TEASER: Dance into the Wyrd
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.”