Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 3)

On the first night of his journey, Scream found he didn’t sleep well at all. He kept waking up, afraid he would fall out of the tree. So, with the coming of the dawn, he decided he should find a good vine he could use as a rope, to hold himself in place while he slept at night. Or, he had to learn to sleep on the ground, which his mother had suggested he not do. He also noticed that he slept bent at funny angles, so he was stiff, and sore when he woke up. And sleeping in a tree, he felt as if his body had tried to conform to the shape of the tree. It took a while for the pattern of the tree bark to fade from his skin that morning.

He concluded the journey would be a bit more difficult than he’d expected. But, that was OK. Rose and her sisters would be there at the end of his journey. He’d spend some time with them, and have fun.

He continued to move from tree to tree. The trees continued to grow taller. And the woodland changed into a forest. There was no clear line or marker. But somehow, Scream knew he’d reached the edge of the Northern Forest.

He saw several wolves that day. It amazed him how silently something the size of a wolf could move through the forest. Along the ground. Through the brush, the fallen tree limbs, and the dead leaves along the ground. From his perch high above the ground, he watched each wolf he encountered. He even followed one for a time. The wolves were not just silent. They were very quick. Able to cover large distances easily, and rapidly. And they did not tire easily.

Scream also saw an eagle. And several hawks. The eagle was majestic. The way it rode the air currents, its wings extended, catching the wind and gliding along. He saw the eagle’s tail feathers adjusting to keep its flight level. He decided that one day, he would learn to soar through the sky, effortlessly, like that eagle. Riding the wind, and not endlessly flapping his wings to just stay aloft.

The hawks flew in much the same way. But they flew lower, closer to the ground. And they used their wings more frequently. Scream was surprised to see a hawk fold its wings, and plummet toward the ground, extending its wings just before reaching the ground, extending its talons, and capturing a small rabbit as it flapped its wings and returned to the sky. The hawk had landed in a tree, and started consuming its prey.

The raw power and grace of the hawk making it’s kill convinced Scream that a skilled warrior knew, and used technique to best his opponent. A skilled warrior knew, as that hawk knew, that technique provided a warrior an edge in battle.

Scream saw many bird nests on his journey. He stayed a safe distance from them, so he didn’t frighten the parents, or their young. After seeing several bird nests, he realized he didn’t have to tie himself to a tree. He could use tree limbs and leaves to make a small, temporary nest of his own to sleep in. It would take practice, and it would take time. But he knew he could learn. And he felt that learning to build simple places to rest in the trees would allow him to sleep better on his trip, and would keep him from falling out of the tree while he slept.

“Mother,” he thought, “you were right. There is much we can learn about life simply by watching the animals. The animals were here before we were. They know how to live in the forest, in the sea, on the land.” His appreciation of his mother increased. He remembered Mystica’s home, and the homes of her daughters, in the trees. Made by the trees. How natural they were. How simple. How solid. How safe. He could learn much about living in the forest from them.

He had plenty of water to drink that day. He found a stream of water running through the forest. He realized there were a lot of streams and rivers in the forest. There was plenty of water to drink, and plenty of water for things to grow. It was something he hadn’t expected. He’d expected trees, and water to be separate. Much like the river and the lake where Rose lived. He didn’t expect them to be so thoroughly mixed together.

He decided to take a bath in one of the streams. He splashed water all over himself. Rinsing the dust, the sweat, and the dirt of his journey off. It was refreshing to feel clean. He stayed on the ground long enough to eat some dried fish, and some of the sea weed. He marveled at the way the sunlight filtered through the trees. The way he could see beams of light passing through gaps in the limbs and leaves. The way the ground was always in shadow, never brightly lit.

While he was on the ground, he got to see a couple of deer, and a raccoon visit the edge of the stream, and drink. He got to watch the raccoon stand in the stream, and watch the water. He watched as it plunged a front leg into the stream, and pulled it out, holding a small fish. He hadn’t realized raccoons had workable hands.

He took back to the trees, when he was ready, and continued his journey. That evening, as the sun began to set, he found some tree branches that had fallen. He placed them across the gap between a couple of tree limbs, and tested the resulting surface to see if it could hold his weight. He had to try several times to get the right branches, and to get them positioned properly, so they acted like a little floor between the limbs. He covered that little floor with dead leaves.

As he prepared for sleep on the second night of his journey, he thought of Rose. Of holding her hand. Of her smile, and how it made everything seem OK.  He remembered how, when he was lost, and alone, and wondered if he’d ever see his mother, and his home again, Rose had smiled at him, and held his hand.  And he felt like everything was OK. Like being lost forever wouldn’t be so bad.

That night, he slept on his own little nest in the trees. And he slept well, finding he wasn’t afraid of falling. And having dreams of walking with Rose among the trees, holding her hand, and getting to see her smile.