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060 If you want your children to be brilliant, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be geniuses, read them more fairy tales. ~Albert Einstein~
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© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tami Ruesch, The Misty world of Arial Hollyberry, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category


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

Mab had finally returned to her seasonal palace in the west, giving Orlaith full reign here for the winter. Our small group stood by the great crystal doors of the palace as all the guests at the Yule ball said their good-byes and departed into the forest. The mermaids needed a little assistance getting back to their lake but that was accomplished by the centaurs pulling massive wooden carts with large crystal tanks. The tanks were  filled with lake water, and the mermaids who were now flapping and splashing happily as they rolled away down the path and into the darkness.

Orlaith glided across the hall toward us followed closely by Arial, Sunny, Bella, Pip and Ferne. Arial took her usual place on my shoulder and the others played tag with each other around my head. In the year that had just passed I had forgotten what a handful they could be. Not that I minded. Other faeries shot past me and took positions by what I assumed were their mortals. I chuckled under my breath when I realized that they kind of matched their charges. Sparkle had a feisty little faerie that wore a gown of multicolored scarves in a daring off the shoulder fashion. She had large eyes and a puckered mouth. The Word Master’s faerie had silky straight hair and wore a black and white one piece jumper. A faerie with large green wings in the shape of oak leaves perched on Jewel and the faerie hovering around the Sculptress had her honey colored hair pulled up in a lose bun and was wearing a red and white polka dot skirt that ballooned out like the top of a mushroom. Golden Heart had the most glorious faerie. She wore a gown of midnight blue and silver that billowed around her like a cloud.

When the last of the straggling pixies had departed, Orlaith drew closer so that she could give us her royal blessings. Speaking softly to each person, she sent them off with their faeries. One by one, my new friends dissolved in sparkling light with promises that we would keep in touch.

Orlaith waited patiently while  Golden heart gave me a hug. Her black hair shone in the reflected light of the palace as she waved goodbye. Grinning broadly, she shimmered away into nothingness. The winter queen slipped her arm through mine. “Kind One, I must speak with you before I let you return to your world.” Her mood was suddenly somber. “I have been informed of a breech at the portal in the ivy hedge. ” I jumped back in shock at the unexpected bit of news, sending the group of faeries spiraling around my head flying off in all directions, squeaking their displeasure. “Oh no! is anyone hurt? I must get back immediately. I, I have to check on my gnomes and Bill, oh, and my dogs!”

I charged through the crystal doors, down the wide steps, and out into the night. I shut out Orlaith’s frantic plea’s for me to return to her and the safety of the palace. The only thing on my mind was the safety of my family. Not stopping to think about what I would do when I got to the ivy hedge, I dashed through the meadow, heading for the ebony gloom of the trees. A single thought wafted though my panic driven mind, I’ve been down this path many times before, I have a good idea how to get back, even  if it is pitch black. I ran, fearing the worst, but hoping for the best. I had no idea where Arial was or even if she was following me.

The path ahead was swallowed by the forest. I hesitated for only for a moment then shot forward, dashing into the inky underbrush.The wild wood closed in around me. The trees that were so cool and inviting by day had turned menacing, their branches reached for me, picking at my hair and clutching the sleeves of my gown. The last thing I heard was Orlaith’s voice warning me about…what was it…her voice was so faint now, it sounded like “they’re dangerous” or something. Then, I was alone, with nothing but the pounding of my heart in my ears.

Irrational fear drove me out of the palace and into the darkness of the forest. I had to get home, had to help…somehow, but it wasn’t long after I entered the dark, foreboding,  mass of pine and oak that cool, logical, common sense hit me and I stopped running. My sides burned and ached and my breath came in ragged gasps. I tried to see through the murky blackness with no success. Bending forward, I wrapped my arms around my waist and waited for my breathing to slow down and the pain in my side to release. What had I been thinking? I hit my forehead with the palm of my hand. Stupid, stupid, stupid girl! Now you’re alone in the woods, in the DARK.

