Fairies : Mystica and Merlin
Chapter 9 :
The village was at the southern edge of the Northern Forest. It was a small village. Only 23 families. Fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. No fairies lived in the village. Mystica didn’t even know it’s name. Didn’t even know if it had a name. She’d flown past it several times as she explored her new home. She tried hard to stay out of sight of anyone in that village. She didn’t know anything at all about the people living this far north. Didn’t know how they would react to her. She didn’t have time to figure out how to deal with the people of that village anyway.
The grey owl was helping her explore the forest. And helping her find food. The owl always seemed to know how to find food that Mystica could eat. Fruits. Nuts. Even wild vegetables. The owl had been teaching Mystica how to fish. So that she could expand her diet to include fish. And there were plenty of fish in the rivers and streams of the Northern Forest. Rivers that ran from high in the grey mountains, down to the forest. And then into the forest. Mystica had seen fish jumping in those rivers and streams. And she knew she was not going to starve.
The owl had become her friend. And she’d been trying to come up with a name for him. She hadn’t figured out a name just yet. But knew that in time she would. As they flew past the village, on their way to the East, Mystica following the owl. They flew East for another hour. Then the owl lead her to the North. They flew for two more hours. Until they reached a small lake.
The lake was beautiful. It’s surface smooth, like glass. And like a mirror, it reflected an image of the sky that was above it. On the southern edge of that lake, the river entered. On the northern edge, the river continued on. The lake was caused by a natural depression in the landscape. Mystica could tell from the color of the water in the lake that it was very deep.
The eastern edge of the lake was totally unexpected. it was clear of trees. Free of bushes. There were only grasses and weeds, running from the tree line to the lake’s edge. There was plenty of room to live there. Plenty of space for Mystica to make a home.
They landed in the grass of the eastern edge of the lake. The owl landing on Mystica’s shoulder. The owl whispered in Mystica’s ear, “Home.” And Mystica knew that the owl had brought her her to show her where he felt she could build a home. A place to live. Mystica walked to the edge of the lake. She looked into the water, and saw her own image looking back at her. She felt the sun shining down on her. She felt its warmth on her wings.
She knelt down, and ran her fingers through the water of the lake. It felt clean. And cold. She held her fingers in the water for a time, and simply enjoyed the way it felt. She looked across the lake. Then back at the trees behind her. “Yes, my little friend. I do believe that this will be a good home.” She smiled at her friend the owl, “And I thank you for showing it to me.”
For the next few days, Mystica stayed at the lake, and made a small house up in the trees. It was basically just one room. Four walls. A floor. And a roof. The roof was pretty much flat. It had a tilt from left to right, so that water could run off of it, if it should rain. And so that snow would slide off if it snowed.
It wasn’t much. But it was the first shelter Mystica had ever made with her own hands. She was very happy with it. It would block out the wind, and give her someplace to go in the rain, and in the snow. She didn’t know that it would keep her very warm. But she’d figure that out with a little time.
A small group of animals had formed around the lake. Deer on the far side of the lake. Rabbits, mice, and other such animals among the trees, by the edge of the clearing. Where Mystica’s tree house was.
Mystica noticed that there were beavers and otters living in around the lake. The beavers to the northern end of the lake. The Otters to the southern end. She enjoyed watching them swim, and play in the water. She also saw fish as they jumped above the surface of the water. But she noticed something else. Something strange.
There were no predators of any kind. She never saw a wolf. A fox. A bear. Not even a bird of prey. That seemed very strange to her. It was something that she couldn’t understand. Couldn’t figure out. It was as if the predators avoided that entire lake, and the area around it. Leaving it a safe haven for all the animals. And for Mystica too.
One day, she went exploring. Flying almost at random. She relished the joy of flying. In the clear blue sky. She’d quickly learned to fly for hours and hours at a time. She’d learned to ride the currents of the wind. To use those currents to help her stay airborne. She had no thought of someplace to go. She just went. She did that all the time. Several times a week, she just flew someplace.
As she flew, she realized she was heading to that village that she’d seen when her owl had shown her where the lake was. She didn’t know why she should be interested in seeing that village once again. But something drew her to it. And as she flew toward the village, she began to feel as if something were very wrong. As if what she would find when she reached the village was something awful.
Mystica flew more rapidly. Pushing herself to fly faster. And then even faster. As she flew, she could feel the white magic come to life. Adding to her speed, so that she was flying faster than the ever had. Faster than she’d ever thought she could. The forest below her became a blur of different shades of green and brown, as she raced through the air.
