Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 10

Friday, September 15, 2017

Marketing Graphic for Thisledown

Welcome back to the faery world of Thistledown!

Writing Process

The writing of this episode was frequently interrupted.  That can make it even harder for creativity to flow, to fly by the seat of my pantser pants.  Then I reminded myself that there were still faery characters waiting in the wings, marking time until their parts in the story are found by my flying pants.  Actually, that didn’t make it any easier.  However, I finally finished the chapter.

About This Episode

It’s been fun to imagine slightly off-kilter versions of the characters in this serial, what I called the “scary faeries,” from the colorless world of Bedlam Thunder’s visions.  You’ll meet another of those today.  Without further ado, let’s fly off to Thistledown.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 10

Tall Bonfire neonbrand-266212

Neon Brand, Unsplash

Fire and Furry

Beautiful birdsong made music throughout the branches of the primeval evergreen tree.  My grand-uncle’s house was nestled in the boughs of the great tree.  Trilling, lilting, happy chirps filled my attic bedroom.

I threw a shoe out the window in attempt to silence the blasted cheery sounds.

Uncle had been none too pleased when I went with Rhymer Rainbow all the way to the orchard to visit Peaches Dragonfly.  Not that the orchard was far, it’s more that I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere at all.  I wasn’t even supposed to leave my bed until the healer said it was okay.  No one cared that I had gotten a bluebird message from Peaches and feared something was wrong.  In return for me being a conscientious friend, Uncle forbade me to go to any of the pre-solstice gatherings.  Adding insult to injury, Uncle decided to have a bonfire right there at our home!

Of all the nerve!  My grand-uncle would host a party right under my nose and I wasn’t allowed to attend.

At the sound of another chirp I threw the other shoe, venting my anger at the injustice of it all.

“Hey – watch out!”

L0059071 Turn pin spectacles, steel wire, eye preservers, double fold

Whimsical blue spectacles were the first thing I saw when I turned in surprise toward the window.  Calico Ranibowforest hovered at the opening, her blue spectacles uncharacteristically askew.

My cheeks heated in embarrassment.  I invited Calico to come in at the door, and hurried to the corner of my room to open it.

“I came to get details about your uncle’s pre-solstice bonfire party so I could announce it in the Trumpet,” Calico began.  “But I wanted to see how you were doing first.  Based on the shoes you threw out the window, it looks like there’s still plenty of lift in your wings, as they used to say.”

I blushed redder at the reference to my temper, but Calico waived away my apologies.  She uncurled a trumpet vine leaf to show me the draft of the announcement.  As she unrolled it, I thought of the voice that came from the vine, exclaiming “Extra!  Extra!” and then the perky chirp of “Take a leaflet.”

“Just don’t tell the grumpy old geezer that I got out of bed to let you in,” I said, making it something between a complaint and a plea.  “I’m not allowed to go anywhere or do anything.  And now he’s having a party right under my nose and I can’t even go to it!” I added on a wail.

Wire glasses blond flowers ryan-winterbotham-227426

Ryan-Winterbotham, Unsplash

Calico took my elbow and pulled me to the window.  She pointed to the clearing that was well away from the branches of the massive evergreen.

“I think maybe he’s doing it for your sake, Bedlam.  Although I doubt he’d admit it.  I realize your grand-uncle is set in his ways.  But the bonfire is going to be in that clearing — and your window has a perfect view.  I think it’s his way of letting you be at the party without having to go back on his word in grounding you.”

That idea shocked me.  It was hard to imagine Uncle doing anything for my sake.  Any solstice was a big event in Thistledown.  Celebrations could go on for weeks before and after the actual date.  However, Uncle rarely hosted anything.  I was undecided as to whether it would be better or worse if I could watch the party from my window.  Maybe my friends would at least fly up to say hello.  If they weren’t so busy having fun that they forgot about me. 

***

Muskoxen blue

Feeling utterly dejected, I watched the preparations for the pre-solstice bonfire.  Uncle oversaw the dead wood being brought in and arranged.

I spotted Blossom Stargazer gently guiding a team of muskoxen with a staff.  Blossom was Belle Stargazer’s younger sister.  While Belle had a gift for hospitality, Blossom’s talent was training any species of “working” animal.

It was amazing to see the group of huge and strong muskoxen.  They stood at shoulder height.  The animals had coats in various shades of blue.  Their silken hair cascaded almost to the ground.  Curved horns were on either side of a patch of short curly white hair at their foreheads.  I remembered being taught that their wool was highly prized for its softness, length, and insulation value.

As I watched, the muskoxen moved ponderously but steadily.  With whispered encouragement from Blossom, they pulled the heavy stones into place around the perimeter of the bonfire.  The stones would serve as seats for the visitors.

The well-dressed furry faery was unmistakable.  He stood head and shoulders above even the tallest fae in Thistledown.  I watched as Uncle and Field Yewwasp worked an enchantment around the dead wood that would become the bonfire.  The spell would keep the fire from spreading or otherwise doing any harm.

***

Fires Bi-Colored jacob-kiesow-349451

Jacob Kiesow, Unsplash

The bonfire was lit.  Uncle grudgingly permitted me to sit on the steps outside my attic bedroom high in the branches of the towering evergreen.  However, I was emphatically not allowed to go down to the party.  He wouldn’t let me descend even a single level down the stairs. 

The fire crackled and sparked.  I wondered if the ancient tree that held our home felt anxious about the popping flames.  However, just as I had watched Uncle and Field Yewwasp work the protective spell around the dead wood, doubtless the tree was looking on as well.

I sat quietly on my step, watching while everyone else enjoy conversations and communion as they congregated around the big bonfire.  Belle Stargazer circulated amid the crowd with refreshments and snacks she brought.  The little Opal siblings fluttered up to my perch carrying a tray for me.  I tried to smile as I thanked them.  At that moment, I didn’t realize that they would be the only people with whom I had a chance to interact.  As the evening went on, I got the impression that just as I was not allowed to go down to the gathering, no one was permitted to come up to me.

Abruptly the branches of the primeval tree trembled.  My eyes searched the crowd below, to see if anyone else appeared to have felt anything.  However, the gathering carried on as before.  I shivered and the pit of my stomach went cold.  The hairs on my arms rose as my skin prickled.

The bonfire did not diminish, but the redness of the flames dulled and then brightened several times.  No one else seemed to notice.  I felt a vibration that seemed to come from the core of the massive evergreen.

A round hole parted the center of the bonfire.  A loud roaring thing burst from the opening.  It looked like a doubled version of Uncle’s unicycle with a seat connecting the two wheels.  The rumbling sound came from the machine.  A woman sat astride the fierce seeming thing as it was propelled from the bonfire.  It sailed over the people standing at that end of the fire, and then skidded in a circle.

