Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Chapter 108 - Changes

Recognising the caller, Elenie answered "Hi Evie, what is it?"  She listened intently for a while, then said "Well, if you think it's important, I'll meet you at the Facility for Myth Legend Lore and Fact." 
As she arrived at the Facility, Elenie wondered what it was that Evenfall wanted to discuss and why it needed to be here rather than at either of their homes.   
As she entered the Facility, Evenfall was waiting inside.  "Elenie, I'm glad you made it, I have a glimmer of hope for you, I've been able to persuade the researchers here to allow us to attempt to use the Pair Dadeni, the ancient cauldron of rebirth, to try and bring back your Ieaun.  I must caution you though, this is not without dangers and there is no guarantee of success.  In most cases the dead are not brought back whole and it is only because both of you have magic that this even stands a chance of working."

Elenie pondered this for a while, but eventually the hope of seeing Ieaun again overcame the fear of what might go wrong and she decided that this was something she had to try.
In the event, it proved that their combined magic was not sufficient to bring Ieaun back fully, but, with Evie's aid, it did return him to some form of life.  Ieaun emerged from the Pair Dadeni caught somewhere between life and death, able to interact with the world but also still partially within the spirit realm. 
As they left the Facility, Elenie reached out to him and, reassured by the fact she could touch him, leaned in to kiss him lightly on the cheek.

"I hope we did the right thing bringing you back my love, and I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to bring you all the way back." 
Ieaun pulled her into his arms and hugged her "Don't fret about it cariad,  it is enough that I can touch you again and be part of the living world, even if I am not fully restored to life.  Let us take this chance we have been given and make the most of it."
From there the two of them mounted their unicorns (who had appeared outside as if they knew they were needed) and rode through the sunshine to the alchemy store nearby.   
Elenie had a brief chat with the shop assistant about the elixir recipes she had discovered so far and exchanged various tips about the best way to brew elixirs, before handing over her latest batch to be sold.
Business completed, Ieaun suggested that they ride over to the Faire and enjoy the summer fair which  had set up there.
When they arrived, Elenie phoned Rhiannon and gave her the good news, inviting her and the rest of the family to join them for the afternoon.  As they waited for them to arrive, she found Evie was already at the grounds and went over to have a chat with her. 
"Thank you so much for helping bring Ieaun back!  I know it wasn't fully successful, but a living spirit is better than him being gone for good!"

"Don't mention it Elenie, you are family and family help each other.  I hope you'll come round to visit soon, Seren has been asking after you." 
"I'll try, it would be good to see her again, she must be growing up so fast now?"

"She's certainly grown since you last saw her, but she's not growing too fast thankfully!  Changing the subject, how are you getting along with your mother now?  It must be hard for you both to adjust to things."
"It is hard, I feel like she's a stranger most of the time, and then sometimes I want to scream at her for everything I endured in my childhood, but I don't because I know it wasn't truly her fault, she was under a spell.  We tiptoe around each other, both afraid to talk about anything." 

"It will be difficult, you've missed on so much of the natural bonding process and I'm afraid you may never get that part of your relationship with her back, if you even want it.  As for her, I suspect her memories are badly mixed up; the unseelie fae don't tend to be very careful about messing with people's minds and I shudder to think what state Nicodur left her mind in.  You need to give each other space and time, but also, you need to decide whether you want to forgive her for her part in your childhood - witting or not."
Whilst Evie and Elenie were having their discussion, Ieaun picked himself up some food, being resurrected took a lot of energy and it felt good to be able to eat something anyway! 
As the afternoon wore on, Rhiannon and the rest of Ieaun's family arrived.  Rhiannon made a beeline for Elenie, her younger son trailing behind her.

