Welcome back to the faery world of Thistledown! It’s a magical place, most often sunny and whimsical, but a darker side rises to the surface from time to time.
Special Note: Maybe you’ve seen similar statements so much that it’s expected, familiar, even annoying. But here at Teagan’s Books, I continue to send good thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
In every episode I try to reveal at least one new person of the “Mystery Folk” — the 36 readers who provided character names when I began this serial. If it’s taking a while for me to get to you… well, I’m doing my best.
I began this serial with an adult (or perhaps elderly) Bedlam Thunder being caught up in a vision of the past — the time when she had her first truly terrifying vision. In that scene older Bedlam is afraid her current world will experience the dangers of that old vision.
As a writer, I prefer to use flashbacks very sparingly. However, I felt it was time to remind everyone of that aspect of the story — that the tale older Bedlam relates as the narrator of these episodes also involves much later events. So Episode-8 includes a brief flashback.
About This Episode
Another thing I like to do each week, is try to give you something new regarding faery magic or fantastical creatures. That whimsy often comes to me when I look at those character names, which were left by the readers during my initial call to “come out and play.”
That said, Bedlam Thunder is a seer, even if she hasn’t fully come into her gift. Her visions have a physical effect on her. Somehow thinking about that made me wonder… What would it be like to have an examination by a faery doctor? Read on and you’ll see.
Midsummer Bedlam 8
Shadows of Body and Mind
“Mind if I come along?” Poison Ivy Razorleaf unexpectedly said from behind me.
I was so shocked when the huge scrying stone shattered that I forgot he was there. A general sense of befuddlement settled on me, from all the strangeness, and the spiritual recoil of the exploding gem.
In the distance I saw Carver Eastdoor holding the huge copper battleax. Poppy Songbird, with the leashed powderpuff sheep was next to him. They were surrounded by piles of colorful candies that had exploded harmlessly from the whimsical, magical door that Carver hit with the fae battle ax.
Had Carver’s door somehow connected to the vast gem in Razorleaf’s scrying chamber? I supposed it must have.
Trying to reorient myself, I mentally retraced my steps. I had gone through one of three glowing doors when I parted company with Royal Chimera. Beyond that door I met Poison Ivy Razorleaf and the massive yellowish gray obsidian scrying stone. It showed me what Carver and Poppy had been doing.
Though I wasn’t sure if they were connected, and had no idea how it could have worked, when Carver destroyed the door he had created, the scrying stone where I was watching them — shattered.
There was a blast of refracting, shimmering light when the massive gem burst apart. Sharp as knives, shards and shimmering bits of the obsidian rained down on Razorleaf and me. He quickly opened a heavy leather umbrella to protect us. Even so, both of us had several cuts from the glassy shards. Fortunately our wounds were minor.
I was able to walk back into my own world.
It looked like Poppy and Carver were occupied with the still falling candy. They hadn’t noticed me in the distance. Another man, apparently having heard the commotion came from Carver’s house. He looked first at them, then he seemed to see Razorleaf and me where we stood on the hillside. He stopped in his tracks.
“Who is that handsome devil?” Razorleaf asked in a flippant yet puzzled voice. “Is that—”
“It’s hard to tell from here. Plus I haven’t seen him since we were small children, but I think that’s Ivy Twinkle. He and Carver were always good friends, and kept in touch even when Ivy’s family moved to the other side of Thistledown. He must be visiting for the solstice,” I told Razorleaf. “Um… he looks like you, doesn’t he?”
“Bedlam,” Razorleaf began. “I was eager to visit your world, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be dangerous.”
“Thistledown is a peaceful, safe place,” I assured him. “You wouldn’t be in danger here.”
“I don’t mean that kind of danger. I’ve never researched it myself, but some people speculate that if doubles met one another it could be catastrophic,” Razorleaf replied. “I have a strong hinky feeling. It’s too big of a risk to take. Besides, if I start quickly, I might be able to heal the scrying stone. There is no other as powerful. I really should try.”
With that, Poison Ivy Razorleaf doffed his bowler hat and bowed grandly. The sharp edges of the long leaves whooshed against the air as he waved the hat. With a worried face, he took a final speculative look at Ivy Twinkle. Then hurried back to the strange rock chamber.
I turned to watch him leave. The obsidian shards started to rise up in the air, reforming. Within seconds I could see nothing but the hillside. It was as if the way through which we entered Thistledown had never existed.
Abruptly I was assailed by another vision. This one was far worse than any before.
The memory of that vision jolted me back to my present. Looking up, I saw the stars that would soon be in alignment for the solstice. Seeing my hand and its obvious age, I knew I had been carried away by the powerful revelation from my youth. I trailed my fingers in the calm water of the pool.
When I had that vision, I had not simply viewed that horror. I had empathically experienced the spewing emotions of hatred, self-importance, and fear. I felt vibrations that were caught inside my skull. I heard a loud whistle that came closer and louder. Though from far away, the singe of intense heat reached me.
