Sil’s eyes flew open, his mind and body heavy under the sway of the trance; everything appeared to him as if illusory shadows passing through the misty glass of a mirror, false and out of reach.
His senses befuddled thus, he remained in a supine position, slumped against the bole of an ancient pine tree, his glance riveted on a file of brown ants that marched into their underground hill. Moments passed in absolute silence until gradually the spring chill of the dawn penetrated Sil’s skin, raising goosepimples on his exposed face, neck and hands, the awareness of his surroundings springing to life.
Astonished, he took note of no longer being in Caer Aval but in his natal land. For that was the woodland of Rumia, with its dips and fast-flowing streams that murmured otherwordly songs, with its broad-leaved and hollow trees, with its sometimes curvy ground and smooth inclines, with its bright, whispering flowers and myriad shiny crystals swinging from the robust branches of the oak trees, with its high cliffs upon which one could gaze right into the mouth of the sea fated to love the edge of the land with its immortal kisses.
I dallied long enough, thought Sil. I must set off towards the Old North and its wild forests. But as he made to shake off the leaves from his satchel–Olwen’s white lily attached to the edge of his left vambrace, just above the wrist–a cross-sound between a mewing and a whistle reached his ears.
His look darted around, alighting on a lapwing of black, rounded wings and a long crest, its back streaked iridescent green, a small scroll of paper tied to one of its short legs. Sil extended his palm; with a couple of leaps the bird nestled within it, accepting the warm fondling of his plumage without protest.
Sil withdrew the scroll, which he unfolded and read the message it carried: The agony of separation is burning me up inside. Nothing I do douses these flames. You breathe in every thought of mine. I shut my eyes and your form blends into my dreams. But what is a twelvemonth and a sunset compared to all the twelvemonths we shall spend united as husband and wife surrounded by our children and the delights of our awen? That is all I need to remind myself to find solace. For I know what awaits you far surpasses my own torment. As I know you shall take the Old North by storm.
The crystal bells brought us together and joined our fates. They serve no other purpose than that, so I shall not play them until you return to Caer Aval with the boons my father has requested of you. I’ve kept one here with me; the other I’ve left it in your care. You shall find it in a red box within your satchel. I know it shall be in safe hands.
When I was a child, I became the recipient of the sympathy of a great lady. In her gratitude, she thought I was worthy of a fine gift which I’ve never parted from: a pair of lapwings. But now it’s time to do so, as they possess qualities uncommon to the rest of their species. For they sense danger and threat with staggering precision and warn their companions through means of a mad tumbling flight as blood red dust floats from their wings. The female I hold in my keep. I pass the male to yours to shield you from any mortal threat.
I shall wake up and sleep with my mirror by my side. Do so with yours as well. I shall anticipate to learn your tidings.
Make the denizens of the Old North sing prayers to your name with the same reverence they do to their ancient gods.
Until I kiss your lips again,
Sil caressed the scroll, then wedged it under his vambrace next to the white lily. Collecting his possessions and with the lapwing resting on his shoulder, he propelled himself out of the woods in search of his kinswomen.
An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.
Please, share your views! All constructive feedback is always welcome.