A druid priestess is called hundreds of years into the future to awaken a gift that now lies dormant in humanity. A brother, a sister, a wiccan coven, a streetwise biker, a special forces covert operative and surprising arrivals from very different places come together to bring answers and hope to a modern world now racing towards its own destruction.
What Cerys shares with the unlikely collection of regular people she finds in this new world will begin a chain fire awakening around the globe. For some this heralds the possibility of a stable planet. For others, it marks the beginning of a threat to the corporate war machine whose tendrils reach into every aspect of life on Earth.
If you could suddenly stop a bullet with a thought; if you could read the minds of others and know a lie from the truth; if you could heal a body or a mind; if you could stop a natural disaster that could take the lives of thousands, would you? Would you give your private life away to be a part of something far greater? And would you be willing to do whatever it takes to secure the safety of others and the only home you know?
Join Cerys, John, Sylvana, Dee, Brick and the others as their simple lives explode into a global movement in The Grove: Awakened. Book One of the Awakened Trilogy.
Ordinary people can become extraordinary heroes
June 1996, Yankton Sioux Reservation, South Dakota
A Star Knowledge Conference took place in southeastern South Dakota in the early summer of 1996 where elders, shaman, spiritual teachers and delegates came to represent their indigenous nations at the gathering on the Yankton Sioux reservation. For ten days, they listened, they spoke. Each nation faced a modern world that stifled their sacred work of keeping the balance of nature, allowing life on Earth to continue.
The Star Knowledge Conference drew speakers and listeners to hear the ancient knowledge of our origins on other planets; each nation acknowledging the star system where their own people traveled from, ages earlier, to inhabit Earth. The plains people came: from the host Yankton Sioux nation, to the Oglala, Dakota, Blackfoot and Nakota peoples. From the southwest, came the Hopi, Yaqui and Mayan elders. The East sent their people from the Iroquois, Oneida, Seneca and Choctaw nations. A Maori Chief Shaman traveled from New Zealand so that his people would be represented at this unprecedented gathering, and a Saami speaker traveled from north of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle. White community representatives came to learn, to listen and to share their own knowledge. Each told their people’s legends of extraterrestrial contact and they shared the stories of more recent contact.
They spoke of the deteriorating eco-systems that served their people as food source and home land. They listened to the telling of the Hopi Prophecies; knowledge that had only recently been made public and the warning of the ending of the current Fourth World and the coming of a harder, technology free Fifth World, that will take all humankind back to a place where we live in balance with nature.
Each brought news of clear cutting and deforestation, strip mining and the systematic draining of ancient underground water aquifers that affected their daily lives. They spoke of the dangers of genetic manipulation of crops, dumping of chemicals into rivers, lakes and oceans and the burying of toxic waste. The extensive power grid systems were leading to a breakdown of the natural magnetic power grid that surrounds the planet. Some brought data and details of weather manipulation machines being built for the military and others spoke of mining survey equipment that, used in the wrong location on the living earth grid, could cause catastrophic damage to the planet.
The Grid was known to every nation around the world and so they shared their knowledge and legends. They called the Grid by many different names; Ley lines, Mother Earth, Dragon lines, Song Lines, Curry lines, Hartmann net, Schumann waves, Gaia Matrix and others. Along these naturally occurring magnetized lines surrounding the globe, temples of worship have been built; monasteries in the Himalayas, Medicine Wheels of the Native American Nations, capitol buildings in modern cities and the famous Rose Line that makes its straight journey north through Europe and the U.K..
They shared their people’s Flowers of Life, a mathematical wonder represented in each of the world’s major religions. Its image echoes the geometric pattern of the world energy grid. Each culture with ancient roots repeats the tales and mythologies of our stewardship over this vibrant, measurable life force that keeps the planet a safe and healthy home for human life. All of this was addressed that warm June on the windswept high plains of the host Sioux nation.
As the conference drew to a close, each had spoken, each had been heard and each would return with the sacred knowledge that soon, very soon, everything was about to change.
The Earth could no longer maintain its delicate balance without the intercession of the Keepers and the Keepers could no longer fulfill their sacred duties without the assistance of their own ancestors; the Star People from whom they had originated. The Conference was a call, out to the heavens, asking their ancestors for wisdom, guidance and assistance where they could offer it.
