Ghost Horse Hollow ... because a Fantasy should last a lifetime!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

THE HOLLY KING, a Family Holiday Tale #12

Our holiday sample from THE HOLLY KING continues with the conclusion of
Chapter V: The Cloak of Wheels.
The scene unfolds in the MacKennon homestead of Ghost Horse Hollow...

Magical cloaks are found throughout fairytales and fantasies.
The Cloak of Wheels in our selection is very special indeed!
Panther vaguely remembered Hannah taking charge from that point on. The girl watched, as if in slow motion, as Purry Paw was sent to awaken Sir Finnias Glowgold, where he lay sleeping in a knitting basket beside Addie’s downy pillow. The Household Light Fairy had forgotten the urgent meeting on the stairs. He had fallen asleep after a busy day of lighting fires, tending candles, and cleaning lanterns. Panther felt her mother grab her by the hand and rush up the two flights of stairs to the attic, where a dusty cedar chest awaited them.

Glowgold finally appeared, a bit grumpy and nervous, for the irritating Siamese cat delighted in chasing fairies. Purry Paw loved to bat at their delicate wings. Glowgold’s escort pounced on top of the cedar chest and intentionally draped his wide, gray tail over the keyhole.

“Move aside! Move aside, you four-pawed fluffy-snoozer!” Glowgold fussed at the feline. Hannah removed the infuriating tail and instructed Glowgold to work as quickly as possible. The Household Light Fairy produced a mysterious wand of finely wrought jade from a hidden pocket inside his waistcoat.

“This should do!” he announced merrily. “I have not employed this wand in nearly a thousand years. Stand back! Oh, do get off, Purry Paw, or my spell will burn your tummy—not that anyone cares.”

The Cloak of Wheels is covered with tiny stars in the shape of wheels!
The eight spokes correspond to the seasonal changes of the year.

Glowgold reverently blew upon the jade wand, which began to shimmer with silver and purple sparks. With great precision, he pointed the wand toward the rusty keyhole on the cedar chest. Purry Paw leapt onto Hannah’s shoulder in protest. The trunk began to sputter with a thin, violet light that spread rapidly in all directions.

Glowing sparks dazzled the onlookers, as the lid popped open, revealing an inner lining of plush, burgundy velvet and faceted gemstones. Inside the chest, a cloak of equal magnificence lay neatly folded. Its midnight blue folds were pulsing and rippling like waves in a velvet puddle. Hannah reached for the fine garment with great tenderness. It had been a farewell gift to her from the aging fairy queen when Lady Titrimia had returned to the Realm of Dreams and Whispers.

News of the queen’s sudden disappearance had reached Hannah by way of a silver hummingbird. The messenger had sadly reported that Titrimia had left the eldest of her nine Green Maidens in charge. The temporary regent was Luka-shen, which translated roughly into “Frog Girl.” Although Hannah had been very fond of the old queen, she did not share the same closeness with Luka-shen. Titrimia had not made Lady MacKennon’s apprenticeship an easy one. Hannah always suspected that Frog Girl’s jealousy was the reason for her hardships and nearly impossible tests. Naturally, Luka-shen’s slick-throated pets bore no love for Hannah’s pampered cats.

Does the cloak make the wizard? Here is a famous magical cloak on
Gandalf the White from The Lord of the Rings.

“Here. Try it on, my love,” Hannah said reverently. Purry Paw, realizing that he was no longer the center of attention, pounced onto the padded seat in the attic’s gable window. The cat proceeded to gaze at the moon, yawn, and lick his paws. Panther reached tentatively for the protective raiment and swept its warm folds across her back. The attached velvet hood was lined with pale green satin that matched the color of Glowgold’s jade wand.

“Shall I awaken the cloak, my lady?” asked the Household Light Fairy, flickering around Panther’s head.

“By all means, Sir Finnias,” Hannah replied hurriedly. Panther’s mother glanced beyond Purry Paw’s broad silhouette in the attic window. She was upset to see her husband leaving the barn with a blue-eyed mare in tow. Three other fresh horses had already been saddled, bridled, and tied to the homestead’s hitching post, which stretched between two tall fir trees. Elestial’s Opal Moon pranced at the end of Jake’s lead rope. The mare sensed the silent tension in Aaron Ray and Jonas White Hand, who were waiting expectantly beside their own mounts. Panther’s cream-colored horse neighed nervously and tossed her head up and down. Hannah knew that time was running out.

