Saturday, April 21, 2018
Welcome back to the faery land of Thistledown… but first the real world.
The Real World
If I were writing a novel, there are many things I would circle back to in this tale, loose ends to tie up, hints to conclude, Faery Namers to mention again. I’ve often thought this was a story I should never have begun. At an extremely challenging time in my life Thistledown does not take me to a world where I would escape. Rather, it ties me to the darkness of the current time and place. It seems like an odd thing to say about a tale of faeries, doesn’t it?
That said, it may not be done in the best “literary” way, or the best “technical” way, but I’m bringing this story to a close. I’m truly grateful to everyone who has followed this story. The joy I take in your comments has kept me writing about Bedlam and her friends. I give you my heartfelt thanks. And I shed more than a few tears as I write this final episode.
On to Thistledown
This episode is longer than some — I hope you don’t mind. I don’t want to divide this closing chapter of Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam.
I never thought little Bob the hummingbird would become so popular. Much like Lilith the cat in the Atonement stories, he was a device to tell about things Bedlam could not witness. Since you have embraced the little guy, Bob will finish the story for us.
Midsummer Bedlam 32
Three Phantom Elements
The present situation couldn’t be allowed to continue. Any hummingbird knew the past was no place to live. Yet Bob couldn’t do what must be done with the resources of the present colorless world either. He didn’t think it could be done even with all the magic of Thistledown.
An idea started to take shape. Not the past, nor the present – but from somewhere else!
Iridescent orange feathers soaked up the scant light in the cave of the abyss. Bob’s plumage glittered in the dimness. He steeled himself to the task he knew he must take, the risk he had to take. Bob the hummingbird touched the dark magic of the cave.
His bright orange feathers became the color of midnight on a starry night.
He could feel the negativity of the enchantment course through his tiny body. He hated to involve anyone else in the dire business, but there was no other way. Bob loosed out a shrill, painful call.
A great wave of humming birds, like a huge cloud of brown flew toward the cave ― the hummingbirds of the colorless world. The entire flock could provide only a small amount of magic, but Bob needed every bit he could get. With a sigh of regret for using them, he welcomed the tiny dully colored birds.
For a time, they waited, hovering at the opening of the cave. As a few more hummers arrived, Bob drew a bit of the magic he had gathered. He cried out a second time, a deeper call from his gut. Bob the hummingbird summoned the hornless unicorns of the colorless world.
He waited. The steeds of the colorless world had no more magic than the hummingbirds, despite their size. A single steed trotted up to the mountainside below the opening of the cave where Bob perched. A collective chirp of sadness came from the flock of birds.
Then the ground began to vibrate. Scores of hornless unicorns galloped into the clearing, whinnying and rearing their willingness to share the scant magic they held.
The spell Bob meant to work required three elements. Now he had one ― the present. The hummingbirds and hornless unicorns of the colorless world were gathered.
Together they circled around to the ground-level opening of the cave of the abyss. Bob worried that he would not be able to contain the blending of the dark magic with his hummingbird magic for long enough to complete his spell. It seemed to burn throughout his body. Then he spotted Bedlam Thunder standing at the opening of the cave.
In a spiraling flight of delight Bob zipped down and circled the faery girl’s head. At first Bedlam didn’t recognize him in his midnight colored feathers. Bob chirped and tried to let her know it was him. Then he remembered how he had told her his name when he first attached himself to her quest.
He hovered just out of her reach, moving slightly up and down — bobbing as he did that first time. His long tail feathers shot a static-like shock to her fingertips to remind her of the periwinkle muskox hair. She gasped and drew back wearing a confused expression. Abruptly, understanding spread across her face.
“Bob? Can that be you? You aren’t orange anymore! But your midnight-blue feathers are just as beautiful,” Bedlam told him and stretched out her hands inviting him to alight.
However, he flew back to the sky, making a large circle around the hummingbirds of that world.
A loud clamor came from inside the cave. Bedlam’s new friends grunted and yelled. She ran inside the cave to help them. Bob knew by the sounds what was happening. The great copper battleaxe had awakened. The mirror image of one in Thistledown it had power of its own. However, where the copper ax in Thistledown would cleave something in order to create something new, the ax in the colorless world would sever and cauterize, creating a final separation.
The copper battleaxe had broken free of those who tried to stop its rise into the hollow heights of the cave. Bob heard the beats from the drum circle as they used the cave to enhance the little magic they manifested with their drums. He worried that the second element of his spell would not arrive in time.
Suddenly, a cloud of bats fled the cave. Leather wings rustled as hundreds of bats flew out. Dodging barren trees, they disappeared into the distance.
The sound of the drums continued. Rhythmic beats grew stronger, louder. The dark magic of the cave blended with the drumming, amplifying. The handful of drums began to sound like dozens as they banged out a complex beat.
Gradually Bob felt a harmonic vibration from the drums. It became a sound of multi-part harmony. A brilliant, many colored flock of hummingbirds soared out of the cave.
Briefly, the drumming faltered, worrying Bob. He knew it had to continue to stabilize the dark magic. He heard Bedlam’s voice calling for the drummers to continue. He relaxed minutely. Bedlam knew what needed to be done.
Bob trilled his joy as all the hummingbirds of Thistledown zipped and twirled around him and their brethren from the colorless world. The hornless unicorns reared up as the brightly colored birds touched them, combining their magic.