Military might and wealthy corporations were building machinery and technology that would soon threaten the sky above them, the earth below their feet and the air they breathe bringing a faster close to the Fourth World and a shocking start to the Fifth World; one without technology; one without our current government structures; one that would plunge modern humanity into desperate, survival mode. Now. Now was the time to make the call and beg for help.
As they gathered one last time to close the conference on the final night, each representative heard the silent answer that moved around the circle where they sat; they are coming.
Spring 2007 Roseburg, Oregon: 96.9 miles northwest of Medford
Brian Argent and his four man crew hauled “boomer” up to the site. It was easier to rent equipment locally than packing and shipping round trip their own electrical seismic topography machine. The $700 fee was a bargain and it allowed them to get in, scan the ground and get out on an evening flight without the hassle of preparing the freight for the return to their base in New Hampshire.
The men worked together to push the heavy wheeled cart bearing their gear, over the forest floor, much of it uphill. At the target zone, they unpacked the equipment and started the set up for the gas and oil scans the machine would record after it sent a series of powerful extremely low frequency pulses into the ground to locate pockets of the lucrative resources.
The entire operation would take them just over an hour and they could send the results back to headquarters to be analyzed and shared with the customer. If these scans showed gas or oil deposits, the finding fees would net the company a substantial boon.
One minute and forty two seconds after they fired up the rental equipment sending the first of hundreds of extremely low frequency waves into the ground, their booming ELF’s were answered with a return call from the ground itself. An immediate and substantial earthquake shook beneath their feet causing fissures and breaks in the hillside. Trees nearby tilted and fell into the six foot crevice that had opened a few dozen yards away from where the machine sat pounding out its challenge to the fracture zone. A crewman scrambled to the machine and slammed a hand down on the switch, silencing it. Gathering their belongings the five men made a fast retreat back to their waiting vehicle.
“Son of a bitch. I told them this was bat shit crazy to go looking for resources in a damn hot zone. Man, they don’t pay me enough to stay up there and be the cause of a quake that wipes out the damn state. No sir. This time I am god damned done.” The open flannel shirt over his t-shirt flapped in the breeze as Argent spit the words out while rushing to gather equipment.
The damage done, the crew gone, local people were none the wiser that the men were the source of the quake that was felt for miles around and peaked at 4.5 on the Richter scale. The epicenter; their machine on the side of a hill in Roseburg, Oregon. As surely as a one inch long, carelessly dropped match can burn an entire forest to the ground, the machine and the thousands others like them in use around the planet every day, had begun a precarious dance beneath the ground that would continue long after the off switches were engaged.
The 750 mile long fracture in the Cascadian subduction zone that runs from Northern California to British Columbia, rattled and shook for days with quakes as strong as 5.4 and peaking a few miles off shore at a reading of 6.1. Each rattle and shake would take the hotspot closer to the overdue cyclical mega-thrust quake. After 6,500 years of relative quiet activity, it was time.
While the search for oil and gas resources threatened the stability of the Earth’s crust, Auroral projects were threatening the sky and natural weather systems around the globe. Heating targeted areas of the ozone layer of the atmosphere to 50,000 degrees through a series of antennae arrays on every continent, Earth was facing its greatest challenge in its 4.5 billion year history. Like the small match that levels a forest, human technology in the hands of revenue seeking corporations in the pursuit of money and military organizations pursuing strategic domination of resources, gambled the triggering of cataclysmic global events.
Ten days later: Midtown Manhattan
“You know what Bob? You and the company may have the fat check book, a U.S. Military contract and the backing of some greasy palmed senators, but I have a PhD in geophysics and seismology. And I’m telling you, again, if you keep hitting this planet with ELF’s and ULF’s and every other fucking tool that helps you find your goose eggs, you’re going to be responsible for the end of life as we know it and THAT is MY expert opinion.” Dr. Argent slammed the end button on his phone and stalked to the window of his Manhattan hotel room.
He looked at his watch. Four forty five. The journalist would meet him at five thirty at the bar a short walk away. Mumbling a frustrated diatribe as he pulled on his corduroy sport coat and tugged the sleeves down on his denim shirt. This city sucks the life out of me. Gray. Everything’s gray, gray, gray. The buildings, the pavement, Christ! Even the damn sky is gray! I don’t know how people live like this. He picked up the briefcase with the printouts from the last twenty- seven surveys where quake activity followed immediately after the first pulses of the ELF equipment.