When she came within sight of the village, she stopped. Hovering in the air. “Oh, no! Oh, no!” She could see the clearing where the village was. And she could see that the little houses that had been there weeks before were all burned. And broken. There were scorched patches of dirt on the ground. She slowly flew toward the village. So that she could get a better view. So that she might somehow figure out what had happened. Had there been a battle of some kind? Had an army, or soldiers come through, destroying the town? As she got closer to the town, she became even more concerned. And more afraid. For she began to realize that there had been no battle. No soldiers. No weapons. That something far worse than a battle had occurred in the village.
Mystica slowly flew down into the remains of the village. She flew between the burned out remains of the little houses. And her heart began to ache. For she could see the dead bodies of the people that had lived there. Bodies of people that had been burned to death in fire. It was such a horrible way to die. As she explored that village, she realized what had happened.
A dragon had been there. A dragon had struck that village. A dragon that breathed fire. That flew through the sky. And attacked from above. It was the fire of a dragon that had caused the scorched spaces on the ground. A dragon that had walked through the village, and set fire to everything. And everyone.
Then, she noticed the tiny bodies. The bodies of children. The bodies of babies. Burned alive. Their young lives taken from them. By a dragon from the skies.
She flew back to the lake. The white magic carrying her there at a stunning speed. She didn’t notice. All she could see were the burned bodies of the children, and the babies. Destroyed by a dragon.
Her friend the owl flew over to her, and landed on her shoulder. The owl whispered in her ear, “You saw, didn’t you. You saw the place where the dragon struck.” Mystica slowly nodded her head, yes.
“Why? Why would a dragon do that? What kind of dragon would do that?”
That whisper in her ear spoke once again. “A young dragon. A very frightened, and very angry dragon. A very lonely dragon. That does not know what it’s doing.” The owl flicked his wings, and flew out in front of Mystica. Mystica extended her arm, and the owl landed on it, so that he was facing her.
“The dragon’s name is Scream. He’s been destroying villages. And fighting other dragons. Even killing them.” The owl paused. “He came from the north. The lands of ice and snow. And he’s been heading south. Toward the mountains, and the hills beyond them. Toward the land of the fairies.”
Mystica looked at her owl friend. “Why? Why does he destroy things?”
“Simple fear, young one. Simple fear. He is afraid that his strength, and his power will not be respected unless he yields it. It is the way dragons are when they are young.”
The owl let out a quiet hoot. Then whispered to Mystica once more. “You have other questions and concerns. I know this. I can see them in your eyes.” The owl looked around the lake. “Like perhaps why there are no predators here.”
Mystica slowly nodded her head once more. “Yes. I’ve noticed that there are not predators of any kind around the lake. And I’ve wondered why. It doesn’t seem like a natural thing to me.”
The owl whispered again. “It’s not. For you, my fairy friend, have a protector. A guardian. You are protected by the one that rules this entire forest. From the land of ice and snow to the north, to the mountains to the south.”
Mystica looked confused, and concerned. “What do you mean, my friend?”
The owl spoke once more. This time, not in a whisper. “It’s time that I told you everything that I have observed. Everything that I know.” The owl flicked his wings, silently, and lifted into the air, free of Mystica’s arm. “We’ll talk in the house above the ground.” And then he flew away.
Mystica stood there. Not sure if she should follow him, or simply stay where she was. Perhaps it was best if she did not know what was going on. She listened to the wind blowing through the trees. She listened to the birds. She listened to the animals. And she sighed.
She then moved, flying to her home in the trees, next to the clearing by the lake. Inside she saw the owl, resting on the surface of the table that she’d made in the past few weeks. Waiting patiently for her.
“You are Mystica. This much I know.” The owl spoke.
“How do you know my name? I’ve never told it to you.”
“I know many things, white mage. Many things indeed.” The owl stood in the middle of the table top. “My name, dear child, is Whisper. And I’m very much older than you think. Older than you can imagine.”
The owl took to the air, landing once again on Mystica’s shoulder. “I have been alive for the past 10,000 years.” Mystica was surprised indeed. It was very rare for a dragon, or a fairy to live to be so old. Let alone an owl. “It was a gift from the wild magic.”
Mystica was visibly shaken. “Wild magic!” She knew about the wild magic. Unpredictable as it was. Destructive as it could be. There were tales of fairies that had been born with wild magic. And those tales always ended badly. With stories of terrifying destruction, and violence.
“Yes, Mystica. Wild magic. For the wild magic lives within me. As the white magic lives within you.”
Mystica sat down. And Whisper continued.
“It is time for me to tell you the story of Merlin.”