Hold down the CTL key, and hit the + key to enlarge the text for easier reading.
The Fairys Wing
Gregory C. Lounsberry
Copyright Gregory C. Lounsberry 2010
It was late, in a bar whose name I had forgotten already, when my gaze first fell upon her. She was a very attractive, woman, although somewhat older than myself. Graying hair, that was most assuredly jet-black at one time, fell about a heart shaped face set with sparkling jewel-blue eyes. I couldn't tear my eyes away, and being the idiot drunk that I was, found myself approaching her without thinking.
Do you mind if I join you? I asked, somewhat lamely.Please do. I came here to talk to you. She had put the emphasis on the word, YOU. I have no idea why I approached you, to tell the truth...... Now, I was deep into Lame territory....
I know who you are. Please sit down, She began. Ive witnessed fantastic events that few would ever believe. I have come here to ask you, to tell my story.
I, um, don't even know your name......I'm not a writer......how do you even know me? I stammered.
Call me Alisyn. I am seeking a writer, but not just of words. There are certain aspects of this tale that cannot even be expressed in words. Parts of it can only be carried on the air.
I remembered Mike Myers' Cuckoo, comment from an old movie, and although at some level, I was already convinced, my conscious mind had not yet accepted it.
Are you some kind of Hippie? I asked, wondering if she was one of those nutty global
warming activists still reliving the sixties.......
She leaned over, and in my ear, began to whisper the beginnings of the most fantastic tale I had ever heard. At times it was expressed in words, and at other times, in incantations and musical tones that created fantastic images directly in my mind. It was like some strange acid trip, yet I was fully conscious and aware the entire time.
Her story ended in the telling of our meeting, and I had time to ask her only one question before she stood, and was out the door. I just sat there, dumbfounded. I felt as if I were carrying some kind of burden that I had to get out of my mind, and somehow rendered as quickly as possible.
I walked down the street to the coffee shop to clear my head for the drive. I was having trouble accepting the fact that I believed her, but I did.
I set about the dual tasks of writing her tale as a story, and as music. It was my crude attempt at capturing as much of the information she had given me as possible, in whatever way I could. Think of it as the functional equivalent of the engineers napkin drawing, accompanied by a verbal explanation. The work began, and it seemed that there were indeed aspects to the sound of this story, that people would find captivating. It would be some time to come, before completion, but somehow, it all needed to happen, and I wouldnt be getting much rest until it did.
I began the work of writing the music, and then recording with my wife, Tammy, my son, Dan, and Matt, Chris and John of Canvas, to form the band called October Tree.
For now, please allow me to tell you her story..
THE FAIRYS WING
The mist was palpable, as the young woman continued her journey through the forest. Walking through the forest was always dangerous, and the journey was made more so, by the late hour. The light was all but gone, and a kind of foggy mist made it difficult to see her own hand, much less the trail before her. She had been instructed to follow the mist, into the glade, although once inside the mist, how then, was she to navigate?
She felt an ache in her heart, but she knew it would be gone soon, and felt excitement at that prospect. A slender girl, of barely twenty, she had fallen head over heels for the first young man who looked into her sparkling blue eyes. The fact that he was a cad, was a detail that she would learn later. One would think that a raven haired beauty such as she, could have had any man she wanted, but as in any other place or time, the pretty young girls fall easily for the bad boys.
After several weeks crying in her room, one of her friends from the village suggested that she might find some relief from her problem by visiting the old Gypsy woman who was encamped with the wagons outside of town. She had braved the dark trees then, and walked right into the Gypsy camp boldly, asking to see the old woman.
The gypsy wagons were gaudily decorated with colored paint. They were quite a sight, with their broad roofs and hanging tassels. The horses were tied to a rope back near the tree line. The gypsies were gathered around several campfires. A concertina, and a balalaika could be heard coming from one of the further campfires, and she could see that they were dancing.
She made her way to the old womans wagon, and knocked upon the wooden door. Come in the old woman croaked. It sounded more like modulated noise, than a human voice. I have been waiting for you, said the crone. Please be seated..Alisyn. Alisyn started at the use of her name, by a woman she had never met. Perhaps her friend from the village had heralded her visit.
Alisyn sat in the old rickety wooden chair, and looked around at the lush drapes, and silken hangings in the tiny wagon. She was sure that the old woman slept behind them, for there was simply no other space available. The space smelled of moth balls, and dust, and there was a faint odor of jasmine. And then, there was the smell of the old womans breath. Alisyn thought she must have been dining on horse apples.
The old hag wore a scarf over her head, and wisps of grayish black hair escaped from beneath. She had piles of jewelry around her neck, and large bangle earrings and bracelets. It was difficult to tell if she was a kindly old woman, or a con artist, who used the kind affect to cheat people out of their money.
The old woman listened to Alisyns story, and reflected for a moment, before offering her solution. You must use this spell to cure your broken heart, the old woman began.
The details are most important, for you must do exactly as I tell you, she continued. First you must capture the Fairys wing. And these are the words you must say.. The old woman leaned in, towards Alisyns ear. Her mouth opened, and it was as if darkness itself emitted forth, in words from some strange language that chilled Alisyn to her very soul. Do not misspeak the words!
With the final caution, the old woman motioned to the door dismissively, and indicated that there would be no charge. Do not misspeak the words! echoed in Alisyns thoughts, as she hurried home in the dark.
So it was decided, and the plan to proceed would begin the following night. Alisyns dreams, that night, were dominated by a nightmarish vision of the old woman, and a strange, tiny call, in the distance. She awoke, and went about her chores. She forgot the dream a few hours later.
And now, surrounded by mist, she had been instructed to find the glade. When the leaves began to close in around her, it was clear that she had done just that. Once in the glade, the mist began to thin somewhat, and she could begin to see her surroundings.