As he walked the hall way towards the elevator, he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and hit 1 on the speed dial. “Hi Honey, it’s me. Yeah, I’m just heading out to meet him now. Yes. I’m sure. This can’t go on. I know. I’ll call when it’s over. I love you too. Bye.” Flipping the phone shut, he tucked it into his coat pocket and took a deep, calming breath before stepping into the open doors to start a lifetime of looking over his shoulder.
In the crush of pedestrians Argent was bumped and herded along Lexington Ave. The woman readied the needle concealed in the ring she wore casually on her right hand while weaving her way through the crowd to her target. She had waited in the hotel lobby nursing an iced tea until she saw him exit the elevator and loosely trailed behind down the block. He barely felt the scratch on his wrist, like a kitten had swiped him with its paw. Four minutes later, as he passed the W Hotel, a tight burning screamed its way up his left arm and into his neck. Knees met pavement and the sea of pedestrians moved just slightly then continued moving-flowing like a river around a rock. As he lay there at the corner of 49th & Lex, Brian Argent looked up and noted the rare blue patch of sky straight above him as he gave his final breath. “Huh. Look at that.”
On Their Way– ONE
Medford, June 19th, 2013
“Geez, Louise! Who lit your tampon string on fire?” Syl turned off the butane torch and lifted her safety glasses up, shoving them into her pastel blue and green hair caught atop her head in a messy ponytail. She turned on her work stool towards her brother where he lay stretching his long body across the small sofa in her studio. “Seriously, dude. You are an Olympic level buzz kill today. John, I love ya bro, but if you don’t get laid…soon, and I mean good and laid, I’m gonna call Brick and make him drag your ass to a brothel.”
“No one calls them brothels anymore, weirdo. And this is not a lack of sex problem. I’m, no, scratch that, we’re facing a real challenge here. If I can’t come up with the money to get the roadway rights back from Bothwell, the land is as good as gone; every acre, the grove, all of it. Everything our folks worked their asses off to hang on to so it would, one day, be ours… gone. You’re not taking this seriously, are you?” John sat up and swung his legs towards his sibling, who was tipping her can of Diet Dr. Pepper into her mouth.
She raised a hand and waved him back down on the sofa while she swallowed a burp from the carbonation. “I got it. I know how serious this is, but I also have a feeling that everything is going to turn around any minute now. Chillax. It’s gonna work out. We’ll find a way to buy the rights back and who knows, maybe we’ll find you a woman in the process. Someone amazing that I can stand to be around and not want to lock her in the walk in freezer like Princess Frosty Tits from Seattle. Trust me, John. These things have a way of working out in the most splendiforous and surprising ways.”
“Do you hear yourself? You’re such a sucker for all this magical thinking shit. You’re missing the harsh truth of what we’re up against. Is this the kind of crap you do with your Wiccan group up on the mountain? Send up rainbow wishes to fairies for a cash influx and a new pair of high heeled shoes while they’re at it?”
Syl was giggling as she set her jewelers tools back on her work desk and made her way over to the kitchenette. The converted garage studio held evidence of her talented family in the wall sized mural her mother had painted, the large glass roll down doors her father had found at an out of business car repair shop and the long wooden work bench her brother had made for her custom jewelry work. Swinging open the industrial wire door on the cabinet by the deep work sink, she grabbed the bag of sour cream and cheddar chips and stuffed a handful into her mouth. Around the loud crunching of chips, mouth open, she shared her thoughts with her brother, “See? Buzz kill.” Plopping down on the other end of the sofa she tossed the bag to him.
Washing chips down with soda, she went on. “Bro, the world is so much bigger and more complicated then we can ever imagine. Right now, at this very minute, somewhere, there’s someone starting their day and this day will include an action that will alter this situation for all of us. They’ve been making plans and they’re setting them in motion, because you and me, we’ve been sending out our requests to the Universe and they’ve been heard. I don’t know how and I don’t know why and I don’t know who but I can feel it in my bones. They’re on their way. Trust the force, Luke.”
