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The Second Circlet: The Old Places - 4. Segment 4:
The Jewel, The Crown, and The Sword

Retconned 'Nathalie' with 'Viviane' for the name of the new girl.

Wind, rain, lightning, sun, moon, stars, cool, warm, fresh, salty, herbaceous, dry, cold, desolate, drear . . . unendurably glorious bright, blue, green, flowers, trees . . .

. . . Hidden.

Myra, the last of the Fae upon the earth, beheld all with only the eyes that she had with which to see. Her vision parted the misting veil of drear Welsh countryside that disguised the ancient place that the Dreamer Of Our Lives had bid her find.

"Lookest ye Northwards, from whence the Angel Song doest sometimes calleth in light. In the highest promontories of the eroded world, in an Old Place, there willeth thee find the Jewel Of The Crown!" Raziel, a most glorious angel greatly fond of riddles, teased poor Myra.

"But only if you could speak plainly, perhaps we could have been done in finding this place long before now, most enigmatic one!" Myra groused.

"To what end? Wherest be there mirth and joy if not in puzzles?" Raziel asked rhetorically and then fluttered his four vast wings about Myra playfully.

"As you say, Power. It was given you to guide me and so you are given to guide in your own manner, but behold! Even your obfuscations cannot muddy these waters! Nor can the old spells of subversion that attempt to hide this holiest place away from the world for all time! I see with clarity the resplendence that is the Jewel lying before me! It aches inside of me to see its beauty so untarnished even beyond the counting of millennia!" Myra gasped as her gossamer wings brought her ever closer to this vision of Faedom thought long lost. A vision that she thought she had long forgotten or, perhaps, merely dreamed of while expressed as water upon a leaf in her old forest far away in the South of the world.

"The Jewel Of The Crown, lovely Myra: for this Jewel was madeth for the returning kingly guardian of this land! The Lake maketh needs of its Lady and within her ladylikeness is thus fashioned, ever shimmeringeth and precious, this vestige of things old and long unremembered." Raziel soared majestically from Myra's side and glided with perfect grace to land weightlessly upon the highest peak of Cadair Idris, or the Chair of Idris, as the locals call it. Idris was a giant that, supposedly, frequented the crater in which the Jewel is housed. It is also variably called the Seat of King Arthur.

Suddenly, just as the mists of Cadair Idris parted for Myra to reveal the hidden valley of delights around the Jewel, so did Raziel's words unwind into something that made more sense to the Fae.

"The Lady of the Lake, The Jewel Of The Crown, The Throne of King Arthur, the Giant Of Wales . . . this is the resting place of Excalibur!" Myra fluttered down next to the majestic seraph.

"To thinkist such that this one couldst not be taughteth anymore hence, so ancient wise be she, our dearest Faery Queen!" Raziel poked. The epithet rankled Myra whose displeasure was suddenly met with a crack of thunder over their heads and a dousing of ice cold rain!

"Holy and good you may be, Guardian of the Mysteries, but dare you not address me again as the Faery Queen! I should call you Morningstar, such would be a like insult!" Myra puffed.

Raziel merely chuckled jovially at what he considered good humour at the expense of Myra's education in humility. "Ah, to be so comparedest thus to the one time Light Bearer wouldst be of no insult unto me, mine ladylike lake dweller. Beforeth his consignment thus unto the pits underest this world, he that darest be made the most beautiful and most powerful of we all, he stilleth be our greatest of the Angelic Host! Power hast he still in the Darkness and this whilst insideth the saddest confines of a dragon most black confined. To havest been such beauty when crusht thus upon the altar of pride be tragedy indeed! But, knowest thee this, last Fae . . . he that was most angelic, he that still beist so. He likest be much to me most angelic still. As do I serveth the same Mighty One as thee, so doest Lucifer Morningstar, The Black Dragon: the Shaitan, the Adversary. His that be aboutest his work that he figurest to be of his own deed when, in truth, Lucifer's work be no morest than another service unto the One. Therest be no principality unto this in that either of we shalt govern that be out of our mandate of servitude to the One Above All. We be all servants thus." Raziel spoke his truth and then he spoke Myra's. She listened because Raziel spoke from his profound knowledge and infinite ageless wisdom.