Stunt_Pyrotechnics_Luc_Viatour

As the thing paused, the rider looked up at me.  A bright pink streak was in her hair.  She wore a closely fitted jacket and trousers that had a gray snake skin pattern.  She gave a feral grin when she made eye contact with me.  The machine she rode bounded up the stairs toward me.

I never noticed him move or even saw from whence he came, but just as the two-wheeled thing roared up to me, I caught a glimpse of a well-made green jacket, a top hat with a poppy in the band, and rose-colored spectacles.  That glance showed me the huge furry form of Field Yewwasp was at my back.  His russet-colored wings had not yet settled.

The rider didn’t seem intimidated by the big furry faery.  She looked at me as if she evaluated and calculated everything about me.  I felt Field move a protective step closer.  His huge hand rested lightly on my shoulder.  I knew he was ready to zip me away with his extraordinary speed.

“You are even more powerful than Rotten said,” she commented with a smirk, and then thrust out her hand in greeting.  “I’m Fallow Blackmoon.  It’s good to meet another seer.”

I felt Field Yewwasp shift his stance behind me.  The slight movement made me think he was startled or uneasy.

“She looks familiar,” he murmured so quietly that I barely heard.  “Could it be?

Fallow Blackmoon’s half smile and manner reminded me of the others I had met in that colorless world.  I was sure that was where she was from.  I took Fallow’s outstretched hand, but I was too shocked to speak.

While I had visited that strange place in my visions, no one was able to tell that I had left Thistledown.  However, this woman was obviously present in her physical form.  Field clearly saw her.  Was he the only one besides me who could see her?  I tried to look down at the partygoers but my gaze didn’t make it that far.  My eyes were drawn immediately back to the strange fae.

With a grin and a nod, Fallow Blackmoon abruptly disappeared.

***

The End

I hope you checked out the mystery folks who were revealed in this episode.  Be sure to click over and say hello to them.

  • Fallow Blackmoon the “scary faery” name for the character from Andrea Stephenson — Thistledown faery name Luna Moonglow.
  • Blossom Stargazer, the character name from Eloise De Sousa.

As some of you have seen, beginning Wednesday just past (for a while anyway) I’m going to do Jazz Age Wednesday posts in celebration of  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I and The Three Things Serial Story.  Those of you who like short stories or the Roaring Twenties are welcome to drop in. Those midweek posts will be vignettes from the “Pip-verse” as I call it. Of course this serial will be back again next Friday. 

Thanks so much for visiting Thistledown today.  See you next week. 

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

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

 

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Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 9

Thistledown Girl

Friday, September 8, 2017

About This Episode

We’re privileged to have another recipe for this episode.  When “agave” fluttered into my imagination I asked Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen if she had a drink recipe using it. (Right now, I have no idea how agave managed to get into my twisting mind. However, I had just finished Episode 8, and was already working on this one, when there it was — agave.)  

The creative wheels in Suzanne’s mind whirred into action!  She imagined things Peaches Dragonfly might gather to make a refreshing beverage, then she sweetened it with agave nectar.  Suzanne let me use the recipe and her beautiful photos for this post. Here’s the recipe.    

Sun n Moon Tea in jars Suzanne DeBrango

Sun and Moon Tea, by Suzanne DeBrango

Recipe:  Sun and Moon Tea

https://apuginthekitchen.com/2017/08/21/murder-at-the-bijou-teagans-book-launch/

1 tbs chamomile flowers

1 tbs rose hips

1 tbs red clover flowers

2 sprigs fresh mint

Place all of the ingredients in a 64 oz. glass jar, or two 32 oz. jars.  Pour in fresh filtered or spring water to fill.  Place lid on jar, and set outside in the morning.  Leave the jar(s) all day and night soaking up the rays of the sun and moon. Add agave syrup to desired sweetness, starting with 1/4 cup.  Stir until combined. Strain into a serving container or bottle and chill.

Thanks for the refreshments, Suzanne!  And now today’s episode…

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 9

Sun n Moon Tea w Agave Served apples

Sun and Moon Tea Table, by Suzanne DeBrango

Gone to the Dogs

Bright yellow flowers of the trumpet vine swayed in a warm breeze.  The vine ran throughout Thistledown.  It bore the local news.  River Mindshadow touched a petal awakening the vine.

Extra!  Extra!  Get the Thistledown Trumpet here!” the flower cried.  “Dull haze reported in random parts of Thistledown!  Take a leaflet,” the blossom added shifting to an encouraging voice.

“It says the haze leaves quickly, and that there’s no cause for concern,” River said as she uncurled the leaf to read the news.  “Considering your visions of a dull, colorless place, I find that haze worrisome,” she added with a shudder.

Monticristi_Straw_Hat_Optimo

“Well bless my eyes, Bedlam and River,” Pick Dragonfly said tipping his wide brimmed hat as he walked up.  “Bedlam, it’s nice to see you up and about.  “You know,” he began as if telling a secret.  “Your grand-uncle has been worried about you, even if he doesn’t let on.”

I smiled at the comment, but I doubted it was actually true.  River and I exchanged a glance.  My friend spared me by changing the subject before that conversation could get started.  She motioned to the unusual hat Pick wore.  It was white and made of fine, tightly woven straw, with a brim that was about a finger-length wide.  Pick traveled more and farther than anyone in Thistledown, so I assumed he got the hat in some exotic locale.

River darted up with just a thrust of her wings and grabbed the hat off Pick’s head.  She placed it on her own head and asked how she looked.  River shrugged at our surprised expressions and put the hat back on Pick’s head before settling back to the ground.

“These are popular way down in the southern lands where the sun is hot,” Pick explained, adjusting the hat.  “It’s not the only thing I brought back with me,” he added with a motion to the cart in front of him.

The little cart was hitched to two large dogs.  They wagged stubby tails when River and I walked over to them.  The short tails moved even faster when we paid attention to the dogs.

It was not unexpected to see dogs pulling small carts in Thistledown.  Most creatures enjoyed having a job to do, especially if they were rewarded for it.  I saw Pick hand the dogs treats.  However, what was unusual was the dogs themselves.  Most canines weren’t larger than knee-high.  These dogs were much taller and I had never seen such stubby tails.

“Yes, I got the dogs on my way back.  They needed a home.  I also brought back these agave plants,” he told us motioning to the spikey looking blue plants.

Agave_plant.jpg

I remembered the healer mentioning the tiny drop of nectar she gave me was from a plant related to agave, and described it to Pick.  He nodded.

