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Gathering of The Guardians
Gathering of The Guardians - dedication/ notes/ acknowledgements
This are the beginnings of my second novel 'The Gathering Of The Guardians'
Dedication and Acknowledgements
I dedicate this book to Moriah, my first granddaughter whom I raised from infancy, she has enriched my life and kept me young well into my Cronedom, to her brothers and sister who are also among my greatest blessings, to Bobby my foster son; the child of my heart who was always the loving big brother, and to Barbara, my beloved step daughter, who came first.
I also want to thank all those along the way who have enriched my life and helped me grasp the right threads at the right time to obtain what I’ve needed on this – my life’s journey. May the Goddess be with you for always.
Martha ‘Gipsiecrone’ Bowman
Other Novels by Gipsiecrone
‘TRIAND in the In-Between’ published by Friesen Press, August 2013, available at Friesen
Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores
‘SANCT-U-IRY’ Available Spring 2014
‘WHERE SHE LEADS’ Coming Soon
Gathering of The Guardians - Chapter 1
The Gathering of The Guardians
Through the Veils
From where I squat I see the torches flickering like a parade of fireflies, as the villagers wind their way along the shore of the Sea of the Unicorn’s Demise and up through the Forest of The Ancestors. They are a small group, mostly women and children who walk in pairs by the light of torches and the twin moons to the cave where the woman and I live with the Ancient Ones. She is a ‘Rememberer’ the people have come to hear her weave her tales.
They extinguished their flames as they exited from the forest and silently gathered around the fire at the mouth of the cave. Soon we heard the jingle of shells and bone as the ‘Old One’ made her way slowly to the mouth of the cave and the chair I had placed by the fire. The people softly began to sing.
“MOTHER OF DARKNESS, MOTHER OF LIGHT,
JOIN US HERE THIS HOLY NIGHT.
BY FLAME, WIND, SEA, AND SOIL WE DO BESEECH THEE
JOIN US NOW….”
“This is a night of Beginnings, the time of the Blood moons; it is a time of true Majick”, she said pulling some herbs from her pocket and throwing them onto the fire; the flames turned blue as a heady aroma wafted around us.
“Tonight we step through the veils and jump forward, into history – to a time when the Land was green and The Mother walked openly upon it – when men and women were equals and all living creatures were ONE with the Universe and The Creator/ess.”, she threw more herbs and the flames turned green, a strong refreshing smell rose around us.
“Breathe deep and allow the Majick to flow into your bodies as you grasp at the threads rising from the smoke and follow them – follow them across the threshold to the time before the END – back to the BEGINNING.”
For the third time she puts some herbs to the flame turning them a deep violet, the aroma this time is of something I seem to remember.
I feel light, I’m floating. I look down and see myself sitting at the feet of the old woman, and then I grasp the silver thread by my left hand and follow it forward into the past.
I step out of the smoke into the middle of a large group of people who are gathered in a circle. Letting go of the thread I join them and take up the chant;
“ISIS, ASTARTE, DIANA (dee – anna), HECATE, DEMETER, KALI (kaa – lee), INANNA”.
Soon other travelers have joined us and the chanting stops. As if on cue a Crone enters the center and begins.
“We welcome you, our brothers and sisters from beyond time and space. We come together tonight as we have since eons forgotten in thanksgiving. We give thanks to the Mother, Our Goddess of The Harvest time and to The Sun King her consort. Please join us.”
“We welcome also the Guardians of the four directions and the Spirits who dwell there:
- East and the Spirits of Air, thank you for the refreshing breezes you bring and for nurturing our crops to harvest.
- South and the Spirits of Fire, who dwell in the brilliant warmth of the sun, thank you for your life-giving nourishment.
- West and the Spirits of Water, who dwell in the sparkling streams, lakes, and soft rains, providing refreshment, renewal and life giving nourishment. Thank you.
