Last year I had the pleasure of participating in a blog opera that is the brain child of CC Martina. The title is “Ember in Whirlogozia”. CC created the main characters and started the story with the idea that other blog authors would integrate them into their blogs to create wonderful on going story.
Ember, and her companion, a Komosny named Perhluna that looks a lot like an aye-aye, are taken on a roller coaster ride of adventure as they shoot through the internet blogosphere of html code and drop into the most unexpected situations.
Arial and I meet up with Ember and Perhluna in the forest of the fairy realm after I find out that the portal has been breached by the dark forces that are trying to over throw the ruling faeries of the four seasons. Running into the forest after dark can be treacherous at best, but without thinking, and fearing the worst, that is exactly what I do. Ember pulls me to safety at the last moment…and the rest is history.
Here, now, are the long lost recordings of the events that took place…with the kind permission of CC herself. Thanks CC!
Just click on the Episode that you want to listen to! Then go visit CC’s blog to begin the story.
© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2011
I sat up, opened my eyes, and found myself sitting at the base of an old oak tree. The ground was covered with thick, deep green moss and soft, decaying pine needles. Tall fern fronds were growing everywhere. It was warm and humid and the scent of honeysuckle, lavender, and pine hung heavy in the air. The smell was the sweet, clean smell of spring. I blinked several times trying to bring my eyes into focus. It took a few minutes, but soon my sight cleared and I was able to make out what recently just looked like huge, shadowy stick like beings. Everywhere I looked I saw nothing but tall, old pine trees and undergrowth. The sun was filtering through the canopy of the forest in hazy, golden rays, hitting the shadowed forest floor in gleaming pools of emerald light that danced around as the trees swayed peacefully back and forth. How long have I been here?
My head was throbbing, keeping time with the woodpecker high in trees that was doing it’s best to imitate a jackhammer. Thinking as hard as I could with my head pounding, I tried to remember where I am, and how I got here…I looked around again, wherever here is. Funny, I thought it was winter. I know this because Bill and I were just putting up our Christmas tree. I remember Warren and Odette hanging silver ice-sickles on the bottom-most branches and chasing the dogs who were constantly darting in, grabbing a mouthful, then dashing off in a daring game of keep away. I pushed myself up, using the tree as a brace. The world tilted sharply. Whoa! I felt like I had had just a little to much to drink. Where am I?
Then it came flooding back in waves of remembered music and dancing…the Yule Ball! Well that answers the question of the headache, faeries have the most delectable honeyed mead. It is wonderful, but a little goes a long way. I held my head and tried to steady the world as it spun around me. Raising my voice, I called out to the forest at large, “Anyone here!?” I winced, the sound of my voice pounded in my ears and drove spikes into my brain. I decided that yelling was out of the question.
I didn’t have to repeat myself. Soon, five dazzling streaks of light flashed through the underbrush. They darted and danced all around me. To fast for my dizzy brain to keep up with. “Hey! Please! slow down!” The five faeries who I know all to well came to an abrupt stop, causing me to fall backward and plop down on the lush, velvet moss.
Sunny, Bella, Pip, Ferne, and Arial, glided slowly down until they were in front of my face, about three inches from my nose, then hung in mid air, all talking and giggling at the same time. I had to smile, it’s the same old routine every time the group gets together. Faeries! They are so flighty and full of energy. Holding my arms out, I waved my hands frantically back and forth. “Okay, okay, OKAY!! One at a time, I can’t understand you when you speak all at once”.
The excited chatter died down, then Bella, Pip, and Ferne got behind me to push, while Sunny and Arial each took one of my hands to pull me to a standing position. Much to my surprise, it worked! Note to self…never, ever, underestimate the strength of a faerie. The movement was so fast that it felt like all the color drained out of my face. Arial darted in close, perched on my shoulder and ask in a slightly worried tone. “Kind One? Are you alright? You wanted to stand-up, didn’t you?”
It took a moment to gather my wits and my balance, but I managed to stay standing once I was up. “Arial!” my voice came out all breathless. “What in the Goddesses name went on at the party last night!?” All the faeries giggled and Arial replied, “Last night? Kind One, you have been here for a week. I must say, it was a delight to see how you got on with the Centaurs! At one point, you even tried to ride one!” Pip was bouncing up and down behind Arial, her wings all sparkling red and gold. “I helped! I helped!” Needless to say, that set off another round of chirps and giggles.
Of course, I remembered none of this. Arial held out her hand, her dainty fingers curled around a Lilliputian sized golden flask. “Here Kind One, drink this. I think you will be pleasantly surprised in how much better you feel.” I took the itty bitty bottle and uncorked it. The potion smelled like ripe strawberries. I was just about to up end the bottle when the memory of another potion blazed through my mind like a flash of white hot lightening . That was the time I had to rescue a faerie friend from my neighbor, Mrs. Shunner, who it turns out, is a shape shifter trying to gather enough energy to get back into the faerie realm through the portal in my backyard. That potion turned me into the likeness of her black cat. A cold shiver ran down my spine, causing a visible shudder. Seeing my hesitation, Arial asked, “Why do you hesitate? It is perfectly harmless. You will feel better, I promise.”