“Agave is mostly used in making grownup drinks.  You two aren’t old enough for those yet,” he said to our protests.  “The potent kind of drink uses the heart of the plant.  But the nectar from agave is very, very sweet.  So I brought some to Peaches, and now I’m taking some nectar and plants to Belle Stargazer for the Starlight Saloon.  With Belle’s talent in hospitality, I know she’ll put them to good use.”

“Are you ladies ready to go?”  Pick spoke to the two dogs in an encouraging tone.

River and I chuckled when he called the dogs ladies.  But their stubby little tails wagged faster and faster until they seemed to spin in a circle.  Their bottoms lifted into the air.  The back feet of the dogs were barely on the ground.  The dogs shot ahead, pulling the little cart along.

“Hey!  Wait a minute!” Pick called after the dogs.  “You’ll bounce the plants off the cart.”

Pick unfurled his wings, but shook his head.  Apparently he had a leisurely walk in mind, not flying as fast as his wings could carry him.

“I’ll get them,” River said and zipped ahead, quickly catching the excited dogs.

Pick followed, only a heartbeat shower.

I was still grounded from my injured wing.  Even if it had been fully healed, Lavender Cozy had laid out firm instructions for me to rest after the shock of my most recent vision.  I saw Pick look back in my direction.  A moment later, River flew back with a bottle for each of us of the sweet agave nectar.

“He still wouldn’t give us any of the grownup stuff,” River complained as she touched down.

***

Sprig Yellow ben-moore-8884

Unsplash.com

My grand-uncle’s home was nestled in the branches of an impossibly broad and towering redwood tree.  My bedroom was in the attic, the loftiest room of all.  The healer and Uncle insisted that I get a lot of rest.  Let’s be honest ― they’d rather I was confined to my bed and completely unable to get myself into another mishap.

Ironically, I had never been fond of heights.  With my injured wing, I couldn’t glide down from my room, and the view from the top of the stairs was dizzying.  So, I was disinclined to leave.  Fate had conspired to force me to rest.

Fate must be a fiend, I thought.  I was wretchedly bored.  My only “entertainment” was the school books Uncle brought up, so that I’d have a chance of not having to repeat the last term.  You see, just before the end of the term, River and I had been suspended because of the uproar surrounding my vision.

Trying to read one of the books, I nodded off.  A light tapping awakened me.

Psst, Bedlam are you awake?” a quiet voice asked.  “Interrupting your rest isn’t a mistake I’d want to make.”

I could only see one eye and a fragment of the face that peeped at me from the side of my window.  However, the extraordinary long mane that lifted on the breeze was easily recognizable.  It graduated from blond, to blue, to green, to purple.  Only Rhymer Rainbow had such a head of hair.

“Rhymer?  There’s no need to hover outside.  Come on in.  I’d love to have company.”

“I know you’re supposed to rest, so I didn’t want to be a pest,” Rhymer began.  “But I came upon a lost bluebird.  Peaches uses them for messages, or so I’ve heard.  Then on its beak I smelled something odd, and I thought maybe it’s lost because it’s drunk.  So, I brought it up to your bunk.”

“Did it carry a peach blossom?” I asked and Rhymer nodded emphatically.

I took a close look at the bluebird as it clung woozily to Rhymer’s hair.  It did look like one of Peaches’ birds.

“That’s strange and worrisome.  I should go to the orchard.  Do you want to come along?” I asked.  “I’ll have to take the stairs, but I’ll be down in a moment.”

“Don’t worry,” Rhymer assured me.  “I’m in no hurry.”

Peaches Pond nitish-kadam-43351

Unsplash.com

The cottage belonging to Peaches Dragonfly was in the middle of a beautiful orchard of fruit trees and other delicious things.  No matter what the time of year, smoke curled from the twin chimneys of the cottage, because Peaches was nearly always baking something.

When Rhymer and I reached the cottage, we looked from the vine-covered roof, dotted with colorful berries, to the chimneys.  Peaches was still cooking treats in preparation for her Midsummer party.  She started baking well in advance of the holiday, but considering how much she planned to cook, she had to start early.  Our mouths watered as we breathed in the aromas.

I heard Peaches giggle.  Her head of fluffy pink hair bobbed into and out of view from the other side of the low stone wall that surrounded the cottage.  She was outside, apparently playing with something that she had to bend down to reach.  I heard a yip and knew it was the strange gray colored dog she found at the pond.  She had called him Pucker because a suckerfish was attached to his face when we found him.

The little dog was gray from his twisty tail to his squished black face.  Even his tongue was gray.

Rhymer called out, “Peaches!  We brought your bluebird.  I think his eyes were blurred.  I found him before he reached Bedlam.  So, we both came, in case you were in a jam.”

“Hi Rhymer.  Bedlam, I’m sorry I sent for you.  I didn’t know you were supposed to stay in bed until Lavender Cozy told me a moment ago,” Peaches apologized.  “Come inside.  You can try my new recipe!  It’s for sun and moon tea Isn’t that perfect for my Midsummer party?  I’ve been gathering chamomile flowers, red clover, and mint.  I’ll sweeten it with Pick’s agave nectar.”

Peaches was always enthusiastic when she thought of a new food or drink creation.  The tea sounded refreshing and delicious.  A different thought occurred to me.

“Erm… Did Pick leave you some of the grownup kind of agave?” I asked.

“Yes, for the solstice party,” she answered.  “But we aren’t to have any of it.”

Mountain_Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird, Fort Rock, Oregon

“That’s not why I asked.  But I think your bluebird may have had a nip,” I commented and pointed to the little bird that still clung to Rhymer’s multicolored tresses.  “She’s too tipsy to fly right.”

“Oh!” Peaches exclaimed with wide eyes as she fluttered up so Rhymer could hand her the bird across the wall.  “You silly thing,” she told it.  “I was experimenting with making some ice pops with the potent kind.  I splashed some onto the windowsill.  I remember seeing her investigating it.  She must have drunk some!”

“Luckily Pick had left an agave plant here for the healer.  Lavender stopped on her morning rounds to pick it up, so I asked her to take a look at Pucker.”

Rhymer seemed confused when she started to speak, “Look at pucker?  Your mouth couldn’t… pucker?”

Remembering that I couldn’t use my wings, even for a bounce, Peaches invited us to come in at the gate.  Two brick columns were topped by arched white latticework.  Flowers of every color climbed the columns and wove across the arch.

As we walked, from her side of the wall, Peaches told Rhymer about the day we found the dog.  We came to the gate and I heard another yip.  When Rhymer and I set foot inside the blossom filled garden Pucker barreled into me, knocking me onto my bottom.  It was so sudden that all I saw was his squished black face and the pink tongue that licked my face.

“Hey!  His tongue is pink, not gray!”

“Yes, that started yesterday,” Peaches began.  “his tongue turned pink.  It was so different form the gray that it scared me.  Then his gray fur…  That’s why I wanted Lavender Cozy to look at him.”