Then I saw the shadows. Impossible numbers 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 sat beside the scrying pool and wept at the memory of that vision. I had always felt that those devastating events had really taken place, somewhere. Perhaps it had been in some other world. Maybe that was why no one seemed able to relate to it.
So many decades had passed since I had that horrific vision. It wasn’t something I could ever forget. Why was it brought to me again so strongly?
Perhaps my words would be heeded now, I thought.
However, I had never known the respect as a seer that my grand-uncle was given. I was young no longer. I didn’t feel physically able to take up a cause. Yet I couldn’t escape the feeling that those things had truly happened somewhere — and that they could happen again. Worse, I worried that it could come to my own world, Thistledown. I was powerless to stop it.
My tears fell into the pool, making ripples. I was again pulled into the memories of those long ago days.
Was it like this for Uncle? I wondered. How could a novice seer be expected to cope? Not in any of the times he had given me guidance about being a seer, had he mentioned anything like the physical reactions I experienced.
Finally the phantasms released me. I felt disoriented, queasy, and my head ached from the base of my skull. A migraine was forming. I squinted at the light of day. Vaguely I noted that River Mindshadow and Lavender Cozy were there, but I couldn’t understand why.
“Shadows,” I murmured, trembling. “Burned into the walls. So many shadows.”
I sprang from a bed and darted to an open window. I hung my head outside and vomited.
Weak, shaking, and sweating profusely, I finally became aware of my surroundings. River took my arm and pointed me back to the bed. I needed no encouragement to plop back down on the mattress.
The healer, Lavender Cozy, had a large firefly in her hand. She whispered to the insect and its tail glowed brightly. Taking my chin in her hand she shined the light in my eyes and looked at them closely. She did the same at my ears. Then Lavender took a large seashell. She placed the wider end of the shell on my chest and put the narrow end to her own ear and listened.
Lavender went to the window and whistled. It was a quick series of undulating notes. A strange looking butterfly fluttered into the room. It alighted on her outstretched hand. I saw that it carried a drop of nectar on its tongue.
The healer transferred the butterfly to my neck. I felt the sticky droplet of nectar. In a moment a tingling sensation spread throughout my body. I looked at Lavender Cozy curiously.
“It will be restorative to your system,” she answered my unspoken question.
I commented about the tingling. River looked from me to the butterfly and exclaimed that it had only been a tiny drop of nectar.
“It’s from a very powerful plant, a relative of the agave from far away. A drop is sufficient. Too much and it’s toxic. Too often and it’s addictive,” Lavender explained as the butterfly hovered near her head.
The healer made another odd whistle and the butterfly fluttered out the window. We watched as it moved gracefully into the sky.
“Hey Lavender!” a voice called from outside. “Are you home?”
Crescent waved when she saw the three of us looking from the window. Lavender smiled and murmured something about serendipity.
“I wondered if you had any more of that hairball paste,” Crescent said in a hopeful tone.
“Has Bean been over grooming again?” Lavender asked. “Come on in and I’ll whip some up in a jiffy. I see you have your moonstone with you,” the healer commented. “Do you mind bringing it up here?”
Crescent was quickly in the room. Concerned pleasantries were exchanged. She removed the big moonstone from a cord around her neck. She handed the gem to the healer.
“Was Bedlam injured?” Crescent wanted to know.
“Not physically. Although her aura indicates otherwise,” Lavender commented as she looked at me through the luminous moonstone.
“That vision!” River stated. “It’s hurt her, hasn’t it? It was so powerful and so awful that it physically harmed her. I’ve said from the beginning that Bedlam is having more than a simple vision.”
Lavender nodded and answered in a matter-of-fact voice. She managed to include everyone with a glance.
“Bedlam, you are easily as powerful a seer as your grand-uncle. However, your talent is much greater than your control over it. Anyone who underestimates your ability should think again,” Lavender Cozy said as she continued to look at me through the moonstone.
Then to my surprise, and apparently everyone else’s as well, she turned the moonstone to River.
“River Mindshadow, you are progressing true to your name. I’ve waited to see if this talent would manifest in you,” Lavender said, and River looked uneasy — as if she already knew what would be said next and she she was resistant to the idea. “You can follow the shadows within the mind. You just haven’t figured out the knack of it yet. Not to worry. All things in their time,” Lavender added in such a way that no one questioned the curious statement.
“You’re in shock, Bedlam,” the healer told me gently. “And your aura needs the healing that can only come through rest. I’d better not see you leave this bed until I say so,” she added quite firmly.
In this episode we had the pleasure of seeing several old friends again. One new person among the mystery folk was revealed: Annette Rochelle Aben. Be sure to visit Annette at her blog. I hope you’ll say hello to as many of the other mystery folk as you can. Until next time—
Hugs on the wing!
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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