Thorns and duty.

Thorns

It’s been a while since I brought anything from Briarhaven….. so here’s something from the continued meddlings of a fairy called Mora 😉

 

Mora chuckles as she is almost hauled through The Glade, Bug pulling one hand, and Dandy the other. The fae children gabble at her about thorns and silks being torn. “Hang on, slow down… only one of you talk at a time!” she urges. Both children pause, look at the other, then start again. Mora laughs louder and pulls back against both, making them stop. “Now…” She looks at Dandy “YOU tell me what the matter is!”

The young girl fairy takes a deep breath, then gabbles quickly, her already high-pitched voice raising with excitement “They all appeared overnight… just are… there… they have covered the throne… ” “CHAIR!” Bug chimes in “It’s just a chair!”

Bug decides a more direct approach is needed and grabs Mora’s hand again, dragging her to the entrance to the Seelie ruins. Her eyes widen with joy as she sees the thorns “Ohhhh…. I see what you mean!” Bug lets her hand go and she steps into the ruins, and walks carefully towards the mass of thorns.

Mora’s bare toes wriggle into the grass and moss, as she softly speaks to the tangle of thorns, reaching out her long fingers and gently caressing the gnarled and twisted stems. Bug and Dandy watch her silently, amazed at how deftly her fingers slide between even the most angry and jagged thorns, leaving not even the slightest scrape on her pale skin.

If the children had been closer and knew the words of the ancients they might have heard her speak to the thorns. “Who sent you, I know you were not called by me….. but one of power has brought you forth.” Her fingers and toes read the reply as small vibrations are carried to her through the very earth itself. No words that others would hear, but from her connection to all plants living, Mora understands their answer, as they are relieved to feel her there. “The King who wields the power of winter and ice called us here… we know not why.”

A soft smile plays at the corners of Mora’s mouth, then grows wider as her fingers continue to stroke and calm the thorns. “Perhaps he turns from the unnatural way of arcane magic, and returns to his given powers as King of the Enchanted” She softly muses to herself, before chanting to the thorns “Well, my lovelies, in that case, if the King has bidden it, you must remain here, but despair not… create a barrier of beauty and flourish.” The thorns seem to almost tremble a sigh as they twist and curve tighter in on themselves, creating a barrier which can not be easily penetrated, but one which is beautiful to behold in structure.

Bug and Dandy look amazed at Mora as she turns back to them. “Aren’t you going to get rid of them?” Dandy asks. Mora smiles and places her hand on the girl’s head. “Goodness no. It seems King Pyrite called them here, and as he is our King, it is not for me to remove them. ” She looks back to the thorns, then back to the children. “I tell you something though… they would appreciate it if you sang to them now and then. Plants like that… even ones that are good at keeping others away…. especially those, as they provide protection at times.” She grins, knowing the children will learn and tend to the thorns and in time, if left long enough roses may spring from some, and brambles from others.

 

RP- Chess with words!

MoraLight

 

Most of you know how much I love words, but also how much difficulty I have explaining myself at times. Haha. So THIS is an attempt at explaining how and why I RP, (roleplay) in SL. I will warn you though… it’s going to be neither short, nor simple. It’s actually something which has been running around in my head for a long time.

I RP because I love words. I really enjoy writing but also enjoy the challenge of puzzles. To me RPing is a lot like doing a crossword puzzle at the same time as trying to work out a game of chess. It’s a real mental workout and now that I am old and at the mercy of awkward times in life, I don’t have the mental capacity to spend much time doing it.

It used to say on my SL profile that I am an RPer. I had to change that due to some of the random IMs I would receive when I was out and about of the various scenarios that some guys had dreamed up and hoped I might like to join them in. Yeah…. much eye-rolling there! What might start as me turning them down politely, at times would often end up with me having to bare my teeth at their wrong assumption. THAT is not the kind of random RP I mean.

I am… an RPer, but an wonderfully boring one by some people’s standards…and let me explain why. I now RP in SL as a character called Mora Meadowsweet, who is a fairy. Mora is simply a verbal costume that I put on. She’s a character that I drop into the middle of a medieval fantasy soap opera, but I never lose track of the fact that she is just a character… and I am just an actor. It is not a different life, just something I spend time doing now and then. She is NOT me, but is made up of parts of who I am, which have been exaggerated. I have often been told that to be a real RPer, I should create and use a character that is the complete opposite of me…. of who I am. I am not good enough at stepping out of myself completely though. I am just me.