He then pressed: "But, thou Myra! Thou art the TRUE Fae Queen! Thouist did never put thee down thy burden of service to this world that was createdest by He which created me and also created Lucifer. Thou never did breaketh thy faith! Thou never did alloweth the Black Dragon of Lucifer ever to persuade thee to turnest against thy world and thus to others that live within it likewise! Morgana felleth and was casteth out, but thee were to be saved and enshrined in the deepest emerald He couldest shelter thee thus within! Thou art the Last! Thou art the true Fae Queen and only she that holdeth that crown can takest she up the Sword and giveth it unto the hands of she who wouldst be Queen of Men. Together then, thouist shall put down the usurper Morgana who hast lostesth her way and hast becometh so benighted that she shalt never again findeth her way back again into the Light she wast thus consecrated to serveth!" Raziel then gestured to the sapphire pool of the Jewel waters.

"Very well, Angel of Riddles. I go as bidden." Myra said with grim determination. But, Raziel suddenly blocked her path.

"Goest thee not in distress or fear, Enchanted One. Goest thee forth in joy knowing thusly that thou art not alone in thy burdensome task. They that are to come cometh unto thee even now! It is by this knowledge that I setteth thee to task with some urgency. Fore with, thou must be in place and thou must be of mind in place and opened unto the consciousness of the Jewel suchest that thou mayest take up Excaliber and delivereth it thusly to the Queen Of Men!" Raziel insisted and then gave way so that Myra could do this task.

She attempted to clear her mind of all negatives feeling. What Raziel was saying was that any doubt and any fear that she would have might close the veil between her and the Jewel and she would fail in her mission by lack of faith.

The Dreamer did will this. His will be done. It was all that mattered for Myra in the end, Raziel's arguments accepted or set aside.

She proceeded forth in a stronger form, taking up a form tall, strong, imperious, commanding, queenly. Myra always marveled at how merely shifting her form could, somehow, reform her mind and feelings upon things. It was a power in empathy that was natural to all Fae. Become what you must become to do what must be done. Become the will to be strong. Become the light to shine in the darkness. Become the mist to veil the secret treasures. But, remain true to who and what you are!

The tragedy of her lost kin was that they had allowed Morgana to kill that empathy within them so they became what all things that cease to feel become . . . dead unto themselves. Unfortunately for the world entrusted to them, when the soul of the Fae died, so then did the world around them.

Perhaps, by some manner known only to the Maker Of The Dream, Myra could pick up the burden of focus that is Excalibur and return to her lost family the sight that Morgana had taken from them.

A prayer to this effect Myra sang in rainbows upon the mists as she, arrayed in a sparkling crystal gown made of raindrops, submerged into the shining azure of the Jewel and became the new Lady Of The Lake!



"I am glad for these . . . what are they called?" My'n asked, blinking his giant bright blue eyes in utter bewilderment.

"I believe they are called jeans and a hoodie, My'n." Joraan answered before either of the larger human people had a chance.

"Indeed, I would, perhaps, have preferred one of my old shrendwool robes, but I suppose that would have looked passing strange amongst these humans." My'n whispered looking up at the taller beings, astounded that such great huge people of such a kaleidoscope of varieties could be so short-lived. It seemed like a waste to My'n!

"Yes, since Shrendish Unicorn wool tends towards iridescence, I don't think that would keep the low profile we are after here, my Brother." Joraan gave My'n a warm one-armed hug around his shoulder and they lightly touched the sides of their covered heads together about where their pointy ears would be if they were visible through the hoodies.

Moira felt it was just as well that those ears stayed hidden. She already played over several scenarios in her head as contingencies to the eventuality that the two leprechauns would, somehow, manage to expose themselves to the general public!

As per the usual, Sean managed to come up with a far more simple and elegant solution to anything Moira was thinking.

"Well, that'd be as simple as a tea cake, aye? Cosplayers!" Sean said with a gleaming smile.

"My pardon? What ever are 'Cosplayers'?" My'n had asked rather timidly. Sean had remarked to himself how strangely different this black-haired, thinnish leprechaun was to the more vivacious and robust Joraan. My'n was, had Sean dared to think it, slightly effeminate for being a male of the legendary forest folk! Leprechauns have ofttimes been seen as silly little gnome-like people, usually bearded with a soft cap and with just the bite of Irish sunshine (drunkenness) on their bulbous noses and cheeks. Certainly, this conception of the mythical people wasn't as . . . beautiful as Joraan was, but all of them, including Joraan, were quite 'manly'.

"Och! That'd be a fine idea, Sean! Here I am, a supposed doctor of anthropology and, yet, I forget current youth culture in favour of some ancient text talking to how boys in Ancient Greece played Hoola hoops!" Moira had praised Sean delightedly who had been likewise delighted by Moira's delight in him!

