In the FAR past….
The Dark King smiled as he gently put his hand on his Wife’s shoulder. In her arms, she was holding an Angel, her beloved Daughter. The Mother touched her throat, and felt the locket there and smiled. As she looked at her Daughter, she whispered. “My Treasure, My Queen.” However , the Queen knew she was unwell. Her pregnancy was especially hard, but the delivery was worse. Too much damage had been caused by trying to deliver the baby, earlier than term. She had two choices, she could fade away and become a memory. Or she could choose to let her essence flow into The Great Tree. If she did that, at least she would still be connected to her family, only in a different form. She looked at her Husband, and said softly, “I love you.” As she started to shimmer, she handed the baby to him. She whispered, “ I will always be with the both of you.” The King held his Daughter close to him, and told his Wife, his Queen, “I love you too my love.” With that, she shimmered, and faded away. The King sat on the bed where she once was, and sobbed. Holding his Daughter close to him, he whispered through his tears. “I will always take care of you.” The Queen’s essence shimmered and found it’s way to the tree. The tendrils of her spirit, gently touching the trunk, as if questioning what to do next. The Great Oak Tree gently enfolded her , and the locket she was wearing fell to the ground. As it lay nestled amongst spongy moss , a root gently, reverently, encircled it. Cupping it ever so lovingly, the locket was taken into the earth. A keepsake for the future.
And so, the Legacy begins…
Lothian ran and ran, till her lungs felt like they were on fire. The fear burning in her gut, would prove to be her undoing she thought. But, she continued to run, pushing down the bile that rose in the back of her throat. She swallowed it down, and gagged. Did they hear that? She wasn’t sure, but looming ahead in the darkness, is a place to hide. Maybe, if she could get there . Just maybe she could make it. She heard a noise to her left, a twig snapping to her right. The leaves started to rustle in the trees. As she put her head down, she bit her lip. FASTER! RUN FASTER! She was still trying to process, the betrayal. The BETRAYER. HOW? WHY? IT JUST CAN’T BE! But, to her horror, it certainly was as it played out. Her Father’s lifeless body lying there, so still. His hand hanging over the side of the bed. She could have sworn his chest was still rising and falling. She could have sworn there was life left in his body . Too much, too much to comprehend. Her Father, her King, dead before her very eyes. And, the one she thought she could trust with her life, with her secret. The one that knew all, leaning over his body. Her Brother Ashfield, knife in hand, blood on the blade. Looking closer she could see the stab wound. It was small, but perfectly placed. Deliberately, expertly into her Father’s side. The blood running down, dripping on the floor. As she gasped, he looked up and saw his baby Sister, the one who must die. The smile on his face was EVIL, and triumphant. Lothian was taken aback by the sheer hatred. Ashfield thought to himself, The Keeper of Light, must die! Once his plan was fulfilled, he could take the Throne, and govern all. The Agents of Evil had surely promised him that, if he succeeded in murdering his family. He thought the Light she possessed was in the locket she wore around her neck. However, when he reached out to grab the necklace. It broke, and then shattered, as it hit a large stone on the ground. She looked up in horror as she understood. HE understood, she was The Light. And now, she shone brightly. The balance between Dark and Light, was now broken. Ashfield wanted that balance, he wanted all of the power. As, she turned to flee, he sliced her arm with the knife that killed her Father. She screamed, and she glowed brighter. She would surely be found, for her glow could not be contained, unless she found another element to contain it. The glass, and water locket was broken. Given, by a man who considered himself one with the Elements. Water flowed to his will, Wind would beckon at his command. Fire, started with a touch, and Earth responded to his thought . To help contain the elements, he put safeguards into place. Once they were woven into place, it took some time to undo them. Unless however, one was to be broken, The necklace was such a safeguard. With her safeguard broken, Lothian was exposed for what she truly was. THE VESSEL for the LIGHT. SHE WAS, THE KEEPER OF LIGHT. Ian had given her the necklace when she became 13, it was offered to him by The Great Tree. A thought was pushed into his head, one word. LOTHIAN. He knew it was meant for her, and made sure it was given to her during her 13th birthday celebration. It was never to be taken off, and she agreed it was the most special gift ever! Lothian’s mind snapped back to the present. She felt