"Thank you so much for bringing Ieaun back child, may the two of you have a long and happy life together now.  And keep up your research, you may yet be able to restore him to full life once more, even if I don't live to see it."
Elenie smiled, "I'm just glad to have him back in some form, I know it's not really been long but it's felt like a lifetime without him already!" 
Just then Ieaun floated up to his mother and they had a long conversation.  Rhiannon scolded him at first for putting them all through so much, but then hugged him tight and said "I'm so glad you're back son"  
They all crowded into the photo tent to have a picture taken together and then scattered to enjoy the delights of the fair, although by this time it was getting late. 
Eventually Elenie and Ieaun made it back home and headed straight up to their bedroom.  Not much had changed in the room since they had left on their quest and Elenie felt suddenly shy as she looked at Ieaun. 
He took hold of her hand and spun her around for a brief dance, delighting in his reborn ability to touch and feel properly. 
When he let go, Elenie wrapped her arms around him silently, wishing she would never have to let him go again. 
Of course, they couldn't keep holding each other all night, and when at last she relaxed her hold, Ieaun conjured up a bunch of yellow roses for her. 
They kissed passionately, happy to be together again. 
Before adjourning to the bed, where they both took great delight in showing each other how they felt... 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Chapter 107 - A shoulder to cry on

Running into the outhouse, Elenie proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach several times.  Standing up, she wiped her mouth and wondered what had triggered the bout of sickness. 
Feeling a little better, she went back into the greenhouse to tend the plants, which were showing signs of neglect from their long absence.  Dory joined her and they worked together in an uncomfortable silence. 
Once they had finished tending the plants, Elenie realised that she had run out of reasons to avoid something she had been dreading - she needed to visit Ieaun's parents and give them the news.   Squaring her shoulders, she set off resolutely and upon arrival, found them waiting for her along with Ieaun's younger brother. 
Rhiannon, Ieaun's mother, ushered Elenie into the living room.  Elenie was slightly surprised that none of them asked where Ieaun was, but Rhiannon didn't give her a chance to say anything

"I know why you're here dear one.  You've come to tell us that Ieaun is dead haven't you?  Don't worry child, we already know all about it."
Elenie stared at her in shock.

"But, but, how do you know?  Who told you?  What do you know?  Does everyone know?" 
Rhiannon smiled sadly, "You forget my dear, Ieaun wasn't the only one in this family with the Sight, both Bryn and I have it too and more than that."

"More?" Elenie asked, her confusion evident in her face.
"Indeed, as well as the Sight, I have other gifts which crop up from time to time in my family, although some of my ancestors considered this more a curse than a gift.  The night a close relative dies, I see their spirit.  I saw my boy the night he died and he told me what happened.  Don't grieve too much child, he knew walking into that castle that only one of you would leave alive and he chose to sacrifice himself so you would survive.  It was a brave choice to make and I'm so proud of him."
Elenie felt tears well up in her eyes "You saw his spirit?   Where is he now?  Is there any chance that I could see his spirit at some point?"
"I don't know child, usually the only time I see spirits is the night they die, but I have heard of them visiting their loved ones from time to time.  Don't live your life waiting for that though, he would want you to be happy again, even if it doesn't feel now as if you ever will be again." 
With that Rhiannon held out her arms and Elenie collapsed into them, sobbing into her shoulder.  Rhiannon held her close, murmuring reassurances to her as Elenie let herself grieve properly.  When she finally straightened, Rhiannon hugged her again "Whatever happens in the future, you've been my daughter since you married Ieaun and that won't change.  You'll always be welcome here." 
After spending some time with the Glyndwrs, Elenie went home feeling a little less raw.  When she got there, the little fox cub came running out to greet her.  
Picking her up, Elenie walked round into the garden, cuddling the cub made her feel better, and she stroked her quietly for a few moments.  Looking down at the cub a thought struck her; "You don't have a name do you little one?  Or at least, I don't know what your name is...  I can't just call you cub all your life can I?"   
As she crouched down to put the little cub on the ground, the cub barked softly at her and said "Silly faerie!  Of course I have a name, do you think my mama wouldn't have given me one before she vanished?  I'm Ffion." 
"Well then Ffion" Elenie laughed somewhat shakily, "Do you want a treat?"

Ffion barked excitedly "Yes, yes, of course I do" and Elenie carefully threw her a biscuit. 
The evening was drawing in by now, so Elenie bent down again to pick Ffion up and take her indoors. 
After settling Ffion down in a basket to sleep, she shared another silent meal with her mother.  Although her conversation with Rhiannon had bolstered her, she still didn't feel ready to talk to Dory especially when she kept thinking how much more Rhiannon felt like a mother than her own mother! 