“If he’s gray that’s all in your head.  That dog is red,” Rhymer tried to insert when pucker jumped over to her.

“He’s not gray!” I exclaimed finally seeing more than Pucker’s face.

The dog’s curly tail wagged as he bounced around at Rhymer’s feet.  As his tail moved, Pucker’s fur changed from red to a sky color.

Pug Yello

“A dog that changes hue!” Rhymer enthused.  “How wonderful ― now he’s blue.”

Indeed, Pucker was suddenly blue, and then yellow, and then green.  Though his face stayed black, the rest of his fur continued to change color as his tail kept wiggling.

“That is what I was so worried about, when I sent the bluebird to you,” Peaches replied.  “But the healer said he was fine.  Lavender said it might be from a change in his environment.”

Peaches and I exchanged a significant look.  I was sure she was remembering the thicket that had developed at the pond, the shadows, the brown suckerfish, and the eerie feeling of the place.  It reminded both of us of the colorless world of my vision. 

Had the little, formerly gray dog come from that other world?

***

The End

New mystery folk revealed this time are Belle Stargazer — Marjorie Mallon and Rhymer Rainbow — Christy Birmingham.  I hope you’ll visit all their blogs and say hello.

Toasting you with a refreshing cup of tea.  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

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 8

Thistledown Girl

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. 

Writing Process

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.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 8

Christy's_Fur_Devon_Bowler wiki

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.

Black Umbrella thomas-charters-299913

Thomas Charters, Unsplash

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.

***

Hand Blue fishes toa-heftiba-270814

Toa Heftiba, Unsplash

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.

Black Gray Swirls david-werbrouck-247332

David Werbrouck

***

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.1925 Review Ad; butterfly kiss

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?”

I stretched to see out the window.  It was Crescent Glimmer, a distant relation of Catseye.  A sunbeam glinted on a large necklace she wore.

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.

Glitter face h-heyerlein-199092

Heyerlein, Unsplash

“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.

***

The End

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

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 7

Cathedral of Learning Dan Antion

Cathedral of Learning; Photo by Dan Antion

For a few episodes, I have thought this unplanned tale would take me to a feature of fellow blogger, Dan Antion.  His blog has a number of fun features throughout the week, notably Thursday Doors.  Now and then he also does posts about trains or trolleys. Many times I see a story in one of the pictures.  Dan graciously gave me permission to use some of the door and trolley photos from his posts. 

Writing Process

The pantser story kept causing me to mention the character Dan named, leading up to who knew what.  Now I’m finally featuring him.  It carries over to the following episode as well.  However, even then, I’m not sure if I’ve finished with the doors thing.  (Dan can tell you that “Doors” can come to have a strong effect on people.) If you think the uncertainty of where I’m going is enough to drive me nuts…  Let’s just say that it was a short trip.

Need to Catch-up? Last weekend I interrupted this serial to announce my latest novel, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  My heartfelt thanks again to everyone who so generously participated in the book launch!  ❤   Anyhow, I realize you might need to refresh your memory so here are some links.  

Episode 6  and Links to all past episodes.

About This Episode

This time Bedlam Thunder meets a new character from the other faery-verse.  She’s not quite sure what to make of him, but I have a hunch that he might have another part to play in this serial.  I’m just not sure precisely what, or when.  

When we left Bedlam last time, the counterpart of Catseye Glimmer — Royal Chimera, warned her to leave right away.  Then three glowing doors appeared.  When she entered one, I wasn’t so sure how well that was working out for her.  So let’s get on with Episode-7 right now.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 7

Märchendom Saalfelder Feengrotten

Märchendom_Saalfelder_Feengrotten

Doors and Doors

Black. 

Silence. 

It was neither hot nor cold, but in a state near panic I began to sweat.  Was it reality or a horrible dream of being blind and deaf?

“Leave this place before it’s too late!”

Royal Chimera’s warning was strongly in my mind.  How did he expect me to leave when I didn’t know how I had gotten there?  I didn’t know, except that I followed the sandhill cranes. 

Then three doors, glowing with blue light had appeared. 

Had I left that place at all?  The darkness in which I found myself seemed like it should be part of that bleak world. 

One thing seemed sure, I had somehow left Thistledown. 

I exhaled a trembling breath.  Tiny sounds of my clothes rustling told me I was not deaf.  Although my ears had the unpleasant, stopped-up sensation of being underwater.  I shook my head and stretched my jaw, trying to make the feeling go away.

My eyes became adjusted to the dark, and I found that things were more gray than black.  I spotted a dim light and cautiously moved toward it.

I reached the source of the un-dark.  That’s how I thought of it, since it wasn’t exactly light.  It reminded me of the reflection pool, but it stood upright.  I extended a hand and touched a cool gemstone surface.  On closer inspection I thought it must be obsidian.  Yet rather than any color I knew the gem to be, it was pale grayish yellow.  It gave off a diffused glow.

Black Gray Swirls david-werbrouck-247332

David Werbrouck, Unsplash

As I gazed at it, my eye muscles twitched, as if they tried to cross.  I blinked and an image formed.  It was of the tall stone wall where I last saw Poppy Songbird minding the powderpuff sheep.

Wind gusted, just as it had when I left to deliver that message for Poppy.  A twinge of guilt came to me.  I hadn’t delivered the message yet.

The view went upward, over the wall.  Poppy was there coaxing the sheep toward the enclosure.  One animal lagged behind.  Suddenly the wind touched it just right, and the sheep lifted into the air.  The gust took the sheep so quickly that I gasped.

Poppy darted into the sky after the sheep.  Soon she sat astride the accidentally wayward animal.  It bleated in a way that suggested relief, though they were still airborne.  By appearances, Poppy rode a flying sheep.  However, the powderpuffs had no control over their flight.  It was Poppy who controlled the flying. 

Her flower-shaped spectacles were askew, but Poppy held the sheep tightly as her wings fluttered furiously.  Eventually, Poppy and the extra fluffy sheep touched down, but they had traveled some distance.

Purple wings shimmered in the sunlight.  Lavender Cozy fluttered down beside Poppy and the sheep.  She looked worried.  Since Lavender was a gifted healer, her concerned expression made me fearful.

“Poppy, are you okay?” Lavender asked, already checking my friend’s eyes and heart rate.  “I saw that wild flight.  I got here as fast as I could.”

“Fit as a fiddle, Doc!  You must have really been zooming to get here so quick.  But then, you always were one of the fastest things on wings,” Poppy said with a grin.  “Although, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at this powderpuff.  They’re pretty unflappable, but I’d feel better to have your opinion.”