- North and the Spirits of Earth, who dwell in the fertile fields, deep forests and high mountains. Bringing life, and abundance, thank you for nurturing our crops to harvest”
“The harvest is the end of the cycle, the time to release the power to those who will come after us. The ability to know when one cycle is ended and to allow the next to begin without regret is the greatest of wisdoms.”
A man and woman enter the center of the circle and step up to the stone alter beside the Crone, They begin reciting a spell in some archaic language as the rest of us join hands and move docile around the exterior chanting softly.
“ISIS, ASTARTE, DIANA (dee – anna), HECATE, DEMETER, KALI (kaa – lee), INANNA”
When the spell work is finished blessings are given and the elements and spirits are thanked and dismissed. Then the Goddess is thanked again and the circle is opened. The ceremony is finished and we gather for refreshments. As we again grasp the threads to return to our own place and time we are each handed a pouch.
The Ancient One handed me the bowl she’d been holding in her lap and slowly rises to her feet.
“Each of you was asked to bring an empty container with you this evening; please hand it to the Girl so she can fill it before you leave.”
“Sprinkle the contents of the pouches you brought back tonight around your homes and bury the pouch itself in the area you were asked to clear for planting, then on the night of the New moon following this one, plant your seeds by the scatter method and tend to them as you were instructed. Go now and stay together, the four leggeds are not the only ones out hunting tonight. Blessed Be, Everyone,”
She returns to the interior and I am left to finish up and bank the fires for the night.
I draw symbols I don’t understand on the walls of our cave with a piece of charcoal while the Old One finishes blending a tincture for some small child from the village whom she says will be down sick with fever within the week; I’m to take it down the mountain and deliver it with a message for her Mother when I go to pick up our supplies tomorrow.
“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Girl. Something ailing you?”
“No. I was just wondering why you didn’t come with us last night and where all those seeds came from, the bowl too, for that matter; it wasn’t one of ours and now I can’t find it anywhere.”
“Just ‘cause you didn’t recognize me don’t mean I wasn’t there; besides you needn’t be worrying about other people’s business when you got your own to take care of. Come here Girl and sit by me – it’s time you begin to realize who and what you really are.”
I make myself comfortable beside the fire as the Ancient One sits down on her cot; blowing some powder into the air she begins softly to tell a tale.
“In a time long ago when the First Destruction had not yet been visited upon the Children of Terra there lived a powerful and good Queen who ruled beside her Husband in a beautiful land by the edge of an enchanted forest. This King and Queen had two children, the Princess Elexiss and her twin brother Prince Lexor who were soon to make their way out into the world as adults.
When the twins turned sixteen on the Eve of Beltane Princess Elexiss departed on a three month journey to Woden’s Territory on the Fringe where she was to marry their king. She was escorted by a company of the King’s Guard led by her brother.
Unbeknown to the King and Queen the Queen’s brother, the Duke of Chaos, had signed a pact with the Lord of Darkness. He had the bridal party ambushed when they reached The Fringe, giving orders to leave no one alive to tell the tale. It was almost five months before a wondering caravan of Gypsies came across the scattered remains of the wagons and recognizing the royal seal brought the sad news back to the palace to the King and his pregnant Queen.
The Kingdom went into mourning while The Queen took to her chambers, refusing to see anyone. Days turned into weeks then on the eve of the new moon in her seventh month, the Queen went into labor. The physicians were called and after nineteen hours the Queen gave birth to a tiny girl child they christened Ember Lamora. She kissed her daughter on the forehead and giving her into the hands of the Goddess, the Queen breathed her last breath.
A few days later the first of the outlying villages were attacked. Among the people who sought sanctuary at the palace was a young woman whose child had been ripped from her arms by an enemy soldier and slammed against a wall after she herself had been beaten and left for dead. Her name was Annalorie and she became wet nurse and Mother to the Princess.”
The room grows quiet and I look over at the woman I have shared this cave with for as long as I can remember – she is sleeping.
Sighing I cover her gently with a blanket realizing the story would not be finished tonight, after banking the fires I lay down on my mat.
