Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 26 — Emptiness

Saturday, March 3, 2018

I’m happy to see you here, in the faery land of Thistledown.  It’s already March.  Time continues to fly for us, but in Thistledown, they still haven’t managed to get to their biggest midsummer party.  However, the story wings toward a conclusion… eventually.

Fairy_Islands_1916_by_Ida_Rentoul_Outhwaite

Fairy_Islands_1916_by_Ida_Rentoul_Outhwaite

Writing Process

Thank you for bearing with me while I try to overcome my own “stuff” and write another episode.  When I finished the last chapter, I thought the story would go back to the point of view of our hapless faery, Bedlam Thunder.  However, it didn’t.  There was more to tell from Bob the hummingbird.  Now to Thistledown.

Previously in Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam

Accessing the dangerous and ancient tome, the Etheraris Spiregris, the crochet circle spoke the Perversion of Phantoms spell.  Working together they created a new opening to the black abyss, where Bedlam Thunder was trapped.  However, the opening was far too small for the faeries to use.  Then suddenly, Bob the hummingbird darted into the portal.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 26

Emptiness

Hummingbird Kunstformen der Natur 1904

Hummingbird, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904

Blackness.

Emptiness.

Magic.  Dark magic.

Despair.

Bob the hummingbird tumbled wildly.  His descent into the black abyss was so forceful that he didn’t even try to fly.  He feared his wings would break.  His hope was all but gone.

A pinpoint of light caught his eye as he toppled, head over tail.  Distracted by the unexpected sight, his fear calmed and his rapid tumble slowed.  In sudden epiphany, Bob managed to quiet his tornado of thoughts.  Indeed, his panic had caused his drop to be faster and more chaotic.  

Having quieted his mind, Bob’s saw that his descent slowed to a much less threatening speed.  Cautiously he spread his wings.  The hummingbird glided downward on a gentle current of air.  He sensed ground somewhere far below.  A trace of odor reached his nostrils.

Mushrooms?  Oh, and a dangerous variety.  There must be millions of spores down there.  I’d best find a way around that place.

Bob tried to go with the air current rather than fight it, even though he glided closer to the air that was heavy with hallucinogenic mushroom spores.  Then the first sound he had heard since entering the portal reached his ears.  Leather wings rustled ― hundreds of them.

Bats.  Lots and lots of bats.

Wikipedia-Bats-001-v01.jpg

Wiki Media Commons

The sound came from below him, but Bob didn’t know how he could alter his descent to steer clear of them.  A horrifying realization came to the hummingbird.  The bats were breathing the spore laden air.  There was no telling what hallucinations they experienced, or how they would react as a result.

As Bob got closer to the bats, he could hear the chaos caused by their altered state.  He didn’t think he could make it through the cloud of bats alive. They were larger and stronger than a hummingbird.

The hummingbird saw the pinpoint of light again.  He struggled against the current of air he rode, but could not break free.

Bob felt the vibration before he heard it ― the beat of a drum.  It tapped out a message, a message for Bedlam Thunder!  His hope blossomed. 

Could Bedlam be somewhere nearby?  The drum was dir ected to her, so maybe…  Oh, but the drumbeat carries the tiniest trace of enchantment.  Could hummingbird magic blend with it enough to draw him to the source of the beat?

Bob wondered if that combination could give him the strength to break free of the current before he collided with the colony of hallucinating bats.  He combined his innate talents with the trace from the tapping drum.  Disappointed, Bob realized it was not enough.  

Adding the dark magic of the cave would be the only chance Bob had.  Yet it was difficult and unspeakably dangerous.

As Bob tried to gather his magic and his courage, not to mention his easily distracted focus, he felt a painful thud.  A bat, in its mushroom induced high, flew farther up than the rest of its cloud, colliding with the tiny bird.

Copper-rumped hummingbird in flight

 The End

***

This Week’s Faery Namers

Bob flew in for a solo appearance for today’s chapter.  So, unfortunately there are no shout-outs.  Rest assured that the Faery Namers will be back.

Fun with words:  Did you notice the word cloud?  I’ve heard groups of bats called colonies, but a group of them can also be called a cloud. 

