Excerpt from Chapter 12: “The Guardian” by Tracy M. Kubiayk

First Serial Rights © Tracy M. Kubiayk

Read time: 8 minutes

“First you must go to High Hill. Don’t climb straight up. Walk the long path around and around as it lead you to the top. It might take a while, have patience and a clear mind. When you reach the peak, sit down.”

Theena reached into the pocket of her dress and pulled out a small vial filled with a light orange liquid.

“Then, drink this. Relax and wait.”

“What is it?”

“Water from the sacred well. Not the same well as the portal, though they are all connected. Anyway, it also has nasturtium extract and a pinch of fairydust.”

“What will it do?”

“It will help you reach your higher self. It may take some time, but a vision will come to you. It will guide you on your path.”

Now that it was all really happening, now that she was going to be alone, Billie became worried.

“What about the trolls?”

“There is some danger. But, they know better. It would mean real trouble for them if they harmed anyone. They usually don’t break our agreement, and they stay away. However, if you run into trouble, fairydust puts them to sleep. I made a pouch of it for you. You should finish before moon fall and won’t even need it. Don’t worry. Follow your instincts.”

Theena handed her a small velvet pouch attached to a piece of twine. “Just put a small amount in your palm and blow it like a kiss.”

Billie put the twine around her neck and hid the fairydust beneath her dress next to her key, which she noticed was glowing again and warm against her skin.

“Ready?”

“Where are you going?”

“Through the forest, back to school. You’ll be okay. Just follow this road to the High Hill. When you see it, you’ll know. Good luck.” She gave her a hug and walked away, into the forest.

I am with you always.” Her mother’s words came to mind as Billie stood alone on the empty road. This gave her courage. She began her trek.

Billie had left her shorts and shirt, and her socks and shoes at Teleri’s. She hoped she wouldn’t need her shoes. Everyone went barefoot in Fairy. She supposed it was because the ground was so soft and pleasing to the feet.

Not accustomed to wearing dresses, she was surprised to find it quite comfortable after awhile. And although she walked down a strange road in an unknown land, it was so beautiful, she soon felt at ease. The fact that her mother set her on this path gave her courage and enthusiasm. Also, when she wanted to be more centered and relaxed, Billie thought of her grandma, the love and appreciation she felt toward her.

Up ahead a strange creature was crossing the road. It had a peach head and shimmering feathered chest, a short black beak, and a long green caterpillar-like body with many feet. She had seen birds in Fairy, they looked quite normal. But this creature seemed part bird, part insect. It went on its way into the forest, paying Billie no attention at all.

I guess if they have different plants here, then they probably have different animals, too. Viv did mention the colorful fish she saw in the lake. She said they looked more like ocean fish. I wonder if animals ever cross over to Fairy. When I’m Guardian, I’ll probably have to watch out for that. It would be nice to see the buck here. But he’s probably too busy in the woods at Cottage Hill.

The more she walked, the better she felt. The key against her skin warmed up. Billie was curious why it did this once in awhile. It glowed whenever she held it in her palm and sometimes by itself, but only in Fairy.

Farther down, the road curved, and the white trees became less common while more evergreens seemed to occupy the surrounding forest. Here and there the landscape opened up and Billie could see the hills and land in the distance, but she had not yet found the High Hill with the spiral path. So, she kept walking and thought about everyone she’d met in Fairy so far.

First there was Lexi. Billie loved the name Alexa and thought if she ever had a daughter she might name her Alexa. Lexi was full of joy and life, and Billie looked forward to her training.

Then they met Nick. Billie giggled, recalling how Holly was so boy crazy over him. Holly had completely forgotten all about her summertime crush on Scotty.

Today, Billie met Theena. She wondered what the school looked like and what the priestesses studied.

And then there was Teleri, cute and motherly, yet young, Teleri, who didn’t wear a priestess dress. Billie guessed dressmakers didn’t need to be priestesses. But Selene, what a powerful and enchanting Fairy, a High Priestess. Though in her presence Billie felt like bowing to her, the woman seemed very pleasant, down to earth, and kind.

All the Fairies were very nice. They all had pointy ears, petite statures, shimmering auras, and now that she thought about it, green eyes.

Billie was pretty sure she herself did not shimmer. She didn’t have pointy ears, but she did have the green eyes and small statue, like her mom, and her grandma. It felt good to know where you come from. Then she wondered again about her dad. However, before she could think about him any further, she saw High Hill.

It was just that, a large, high green hill with a path spiraling around it all the way up to the top. It seemed to reach out to the lavender sky. Billie could see all five of the moons from the road. Behind the hill, in the distance, a misty glitter clouded the landscape.

She had been walking for some time and knew the walk up the hill, taking the long path, might tire her out, so she sat down beside the road for a moment.