“Shut the fuck up and hand me a beer, Oprah.”
She laughed and slapped his leg reaching into the small cooler on the floor to grab him a Rainier out of the ice water.
A Greater Magic–TWO
Cymru, June 22nd, 840, A.D.
Still awhile before the sun would rise, the last of the moon light through the small window gave barely enough illumination to see around her room. The effects of the milk tea they had used to perform the Imbas Forosna spell the night before had worn off but had left her with a fragile head. Fragments of a dream she had before waking flitted through her mind; the same one she’d had once or twice a year now since she was a girl. A face she could not name; a life she could not lead; she wondered why the Goddess would tempt her so with what she could not have at a time that required all of her skill and focus.
Holding her hands above her as she lay on the pallet, Cerys studied the woad designs inked with the needle onto her skin half a lifetime ago. The pain of the process she could easily remember. The deeper lesson she had learned that earned her the marks was as much a part of her soul now as was the gléfiosa- the shimmering energy that permeates the world and the true wisdom and perception of magic, light and deep that raised her to priestess in the eyes of her people.
With her right hand, marked with the three waved lines for water, she traced the flame symbol fixed in ink on the top of her left hand. The blue hue of the marks looked nearly black in the dim light. The day she had earned these stayed fresh in her memory and served as a constant reminder of the balance and control she must maintain when manipulating the elements for spells and simple charms; lessons that were never more relevant than they would be now. That lesson alone could save her life and the lives of others when she was called upon to do a greater work of magic, as she would be doing today.
When the sun rose on this day, she would be joining the arch druid at the sacred site. Together, they would be spinning a spell the likes of which is only done, perhaps, once a millennium; if it had ever been done at all. Requiring their undivided attention, the focused weaving of symbols and words, offerings of elements and sacred gifts that only she could give may be the last she would ever cast. A language spell had been given to her and if she survived, would be crucial for the journey ahead. For the greater good of all, she gladly took the task when Elidor had told her what must be done and how. By the very next rising sun, she would be somewhere else. She would be some when else as the magic she would weave would cast her forward to a time far in the future; perhaps, never to return to this place where she had lived and trained since her tenth summer. The sobering thought brought her back, not for the first time of late, to revisiting days gone by. Her thoughts now turned to the day when the druid, Elidor, had arrived at her parent’s door to bring her away with him.
He spoke little and his eyes left her only fleetingly to address her father or mother as they questioned him. He had taken food and drink at their table and Cerys had sat quietly listening. She stole glances at the woad marks that slid in and out of view on the druid’s arms, neck and feet as he moved and the fabric of his clothing slipped. His hair, long and dark with strands of silver led her to think he was of an age as her own father. He had several braided areas of hair and tied with bits of leather strip were small items; some silver, some looked like bones of a small animal; rabbit perhaps. On his wrists were metal bands and woad bands on his skin, of symbols, some she knew, others, new to her. The adults spoke of Cerys and some of the dreams she had that were fore telling; simple things like a rain that might harm the seeds they’d planted, others though had caused them to journey to the bedside of a friend, who, like in her dream, had died shortly after the visit.
Elidor had told her mother in a serious tone, that she was the one, the next, and that left untrained, her powers would rage out of control like fire on dry grasses. He had used exactly that example, and believing him and what was best for Cerys, they had gathered her few precious things; a few garments, a dagger that her father had made for her with a handle of bone and her mother’s golden torque armlet, passed down from her ancestors. Raising the sleeve of her own dark green dress as Cerys watched, her breath had caught when she realized what her mother was about to do.
“No, Máthair! You mustn’t. It’s your treasure. Please. Keep it with you always.” Cerys wiped the tears from her eyes that were falling freely. But her mother had insisted the bracelet was hers now and that this was exactly the right moment that she should have it. She took Cerys’ hand and slid the sleeve of her rough brown flaxen dress up her arm and with a gentle hand she worked the torque onto her daughter’s arm where it would stay.