Now Bob is trapped in the abyss.  A ray of hope, dangerous dark magic, and then a collision with a hallucinating bat?  The heroic hummingbird seems to have become as hapless as his friend Bedlam.  Until next time… 

Hugs on the wing!

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved. 

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. 

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 24 — The Other Seer

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Thank you for flying over to the faery land of Thistledown.  

Toadstools group Tim Price

Photo by Tim Price

I mentioned “mushrooms” to a couple of readers when I wrote the previous episode, Spores*.   Photographer, Tim Price kindly offered to let me use some beautiful images he captured of mushrooms.  You’ll see them throughout this chapter.  You can also see even more at his blog, T & L Photos*.

Writing Process

When writing serials, particularly stories that go on for months, I sometimes reach points where I need to tie up loose ends.  I also might need to leave answers for clues I’ve left along the way.  This is such an episode.  So the pace is not as fast, and it’s a little longer than the past few chapters.  I hope you’ll still enjoy the story.  Now to Thistledown.

Previously in Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam

Bedlam Thunder’s seemingly endless descent into the black abyss stopped.  Her fall was broken when she landed on a bed of giant mushrooms.  She couldn’t help inhaling air polluted by a cloud of the mushroom spores.  Then she saw horrible creatures.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 24

The Other Seer

I floated in blackness.  I knew the vague feeling of having woken to a horrific image, but along with wakefullness it seemed far away. 

A nagging beat entered my mind.  I had heard it somewhere before.  Tap tap.  Pause.  Bum-dum dah-dah. Pause.  Tap tap.  Pause.  Bum-dum dah-dah.

Bongo drummer clem-onojeghuo-122041

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

Softly spoken words came to me.  I had heard them before too.

“Bedlam.  Bedlam Thunder, can you hear me?”

I remembered the voice that spoke those words, now and before.

I tried to answer but the chimera roared, frightening me.  However, it’s roar became a voice.

“The potency of the mushrooms increased with their size,” the creature said.  “She must have inhaled a lot of hallucinogenic spores.”

“Is everyone alright?  Take deep breaths of the fresh air and stay away from the cave opening,” the first voice instructed.

The beat continued.  Gradually, I identified it as a drum.  No, several drums.  Soft murmurs surrounded me, a jumble of words and voices in my mind.  Fragments of sentences eluded my grasp.

Finally, a another string of words coalesced and I understood them.

“I don’t understand,” someone said.  “She has wings.  Why didn’t she just fly back to wherever?”

“She wouldn’t have been able to.  Not even with two good wings.  The abyss has subtle but powerful magic.  Dark magic,” the first voice replied.

My eyes fluttered open.  I drew back in fear when I saw the chimera leaning over me.  Then the features of the creature blurred and became a regular face.  I beheld a circle of relieved looking faces.  They were familiar, yet… wrong.  Beyond the faces I saw a gray-white sky.  A milky sun tried unsuccessfully to burn through the persistent clouds.

So, I’ve gone there again.  The colorless world, I thought.  I wonder if this world has ever seen bright sunlight or a blue sky.

“Didn’t I warn you not to breathe?” the now familiar voice demanded.

She leaned into my line of sight.  A bright pink streak in her straight brown hair stood out against the dullness of the day.  I remembered meeting her at Uncle’s bonfire party.  It was quite an entrance she made.  She seemed familiar to me then, and Field Yewwasp had mumbled as much too, though he never told me who he thought the woman was.  I sat up on my elbows.  Disoriented, I searched my mind for her name.

(You can revisit that chapter in Episode 10, Fire and Furry.)

Stunt_Pyrotechnics_Luc_Viatour

Fallow Blackmoon?” I asked.

She nodded and the other faces surrounding me smiled.  I noticed that they all held small drums.

“You have a knack for turning up in the most unexpected places,” the man who had leaned over me, at first seeming to be a chimera, commented.

“Catseye,” I addressed the man.  “But no.  You’re Royal Chimera.  The mushrooms!” I cried in sudden realization.  “You must have caused them to be so large.”

“Yes, but how did you know?” Royal wanted to know.

“Because,” I began with a shrug.  “That’s like the magic Catseye Glimmer has.  He can create something useful out of nearly nothing,” I tried to explain.  “Once I stumbled and he transformed a single cotton bowl into a huge pillow, quickly tossing it into place to keep me from further injuring my wing.  You look like him.”

