Behold The Faerie Realm
A story in five parts.
In a faraway land that time forgot cool hush was invisible, no humans ever came, every creature hid in conscious breath. Imagined fairy folk walked this realm, for some their flesh is as delicate as butterfly wings, like spiders lacing spells of fine gossamer where veiled time moves on.
Tiny orbs of light sail on fay breezes through forest, countryside and across water of Hiccup lake, where early morning mist spreads like silent hovering ghosts. Fish are able to converse in magical fay language, surfacing to hiccup at nighttime full moon.
While beyond the village of Dingly where energy's enchanted and spirit of trees comes alive to the sound of hooting owls off in the distance, trees flex their branches then relax, conversing with each other on the state of forest life.
Light rain falls to forest floor, gleaming numerous lush green foliage. On sleepy meandering path stood a stocky figure smoking a clay pipe, his brown waistcoat tails flapping in the breeze reaching down to black breeches that stopped at his knees. Once shiny black leather boots, were now caked in mud and grime from days in the forest working. His dark beard was so bushy, all you could see were two beady eyes gazing and puffs of smoke released from a clay pipe.
Bolvor the gnome stood scratching his beard as he gazed along the path having no idea what was going on, he'd looked after the forest and creatures for most of his life, but was now staggered by the many bodies that lay on their sides, no birds were flying, he couldn't understand it, yesterday evening everything seemed fine as he returned home, yet now the forest littered with so many birds Bolver was overwhelmed at what to do. Fingers stroked the nest of his beard, brushing through strands, watching them straighten and then curl back, the motion helped him to think.
Then it came to him! Rowana the faerie witch healer, she would surely be able to work out this conundrum and come up with a cure. Picking up his knapsack from a large rock, the gnome took out some dark leather gloves that he used in his work and put them on. Bolvor never minded the mud and grime, but his face took on a scowl at the very idea of picking up the poor, helpless sickly bird, not knowing if he might catch a virus, or something more deadly.
Placing the blue tit inside an old piece of rag, he spoke softly to the bird. “You poor bundle of feathers, let's be taking you to Rowana, she'll get you right as rain in no time.” Bolvor then contemplated what he'd said, thinking it was wrong to give the tiny bird false hope! With a cough, he spluttered, “well... let's hope so anyway.”
Making his way back along the path trying to avoid all the bodies, the gnome soon left the forest crossing the path beside fields, and came to the village, he could hear the Caw! Caw! Of rooks and crows perched in tall trees, it was as if they were echoing their sadness of forest birds to the blackbirds, who settled on grass surrounded by a mayhem of autumns colourful leaves nourishing the soil.
Bolvor shivered as storm clouds massed above muddy lane tracks conscious of time moving on and a need to get back to his cabin in the forest.
He stopped at the dimpled stoned Ivy cottage that stood in the lane and had ivy creeping in and out of cracks. Rowana the witch healer lived in her dwelling with her black cat Alwyn. She had hardly anytime to rest with looking after the fay folk and creatures, it was a full time job.
Sitting at her kitchen table, Rowana's brown eyes widened as she browsed her late mother's book of healing, her unkempt thick, long brown hair plaited in a ponytail, hanging down one side of her shoulder. She was one of the tallest faerie folk in the realm and had always worn the traditional male breeches over black tights, not that she wanted to be a male, but because they were more comfortable, though her wings did get in the way occasionally, but she was proud of her red admiral butterfly colours which lay neatly folded inside a green waist jacket, and purple velvet long sleeved shirt, Rowana also wore the traditional black ballet type shoes that all fay folk wore.
Alwyn the black cat sat in the windowsill watching eagerly as a spider span a web on the outside of the glass, it had been a long process which kept the cat occupied for quite a while. This feline had lost interest in the giggling orbs of light that floated around Rowana's kitchen, Alwyn realized long ago she'd never be able to catch them, so what was the point in trying.