Had she known at the time that a fever would take her mother before she ever saw her childhood home again, she would have looked deeper into her mother’s eyes. She would have tried to take the time to hear the things that were in her heart so she could know them as well as her own thoughts. As it was, Elidor insisted that they linger no longer. Before she had time enough to run crying back to the safety of her parent’s home, they had turned their horses south and the small thatched home with smoke from the dinner fire became a distant speck as she turned that last time to look from the crest of the hill. Three more steps and the view was gone and she slumped forward and took up a swatch of the horse’s mane to comfort herself; combing her fingers through the mare’s rough hair from neck to end. They began their journey towards Anglesey, days away, and somewhere on a sea she had only viewed in her waking dreams when she’d let her vision go soft while she did her daily chores. In her vision, she had seen herself near a stone building and she heard the cry of birds and felt a wet spray of salty water on her skin.
It had been a long while since she’d thought of the day she had left her family home. The memory was now thick in her chest. Cerys crossed her arms over her face there in the privacy of the small cottage that was her own and let her thoughts run through the twenty summers since she had last seen her own mother. Not one to brood or dwell much on things past, things she could not change, she allowed herself, on this one important day, to let her thoughts run freely. A respite, she thought, before the hard work ahead of her. She looked again at the marks on her hands and let the memory come. The fire day. She let the scenes play out in her mind again; every moment, every emotion, and every word that followed leading to those permanent marks on her hands.
It was her 15th summer and by then, Elidor had taught her much in the way of the gléfiosa, the bright knowledge that set apart those who worked with magic and those who were blind to its presence. For years, she gathered the herbs and bits for potions to aid the ill health of those around her. She learned what each plant and liquid held in the way of its own magic and which to combine with others; which to avoid, unless death was your goal. That dark magic, Elidor, had told her, was the realm of dark soul creatures and better left alone. He had taught her the ways of the Three Illuminations, and having mastered only the Coire Sois, the knowledge in the head, she was still like a sitting stool with only one leg. At fifteen years, though she had thought she knew enough already. How foolish she had been.
Working with an elemental spell that autumn day, she was drawing fire up with hands out stretched and the words of power flowing from her lips. Elidor would often have her work practice spells in the sight of distractions; noises from storms on the horizon, the ringing clatter of an iron workers anvil near at hand or the busy movement of local folk as they went about the business of their day. He was teaching her about the complete concentration that she must have to one day work greater magic and he had impressed on her again and again, that this was no game. The consequences of distraction were dire when elements got out of your control and he’d made his point with buckets of water over her head that had been held there with a spell until she’d insisted in scratching an itch on her nose and lost the focus of her mind. That day though, she had brought up a large flame and was holding it several feet above her head as she said the words of power. While she chanted the spell, Elidor walked around her, talking all the while.
“Pay attention girl! Do not allow anything outside of you break the flow of words and the spell that you’re weaving or you’ll kill us all for sure.”
They were practicing this day, on the edge of town and near to several small houses where children played around the ground and inside the cottages and wooden animal stalls. The summer had been long, reaching nearly to Samhain, and the food and grasses were harvested and brought to the out building just behind her. Some of the townsmen were busy taking loads of wheat from the nearby field to where the grain was thrashed and though Cerys kept her attention on the dancing flames above her, she could see the people moving in the periphery of her vision.
It was all going well until Berwyn had stopped a moment to pull his shirt over his head to wipe the sweat from his brow just to the right and across the pathway. He was just a few years older than her, and had she not been training as a priestess, he would have caught her eye years before. She had certainly caught his and somewhere inside that strong and muscled body, he was convinced that if he just kept showing up, she might abandon her vows and take him as her husband.
The flame was full and bright and she had held it there now for the better part of an hour, one of the training exercises that built strength in the body as well as the mind. If it hadn’t been for the heat of the day; if it hadn’t been for the sight of Berwyn’s tanned and muscled body and the fine strong arms as he lifted his shirt to wipe his brow, she would have been completely in control of the magic. As it was, her mind wandered and she was having a difficult time holding the spell. Beads of sweat began to course down her forehead as she tried in vain to bring her mind back to the task. He was a fine looking boy indeed. Vows do not make you blind.
“Where are you girl? Thinking about the fire over your head right now or that boy in your bed?” Elidor knew exactly what he was doing as he taunted her.