(You can revisit that chapter in Episode 2, In the Kitchen.)

Mushrooms blue Tim Price

“There is hardly any magic in this world, Bedlam Thunder.  I’ve been working to bring out any traces of magic I find ― the things and people that have a seed of innate magic inside.  I sensed such an ability within Royal Chimera,” Fallow Blackmoon explained.  “That’s why I haven’t tried to get back to Thistledown.  Magic begets magic.  I am needed here.”

“With Fallow’s guidance, I’ve been able to do some simple things.  Making tiny mushrooms into huge ones is far more than I’ve ever done before,” Royal told me in a modest tone.

“He’s learned quickly,” Fallow added a word of praise.  “Especially considering this was not a spell to be taught, but something he has to find on his own, from within.”

“So, you used to live in Thistledown?  You aren’t originally from this place.  You have no double here?” I confirmed, turning back to Fallow Blackmoon.  “I feel as though I should know you,” I added lamely, not knowing how to finish the sentence.

Fallow nodded.  I hoped she would elaborate, but she did not.

“Neither of us have a double here.  Yet everyone else seems to.  Why are we unique?” I asked.

I wished I could take back my words.  Looking at the faces around me, I realized my tone had been harsh and demanding, though I had not intended to sound that way.  The circle of faces around me glared in response.

“I mean…” I tried to smooth my rudeness.

Fallow smiled and her friends seemed to relax.

“The cave,” Fallow began with a motion to the nearby opening.  “That cave amplifies magic.  So, we come here to practice.  Bedlam Thunder, these people represent all the magic I have found in this world.  We were holding a drum circle inside the cave when I sensed the presence of another seer.  Of course, that was you, in your descent.”

Märchendom Saalfelder Feengrotten

Der sogenannte Märchendom in den Saalfelder Feengrotten.

She gave me a moment to process what she said.  It was only a handful of people, yet they represented the magic of the entire world?

“I have concluded that this world does not have seers, like you and me,” Fallow told me.  “Yes, we are unique in that we don’t have a double in this world.  The furry faery, Field Yewwasp, is also unique, even though he is not a seer.  Some describe a legendary creature of this world that could be his ‘double’…” she added.  “Although it is far from being a true duplicate Field Yewwasp.”

“I’m Drummer Soulfire,” the woman on the other side of me introduced herself.  “I’m relieved that you are okay.  Dah-le!  That was quite a fall!”

“Fittingly enough, Drummer, leads the drum circle,” Fallow inserted.  “She has a true talent for it.  The properties of the cave, combined with the drumming helped us retrieve you from your descent.  Otherwise, you may have continued falling forever.”

Her words caused me to shudder.  The idea of an endless tumble had entered my mind while I fell.  It was a horrid thought.

Feeling more alert, I took a closer look at the faces around me.  It was a sadly small group if these were the only people with any trace of magic.  There were three more familiar, yet wrong, faces.  Two of them I had met.

Rotten Soulfire!” I exclaimed.  “You really are more like River Mindshadow than either of you would realize.”

“Of course my cousin, Rotten, is part of the drum circle,” Drummer commented and gave her drum a tap for emphasis. 

A sound like knives slicing through air caused me to look away from Rotten.  Remembering the sound of the sharp, jagged edges of the leaves that decorated his hat, I smiled to see Poison Ivy Razorleaf again.  With a wicked grin, he doffed his hat and bowed.

Fungus mushroom Tim Price

Photo by Tim Price

Though I knew a face like his, I had not met the final member of the drum circle.  He gave me a quizzical look, as though he had yet to get a read on me.  His shoulders twitched as if he tried to force the muscles to relax.  He gave his name, Stranglevine Starquencher.

“The copper battleaxe!” I said in abrupt realization.  “That’s why I hallucinated about the axe.  Carver Eastdoor has one.  Do you?”

Stranglevine Starquencher, Carver’s double, drew back.  His eyes narrowed suspiciously.  He stared at me for a long moment before speaking.

“The copper battleaxe is a closely held family secret,” Stranglevine began.  “Not even the drum circle knows about it.  How is it that you know?” he demanded.

