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TEASER: Dance into the Wyrd
We drove to the Earl’s Barrel where Joan greeted us warmly. Puck was seated by the great big hearth, in animated conversation with a woman in her late fifties. She was lissom and slight, medium long grey hair framing a sharp face that held a hint of sadness. Lady was by their feet.
Puck actually beat Lady in getting to me and we lost ourselves in a prolonged hug.
“Will ye unwrap yernself from that lass Puck ye young scaddle,” Willick grumbled when Joan came to take our orders. “Joan be awaiting.”
“Let them be,” Joan laughed. “Ah knows theirn drinks.”
“Young love at Midsummer is naun to be denied,” the willowy woman Puck had been speaking to said as she approached us.
I let go of Puck reluctantly and gave Lady a quick greeting. She had given up her energetic scampering and sat by our feet looking up with large sad eyes. Then I turned for an inquisitive look at the woman.
“Allison this be Wenn I spoke of,” Willick said. “Wenn, Allison, mine wife.”
“So ye be the pretend grandchild o’ mine Will?” Allison looked at me curiously.
“Erm,” I looked at Willick who looked embarrassed. “Yes. He’s really helped me and stuff.”
I felt a bit awkward. She was an outsider to the little make-believe family unit I had constructed in my mind, but I liked her instinctively even though I didn’t want to because in my mind she had stolen Willick from Joy. I quickly reassembled that notion, reminding myself that it was Mortimer Malheur who had stolen Joy from Willick. I also noted that there didn’t appear to be any tension between Joy and Allison, something I would have expected, especially thinking of that Maimie creature.
“Ye’ve made him a happy man,” Allison said with a smile. “We’re naun blessed with chavees and he’s always wanted a grandchild o’ hisn own.”
“Really?” I was surprised, though it explained the way Willick behaved sometimes. I looked at Willick for confirmation.
“Tis nigh on midsummer and that sets women all hare-brained with fanciful notions,” Willick grumbled.
Allison and Joy laughed. I gave him a grateful smile.
“So what is all this Midsummer business?” I asked when I had sat down.
“It be Summer Solstice tomorrow,” Joy supplied.
“Longest day of the year,” Puck added.
“We’ve celebrations each year,” Joy’s eyes gleamed with mischief. “Howsumdever, tomorrow be middling special.”
Then they told me of their plans to let the past echo loud and clear in the Wyrde Woods the next day. We were going to unleash a weapon of old. We were going to summon a legend back to Sussex.
§ § § § § § §
When we got downstairs the next morning the living room was much more crowded than usual; besides Joy a sleepy looking Willick sat next to Allison and Joan was there too, all sipping coffee.
“Don’t we have to wear something special?” I asked Joy as she led Allison, Joan and myself into the garden and then into the orchard. I had half expected to be fitted into a mystic gown. It was still dark though a band of grey stretched along the eastern sky.
“Naun,” Joy chuckled. “We’ll leave that to the Sheere-folk what be at Stonehenge this morning.”
“Be plenty o’ time for dramatics tonight,” Joan nodded.
I followed the other three into the yew forest. I knew what we were going to do, having been filled in by Joy and I had mixed feelings. On the one hand it was thrilling, on the other it felt silly, though the sense of belonging overrode any second thoughts I might have had as we wound through the yew tunnels towards the within. We reached Heorttreów as brightness in the eastern sky announced the imminent arrival of the sun and Joy allocated us positions around the great big tree.
“Wenn to the west, Allison north and Joan south. Wenn, make sure yern Swan be uncovered.”
I unbuttoned my army shirt so that the Swan was revealed and went to my assigned place. When the top of the sun peeked over the horizon the others raised their arms sideways and up and I followed their example.
We stood there for what seemed a long time as more and more of the sun became visible and was greeted by an increase of bird chitter. Joy waited for the first proper beam of light that penetrated the clearing. It shone straight on me, causing the Swan to reflect its brilliance.
“Father Heorttreów, Norns thrice, hear us,” Joy intoned in a loud and solemn voice. I suppressed an involuntary giggle at the weirdness.
“The Seven be complete,” Joan and Allison answered, speaking in bright and clear voices.
“One for sorrow,” Joy spoke opposite me.
“Two for Joy,” Allison spoke.
“Three for a girl.” It was my turn and I surprised myself with the solemn tone of my voice.
“Four for a boy,” Joan said.
“Five for silver,” Joy continued.
“Six for gold,” Allison said.
“Seven for a secret,” I spoke.
“Never to be told,” the other three said in unison.
We became silent then and I was kind of disappointed that nothing seemed to happen. The birds continued their songs, the sun seemed unperturbed and Heorttreów continued to be its impassive spectacular self.
Joy turned and walked back into the tunnel and the rest of us followed. I caught up with her when we left the tunnel.
“Was that all?” I asked, somewhat incredulous.
“Ye were expecting something spectacular?” Joy chuckled.
“Well, yeah. Fireworks, the seventh Shy Maiden to dance out of the tree, stuff like that,” I admitted.
“The words were spoken, that be what were needed,” Joy smiled.
I nodded but was not entirely convinced, I had really expected to be swept off my feet by some cosmic force, to feel all alive and a-tingle.
“Doan’t be worried,” Joy chuckled. “There will be a gurt deal more afore the next dawn.”
DANCE INTO THE WYRD - UPDATE:
Dance into the Wyrd, by Nils 'Nisse' Visser will appear in print at the beginning of April, 2015.
Distribution will be world-wide, some retailers will take longer than others to stock up, but all the major retailers will carry it as part of their PoD product.
There will be Kindle Deals for electronic readers.
The first Wyrde Woods novel, the prequel to Dance into the Wyrd (Escape from Neverland) can be ordered world-wide, check with a good book store.
Follow Nisse Visser on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nisse-Visser/1627410794152606