frantic, and knew she was starting to panic. Think Lothian! BREATHE Lothian!! What else could she do? RUN, run to the woods! Into nature, find the old castle by The Great Tree. Find the Light Keepers sheltering place, and RUN TO IT! In your time of fear, FLEE!!!! Protect yourself! She remembered the words of the letter given to her by her Father. As she read it then, she did not understand it. Now, she did, and the written words echoed in her mind. Her memory faded, and she was driven back to now, the moment of reckoning. Her Father tried to keep her safe. Her Father sheltered, and protected her. She remembered her dear friend Ian, ALWAYS being there. Her childhood playmate, her best friend. She had a bond with him like none other. He was special to her somehow,she knew this in the deepest part of her heart . She was surrounded by so much love, and happiness. But, there was always negativity when it came to her Brother. Now mind you, not from her, BUT FROM HIM! She always pushed it away from her, but she could feel it. She never understood why. Why?? Was he always so angry?? Just beneath the surface, simmering in the background. She knew now, he was waiting. Waiting for tonight! She shook her head to clear her mind. FOCUS ON RUNNING! RUN!! She heard an angry howl, and with her last bit of determination, she made it to the threshold of the Light Keepers shelter. Her Brother was chasing her, screaming her name. The door opened by itself, for they knew she was coming. THIS PLACE, WAS AWARE OF HER!! She then realized it was her time, as clarity hit her mind. A certainty enfolded her, and she knew what she must do. As the tears fell, she realized she would never grow old, never bear children. Never, know what it is like to be loved. But, she knew that with her death, she would save the world, and balance would be restored. She just had to make it to the center hall, with the beautiful oak tree growing there. If she could give her light to the tree, the world would thrive. Her goal at this point was to make sure her Brother would be defeated. She just needed to make it to the Great Tree. As she ran, the corridors along the hall would light up and show her the way. Turn left here, turn right there. She stopped one last time and looked behind her. Where was Ian? She has never been without her constant companion, and the fear she felt for his safety was real. She felt a light touch to her cheek, What was that? she thought. As she turned, she saw her Father’s Spirit, ”Daddy,” she sobbed. He nodded his head, and gracefully pointed to the tree. What lay near it, was a beautifully jeweled knife. It was glittering with Garnets and Sapphires. The inscription on it reads this, “For the one who gives all, and extinguishes their light.” “ For the one that must protect, and therefore be right.” “If it’s unbalanced, the Grayness will come, and then and only then, be fixed by one.” She looked and saw Ian following her, he was bending nature to his will, trying to protect her from Ashfield. When she looked back again, he was gone. “IAN?!!!” she screamed. “IAN?!!” But, there was no answer. It was then that she saw her Brother pull and arrow from his quiver, and ready his bow . Just as Ian was summoning the wind to blow Ashfield off balance, he shot the arrow. Ian fell, clutching his chest, and Lothian screamed! She wasn’t even thinking about the powers she witnessed concerning Ian. She couldn’t comprehend that at all. She never knew! Her life was blissfully innocent, blissfully protected, how could she not have seen after all of these years?? Ashfield loomed over Ian and kicked him with his foot. When he did not move, Ashfield was satisfied he was dead. With tears streaming down her face, she turned and fled down the corridor, at last she was at The Great Tree. She looked around and saw a knife resting on the ground… Its beautiful she thought, this instrument of my death.
She realized her Brother wanted to be the Vessel, he killed his own Father, the King. ( to get his Darkness, that she countered with the Light…) together there is a perfect balance. It only runs through family bloodlines. A parent will have either Darkness or Light, countered by the Child’s. Their Spouse, will negate it until they have a Child. When the Child is born, it becomes the Vessel for the other’s opposite. Hence, Light or Darkness. In this case, Lothian was the counterpart to her Father’s Darkness, she was The Light. Darkness is not Evil, it is Lights opposite, and very much needed . Darkness and Light balance Good and Evil. When Darkness and Light become unbalanced, so do Good and Evil. If that happens, the world becomes off center, and Nature turns gray. Almost as if a scale is tipping too much one way. This is something, that ALL sides do not want to happen. Why, are you wondering? Evil wants a chance to play in the daylight too. Why? Because Evil is always kept at bay by the forces of Good, and Light.