Razorleaf looked at him with a raised eyebrow.  Then he snorted and smirked.

“I always suspected those rumors were real,” Razorleaf told him.  “Your double in that sugary world had an enormous copper battleaxe.  When he used it to break a magical doorway, it also shattered the great scrying stone here.  But it let me visit that world, and it got Bedlam back home.  At least until she landed here yet again.”

(See Episode-8 Shadows of Body and Mind.)

Stranglevine seemed minutely less distrustful after Razorleaf spoke.  Although, I didn’t think I had made a friend yet.  He seemed much different from Carver Eastdoor.  Yet Poison Ivy Razorleaf was vastly different from quiet, unobtrusive Ivy Twinkle too.  I reminded myself that there was no telling how drastically different the lives of the doubles had been, compared to anyone who grew up in Thistledown.  Who could guess what had shaped Stranglevine into a skeptic.  After a moment his shoulders relaxed.  He seemed to have settled something in his mind.  He cleared his throat.

“The family always said the copper ax was magical.  I’ve never seen anything unusual or special about it.  Except for how big it is.  And how old,” he finally told us.  “I don’t think it’s particularly valuable.  It’s just copper, not gold or rhodium.  But some people might think it’s worth something,” he added turning back to me.  “You don’t let word get out that you own something that might be valuable in this world.”

“Could you bring it here to the cave?” Fallow asked gently.  “I’d like to see how it reacts to the magic of this place.”

Abbey,_Edwin_Austin_Fairies

Fairies, Edwin Austin Abbey, 1852-1911

 The End

***

This Week’s Faery Namers

Click the links to reveal the identity of the namers.  Be sure to visit the “secret” bloggers who have faeries named in honor of them in this episode.

Field Yewwasp https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/about/

Fallow Blackmoon  https://harvestinghecate.wordpress.com/

Royal Chimera  http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog

Stranglevine Starquencher  https://nofacilities.com/

Drummer Soulfire  https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/about/

River Mindshadow  http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/

Poison Ivy Razorleaf  https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Our hapless faery, Bedlam, seems to have gotten a reprieve.  However, she is once again stuck in the colorless world.  It does not seem like a very benevolent place, despite the apparent kindness of the drum circle.  How will Bedlam get home?  Fly back to Thistledown again next time to learn more.  Until then…

Hugs on the wing!

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved. 

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. 

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 23 — Spores

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Welcome back to the faery land of Thistledown. 

Falling, falling until you finally feel the fathomless descent is normal — at least normal for you.  It’s dark.  A glimmer of light had make you think the dark would be banished.  Yet the blackness remains.  Darker than dark, you neither see nor hear another soul.  Alone.  The fall will surely kill you, but at least you know what kind of death awaits.  Landing… Landing lends new lethal longings and worries. 

The portal, the dark gaping maw, the black abyss — it’s back.  We resume the story from the point of view of Bedlam Thunder as she falls through the seemingly bottomless dark abyss. 

Previously in Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam

The black gaping maw of the portal closed with a pop.  Field Yewwwasp rescued Rhymer Rainbow and then River Mindshadow.  However, Bedlam Thunder was still in that darker than dark place when the portal snapped shut.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 23

Spores

Glowing mushrooms dark tree_jay-ma-304046.jpg

Jay Ma, Unsplash

No sun.

No stars.

No sound.

I felt myself falling and falling.  And falling.  I couldn’t see anything, including the bottom of the abyss.

If there is a bottom, I thought in consternation. 

Neither could I hear anything.  Was sound as absent as light?  Or was it that there simply wasn’t anything else to make a noise.  Was I that forsaken?  A sob escaped my lips.

So, sound still exists.  Then I must be truly, completely alone.

Suddenly, it felt like the bottom fell out of my stomach.  The rate of my descent quickened.  The realization that I might actually splat onto the ground was even more alarming than the idea of falling endlessly.

In the black emptiness a nagging beat entered my mind.  Tap tap.  Pause.  Bum-dum dah-dah.  Tap tap.  Pause.  Bum-dum dah-dah.

Was it just inside my head?  Perhaps my heartbeat took on an erratic pattern as I fought to stave off panic.  I strained my ears, trying to determine whether there was in fact a noise, something with me in the light-less abyss.

