toffee apple hot chocolate
By Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
I found myself in a fantasy world with a malevolent being lurking in the shadows and a talking stag as a companion. It was all rather perplexing.
Gillidore then broke the strange silence “Dear friend, I must insist on accompanying thee until thee arrives at a safe place. Once The Fairie Night Song begins, there is no telling what evils and enchantments my befall you.” He said in a hushed murmur.
“Gillidore, whatever do you mean?” I mimicked his tone .
“I wish to warn thee of the dangers this place possesses in the hours of night. The Wild Fairies begin there Melody of night as The Nameless One begins their tune. The moon is crescent tonight.” Gillidore looked to the sky. “That means that the veil between The Fairie Ring and The River Realm is thin and weak, if thee should become consumed by the lullaby thee will join the Wild Fairies and the world will grow old for you in a single night and soon it will be your time to depart it. The Wild Fairies live for thousands of years but thee doth not. For thee, joining the Wild Fairie dance would mean certain death. Mortals do not survive,” He finished solemnly.
Most concerned and perplexed by this I agreed to Gillidore’s offer and – picking up my pen and book- opened the compass to see where it advised me to go next. The gold needle directed straight ahead over the grassy bank and into the darkness of the shadows cast by the trees ahead. I then began along this path and found a winding mud track trodden into the ground which gave me some solace that I was traveling in the right direction. Gillidore insisted on walking ahead, his brown hooves digging deeply into the ground.
Odd lights seemed to twinkle softly from between the waxy green leaves above as night drew in further, the leaves seemed to rustle and whisper to each other from some unknown and unfelt wind in the darkness and the dragon flies darted and flitted around. As I looked closer, I soon realized that they were dragon flies at all, well at least not as I had known them. They flew much faster and a soft glow emanated from there thorax casting a wonderful luminance. The forest was indeed enchanted, blessed with a magical beauty, ethereal and perfect compared with any I had seen before. As we walked further and further into the night, barely speaking and me regularly checking the compass, we both wondered at the perfection of this place and how a place so wonderful could exist, until I remembered it didn’t. It was just a story. The lunar luminance of the moon glinted increasingly from between the trees and cast ever more piercing rays upon the floor, though something joined it. Something far less pure. First, the tiny silhouettes of little winged creatures with flowing hair darted past the moon, blocking its white luminance for a moment, and then, something far more sinister; shadows. Shadows tiptoed all around, beckoning from the corners of my eyes and slimming almost unseen through the darkness. Gillidore had noticed. He was uneasy. He too felt that the shadows were unnatural. The shadows soon vanished and we both wiped the experience from our minds.
A soft sound began, even more beautiful than the forest. It was almost like singing but it was not in any sort of language I had heard before and the notes were not any that I knew to exist. A soft beating of a drum accompanied it. And wind chimes. Soon joined by a lyre. The sound was like nothing I had ever heard before, yet Gillidore didn’t seem remotely swayed by it. Sensing my wonder, he then informed me “That is the lullaby of night. It begins at the Ring and is sung in the beginning by a procession of sidhe in white in a hope to put the fairies to sleep before they can take over the lullaby at the Ring once more, but the fairies never do fall asleep.”
This was perplexing to me. If it did not work why did the sidhe still sing it every night? This he answered with a single phrase “They are compelled to by The Nameless One”.
This did nothing to ease my confusion. We walked across the path for a long time, him still insisting to walk ahead so I stepped through huge hoof prints imprinted in the mud.
The moon was at its highest and suddenly Gillidore became very nervous, shaking his antlers menacingly. “Dear friend, we must remove ourselves from the path for soon the sidhe will be upon us,” he whispered, scared to be heard. The stag hurried off the path checking left and right and lead me to a small cave from a forest overhang. The cave was empty with thick spiders webs suspended in midair by nothing. Held by some invisible force. The melody grew ever louder and Gillidore retreated further and further into the cave, I found myself curious what the sidhe looked like for I had never heard of them before, perhaps the author of The Enchanted Forest (which I still had safely nestled under my arm) had created them. Wondering how close the sidhe were, I opened the book quietly and gazed blankly at the page I was on to see a procession not far from my hiding spot. Unable to resist, I hoisted myself up onto the top of the overhang that formed the cave.
It was perhaps the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.