Friday, September 22, 2017
Today I’m excited (oh, let’s be honest — I’m positively giddy) to collaborate with and feature one of my blogging she-roes. Please welcome artist Janet Weight Reed. Her love of color and sense of whimsy equals my own. Janet’s talent and imagination leaves mine sitting in the dust. There are surely faeries in her magical town of Crickadoon.
Some of her magical hummingbirds have made their way to Thistledown for this episode. (This post shows a beautiful collection of Janet’s hummingbirds click here. If you want some of your very own, click here for her Zazzle store.)
Fallow Blackmoon, a faery from the colorless world (or the scary faery-verse), made an entrance that was hard to follow. My pantser pants were not flying me anywhere — by the seat or otherwise. Then a hummingbird with fiery orange plumage flew into my imagination, inspiring this spontaneous collaboration with Janet. I have to thank her right now for being so quick to get images to me, with no planning or notice.
Janet was away on a break when I began this serial, and so didn’t get to name a character. But that didn’t keep the orange hummer away. In fact the little bird refused to leave. So, I made a character name inspired by the artist.
About This Episode
This chapter picks up where Episode 10 left off, with the abrupt departure of Fallow Blackmoon. I still don’t know where we are flying with this serial, but we are fluttering along with some beautiful images this time.
And now, the eleventh installment of my serial.
Midsummer Bedlam 11
Ashes and Hummingbirds
Sparks from the bonfire sizzled heavenward. Red, blue, and purple flames crackled in exotic shapes, thanks to the enchantments cast by my grand-uncle and Field Yewwasp. The faeries who were gathered around the fire seemed to think the machine that roared out of the bonfire was one of the magical effects. As I stood in bewilderment at the abrupt disappearance of Fallow Blackmoon, loud applause rose from the audience as they looked up at us in the branches of the primeval evergreen.
“For now, we should probably play along,” Field suggested in a rumbling whisper.
The huge furry faery doffed his green top hat and bowed grandly. I tried to follow his example and nearly fell headfirst down the stairs. Field caught my elbow to steady me.
Sparks burst high into the sky, drawing everyone’s attention back to the bonfire. Shimmering flames in yellow, purple, and blue stretched to wing-like shapes. I saw a woman hovering just above the ground, her orange wings vibrating with intensity. She held a small wand made of fire opal and waved her arms, conducting the movement of the flames. The brightly colored flames coalesced and then surged into a starburst of iridescent hummingbirds. Only Valley Hummer could create such a spectacle.
Amid the oohs and applause, many faeries were inspired to dance. I saw Moon Shadow put a flute to her lips. Her long, flowing purple hair swung as she played, and a lively reel began. A circle formed and wings of every color fluttered, carrying the dancers into the sky. Moon’s opalescent wings carried her up amid the dancers where she continued to play. The hummingbirds flew all around the dancers, darting in and out of their circle, moving in time to the music.
The next day I was given permission to leave my bed — but not go more than a stone’s throw beyond the branches of the huge evergreen.
So why not let me go down to the bonfire the night before? It wasn’t as if I was any better or worse a few hours later.
With a dejected sigh I walked down to the blackened remains of the party. In counterpoint to the ashes, echoes of the merrymaking filled my mind. As I looked at the burned wood, my thoughts flashed on the recent, truly horrific vision. Thousands of people were destroyed, wiped from existence. All that remained were their shadows — shadows that were blasted and burned into the rubble of walls. I stomped on the frightening thought, hastily pushing down.
I felt a tickle at my head. A hummingbird with iridescent feathers in the orange hues of a sunset hovered beside me. It picked a strand of my hair. When it opened its tiny beak to let go of my hair, I heard the voice of Valley Hummer.
“The other magical hummingbirds went home with me. However this little one thought he should stay with you, at least for a while,” Valley’s voice told me and then went silent, giving the hummingbird’s natural voice back to him.
Fluttering at eye-level, the hummingbird made twittering chirps at me. His elongated streamer-tail produced a “whirring sound” during his flight as he made series of darting movements around the circle of stones that had been dragged into place by the blue muskoxen.
I sat down on one of the stones and the humming bird flew to a nearby bush of butterfly weed to drink its nectar. There were several clumps of long, silken blue hair amid the large flat rocks where the revelers sat the night before.
“One of Blossom’s muskoxen was late to his molt,”I commented to the hummingbird, but he continued drinking nectar.
I picked up several clumps of the blue hair, untangled it and began braiding. I had no purpose in mind for it. It was just something to do with my hands while my brain worked on a thought that resisted bubbling to the surface. Finally, I realized what had been bothering me ― Fallow Blackmoon.
When my visions took me to that strange colorless world, no one was able to tell that I had left Thistledown. However, Fallow Balckmoon was obviously present in her physical form. That had troubled me. Abruptly I remembered that when I went to the place where I met Rotten Soulfire, Satellite Frostbite, and Desert Firesong, I had physical presence there. Or at least it had seemed that way. Rotten had touched the joint where my wings depended from my back. I remembered her amazed reaction that my wings were real.
“I’m Fallow Blackmoon. It’s good to meet another seer,” the snakeskin clad faery had said before she vanished.
It must have worked that way for her as well. I shook her hand. She was actually there. Yet she must have also been, probably in some unconscious state, in her own world. Half an attempt to work out how that could be possible quickly gave me a headache.
Headache or not, my brain wasn’t ready to let go of the ideas. I played with the long blue braid as I thought. Then I remembered something else that was said during that strange moment. Field Yewwasp said something I barely heard. I was so distracted by Fallow Blackmoon’s sudden disappearance that I had forgotten how odd Field’s words were.
“She looks familiar,” he murmured so quietly that I barely heard. “Could it be?”
It seemed like many of the residents of Thistledown had a counterpart in the colorless world. Did the big furry faery know the double of the seer from that other place?
I rubbed my temples, trying to make the headache go away and the memories flow. Did she look like anyone I knew? It was hard to remember her face. There had been so many distractions, the flames, her strange clothes, and the loudly roaring machine she rode. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember ever seeing anyone like Fallow.
Field’s words rang in my mind, “Could it be?”
As you saw, this we were revisited by a number of mystery folk from previous episodes. They would appreciate it if you click over and say hello.
Please also visit the new ones. The new mystery folk revealed in this episode were:
I like to have a couple of chapters written in advance. However, I’m no longer ahead on writing these episodes. So, I have no clues to offer about the next installment. Have a wonder-filled weekend.
Hugs on the wing!
Sunday update… I love your comments! But I might be slow to answer today. Somehow I’ve managed to get a stomach virus that has me on a very short leash to the bathroom…
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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