The moonlight flooded a clearing in the glade, with an eerie ambience that made everything seem to glow. The ground rose in the center of the clearing to form what looked to be a gentle knoll. There, in the center of the clearing at its highest point was a massive oak. The tree was riddled with doorways, and windows that seemed to have been cultivated as the tree itself grew around the little structures.
The Fairy Tree! It was an amazing sight! It was a tiny city embedded in a centuries old oak tree. Fairy lights twinkled behind the little doors and windows. The entire tree was alive with activity. Around the tree, could be seen a few of the fairies, flitting about like large insects with a glow all their own.
It was so enchanting, that she felt as if she were in another world. There was something wonderful about the fairy magic that she could not explain. After watching the fairies move about, she decided it was time. Her hand darted out, and she grabbed a fairy as it attempted to fly past her. She moved away from the fairy tree, and found a remote area where an old fallen tree trunk would suit her needs.
She held the fairy down with one hand, and grabbed one of the fairys wings with the other. Before she had begun to pull on the wing, the tiny fairy began to speak. Though youve captured me today, the Gypsy.. the fairy began .has lied to you. Alisyn struggled with her to try to make her stop. Without the magic of my wings, the little fairy said, I will surely die! Alisyn did not want to hear it.
At this point her face had contorted into a grimace, and she was preoccupied with the struggle, and one other thing.with winning. This had become an epic contest that Alisyn refused to lose. With that thought, one of the fairys wings tore free.
Alisyn held the wing in her hand, and mouthed the foul words that had been given to her by the gypsy woman. When she opened her mouth, though, it was as if the blackness of hell itself issued forth. If there were any words spoken at all, there was none to witness. Having done so, she was immediately aware that she had committed a terrible mistake.
All sound in the forest began to fall in pitch until it seemed to grind to a complete halt. Likewise, the moonlight, and the twinkling flashes from all of the little fairies had begun to diminish, until all that was left was blackness. The air around her rushed out, as from some enclosed space, and all that was left was a deep, dark vacuum that filled her heart with sadness. And remorse. It was as if she were thrust out into space, only to learn the stars were a lie.
And she felt different. There was a feeling of empowerment, but it was overshadowed by a tremendous feeling that she was dirty; had committed evil. As the air returned, so did the light. The sound returned as well, but instead of the happy whisking of fairy wings, she was met with a thousand tiny cries of Murderer!, and Fairys bane!. As soon as the word murderer was uttered, it all became clear to her, what a horrible thing she had done. She wondered if this were not the gypsys price.
The temporary broken heart for the lost love of a man whose name she would not remember was surely gone. Did this mean that the spell had worked? It worked much in the way that a crack on the head cures a belly ache. The more acute pain gets all of the attention. This was the intense pain of a real broken heart. One that would not heal, for she understood, that her heart was broken for the fairy, and for her own sin.
Many years would pass, but hardly a night would go by without dreams of the lost fairy. Someones dreaming. They were painful dreams of her lost youth, and of her anguish at having become a murderer. The visions of a tortured mind were overshadowed by the dark vision of a giant fairys wing. Someones dying.
As soon as her horror and anxiety had reached the level of panic, her legs began moving. She became distantly aware of running. She was running blindly through the dark, misty forest at night. Branches tore at her clothing, and her dark hair became matted with leaves, and cobwebs. Her thoughts were filled with panic. Another group of distant sounds came to her ear, sounding like the cackling of old crones.
Fairys Bane! and Murderer! were the cries she heard in the distance. The sounds of the forest, and the cackling of the old women, and a chorus of sounds began to build to an overwhelming cacophony. As she fled, she would catch occasional glimpse of the hags, and she feared they might be witches. They were.
At the tearing of the fairys wing, a tremendous amount of magical energy had been released. Much of it was released into Alisyn herself, but she would not learn of this until later. All creatures of magic were aware of this agitation, and there was much restlessness in the magic realm.
All that was, is no more. The world had been permanently altered, and there was only one way out of this. And that was through it. Alisyn wondered as she ran, if there would ever be a return to normalcy for her, or for the world. She used her last bit of energy to hurl herself into a clearing where footpaths crossed. She fell to the forest floor in a heap.
Her adventure had begun. While she slept, storms were abrew in the realm of magic. Events she could never have imagined were in store for her, as she would seek redemption in a world where magic rules!
In a forest, in the glade, at the crossroads, surrounded by a gentle mist, lay a shadow, a mere bump on the ground. Several dark figures stood about, looking curiously at the prone girl. They could hear the uproarious sounds coming from the woods. A wild night.. one of them said. I can ear the cackle of witches, Said another. Them aint witches. The first muttered. Shhh! said the one who appeared to be in authority. Shes but a lass! he exclaimed. And a comely one at that! Lets gather her up, and get her some shelter! he commanded. This shape appeared much darker than the others. It may have only been a trick of light. The motley shapes were shadow puppets in the mist, as they scooped her up and began to walk back towards camp, their lanterns allowing shafts of light to escape through the fog.
The girl, Alisyn, was deeply dreaming of a distant fairy who was pleading for her life. In the dream Alisyn became ever larger, her countenance darkening, until she began to destroy all living things, beginning with the fairy. As the fury of her actions intensified, her head began to feel like it was spinning, and light pierced her eyes. The spinning began to take form, and she could see several objects spinning through the air. As she awoke from her dream, she could see that she was in a tent surrounded by jugglers and acrobats who were furiously practicing. Juggling pins spun, tumblers tumbled, acrobats flew through the air..activity abounded. Everyone was busy, and none seemed to notice her.
