The recent heavy rains had slowed Pearl down; as much as she loved the rain and how it graced leaves and flowers in tiny liquid water jewels, it had made the narrow dirt tracks running through the borough of Shadewell difficult to navigate. Her wagon wheels ground to a halt in many places, choked up with mud and rocks.
At one point all that could be done was to sit there in the middle of the muddied track, pouring rain and wait it out until at least the deluge eased enough so she could see what exactly was stopping the wheel from turning. It was quite miserable, and for the hundredth time Pearl wondered what had possessed her to embark on this seemingly endless journey.
But of course she knew. She had no choice. Father had passed away and there were no more of her kin or kind living in Laylei Vale. All her kind had either left already or passed on into the realm of ancestors. Father and Pearl were the last, mostly because father was the most renowned expert on Falabella ponies… which were favoured by the High Council of Elves.
Laylei Vale was the only home Pearl had ever known and she loved The Vale, even though she had never been fully accepted by anyone, being a Halfling as she was, born of mixed parentage, an Elven mother and a Fairy-Pixie father. Father himself was a Halfling and so dashingly handsome and so deeply caring that her Evlen mother fell madly in love with him.
Such a union was frowned upon of course, but because mother came from royalty no one could stop her, although the Council could and did petition for her royal name and role be strictly prohibited. Mother willingly became a commoner for the love of Pearl’s father.
First mother passed away, and more recently father, after which Pearls sense of belonging vanished. She sold what she could, packed what she could and simply left.
And here she was… several months later, slowed down by rain and mud, so much so she decided on an early day, it was all too much for Jesii, her very own patiently enduring Falabella pony. Jessii was such an obliging travel companion, she would do anything for Pearl, tackle any job, this Pearl knew and was careful to make sure that Jesii didn’t feel obligated to push herself beyond her capacity.
The two traveled on just far enough to find a suitable place to set up for remained of the day and night, deciding on a thick strand of sugar maple trees that thevwagon would fit under and offered places to tie up the cover to keep Jesii dry.
How grateful Pearl was that she always kept a few bundles of kindling and small logs in a trunk under her seat! With the little brazier flickering warm light and heating some soup, Pearl felt better, although she did sigh deeply in a long shuddering way, so filled with melancholy that Jesii looked up from her bucket of oats and apple.
“Oh I’m ok” the little Halfling assured her friend, “it’s just been a long journey and not a very successful one at that! Remember the reception the gnomes of Agate Mountain gave us?”
Jesii nodded her glossy head.
“And what about the Fai who lived by that sparkling waterfall? They laughed at us when I asked if we could settle in their Shire”
Jesii blinked, nodding again.
“Don’t forget what happened when we attempted to befriend the Griffins! They wanted to eat us! And the Centaurs wanted to steal you and lock me up!”
“Oh pishposh” continued Pearl “I’d turn around and go home, if we had a home to return to!”
At this the Falabella pony stamped one tiny hoof, shaking her head vigorously her luscious fringe flopping forward, covering her liquid brown eyes.
Pearl chuckled, dashing away a single tear which had threatened to trickle down her rosy cheek. She stood up and hugged Jesii, gently brush the pony’s fringe away from her eyes.
“Thank you” Pearl smiled, kissing Jesii’s warm forehead “tomorrow is another day, isn’t it”
Morning dawned filled with tattered clouds and dripping sunshine. Birds sang joyous melodies and small forest folk peeped from burrows and hollow tree trunks, whiskery faces judging the weather.
Pearl and Jesii waited long enough for water to drain away from the dirt track a bit before setting off. After a time they came to a crossroad.
“Oh I do hate crossroads!” Retorted Pearl… “one never knows which is the right one. The last crossroads took us straight into a battle between two rival troll clans. That was a terrible sight. And the smell! We had to hide in a horrid cave for three days while those fools slaughtered each other. Although I did discover that wall embedded with those gorgeous yellow rocks, I managed to dig out quite a few while we were there. If we ever find a home I will make some lovely trinkets with them. Oh Jes, I don’t know which way to go… will you choose please!”
The pony snorted, shaking her head.
“When have I ever gotten cross with you my sweet Jesii!” Pearl chuckled “I promise this time will not be the first time. You choose”
Jesii looked around for a second or two, then veered left heading towards the left fork.
“Interesting choice” Pearl mused ” and why this way and not another? “
Jesii tossed her head towards the sky in front of them, and there stretching across a deep green valley was an astonishingly brilliant double rainbow.