I would rather create a character who feels real to those who meet her. She’s very grounded in who I am. For that reason, Mora will always share something of me, some trace of who I am. For example, Mora will do the right thing, but rather than life, my life, where sometimes ‘the right thing’ isn’t what I myself would want to do, Mora can do it. That’s often liberating. If someone is rude to her, she can simply unleash harsh words, or even slap someone…. things I would try and avoid doing in real life… as much as possible. She’s old and cynical, but also capable of much laughter and prank-playing.

I have RPd as a fairy for a good few years now. I am someone who LOVES nature. I am a very happy person when I can stand in the middle of pine forests and close my eyes, smelling both the pine trees, hearing the breeze blowing through them and carrying the honey-scent of heather down from the mountains. Yes… I spend time up in the Highlands of Scotland when I can. I grew up a nature nerd, I guess. I can name most birds I see in the UK and a good many of the wild flowers too. I have a basic knowledge of which ones are not good to touch or eat, and also which ones might be used for simple healing. It made sense to take all that… and give my knowledge to my fairy who feels most at home in forests.

To role play for me is very much like how I write when I am writing prose. It’s painting a picture with words. It’s not so much the honest words spoken from my heart when I am in conversation with friends… my RP is something fixed… static… and described. I visualize the action, then describe it and the feelings, always responding to what’s been said, then giving something for the other person to respond to.

I realise that in saying I RP as a fairy, many of you might have a mental image of some cute little pretty thing flitting about from flower to flower. I am sorry, but I have to disappoint you there.

To explain a little more of how I RP, I have to take you back to my beginnings in the often bizarre RP world. I am going to try and keep it short though.

I have never done any RP games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The only RP I have ever done has been in SL, but started back in 2008. My best friend at the time and I rented cottages opposite each other, either side of a stream on a woodland SIM. I am sure that if I could find a picture of what it looked like, I would be shocked at the lack of mesh, but the picture in my memory was of a lovely tranquil place.

In the covenant for the place, it said we didn’t have to wear medieval clothes on that SIM.. but when we asked the landlady, she said we would need to wear them if we wanted to go over to the main SIMs where we could learn to use swords, bows… and joust. My friend and I were both on voice at the time and were speechless for a few moments before dashing off to buy medieval clothes.

I had never wanted to be a princess as a little girl. I had always thought it would be much better if I could have been a knight and saved myself. SL gave me that chance. Ah I had some happy days in the Kingdom of Eternity as a bossy human Knight. *grins*

Eternity… ah yes.. The Kingdom of Eternity was a place I called home for many years. I called it home, as I rented a home on the SIM and as I entered into the RP, it became less of a home, and more of a place where people would simply turn up at all hours, shouting outside that something had happened and they needed help. It was exhausting too, now that I look back on it. Haha.

The BEST tool for RP in my opinion is the instant message… the IM window for private messages. I am always just me in those. In open chat I can be shouting at someone, cursing at them and throwing poisoned daggers at them, and in IM can be giggling with them at the smart-arsedness of our words. I get to know people I RP with, bit by bit. I admit that I only really RP fighting with people I know… and people I know aren’t going to cry if I use mean words… they will just hurl something more back and we will both be crying with laughter.

If I might paint you a picture with my words…life in the Kingdom of Eternity was a time of at least two joust tournaments a week, with good friends, some of whom I am still close to today. ‘The Lady Sashay’ is a great friend and confidant. In the RP she was a fellow knight and jouster. She and I would often throw flasks of alcohol between us at tournaments, then mount up onto our horses, who we stated drank nothing but Eternity ale…. and would then joust in heels, giggling all the way. There was no sense of equality back then, for it was often the women who won at the jousts… with much hilarity.

I am still in touch with ‘Sir Jacko Dixon’… and the Elven Lady ‘Kalista Noel’. Kali… LOL… Kali was a most fearsome woman in character. She was an amazing swordswoman and archer. It was a place which used metered combat. We would have battles each week back then, so weapons training was something that was taken seriously. How good it was that nobody could hear me giggling as we went though it all. I knew NOTHING back then. I had to learn to use bows. I have never been good with swords, but would always love pulling out a bladed whip and watching men not know whether to run towards or away from me. Bwahahaha!

Jacko. Dear Jacko Dixon deserves special mention. He was my SL Uncle, even though he’s not there anymore. As part of the story of Eternity, he played the role my Uncle, but as a twist we were on opposing sides. I was the First Knight on the light side… and he was the Dark First Knight. Funny thing was that as we got to know each other in IM as friend, we would often swear and curse as much… and had hot tempers to match. Many times he stormed off over things… and I would stomp off after him. A true friend and kindred spirit, who taught me lots about battle strategy.