She arose, and walked out of the tent and right into a carnival! Above the board walk was an enormous painted canvas banner that bore the legend, Dark Carnival, and below, in smaller print, Mysteries and Wonders from the Four Corners! She could smell something delicious cooking, and that reminded her that she was hungry. A stilt-man tipped his hat as he passed. A tiny man in an identical suit was weaving back and forth between the stilts as he walked. As she watched them work their way down the boardwalk, she felt darkness at her back.
She turned, and the tall man, was there. He was dressed in a black longcoat, and wore a black top hat. Dark eyes pierced black brows, and his face was elongated by the coal black goatee. From his authoritative tone, she knew that this was his show. I am Dark, he said, and although he was, he actually meant, that Dark was his name. And so you are, she replied wryly. Are you my rescuer? If you will, he replied. But you may call me Dark. Follow me, young lady, and lets get you something to eat, he said, as he took her elbow, and steered her down the boardwalk.
As they navigated the boardwalk, a myriad of freaks and performers passed, on their busy way. There didnt appear to be any customers about, but it was still daylight. Dark led her into a tent that was lined with tables, and there was a portable kitchen at one end where she could tell the wonderful smells had originated. Take a plate, and lets eat! he said, and he took one himself.
Dark sat, and watched Alisyn eat. Who knew what calculations were taking place behind those dark eyes? Its not to say that he was totally inscrutable, it is just that it was difficult to perceive what kind of evil thought he was processing at any given moment. Alisyn had nothing to gain, or lose, so she decided she just didnt care one way or the other. Her whole being was overwhelmed by deep sadness, and shame for the selfishness that led her through that awful chain of events
Are you even listening? Dark asked. Sorry, she said, I was just thinking. Thats okay, young lady, he patronized. Ill introduce you to Grizzelda, and she will show you where you will sleep tonight. We can talk later. Alisyn finished her meal, and Dark led her out of the tent and behind the boardwalk to Grizzeldas wagon.
Grizzelda was a little scary in her own right. She probably wasnt a witch, but there was no convincing the children who visited the carnival of that. The hooked, warty nose helped to draw attention away from the humped back, and scraggly gray hair. The truth was, Grizzelda was a very sweet old lady who helped make Alisyn feel quite at home.
Alisyn was indeed very comfortable. Right up until the dreams started. Someones Dreaming. A blood curdling scream of a fairy in distress seemed to fall in pitch to become the gravelly voice of an old gypsy woman. Alisyn opened her mouth, and the blackness of space emitted forth, and destroyed the world. Someones Dying. And with a scream, someones awake. The old woman talked to her in a soothing tone, until her heart stopped beating so fast, and Alisyn slipped back to sleep.
In the morning, Alisyn began to feel herself again, whatever that was. The sun on her face felt good, but that only lasted until she remembered the fairy, and then it all collapsed, and she was back to her depressed self again.
Now arent you just a sweet little thing.. Alisyn turned to see a bearded lady. How long have you been with us, honey? Alisyn told her that she had just arrived. Well, were just going to be the best of friends, she continued. Walk with me, and Ill introduce you to the freaks.Alisyn asked, Should you be calling them freaks? Hon, we call ourselves freaks! Here it is a badge of honor. It is who we are, and what we do for a living.
I think.Im a freak too Alisyn said haltingly. And why would that be, sweetie? asked the bearded lady. I am a murderer her voice trailed off. Who could you, possibly have harmed, little girl? Alisyn responded in a tiny voice A fairy.
So its you then, the bearded lady said. The Fairys Bane! Weve all heard of you. Alisyn asked, How have you heard of me?
We have a few magic ones here at Dark Carnival. You are all they have talked about recently! We have our own gypsy here. She thinks you were tricked into trying out a fake broken heart cure. Only a few in the magic realm know about the spell you cast, and no one has ever dared risk the devastating consequences.before now she said, By the way, Im Ceil.
P-pleased to meet you. My name is Alisyn.
Youre name is The Amazing Fairys Bane! said Ceil, and with that they rounded a corner only to see a sign to that effect being hoisted above a wagon with gold painted bars on it. This is your show. Dark probably hasnt told you yet, but here, everybody works. Hes got you as The Geek. Dont worry, its an easy gig. You just jump around in the cage a little bit, and tear the wings off of little paper fairies.
I dont know if I can do that Little girl, this is show biz. Just think about something else. You rip some paper, you collect a paycheck. Nothing could be easier! Ceil made it sound so easy. Yes, it sounded easy when Ceil described it earlier in the day, but that night, it was like ripping out her own heart. This was a stint in hell, having to relive her sin nightly, and in public.
The crowd really got into it, too. They would shout, Tear! Rip! Destroy! and Alisyn would respond, jumping around the cage like the Geek she was being paid to be. Afterwards, she would bury her face in her arms, and sob herself to sleep. Someones Dreaming. And the dreams would start again, as on every other night. Someones Dying.
And then she was awake. She heard Ceil talking to Grizzelda outside the wagon. Its alright, shes gonna be fine. Ill keep an eye on her for you. Dark doesnt want any harm to come to her. Shes very fragile. Grizzelda said. I said shell be fine, Ceil said forcefully. Grizzelda fell silent. Alisyn thought about what she had heard, and wondered why Dark was so interested in her. Breakfast! She heard Grizzelda call out.
Night after night, the cycle would continue. Alisyn would fret and wring her hands and then, stressfully make her way into the gilded cage. She would jump around a bit, make some guttural sounds, and begin tearing the wings off of the paper fairies. She would go back to Grizzeldas wagon in tears, cry herself to sleep, destroy the world in her dreams, and wake up to repeat the cycle over again. And again. And again. It was a cycle that was repeated so many times, she lost track of the days.
She complained to the fish-boy that she couldnt do this anymore, and would leave after tonights performance. Dark was there to watch on this particular night. When her show was over, the cage door would not open, and there was a shiny new lock in the hasp. In the morning, a plate of food was pushed through the bars. She was now on display all of the time for the customers enjoyment. Now, she was the rube!
