Chapter 2: Moss

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 420
Comments: 3

Green.

The color of life - tree's sheltering canopy, soft lichen bed, tender watercress in flowing stream.  Her own emerald eyes, eyes of the merpeople her mother said.

Moss meditated on these things as she lay on the warm, flat stone with her face to the still pool, her nose flirting with the water.  She inhaled the faint static charge, slightly altering the surface tension, then exhaled slowly, watching the ripples.  Tiny bright fish darted between the strands of milfoil for which she'd been searching.

Murmuring the verses of a simple harvesting charm, she reached into the cool water to sample the healing plant.

“Marianna!”

She'd not heard them approach, so absorbed had she been in her task.  She chose to ignore her friends, lest the potency of the milfoil be altered. 

Too soon, the insistent buzz of feather light wings encircled her and Moss rose reluctantly to find Edana and Teg orbiting her blazing curls.

“What is it then?  Can you not see I’m at work here?” she asked, rolling her eyes with all the drama she could manage.

“Is that work?  When lounging in the sunshine by a river is considered work I’ll be requesting that position,” said Teg as he floated off quite lazily himself to weave loose figure eights around a spray of young willow catkins.

“And don’t call me Marianna,” Moss demanded.  Having been recently apprenticed to her aunt for training in the herbal arts, she’d decided to change her name to reflect her passion for plants.

Teg bellowed a long drawn out, "Moo-oo-oo-ss,” something he knew Moss found incredibly irritating, much to his satisfaction.  Fragments of golden pollen showered his nut brown hair, courtesy of the flowers he’d disturbed.

The two twirled and tittered as Moss deposited the dripping plant into the woven basket at her side.  She rose to face them with arms crossed. “Excuse me for disturbing your little party, but is there some reason you’re interrupting my studies or am I just the lucky winner of the fairy visiting committee prize today?”  Moss considered her new name a brilliant choice and was miffed her friends found it so amusing.

“You’re in trouble,” the two fairies crooned in unison.

“Oh, ooh, jinx, you owe me!” squealed Teg, poking Edana in the arm repeatedly.

“I think not,” Edana replied, jabbing back, “seeing as you still owe me for the last three you lost.”

Teg scowled and flipped over, suspended upside down with his back toward her.

“Pout all you please, you great lout,” said Edana as she turned to Moss.  “Mari, er, Moss, your mother wants you and there seems to be some kind of something brewing so I suggest you get yourself back to the palace.”

Moss sighed and carefully wiped clean her silver harvesting knife, a gift from her aunt in honor of her apprenticeship, before returning it to her pocket.  It seemed she was always in trouble for her habit of wandering off without informing anyone of her whereabouts, a perfectly reasonable activity as far as Moss was concerned.  Unfortunately it had also been forbidden.  Could Teg have snitched on her again?  She’d deal with the little traitor later.  Even if she were found out, Moss figured she could make a convincing argument in her favor.  When it came to investigating the herbal arts, she felt strongly that rules could be bent if not completely broken.

She raced to the Great Hall of the palace where her family traditionally kept council during these afternoon hours, that any so inclined might come to petition or seek redress.  The task usually fell to her father, Prince Kellen and her mother, Princess Angelica.

Kellen, through his own mother Queen Bébhinn, was of the ancient line of Dagda and Selkymór.  However Angelica’s origins were unknown, for she had been found by the fairies as a babe, bobbing on the waves in a cunningly constructed boat-like cradle in the aftermath of a stormy shipwreck which none other had survived.  The only clue to her birth was a golden bracelet engraved with her name and a sheet of finest linen embroidered with what appeared to be her family tree.  But the names recorded there were foreign and none knew from whence they might have originated.  And so Angelica’s history remained a mystery even to herself.

Moss’s parents and grandparents were present today along with her Aunt Brigid, all waiting silently for her approach.  Unusual for them all to be here, she thought, a potential harbinger of trouble.  She curtsied to King Fiachra and Queen Bébhinn, then her parents and finally her aunt.  Moss stood waiting, looking from one to the other, shifting foot to foot,  but no one seemed upset or angry, in fact they were all smiling.

Finally Brigid spoke, “Marianna, you've exceeded my expectations for your education.  You’ve developed a strong foundation in the basics of plant lore and a keen and discerning eye.  Most important, you have demonstrated the ability to extend your thinking into the theoretical, unusual in one of your young age.”

Moss flushed with pleasure.  She had never excelled at her other lessons which she found frankly boring.  But from the moment she’d picked her first poesy as a child she’d been fascinated with plants.  She remembered that happy day, asking her mother how the flower breathed and what it ate, a story still told at banquets much to Moss’s embarrassment.

Brigid continued, “I believe we’ve exhausted the learning opportunities here at the palace and have petitioned the King and Queen that you and I might move to the Mountain Cottage after Beltaine in order to advance your herbal studies and instruction in the magical arts.”

Moss was stunned.  She looked from her grandparents to her parents, then back to Brigid with eyes wide.  The Mountain Cottage was well known to her as the place where her aunt had learned her craft.  It was also legendary as the dwelling place of Airmid, the great healer and sorceress, and Brigid’s own teacher.  Moss had not thought to be allowed to live there alone with only her aunt as guardian for at least two years hence.

“You understand the privilege you are being granted Marianna, and the responsibility attendant upon that privilege,” Prince Kellen warned.  “You will obey Brigid in all things else this great opportunity will be revoked.  Do you understand?”

His words were severe but his voice kind, and Moss knew his concern was for her safety.  “Yes father,” she replied.  “I will obey my aunt in all things as I would you and mother.”

Now Queen Bébhinn spoke, “Marianna, you have enjoyed the luxury of your mischiefs at the palace and on our lands.  The spells and enchantments here have ensured your protection, however the mountain is a wilder place and not without some risk.  You must understand as long as you do as Brigid bids you, you will be safe.  But ignore her at your peril and remember, if any harm befell you I could not bear it.”

She cringed at the thought of her gentle grandmother in distress and ran into her arms promising, “I will obey her, grandmother!”

But although Moss was sincere in her resolve, still she allowed herself just the tiniest thought of wandering those wild rocky slopes.


Submitted: May 23, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Stellanotte. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Writing offline

Love the innocence of this. The fairies playful banter, the young Moss carefree and wide-eyed.
Definitely has a fairytale vibe to it.
Can’t wait to see what her aunt’s cottage has to offer!

Sat, July 17th, 2021 5:33pm

Author
Reply

Thank you! The cottage is pretty awesome, my fantasy house in fact. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments.

Sat, July 17th, 2021 12:15pm

Rob73

A wonderfully written fantasy story.

Tue, August 17th, 2021 10:53pm

Author
Reply

Thank you Rob, much appreciated.

Sun, August 22nd, 2021 12:27pm

Damon Nomad

Artfully written and imaginative.

Mon, February 14th, 2022 6:27am

Author
Reply

Thank you Damon :-)

Mon, February 14th, 2022 1:03pm

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