The flame flared out to ten times its size as she tried to reign in her embarrassment at being found out. She tried to bring the fire back into control. Instead of shaking off the errant thoughts, she let out a wild breath of frustration and thinking the sacred word for wind, hoping a breeze would dry her wet brow, the magic in her hands included the element into the fire spell. The flame rushed out over her head and the wind she’d accidentally created carried it onto the building behind her and into the dry autumn thatch that was its roof. The children playing inside didn’t see the flames catch, but the horses nearby whinnied and danced nervously, pulling on the tethers that kept them at the building. In a moment, the townsfolk had seen what was happening and in another moment after that, panic had spread as they watched their winter’s food stores and their children’s lives in the balance of what might happen next.
When Elidor could see that Cerys was out of her mind with worry, he threw his arms out and pushed her back out of the way. “Feck! Girl, leave it to me.”
With a booming voice and a wide wave of his hands, Elidor threw a spell out, quashing the flames and bringing a raincloud into view above the building. Water dumped down soaking the thatch until it there was only the damp stench of wet straw and the townsfolk stood aghast at what might have just happened there. Cerys was shamed. It would be a good long while before the townsfolk ceased their teasing of her whenever she entered a place with a hearth or when someone went to light a pipe in her presence, reminding her of the day she “almost cooked them all.”
Berwyn had come to her a few days after she got her marks and apologized, telling her he knew full well that he was standing in her view and he had only hoped, once again, that she might reconsider her life of celibacy. “There’s a great crime in someone who looks the way you look, Cerys, with a heart as sweet as yours, to spend your nights in a bed alone. To never know the warmth of a lover, your bodies caught together and to never see the faces of the children you might have with me. Cerys, girl it breaks my heart to think of you lonely, aye and me lonely without you.”
She had been kind to him that day when she told him for the hundredth time, that her path was destined and she was already far enough down it to know that she could not step off of it now. She told him, if there were another life after this one, when they were there together, that she would happily and proudly make a life with him. But it was not to be in this time. He had stared at her hands then. The bloody scabs over the marks Elidor had given her, fire on the left hand, water on the right, would remind her for every day of her life, what hangs in the balance when you work magic and manipulate elements to have certain outcome.
Elidor had brought her to the Grove to do the marking ceremony. The fire and water were just the first of many she would receive that would tell the story of her life and chart the path of her learning of the gléfiosa. A thousand stings of the needle and the woad that she’d learned to mix from the plant that grew in the marshes would become a part of her life from that moment on. Not a day would pass when she wouldn’t notice the flame and the water marks and remember the cost of losing your focus in the small things like working the elements, and the large, invisible things, like pouring water on the flame in her belly that would call a mundane girl to the bed of lover as effectively as the tide was lulled to the shore by the moon.
She broke her nostalgic reverie then and running her hands through her chestnut hair, she rose from the straw palette where she slept. She had stuffed the mat with purple summer flowers to perfume her sleeping space and to keep the small bugs away that the flowers repelled. Pushing off the narrow bed, she rose finally, and took herself to the small stream outside where she could wash her body and her hair. Next to a tree she did her morning ministrations.
Back in her one room cottage, she pulled her garments on. She wore her rough linen riding breeches and a shirt more suited to a man and tied a leather strap around her middle. She had dyed the fabric herself in a deep brown and her shirt an indigo color; dyed from the same woad plant used as the ink for her blue marks. The pouches at her waist held the things she had carefully gathered for the magic today and among them was a small vial that held the rusty dust of her own dried moon blood, a powerful spell binder that made a signature of her spirit tied inextricably together to the magic she would do. Elidor had told her to collect clotted bits each month since she had first begun to bleed and to dry it until it could be pounded down to powder. Men’s magic was a powerful thing, but the mother, the moon, the goddess oversaw women’s magic of creation and nothing was more powerful than that. Over the years, she had filled a clay jar with the powerful powder and she had used a bit in other binding spells. Today just might require all she had left.
She looked around the small cottage that had been her home this one last time, wondering if she would ever see this place again, and with a blessing word, she pulled the door closed and set her foot onto the path that would take her to Elidor and the work that lie ahead of them.