“He’s just fine,” the healer commented, after examining the sheep.  “I’m sorry to rush, but I was on the way to a patient.  So as long as you weren’t traumatized, I’d best leave,” Lavender told her with a wink.

Everyone knew Poppy was not easily rattled, so they both grinned and had a quick hug.  Then Lavender darted into the sky.

As I watched the scene via what was apparently a gigantic scrying stone, I saw Carver Eastdoor hurry toward Poppy.

“Wow, Poppy!  That was some show,” Carver greeted her.  “If they make sheep wrangling a sport you’ll be a champion.”

“Did Bedlam give you the message from my cousin Holly?” Poppy asked him, but her brows knitted in a worried expression as if she already knew the answer.

“Bedlam?  No, I haven’t seen her in ages.  Do you mean she was on her way to see me?  I can tell you are afraid something is wrong,” Carver said.  “There’s a shortcut Bedlam might have used, a deer trail that parallels the pond at the Dragonfly orchard.  I’ll go that way and make sure nothing has happened to her.”

In a jiffy Poppy tied a harness and leash around the powderpuff sheep.  The animal’s hooves frequently lifted from the ground.

“You need a trim so you won’t be so buoyant,” she told the sheep, who made a plaintive bleat in return.  “I’m coming with you!” she called as she hurried to catch up with Carver.

1 Butterfly wing

I whirled away from the scrying stone.  I hadn’t heard anything, but I had the strong sense that someone else was there.  Out of the shadows walked a man wearing a bowler hat.  At first I thought the hat was decorated by three feathers standing from the band.  As he came closer I realized they were not feathers but long, sharp-edged leaves.

Nervously I took a step backward.  I stopped when I saw his disarming smile, but I didn’t relax.  He swept off the bowler had and bowed with a flourish.

Poison Ivy Razorleaf,” he proclaimed himself.  “At your service m’lady.  I see you’ve already found and brought light to the scrying mirror.  You must have quite the talent, Bedlam Thunder.”

My mouth moved noiselessly.  I didn’t know what to say or whether it was safe to be with the strange fae.  The edges of the leaves in his hatband looked sharp enough to cut like a knife.  They glinted even in the dim light as he returned the hat to his head.

“How do you know my name?” I demanded.

Or rather I tried to demand.  It came out as a whisper.

“As the keeper of the mirror, I pick up a lot of information.  Selling it actually makes for a decent livelihood.  I’m not that much of a seer, so I have to supplement my income.  Oh, don’t look like that.  I don’t blackmail anyone or do anything too unscrupulous,” he told me with a twinkle in his eyes and a saucy grin.

The huge scrying stone dimmed for a moment before showing Poppy and Carver again.  They were at Carver’s home.  I watched as he and Poppy spoke briefly with his wife and little daughter.  Then they hurried around to the back where Carver had made a huge sheltered work area.

“That’s quite a setup,” Poison Ivy Razorleaf commented as he stood beside me watching.

I jumped a little.  I didn’t realize the fae had stepped that close to me.  However, his attention was fixed on the image in the obsidian.

“Ah!” Poison Ivy exclaimed in a knowing voice.  “I had wondered how I could get you home, but maybe I don’t need to.”

His comment surprised me.  What did he mean by that?  My eyes involuntarily sought a way out of the strange shadowy chamber.

“Most intriguing,” he murmured, still looking at the image of Carver and Poppy.

“I was making this for your cousin Holly and her band to make a grand entrance at the solstice party Peaches is giving,” I heard Carver say.  “But I think we better use it now.”

Carver disappeared from my view.  I saw Poppy waiting before an elaborately designed door.  The colors decorating the door stood out brightly in the dull chamber.  Surrounding the door was a cloud-like border made of every imaginable candy.  Although he was out of view, I heard Carver say the sweets would fly out into the party crowd in a harmless, happy explosion when Holly Songbird came through it.

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Dan Antion

Saks Fifth Avenue at Christmas, photo by Dan Antion

Then he and Poppy had an intense conversation.  I couldn’t make out their words, but Poppy looked really worried.  Beside me, Poison Ivy Razorleaf rocked back on his heels and grinned in what seemed like anticipation.

Finally Carver reappeared.  He held a huge copper ax.

“Where did you get that relic?” Poppy asked him.  “It looks like it was made for chopping more than wood,” she added with a cringe.

“It belonged to my great-great-great grandfather,” Carver answered.  “And you’re right.  It was a battleax.  He had a storied life.  Thankfully there has never been a battle in Thistledown.”

I couldn’t explain why, but Carver’s words made me shiver.  Razorleaf looked at me and chuckled.

Then Carver braced himself and swung the massive ax at the beautiful door he had created.

“It was nice to meet you, Bedlam Thunder,” Razorleaf said in a sardonic voice.

The enormous scrying stone went blank.  A sound like the entire world shattering filled my ears.

The End

*** 

Now, how could Carver Eastdoor think destroying that delicious door could help?  However, he knows his faery magic much better than anyone else.  Come back next time to learn what happened.  

New mystery folk revealed in this episode were Hugh Roberts, and Victo Dolore.  Please take a look at their wonderful blogs.  

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

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 6

Heron flying pond Tim Price

T & L Photos

Hello everyone — I’m delighted that you’ve come back to Thistledown for another episode of my serial.  I have another special guest today.  Some of you know him.  If not, then let me introduce Tim Price.  Tim takes marvelous photos, with a “focus” on things and people in the southwest.  There are great examples online at T & L Photography, Inc.  If you click on any of Tim’s photos here, it will take you to a related post at his blog.

What you might not realize is that Tim is also a fantastic storyteller.  You can see that at his blog, Off Center & Not Even, where he often combines an entertaining narrative with his photo post.  I recommend you check out the tab for “Tales from My Youth.”  If you’re an animal lover you’re really in for a treat with plenty of pictures of the kitties and parrots who own him and his wife Laurie.

About This Episode

Tim had several photos that reminded him of the colorless world I described for the other faery-verse.  He kindly agreed to let me use them.  He describes one as “The Undertaker and the Cranes” at his blog.  It’s a fun post. I hope you’ll take a look at it and others when you visit him.  Naturally it inspired me, but the image took me to my own story.  

However, we begin this episode with a more colorful scene.  It also introduces new mystery folk.  So click on the links to reveal the people who named these characters. 

We now return to Thistledown…

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 6

Boreray_rams

Boreray Rams

Powderpuff Sheep and Cranes

Update: I had to include this wonderful creation from Robbie Cheadle. I’m honored that she was inspired by this story.

Image may contain: 1 person

Poppy Songbird called my name.  I heard her loud and clear, but I didn’t see her.  She chuckled when I turned a full circle looking for her.