I shot Arial a sideways glance, hoping she didn’t see my sarcastic smirk, then, pushing the memories of Mrs. Shunners house deep down into a dark corner of my mind, I tilted the flask up and let the sweet liquid cascade over my tongue and down my throat. Warmth spread quickly through me. All of the dizziness disappeared and my mind snapped into sharp focus. I swear, I think energy shot from my finger tips!
I felt great! I think I could have single-handedly defeated the sinister forces that are threatening the realm. “Arial!” What was in that? I feel wonderful!” Sunny, Arial and the others swooped and dived around me while I did cartwheels through the bushes. We all fell, laughing and breathless, into the mossy bed at the foot of the old Oak tree. “Wow Arial, you should bottle that stuff, you could really get rich”.
Arial spun around, smoothing out her blue and white gown, then brushed some moss off of her wings. “See, I told you you would feel better. But alas, Queen Orlaith would never permit that kind of magic to be let lose in your mortal world.” She stopped, then went on. “I am glad you feel yourself again, I have great news.”
I don’t know what it was, maybe the look of excitement in her eyes, or it could have been her tone of voice, but I knew instantly that what she was going to tell me was going to change the coarse of things. “What?” Excitement began to bubble up inside of me. “What is it Arial?”
Everything went silent, it was as if the forest was holding it’s breath. “Arial, tell me! I’m about to burst!” Arial spun around once then said, “Your neighbor, the shape shifter, has been subdued. The mortals of your guard have taken her away. It seems that she was evil in your world as well as ours. She will not see the light of day again.”
I didn’t know what to say, to think. We have been battling against her getting through the portal for so long! Relief swept through me. “Your kidding! Oh Arial, This is wonderful news!” It felt like a one hundred pound weight had just fallen off of my shoulders. “Oh, I can’t weight to tell Bill that we are going to have new neighbors! Normal neighbors! Fly me home Arial, this is going to be a sparkling new year!”
© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2011
Returning to the gardens of Kensington Manor, the Kind One experienced firsthand the devastation caused by the recent attempt to breech the portal to the realm of the Fae. Ivy and grass were scorched, and a beloved Laurel bush was completely destroyed. A deadly silence lay over the entire scene. Not wasting a moment, she raced into the house, calling for her Chihuahua’s and Bill, only to be greeted by evidence of a hasty departure. Where had everyone gone?
Meanwhile, only a few blocks away, a startled Bill sat in his parked car staring into the bright blue eyes of Lilly, their mysterious little neighbor from down the street. Where had she come from?
Lilly’s reassuring smile and gentle touch dissolved the last traces of tension that had built up in the car. A feeling of peace swept over Bill like sunshine on a warm July day, muscles that Bill didn’t even know he had relaxed and he found himself smiling up at Lilly’s friendly face.
Bill cleared his throat. “You live just down from us, don’t you?” He looked around to see where she had parked but there were no other cars around. Confused, he asked, “Where did you park?”
Lilly’s mellow laugh was like smooth cream. “Darling man! Machines and I don’t get along, I walk when I need to get around here.” She patted her behind and continued. “Heaven knows I need the exercise!”
Bill wondered what she meant when she said “get around here“. He shook his head and tried to focus on what she was saying.
“….so anyway, the lights went out and since I love a good lightning show I decided to go for an evening stroll.” She paused and peered at Bill with a quizzical look on her face. “You haven’t heard a word, have you?” Bill lowered his eyes and stammered. “I’m so sorry, it’s just…I mean, there was this…” He stopped, there was no way he could explain what had happened in the backyard, at least not without having this kind little lady think he was completely bonkers.
Lilly patted his shoulder. “There, there.” She took a finger and tilted his chin up so she could look into his worry-filled face. “Things aren’t so bad. Don’t let a little thunder and lightning frighten you so.”
Bill scratched his head and frowned up at Lilly. “I…there was…what are you talking about? There was no thunderstorm earlier.” Continuing to look straight at Bill, Lilly rapped the end of the crooked staff she was carrying on the ground then pointed it at the sky. Clouds gathered quickly and a loud, roaring clap of thunder rattled through the park causing the dogs to whimper in their kennels.
Satisfied with the results, she went on, ” Yes dear, there was. It came on rather suddenly, don’t you remember?”
Bill sat staring at her, slack-jawed, until the last of the thunder rolled away. “No, I distinctly remember blue skies and sunshine and…”
Lilly placed her hands on both sides of his head and focused her mind on his. Bill felt a static charge coarse through his body, starting at his toes and shooting out the top of his head. His eye’s glazed over and he felt his mind go hollow as he struggled to remember the events of the evening.