As she walked to the cottage where her teacher, her friend lived, she mentally reviewed each of the steps they had taken over the preceding few days in preparation for this very day. She and Elidor had placed the green stone where it would never be discovered or disturbed and where its power was at its peak on the solstice day. With the help of Arch druid Elidor, she dug a place deep enough to stand in on the north side of the center of their sacred grove, where it would be hidden from curious wanderers foolish enough to tamper with magic of this magnitude. They had returned there to that place of power the following night to perform the Imbas Forosna; the seeing ritual and to add the personal elements to the spell sight.
She had been on that very spot on the eve of high summer, after they wove powerful spells, she lay in her trance while Elidor had shown her all he could of where she would be going. The milk tea had made her sway and fall to the ground with the swirling visions. He had cast a spell of knowledge that gave her an understanding of words she had yet to learn. She had held in her hand the clear sister-stone like an anchor while he cast the Imbas Forosna spell, altering her mind and her vision to show her what lie ahead for her.
In her milk tea vision, the people looked physically the same, but their clothing was odd and fitted immodestly close to their skin. She heard the language, more Briton than the Gaelic but still familiar to her ears. As these people spoke, the words, first foreign to her ears, became words she understood. She saw glass fortresses rising into the sky and metal boxes moving at incredible speeds with people riding them. As she watched the vision playing out on her eyelids, time moved forward. She saw women, now dressed in odd clothing yet, still holding the hands of their small children as they went. They gathered foods at a building with indoor tables and shelves crammed with vessels and boxes, jars and odd containers that appeared to be made of a translucent stone as she had watched one fall to the ground and not shatter. The scenes went by for hours showing her wondrous devices as she swam in the drug dream of the milk tea. She saw herself there on the ground then, Elidor beside her, his lips still moving with the weaving of words of power. She watched as a shimmering ghost of herself floated up from where her body rested and rose upward then. Looking through the eyes of the ghostly figure, she could look back down and see a silver thread attached between her ghost body and the one that rested down below. It seemed to be endless in length, floating and swaying as she rose above the land and up so high that she could look back down and see the blue oceans, the land and mountains far below. Higher yet and she was looking back at what appeared to be a round stone, blue and green floating there in an ocean of stars. The sight took her breath away and she felt her heart swell at the beauty of it all.
She saw the dragon lines then, like a shining fishing net that had laid itself around the world. Her ghostly eyes focused and she could see that at each intersection of the lines, the light was brighter and pulsed with power. The power that ran along the webbing was a massive source of the Gléfiosa covering the world. As she turned her eyes to certain places along the dragon lines, on closer inspection, some threads ran with a weak light and some had broken completely, leaving that area vulnerable to whatever danger a world might be facing. An image of metal that looked like insects on a large square field came into view. She watched and listened as a wave of sound moved up and pierced the sky. As the wave fell back down, she saw lights dimming and ground moving in large rolling waves.
This was the message then; she must find the broken places and heal them with her magic. This journey she would be taking and the greater magic, greater even than the Imbas Forosna spell that held her mind now for it was bound to this web of light that guarded the world. Minutes later or perhaps it was hours, on her waking a final vision passed before her eyes; the Tree of Life. It was inked onto flesh; on an arm much the same as the design that made its way from the small of her own back, up and over her shoulders. The sight remained with her even after she had come out of the milk tea visions.
In this early morning light walking along the dusty path, her feet knew their way to the small cottage farthest from the village. Taking in the familiar trees and farms along the way, she recalled carefree days running through the woods with Wren as a child, when he would come to visit. His training was with the older brother of Elidor and the need for his healing skills kept them both a few days away for the better part of the year. For a moment, she tried to send a call out to Wren, along the dragon line that ran with the creek beside the path. Hoping he had felt her presence, she raised her head to see Elidor’s door swing open as he waved her in for a bowl of porridge before they began their day. He nodded in greeting and left her to her food. Busying himself with gathering things he would require at the sacred sight, Cerys could see that he was working to control the emotion that he typically held at bay. He moved quickly around the cottage taking down small jars and tucking them into the pouch he would carry while he spoke low and mostly to himself. She sat at his table, this last time, and watched him; vowing to remember everything she could about this man who had given her a world of knowledge, passing over students that she had felt were far more able than herself. He had waved off her doubts early on and after a good long while and years of study, she had grown into the power that he had seen so long ago in that little girl from the north.