She was angered by the fish-boys presence at the next show, and resolved that she would happily land a hook in his mouth, given the chance! Time and again, over the following weeks, the fish-boy would stand at the back of the crowd, staring blankly through his dark, lidless eyes, no doubt gloating over his treachery. She cast an icy glance in his direction before turning her back on him. She felt nothing but hatred for the putrid little animal.
The next night, she looked up from her sobbing to see Grizzelda standing outside her cage. Standing back a little way, was the fish-boy. What is he doing here! she hissed. Grizzelda told her, Dark would have killed him, had he not turned you in. Anyway, Dark holds certain of his people under a spell that compels them to talk, whether they want to or not. Thats why he is standing back. That keeps our conversation out of range of Darks power. You should thank Fishy for telling me about what Dark did to you.
Can you help? Alisyn asked hopefully. Grizzelda waved a hand, and the lock turned to dust. Turns out she really was a witch. But she was a good witch, for Alisyn had long since learned that she had a heart of gold. Dark doesnt know about my power, she said. I have shaded his eyes from the events of tonight. You must go, and never come near here again!
Thank you, Alisyn told her.
You really need to move quickly! Grizzelda told her.
Alisyn pushed the door open and bolted into the shadows. She ran until she thought her lungs would burst, and then walked, but she knew she had to keep on moving. Her run was so much different than the one that brought her to Dark Carnival. She felt freer than she had in a long time.
There had to be a way to rectify the damage that she had done to the world of magic. The disruption was causing evil to gain power, while forces for good were just barely able to maintain. She felt guilt, and pain, and worse yet, a feeling of worthlessness. How can one girl overcome such weight of conscience short of a total, epiphany?
The story continues as creatures of the magic realm try to overwhelm the young girl. Will she find her true place in the world of magic? Can a flawed soul such as herself, ever be a force for good? Will the hoped for epiphany ever come? The answer would come as a surprise to her. And it would come much sooner than expected.
The minstrel had encountered her more than once on the road from Dark Carnival. There was something about this girl that really struck him. A slight glimmer of magic emanated from her that many could not see. There was a deep sadness beneath the beautiful countenance that he could not understand. He had asked other travelers along the road about her. There were some who didnt know, and others who refused to discuss the matter.
Once, when the rain came in a downpour, he laughed wildly at the sky, and danced about in the rain like a child. From the corner of his eye, he could see her watching him. There was a pained look on her face, like that of a crippled person watching the dance. It was if he were doing something she was unable to do. She never spoke to him, and before he had finished his little jig, she was gone. Whenever travelers stopped to enjoy the moment, or smell the flowers, he would see that look.
He stopped to rest, and after a short nap, took up the lute and composed a small melody for her. After playing a bit, he began to sing these words..
Seeing the world again,
All the joy, and all the pain,
Laughter in the rain,
Of what life could be,
I could have merely stayed my hand,
Now darkness fills the land.
Now, why did he sing that last line? He actually knew next to nothing about the dark haired young beauty. Had he inadvertently made a prophetic utterance? Was it possible that there was a connection between her, and the festering black tumor that marred the very fabric of magic?
He guessed that it was time to ask more questions of his fellow travelers. Most of what he learned was useless, but two words emerged from the jumble of otherwise useless banter. Fairys Bane. So it was her! It all started to make sense. As he rambled the dusty roads in the months ahead, he would sing the sad ballad of The Fairys Bane, which he now called, simply Parallels.
As he told his tale, and sang his ballad, other stories of The Fairys Bane began to drift back to him, including one that referred to her as The White Witch. Whether it was The Fairys Bane, or The White Witch, one thing was sure. She had done much damage, and had borne much sadness for such a lovely young creature.
He travelled, and sang, sang and travelled. Each time he sang, he sang for her, and his heart broke anew with each retelling. The combination of her beauty, sadness, and pain, had in itself, a beauty all its own. He began to love the ballad, but as time passed, he realized he loved the object of his song. The sadness of an unrequited love for a girl he did not know brought with it, yet another layer of sad beauty.
The future was a very uncertain place, and the minstrel knew that dark events were on the horizon. He knew that timing was everything, and he must be in the right place at that time, if he were to be of any assistance when it mattered most! As the lost and lonely girl continued upon her unbeknownst quest, the minstrel began making plans of his own.
Things would indeed fall into place, and all eyes would feast upon an epic event unlike any the world had seen before!
Her hair still wet from the rain, Alisyn continued down the road, and tried to put as much distance as possible between her and the other travelers. She was better off alone, and before long, she was. There must have been a fork in the road, somewhere behind her, because this part of the road was isolated. It was clearly not well travelled. There were places where grass grew in large areas, and she had to scan the horizon to see where the road picked back up.
Alone. Lonely. Lonely. Alone. It was all for the best, because she was dangerous to others. It was really for the best. She was alone with her thoughts, and that is what she wanted. Her shoulders slumped, she scanned the ground for good places to place her feet while walking.
She enjoyed the sight of a lark, until it reminded her of the fairy, and then the magic of the moment was gone. She knew she needed a plan, but right now, the plan was simple. Get away. Get away from Dark Carnival. Get away from that ridiculously happy minstrel. Get away from people. Get away from Alisyn would have been even better, but alas, impossible.
As her thoughts deepened, her perceptions became shallower, and she neglected the first rule of travel. Situational awareness.
In a large clearing where the road was difficult to see at all, a large figure lumbered toward her. She continued head down, pondering the events leading up to this moment, all the while moving closer to the thing. Her reverie was shattered by an awful barfing, belching sound that was so loud, she thought there might be a dragon about. There might as well have been, for she looked up and saw an ogre, and he was every bit as deadly as a dragon.