Tap tap.  Pause.  Bum-dum dah-dah.  Bum-dum!  Bum-dum dah-dah!

Yes!  It was a beating drum.  Although I couldn’t tell from whence the drumming came.  The noise became a little louder.  Tap tap, like a knock at a door.  Then more insistently, Bum-dum!  Bum-dum dah-dah!

Bongo drummer clem-onojeghuo-122041

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

Finally, I heard a whisper, a voice that seemed far away.  At first, I couldn’t make out the words.  The drumbeat came back with that odd pattern.  Then I could hear the words.

“Bedlam Thunder.  Bedlam!  Bedlam Thunder, can you hear me?”

The barely perceptible voice became louder as it spoke my name.  It began to sound familiar but I couldn’t place it.  It seemed like something I should remember from long ago.  Abruptly I realized I had also heard the voice fairly recently.

“We have something to break your fall,” she said.  “Try to land on your stomach.  I expect your wing is not fully healed, right?  Oh!  And it is very important that you do not breathe when you land!  It could be dangerous if you breathe before the dust settles.”

Those words were not comforting.

It felt as if something abruptly let go of me.  I fell faster than ever.  Frantically I tried to twist and turn so that my belly was facing downward.  I resisted the natural impulse to unfurl my wings.  I was falling so rapidly that it would surely reopen the tear in my gossamer wing.

After falling for so long, it seemed sudden when I landed.  With a soft thud the wind was knocked out of me.  My body automatically gasped, sucking oxygen back into my lungs, despite the warning not to breathe.

Bits of something floating in the air made a cloud around me.

I lifted my head to look at the soft but lumpy bed on which I landed.  Although, it wasn’t actually a bed.

“Mushrooms?  Giant mushrooms?” I murmured aloud in amazement.  “Spores…” I added looking at the cloud of floating bits that exploded from the mushrooms when I landed on them.

Mushrooms many jakob-creutz-427450

Jakob Creutz, Unsplash

A fit of coughing overtook me.  Every time I recovered myself and gulped air I inhaled spores with it.  Which made me cough again.

Finally, the cloud of mushroom bits settled and I could breathe normally.  I scanned my dark surroundings.

Any illumination at all seem bright after being in such darkness.  The presence of a dim light felt so bright that I squinted. 

“Is that daylight?”

I was so surprised to finally see it that I spoke aloud.  I couldn’t exactly call it sunlight, but it did seem to be light.  Perhaps it was a very cloudy, rainy day.  It seemed to be the entrance to a cave… or rather the exit.

Disoriented from the impossibly long fall, I staggered as I got up from the pile of giant mushrooms.  A smaller cloud of spores swirled around my feet.  I felt quite bewildered.  As I struggled forward toward the opening, I became woozy.

The sound of a roar, like a great lion, caused me to stumble to a stop.  A gout of flame flared, blinding me for a moment.  Then I saw it at the cave’s opening ― an enormous chimera.

The beast’s lion head roared again.  Golden eyes stared me in a way that I imagined meant it was hungry.  Scales rustled against the ground as its serpent tail swished.

The chimera moved forward toward the cave’s opening.  I stifled a scream.

Eye white close paul-morris-184484.jpg

Paul Morris, Unsplash

A copper battleaxe the size of a millstone slammed down, blocking the cave exit.  The chimera roared frustration, and tongues of flame licked around the edges of the enormous battleaxe.

The copper ax was engraved with designs and inscriptions.  They seemed to crawl on the surface as I looked at it.  An eye opened in the metal and leered at me.  Then the eye melted, running down the face of the ax like a molten jewel.  The chimera growled and the battleaxe gave a wicked laugh.  They both taunted me.

The End

***

This Week’s Faery Namers

Bedlam truly was alone in the dark… there were no Faery Namers for this episode.  Actually there were a few but the chapter didn’t name the namers.  Can you guess who they are?  There are clues for those who have been paying attention.  Feel free to leave your guess in a comment.

Now what will happen to our hapless faery?  Bedlam finally had a soft landing, but now she’s confronted by a mythic chimera and an evil battleaxe.  Fly back next week to see “what the faery is going on.  Until then…

Hugs on the wing!

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved. 

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. 

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.