It’s interesting though, as I reflect a little… all the places I have RPd in, all the countless people I have met, there’s only a handful who have remained close to me as real friends.

So.. back to Mora the fairy. There’s a side of her which is visually ‘lighter. She uses glamour to appear more human and less frightening. She can also often appear in her true, unglamoured form… darker…. pure energy and sparkle. She carries that side of me which is used to rolling up my sleeves and grabbing a weapon, or whatever is to hand and smacking someone silly with it, if needed. Some who may read this, may have been on the receiving end of when I have often used a wooden bucket to hit someone with, or throw at someone. Haha.

I RP in the lovely land of Briarhaven now. I have been there just over a year now and although I don’t RP much these days, I natter on to some of the people who are there in IM. I have been lucky enough to make some good friends there and already have some great memories. It’s always good to be a thorn in the side of some characters there. *grins*

My RP time is never going to be an excuse to dash off and form new *coughs* relationships with different people to whoever I might be with. Too often I have seen and heard “Oh.. that’s only RP!” To me, I am me. I have one life/ love. RP friends are those who I have got to know OOC (out of character) and who know me both OOC and IC (In character). Sash, Jacko and Kali might not be in SL anymore, but I do keep in touch with their RL selves. ‘Sash’ is still very much a constant in my life… a confidant and strength, the sister I would have chosen. These three have been with me so long, they are stuck with me now 😉

I often hear from people that they could never RP, they are just themselves. I admit to rolling my eyes at that. I am just myself too, but for an hour or two here and there, I exaggerate some aspects a little….. and fly. Honestly, in my almost ten years in SL, I see more upset caused by people who claim not to be RPers, but who suddenly unravel in a storm of lies and deception with a trail of destruction behind them.

I am boringly and honestly me 😉

Mora is simply a costume of words that I put on now and then to go and verbally spend time at a written munitions range. 😉

MoraDark

Daily Life In The Glade

A tale from Briarhaven:

Mora smiled as she looked over the edge of the balcony at the front of her treehouse. There was much to see going on in the glade below. The everday life of the Glade was always wonderful to observe. There were pockets of fae and pixies chatting, their laughter echoing around the treetops. Smells of cooking wafted up on the breeze and made Mora’s mouth water. Folding her arms she smiled at the birds who hungrily had flocked to peck up the crumbs she shared with them each day.

Taking to her wings the fairy soared to the ground, chuckling as she startled a couple of rabbits. “You have no need to worry. See! There’s a stew already on the go for the day.” Her laughter was joined by two more high-pitched giggles.

Spinning on her toe, she caught a flash of yellow behind her, a patch of red darting to the other side. The fairy grinned to herself, but appeared to anger and growl, but all in play as she threw out her arms, swishing them this way, then the other as she tried to catch the fairy children. She didn’t try too hard though, and chased after them, their howls of laughter echoing around the glade.

The other Enchanteds going about their day dodged out of the way as the three figures blustered through the undergrowth, whooping in play. Marigold stopped stirring the large pot of stew, and waved a spoon at the youngsters. “Shall I help you with them, Sister Mora?” She winked at Mora, who merely grinned even wider and winked back.

“Aye! You catch one trouble-maker, and I shall catch the other.”

Marigold gave chase after Bug as he dashed past her, his red wings buzzing as Mora turned the other way, the yellow dress of Dandy only just ahead of her now. The fun soon stopped though as Dandy flew straight into the chest of one of Pyrite’s goblins, winding him with a loud “Oof!”

“Why you little creature!” It spat out, reluctant to suddenly find himself the focus of the many eyes watching them.

Mora stepped up and pushed Dandy behind her, pulling herself up as tall as she can. She could feel the youngster trembling behind her and a moment of stillness gripped the Glade, until Mora fixed the goblin with one of her brightest smiles. She tilted her head “Vishik, isn’t it? You are quite a warrior, and extremely quick of reflex to catch this one for me. Thank you! I shall see she is… dealt with” She placed a hand on the goblin’s arm, and a ripple of green moved across her skin, matching a shiver which Vishik felt rush up his arm.

The goblin was visibly flustered, his guttural words catching in his throat. “Aye… aye… well… see… you… do.” He managed to compose himself and turned back towards the encampment “I have more important things to do than mind the ways of children.” Vishik straightened himself and stomped back to the camp, seeming to ignore the hushed giggles of those behind him.

