A small clearing. Unique and strange, part of the land but somehow separate from it. This was a very sacred place. Spirits, powerful spirits, gathered here. With trembling legs, the girl child musters her courage and steps into the clearing. A strange energy immediately engulfs her, entranced, unable to move, held at the whims of an invisible and intangible force. Her voice, her eyes, her ears, these were her only weapons now. She must use them wisely, for it was her only hope of survival. She clears her throat, closes her eyes, and begins the ritual.
"She who is the beauty of the verdant earth,
And the white moon among the stars,
I Call Upon You.
She who is the enigma of the waters,
and the healing mother of all,
I Call Upon You.
He who is the strength within our hearts,
The wild huntsman and forest spirit,
I Call Upon You.
He who stands in the darkness of light,
Whom we have known as Death,
I Call Upon You.
Power of earth, power of stone, sitting like a sentinel thrown.
Power of water, power of the sea, element touching every country.
Power of air, power of smoke, wisdom is what you invoke.
Power of passion and power of heat, this is what fire secretes.
Ye spirits are the souls of nature, who give life to the universe. You are the ancient ones; the blood of the earth runs through your veins and through you the circle of life remains. Pour your beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within me. "
A single voice spoke. It was a voice layered upon a thousand others. It was the whisper of the wind, the water over the rocks, the fire dancing along the wood.
WE ARE THE BRIGHT SUN AND THE GLOWING MOON
WE ARE THE BLOWING WIND AND THE POURING RAIN
WE ARE THE EARTH 'NEATH YOU AND THE FIRE THAT DANCES IN YOUR HEART
WE ARE THE FRUIT IN THE TREES AND THE CORN AT HARVEST
WE ARE YOUR SORROW AND YOUR JOY
WE ARE THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
WHO ARE YOU, WHO CLAIMS THEIR WORTHINESS?
"Great spirits I have been sent to you from a great council of elders.
I am a woman of humble birth and of virgin blood.
I am a seeker of wisdom, of peace, of balance.
Great spirits look inside of me and see what lays before you. "
"The elders say that a great imbalance threatens all the tribes.
The Two Legged Tribe, The Four Legged Tribe.
The Water and Air Tribes.
They say you have called to them in dreams... in the wind.
They say you call for a vessel.
So, I have come and ask that you find me worthy for your task."
Silence. How many had come before her? How many had been found lacking and struck down? Pain, lightning hot pain, began to creep into her limbs. She could not move, she knew she must bear this, knew to cry out would be a sign of weakness. It seemed days of such silence before the wind finally whispered again.
YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND WORTHY.
The girl child nods, relief flooded her body. She could move again; each movement was both a relief and a struggle. Today would be her last day and her first. She trembled, once the words were spoken there would be no turning back. Inhaling deeply, centering herself, she began.
"To the shores of the wild lands, come the greed and misery of man.
Now is the time to form our battle plan.
They take our pride and give us shame, purifying with iron and flame.
They treat the care of the Earth like a child's game.
They slash and burn, raping the earth without concern.
When will they ever learn?
Blood is on their hands all across the lands.
No more shall they evoke demands
All their lies shall seem as lies, and they shall be no more.
The people will never again treat the earth like a whore.
The wild lands of the world are dying but they shall be reborn.
From the desolation a seed of hope shall be born.
The Earth that is my Body,
The Water that is my Blood,
The Air that is my Breath,
The Fire that is my Spirit.
I am Cerrwydn, Isis, Hekate, Kali
I am Pan, Cernunnos, Herne, Manannan
ARISE AND COME UNTO ME.
Energy. Blinding, searing, white hot energy rises up in a tempest around her. Pain floods her body, her movements become, slow, deliberate, each breath a struggle. She withdraws a knife, of white bone and black stone, born of the elements. She holds it as if to offer it to the spirits before her and around her. With a deep breath she plunges it into her, creating a deep fatal wound. She lets the blood drip from her skin to the earth. She chants, the words unknown and barely audible. The ground rumbles, the wind becomes a maelstrom around her, a cold piercing rain falls upon her and a fire in her blood ignites. She is swallowed in darkness.
The dream had seemed so real this time. Althaia's hand went to her chest, searching for the wound from the dream. The skin was unmarred, whole. A deep shuddering breath made it's way out of her lungs. All week. She'd been having the same dream for a week straight now. What could it mean? It seemed like it became more.... tangible, every time. Like she was a little closer to living the reality. A shiver coursed down her spine.