She bent down and picked up the knife. As she did so, Ashfield came upon her, and his eyes widened. She looked at him, and lifted her chin. With a deep breath, she took the knife and slit her hand across her palm. She flung her hand away, and put it in the opening for blood sacrifices. Or tributes if you will, a very old Pagan tradition. She let her blood drain into the grooves, and The Great Tree began to sway. It lit up with her energy, her love, her being. “You can’t have it,” she said to her Brother. “YOU killed our Father! “ “But, once I go, you will have nothing you coveted!” “There will be no balance, Brother .” She then held the knife to her heart, Ashfield screamed, ‘NOOOOOO!!” Too late, one fateful plunge and the knife pointed true. It pierced her heart, and she cried out in anguish. With those last words being spoken she fell against the tree. She knew the life was draining out of her, and she started to feel oddly at peace. As the world grew hazy, dimness faded around the edges of her eyes. Her Brother’s face twisted in anger, contorted with hatred. How sad, she thought. She felt comfort and warmth, wrapped in the tree’s embrace. When the branches cleared of her, she was no longer there. The knife lay where it fell, and as the Brother reached for it, roots snaked up from the ground . They twisted around him, and he screamed with terror. As, the roots covered his face, his screaming was muffled. The Earth hd no pity for him, it swallowed him whole.
The Dark King witnessed it all, this Man who is now a Shade, and he shook his head. Because he was no longer of substance, he could pass through objects. He looked at the tree, and faded into it. Who knows what would happened now, but the balance was gone. The tree itself twinkled and pulsed, with so much energy swirling within. Did she truly perish? The Light and Dark clashed together, and the world turned gray.
Maybe it would be all right in the end. Maybe………
450 years later…a shimmer in the murky fog. The light was trying to break through the gray dimness…. Trying……
50 years before Present Day….A white pulse, a blue burst of light. Illuminating the tree and then nothing. Something continues to wait for the right time. What is the right time? As the world continues it gray existence. The Great Tree seems to slumber in endless twilight, Wrapped in the shadows, when will the Light pierce through the murky grayness? Maybe soon…
The day is overcast, feels like perpetual twilight. The Sun is shining and trying to peek through the clouds. TRYING, is the key word! The Wind rustles the leaves of a beautiful, old tree. People say it is over 500 years old. Pictures are taken, and people wonder at the deep grooves in it’s oddly shaped trunk. Although, it is graceful in its own right. The branches stretch tall and true, there is a section that looks to be different than the rest. It looks enfolded in on itself, cradling something. But no matter how many people wander over to take a closer look. The tree has something else in mind. It’s built to distract, with the pulsing light that starts from the base of the tree , and goes to the very top. The branches remained untouched, as they have for five centuries. Surely, what treasure inside is so precious? But, protected it must be, indeed. No one knew, how could they? The Light that is thought to be extinguished, is simply resting. Awaiting the right time to come forth….
In the crowd, a young man stood in the back and watched with intensity. He did this every day for a week. He would look to the enfolded branches, and then marvel as to why no one would go further to investigate them. But, as he continued to watch, he realized as to why. Whenever anyone got close, the tree would pulse with Light and distract the person. Clever he thought…
It did not help that National Geographic was set up, and taking pictures for its next edition. That this wonderful tree, had finally caught the magazines attention was a bit of a surprise. Especially with all the cloaking the Guardians did to keep it hidden. It was to be expected he thought. Nature was not in balance. During that time there must have been breaks in the cloak. However ,the Guardians have been trying to keep it a secret, until one boy took a picture. That strapping, young, lad of 12, won a contest for it. His name was promptly splashed across the local newspaper, and unfortunately with that, came a lot of attention. Things had to be rushed along now, they were running out of time. The world had no idea that the Light was not fully ready, but she needed to come forth. Enough all ready!!! Evil loomed, and he didn’t know how long he could hold it back. He was tired, and rightly so, this Guardian of Tree Shield. Protector of the Light. He was blessed with immortality, all though right now he felt it was a curse. His hard work blown by a young boy, a camera, and the Daily Gazette. The Agents of Evil would surely come now, to finish what was started five hundred years ago. He had to protect her! He failed back then, and he thought she was dead! The memories caused him anguish, as he saw her pierce her heart. He closed his eyes tightly to block out that image. He rubbed the spot above his heart, because he still remembers the arrow piercing his chest. That phantom pain still feel s real, and he rubbed his chest again. All these years his heartache has been unbearable. Until, they told him, she slumbered. With that revelation, a fresh hope was born. He pushed back his anger of not being told sooner. They had their reasons, but he would take this as a blessing. If everything went as planned, he would see Lothian again.