“I’m up here, Bedlam,” she called from high atop the stone wall.  “I have to mind the powderpuff sheep.  You’re free aren’t you?” she asked, pushing her flower-shaped spectacles back on her nose.

My face flushed.  Everybody in Thistledown must know that I was suspended from school.  Poppy seemed to realize where my thoughts had gone.

“Oh…  Sorry, Bedlam.  I didn’t mean anything.  It’s just that I have to deliver a message, but I got stuck minding the sheep.”

The extra fluffy sheep on the other side of the wall bleated.  I knew it was a big responsibility to tend them.  When the direction and velocity of a breeze was just right, powderpuff sheep could get airborne.  Unfortunately they had no ability to control their flight.  The wind might take them anywhere.  Looking after them required a strong weather sense, to pick up on minute atmospheric changes.  If a powderpuff got into the air, retrieving it took a very dexterous flyer who could anticipate changes in the air current.

“Don’t worry, Poppy.  I understand.”

“How’s the wing?  It looks like you’re still grounded, huh?”

“My wing is getting better.  It doesn’t hurt now, unless I unfold my wings in a breeze.  So, what’s going on?” I wanted to know.

“I met up with my cousin Holly last night while she was on her way to her next gig.  She asked me to take a message to Carver Eastdoor.  Holly is coordinating with him for her grand entrance for her Midsummer performance at the orchard,” Poppy explained.  “I promised I’d get her message to him first thing this morning, but I didn’t know I was going to have to tend the sheep.”

My friend Peaches was excited that Holly Songbird, and her band Dragon’s Nest, would perform at her solstice party.  So of course I agreed to deliver the message.  Poppy dropped a paper folded in the shape of a bird and it floated to my hands.

Poppy said that Carver was planning something spectacular of his own as an introduction to the musical performance.  I knew that Carver had the talent to shape trees as they grew.  I couldn’t imagine what marvel he might create for the Midsummer party.

DCF 1.0

Little-Fairy-Girl, Janny Sandholm

I headed toward the home of the Eastdoor family.  It would be fun to see their baby daughter.  The last time I saw her, she was toddling around, using her tiny wings for balance.

The problem was the Eastdoor home wasn’t exactly close, and with my injured wing, I still couldn’t fly.

A foreboding feeling, caused by the dull colored fish and the dank thicket Peaches and I saw the day before, was still partly on my mind.  However, it caused an inspired thought.  If I cut across the orchard near the pond, it should save me a good deal of time.

As I neared that area the sky began to darken.  It’s a good thing Poppy stayed with the powderpuff sheep, I thought, although bad weather was not expected.

Uncle hadn’t said anything about a storm being on the way.  My grand-uncle’s ability as a seer included the weather.  Gazing heavenward, I realized that there were no storm clouds.  It was more of a thick haze.  That happened, although rarely.  However, when that kind of haze came to the sky it was usually at the end of summer.  We had not yet reached Midsummer.

Assuring myself that there was no storm about to break, I moved into the heavier vegetation.  Quickly I found a deer trail.  I knew it would lead toward the pond, near where Peaches and I found the odd little dog she called Pucker.

The snapping of a twig caused me to stop and look into the brush.  After a moment I spotted a pair of tall sandhill cranes.  It seemed so odd that the cranes should be there that I decided to follow them.

There was even less light away from the trail.  I could tell the tall birds knew I followed them, but my presence didn’t seem to make them nervous.  After a while the ground became wet.  I walked in ankle deep marshy water.  The area reminded me of the thicket that had formed on the east bank of the pond.  However, the direction I walked should have taken me beside the pond, not into it.

The sandhill cranes walked up to a gray heron that poked its long beak into the shallows, looking for food.  It stretched a sinuous neck to look at me.  Something seemed to pass between the heron and the pair of cranes.  All three looked back at me, and then moved to dry ground.  They looked over their shoulders as if expecting me to go with them.  I followed the large birds to a patch of sunlight.

Heron n others Winter Tim Price

A tall, lanky man stepped out from behind a tree.  On thin stalk-like legs, the heron walked up to the man to have its head scratched.

To say I felt uneasy was a vast understatement.  However, I relaxed when the man turned his face toward me.  Nothing in his manner was like the man I knew, but the face I saw was Catseye Glimmer.

The fleeting smile left my lips when I realized something was very wrong.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” he told me.

Royal Chimera!” a woman’s voice called from far away.  “Where are you off to now?”

The man turned at the sound of the odd appellation, but apparently it was his name.

“Coming,” he called in return.

“You should not be here, Bedlam Thunder,” he told me with a frown.  “Find your way back home.  You’re a creature of color and sunlight.  Leave this place before it’s too late,” Royal Chimera warned.

The gray heron stood to his full height and extended amazingly long wings.  The beat of the large bird’s wings had a hypnotic effect.  With the rhythmic movement of the heron’s wings, the air pressure surged and receded.  Light blared and then went dark again.  The sensations repeated, making me dizzy.  It continued until I could no longer stand.

I swayed.  My eyes blurred.  Finally I was able to focus.  The birds and Royal Chimera were gone, but his warning rang in my ears.  I turned back to face the marshy bank.  I found three doors where the marshland had been.  In that nearly colorless world, the doors glowed with blue light.

Am I to choose a door and enter? I wondered.

Overwhelming ringing filled my ears, just as had happened at the cottage where Peaches Dragonfly lived.  I stared at the doors, trying to understand what I should do.  The ringing was so loud, I became dizzy. 

Large black spots danced before my eyes.  I knew I was on the verge of losing consciousness.  Although I wasn’t sure why I would move forward or turn back, I stumbled blindly toward the doors.  My fingers met the cool surface of a metal doorknob.

Not knowing which of the three doors I touched, I turned the knob.

3 Doors BW Blue Tim Price

***

The End

The new “mystery folk” revealed in this episode are Sally Georgina Cronin of Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life and Dan Antion of No Facilities.  Please visit their blogs and say hello. 

 

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

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam Catch-Up

Thistledown Girl

Sunday, August 6, 2017

As if by magic, August is already here.  I can’t believe this serial, Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam is already a month old.  I thought it would be a good idea to do this catch-up post for any new readers.  

This is a “pantser” story.  That means I’m flying by the seat of my pants, with this completely unplanned tale.  Most of my inspiration comes from the characters to which readers gave names when I started this project.  I don’t know what the plot is going to be, from one episode to the next until I look at a character’s name and think about what that faery would be, do, or where they would live, or how they would act.

If you’ve seen this serial in your “reader” but didn’t want to come in at the middle, here are links to all the episodes.  There is also a category button in the right-hand sidebar, but I’m making it easy for you.