“OH!” was all Pearl could say, and sitting back she let Jesii take control.
The path they now travelled down seemed somehow magical… verdant greenery danced along the edges of the dirt track, huge trees grew fruit and nuts from every shire they had ever travelled through. Somewhere a musical little river sang and giggled along happily and the beautiful double rainbow glowed over everything, never moving or fading, as rainbows usually do.
Who would have thought that chasing a magnificent double rainbow on a morning infused in the woodsy scents of oak and mushroom, lingering in petrichor rich air from early rain, could possibly lead to such a picturesque place! It almost seemed lost in Time.
The very beauty of such a location gave Pearl chills of delight. And when they finally reached a little hamlet the local inhabitants were so friendly! They rushed out to greet them and offer them dainty treats with dandelion tea, inviting them to stay as long as they wanted.
When Pearl noticed just who the inhabitants of this quaint little village were, she knew she had found her forever home, for gathered around were elves and fairy and gnome, and centaur and treants and griffins and all manner of different souls, all smiling and happy and sharing life together.
And that is how the tiny hamlet of Prisma acquired the auspicious little shop known near and far as
“Pearls Miraculous Bumblebee Bizarre”.
So if you ever happen to see a Magnificent Double rainbow glowing in the sky perhaps you should follow it, without asking why!
A Poetic Fantasy….
A rippled stream through woodlands ran
wending through giant trees and tangled fern
rippled and sang all the way ‘round the foothill, through the woods
and onto to the calm reflective bay;
Juniper grew beside cherry beside oak beside ancient fig
ferns and mosses in twined disarray sprung from dappled bank
and half-hidden caves…
And it was there, where lay-lines met and energy sizzled
where rippled stream and foothills met
it was there amid the layers of dappled green
that Tiger-Soul sought the council of Ádhamh, Paladin of the Forestways…
Ádhamh sat in thoughtful repose…
A golden feather held gently between his fingers –
but still he knew Tiger-Soul had entered the glade
and bade the young elf come hither;
“You are troubled, little friend” Ádhamh murmured
“yea that I am”… with this Tiger-soul drew from his pocket
an amethyst crystal of purest beauty and what appeared to be
an ancient artifact in the form of a carved wooden stick
adorned with ancient symbols and etched with endless swirls;”
Tiger-soul’s hands shook… “and I see you have acquired a golden feather”
Ádhamh held the amethyst up to the light…
“Have you ever seen the amethyst
shine so brightly as now?” he muttered, almost as if to himself
“Where did you find it?”
The elf shook his head, cornsilk hair gleaming in stippled sunrays
“Well, I can’t talk Porpoise, but one momentarily lunged upon the shore, depositing it at my feet”
Tiger-soul paused… “a message I should think”
“It would appear so… and the Talking-stick? Where did you find that?”asked Ádhamh.
“The old grey wolf, Múirnín, dumped it at my feet” Tiger-soul said… “take it to Ádhamh he growled
And here I am;
And what of you Ádhamh? Where did the golden feather come from?”
“It was dropped from the sky by a goshawk” Ádhamh responded, his eyes lost
in a far-away gaze.
“This does not bode well for Líadan” the elf shook his head.
“It does not bode well at all … ahh my sweet Líadan, my willow-the-wisp watermaid… my mavourneen” Ádhamh allowed himself a moment of whimsy
before leaping into action…
“The Talking-stick indicates that the Crone of the Sea has acquired a concave mirror
and is using it to imprison Líadan’s spirit… she languishes in perpetual sleep!”
“The amethyst, of course, represents Líadan herself and the golden feather can only have come from one place… the crags above the watery tomb of those lost at sea… for that where the golden eagle nests..
the old Crone must have Líadan in the sea- cave that opens into the bay…”
Ádhamh paced furiously, trampling Ruby-hued wildflowers and fragrant clovers;
“I’ll not linger a moment longer” he said to Tiger-soul “Do you travel with me Tiger? Distinguish your path, soul of light, for those who do, balance their plight…
… and forever a hero be”
“I come” was all Tiger-soul said.
Paladin & Elf travelled the path of the sun… wading over narrow streamlets
listening, as they walked, to the wise whispers of the trees.
“Have you ever found yourself half way up a tree, enthralled with the tales
etched into the very fibre of the bark?” Tiger-soul asked.
“Aye” Ádhamh chuckled softly… “many a time.”
My greatest delight is laying on the overhanging oak branch
the one that juts out across the break where stream meets bay…
… for there I meet my Líadan, tales to share”
“ We will rescue her Ádhamh” the Elf offered quietly.
