Author of Visionary Fiction & Fantasy
Cocooned in his favourite blanket, the old man, eyes closed, reclined in front of the roaring fire. His once dark hair had turned completely white. His smooth latte skin now resembled tissue paper which someone had crumbled and then spread out leaving lines and crevices that took up residence on his face. He thought back over his long life and a smile of satisfaction creased his countenance.
He could hear the children race down the hall and quietly tiptoe into the room. Whispering amongst themselves, he opened one eye and smiled at them.
“It’s okay guys. You can come in. I’m not asleep.”
They formed a semi-circle on the floor in front of him. He raised his recliner to an upright position and spoke.
“And what, pray tell, may I do for you ladies and gentlemen on this glorious day?”
“Tell us the story about the witches and the faeries again, Grandpa. Please. It’s my favourite,” said Evie, bouncing up and down.
The old man winked at her and whispered, “Mine, too,” as he began his tale.
“Once upon mid-summer’s eve, a long time ago…”
Brooding darkness roiled in the sky over the small island of Dobhar, just off the north shore of John O Groats, Scotland. Small fissures of energy rose from the ground with fizzing sounds surrounding the coven who had gathered for their Solstice ceremony. Stepping to the centre of the circle, the High Priestess, Everloure, led the assembly in their opening blessing. When she finished, she raised her athame and said,
“The King has decreed all witches shall be put to death and has sent his soldiers to arrest us. Word has come his troops were in Inverness a fortnight ago, so we have only a day or two at the most before they arrive here. He cares not that we are healers and nurture our people. His only concern is we are women, we have power, and the people love and trust us.”
“What about our people?” asked Mhairi.
“I know. My heart is breaking at the thought of leaving, but we can do them no good if we remain to be slaughtered. Dobhar has the fewest inhabitants of these outer islands. I have spoken to them all to explain will happen this night. The ones who didn’t agree left for the mainland or another island, and the ones who did are looking forward to a new adventure and choose to come with us. Therefore it is time. We must leave this place. Do you all agree?”
The women all responded “Aye”.
“Come closer. Life your athame to touch mine and repeat the ‘Awen’. Goddess, I ask you to give power to your servants this night when the veil is thin. Grant our purpose and intent to save the community and give us peace in the new land. So mote it be.”
The coven gathered close to their Priestess and lifted their daggers, so their blades were touching hers. As one, they began to chant. As the sound got louder and stronger, thunder rolled. Lightening crackled and lit the sky. A single fork pierced the mist and struck the tip of Everloure’s blade. A giant wave of water surrounded the island and plucked it from its resting place, faery rings and all, and flung it across the ocean where it came to rest in Lake Simcoe, Canada. It settled into the water and soon tiny waves were lapping at its shores as if it had always been there.
In the sacred circle, thirteen women lay prone, their arms, hands still clutching their athames, outstretched above their heads. Everloure heard a ringing in her ears as she slowly regained consciousness. All around her the women were groaning and stirring. Gradually, everyone sat up clutching their heads and whispering.
“What happened. Did it work?” asked one.
“I think so,” said another. “The air smells different. We are near water, but there is no saltiness in it.”
Everloure rose to her feet and brushed off her gown. As she did so, a blinding flash shone in front of her and Maeve, Queen of the Faeries, appeared, robed in all her majestic glory. The coven gasped in unison and quickly formed a line behind Everloure.
“What have you done?” she screamed, her hands on her hips, eyes flashing.
“I guess it worked,” answered Everloure. “Maeve, please quiet down. My head is pounding.”
“I’ll ask you again,” said Maeve through gritted teeth. “What. Have. You. Done?”
“The King was on his way to destroy us, so we moved the island.”
“We moved the island.”
“Did it not occur to you, you stupid witch, our homes would be moved as well?”
Everloure tilted her head to one side and tapped her finger against her mouth.
“Honestly. I didn’t even think about it. I was too worried about having my head detached from my body, I didn’t give you much thought. The King’s regiment had already passed Inverness and were almost at our doorstep. We all agreed we had to act now, and this was the best way.”
“Witch! Get us back.”
“I can’t do that. I’m sorry, Maeve, can’t you do it yourself?”
“No. You are the one who brought us here… wherever ‘here’ is. You’re the only one who can send us back.”
“Look, I’m sorry you’ve been disturbed, but maybe this move will be a good thing for your people as well. The King can’t get you here either. And your kingdom really hasn’t been disturbed all that much. Once anyone passes the portal from this world, nothing will have changed. Only our world has been altered, not yours. I won’t go back… even if I knew how. All our people would be destroyed, and I can’t allow that to happen.”
Maeve stood very still and took in a deep breath.
“You mean, you moved the mortals on the island as well? I would destroy you myself if it were allowed. Since I am not allowed to harm you and you refuse to do what I ask, let me warn you, from this day onward you and your descendants are my enemies. Any human who wanders our way will be very sorry. Do not cross me again.”
She raised her hand and with a small flip of her wrist, disappeared in a puff of smoke.