Episode 1:  Beginning

Crystal Ball Hand_yeshi-kangrang-258234

Yeshi Kangrang, Unsplash

Episode 2:  In the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Episode 3: Another Vision

Boy field smoke-ball aziz-acharki-290990

Aziz Acharki, Unsplash

Episode 4:  A Finder

I Will Give You Hope

Photo by Kirt Tisdale

Episode 5:  Pucker Up

Sour Cherry and Gooseberry jams SDeBrango

Photo by Suzanne DeBrango

So there you have it — all the episodes so far.  Be sure to click on the links to reveal (and visit) all the mystery folks.  

By the way, I closed comments on this post, since there is no new story information here.

Hugs on the wing! 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 5

Thistledown Girl

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the fae world of Thistledown.  I have a special guest today.  Many of you will know her because we’ve done several collaborative posts in the past.  If not, then allow me to present Suzanne DeBrango of A Pug in the Kitchen

Suzanne is a multi-talented woman — chef (and great photographer of her foods) and blogger.  And if you’re ever in need of property in New York, this “Brooklyn pug gal” is also an award winning real estate agent. 

She was inspired by the fae magic Pick (the cousin of the character she named) when he coaxed cherries off the trees and they rolled to him, rather than being picked.  Then, lucky for us, she found beautiful sour cherries at her farmers’ market.  Here’s Suzanne to tell us about the recipe she’s sharing here today.

I was thrilled to find sour cherries at the farmers market and snagged a few containers to make my favorite jam. Refrigerator jams and pickles are one of my favorite things to make. It’s so easy, you can make one jar at a time.  There’s no need to go through the canning process.  Just, make sure you sterilize your jars, or at least run them through the dishwasher before using them. 

I want that sucker fish to help pit those cherries — oops, you’ll meet them in this episode!  If you have ever tried to pit sour cherries you know it’s a lot of work.  They are soft, small, and getting that little pit is difficult.  It is a labor of love though, and the resulting jam is worth the effort.  

I definitely identify with the faery character, Peaches Dragonfly and her name.  Teagan, thank you for Peaches Dragonfly, and fantastic story.  You are amazing. I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

Sour cherry jam tart Suzanne DeBrango

As you see, I made both sour cherry vanilla and gooseberry jam.  I have to say they are wonderful with scones and creme fraiche. 
2 cups pitted sour cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
Use a non-reactive, medium saucepan, adding the cherries, sugar and salt.  Cook on medium high heat until thickened.  It took about 45 minutes total cooking time.
To test to see if it is going to be thick enough place a spoon in the freezer.  Spoon some of the jam on the freezing cold spoon.  If it gets nice and thick, then it’s done.
Pour the hot jam into very clean preferably sterilized jars, seal and let cool on the counter. The jam will seal, but because it is not processed in a water bath, it must be stored in the refrigerator.  It will last for a long time refrigerated. 

How could I be anything but inspired after Suzanne’s words?  Thank you, Suzanne.

Writing Process

Suckerfish attached to diver

At this time I think I should remind everyone that  characters, names, places, and incidents are used in a strictly fictitious way. The actions of a character do not imply anything about the person who named the character.

I allow myself some artistic license, especially since this serial is a fantasy.  I’ve added to the flora and fauna of Thistledown.  This time you’ll meet some fun fish, living in a pond. 

I’m pantsering this story so I don’t know if these faery fish will live in both fresh and salt water, or just the one pond.  However, I imagine them as looking partly like a remora (salt water) and partly like a suckermouth catfish (fresh water).

Without further ado, here’s the next installment of the serial.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam

Sprig Yellow ben-moore-8884

Ben Moore, Unsplash

Pucker Up

A pale yellow patch of sky was framed by green branches.  Doves cooed peacefully.  I saw two perched on a limb outside my bedroom window.  One appeared to try and give the other a tiny flower.  Or perhaps one tried to take the blossom from the other.  Who could say?

I glanced downward from my dizzyingly high vantage point.  My grand-uncle built his spacious home nestled in the branches of a massive redwood.  Uncle taught us to nurture the primeval tree just as it enriched us.  However, I had never been fond of heights.

He probably thought to encourage me to practice my flying skills by installing me in the attic bedroom, the loftiest room of all.  Many faeries would have been envious of the room, for the fun of gliding down hundreds of feet to the ground.  I however, often took the stairs.

Beyond the huge evergreen, I glimpsed Willow Stargazer flying past.  Her purple hair stood out against the morning sky.  She always wore an orchid tucked behind one ear.  Willow gave a quick wave.

1 Butterfly wing

I yawned and stretched, knowing I had slept late.  By the time I left the reflection pool, I had been exhausted.  In a short time, a lot of troubling ideas had wriggled into my mind.  First among them my horrible, frightening vision.

What troubled me most about that vision was the fact that it felt prophetic.  That must be why it upset the fae of Thistledown so much when they heard of it.

I had seen a bleak, unhappy world.  There was sunlight sometimes, but often the sky was murky.  The place was dark in every other way as well.  Bad things happened there all the time.  Negativity saturated the place — disasters, disrespect, corruption, violence, and hatred.  Even the elders and leaders were continually exposed as corrupt and even insane.

In the vision, it seemed like the people saw and experienced those things continually.  Each day they thought it couldn’t get more absurd, insulting, or hurtful.  Yet it did.  They became used to bizarre and harmful events.  They accepted it as just another part of their day.  There were highly placed people who could have remedied the situation.  Yet they did nothing.

The attitudes and actions of the people reflected the darkness of their world.  Even the clothes they chose to wear were in dark, dull colors.  The girls I met in my second vision seemed like rebels of a sort, daring to wear a splash of bright colors in their clothes or hair. 

Worse, I suspected the fae there had no wings.  My grand-uncle once told a scary story of a group of faeries without wings.  Did the darkness that saturated that world cause them to eventually lose their wings?

One of the doves on my windowsill fluttered away, dispelling my reverie.  The one that remained still held the tiny flower.  I realized it was a peach blossom.  Then I knew it must be a message from Peaches Dragonfly.  I took the flower from the dove.  Oddly it was wet.  My body mirrored the posture of the dove when she tilted her head to one side curiously.

“A wet peach blossom?” I murmured to the dove who answered with a coo.  “Oh!” I exclaimed in sudden epiphany.  “Peaches must want me to meet her at the pond.”

The dove bobbed her head forward and back, and then flew away in the direction of the orchard.

I unfolded my injured wing to apply more of the ointment Calico Rainbowforest gave me.  Even my grand-uncle had to admit I wouldn’t be practicing my flying for a while.  Since Peaches sent a dove to bid me visit her, she must not be in a rush.  If there was any hurry, she would probably have sent a zippy hummingbird.  I considered borrowing Uncle’s unicycle, but I knew I would end up painfully unfurling my wings to catch my balance.  I’d have to settle for my own two feet.