She relaxed, like her grandmother had taught her, and connected to the land. With closed eyes and slow breath, she felt calm and focused. The flow of energy tingled through her arms. She chose a flower and admired it, giving it appreciation and love. When she was finished, she felt recharged and ready. She picked a bunch of vionberries from a nearby bush, they apparently grew everywhere around Fairy. With a clear mind, she made the walk, munching on the berries as she began, and dropping a few here and there in thanks.

It wasn’t difficult to keep her mind clear while she walked around and around the large hill. In fact, with each circle, she felt more and more like she was going into a state of trance. When she reached the top it seemed to her that it was a very short walk.

She grabbed the vial from her pocket and sat down. The view was enchanting and peaceful. She saw mostly trees, a few birds, and in the distance to the right, the rocky cliffs near the lake sparkled before the mist. Up ahead to the left she saw the top of a building, like a tower, protruding through the trees. She wondered if that was the school.

She closed her eyes and felt the light wind kiss her cheek, dancing with a few strands of her curls. Then, Billie swallowed the orange liquid.

She breathed in, she breathed out slowly and relaxed. She waited.

After some time, she felt a little light headed, but she remained calm, relaxed, and connected to High Hill.

Where did you get that key? It was a woman’s voice she heard in her mind. A picture formed in her thought. It was Eden, the Fairy she had met in her first dream. An image formed in her mind, the circle of tall stones. The picture then flashed to a memory at Cottage Hill when Billie opened up the second envelope and pulled out the key. The thought faded quickly. Her mind returned to the present. A soft breeze blew lightly around the hilltop.

Eyes still closed, in her trance, she laid down with her hands comfortably folded on her chest and her back pressing into the soft ground. At first her body felt heavy. She breathed in and out slowly, her stomach and chest rising and falling like waves. Then a brightness swept through her and her body felt tingly, asleep. A few moments later, her arms, as light as the wind, rose off her chest and she stood up. Billie somehow knew her body was still there on the ground, but she didn’t look back at it. She took a few light steps forward and flew, weightless, off the hill and through the sky.

She glided over the trees, over Teleri’s house, toward the lake and into the mist. While attempting to land, Billie’s astral body bounced lightly off a rock. It was so weightless, she was having problems controlling her movements. Disoriented, she glided over the cliff toward the water. If she became scared, her astral self would return to her body. Somehow, she just knew this was the case, so she didn’t let herself feel fear. Like a feather swaying down from the sky, she got closer and closer to the water.

She couldn’t get herself into flight again,but she was able enough to focus, and what she saw mesmerized her. Twinkling lights emerged from the water, like a sparkler on the fourth of July, but much larger. They soon dimmed and revealed an apparition of a woman in the lake. The figure seemed to be standing on the water, beautiful and as majestic as the lake itself. Her dress, a translucent purple, blue and silver, blew around her in waves and reshaped as she lifted her arms. As Billie drifted down, closer to the woman, she could see that she looked very much like Mrs. Cadmus, but this apparition had the pointed ears of a Fairy. It couldn’t possibly be Vivian’s mom.

When Billie reached the water, the lady lightly caught her, smiled, and tossed her up again, which guided her into flight.

Finally, Billie landed softly on a high cliff above the lake, across from the overlook. A butterfly, the size of a large bird, with peach and green wings, fluttered past her and into the mist.

Around her, a voice whispered. “A spell on our key,” was all Billie could make out. She peered into the mist.

“It will guide you.” It was her mother’s voice.

“Mom?” Billie called into the fog.

Slowly, her mother’s image appeared, translucent in the atmosphere. She smiled at her daughter. Her eyes showed so much love, Billie felt it caress her soul.

“I’m always with you.” Her mouth didn’t move, but the words were there. Then, her image faded.

“Mom?”

But, she was gone. Billie felt a pull. Her astral body stepped back a few paces. The next thing she knew, she was back on High Hill.

She opened her eyes and sat up. Everything looked the same, but she didn’t feel light headed anymore. No longer in trance, she knew it worked, it was all true, she had her vision, and she knew the first step to take involved the key. She grabbed the chain and pulled it out. On its own, dangling from the long chain around her neck, the key glowed golden white light.

She held it out, patiently watching the glow. Soon, it moved, as with a mind of its own, like a magnetic pull; it pointed in the direction opposite the lake.

“Cool,” Billie whispered and headed straight down the hill in that direction.

When she reached the bottom, she held out the chain again, but this time the key didn’t move. So, she decided to keep on that way until it told her a different direction to take. When she felt it get warmer, she pulled it out and held the chain up. Sure enough, it did it again, guiding her where to go. She was a little worried when it guided her off the road and into the forest, but she had faith in the magick, in her mother, and in her vision.

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Feature image by Kinuko Y. Craft (born 1940), a Japanese-born American contemporary painter, illustrator and fantasy artist.

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