The balls of light were Rowana's little helpers, the fay folk who were more than happy to be of service to the witch healer. Their wings could beat so fast when needed, they could take off as quick as a fly, and were protected inside a glowing bubble of brightness. These ethereal charmers were protectors of the air and gifted musicians creating sounds to soothe, but like the goblins they did like to gibber when annoyed, which could send some folk lightheaded, but not Rowana, she had her own protective bubble which was invisible.
There was a rat a tat, tat on the healers door. Yet another customer! She thought. Closing her book, Rowana shrugged off the orbs of light that were getting extremely excited at yet another visitor. “Calm down!” Rowana announced tutting and swerving to avoid their unpredictability.
Alwyn had already caught sight of the figure stood knocking, eager to slip out the moment the door was ajar, making a quick getaway.
On seeing Bolvor Rowana welcomed the gnome into her kitchen. “What brings you to my home friend?” She asked as Alwyn swiftly made an escape.
Bolvor walked into the huge kitchen avoiding the cat and didn't wait to be asked, he just pulled out a chair and plonked himself down at the huge table, which was laden with all kinds of paraphernalia that he had know idea of their uses, and didn't particularly want to know. There were glass jars with tubes, weighing scales, metal pans with a contraption that had tubes coming from it hanging into pans, making a gurgling sound as bubbling occurred. Bolvor was concerned about the little bird, worrying the poor creature might already be dead.
He gently placed his knapsack on the table and took out the rag. Bolvor carefully removed the blue tit that was by now very scared and tried desperately to fly, though its wings were too weak. It's tiny body shaking, the bird made screeching noises and pecked at Bolvor each time the gnome made to move too close with his large hands.
“What have we here?” Inquired the healer, pulling up a chair next to the gnome.
Bolvor sighed. “I have no idea what's going on, but all the birds in the forest are very sick, their bodies are littered everywhere.” As he spoke, all the orbs of light gathered around the bird, somehow it seemed they knew something and were eager to draw Rowana over to her scrying bowl, which also sat at the other end of the long table.
The healer first placed her finger close to the head of the blue tit speaking quietly and softly in whispering tones. “Hush little one, don't be afraid, feel my warmth, let your wings relax.” Rowana took her time as finally the bird seemed to understand and surrendered to her touch. Picking the blue tit up gently in her hand, its little head peeked from between her finger and thumb. The healer took the bird over to a small wooden box which was spread with straw, placing the bird inside, it seemed quite happy to settle down into this new ready made nest.
The ethereal balls of light began shimmering around the scrying bowl, giggling like naughty children, but these fay were screeching all at once. “He, he, he! Quickly healer come and see, quickly, quickly.”
Rowana strode over to her bowl while Bolvor stood up from his chair exclaiming that he needed to be going.
“Thank you for bringing this situation to my attention,” replied Rowana eager to do her job of discovering what was going on.
Bolvor not wanting to hang around coughed leaving the healer to her work. The faerie witch turned her attention to the inky black water. As she gazed her forefinger circling clockwise in the liquid, water began to swirl into different shapes. Rowana recognized the trees of the forest, a moon was peeping between branches...then!
She saw them beneath dense brushwood, slight figures emerged edging their way slowly into the cold autumn darkness. Rowana watched young goblins creeping, checking that not a soul was around, they became sprightly but alert, their teeth nipping at the air for any night flying creatures that happened to wing their way into the rascals vicinity. Some of the elders were creeping around with pots, taking handfuls of some powdery dust, throwing it into the air while sneering away to themselves as they wandered.
Families of goblins lived deep underground, their tunnel entrances hidden, secluded by ferns, ivy and undergrowth, that grew on banks of mossy mire that was difficult to reach unless you could fly.
Female young goblettes lived with their mothers, while the male adolescence joined their male elders, learning how to scare folk away, cunning at hanging out in gangs, mastering the art of hunting, or stealing without being seen, in fact proficient mischief makers.
“So!” Declared the witch,” I will have to bring this news to the attention of folk, those goblins should not be allowed to get away with hurting any creatures.”
To be continued...
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