But Ádhamh’s face was creased with a determined set and he spoke no more.
The un-named sea cave was known to all as the home of the old crone… seaweed entwined her hair… waving behind her like slimy eels when she swam;
she was green and mean, wove nightmares from dreams
and conjured up the wicked of might of storms.
But she had a weakness, Ádhamh knew and had not come unprepared;
The Elf could swim better than the Paladin and so it was Tiger-soul who plunged into the cool salty waters of the bay… on a mission to find Octopoda, the Mother of all octopuses in the 11 oceans… and personal friend & guardian of the watermaid Líadan.
Octopoda and Tiger-soul arrived at the mouth of the yawning damp cave
filled as it was, with hollow winds and watery echoes;
Octopoda had turned ashen grey with rage and in each of her tentacles she held loosely woven net bags, filled with the purest amethyst on land and in the sea… amethyst- the old sea crone’s one weakness…
The three rescuers entered the cave with silent stealth… creeping, sliding, slipping
through dank darkness and putrid air… until
until they reached the central cavern, where lounged The old Sea Crone, picking her teeth with
a starfish thorn…
Ádhamh saw Líadan’s prone form crumpled on a mound of seaweed… she did not move, and
to Ádhamh it seemed she did not breath…
Rage and fear and love boiled over inside his soul… only Octopoda managed to foil the Paladin’s reckless plunge towards his sweet Líadan’s side…
Octopoda had rendered herself invisible… amethyst seeming to float and dance in sprays of light…
… and the sea crone who saw only the glimmer of crystal was, soon enchanted, then mesmerized; Octopoda’s tentacles wavered & danced
teasingly close… until the old crone spun with delirious fervor…
… Ádhamh ran to scoop Líadan up into his embrace- but no!
his movements caught the sea crone’s eye… and she screeched
like all the banshees in the world, shattering the air and piercing everyone’s souls…
All but Octopoda were caught in the sea crone’s trap of noise… and Octopoda hastened her sinuous movements, amethyst tantalizing the crones gaze once more…
Ádhamh threw Líadan over his masculine shoulder, racing the watermaid back across the cavern to the vast opening…
… and Octopoda gave the sea crone her prize… 36 bags of amethyst, piled atop the crone like a burial cairn and her banshee howl ceased;
Silence descended upon the cave… filled only with hollow winds and watery echoes;
On the soft warm bank of the bay, Líadan woke to find herself in Ádhamh’s gentle embrace…
… she looked around, seeing Tiger-soul and Octopoda… a hushed calm breathed across the land
as day and twilight mingled;
Shimmer did the trees, she thought… how moonlight becomes them.
Image and Poetic Fantasy by SharonleeGoodhand ©26-Jan-15
ÁDHAMH: Irish form of Hebrew Adam, meaning “earth” or “red.”
LÍADAN: Irish Gaelic name derived from the word liath “grey,” hence “grey lady.” In legend, this is the name of a poetess.
MAVOURNEEN: Irish name derived from the phrase mo múirnín, meaning “my honey, my sweet one.”
Fantastical Realm Of Fantasme
Chronicler and Teller of Tales
The Fantastical Realm of Fantasme lies far beyond the edges of the Human World;
beyond the echoes of the everyday, through the mists of time itself.
It is a wondrous land of ancient myths and living creatures
that most believe exist only within the realm of imagination….
But as Chronicler and Teller of Tales, both fantastical and true
I’m here to tell you
that no imagination compares to the sights I have seen;
Sibylline curtains of diaphanous mist shroud valleys lost to mankind…
although once… long long ago in a time not imagined, there did exist
a portal between the two world;
Sadly, I was the last to pass through the portal
before it was sealed forever by the Great Wizard Mentorian
sealed by protection spells and all manner of Guardian Gates.
I have walked the Human World for 200 long years and my longevity is itself a spell
placed on me by the beautiful Gossamer Grace, Queen of the Fay
for I was entrusted with the role of Storyteller
and the only hope that the two words may exist side by side once again
lies in my success in convincing the Human World that Fantasme is real…
… and while mankind continues to doubt its existence
the majikal realm will remain hidden and lost to all.
Let me begin by retelling how I first came to find The Fantastical Realm of Fantasme
some may think it was quite by accident… if one believes in such things as accidents…
but I learnt that all things happen for a reason… and are mere stepping stones
to ones destined destination;
And mine was Fantasme, oh yes indeed it was.
