Image curtesy of Pinterest.
In the great forest, flowers sprouted, sprites awoke and fresh fingers of ivy clawed up the grey stone wall of the castle. Insects bustled, and bees darted from blossom to blossom. Small birds returned to their nests from a summer spent far away.
Shrouded in a dirty woolen cloak a woman made her way across the old stone bridge which separated the squirming marketplace, inside the tall walls, from the woods beyond.
She inhaled the crisp morning air, fresh compared to that of the castle. Siobhan pushed her way through the dense foliage; her coat snagged on twigs and brush as she forced old legs to hurry along. Her gnarled hands clutched at her chest where grief slowly nibbled away at her heart.
It was a tiresome journey and one that took her deep into the forest. Not many people came this way for fear of what might lurk in the shadows, but Siobhan knew better.
She came to rest beneath the outstretched arms of the ancient Elm. Her lungs burned as she gasped for air. The trek too strenuous for her antiquated bones. She turned her head skyward. This, the oldest tree in the forest with its moss-green crown which towered high above all the others.
At the center of its thick, crumbly trunk the undulating bubble of air. Invisible to human eyes and the means by which she would return to her world.
With a wrinkled hand, she leaned against it’s great rough body and steadied herself — her time here had come to an end.
Grateful for a full and beautiful life with the man she had given her heart to so long ago. She had laid him to rest only a moon back. It was time to fulfill her promise to her King and Queen, and so she would return to her world. A condition made when granted her one request.
Beside the tall tree lay a humble pool. The water smooth as glass reflected all that looked to it with perfect clarity. Siobhan found herself hovering over its edge .
A wrinkled crone stared back.
She had enjoyed growing old. Had savored the changing shape of her body as each of their children grew in her belly. She had fascinated as the skin on her face sagged and crinkled with human age. Her once sky bright eyes now a muted gray. They matched the long faded tresses hanging loosely down her back.
The air around the tree rippled; a gentle reminder whispered in the breeze. Siobhan peeled off the layers of clothes from her body. She would leave it all behind. Her shoes, dress, coat and small-clothes, having no need for them where she headed. Everything lay discarded, except the silver locket that hung around her neck.
Inside a lock of hair and an etching of his face; the man she would love eternally.
She pushed back that part of her which yearned for mortality and squared her shoulders. She stilled her aching heart; it longed also to be sailing up to the heavens on the flaming wooden vessel with her beloved.
But that would be asking too much.
Already she had been granted more than most. Siobhan looked around once more then bade the world she had come to love farewell.
She stepped through the bubble. Her figure slipped with ease from one world to the next. In the blink of an eye, she found herself in a forest much the same as the one she had just left.
Raising her hands up to her face she smiled. Her skin smooth as silk her limbs young and limber once more. Her veins hummed with power and her eyes burned with fervor.
Her youth and magik restored.
She licked her lips; the air tasted different here. Alive and crisp with enchantment. Siobhan raked long elegant fingers through fiery locks shaking off the last of the other world before making her way home.