In the present, as they continued walking from the car park to the vast castle-like complex to which they were going, Joraan's pondering upon 'Hoolahoops' got the better of him.

Joraan asked: "Hoolahoops? What is a Hoolahoop and why would anyone want to concern themselves with something that sounds so completely silly?" Joraan asked a bit more gruffly than the fourteen-year-old boy he was supposedly posing as.

Moira and Sean looked down at Joraan with an incredulous look.

"Is that all ye've been thinkin' about all the way over here?" Sean figured he would never get an understanding of Joraan's thought processes!

"Oh, never you mind Joraan! You'll be blowin' our cover carrying on like that with such questions!" Moira chided, a bit alarmed that Joraan would be so tactless as they approached Terminal A, a place that would be teeming with prying ears and eyes! Fortunately, there had been no other humans around to take note of this odd commentary. Then Moira had to redress herself and her paranoia. It, actually, was not too unusual for teenagers to ask absurd questions out of the blue that seemed entirely non-sequitur to the moment.

Meanwhile, My'n seemed to have let his own question from before be swallowed up. He had meekly withdrawn himself as if he did not wish to annoy the humans with it.

Joraan sensed this, however, and was not in any way shy with questioning these two children of men. To him, they better fit the description of 'children' than he did, and, as such, he felt they owed the two Sídhe answers before they continued. This way they could both be more involved with their plans and they could all be 'on the same page', as it were.

"Alright. I shan't mind my question being passed over, but My'n had a valid question that you two seemed to have ignored entirely! What is a 'cosplayer' and should we be concerned?" Joraan made sure his question came out more petulant than commanding since he quite understood that he was trying to play the part of a young teenager, a part for which he was rather practiced at.

"A cosplayer means 'costume player' in abbreviation. It'll be when folks like to be dressin' up in costumes and cavortin' about like bloody fools at conventions or whatnot." Sean instructed the Sídhe with a fair bit of derision.

"A-ha! Sort of like Samhain!" M'yn perked up! He didn't really expect the humans to know what he was talking about since Samhain had been an ancient festival where ancient Humans, Sídhe, and Fae celebrated the Time of the Golden Leaves together. The humans would dress like either of the two elder races and honoured them by pantomiming some of the old stories and histories they had been taught. It was marvellous fun for all concerned!

However, somewhere, deep down in the darkness where Tyrex still lived inside of My'n, the Fae Lord felt like retching in nausea from the memory of those sickening mockeries he and his mother had been subjected to as the humans 'celebrated' them.

"So, this then would be a good fib to put one over on the sheep if our hoodies should slip and expose our ears?" Joraan asked in a whisper.

"Aye! A perfect cover-story if ever there was one!" Sean whispered back with more than a lot of pride in himself.

Moira circled back to M'yn's question feeling the two rude boys were completely ignoring their new gentle travelling companion. She was starting to pick up on Joraan's concern for his companion and his inclusion into their little circle of collusion.

"Ah yes! Very much like the old Samhain. Tis' be known by most now as Hallowe'en or All Hallows Eve. I've always found it somewhat perplexing that such an old Celtic harvest festival should catch on so brightly as a modern holiday globally, religious conversions aside." Moira pondered as they approached their airline terminal gate.

"So, it is still honoured even now?" My'n looked genuinely delighted at the idea and the look of pure joy on his face, with the most beautiful smile Moira had ever seen, played on her emotions mightily! My'n was rapidly becoming a fascinating contradiction to Joraan. My'n seems so shy and reserved, like a small forest animal that you had to tease down from his tree with a nut.

This softness was a nice difference from Joraan's mercurial nature which always had a person watching their step when communicating with him. My'n was all cool softness and peace, like a day in the woods, as opposed to Joraan's beguiling yet disconcerting conflagrations of emotion that could be as warm and inviting as a living room hearth fire or as explosive as a Hawaiian volcano!

"Honoured, I suppose, is one way to be puttin' it, but I'd fancy it has more to do with candy and parties for the kids and more . . . nocturnal types of entertainment for the adults." Sean added his tuppence.

"All Hallows Eve. It used to mean somethin', but not much anymore, I fear. Anyway, cosplay or Halloween or what you may, it is as good a cover as any for us, M'yn. We shan't be bothered after that excuse. I've seen these ComiCon things in Dublin and even attended a few. It is rather amazing how much of the old lore men still cling to as their best dreams." Joraan mused thoughtfully. Both Sean and Moira looked at Joraan in astonishment! M'yn merely looked hopelessly confused.

