the part, you can't turn back." He said, not looking at her but unable to hide the smile.
"A very important and essential one without which the ceremony can't be performed"
"What part?" She asked again, more impatiently and suspicious.
"The main part. The Old Goddess."
"It's not difficult. All you have to do is dying to revive during Yule."
"And I'd advice you to watch out for the Wild Hunt. Annwm’s hounds always find any pretext to attack a helpless creature left lying on the ground."
"Although I'd advice the hounds against you, really. You might attack them with that temper of yours."
"I don't want to have to pay to the king of the Underworld if you spoil his hounds."
By now she was so enraged no exclamation was strong enough to describe the fury she was in. Her hands were tight into fists with the cloth in them, crumpling it, her face was livid with contained fury and she was about to explode. He rushed to change the subject.
"Since this is the first time you participate in a Druid ritual, I think it will be best for me to explain what you have to do. The role of the Old Goddess is very simple, all you have to do is accept the offering of your worshippers and lie down to sleep in a hole dug up in the ground where you will be covered with a blanket and there await for the end of the ritual."
"Oh, yes, very simple. All I have to do is get in a hole and spoil a perfectly good dress."
"Well, you won't be wearing your dress, actually." She looked at him unbelieving. "The dead don't go down into the Underworld with clothes. That's what the tunic's for, to cover your naked body. If this was done in the ancient times, the ritual would be performed without clothes, but now it's considered improper."
"Give me a good reason why I shouldn't strangle you right now with this mantle of decency." She threatened rolling the cloth between her hands.
"Look at it in this way; you'll be helping to perform the ceremony without exerting yourself besides participating in it with the main part." He said as he tried to step slowly away without bringing attention to it and keeping an eye on her face and hands which threatened to keep their promise. "Besides, you'll enter into direct communion with the gods that are called into it and you'll be able to acquire the vision." She stopped to listen more attentively at this. "Isn't that what you wanted? You can't become a full witch due to your age, but you can at least get in touch with the elemental forces through this and forward the process."
She stood silent and thinking for a while. Around her, the people were starting to form a circle around the huge pile of wood that made the bonfire. Everything in the place was ready, all it remained was for the high priest to enter the circle to begin the ceremony, and he was standing in front of her at a convenient distance, waiting for her decision and eyeing the hands that were still twisting the cloth between them. At last she raised her eyes at him, challengingly.
"You must know that under no circumstance I'll go naked." She said as she smoothed out the tunic.
"There's a place prepared to your left where you can change," he pointed it out. "You'll find someone to help you with the preparations there. Remember, you can't bring anything, just the tunic."
"I see fear in your eyes. Are you afraid I'll carry a knife and run you through when I walk by you?" Her eyes twinkled as she made a crooked smiled.
"Oh, no. That would be unworthy of the Old Goddess to stab her humble servant." He made her a low bow.
"Who said the Goddess is merciful?" She said with her most seductive smile, the most dangerous, as she withdrew. She'd make him pay for all of it. But her mission was first.
For a long time she had been looking for a way to become more powerful, powerful enough not to be hurt by anything or anyone ever again. To not go back to the same experiences. If there was a chance that was possible in that day, she'd take her chances. Maybe she could trust him, at least this once. After all, he normally knew what he was doing. And that was as much as she would give him credit for.
The candle lights were twinkling all over the clearing. The congregation carried candles to guide the deities to the place of the ceremony and to keep the evil spirits away from the bright circle. The high priest finally came into the circle amidst the murmurs of the people and raised his arms to give the sign for the beginning of the ritual. The whispers stopped as the words of the high priest filled the place. The divine presences were invited to join in and the good spirits to share in the ceremony that would announce the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one, calling them one by one. Everywhere around the clearing you could notice all sorts of apparitions joining in with the humans, who were still unaware of their presence. Each new name pronounced brought a fresh wave of energy into the place when the summoned deity showed up and went into their allotted positions of honour for their kind. Nobody seemed to notice these changes in the environment, except for her, and also he noticed. His movements and his words were no longer addressed to the expectant humans, but to these new presences that were filling the place awaiting the ritual. With a movement of his hand, the high priest called to the Old Goddess to withdraw to rest in the ground until her glorious return in the new cycle. At this sign, the young woman, completely covered by the tunic, approached the circle amidst the singing of the people. At the same time she noticed that the humans weren't singing alone. The other beings present there were also joining their voices to the celebration and their wishes for her well being and gratefulness to the Great Goddess. The moon shone with rays that seemed to reflect the tunes in her way.