Something has awakened me but nothing seems out of place and I don’t sense anything unusual around me. Looking up through the through the small opening in the roof of the cave I can see it’s still the middle of the night, touching a straw to the embers and getting a flame I reach over to light the lantern then walk quietly towards the entrance.
Outside I look around.
At first everything seems normal; I extinguish the lantern and squat down beside the low burning fire to scan the horizon and the forests’ edge. Suddenly a legendary snow white owl streaks down and lands beside the fire at my feet; one of the ‘Hidden Fae’ steps off.
“This is no time for tears my Little One. You must hide, now” said the small creature growing to human size as she took my hand and began leading me away towards the forest.
Touching my face I find I am indeed crying. I also discover I am no longer who I was a moment ago. I heard myself speak in the voice of a small child.
“My Mommy left when she heard the yelling, she told me to hide under the floor and not come out until she called me but she’s been gone a long time and I’m hungry.”
“There are bad men in the village and soon they will start searching and burning the houses. They will kill anyone they find; you must escape into the forest long before they reach your home.”
A short span from the village we stop and she reaches in her pocket. Handing me a Flask filled with cold, fresh water and an apple, some cheese, and bread she directs me to a large moss covered rock to rest on while she busies herself calling on the elements to hide our escape route. When she finishes she whistles and then flits back to Fairie size and lands beside me.
“Now we wait, you should take a nap.” was all she said.
I awaken to something cold and wet touching my face, was this all a dream? Opening my eyes I find myself surrounded by wolfs, screaming I begin crying again.
“Do stop Ka. She is frightened enough without you scaring her to death,” said a large tan she wolf placing a paw gently on my leg.
“Do not fret Princess. We are the Guardians of the Forests and have been instructed by The Goddess Herself to escort you and keep you safe until the appointed time. I am Raya and this is my mate Ka. Climb on my back and hold on tight, we must hurry if we are to reach the cover of the deep wood before the Dukes men realize you are not among the dead and start searching for you.”
In no time at all we have covered the open lands between the village and the forest where we halt just inside the tree line and watch in the direction of the village as the sky turns black with smoke and the flames rise.
“The Palace is burning. The Kingdom is lost. Everyone is dead.” Screeches a hawk as it flies overhead and into the trees.
Tears stream down my face one final time as we turn our backs on what used to be my home and enter the deep woods.
I sit beside the Mirror pond and gaze at the beautiful flame haired girl with almond shaped eyes and the intricate marks of lavender scrolls that start at her right temple and run down her neck who stares back at me and I wonder who she is.
It has been nearly ten springs since the Dukes’ army burned the palace to the ground. The land is poisoned and the rivers still run red with blood as they sweep across Terra annihilating every Spellweaver, Wytche and Terranite in their path.
Those who managed to escape the purge have fled through the gates to the remote wildernesses and forests of other worlds to hide and regain their strength. They are now calling themselves ‘The Resistance’.
I live with the Elfin Folk and other magical creatures in the Deep Ravine – the most remote and uninhabited part of Fae-home. I’ve been told the wolves brought me here as a small child when they found me starving and almost dead beside the corpse of a woman presumed to be my mother during the first wave of the killings, but to me it seems like I’ve always been here.
I skip a stone across the smooth surface of the water. When the ripples stop the girl is gone. In her place I see only my own mousey brown haired, doe eyed reflection and I remember what I am supposed to be doing. Quickly I gather the blue and orange spotted mushrooms I was sent after and head back to Oak Tree City where I live.
The Gypsies arrived in our forest last night and my few belongings are packed and ready; I am to travel with them when they move on. Sophimitis, the Elfin Witch who has raised me as her daughter these many years has explained she has nothing left to teach me and I must now learn the ways of my own kind. She has given me an Elixor made from the Fog Plant to cloud my brain and shroud my memories from prying eyes until they are needed. She has also provided me with a bottle containing the spores from the ‘membershroom’ to counteract the spell when the time is right. Already my memories are growing dim.
“Wake up Girl,” said the Old One shaking me.
“You need to be started down the mountain by dawn.”