I spent idyllic childhood years living in a tumbledown cottage at the end of Cherryblossom Lane;
my grans cottage it was, nestled snug in the foothills of Titania Mountain…
ahhh… those heavenly ethereal slopes I know so well… vaporous mist drifted
in delicate streamers, clinging to the gentle swells of Titania Mountain;
changing seasons saw me scampering and climbing and investigating
that much loved mound… but in all those years I never made it to the top.
I grew up and moved away, as children do and my visits home never gave me time
to do more than hold grans aging hand and talk of old times;
Many were the times I tried to convince my gran to move to the city and live with me
but she would not budge from the mist shrouded foothills of Titania Mountain…
… and I could never blame her, for in truth, it was where I longed to be as well.
My last visit to the cottage was to lay my dear gran in the family plot
alongside both my grandpa and my ma.
That night as I sat alone with only the owls and echoes of the past for company
I looked up at the mountain I knew so well, when I was gripped by a strange fierce
compulsion to climb to the very top of Titania Mountain …
a feat, I had been told, never before achieved
but something deep within me urged me to pack a rucksack and go up the mountain…
a journey to the mysterious cloud- cloaked pinnacle
would surely take several days …
How idyllic it was to retrace childhood steps… to linger along well-known paths
and quench my thirst by crystal cascades I could never forget;
but by the fourth day I entered unfamiliar territory
that looked and felt like none I had ever seen before…
the narrow path I followed became rough; overgrown with unusual plants
and over-shadowed by age-old trees with secret names.
Dense luminescent moss hugged rotten log and scattered rock
dangling vines as thick as my arm hung like hangman’s rope
from trees I did not recognize.
Timid scurrying and scampering whispered in the verdant vegetation
but I never laid eyes on a single creature, ‘cept for an old grey owl who seemed
intent on following my upward progress;
The fourth day found me footsore and fatigued, resting by a high waterfall …
I fell fast asleep in the dappled shade, dreaming of flowers that turned into faerie folk
and a gnarled old tree that sang in my gran’s voice…
Listen… listen to the wisdom of Forest… you must head their words… listen… listen
… listen to the wise ones… the trees… you must listennn….
I woke with a start, shivering and cold, though beads of sweat glistened on my brow;
the shadows seemed thicker now… little sunlight shone through
and…. were the trees gathered closer ‘round me, then when I fell asleep?
My bewilderment deepened further when I noticed, or thought I noticed
one tree leaning in close to me… a tree that appeared to have eyes!
So….. You are the new Chronicler and Teller of Tales….
Not what I was expecting… but Her Majesty is never wrong…
to have even made it this far is proof enough;
You speak, I whispered, as if fearful my human voice would break this spell
or truly arouse me from this dream… for surely I still slept
surely I still dreamed?
This is no dream little storyteller, the tree chuckled, his leaves quivering and rattling
this is your destiny… you have a role to fill.
Her Majesty awaits you.
Her Majesty? I queried, I don’t understand.
You will little storyteller, you will.
Ah… I weary now…the moon wans into first blush of dawn… I must rest, but mayhap
I will continue my tale another night.
SIRIDEÁN SÚILEABHÁN – Dark Eyed Searcher
By Sharonlee Goodhand
Legend has it that she with the crystal ball
will come with all the answers…
she, sorceress of southern climes
the Dark Eyed Searcher
and so the seers plot by season & stars
the time of her arrival…
the people wait and tend their roles
and whisper prayers… soon… please come soon
Sirideán Súileabhán sorceress of our salvation…
It is said, that Sirideán reads signs like no other
that her travels in realms unreachable have harvested much wisdom…
Sirideán is the sorceress all sibyls go to for guidance
the sultry Dark Eyed Searcher that all wizards & magi
secretly lust after on moonlit nights …
the one Earthly woman all gods yearn to own…
But it is also said the dark-eyed Sirideán
walks heaven and earth & cosmos alone… a solitary candle in the darkest of nights;
her obsidian eyes can turn a man to liquid, be it smiling glance or death-stare
and it is told, ‘round tavern tables and family hearths
how she is Child with no Birth… but fashioned by Mother Nature’s hand
as Champion to both creature and land and all who live with honest heart….