In the center of the circle, the high priest stood holding a smoking candle in one hand which he held close to her to guide her to her resting place without ever touching her. He guided her to the freshly dug hole in the ground prepared to receive her. The smoke of the candle surrounded her. It had a strange smell, different, something sweet and pungent. The golden tunic was shining in the hundreds of lights from the candles all around them, while her own dark tunic was even darker in the light of those same candles, as if preparing itself to blend with the earth in which it would lie. She felt completely relaxed when she entered the place, listening to the sounds of her own funeral as if from afar, something foreign to her surroundings. She noticed she hadn't stepped in the earth alone; several of the spirits present were helping her softly to lie down on her resting place. Rest, yes, that's what she felt she ought to do. Relax her mind, let her consciousness flow from her body. Relax and rest.
Myriads of lights went by her at high speed. Each light had a luminous center with many images. Each image, an action. Each action, a time and a place. And each one of them, a myriad of connections to others. As she got used to the speed around her, she began to notice that everything was connected.
With a small effort of her intention, she stopped. She was in the clearing, but the clearing was empty. Only the moon was shining strongly above her, illuminating everything with her light. A black butterfly went flying to the white sphere until it got lost inside of it. In the blinding moonlight that covered it, there were images. First the world, where the high priest with the golden tunic carried on with the ritual as the gods and spirits around performed their parts. Then the other world, where the true spirits resided and witnessed the exchange of energies. The bridge between worlds was becoming clearer as the barrier between realms was getting thinner, allowing the communion between the living and the dead which only occurred at that time of the year.
She stepped away from those worlds and headed towards the endless projection of images. There, she saw worlds, hundreds, thousands, millions of them, all connected, all different, all alike. A desert world. An ancient world. A modern world. A dark world. A world clear as snow. An empty world. A world full of life. A dead world. A magical world. A mundane world. An invented world. A world of dreams. A world of death. A world of colours. An achromatic world. A world of worlds.
The butterfly stopped in its peregrination over the branch of a tree. From there she continued watching the images. Figures with many varied wings cut into space. The shadow of a man with a long tunic. A monocle breaking on the floor, and reflected on the shards of crystal, a face aged by sin, with a crazed smile. Ruins of an ancient world covered by sand, emanating a resonance with time and space. Two boys, so different in appearance, but at the same time so much resembling in soul. A couple of souls bound beyond time and space, scattered in different places, in different lives, but who always met over and over no matter when or where. She saw angels and demons, friends and enemies, rejections and attractions, diversity and resemblance, impulses and indifferences, emotions and minds, all fighting against each other, all helping each other. And all forming the pattern of the Universe and which, unaware, were connected by the ignorance of their connections.
The pink petals of the tree were falling all around. The black butterfly flew from the branch until it touched the ground covered by petals and returned to its human form. In the middle of the journey, she had realised that the first vision was one of herself transforming in the world of dreams so she could travel through time and space. The sakura tree was swinging at her side, carrying the sounds of the canticles to her ears. The canticles attracted her, taking her back to the world she had left...
She inhaled a great breath of air, as if she hadn't breathed in a long time, taking into her lungs the vital oxygen. Her eyes began to slowly get used to the light again, focusing slowly on her surroundings. A couple of bright spots over her became clearer until she saw the high priest's glasses stooping over her, waiting for her to regain consciousness. For some reason, his smile irritated her strongly. She wanted to tear it out with her nails at that moment.
"Welcome back to the world of the living. Did you enjoy the trip?"
"It was delightful. Until I had to see your frightful face over me."
"At least you haven't lost your spirits." That stupid smile never left his face. Why had she being so obedient and hadn't brought even a pin to lock his mouth with?
She raised from the hole, letting the mantle covered in earth drop and noticed the place was silent. Everyone had left already, only the debris of the celebration remained. That and the intolerable man beside her.
"Is everyone gone?"
"It's late, the sun is rising."
"And they all left unconcerned about me lying on the hole?"