They made their way back to the Sacred Grove where they had worked the spell the night before, and armed now with the significance of the Imbas Forosna vision, they stood together at the sight they had prepared. Elidor removed the silver cuff from his arm and without ceremony or an overture of emotion, he put it onto her own arm, there along with her mother’s torque. She had seen the cuff every day for twenty years. It was covered in runes of power and she noticed it often, as he went about his work and teachings. This elder was a father to her and though his methods were sometimes harsh, his heart was true and she knew he loved her like his own. The gift of his cuff would be with her always, wherever she was going.
Standing then, side by side, they placed the remaining objects of power around the place where they had buried the green stone. It was up to her to cast the greater magic that would send her forward to a time that hadn’t been yet and to another land that might be in this world, though she couldn’t be certain of that until she arrived; if she arrived. To be lost in the middle was a possibility that she could not give any air to for fear that it might become so. She must first locate the heir to the sister grove in that other place and help him with a smaller task and then he would be able to lead her to the larger task that awaited her. A trade of assistance, a favor for a favor.
She clasped her hands onto Elidor’s arms and he returned the gesture locking their arms and their eyes on each other for one last moment. Releasing him with a nod, she turned and stepped into the center of the circle and raising her arms, the words of power began to flow from her lips. She called on the awenyddion, the gifted ones and asked them to walk with her to this other place. “… Co Choisiche, a Bendith y Mamau…” She called upon the Cran Beatha, the Tree of Life itself to guide her to the sister grove. She asked for protection. “…feth Fiadha…”’ and she asked to become one on the journey with Gléfiosa.
A blinding ice blue light enveloped Cerys, and Elidor had to shield his eyes from it. A great flash, like a lightning bolt that began and ended in the circle, filled the air and when he lowered his hands from his eyes, he stood alone and Cerys was suddenly, somewhere else. She had called the greater magic and it had answered her in kind. He had called upon his guide, Owara, who told him Cerys was ready for what lies ahead. He blessed the ground and turned for home. Nothing more could be done from this side of the spell. Now it was up to Cerys to bring the lines of time together with the lines of power ensuring that the world they knew could go on. Her failure was not an option.
Medford, Oregon, June 23rd 2013, A.D.
Cerys had closed her eyes hard against the blinding light. As it faded but still remained a shimmering echo, she opened them and taking in her surroundings, found an unfamiliar forest. New smells touched her nose, yet familiar in their earthiness. Creatures nearby had left their musky scent as they rubbed the trees in passing and the air seemed fresh here yet held a faint edge of something unfamiliar and acrid in the distance.
Coming back to herself, her body shook violently after having made the transfer to the sister grove using the two linked crystal points. The clear point had traveled with her. The other, the green mother-stone, similar in size to the one she now held with a death grip, had stayed deep beside the Logan Stone in the heart center of her own grove, where Elidor had been left behind.
In this grove, in what she hoped was the proper time in the distant future from where she was just a moment ago, she stood on shaking legs until the vibrating stopped and she could regain her balance and her courage to step out to a clearing and begin her search for the heir to the grove to bring him her message and offer her help in any way she could.
It was quiet here on this summer night and she was thankful for that as she gathered her wits and repositioned her satchel on her back to balance the weight. She had stored her crystal after wrapping it in leather and she bound it round with thong straps. In her bag, she carried pieces of silver and gold to trade for supplies she might need.
A few gemstones, supplied by Elidor, were tucked away and tapped her thigh when she walked, from where they hung in a small pouch beneath her breeches. She would save those only for a dire emergency as their value was far greater than the nuggets of metal and coin she carried in her bag.
Feeling confident in having made the journey and arriving whole, she took a step forward into this new world, this new time, where she had offered herself as sacrifice to protect what must be protected. The motion of her body set her brain to swaying and before she took a second step, her mind went black and her spent body crumbled to the ground among a pile of leaves.
Sometime later, the sun was starting its rise and Cerys woke, finding a fine buck standing guard over her. She rose and stood next to it placing her hand gently on its neck as it turned its head towards her.
A sound unlike anything she could have imagined rose up filling the woods and startling every living thing around. She felt the buck tense under her hand and as he bolted to the side, a loud crack sounded and she felt a flaming hot pain tear through her right shoulder as she fell to the ground from the sudden impact.