Story so far*: Culleen Callawe’en has travelled far in her quest for personal magic. From the shore of the northern ocean to a cliff-top above the great easterlies’ sea. Born humanish among a people all possessing magic, Culleen felt the outsider. She grew from a feral child to a young woman of the forest, who understood the earthy magic of nature. Feeling her difference even more keenly then, she vowed to find something of magic for or within herself. The search led her on strange adventures with her travelling companions – Vesta, a wolf-dog, and Kuth, a raven sent from the north during her journey.
A cliff-top attack by a wraith-woman left Vesta with a minor graze wound, and Culleen with a spark of magic. Holding the mis-shot arrow, she is able to converse with Kuth for the first time. Unintelligible clacks became words. The wraith-woman disappeared, but Culleen knows she must seek her out. On Kuth’s advice, she begins the arduous task of creating a new base camp among the copse of yews where the attack took place. And so . .
Tired from several treks back through the fissure to fetch essential supplies then the treacherous ascent and descent of the cliff-clinging path, Culleen fell into an uneasy sleep. She stood upon the footpath, a slivered ribbon under a clear full moon. Echoes of the bow string’s lament; seeking reunion with it’s owner filled the hushed night air. The ground undulated before her. Dips and hollows. Rises and ridges. Against the darker line where earth met starscaped sky, a flicker of light. Perhaps a strange easterlies’ phenomenon or flames of an encampment fire. Vesta stifled a growl, Kuth riding lightly on the wolf-dog’s back. Drawn towards the flames, as a moth to torch light, Culleen slinked forward.
A bold fire burned within a brazier. The dancing light was augment by several torches thrust into the ground. Culleen emerged, blinking, from the darkness. A log drawn up for sitting by the fire, the remnants of meal, sleeping robes, and the soft sounds of horses nearby. “Greetings,” the voice called from behind her. She turned to see the smiling face of the wraith-woman. “Tis time you returned my bow.”
Startled awake, Culleen wildly looked around her. She was still in the cliff-top copse of yews. The sun just topping the rim, chasing away streamers of fog and night sky. Kuth sat, sulking, at her feet; Vesta’s head in her lap. She knew she must press onward, travelling light. The wraith-woman awaited her upon the fullness of the moon.
For Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt #writephoto flame. (image: Sue Vincent)
* For Part 1 read here
For Part 2 read here
For Part 3 read here
For Part 4 read here
For Part 5 read here
For Part 6 read here
For Part 7 read here
For Part 8 read here