Synopsis: Culleen Callawe’en, born humanish in the north land where all but she possesses magic, is on a quest to find magic to call her own. Accompanied by Vesta, wolf-dog, and Kuth, raven, she crossed the abandoned middle-lands, slipping through a fissure in escarpment wall to reach shores of the great easterlies sea. She begins a series of encounters with her pale doppelgänger; wraith-woman with whom she would clash. Possessing a misspent arrow provides Culleen with her first taste of magic. Clacking raven tongue becomes language she can understand; converse as all others of her northern homeland can. In a dreamscape, Culleen is now welcomed by the wraith – Maaginen — for return of her bow. When dreamscape becomes reality, Culleen is shown a world of magic – magic flowing from nature, not from people. A world that confuses Culleen as all her knowledge and strength comes from understanding her natural world; world of forests where Ancients dwelt before magic rose among her people.
Surprisingly, it is her humanish that Maaginen prizes, and seeks Culleen to join in her quest. In presence of Ancients, afore their weather blasted standing stones, Culleen realizes wherein her value lies. Being humanish, she can reach back through time to when stones were carved and placed. Understand last message of the Ancients before their passing. Maaginen tasks her with reading this cryptic missive; within it lies beginning and end of Maaginen’s, and Culleen suspects, her own quest.
This was a different shore; not shale of thundering breakers, but long stretches of sea and fresh watered sand. Here sea cliffs, eroded by weather into mere hills and dunes spilling outward. Horizonscapes flood senses on all sides; nothing but skittering clouds blurring white tops of waves to obscure view of forever.
Encamped in yet another copse of stunted yew – tree of the easterlies sea – Culleen watches Maaginen ride her sea-tang pony hard against the tides. Maaginen was of sea as she was of forest, Culleen thinks. Maaginen seemingly less ethereal, more solid, hair glinting in the brilliance of sun off water and sand. Horse and person as one, wheeling, as did gulls and Kuth overhead. Vesta, content for a time to curl by her feet, watching the panorama closely.
Culleen, still clumsy upon a mount, more sure on foot than hooves. Maaginen’s ponies forgiving; they let her ride, guiding her towards each destination with confidence and skill.
Smile turning to frown, Culleen scrutinizes again runes sketched in sand from images on her staff. Ancient tongue in different, easterly dialect. She matches her runes next to each, trying to decipher code of burnished away by the millennia, re-burnt upon her staff full moon ago. Following cliffs, then coast, questing pair travel without sure purpose. As each rune seems to reveal itself, another obscures. Culleen oft closes her mind to present – drifts back to Ancients’ circles. Listening for touchstone word; keynote rune to unlock all others.
Maaginen tries to hide impatience. She speaks not of what she seeks, only that Culleen needs, must, read runic writings. Culleen dwells on little else; her own quest fading. Except not to Kuth. No longer silent, constant whisper, “Well then, Culleen . . . What of magic you seek?“
“Hush!” Culleen’s reply, “Not all is revealed in mirror at once – step close to see less, step back to see more.” “Or step deep into time,” she whispers to herself. Perhaps on one backwards journey, she will not return to now, but be encased in then. She shudders – what fate truly awaits her, awaits them on turn of tide, on wax and wane of moon. She focuses again on sketches in sand. tensil ot ym sdrow
Culleen nudged me again this week in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday prompt: #writephoto shore. Prodding me with her runic-encoded staff to place Maaginen back by the great easterlies sea whence she belonged, and to show Culleen’s attempts at deciphering Ancient easterlies runes. Contained within these symbols is the answer to Maaginen’s quest – whatever that may be. And, perhaps, too, personal magic of which Culleen seeks. This is the 13th installment in Culleen’s quest. Earlier episodes can be read as follows:
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
For Part 9 read here
For Part 10 read here
for Part 11 read here
for Part 12 read here
© Lorraine 2017