“Hold your breath, O human child,” Glowgold commanded. He speedily encircled his prize student three times while touching the tip of his wand to her cloak. With each delicate contact, specks of light appeared on the plush fabric. The luminous dots began to twinkle and spin, like whirling stars. With closer inspection, Panther realized that the stars were actually tiny wheels, their eight spokes spiraling outward from a central hub. These spokes of light gave the cloak an unearthly appearance. The girl seemed to be wearing the night sky itself, only in miniature. As Panther exhaled deeply, Hannah pulled the hood down over her daughter’s brow. Glowgold gave the cloak a final tap, and a stunning constellation appeared over Panther’s enshrouded face.

Lady Yvenova was the first Starlight Fairy Queen to walk the Earth.
She traveled with a herd of milk-white goats.

“You are wearing the stars of the northern sky as seen from our woodlands during the late fall. The fairies refer to this garment as the Cloak of Wheels, for each star in the fabric represents the eight seasonal transitions in our farming calendar. Two spokes in the little wheels stand for the longest and shortest days of the year. Those days, as you well know, are the summer and winter solstices. Two more spokes represent the spring and autumnal equinoxes, when the hours of night and day, light and dark, are in complete balance. The other four spokes mark the sacred holidays that we celebrate in between the solstices and the equinoxes. These celebrations are the Blessing of the Seeds, the Festival of Many Blossoms, the Bread of the Sun, and the Harvest of the Dark,” Hannah informed Panther. “The outermost circle, which binds the eight spokes together, represents the time it takes for the Earth to completely orbit around the Sun. Each wheel on this precious cloak is thus a symbol for the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The fairies call this type of magical calendar the Wheel of the Year.”

“I understand!” the girl said, smiling with enthusiasm. Every fairy education began with the study of nature, time, and their corresponding ceremonies. Regular rituals kept the fairies in tune with the movements of the stars and the moon. Hannah squeezed her daughter’s hand. She was proud of Panther’s quick ability to learn complex ideas.

“As the Earth rotates, the cloak’s fabric changes in appearance to match the stars we see overhead.” Lady MacKennon’s fingers worked rapidly to tie an ornate closure beneath her daughter’s chin. The hood’s wide, green satin ties flowed in and out of Hannah’s confident hands, while her lips moved in a soft prayer. Panther thought she recognized a cadence used by the great fairy poets of ancient times. The girl’s eyes opened wide with surprise. Hannah was speaking in the Heraldry of Kings! How had her mother mastered this difficult language, when her apprenticeship had been cut short? Hannah must have been an extremely gifted student.

“This special knot will serve to ward off any fairy trickery,” Hannah said hurriedly, “so long as you don’t remove the Cloak of Wheels of your own accord. It is of inestimable value, and many treacherous thieves would risk much to have it for themselves. If you undo the ties yourself, or are somehow injured beneath the folds of the cloak, the garment’s stars will fly away and return to their place in the night sky. Should this happen, the fabric’s magic will no longer protect you. Panther, this cloth was cut from the first fairy queen’s royal robe.” Lady MacKennon paused, waiting for her daughter’s reaction.

“The Great Lady Yvenova of the Milk White Goats!” Panther exclaimed. As a young student of Fairy Lore, Genevieve MacKennon had memorized the legend of Queen Yvenova. The first Starlight Fairy had walked the Earth at the dawn of time with a herd of silky companions whose milk, it was said, had fed all the creatures of the world and brought them to life. Panther, up until this very moment, had believed the legend to be a myth, a graceful story told to explain the origins of the Universe. Could the legend actually be based on truth?

“It was Queen Yvenova who spun this thread and wove this cloth,” Hannah continued while cradling a fold of the Cloak of Wheels. “The fabric became our heavenly night when the Great Goat Lady threw it over her shoulders, ages and ages ago.” Lady MacKennon pressed the sparkling hood to her lips. “Should anyone beg you to remove this sacred garment, remember my kiss and heed my warning! If serious peril befalls you—for the ties can be severed with a black troll blade—call my fairy name out loud. Someone from the Starlight Fairy Realm will hear your cry and come to your aid. Please remember that even I have no power to summon assistance from King Thrace-rak’s Moonlight Fairies. Your grandmother was of the Starlight Realm, and it is to Lord Achelon’s kingdom that we must turn in perilous times.”