He was a big thing, with tiny black eyes. He was standing all alone in the road, and so filthily smelly, he was attracting flies. He had a big stick, with a nail at one end. He heaved the giant cudgel about as if it were a toothpick.
He was covered with hair, and warts, and stuff. He was downright nasty. He was ugly as sin. Everyone knew that ogres liked to eat people, and considered babies, a delicacy. Alisyn would hardly make a snack for this huge, beastly man-thing.
He looked straight at Alisyn. With the emission of another monstrous barfing, belching sound that might even have come from further south, he swung the cudgel around his head, and ran right towards her. There was still a fair distance between her and him, so she ran in the opposite direction as fast as she could.
His short legs pounding the ground like tree trunks, the monster was out of breath before long, and slowed down. Alisyn was way out of his reach within a few minutes.
As disgusting as he was, there was something comical about the nasty creature that had been chasing her. He was like some big, dangerous clown, escaped from Dark Carnival, that stupid, drooling beast-man that did not eat her. Apart from the whole eating thing, she kind of felt sorry for the big guy.
Was this all she had to look forward to? Was she locked in some kind of closed loop that replayed the girl in danger/narrow escape scenario over and over?
The loop would soon break, and perhaps a lot else would break as well, as she moved, unwittingly in the direction of her destiny!
INTO THE GLADE
Bright points of sunlight burst through the forest cover, signifying Alisyns entry into the glade. This entire journey had begun with a similar venture, only at night, in the mist, and with bad intentions. This particular glade would soon be shown to have magical properties. There was a residual fairy magic in Alisyns blood that she was unaware of. As terrible as that night had been, even a dusting of fairy magic is much more powerful than most could know.
Her spirits lifted. The dappled sunlight swept over her like a wave on the ocean, as she walked. Deeper into the glade she journeyed, until the light began to fade, and the forest began to glow with a light of its own. She had seen this before, at the fairy tree, but this was not the fairy tree. She was getting sleepy, so she laid down on the mossy ground cover to sleep.
This was an easy sleep, not interrupted by dreams. The forest had begun to emanate its magic as Alisyn slept. The fairy magic began to resonate within her. It was like applying an electrical charge to a piece of crystal. An awakening of sorts had begun. Wave after wave of glade magic swept over the sleeping girl, augmenting, and strengthening the fairy magic within, although she knew nothing of it.
In the morning, Alisyn felt better than she had in some time. Much of the gloom had fallen away, and she actually felt cheerful. As she walked, she began to hum a cheerful melody that she made up as she walked along. Her singing sounded amazingly good this day. It almost sounded as if a distant chorus were singing along with her. She stopped singing, but the chorus continued. The forest was singing along with her, and the synchronized magic continued to feed back upon itself. The glade magic, and fairy magic had found a resonance, and the result was electrical!
Alisyns steps quickened. She was now only listening, as forest sang to her in a high chorus that lifted her spirits even more. What a lovely day it was! She felt amazing. The supercharged feeling lasted for a few hours more, but as she moved away from the glade magics sphere of influence, the effect wore off. The voices faded, and were replaced by the distant howl of a wolf.
The full moon could now be easily seen through the thinning forest ceiling, and a rustle in the underbrush indicated that it was time to run yet again!
Alisyn ran as quickly as she could, given the condition of the forest, with its underbrush, and low hanging branches. While doing so, she thought about where this all might lead. She was beginning to get the sense that the last chapter of her life had not yet been written. A sense of destiny, however weak, was beginning to be felt deep inside of her.
Little did she know what was around the next corner, and the powerful role it would play in the destiny of the world!
It was only a scratch. Alisyn had never come anywhere near the wolf. It was no ordinary wolf either, and she knew it. There were moments during her flight through the woods, that she could see the silhouette of a wolf, and others when she could clearly see the silhouette of a man. That was it, then! There could only be a one word explanation. Werewolf! As she thought of this, fear began to overcome her. Everyone knew what happened to the werewolfs victims!
She sat, up on the high rock overlooking the grassy plain across which she had run to escape the forest. From her high vantage point, she would be able to see something coming for miles. Back to the scratch. It had to be a tree branch, or part of the underbrush. I shouldnt worry much, she thought. Lots of things could make that mark. She was sure that with proper care, this would all be over soon. She would laugh about it, then, and she would go on about her business.
Night was coming soon. She knew that all she had to do was weather the full moon, and wait until morning. She would have her answer then. What am I saying? she asked out loud. This is nothing! I am going to sleep. She laid her head across her arm, and closed her eyes. She began to drift off to sleep on what would be her second night that was not haunted by fairy dreams.
The moonlight lit up the rocks, and the plain below with an amazing wash of blue. The light was almost dazzling, and the howl of the werewolf, while distant, persisted. Below, draped across one of the flat rocks was a beautiful raven haired girl. Her delicate features were almost more beautiful, sleeping peacefully in the moonlight. Long black lashes fell lightly upon her smooth cheeks. Upon closer inspection, her eyes were moving rapidly beneath closed eyelids.
Her eyes snapped open, and they were not the icy blue of eyes of a young girl, but the cold yellow eyes of a predator! It was obvious a battle was being waged within, because a vein began to appear on her forehead, and she was drenched in sweat.
Alisyn was aware of the moon above, bathing her in cool light. It felt wonderful. Her blood was beginning to run hot, and the cooling effect of the moon was a balm. As the battle raged within, her blood began to feel as if it were boiling. She could feel the moon, growing ever larger, perhaps the largest moon the world had ever seen. In fact she could feel it growing within her, like a new life preparing for birth. The transformation took some time, and Alisyn knew if she didnt resist, that she would become one of the creatures, and she would lose all control of herself.