But, before any more tiresome questions could be put to Joraan, the call to their 'gate' was reiterated and everyone found they had to jog to get into a cue to board . . . something.

Joraan, of course, knew of these vehicles and had even seen many different versions of these flying beasties cross the sky countless times. In all of his long years of coexisting with the things, Joraan had never felt the need to actually use one since he never left his beloved Erie. His last venture beyond Ireland had been aboard a great sail-less ship and that, again, was to travel to an area close to where they were going now. This occurred many years before Joraan had seen his first flying machine.

Wales and Ireland had once been part of the same world. In the primordial past, they had actually been one place but had somehow separated long before even Avalon had come to grow on Ireland's landmass. In the framework of magical energies, however, it was as if the two places were still fused together as one land. The Ley Lines that connected Wales to Ireland were like massive electrical conduits bridging the two ancient spheres of power. Joraan felt comfortable venturing there as it felt, as if, he had never left Ireland at all!

However, beyond this connected sphere of magic, Joraan did not care to venture. He felt very disconcerted when having to range away from either Ireland or Wales. He was connected to them with a psychic connection that was, actually, physical in its strength! He'd weaken and seek to go dormant if he ventured too far away from the lands to which he was bound.

It was the peculiar nature of the Sídhe that they were so inextricably linked to the lands from which they were moulded. Where a human only had to contend with environmental and cultural differences when they travelled, Sídhe had this magical connection to their land that made it nearly impossible for them to leave it for an extended length of time! It was believed that the Fae may have been similarly locked to their realms, though, as Joraan could remember, the Fae had a way of moving from one part of the world to another riding the Ley Lines that connected everything magically. Joraan had always wondered if that might not be possible for him as well, but he never saw much use in testing the theory. Up until now, since, as was said before, Joraan had never had much need to travel beyond Ireland's sacred shores.

Hence, his ignorance of flying on these human contraptions called 'aeroplanes'.

"Hullo! ~giggle~" Joraan heard behind him, ripping him from his thoughts. The voice was female, young, but not quite a child's voice. Despite himself, Joraan could not help but receive telepathically the many impressions that hit his mind and his other senses from this obviously adolescent accoster.

In the few seconds it took for him to consider turning around, Joraan knew this little open book for all that she was and for all of her designs upon him! Some of the impressions were sufficient to make Joraan blush red like a tomato! For one unacquainted physically with the matters of sex, she certainly knew them in theory! Also, her female scent was high which betrayed her intentions. It had very little effect on Joraan, but he could imagine that if Joraan had actually been an adolescent boy that this subtle tease of pheromones would have had the desired effect upon him. Turning, Joraan could see how such a boy's vision would have rather enhanced the effect! The young lass was quite lovely . . . for a human.

The effect should have been mutual, if Joraan had been, in fact, an adolescent boy and not the millennia-year old 'Leprechaun' that he was. From his psychic impressions of the girl, he'd clearly seen what was behind her interests, or rather that Joraan's behind was her interest. But, upon seeing his face as he turned to look at her, the girl's somewhat prurient interests in Joraan's body changed to something much deeper and stronger! The force of the feeling was enough to cause Joraan to flinch slightly, lean away, and divert his eyes from hers.

She immediately took it as the kind of reaction that was typical of a shy boy when a pretty girl suddenly takes an interest in him. A complete misreading of Joraan entirely, but one that could be used to his advantage in keeping his cover, as it were.

"Oh, no need to be so shy! My name is Viviane! I'm taking a trip to Wales as I just finished with Ireland! What an exciting holiday! Are you about on holiday also?" Her English blue eyes veritably twinkled as she effortlessly attempted to ease Joraan into conversation with her. Obviously, she was used to this sort of thing as she knew how to tease a shy young man out of the safety of his shell. Joraan pretended to play along, but in such a way that might discourage her further attentions.

"Uh, no. Not actually." Joraan feigned a sense of seeming disinterest in the conversation hoping it would be enough to discourage the young lady. It had the opposite effect, however, as Joraan's answer was far too mysterious for her to pass up. It was an obvious open door for her to step into so that she could nose around in his business. It was like catnip to the feline in her!

"Oh? Is it a trip for school? Are you doing an assignment abroad as I am?" She persisted and sidled up beside Joraan quite closely to devote her full attention to his answer and to insinuate herself further into his personal space.