Mora chuckled, but when Vishik was out of earshot, she turned to look at Dandy behind her, stooping so her eyes were on a level with the youngster’s. “Now then, Missy… it seems you need to learn something from this.” Mora placed one arm around Dandy, and then looked to Bug. “You two need to put some time into practicing your flying skills. You need to be able to fly at speed without colliding with things.” Mora smiled gently “I will help you. It’s one of our strengths. If you have wings, you may as well use them to their best! For now, go and spend time chasing each other and use up some of that energy. Our lessons can start tomorrow.”

Mora stood back up as the youngsters sped off and life returned to normal in the Glade. She folded her arms “You never know when you might need those skills…..” She whispered after Bug and Dandy.

lessons

Where she belongs? – A tale from Briarhaven.

home_003

Mora sat on the edge of the balcony around the treehouse and smiled. She closed her eyes as the pale sunlight of the winter morning reached through the leaves of the tree she now called home. A blue-tit landed beside her, its shrill chirping calling out to her. “Hello there, little one!” It was joined by a chaffinch. Mora shared the last of her breakfast bread with them, scattering crumbs so that a bullfinch could enjoy them too.

It had been a few days now since Mora had finally moved home from the human village. She had heard enough whispers of war, and gossip about Pyrite possibly pressuring Minn on something. She needed to find out, and possibly help. The only way she could see this happening was to move into the Glade and become a useful part of the Enchanted settlement.

They had been surprised to see her arrive, but directed her to a tree-house which had apparently been empty a while. As Mora opened the door, there was much scrambling and startled noises from inside. As the dust settled, she was confronted by birds and squirrels who had been sheltering in there from the winter outside. The fairy smiled. “Well at least it doesn’t look as though I shall lack for company”

Mora didn’t have too many belongings, but by the end of that day she had swept out the house and made it feel cosy. Viola the bluebird seemed happy in the company of the other creatures, and as soon as the fairy sat at the table, exhausted, two squirrels soon appeared there with her, chattering at her. She snickered and pushed a bowl of nuts across the table, grinning as they helped themselves

 

home_007

It was only as she looked back at her bow hanging beside the door that she remembered the task she had set herself. This house gave her the perfect vantage point to keep an eye on the Glade and any who would come there wishing to bring trouble. She could be of great use to Pyrite here. He had great number of imps and goblin to do his bidding, but few who had her particular battle skills or experience. Sometimes it was the unseen and silent warrior who could act as a sharp knife and leave an enemy wondering who or what had sliced them.

She couldn’t deny that she held the distant hope that if she were useful to the community, she might be in a better position to find out what exactly Pyrite was up to and could possibly even help intervene or sway him to another path of action. Yet as she looked at her songbird friends sharing her breakfast, she couldn’t help but smile at how blessed she would be to start her days as simply as this.

A reconnaissance flight.

A tale from Briarhaven.

 

Mora saw the guards on the gate whispering, and her interest awoken she went to see what the news was.

They nodded to her in recognition as she approached.

“Mayhap Mora will know of his plans…” one of them finished saying, and both of the men turned to look at her.

Mora folded her arms and grinned up at the men. “Oh come on now, boys… you have to give me a little more than that? Know about whose plans?”

Peter dropped his voice a little, and looked about them before answering “That mad boy king.” he whispered.

Mora’s jaw set and her fists balled at her side. “Pyrite? What’s he up to now?”

The other joined in now. “He delivered a letter here the other day for the lady Minn.”

“Brought his new creature with him.” Peter added.

“It’s a strange thing for him to deliver a letter.” Mora mused. “It’s usually more his…. style… to simply storm the village and stamp his little foot. This is… odd.” She didn’t share further thoughts with the guards, but couldn’t help wondering why Pyrite had taken to using written words.

As the day wore on, she couldn’t shift the worry which niggled at her over this. Perhaps… it was time to take more interest in what the boy king was up to.

She waited until the night came, then opened the wooden chest in her chamber and took from it small garments made of black leather. They were old and showed damage to their surface in places, but the fairy smiled as she slipped on their familiar covering, favouring them at this time over her fine dress.

She stepped out onto her balcony and flapped her wings, lifting herself easily to the rooftop. She turned her face up to the moon and closed her eyes. Dropping her hands to her side, she relaxed her glamour, letting it slide slowly from her body like a light silk garment.

If any of the villagers had been able to see the fairy up on the roof, they would have seen her seem to disappear to their eyesight.