The villagers of Dáiríne Dell toiled dawn to dusk
so their hamlet could live up to its fertile name
… but rains were poor and for the first time in known history
the Daris River had dried to a trickle of a tear…
all the villagers feared future days… but if truth be told
they feared the coming of the Dark Eyed Searcher more…
… and a runner had arrived, breathless and dusty and almost too weary for words
she comes… he panted… collapsing at the elders feet;
She comes… she comes… she comes
the whisper raced ‘round Dáiríne Dell faster than an Autumn wind
people gathered in the village to speculate and share their prophecies
for doom & gloom or fruitful resolutions … those weary souls still toiling
in soil that blew with the breeze in clouds of fine ground dust
paused in their labours to look up, wipe dirty brows and breathe a sigh…
… she comes… she with the crystal ball and all the answers…
…alas 3 full moons passing did it take before the revered and often feared
Sirideán Súileabhán arrived… silent and without fanfare… she simple appeared
at the High Elders elbow… the wizened old mage fair jumped out of his skin
which spread a grin to every initiate in the hall…
You called… her crystal whisper carried to every ear in the grange
what seems to be the problem, you called my name…
It’s a matter of water, the old mage explained
14 full moons and still no rain… the crops have died
our livestock too… children weep, the old can’t sleep-
– even the forest creatures grow weak…
Your mountain-fed river was designed to never run dry
have you dammed it? Damaged it? Tell me why
the endless river has run dry? Sirideán was not impressed
the freedom of this river must be addressed!
All looked to the elders and paled beneath Sirideán’s stare
nothing have we done, but toil in the sun
an honest day’s work for any good man
day in and out and into the night… we toil for nought
water is our blight… infants cry all through the night
aged soul pass before morning light…
help us revered Lady…. help our plight!
Sirideán’s cold stare made everyone aware just how much for mankind she little cared –
– the Earth’s well-being was her domain and she knew this mountain river
Sempiternal by name
should flow freely despite no rain;
She swept the congregation with keen penetrating eyes… sharp as diamond, clear as dew
leave the matter with me, she scolded, I shall be back when the moon is new!
The village of Dáiríne Dell to pondering silence fell
but thoughts turned dark that day and souls turned grey
as man accused man and sister charged sister with deeds that caused their downfall…
fingers pointed and words scathed … enemies were made that day;
The Dark Eyed Searcher returned when the moon was new
a sliver of silver in the darkest night… the villagers gathered in number
by lantern and candle light…. would there answer to their plight or would this be
the longest night any would see…
Sirideán’s dark eye flashed like onyx… her pupils as sharp as shards
that bore into each man’s soul, and chilled each woman’s heart…
The river is blocked and dammed, Sirideán roared… Mother Earth’s Law you have ignored!
You deny precious water to the village yonder… why is this I wonder?
b .. but … but, Revered One , the elder sputtered … we did not dam the River
the River is our sustenance…. our very life giver!
Nooo…not by You, Sirideán cried… by those in the village you have denied!
… they now divert and channel the water to their dam…. they said you would not share the earth- treasure of water given at birth … and so took what they needed…
the villagers looked to each other… excuse fell from their lips
legend has it the Sempiternal River is ours!
No river is yours! Sirideán exploded… this river belongs to Mother Earth
bequeathed to you to use from birth… did your mother’s not teach you to have a care
did they not teach you how to share!!
… Heads hung low in the village that night… and hearts tolled a heavy bell
sleep did not sooth a single soul in the village of Dáiríne Dell…
Revered One, the elder finally whispered as dawn broke through the trees
we understand our error… help us please! Our children grow weak… the aged no longer speak
silence is our only song… please help us to make amends and right what we have wronged!
Sirideán gazed intently, into every face and mind… she saw remorse and fear in hearts clear
and a hunger in each child’s eye… Sirideán sighed…
Very well, she said at long last… put the past in the past and make amends this day…
go all, to your neighbouring village… with them you will toil until the dam is gone
and from this day forward, forever and on, the river is of free spirit… and share it you must
never taking more than you need, in Mother Earth put your trust
this mountain-fed river was designed to never wither, but nourish all who come in need
for our Mother Earth, in all her wisdom, just can’t comprehend human greed.
SIRIDEÁN: Irish Gaelic name, possibly derived from the word sirim (“to seak”), hence “searcher.”
SÚILEABHÁN: Old Irish Gaelic name composed of the elements súil “eye” and dubh “black, dark,” and a diminutive suffix, hence “little dark eyes.”
sibyls – A woman who tells fortunes … prophets … vaticinators (ancient Rome) a woman who was regarded as an oracle or prophet.
DÁIRÍNE: Feminine form of Irish Dáire, meaning “fertile, fruitful.”