Another Wednesday comes around and Christmas is suddenly just around the corner Eeek! My demon and his love don't celebrate Christmas and, bless them, they don't have much to celebrate at all at the moment. The prompts I chose this week are more symbolic than literal. Strangely the one on the right is pretty much exactly as I imagined the Druid. Neat
Where am I? My eyes are obscured by the same grey mist that obscures my mind. I am wandering in nothing, going nowhere. Why? Why am I here? Where am I going? Who…who am I?
“Don’t be afraid. You’re safe.”
The soft voice doesn’t startle me, but I spin because, at last, there’s…something.
The woman is small and delicate. Long hair, flowing over narrow shoulders, is woven with bright flowers as is the girdle of a robe that is so sheer it conceals nothing of what lies beneath. She holds out her hand and I take it. What else can I do?
“You are beautiful, child, as I always knew you would be.”
“What are you? Who am I?”
As if by magic, a grassy hill appears, scattered with the same flowers that adorn my little lady. Somewhere close by a stream bubbles, and trees whisper overhead, even though I can’t see them through the mist. At the foot of the hill is a stone seat, and the lady draws me gently down to sit beside her.
“You must listen carefully, for I don’t have much time. You will remember who you are soon enough. What you are, is a different question. The man who has taken you is powerful, but he has lost his way. His heart has turned to stone, and if you will allow it he will hurt you, and those around you, deeply. He is mistaken in who and what he thinks you are. You are not Druach, but so much more.”
That word. Why does that word hurt so much?
“I don’t want to be a Druach.”
The lady smiles, such a beautiful smile, and lays her hand over mine. “You are not. You are something very different, something unique. Your path is laid before you, but don’t be afraid. It can lead you wherever you want to go and you don’t have to be alone. Your bond will not be broken. Do not be angry with your beloved for being weak. He is bound by tradition and history. He will find his strength when the time is right. He will fight for you.”
“I don’t understand.”
The lady takes my hand. My head hurts with the struggle to remember, to understand. “Why am I here?”
“You aren’t. Not in any real sense. All of this…” She sweeps her hand broadly. “…exists only inside your head.”
“This form, perhaps, but I am the Great Mother, and I exist everywhere – in the land, the sky, the animals…and I hope still in the hearts of my people. Soon, he will release your mind and you will return.”
“Who is he?”
“They call him Druid, but he is just a man. Don’t think too harshly of him, he lives with great pain. Now, you must listen carefully. When your mind returns to your body the Druid will ask you to carry out certain tasks, believing he controls you. Obey him. Show no sign of resistance until you are asked to enter the flame. Have no fear, the flame will not hurt you, however, if you wish your bond with Tian to continue you must take him into the flame with you. Do not be afraid. No matter what you are told, he will not be hurt. Together, you will inherit a power greater than any alive today can comprehend. Once you have stepped within the fire, all will be clear.”
“I don’t understand.”
“There is no need to understand, my child, only to remember this one thing. Do not enter the fire alone.”
The lady leaned forward and kissed me on the forehead. “Go now. It is time.”
I don’t understand. I want to ask more, to know…. The hill and the lady dissolve into the grey mist and I find myself standing in a nothing place. Another voice filters through. Harsher. Angrier. The pulls me forward and I stumble as I run. Faster, and faster. Then I fall.
The rocky floor is rough under my hands and knees. I struggle to breathe as the wind has been forced from my lungs, whether by the fall, or the breaking of the spell that held me within the mist, I do not know.
“On your feet, boy.”
For a moment, I hesitate, then remember the words of the lady. I must pretend to be in his thrall, until…. I can’t remember. A thrill of fear shoots through me. She told me to remember but I have forgotten.
“Come, we must prepare. Take off your clothes and enter the water.”
The water is cold, shockingly so, but even this is not sufficient to wipe the last of the mist from my mind. My thoughts race as I go through the motions of the ritual cleansing and robing, as the Druid directs.
Finally, I find myself standing before an altar. It is a rough stone block, on which is laid out a cup, a simple white robe, a knife, a cord of gold and blue, and other things I do not recognize. One perhaps an animal horn, although white, like marble.
Behind the altar, the rock of the cave wall is split by a crack, wide enough for a man to walk through. From the crack, warm copper light streams. By the flicker on the walls the light comes from fire, although I feel no heat.
All around me the air is filled with sounds. I choose to believe they are made by wind and not the tormented spirits of the dead.
“Enter the fire,” the Druid commands, gesturing toward the crack.
I hesitate, memory trembling within my head.
“Enter the fire.”
The roar startles me and I spin. As my gaze falls upon Tian my memory unfolds like petals in my mind and the weight of fear is lifted.
Now go check the rest of the flashers this week