A glimmer of the glade magic still sparkled on her skin and the fairy magic within her responded with a slight resonance. Alisyns awareness of the fairy magic within her, was all she needed. She knew it was necessary for her reach to for it, and try to use it. The battle would last for hours, and she would not be able to completely defeat the wolf magic.
The solution would bestasis. There was enough of the fairy magic, when combined with the divine spark of her own humanity to hold the wolf magic at bay. The three forces were in stasis. It was as if they had negotiated an agreement to share power. Alisyn would remain in control of a triumvirate of magical powers. Most importantly, she would retain her free will.
A whole process of thought was spurred by this knowledge. There was magical, as well as metaphysical significance to what had happened. It was something fundamental that affected all of mankind. It was profound, yet simple. The concept was clouded, unclear, and yet near enough that she could almost touch it. If I could just formulate the thought. She said aloud.
What could be so simple, yet important that all of humanity might benefit from her experience? She was just a girl. What could I offer of such importance? she asked.
Soon enough, the world would know, only they would call her by a different name!
Rain had fallen into the hall of mirrors, or though it seemed to Alisyn, who gazed at the black pools of water collected on the rocks. It was indeed, a giant hall of mirrors reflected at the heavens, and it was a glorious sight.
From his vantage point in the rocks, the minstrel, who had been following a route intended to intersect Alisyns path, could see that he had almost caught up with her. He wasnt close enough to hail her, so he decided to rest among the rocks, and keep an eye on her.
The restless magic within Alisyn began to emanate, and it wasnt long before the black pools had come alive. The minstrel could see Alisyns entire history, as each of the black mirrors reflected back to her, one of her sins, or misdeeds. He was amazed that he could see it too. The largest black pool at the center of the cluster contained a giant image of the face of a fairy. What he could not see from this distance were the tears running down Alisyns cheeks.
Alisyn began to move deftly between the pools. She kneeled down before each pool, and spoke something. She would touch the surface with her tiny hand. The image in that pool would fade, and she would move on to the next pool. She saved the largest for last. She spent much more time at the largest pool, but eventually, it too faded, and she turned and walked toward the little village on the horizon.
The minstrel prepared to follow. He knew that he would have a role in the upcoming events somehow. Sure, there would be a ballad about the hall of mirrors, but that was not to be his primary function. Things were going to get crazy for awhile, but the world was going to be a different place when this was all over.
The storyteller would tell amazing tales of the coming events, and how Alisyn had changed herself, the very fabric of magic, and, somehow, the world!
The rain had cleared, but it was still very humid. It was as if Alisyn were looking at the world through green glass. As she pondered the curious coloring, she could see a bright yellow spot on the horizon where pure sunlight had pierced through the clouds. She began to walk toward that for no particular reason. Occasionally, she could see a flash of bright golden light reflecting off of something within the patch of sunlight.
As she walked, she could see that the bright area was broadening. The overcast greenness was giving way to a bright sunny day, with a large amount of blue sky beginning to show itself. She could almost make out the reflective object that was giving off the flashes of light. If she walked a little further, she should be able to make out what it was.
She could see another flash coming from a crowd of people, and as she neared she could see a wagon, with foot high letters on the sign, applied in gold leaf. The sign read, Mortis Urgan, Magick Man! And in smaller letters, Purveyor of the Finest Tonics and Spells. A platform along the side of the wagon served as a stage from which the proprietor could give his sales pitch.
Urgan was tall. He was not as tall as Dark, and quite frankly, not as dark, either. He had longish hair, combed back, and kept with hair tonic, that was about half gray, he looked to be somewhere in his fifties, and sported a handlebar moustache, that he would twirl when he was excited. As he gave his snake oil pitch, he would hook his left thumb in a vest pocket, from which protruded a gold watch chain.
You will not find a better tonic for all that ills, if I do say so, myself. I would stake my entire reputation on it. Why, I recently prescribed six teaspoons a day, to a balding man who chased me to the next town, complaining that I should pay his barber for the necessary twice-a-week haircuts! Urgan was quite the charismatic, and the crowd loved him. I told him to subtract it from all of the haircut money hed saved over the years, and send me the difference! The crowd howled with laughter.
As he worked his charms on the crowd, the line of people at the edge of the stage, buying bottles of tonic from his assistant, a young blonde haired girl about Alisyns age, never seemed to shorten. There were a few times when he alluded to the possibility of something else being available, but it was a subtle reference. She almost missed the first one, but there it was again. If she listened carefully, and strung all of the subtle innuendos together, it almost sounded like a coded message to come back to the wagon after midnight for something else. He used the term again.
She moved back away from the crowd, and headed up a gravel street into the small town. The street was narrow, and the buildings were made from unpainted boards, the more weathered ones, being the older structures. A woman in a doorway was sobbing uncontrollably. Alisyn stepped up to ask if she could help.
My husband is dead! the woman cried. How did he die? Alisyn asked. He died of old age, said the woman, who didnt appear very old. How old was he? Alisyn asked. Thirty. Thirty years old? Alisyn asked in surprise.
That damned Mortis Urgan! I bought his snake oil for my son, who was dying of consumption. It did nothing, so I asked if he had anything stronger. He told me to come back at midnight. I went to his wagon in the middle of the night, and he was burning black candles, and wearing some kind of dress. Did it look like maybe it was a robe? Alisyn asked. Yes, thats it, a robe. Anyway, he gave me a poultice, but he spoke some words over it, that he said was just a prayer. The woman was shaking. I gave it to my son, and he got better!
She continued ,My husband and I were so thankful, but within a day, my husband was dead! Of old age! I went to Urgan, and told him what had happened, and he told me, You didnt think it would be free, did you? That was his price! the woman began to sob again. Alisyn consoled her for a short while, and when she was quiet, continued on her way.