"The truth is they couldn't remember you were there." He started diffidently. She raised a quizzical eyebrow. "When they covered you with the mantle to mimic a tomb, I... er... used my magic to cover the hole with earth without them noticing. When all was over, nobody remembered there was a hole there because they couldn't see it. I waited for everyone to leave to dig you out."
Suddenly, she realized the hole was more uneven than when she had entered it, as if earth had come out from where it was supposed to be an even surface. The mantle at her feet was completely covered in earth, too. Panic overcame her when she realised what he had done; he had buried her alive!
"What kind of a twisted sadistic maniac are you?" Her voice was close to hysterics as she rushed from the hole and took a stone in her hand. "You buried me alive! You damned homicidal mage!"
The stone went flying straight to his head and he had to duck out of the way to avoid getting it full on his forehead. The magician backed away farther, trying to stay out of reach of the hysterical woman, and out of reach of her aim.
"You wanted the vision. You wanted the power. I simply made you go through the Druid ritual of initiation so you could acquire it. Congratulations, you have passed the Druid ritual of death and resurrection. You are now a full-fledged druid. You can travel through all the worlds and dimensions at will." He continued as he backed farther as she approached with another bigger stone in her hand.
"I'll give you a ritual of death, but nobody will ever be able to resurrect you from this one!" She threw the stone which hit the magician on the shoulder. Her aim was improving.
"Come now, you can't stand a little joke." He had to get away faster if he didn't want to end up covered in stones.
"I'll give you jokes, you pathetic excuse for a man! I'll really laugh when you die!"
She ran after him with her hands full of ammunition. The man ran in front of her but his golden tunic was a perfectly clear mobile target in the light of the bright Samhain moon, while her dark garment absorbed the light and got lost in the background of the forest, all of which she used to her advantage to get some hits on him.
The strife continued as the moon left to make way for the sun of the new day that came out of the trees, giving the scene a touch more of comedy than drama. Fights of this kind would always exist for as long as they lived. Witch or mage, neither would ever admit their faults in front of the other, but that's how their relationship worked. She had seen it in her dream of resurrection. But she'd never admit to it, either.
October 29, 2009.
Dedicated to Vicky Yun Kamiya on her birthday. Happy Birthday!!!
This idea came to me as I was walking to a seminary of med school and when I started writing it, it changed radically from how it was first envisioned, but I think it was a good change.
I didn't think it was necessary to name names in the story, I believe anyone can understand who they are. But if there's any doubt left, just leave a message in the reviews and I'll make any necessary clarifications in these notes.
I ended up taking them out of the universe where they were first created to immerse them in another different yet somewhat related one as is the world of the Druid magic. If they are somewhat OoC, that's the reason. In each place and life, people behave differently, more in accord with the environment they're in. Or at least that's what I choose to believe in case I've ruined the image someone had of them xD
The scenes of the clearing are the actual parts of the original celebration for Samhain. I tried to keep as many true facts of it as possible with the occasional creative addition to adequate it to the story ^^ A Celtic celebration doesn't begin until the high priest enters the circle, and ends only when the high priest leaves the circle. Tunics are the ceremonial garment that the druids wear according to their ranks. In this case, the golden tunic was a hint to the high rank of the official. The colours vary according to the initiation. The aspirant (amdaur) wears a yellow tunic. After the first initiation you become vate and wear red as the colour. Next comes the bard, dressed in blue. At the end of this stage comes the druid initiation, the so called "ritual of death and resurrection", in which the aspirant becomes a druid and wears a white tunic. As you might've noticed, the official wears none of these. That's because the golden colour is reserved only for the highest rank, the Archdruid, the ruler of the druids. And the only way to perform a druid initiation is to have the archdruid present. That's why our witch had the good fortune to be initiated during the celebration of the Celtic New Year ^-^ She was given a great honour, to die as a human and resurrect as a druid in the midst of the celebration of death and resurrection of the Celtic world, the only time of the year in which the veil between worlds is weakest and you can travel through them at will. Of course, she wasn't amused by it. But what can you do, the world is a cruel place xD
I think that's all the necessary clarifications for this. If you have any doubt, just leave me a message and I'll make up for anything you find amiss. All I have left now is to say goodbye.
Happy Samhain to everyone, and that the New Celtic Year will bring plenty of opportunities, prosperity and joy to all!