Ashfield moaned and cursed. He paced his cell. “Five hundred years!” he yelled. “Five hundred years, I SHOULD NOT BE HERE!!!” His Father, still a Dark Shade said nothing, he only looked at his Son with absolute blankness in his eyes. “WHY?” screamed Ashfield. “Every day you come to my cell, and say nothing!” “WHY FATHER?!?” “ I must be mad.” He whispered. “ I AM MAD!” He said aloud. Clinging to the bars of his cell, he bowed his head. “There is no redemption for me, only retribution.” “ NO FORGIVNESS!!!” “I killed YOU, attempted to kill my Sister!!!!” “ This is my punishment, and this is where I will rot!” He wailed, “Evil did not come forth, I did not become the Vessel as promised!” “The Agents of EVIL Lied.” He screamed,“LOTHIAN!!” “LOTHIAN!” “I HATE YOU!” “YOU SHOULD BE DEAD!” “I HATE YOU!” with that his Father appeared and spoke, “ I come everyday to remind you of what you have done, to give you no peace.” “To give to you, what you have helped give to the world, your own personal Hades.” “To remind you, you failed, and that you are no SON of mine.” “Your Sister sacrificed herself for the good of the world.” “You were willing to sacrifice HER for your own selfishness and thirst for power.” “Only SHE can forgive you, you took my life.” “I have no forgiveness in me for you.’’ “Only SHE can make it right.” With that, he reached through the bars and touched his mind. He poured all of his sorrow, and anger and pain into him. The Dark King FINALLY let go of all the hurt he held close, for five hundred years. He then loosed the pictures into his Son’s mind of childhood memories, of holding him close. Of the many kisses , and love that was lavished on him. He let loose the pain of the murder, and showed his Son, through his eyes, the evening of his death. With that being done, the Shade shimmered to almost nothing… then completely vanished. Apparently he had saved all of that pain for five hundred years, and it drained him. So much energy was used to show his Son what was done, But it was time. Five hundred years of pain was lavished onto Ashfield. So be it…
Ashfield opened his mouth, and closed it. Opened it again, and turned his back. He wrapped his arms around himself. Too much, too much pain, it hurt . He was truly alone, a shade in his own right. This cell was his home forever, and so be it. Deep in his heart, he knew it was more than he deserved. He bent his head and wept. Silently at first, the pain was too deep. As a deep, gut wrenching sob echoed through his cell, he wished for his own death…
It was dark now, National Geographic left, and the place was free of visitors. FINALLY! He ran to the tree and trembled. It has been so long he thought. She doesn’t even know I LOVE HER!
He reached under his shirt and pulled out a beautiful knife. He slit his hand across the palm and placed it into the grooves of the tree. He offered up a silent prayer, please let this work! PLEASE! The tree began to sway, and pulses of light danced through it. The branches moved and bowed, and came to rest in front of him. He was overwhelmed, his heartbeat pounded in his chest. As the branches opened, a beautiful young woman awakened with a smile. Her blond hair falling gently about her shoulders. Her white gown shimmered, and sparkled with her Light . She was glowing, and Ian’s breath caught in his throat. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen! As beautiful or more so, as the last day he saw her! HIS Lothian…
“Ian” she whispered, and stepped out of the trees embrace. “Lothian.” He answered. She said, “You watched over me all these years have you not?” All he could do was nod his head, as he pulled her into a warm embrace. A wonderful, tight, hug, that almost weakened his resolve. Tears threatened to spill from his eyes, and that would be okay too. He did not care if she saw. The emotion was too real, too raw.
She looked to the sky and saw black clouds rolling in. They looked menacing, and from them, lightning zigzagged across the sky. The Thunder was booming so loud, it hurt her ears. The ground started to quake, and break apart. Sulfur smelling, gray, steam issued forth. Another strike of lightning flashed, and struck a tree. The tree split in half, and snapped to the ground. “I can’t hold it back much longer , The agents of Evil are coming to kill you Lothian.” We must finish the ritual!!” Ian cried out.
With that, she took the knife and slit her hand once again, for the last time. She placed it into another indentation in the tree, and he placed his hand next to hers. She spoke the words to regain balance. The earth was quaking more, and Ian looked pale. Sweat was dripping from him as he attempted to keep in check, Nature. Faster she thought, this must get done! With the last word spoken, THE SUN broke through, and the black clouds rolled away. It was done and the earth started to shift back to normal. She could hear shrieking from deep within the fissures, as the earth began to heal. For one brief minute ,she swore she could hear Ashfield cursing her name.