Mora opened her eyes and smiled, running her tongue down the side of one of her sharp teeth as she held her arm out and twisted it this way then that, the glittery sheen of her blue-green skin reflecting the moonlight.

“Now.. to see what he’s up to” she whispered and opened her wings. Gone were the fragile-looking butterfly wings, replaced by thick feathered and glossy black ones. She couldn’t help but grin as she quickly gained height, her strong wings as silent as they were powerful.

It had been too long since she had dropped her glamour. She was too proud of who she was to hide the fact she had wings and long ears in the human village, but knew many would show fear at her true self.

It was the only way to glide unseen through the trees and see what Pyrite was up to. She landed in the cover of trees, but close enough to his encampment to both hear and see all she needed. There was the milling about of a few imps and his assorted riff raff minions, but nothing seemed different than it had. There were perhaps a greater number, but no real organisation to them.

She flew back to the village and landed silently on her balcony, stepping inside the house and closing her eyes as she veiled herself in the light of Mora as all knew her to be. She smiled wide as she looked up to Viola the bluebird who watched her from the rafters. “Well, whatever he has planned, we will be ready, huh?”

 

glamourless

A simple gift?

Mora’s day started like any other. She flung open the balcony doors and stepped out to greet the new day. There was a slight mist in the air, a coldness to suggest the moving of seasons. “Good morning, my friends!” She said brightly and stooped to look at the pots of flowers and plants which still grew outside her door. She crouched beside them and let her fingers gently stroke across their leaves as she hummed softly. A robin flew down to her work table and watched the fairy, head cocked to one side. He saw how the fairy’s fingertips seemed to glow as she worked, the sparkling glow flowing gently to the edge of the leaves.

Mora saw him and stood up silently, smiling and bowing to him. “Good morning to you too, my red-vested friend.” Her attention was taken by the calls of the gulls from the harbour. She took two steps of run and sprang into the air, her wings carrying her slight frame in pursuit of them. “Wait for me!” Giggling the fairy chased after them, the strong gusts of salty air taking her voice as she called to them, wondering if today would be the day she saw Tal’s ship in the harbour. She swooped alongside the ship there, but it was not his. Her spirits dipped, but for a moment as something shining caught her attention. She saw the door open to the infirmary and smiled as she saw Morgause step out, talking to Nonny. She was fond of Morgause, but the sight of Nonny reminded her of the shells of men still under the nurse’s care. She frowned a little and banked flying over the walls and out into the surrounding countryside.

Flying low, the fairy giggled as the dew from the grass and plants sprang up, showering her in a fine spray which reflected the colours of the rainbow in the morning sun. Her fingertips stroked the plants she flew, lifting her spirits to where her song burst from her lips. She chuckled as a stag lifted his head at the sound of her, tendrils of ivy caught in his antlers. She landed silently on one foot and swept effortlessly into a low bow. “Good morning to you, Forest Majesty.” The strange little fairy was well known to the stag and he took a step close to her, exhaling loudly and surrounding her in a cloud of sweet, warm breath. She reached out a hand to take the ivy from his antlers, but then tilted her head. “You know, I think that rather suits you. I think… you should keep it.” Her fingers touched the ivy, and as they did, it snaked tidily around the creature’s antlers.
Mora’s thoughts went back to the challenge at hand. She needed to do something to try and at least provide some temporary happiness to the men of the village. Better than her home-grown flowers, the few blooms she saw around her had lived their life in the magic-soaked soil of the natural woodlands. She busied herself with singing again as her fingers caressed and plucked a bunch of late flowering plants, mixed with autumn bejeweled twigs and leaves. She would not fly back to the village, she needed time to weave thoughts of joy and love into her gift. Her spirit lived not in the taking of happiness from others. She had seen enough from her sisters of what it was to awaken the unbridled passion and love in others, only to remove all trace of it and consign that unhappy creature to endless dark.

As Mora walked back to the village she sang a song to the flowers she carried, weaving smiles into each leaf and petal. Any who would look upon them would feel a flurry of warmth at the promise of a new day, the smile of wonder at suddenly chancing upon the sight of a fox picking its way carefully through the autumn landscape. The warming glow of each sunset would pick up the spirits, to be replaced by the joy of the sparkle of stars at night. Mora knew this gift would not help them for long, but she was sure what had befallen them was at the hands of her kin, and human or not, they had done nothing in her eyes to deserve something so cruel.