Alisyn started back up the street, worrying about what was really going on with Mortis Urgan. She, of all people knew the workings of Black magic when she saw it. A man with no arms, was struggling to carry a bag of food across his back by holding the drawstring in his teeth. Alisyn offered to help with his bag. He lowered the bag to the ground and said, It wasnt always like this. Things used to be easier, when it was just my legs. Alisyn asked what he meant.
I used to have crippled legs before Mortis Urgan helped me. He made me go up there in the middle of the night, and that wasnt easy walking with sticks. He was using some kind of weird language, and he was dressed in a real crazy get up. When I woke up the next morning, my legs worked! I celebrated like crazy! When I woke up the following morning, I was like this. He told me that there is always a price.. He shook his head, leaned over, and grabbed the drawstring of his package, and walked on down the road.
There IS always a price, and Alisyn promised herself that Mortis Urgan would learn that price. Alisyn was still paying hers. There was still something nagging at the back of her brain, and Alisyn had the sense that there was something there that she would need in this situation. Once again, if she could only just formulate the thought.
Alisyn left the small town for a small field nearby, and stretched out on the grass to nap in the afternoon sun for a few hours. She knew she would need the rest. Speaking of a price, the fairy exacted hers, as Alisyn slept. Someones Dreaming. Someones Dying.
She would be safe as she slept. Nearby, the minstrel, who had decided not to make his presence known to her, stood guard. He would dart away, when she began to awake, and she would never know he was there. There would be a time when he would speak to her, and explain his actions, but that would be later.
Alisyn awoke sometime later, as rested as was possible with the disturbing dreams. She heard a rustling sound, but she was too sleepy to focus her eyes upon its source.
She looked down the hill, and she could see by moonlight, that a crowd was beginning to form behind Mortis Urgans wagon. It was time. She got up, and headed down the hill to join them.
She waited in line for what seemed like hours, before Mortis Urgan came out in his ridiculous dark wizard outfit, and began giving out incantations and spells. There is always a price, she thought, and wished she could remember that thing that was nagging at her.
It was another hour before it was her turn in line. When she stepped up, Urgan looked at her curiously, and rather than ask what she wanted, threw some powder on the candle, and muttered a few words. The candle flared, and so did the magic within Alisyn. He looked at her and appeared bewildered. Fairy..HumanWolf..I dont understand.. He was legitimately confused. You will Alisyn thought.
I am Fairy, she said. But, but he stammered. I am Wolf, she continued. How? He was still confused. He stood, and began backing away. I am Human, and with the last, righteous indignation welled up in Alisyn until her eyes filled with what felt like tears. They were not. With the charging of her trinity of magic, bolts of righteous fire shot from Alisyns eyes, instantly killing Mortis Urgan.
As she stood staring at the smoking pile of ash that used to be Mortis Urgan, she reflected upon her previous observation. There is always a price. While the magic was still with her, she declared to the crowd. All that was, will be restored. Mortis Urgans magic has been destroyed, as well as its evil effects. Go home, and never speak his foul name again, lest you give his power back to him through your own words! He is a devil, and deserves worse than what he received. Scatter the ashes, and then go home.
Alisyn turned, and still not sure of exactly what had happened, was pleased with the results. She wondered if this wasnt what should have happened to her. As much as things were looking up, she was unaware that they were taking an unexpected turn for the worse. Alisyn felt like a pawn in this cosmic chess game, and the stakes were high.
The defeat of Mortis Urgan was one piece of the puzzle, but the fate of the world still hung in the balance!
THE CULT OF THE WHITE WITCH
Alisyn noticed that there were a lot of people on the road, today. As the day wore on, the crowd became larger. They were following her. She quickened her step, but then so did the crowd. After hours of walking in this fashion, she turned to confront the nearest. Why are you following me? she asked.
We are sorry, maam. We were told to follow The White Witch. Everyone is doing it. Alisyn was startled. The White Witch? Who is that? It is you, maam. You defeated Mortis Urgan. You killed the Fairy, and were bitten by the werewolf, yet you do not change. You are clearly good, but only a witch could perform those feats, thus, you are The White Witch.
Im no witch Alisyn responded, but the words fell on deaf ears, for the people had already decided what they would believe. They all thought she was a witch! That was great! What next? And now, she travelled with an ever expanding entourage that was becoming truly enormous. Who was going to feed all these people?
As days turned to weeks, she continued, at the head of a long column of lost souls, their de-facto leader. She wanted to be away from all of this. It was not as if she didnt have other problems to deal with. Thats quite a fan club you have there, she looked up to see none other than the minstrel, lounging on a tree branch.
What are you doing here, she asked. I am a minstrel, he replied. Its kind of what I do, you know, singing, story-telling, TRAVELLING, he laughed. I think we should talk he said. Why start now? Alisyn asked. Whoa, you are a tough one, said the minstrel. Its plain that you havent had a lot of practice at this, so let me start. My name is Frederick, pleased to meet you. And you are
Not speaking to you, she snapped. He held his hand to his heart. You have injured me! You want me to talk to you? she hissed, OK then! SHUT UP! There, Ive talked to you. He responded by saying, Well, that was kind of more like talking at me, but its a start. After a pause, he said, I know of a place near here, where you can ditch the entourage. That stopped her. Really?
Yes, really, he said. And where would that be? she asked. Look up, he said. No, not at the sky, look up the hill. She looked up at the gleaming white castle on the side of the mountain. There? she asked. I know the proprietor, he said. Proprietor? Its a castle! I know, he said.
Its a tiny kingdom, but I can get us in the front door. She thought for a moment. It would be wonderful to escape this column of worshippers for a little while. Please, sir knight, show me the way. Although, you and I both know I am not a knight, I would be happy to do so! He jumped down from the tree limb, and began to lead her up the twisting road.
