Finally I’ve continued with my fairy tale and Niamh’s dream journey, – and to catch up from my hiatus I have written two full chapters ( that are still, as usual, a work in progress- arghh). Bear with me fellow story enthusiasts and read at your leisure- or like Alice, just enjoy the pictures!!
Meeting a monk in the woods (ch 32)
Niamh knew that the spring she sought was under the protection of the Dagda. Like his cauldron it would be bottomless and in it her last dream and destiny swirled, somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow. As she walked she could hear the soft whispers from the shadow folk who slid out of the dusk. She missed Bran. Was he there between the fading sun beams? She sat down on a broken log and knew there was yet one more vision to endure somewhere in the folding turns of this journey.
With a start she realized she was not alone. A man in a long brown robe sat very still on the other end of the log, his lips moving in quiet prayer. He paused and greeted her warmly. He wasn’t like the old Magus of the woods but he had a kindly air and his smile was sincere. When he spoke his voice was subdued and soothing like the smoke from a campfire.
“What is your name child? Where are you going?” he asked. He offered her some of the berries he had been collecting. “I am Niamh,” she replied, “and I am looking for the spring.” He nodded brightly. “I know it,” he said, “you must mean the spring of the virgin, the place of baptism.”“I know nothing of baptism.” she replied perplexed. It amazed her that he knew of the sacred spring and that the Dagda would allow him to come near it!
As he began to tell his story she came to understand that he had come from a far off land and was under the protection of a powerful god. He said he had come to save souls from darkness. Niamh placed a sweet fruit in her mouth and didn’t know what he meant by that either. Why, Tir-na-nog was full of light, at dawn and in Aine’s summer, between the shadows by moonlight and by the star torches that were carried across the night sky. She came to the conclusion that the souls of men must be different from those of the Tuatha.
The Dream Rider (Ch 33)
Niamh loved stories, but she eventually felt her head nodding in fatigue. She was confused by his talk of baptism and heaven. Was heaven like Tir-na-nog she wondered? She thought of her own beautiful world in the mound.
In her hand she was still holding her eighth dream. It shone with a throbbing light like the beating of her heart. The strange priest noticed it and his eyes widened. He stood up slowly and waved a ritual gesture with his own hand. Niamh roused herself and held the dream more tightly. He began to speak of someone else, a traveler who had in his possession a similar and curious bauble. “It at first looked to me like a shining tear of the blessed Virgin,” he said gravely, “but there was a glowing firefly somehow trapped inside it.” A look of unease came over him but his words held her captive as he continued, -“It was something this man held very dear though where he found it I know not nor did I think I would ever see another like it.“
Niamh caught her breath and remembered the Morrigan throwing her dream across the path in front of the dark haired rider. The horseman had dismounted as if he too recognized what it was. Could the same rider have found her remaining lost dream, somewhere, and if he had, where was he, and who was he? As if in answer, the fireflies winked into flames revealing a path through the woodland.