Bob flew to the opening of the cave. He hovered, waiting.
Finally, several tiny avians carried a page from a book out of the cave. Bob trilled a congratulatory chirp to them. They brought the page containing the spell, A Perversion of Phantoms.
The spell was ancient, but hummingbird magic was older still. The faeries of Thistledown had forgotten that the ancient tome, the Etheraris Spiregris, in fact was filled with enchantments based on the magic of hummingbirds.
Bob rested upon the page as the group of birds carried it high into the dreary sky with the other birds. The text written on the page became luminous. Bob soaked the spell into himself. His new midnight-blue feathers glowed despite their dark color.
The hornless unicorns galloped in a circle below the hummingbirds. They ran faster and faster, their magic growing as they ran.
The page containing A Perversion of Phantoms burst into brightly colored sparks. The shimmering sparks exploded upward amid all the hummingbirds, and downward as well, to the running steeds. As the sparks touched the steeds, their fur became shining white.
Bob now had the second of the three elements he required. The past.
The hornless unicorns whinnied as they felt their added strength.
The two groups of hummingbirds flew as one. They circled rapidly in the air above the running steeds. The circle spun faster until it looked like a cyclone of color. It drew all the sparks that had once been the page from the Etheraris Spiregris into the vortex.
Shouting came from within the cave. The great copper battleax had broken free. The drumming stopped. Bedlam yelled for them to keep drumming.
If the ax levitated high enough it would gather dark magic as it ascended. It would forever sever the link between the colorless world and Thistledown.
Bob’s strength began to lag. He knew he had to channel the darkest of the magic he had absorbed from the cave. Somehow, he had to blend it with his own, even if it burned him alive.
Bob focused on the spell. It was engraved on the race memory of every hummingbird in Thistledown. It was a core component of their distant past. Now the Thistledown hummers had brought it into the present. The enchantment could easily be perverted in this colorless world, just as its name implied.
As the vortex expanded, exoplasmic figures began to move on the ground below. They screamed in pain as they remembered their ending. Substance had been given to the shadows that had long before been burned into the rubble in Bedlam’s terrible vision. Bob knew that the vision had been a reality in the past of the colorless world. He didn’t flinch as the phantoms rose up to surround the cyclonic mass of hummingbirds.
Bob chirped out the words of the spell. The other hummingbirds added their voices. The galloping steeds learned the spell and supplemented the calls of the birds with their neighs and whinnies.
The milky sun of the colorless world bloomed in brilliance. Light seemed to bleed across the hazy sky. Against the expanding sun was an enormous flock of hummingbirds of shimmering white.
Now Bob had third element of the spell ― the future.
The pristine birds flew amid the phantoms. As the hummingbirds touched the phantoms, the ectoplasm transformed to light. Healed, the lights soared into the cave of the abyss.
Bedlam Thunder and the others of the drum circle quickly left the cave.
“Are you sure you want to stay here?” Bedlam asked Fallow Blackmoon.
“This is where I belong, Bedlam. I have a purpose here that I never had in Thistledown. I hope you can understand,” Fallow told her with a gentle smile.
A copper glow briefly emanated from the mouth of the cave. Bob heard the sound of the great battleax as it clattered to the ground.
The mountain trembled. Part of the cave collapsed. Dust poured from the opening.
“The abyss has closed,” Bedlam stated. “But I can still feel the link to Thistledown.”
“But now you can’t get home!” Rotten Soulfire said as a horrified expression came to her face.
Bob dove down from the impossibly fast flight of the hummingbirds. He rested on Bedlam’s back where her injured wing was tucked away. Then he moved up to her shoulder and pulled at the sleeve of her yellow dress.
Bedlam unfurled her wings. She smiled when she saw her wound was healed.
“Can you simply fly home?” Rotten asked in a doubtful voice.
More hummingbirds descended from the vortex, brown, white, and brightly colored. They chirped excitedly.
“No, I can’t fly there on my own,” Bedlam began. “But I will have help. I believe I could take you with me, Rotten. I think you would love your double there, my friend River Mindshadow.”
Bob could tell that indecision wared within the girl. After a moment she shook her head.
“I’m not as brave as you, Bedlam. But maybe another time,” Rotten told her.
Bedlam Thunder Bob the hummingbird fluttered skyward together. The other hummingbirds from Thistledown gathered around them. Hummingbird magic surged. It spread across the sky like a multicolored sunset as they disappeared, headed home.
The vortex supported by the shimmering white hummingbirds, and the dull colored ones of that world surged and then flew apart. The white hummers blinked out of sight. The others chirped happily and flew down to the hornless unicorns as they slowed to a stop.
The sky transformed to turquoise blue. The sun shone in brilliance in the colorless world.
The members of the drum circle murmured in amazement. Fallow Blackmoon squinted, but she smiled as she gazed at beautiful blue sky and a bright sun unlike any the colorless world had known in its long memory.
Faery Artists and Namers
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who allowed faeries to be named in their honor — and particularly to those who gave me permission to use their art and photos. Here’s a shout-out and a huge “thank you!” to everyone, from me and Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam. In no particular order:
Thanks again for being a part of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.
Hugs on the wing!
For an entirely different variety of “fae” read Atonement, Tennessee. I’m currently editing book-2 and hope to publish soon.
Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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