I must be the clumsiest faery in Thistle down, I thought with a loud sigh.

***

Peaches Pond nitish-kadam-43351

Nitish Kadam, Unsplash

“Bedlam, thank goodness you’re here,” Peaches Dragonfly said once I arrived at the pond.  “I could really use a hand.”

Her pink hair was wet, but only around her face.  Beside Peaches were four pails of water.  I noticed an oddly shaped purple fish swimming in one.  When I asked about the fish, my friend said it was a suckerfish.

“They absolutely love the pits from sour cherries,” Peaches explained.  “I have buckets overflowing with sour cherries from the far side of the orchard.  I’m going to make jam from them, but the pits have to be removed.  Those cherries are tiny, and it’s a lot of work to remove the pits.  So I had the idea to use the suckerfish to take out the pits.  With a little fae coaxing, they don’t bother the flesh of the cherries at all, and happily suck out the pits!”

“What an amazing idea!” I complimented Peaches.  “But I don’t see any other fish like this in the pond.”

Peaches gave me a wry look as she knelt at the edge of the pond.  I had a bad feeling that there was a tangle in her brilliant idea, and that I was about to get caught in the middle of it.

“There are several suckerfish in the pond.  They usually stay at the bottom, but they’ll come to the surface if you call them,” she told me.

I thought we were about to get to the tangle.  A hopeful look from my friend suggested I was right.  I expected to regret it, but I asked how one went about calling the suckerfish.

“It’s easy,” she told me with a bright smile.  “You just put your face into the water and make kissing sounds.  The suckerfish will come right to you.”

“What happens when they get there?”

“Well, if you aren’t quick enough in grabbing them, they’ll suck your face.  They’re very affectionate.  Don’t worry,” she added upon seeing my expression.  “It doesn’t hurt.”

Face in water blue

Genessa Panainte, Unsplash

I cringed so hard that I went to my knees.  Peaches took that for agreement and pulled my shoulders down toward the water.  I watched as she made kissing sounds into the pond.  Two purple suckerfish quickly swam to her.  One of them appeared to give her a kiss on the cheek.  With lightning reflexes, Peaches caught one fish in each hand.

“See,” she stated as she put the fishes in a pail.  “It isn’t that hard.”

Taking a deep breath, I agreed to give it a try.  I made kissing sounds into the water.  A fish swam to me so fast that I didn’t even see it.  Peaches had quick reflexes and grabbed it for me before I possibly could have gotten it.  Emboldened by the fact that I hadn’t had to even touch the fish, I put my puckering mouth back into the pond.

After two or three “kisses” I saw two tiny purple fish approaching from the left.  They were much smaller than any I had seen at that point, so the prospect of them touching my face did not upset me.

What I could not see was a suckerfish as large as my arm rapidly swimming from the deepest part of the pond.  Suddenly something forcefully hit my mouth.  Thankfully it was soft, or it would have really hurt.  I fell backward to the banks of the pond.

Peaches gasped, but rapidly detached the big sucker from my face.  I fitfully spat, and spat.  And spat some more.  I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t as though I tasted anything.  It was just the idea of being smooched by that fish.

“I’ve never seen a suckerfish this big.  The pit removal should go extra fast with this guy helping!” Peaches exclaimed.  “Nice work, Bedlam.”

We both looked up as a shadow passed over.  A blue heron swooped low, gliding toward the eastern bank of the pond.  I was awed by its beauty, with its broad wings and smooth passage, and plumage the color of a thunder cloud.  It sailed to the eastern bank of the pond.

I realized something looked different than I remembered about that side of the pond.  Peaches explained that an underground stream had come to the surface.  She thought that under or above ground the water eventually made its way to a small lake near Catseye Glimmer’s home.

Curious about the change to the landscape I wandered to that side of the pond.  I could see a thicket.  In the shadows I could barely make out the water of the stream.

“What’s that sound?” Peaches asked.

At first I didn’t hear anything.  After a moment, soft whimpering came to my ears.  To my astonishment, Peaches jumped into the pond.

“It sounds like a dog!” she cried as she swam.

I jumped in after her.  We soon realized that end of the pond was shallow enough that we could walk to the thicket.  That was a relief, since my swimming wasn’t any better than my flying.

The whining grew louder.  Peaches moved to the edge of the thicket.  When I looked at the place, an inexplicable shudder traveled through me.  The shadows were dark.  They were gray and unnaturally, densely drab.

“Peaches, wait!” I called and fearfully extended a hand, but she was out of my reach.

It was a relief when my friend emerged from the shadows with a small dog in her arms.  To my surprise she chuckled.

“There’s a suckerfish stuck to his mouth.  Help me get it off him,” she told me.

We walked through the water to the near edge of the pond and climbed out.  I helped Peaches up to the grass because her arms were full with the little dog.  I expected her to stop right there, but she hurried over to where we had been catching purple suckerfish.

She detached the suckerfish from the little dog’s mouth.  Rather than purple as it should have been, the fish was a dull brown.  Peaches gently placed the oddly colored fish in a pail separate from the other fish.

With the fish removed, I could see the dog’s face.  He was easily the oddest looking pup I had ever seen.  He had a tightly curled tail.  His coat was dull gray, but his little face was black.  It was also squished flat.  He looked at me and licked his nose with a little gray-blue tongue.

When he looked up at Peaches, his screw-tail wagged enthusiastically.  She set about drying the dog with a towel.

“I wonder who he belongs to?” Peaches pondered.  “His coloring is so unique,” she added with an uneasy glance at the strange brown suckerfish.

We both gazed nervously toward the shadows of the thicket.  Then Peaches leaned down to look closely at all the fish in the pails.

“I’ve never seen any fish that color,” she commented in an uneasy voice.  “It makes me think of how you described the place in your vision as colorless.”

“I doubt he belongs to anybody in Thistledown,” I whispered.  “What should we do with him?” I asked as I cleared my throat, trying to bring my voice to a normal volume.

Peaches took another look at the thicket and shivered.  The dog’s dull coloring indeed reminded me of the dark place where I met Rotten Soulfire and her friends.  How could they bear to live in such a place?  I swallowed hard.

“I’ll look after him,” Peaches stated in a determined voice.  “I think I’ll call him Pucker.”

The dog barked a yip at his new name.  Pucker’s tail wagged so hard I was surprised it didn’t cause him to fall over from the force of it.  He put a paw on Peaches’ shin and she bent to get him in her arms.

Vintage Pug painting

***

The End

The new “mystery faery” for this episode was Cecily of Cecily’s Writings.  I hope you’ll say hello to her.  

Stay tuned for the next episode of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.  We will see the counterpart of Catseye Glimmer in the other faery-verse and more photos from T & L Photography.  

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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