“Momma,” Panther asked in surprise, “what is your fairy name?” Lady MacKennon’s daughter had never been privileged to this information before, since all the fairy descendants cautiously guarded their true identities. Secret names carried such enormous power that they were seldom used and rarely revealed to others.

Fairies share their Magical Secret Names very rarely.
 A true fairy name could be sold for magical power along the trade routes
 throughout Ghost Horse Hollow and the surrounding woodlands.

“Farendel Elissia,” Hannah replied with a breath of caution. Lady MacKennon looked around the attic suspiciously as Panther carefully repeated the name in her own mind. Not every spider or mouse could be trusted. True fairy names were often sold or exchanged for worldly goods. Magical secrets, incantations, daggers, wands, crystals, cloaks, and enchanted gemstones all had their price on the trade routes that crisscrossed throughout the Fairylands.

Both mother and daughter could hear restless noises below. The men had unhitched their horses and had led them close to the front porch. Hannah enfolded Panther in a tender embrace.

“Remember, touch neither food nor drink upon Tormac’s table. Stay close to your father. When you return, I will undo this magic knot myself, for I have set the original tying spell. Glowgold will then lock the queen’s gift back in this cedar chest, and you will be able to wear it once more, when need arises. Now, go! Titrimia’s Eyes be upon you!”

Panther tore away from her mother’s arms and sped down the stairs, the Cloak of Wheels swirling behind her. Sir Finnias flew to the attic window and unlatched a brass hook, which normally held the glass panes tightly shut. The autumn wind rushed in, scattering dry leaves and eerie moonbeams across the hardwood floor. Purry Paw meowed in protest. With a flick of his tail, the cat merged into the shadows of the attic.

Lady Hannah soundlessly floated to the window, her jeweled slippers barely touching the floor and her long gown wafting behind her. Panther’s mother never unveiled her fairy powers in the human world, for they made it difficult for her to interact with others. Tonight was an exception. Hannah’s gossamer wings nervously unfurled, like a pair of dainty rose petals.

After all, Lady MacKennon was the granddaughter of the Wild Rose Prince, who had married a Waterfall Mermaid princess. The mismatched pair’s only daughter, Sherona of the Crystal Cascades, had rebelliously chosen to marry Isaiah Hensley, a common potato farmer. Isaiah and Sherona also had but one child together, Hannah Rose. Shortly after the little girl’s fifth birthday, Sherona had vanished into the woods, leaving her husband to raise their magical offspring. No wonder the Hensleys disapproved of Hannah’s apprenticeship with the fairies! What a troublesome marriage that had been, Lady MacKennon thought with an inward sigh.

“Shall I attend young Genevieve, my lady?” Glowgold broke through Hannah’s musings.

“Yes. Light the trail for them all! But take care, my dear and oldest friend. Hide when you reach the Dead Oak Tree!” Hannah warned. “You know how Tormac despises the Household Light Fairies. His dungeons in the Sunken Elm Grove are full of your relatives.”

The small sprite bowed so low that his ruby circlet brushed the shimmering buckles on his boots. Glowgold spun out into the night as Hannah Rose MacKennon latched the attic window, her shoulders shaking uncontrollably with fear.

Panther MacKennon in the Cloak of Wheels by Steve Lillegard.
She is riding Elestial's Opal Moon, a cremello mare in our story!
Hope your enjoyed our samples this holiday from the book
 THE HOLLY KING by Anne Severn Williamson!
Blessings to ALL this happy winter season.
The Ghost Horses continue to gallop for peace, prosperity,
literacy, and conservation for all nations.
We visualize and support freedom for children everywhere
 and good tidings to all countries.
Please be sure to visit our website for more information,
homestead recipes, holiday shopping ideas,
and photos of the Ghost Horses!
Special Thanks to our equine photographers:
Larry Inman and David Abbott!

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