Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Personal Challenge #3 - Save The Queens, part II (+ this week's pics)

I should know better by now... if I say I'll write something tomorrow it is inevitable I will get sick, and so it went for much of the weekend. My apologies.

This is a work of fiction; anything resembling reality is a figment of your imagination. Go Here to read Part I.


Bounding down the steep hillside, graceful as a young buck, Tommy gave forth with a bugling call which carried all the long way back to Old Ma'ms steading... Rose, working in the garden, raised her head then rushed into the house, calling "Tommy's sounding an alarm Mum, something's wrong!" "Aye, and so there is Rose, a grey has come onto oor land, did ye no' feel it?" Rose shook her head, blushing. "No matter, hen, grab oor bags... May's as well if she disny have it with her, an' let's get this sorted."

As they passed the barn with their new car shining in front of it, Tommy bounded around the corner and dropped to his knees before them, sides heaving as he gulped for air, his overly large brown eyes stricken. "May..." he began, before Rose stopped him: "We heard your alarm Tommy." Old Ma'm's gasp roused them both and they whirled around to watch the hill above bloom with all the colours of sunrise, " no May, you're not strong enough yet" May's mother whispered, before taking off at a run. Tommy, slight lad though he seemed, hefted Old Ma'm on his back before gracefully bounding off behind Rose; quickly catching up.

May stood perfectly still, crystal blue eyes never leaving the twisted figure of the grey, who bared it's sharp, rusty-looking teeth at her in a devilish grin. Behind her back, a creaky sort of chuckle sounded and May quickly turned half around so she could keep an eye on both greys... for another grey it was; such a one as she'd never heard of, for this one was obviously female and with hair like raven's wings, whilst her eyes were the sickly grey-green of an approaching storm. 

"So, little May Queen," the female grey hissed, "here you are; you all alone and not quite nine!" She darted forward so quickly that May scarcely saw her move and was unable to react in time to protect herself; her slick-soled new cowboy boots saved her by sliding on the damp leaves and dumping her on the backside. The grey overshot her mark and May, desperate to save both herself and the land, cast a subtlety both beautiful and powerful: weaving a web of morning light from her own substance. Pearly white like her skin at first, it rose like a spring mist before turning all the colours of the rising sun... just like May's hair... and over all, the crystalline blue of a perfect May sky. Everywhere within the circle which the light touched, sprang up the laughing heads of white clover; surrounding the clover grew a thicket of rowan trees - mountain ash - which set blossoms and fruit simultaneously. The first grey, hissing in pain, quickly skittered out of the circle but the second threw back her head and cawed out a contemptuous laugh. "Very pretty, my dear, but do you really think it can stop me? I'll have your blood, your throne and your power; then I'll open a door to bring the Havoc into the world."

Applause? First one pair of hands, then a second and third.

An ashen pall settled over May's now-drooping form before the grey lady turned to face her audience. Standing between the young rowans, which raised their branches to make room for them, stood three changeable forms; as each stepped onto the clover, their bodies moved into very different aspects from those which had run from Old Ma'm's house. Young Tommy, that slim lad, was now as tall as a young rowan himself; stout of muscle and with a stag's horns growing out of his long, long hair. Rose, with her green gown and hair as red as her namesake; golden hawk's eyes fastened on her daughter's attacker... and Old Ma'm. Most changed of all was she: no longer stooped, but tall and slim as a young maiden, with silvered hair to her ankles and an ivy crown to frame her adamantine eyes and rosy apple cheeks. 

"Come no further!" cried the grey raven, for so she now seemed; "I've captured the little wretch, and will kill her here and now if you move one step forward!" "You'll kill her anyway!" Tommy roared as he leapt forward, tackling the grey. Old Ma'm, Ivy Queen, and her daughter, Rose Queen, sped forward, scooping May Queen up between them and carrying her beneath the rowan's branches. Rose cradled her daughter's limp body, brushing fruitlessly at the dirt which caked May's gingham dress. Ivy turned back to Tommy and the grey he had captured, rowan branch in hand. "Time for you to return whence you came, sister" she pronounced and laid the branch across the grey's form, watching as it began to smoke and then disappeared. The first grey, hidden, peered between the trees and seeing it's leader vanquished, silently slunk away whilst it could.

" Mama," called Rose, "Ivy isn't waking!" "She drew too heavily on her power, she's nigh burned herself up to a cinder. Tommy has been injured and is bleeding badly. There's nothing we can do for either of them here; we must return to the Summerlands, quickly." Lifting May's slight form, Rose nodded to her mother, who lifted Tommy as easily  as Rose had May, and the two women stepped through the white veil between the worlds, which only they and children could see... ever mindful of the horror even the single grey left behind could inflict upon humanity. Still, they were grateful that it, alone, could not invite the Havoc into the Earth and they hoped against hope that people would find the strength to resist their enemy's suasion until their return.

There were few among the mountain folk who remembered the Queens and the day the sun twice rose, but the oldest of them whispered back and forth about how the world had changed since the Queens and their Tommy had disappeared. Some told their grandchildren how the second World War had begun just a few months after and had continued under one name or another; fewer still held the conviction that one day the Queens would return... None of them, young or old, walked past the old barn and rusty car, up into the hills where clover and rowans still bloomed, waiting.

And now the photos for this week:

image source

image source




24 comments:

  1. Intriguing story. I can imagine another fantasy storyline with the next pics too.

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    1. Thank you Anna... a funny fantasy tale the next time, perhaps.

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  2. So glad you're feeling well enough to create your magic again today. You are a literary enchantress!

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    1. Well gollydingers Mitchell, you're going to make me blush... thanks!

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  3. I'm always in such admiration of people who can write like this. Where does this come from?! An amazing imagination.

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    1. A lot of it comes from Arthurian and Celtic legends Judy; specifically the three queens who carried Arthur's body off to the Summerlands on a barge. Some legends also speak of Arthur, as a young man, having to fight the Stag King in order to win the right to be a leader of men; Tommy being both Arthur and the Stag King in this tale. The Greys? They are meant to embody the avarice, envy, violence and apathy which lurk in unexpected places; dulling and coarsening us and inviting in worse things.

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  4. So that is why the planet stinks now. Here I was going to blame that raccoon lol great story.

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    1. Now you know, Pat... funny thing, real humour drives off the Greys as well as any rowan branch. =)

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  5. Ah, so the greys are to blame for all of this. Still not worse than politicians, though, amirite?

    Great story, and I love how you incorporated so much lore and so much background into one small story. We've written full length novels that don't have that much depth. Well done!

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    1. What do you think Trump is? LOL Thanks guys!

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  6. Awe.
    Wonder.
    Delight.
    Love this, and thank you.

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  7. A fine tale of eeriness and shapeshifting! And those photos for next week invite all kinds of possibilities too.

    Last night on our national news, there was a story about the Rock Steady Boxing program in various US cities that brings great health benefits to those with Parkinson's. In case you're interested in reading about it, here's a link to the story based on the news report:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/rock-steady-boxing-parkinsons-1.3464641

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    1. Thank you Debra, for both... I will most certainly check out the article!

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  8. I like this, a lovely tale and I hope one day the Queens will return.

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    1. I, too, hope they return one day. =)

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  9. What a romp! Expansive and articulate imagination.

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  10. Can't wait to see what you do with that crow and the marble!

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    1. I want to see what you did with the car and barn!

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    1. Thank you jenny_o, glad you enjoyed it!

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C'mon, be cranky and let 'er rip!