She turned to look at Ian, and grabbed his hands. He looked up to the Heavens and said, “Thank you.” He held out a locket that was made of glass, and water, and put it around her neck. The chord was a vine from the Forest, and as he opened the locket, he spoke words to the Wind. Slowly, softly, she felt a soft caress as the breeze lightly touched her skin. She saw the contents of the locket swirl, and pulse. Her glow dimmed and transferred to the bottle. He touched the locket, and a single flame burst forth, sealing the contents within. She looked at Ian with comprehension in her eyes. “It was always you, that watched over me.” “ With the help of my Father, You always kept me safe.” He looked deep into her eyes, and said, “We were meant to be loved, and be together Lothian.” “We are one for all eternity, if you will have me. “ She stated, “While I slumbered in the tree’s embrace, I was at peace, and I would dream of you.” “ I was shown the events of that night, and I was shown what the future would hold.” Ian continued to gaze at her, as he realized his waiting of five hundred years was over. She stated my future is you.” He clasped her hand and led her away from the clearing. “ I have a gift for you, we must hurry.” “Only YOU can make it right.” With that, he led her to a secret passage way that was built purposefully for this moment. He descended down stairs cut into the earth, which opened up into a great cavern . Candles were lit, and a room was off to the side. That must be the cell were Ashfield is kept. She decided he was dead to her, and she walked past without even a glance. She stopped abruptly to stare at the shade of her Father. It hurt to see him like this, but she knew now. She was the one who could save him. Ian gripped the gilded knife and pricked the tip of his finger, the blood drops splashed onto the floor. He gently took her finger, and pricked the tip of hers as well. Her blood mixed with his, and he threw the knife into the dirt. The sapphires turned deep blue, and sparkled. The garnets glowed red, orange, and the two lights encircled Ian and Lothian. They both turned to her Father, and he slowly floated into the circle. As soon as he entered, his appearance began to solidify, and he changed into what he once was, human. As the transformation was complete, he hugged his Daughter tightly, and wept with joy. They emerged from the cavern to a beautiful display of light. The trees bent their branches in honor of the balance being regained. A rainbow appeared over the clearing where the old Oak tree stood. It shone brightly over the remains of the Light Keepers Hall. As a promise, all was good with Nature, all was good with the Light…. All was WONDERFUL with Lothian, Ian, and her Father too.
McKenlynn awakened slowly, one eye opened, then the other. She stretched out her arms, and kicked the blanket off of her legs. She then laid still, as the dream she just had, came rushing back to her. In full color and glorious detail! “MOM!?” “Guess what?!” “What baby? ” her Mother answered . “ You know how I can’t remember my dreams?” “That’s what you say, my love.” Her Mother responded, and smiled. “I REMEMBER!!!” Mckenlynn said. “ I have to write it down, and then will you help me type it out Mom?” She excitedly ran up the stairs, her blonde hair bouncing in her ponytail. She stopped in mid step,and came rushing back. She hugged her Mother tightly, so tight in fact. Her Mom had to let out a breath. “I LOVE YOU MOM!” She said. Her Mother wrapped her arms around her, and kissed her forehead. “Baby, I Love you too!” She snuggled into her Daughter’s hair, and held onto her a bit longer. She then said, “My Treasure My Queen?” McKenlynn squeezed her Mom even tighter, and said. “My Mommy forever?” Her Mother placed another kiss onto her head and stated, “Always and forever.” Such a lovely statement between the two of them. A saying that went back to her birth. A sentiment, that has been said every night since then. As McKenlynn ran back upstairs, her Mother went into the kitchen. Standing by the window, she looked out at a beautiful Oak Tree in their back yard. She touched the locket resting at her throat , and smiled. Life is good, and beautiful, and bright. As she walked to the Kitchen sink, her long, blonde hair swayed at her back. It shimmered, and sparkled in the daylight…
As McKenlynn got ready to type out her dream, she didn’t realize her hand was clasped shut. Actually, tightly shut would be more accurate. She shifted in her chair, then looked down at her hand. Her heartbeat pounding, she slowly opened it. Resting in her palm, a beautiful locket lay. Oh my, McKenlynn thought, then smiled. “MOM!!!??”
As McKenlynn’s Father came home, he shut the car door, and reflected a moment. He thought of his life, his beautiful Wife, and Daughter. He knew, in the deepest part of his heart, he was a very blessed Man. Through and open window, he heard his Daughter, call out for her Mother. In her voice, he recognized awe and wonder. He smiled, and whispered to himself. “And so, the legacy begins….
These Guardians of The Balance, will maintain nature, and keep the grayness away. And Ian knew then, as he desperately hoped, those many years ago. It would definitely be, all right in the end….
Written with love by Myrna Martin
@2015 Myrna Martin