The Call To Adventure
Published on / 5 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)
This is my main work, filled with prophesy, witches, fae, and meddling gods. The world is much like our own, but the supernatural lays over everything like oil on water, waiting for the moment to spill out into the open. Creatures are waking, the Sidhe walk this world again, and our not-so-daring heroes have no idea what is about to come crashing down on their heads.
Chapter 1, Doubts under a Glowing Sky
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Lightning lanced down from the sky as if to punish the earth for some unspeakable deed and thunder rattled the windows. The sky was aglow with electricity, bright as when the moon hung fat and full, yet it was only the luminous clouds. Winds howled and died. Shadows writhed. Hideous figures danced only to be revealed as ordinary trees when the lightning deemed to strike. Terrible and wonderful, the blinding streaks traced bright paths on the eyes of frightened children and worried adults. The night was plagued by shining mists that made it seem as if the Sidhe had returned, reborn from the darkness they had chosen to enter rather than give the world over entirely to humans. Perhaps they had.
A woman stared out of her window at the lightning, thinking of how it resembled thin streams of water tumbling down and around rocks. She watched as a silvery mist obscured her gardens. She began to pray, her hair crackling and standing on end from the charged air. This storm seemed different in some indefinable way. It was wilder, perhaps. Possibilities swirled in the clouds above; potential flew on the winds. Surely this night, of all nights, would reveal secrets long hidden, a message, or a warning. Something. She prayed to her Goddess and thought of the sickness and insanity she saw every night on the news. She thought of children fighting and dying in the streets, of war, of hate, and the Twin Towers falling early that morning.
Desperation and disgust filled her till she thought she’d burst like an overripe fruit. She flung open her window and the rain disguised her tears. "Please, Great Goddess, help us," she shouted to the sky. "Please, come save us or destroy us, but do something, anything! Please?" The storm began to die and the mists grew thicker. Soon the air was still, waiting.
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"Let’s go on an adventure!" said a voice from the looking glass. A woman stared into the mirror set into the middle of a small table. She had very long black hair with glossy blue highlights and her eyes were black and shiny as polished jet beads. She wore a veil of starry night and a crown of thorny roses. A groan sounded from the glass.
"Oh, please not this again! Do you not remember what happened last time you said that?"
"This time will be different, I swear it. And how was I to know that there was going to be a blizzard?" The voice grumbled. "All right then. A hunting trip?"
"I don’t know. Perhaps," the second voice replied doubtfully. The woman leaned over and whispered softly into the mirror. A moment later the voice continued, "Oh, alright. How much trouble could we really get into?" The woman smiled triumphantly.
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The next morning proved to be cold, wet, and miserable as any other day after a storm. Indeed, the only thing that marked it as being at all remarkable was that she was going to be late for class. "Great. Just great," she muttered to herself as she made the turn off onto the paved road leading to town. She shook her head and sighed as she passed a third flag at half-mast. "Great Goddess, I cannot accept that this world was an accident, but I wonder if You care what happens down here at all. Do You even notice us? Or are we simply too small?"
The days passed uneventfully until February. She stood in the frosty morning air, wondering why anyone assumed witches did all their magic while naked. She supposed it wouldn’t be so bad in Summer, but then the thought of stray briars made her shudder. She shook again, this time to pull herself back to the present. The sun was the barest glimmer of light on the horizon when she and two other women took their places at the altar. The ritual began.
As always, she hoped for a voice from beyond, or a candle to flare to life on its own. And also like every other time, she wondered why her coven mates had her, the doubter, lead the ritual. Perhaps it was simply one of life’s little ironies. The ritual concluded when the first ray of sun fell squarely onto the altar through the slit in the ‘henge’ they’d made from wire and vines. Nothing particularly distinguished it from any that came before, nothing flashy and somewhat mundane.
She glanced at the other women bundled up in many layers of robes and scarves as protection against the cold. All she could see of them were their eyes. Maybe she lacked some essential spark, for the dark haired witch to her left had often claimed the ability to feel the magic working. Certainly the charms of the one to her right had always managed to do their duty, if not in quite the way anyone had expected. Every time they had worked together, they had gotten the desired result, which seemed to be sheer coincidence each time.
But, as Bethany was fond of saying, "‘Coincidences’ stacked up high enough turn into what’s called evidence in trials." Then again, Bethany managed to link virtually everything into court comparisons since she had decided to become a lawyer back in high school. She remembered her Grandmother’s annoyance at it, which brought to mind one of her favorite sayings before she’d died. "Girl, do not doubt. The magic believes in you, even when you don’t believe in it."
She nodded unconsciously while she watched the sun crawl higher in the sky. Voice muffled by an amazingly ugly scarf, Lisa called out, "Come on! We’re going to be late…’less you’ve figured out a teleportation spell you’ve been keeping to yourself." She sighed and nodded, wondering yet again what had possessed them to sign up for morning classes. Already, the plans for the next ritual began to form in her mind.
March came, and her doubts had gone from the occasional nagging thought to a near constant weight on her mind. Bethany and Lisa had started to notice, though they passed her distraction off to Les, who was very much a realist. Why did her friends bug her so often to go out? She was perfectly happy to meet Les a few times a month to go to lunch and sometimes even go see a movie. So what if it had been over a year since she went on a ‘real’ date? Whatever that was. She just didn’t want to. She thought through this while she sat under a very old oak in her pasture and watched puffy white clouds sail through the blue waters of the sky. It was warm, so her jacket was her pillow.
She’d attempted to Summon the Fae last night. She had failed for the second time. The first time, she had thought that she’d heard movement in the bushes and raspy laughter. Last night had been memorable only for stubbing her toe during the Invocation and promptly getting rained on.
"I could have gotten one of the Invocations wrong. Or maybe the book was worthless. Or maybe there just aren’t any damned fairies in the first place. It doesn’t have to be me. So I can’t seem to manage a simple luck spell lately without Bethany and Lisa there. It might still mean nothing. But, Goddess, I’m not even getting coincidences anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m so tired all the time. I used to only feel this way after rituals. I should probably go to a doctor…" She shuddered. "Or not."
She wiggled until she was more comfortable and frowned at the egg dye on her hands and arms. She had gotten up very early to bury eggs at the edge of the woods beside her gardens for today was Ostara. She considered taking a walk in Darken Wood, said to be haunted by most people, but yawned.
"I suppose the ghosties will simply have to wait." She yawned again and mumbled, "Speaking of tired, a nap sounds awfully nice, don’t you think?" Unsurprisingly, the oak forbore to answer.
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