'Ach! By the swords of Sa'alaaman the Jinn!' Joraan groused to himself but found rescue in the person of his newly discovered brother from another world. When the girl pressed herself into their midst, this seemed to trigger M'yn, for some reason. He first gave Viviane an almost evil look and then his tone of voice came out antagonistically to the point of rudeness! It was a spark of such pure venomousness that it shocked Joraan on some visceral level!

"Who are you? Why are you bothering my brother? Can't you mind your own business? It has been a long day for all of us! Where're your manners, lass? The very idea!" M'yn spat viciously!

Viviane did recoil rightly as if she had actually been stung by M'yn's venomous barb! Joraan sensed a wave of something else behind all the sputter, though. He sensed a touch of . . . jealousy?

"Mike! Now who's at a loss for manners? The lass was just breechin' a conversation!" Sean piped in, having given Joraan's blustering brother-in-law a much more 'human' sounding name other than M'yn.

"Oh, I am terribly sorry! I meant no offence! Honestly, I can be such a Nosy Nelly! Please, forget this ever happened!" Rather than rise up in understandable wrath at 'Mike', Viviane, instead, retracted and recovered herself with a kind of self-deprecating dignity that suddenly beguiled Joraan! She was a kind-hearted soul and, what is more, she was all alone! She could not have been much more than fourteen herself. It raised no questions, because it was not unusual, in this day and age, for a young person of Viviane's age to travel abroad unchaperoned. It must have made for lonely travel. Viviane rather psychically 'reeked' of loneliness. This understandably pulled at Joraan. Though this girl could never live enough lifetimes to fill the vast depths of Joraan's own loneliness, he knew that even just a taste of such isolation could be enough to pour a lifetime's worth of pain into one moment. Loneliness is a queer thing. A little taste of it or an endless eternity of it, both carried the same amount of pain that was a fresh ache moment to moment heedless of time.

Joraan could not countenance loneliness in such a soul so undeserving of it. He knew it was against his better judgement, but he allowed Viviane to join him on their flight. Something in her aspect and something in the echoing voiceless tellings that often prompted Joraan into such decisions prompted him to trust in her importance. Perhaps, he actually did like this human girl in that way an adolescent boy can like an adolescent girl. Perhaps this was the cause of M'yn's dislike for the girl!

In any case, she readily accepted being Joraan's riding companion on the plane. Joraan managed to use a mental charm on the stewardess to allow the three of them to sit together despite preselected seating arrangements. By a small toot on the miniaturised Flute of Vim about his neck, Joraan caused its note to conveniently rearrange any previous occupants' designs for their pre-ordained seating. No one's feathers were ruffled, save for one person's.

To M'yn's continued unaccountable chagrin, Viviane sat sandwiched between him and Joraan. If she ever wondered why we two 'boys' never took off our hoods or why we seemed so 'strange' in the ways we would sit and talk, Viviane never made mention of it.

Joraan made another split decision on their fight. He felt he was being urged to invite her along for the rest of the trip. That included exposing her to the Sídhe and the Fae and to whatever destiny Moira might have in this.

Viviane was somehow important and the why would have to be in the telling of time!

"Viviane? Since we are all going to Wales, would you care to come along with us on our little adventure?" Joraan asked her nonchalantly.

"Are you serious?" Viviane asked nearly incapable of containing a squeal.

"Indeed, are you serious?" My'n looked over at Joraan with blue daggers in his eyes.

"Well, of course, I am! I'd not have asked if I wasn't. I have a feeling that Viviane would find our expedition very educational!" Joraan wagged his head sassily in answer to My'n.

"But . . . she's a stranger! What would, erm . . . 'Mother and Father' say? We can't just pick up some girl and add her to our travels! What if she's missed?" My'n's interrogations did not go unnoticed as the 'what if she's missed' comment drew the attention of an older gentleman in glasses who stared over them at the three 'teenagers' with concern.

"Missed? I shan't be missed! It's been my mission to explore as much as possible! It's part of my thesis! I didn't mention that I am an Oxford graduate student, did I?" Viviane retorted much to the older man's surprise.

"I'm not the only one that looks young for my age!" Viviane said this amazing truth with a frankness that disarmed both Sídhe! For the rest of the short flight, all was quiet between the three traveling companions.

The ringing unanswered question remained stuck inside the minds of both M'yn and Joraan: how old was this Viviane? More to the point, who was this Viviane to begin with?

Thanks for reading.

Comments are always welcome

Michael DuMonte
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Please leave a comment or you may make a Leprechaun mad at you. 😝

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