The fairy paused as she reached the bridge which led to the village. Her curiosity was taken by the shelter built against the hillside. She had never seen anyone there, but felt sure someone lived there. She smiled to herself, she had plenty in her bunch to spare, and selected a slender twig which bore both russet leaves and scarlet berries. She lifted to the air a little and flew silently to the hut, placing the single branch outside the door, before floating back to the bridge.

She then made her way back across the bridge and smiled up at the guards on the gate. “Tis good to see you looking more… yourself” said one, as he smiled down at the small fairy. Mora couldn’t help but grin back at him. It was the first time one had shown her anything more than simple tolerance. Perhaps her actions in the battle had not gone unnoticed.

“Thank you… guard? ” came her voice, for she had no idea of his name. She smiled and looked from one to the other as she stepped through the gateway and headed for the infirmary.

She pushed open the door to the infirmary and smiled as the scents of herbs and the warmth of the room hit her. Nonny smiled brightly at her, always pleased to see the cheerful creature and sharing something of Morgause’s kindness towards the fairy. “Good day to you, Nonny!” Mora said, holding out her bouquet of autumn warmth to the nurse. “I thought these might… help cheer the place a little.”

It had been a long night for the nurse, but she smiled politely at the tattered bunch of weeds and twigs offered to her by the fairy, thinking to herself that they wouldn’t last long and she would be able to get rid of them. As she held them in her hand though, she couldn’t help but look at them, the deep colours lifting her heart and making her smile. “Why, why… they are beautiful!” the woman exclaimed, and wasted no time in finding a container of water to hold them, happy and renewed in her energies.

berries

Everything has a use.

Mora flew as fast as possible back to the village. The guards on the gate jumped at the whoosh of air as she flew, but then relaxed when they saw it was only her. They were well used to the comings and goings of the strange fairy. She cleared the walls and landed in the garden, the small bluebird still chirping in her ear. “Shhhh… let me see if there’s anything I can do.” she said softly, kneeling as she took the small sodden bundle from the pocket in her warm skirt.

The bluebird hopped from her shoulder and down her arm as it peered sadly at all that remained of its mate after King Pyrite had frozen it. It had thawed, held close to the fairy’s warmth all this time, and now simply lay there dripping, yet still motionless. Its mate looked imploringly back up at the fairy. Mora moved her other hand to her neck, feeling the bramble strand she wore there move slightly to let her fingers reach the crystal which hung around her neck.

Closing her hand around it, the fairy also closed her eyes and let her thoughts and wishes float from her heart and mind towards the crystal. She didn’t need to see to know it had started to glow. She felt its warmth filling her body, as her will was amplified by it and added to by the connection she had opened to the creation stone back in her original hive.

Mora blocked her feelings of doubt and let the warmth of healing flow down her arm to where the lifeless bundle lay. She knew deep down that it was useless. She knew there was still no sign of spark in the bird’s body. It was with great sadness that she opened her eyes again and saw the still living mate nudging and pecking at its lost companion, as if in encouragement.

bluebird

The fairy let go of the crystal and gently stroked one finger across the head of the living bird. “It’s no use.” She whispered. “He’s gone. I can’t bring him back.” The bird looked at her, head tilted to one side. Mora didn’t know if it understood her, but for her, it was as much the tone of voice she used with creature as much as anything else.

“We must find somewhere… safe for him now.” She placed the living bird back on her shoulder and moved to the tree growing by the wall. The fairy continued to speak to the bird. “He will rest here and then this tree will be renewed by him.” Mora placed the lifeless bird on the ground and scraped away some of the soil at the base of the tree. She placed the small body in the hole and covered it back over.

She placed one hand on the surface of the soil, the other back around her crystal. She let her thoughts flow once more, but this time into the soil. She felt the roots of the tree vibrate gently as they heard her hopes, her soft words cascading as if a mesmerising song in her ancient tongue.

“Winter is coming soon and while you sleep, oh Tree, let this small spark sleep with you, then as the days warm and the soil warms, take his joy and strength up into you and let him reach once more to the skies.”

Once she had finished, Mora placed her hand on the bark of the tree, her spirit and energy emptied. She stood slowly and with halting steps started back towards her home. She spoke to the female bluebird as she walked. “You can come and live with Tal and I. Winter winds and cold will not harm you for you can sleep in the rafters of our home. You need a name though.” She stopped as she thought. It had been a tiring day and Pyrite’s words had dampened her usual cheerfulness. “Viola! You are a reminder to look out for small flowers which will herald the coming warmer weather. Seasons always move forwards and Pyrite ought to remember that.”