The following morning, she was just settling down to have breakfast by herself and try to think how she wanted to deal with her mother's presence in the house and her life, when her phone rang unexpectedly.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Chapter 106 - Home Again

The two unicorns, with Elenie and her mother on their backs, materialised in the ruins of a building, high above a valley.  As they were dismounting, they noticed a large shape fly overhead and shortly afterwards Evie and Talfryn walked up to the ruin. 
As Evie came over to her, Elenie asked "So where are we?  I thought we were going home, but this doesn't look familiar in the slightest?"

"We are home; do you remember I told you about the fae realms changing from time to time?  Well, a lot has changed while you've been gone - I don't know if you realised it, but time has passed faster here than it has for you.  Amaethon and Murigen have had a child at last and in honour of her birth they decided to change the entire look of their realm.  Don't worry, your home is still the same, it knew you were coming back, and we'll show you the way."
Elenie stared at her in amazement, but before she could say anything, Talfryn followed Evie over to her and gave her a warm hug.  Releasing her, he took hold of her arms and said "I'm sorry we weren't in time to save Ieaun, but always remember that we're your family and we're here for you whenever you need us."  
After he said this, Evie elbowed him aside, mock-scolding him with the comment "Shoo, we were talking dear"

Turning back to Elenie, she said "We came as quickly as we could when we knew you were in danger, I wish we could have gone with you in the first place, then maybe we'd have been in time to save Ieaun.  If you need anything, we're here for you." 
Elenie embraced her, too choked up with a multitude of emotions to say anything.  Evie held her for a long while, stroking her back and murmuring soothing comments before suggesting that maybe they could set off to take them home.  Elenie pulled away, dried her tears and agreed. 
When they got to the house, Elenie was glad to see little had changed there, despite all the changes in the surroundings.  As they went into the house, everything there reminded her of Ieaun and the fact she'd never see him again.  Making her excuses to her mother, she went up to her bedroom to cry.

Dory wandered round the house for a while, until she found a bedroom which seemed to have designed itself specifically for her.  Looking in the wardrobe, she found some fresh clothes in her favourite colours which looked as though they would fit her and, having had a quick shower she changed into them. 
Walking over to the dressing table, she took a long look in the mirror.  Whilst it felt good to have clean clothes which fitted and weren't rags, she still looked a fright.  "I deserve to look a fright" she muttered to herself in the mirror, "Why did I trust that monster?  How could I let him take over my life like that?  And now my baby's lost her husband in rescuing the fool mother who ignored her all her life". 
Shaking her head at herself, she decided that, even if she thought her current appearance matched her sins, she should probably do something about it anyway.  She didn't want to put anything more on her daughter, not after everything she'd done and allowed to be done. 
Elenie had recovered her composure a little, though she still felt empty inside.  Feeling a little hungry she decided it would be a good idea to eat something and went downstairs to cook a meal. 
When she had finished she called up "food's in the kitchen if you want it".  Feeling somewhat ambivalent about eating with her mother, she began eating her own portion without waiting.  When Dory came downstairs they both ate in an uncomfortable silence, neither quite sure what to say to the other.
Meanwhile, the little fox cub (who had come back with them) had been exploring the house.  Slipping cautiously into the barn, she met Nerys who came over and sniffed at her. 
Nerys decided the new addition to the household was acceptable and had a lengthy conversation with her, explaining the ground rules and enquiring about her likes and dislikes.   
Position and ground rules established, she played a few cat games with the little cub for a while, the two of them playfully chasing each other and generally being a bit silly. 

After another brief conversation, the cub told Nerys about what had happened, both to Ieaun and her own mother and Nerys nuzzled her in sympathy.
After eating, Elenie decided to bury her sorrow by taking a look at the plants in the greenhouse.  Most of them had stood up well to their absence but a few were now dead.  She began to carefully remove those from their planters and to dispose of the dead leaves and branches.

As she was doing this, she felt her stomach lurch; covering her mouth with one hand she looked down as her stomach churned, the meal she had just eaten threatening to come straight back up.