When they arrived, the massive door was flung wide, and an older man, dressed in fine robes met them at the entrance. So good to see you, Master Frederick! the old man said. Good to see you, too, Dominic. This is my friend, er um.. Alisyn piped in, Alisyn! The old man said Alisyn it is. Pleased to meet you. The King will see you now.
As they walked, Alisyn whispered to him, You are a Prince? No, he said, More like a ward of the King. He has no heirs, so I will be King when hes gone, but I am in no hurry. He is like a father to me, and Id like to keep him around for a few more years. I thought you were a minstrel, she said. Oh, I am that. I wanted to see the world, and the King told me that I was best off paying my own way. To learn the value of money, and all.
They arrived in the great hall. Frederick! The King came forward, and threw his arms around the minstrel. I am glad youre home!
It is good to see you, too, sire, but I wont be staying long. Why is that? The king asked. Because young Alisyn, here requires my assistance on her quest, he answered. I am on a quest? Alisyn asked. A quest, said Frederick. And a most noble quest at that. Then we must get about the business of celebrating, while we have the pleasure of your presence. The King said.
For nearly a week, they enjoyed the Kings hospitality, feasting, and dancing, and spending twilight on the balcony overlooking the campfires of her devotees. That was the part that gave her pause. There was still work to be done. Mortis Urgan was dead, but the damage to the fabric of magic had not been undone. Alisyn knew that penitence was not the sole path to her redemption.
She knew that there was another part to it. And with that, she was back to that nagging thought that had been plaguing her for some time. I just cant remember! she said aloud, as Frederick walked into the room.
Remember what? he asked. If I knew, then that would be remembering, now wouldnt it? He laughed. Alisyn, I dont know the key to making things alright, but I think it is time that you returned to the beginning. I have arranged for the royal coach to take us back to the Fairy Glade. We can get to within half a days walk from there by coach. I think that the elusive thought you are searching for awaits you at the fairy tree. She looked as if she had been slapped. There was no place on earth that she would rather avoid, than the fairy tree!
If you think that is the key, then I will go, she said. He could see that she was finally beginning to place trust in him.
Would the fairy tree, indeed, hold answers for Alisyn? What could possibly await her at the scene of her original crime? An amazing discovery was yet to come!
The journey by coach was much faster than Alisyn expected. It had taken months to cover the same distance by foot, not to mention the time spent at Dark Carnival. She began to remember all of her other adventures. Even so, she was enjoying time with Frederick. It was hard to believe that she ever thought of him as annoying. He was everything a girl could want. She found herself daring to hope, a capacity she thought she had lost.
We will camp by the road, tonight, and we will be in the Fairy Glade some time tomorrow, Frederick said. They made their camp, while speaking only a few words. Frederick could see that Alisyn was very somber, and he knew she had a lot to ponder.
The next day, they were on their way early, and slightly past midday, they were entering the Fairy Glade. It was less than an hour later, when they stepped into the clearing, and beheld the fairy tree. The tree was alive with activity, as fairies flitted about, busy doing fairy things.
Alisyn fell to her knees and began to weep. She felt Fredericks steady hand on her shoulder, as she was racked with sobbing. She felt lighter touches upon her shoulder as well. They were the touches of the fairies! Several of the fairies, had also placed their hands upon her shoulders to comfort her! The sobbing worsened, but then something began to happen.
That nagging thought that had eluded her for so long, began to coalesce within her. She knew that it was impossible to undo her crime. Although she had been penitent from the first, the answer had not been to punish herself. It was clear, that was not what the fairies wanted. She knew it would be necessary to live with what she had done, and accept it as part of who she was. As she processed the chain of thought, she could feel something begin to change in the magic realm. She was on the verge of her Epiphany, and that was the key to repairing the damage she had done.
She continued, understanding that she had played a role in what had happened, but not the only one. She also knew that the magic within her had come by way of several forms. Just as defeating the evil wizard, Mortis Urgan, had required a justification of all that was within her, this task would require a justification of all that she was. All that she had been. All that she had done. All that had been done to her.
This was the Epiphany she had sought! She was human, and that represented who she was. She had killed the fairy, and that represented what she had done. The wolf had attacked her, and that represented what was done to her. To be whole again, she had to justify all three. Although this trinity is the basis of who we all are, this was magic, and the power of that acceptance was mighty.
A whooshing sound could be heard, as the air, and light closed in around Alisyn. She twinkled with what appeared to be a thousand stars, but were actually a thousand fairies. The black hole was gone, and the magic was pure and clean again. Alisyn could feel the energy crackle all around her, and at that moment, she knew that all was being restored.
The biggest battle of all had been fought right here, inside of her. This is the same battle we all fight, as we struggle to know ourselves. Alisyn, having fought the age old battle, on the plain of magic, was now to find her reward.
As with all fairy tales, a happy ending is in order. Alisyn had long since fallen in love with Frederick. Frederick, had loved Alisyn from the first, and they were married by none other than the King himself. The King lived a long, happy life, enjoying his many grand children. Grizzelda continued to serve as Darks conscience. Fishy fell in love with, and married the fish girl. The old gypsy woman suffered a fatal heart attack, right around the time of Alisyns return to the fairy tree. Dark, continued to be his evil self, to the extent that Grizzelda allowed..
A thousand fairy stories would never have been told, had Alisyn not followed her conscience. Twilight would continue to tease young imaginations, glimmering with a twinkling of fairy magic, and children would not have to go to bed, without the requisite fairy tale.
Some might interpret all of this to mean they all lived happily ever after.
So, that was it, to the best of my ability to retell what was told to me. I told you I wasnt a writer, but I am sure that enough of Alisyns words came through, that most of the story is intact. When I had asked her that one question before she darted away; how she came to be in the same space and time as myself, she just smiled, and breathed Dont you believe in magic?