Lilly’s eyes were sparkling like bright crystals and she spoke in a soft, lilting voice. “The storm came up quickly, there were multiple lightning strikes, they knocked out the power and scorched the ground.” Bill shuttered as the new information fingered through his brain, replacing his memories of the sickly green laser slicing its way across the lawn and up the ivy hedge.
Lilly stood up straight and grasp both of her hands behind her back, then waited, humming softly to herself. She smiled down at Bill sitting in the car, he had a hazy vacant look in his eyes. She absolutely loved the humans. Being with them gave her endless joy and she never regretted her decision to live among them.
After a few seconds Bill’s eyes re-focused and he sat up straighter. Pinching him on the cheek she began again. “You haven’t heard a word I’ve been saying, have you?” She laughed, and this time Bill laughed with her.
He rubbed his forehead. “You know”, he said, “I can’t for the life of me figure out why I let a little lightning spook me like this.” He turned and spoke to the dogs in their kennels. “We’re going home now girls.” Three little faces looked at him in gratitude and three little tails whipped furiously back and forth.
“Your mom’s going to be wondering where we are.” He turned the key and the engine roared to life. Putting the car in reverse he asked Lilly, “Would you like a ride home?”
“No thank you dear.” She winked at him. “I think I’ll walk, these old bones need to keep moving you know!” She waved as he backed the car and started to pull into the road. “Drive safely now!”
Stopping to yield to a slow moving car, Bill re-adjusted his rear view mirror. His breath caught in his throat as he watched Warren and Odette running out of the trees. They stopped and bowed to Lilly. He looked away and rubbed his eyes, then looked again,were those gnomes? Not trusting what he had seen in the mirror, he casually turned around in the seat and strained to see into the deep purple shadows. A fine pink mist hovered over the ground where Lilly and the gnomes had been standing only moments before.
Do you remember when you were little and you were home alone? All it took was one strange sound and you would run through the house turning on every light? That’s what I did. I was moving through the house, turning on lights and chasing shadows of the unknown out of the corners when Arial popped in and frightened the life out of me. “Oh! My moon and stars Arial!” I placed both hands over my racing heart and sunk into the over stuffed rocker. “Don’t startle me like that!”
Arial waved an impatient hand at me and started started talking ninety miles an hour. ” Kind One, listen. Lilly just sent Bill home. He will be here any minute. He thinks that lightning caused the damage. He doesn’t remember anything else, just go along with it, Okay?”
“Whoa! slow down. Bill’s coming home?” I ran to the window to look up and down the deserted street. “Is he okay? Are the dogs with him? Where are Warren and Odette?” Relief dripped from every word. No sooner than the question left my lips, the two gnomes piled through the door with Bella and Pip fast on their heels.
They ran up to me and hugged my ankles. “Missus…oh Missus! You’re home! You’re safe! When the green blast tore through the ivy, we thought you got hit for sure! Mr. Bill grabbed us all an took us away from here. He sure did look at us funny, like as not he’d never seen us before.”
Relief poured over me and I sat down and let the gnomes climb up and sit in my lap. Smiling at them I asked, “How did you get back?”
They spoke in unison. “Lilly brought us home.” I shot a quick look up at Arial who was nonchalantly gliding back and forth in the air, feigning a look of innocence, with Bella and Pip beside her. “All right Arial, the time has come to fess up. Who is Lilly? I know that you know because you always act very strange when she is around.” I thought back to the times when she happened to appear. “Come to think of it, she shows up at the most convenient moments. Whats going on? How did she find Bill, and why does he think what happened was because of a lightning storm?”
Arial offered her brightest smile and began to answer, but before she had time to say anything we heard a loud crashing slam and Bill strode through the backdoor as if nothing unusual had happened. The kennels were bumping madly back and forth so he put them down and opened the doors. Chihuahuas flew everywhere, whining and scratching to be picked up. Tongues licking and tails wagging. It was pandemonium.
I jumped up, dumping Warren and Odette on the floor, and ran to wrap my arms tightly around Bill. He tried to pull back, but I wouldn’t let go, I just hung on to him. He laughed and extricated himself from my arms. “Hey! you all right? I haven’t been gone that long. I forgot you worked late tonight. The girls were nervous about the lightning so I took them for a ride to the park.”
Arial and the other faeries melted into the background, settling themselves on the bookshelf between James Herriot’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and ”All Creature’s Large and Small”. Gathering a dog in each arm I motioned toward the stairs. ” Let’s get these babies settled, it’s late, we can talk upstairs.” As we passed in front of the three faeries, I leaned close and whispered, “I will talk to you in the morning!”
“Who you talking to?” Bill was rubbing his head and looking around nervously. I grabbed his arm and pulled him away. Speaking in a light, nonchalant voice, I did my best to distract him. “Um, no one…just thinking out loud.”
As we started the spiral climb I asked, “Hey, how did you like that storm?” A flicker of disconnect flashed in his eyes. He looked around then answered in a low shaky voice, “I don’t remember lightning.”
© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2010