My imagination began to get the best of me, I thought that I felt a hand close around my ankle and jerked myself to attention. I tore forward, shaking  my foot with each frenzied step.The darkness filled with all kinds of eerie sounds. Multiple sets of tiny, piercing, yellow eyes blinked at me from the bushes. I slowed my pace and began walking slowly up the path, hoping I was going in the right direction. The yellow eyes were all around me now, moving with me.

*********

Orlaith shouted at me as I darted down the steps. “Kind One, no! Don’t go, wait for the emerald guard! You don’t know what lurks in the dark woods, wait! They are dangerous!” Arial was hovering at her side, shocked at how fast I had moved, wings flapping like a humming bird, eyes wide. Mutely, she pointed after me as I sped across the meadow toward the opening in the trees. Panic swept through the mass of faeries that had gathered by the palace doors. Sunny and Ferne were trying hard to calm the commotion. Shrill whaling’s of “what will we do now!” echoed through the great hall.

Orlaith turned and raised her arms, calling for quiet. The court grew silent and waited. “Arial, my daughter, go after the Kind One, be quick now, they will hear her coming. Sunny, Ferne, go ahead to the portal, see what needs to be done, help where you can and send the captain of the emerald guard to me. Bella and Pip, you go to the Elvenwood and notify Elendain and the elves, they can work back from the far side of the realm. The rest of you spread out over the forest, be sure to stay above the canopy, and keep your eyes sharp. Signal if you see anything.

Orlaith stood at the entrance to her palace and watched as hundreds of faeries headed into the night. “I pray the Goddess Danu watch over you, and keep you safe Kind One.” Her voice stuck in her throat. “Please Danu, bring her back to us.”

*********

I walked timidly through the pitch black forest. Eyes wide, arms out in front of me, feeling for any obstacles that I might run into. The yellow eyes kept pace. I noticed that the farther I went, the more  pairs of eyes were watching, waiting. A low moan echoed the the darkness causing the tiny yellow beacons to wink out. I don’t know what was worse, seeing the yellow eyes, or not seeing them but knowing they were out there. A chill ran down my spine as the moan echoed again. I stopped and waited. Silently cursing my stupidity, I began to wonder what had happened to Arial. Why wasn’t she here? I whispered into the darkness, “Arial, I need you, I’m here, on the path leading to the ivy hedge, and I’m not alone. Follow my thoughts…hurry, please hurry.”

A glowing mist had begun to form on the path ahead of me. In it was a ghostly form of a faerie, she was smiling and beckoning me to come closer. A warm peace settled over me and all sense of panic subsided. Feeling a little lightheaded, I moved toward the light…

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2010


 

“Winter Procession” by David Delemare

Transporting the “faerie way” has a tendency to make me slightly dizzy, I think it has something to do with molecules rearranging…

We always arrive in the realm outside the palace, appearing  just at the bottom of the broad stairs that lead up to the ornate double doors of the royal home. Because this was a special occasion, and because Arial wanted to make her first visit to the newly arrived queen spectacular, she made sure that our whole entourage appeared right in the center of the Grand Hall. Personally, I thought it was because she was showing off for her mother, but she insists it was…”just for effect, in honor of Yule”.

The winter palace, as you would suspect, is made entirely of ice and snow. Every wall glistens. The floors are solid white and the color of choice is blue, every shade you can imagine. It sounds like a cold and foreboding place but I can assure you, it is just the opposite. Faerie magic is a wonderfully subtle thing, you can never trust your senses. What looks cold; is warm, and things that appear at a distance are actually closer than you suspect.  Now, standing in the middle of the winter palace, I was comfortably warm.

The pale ice blue walls were draped with long runs of spruce garland that were decorated with pine cones, holly berries, and snowdrop flowers.Fireflies added their own particular type of twinkle.  Two large oak trees stood sentinel at both sides of the dais, where, instead of one chair, four chairs sat. I had to ask. “Arial, what’s with the four chairs?” I pointed at the ornate stools, each carved with symbols depicting winter, spring, summer, and fall. Arial was busy greeting a steady flow of her faerie family. She looked very proud of her kind as she  turned to explained.”The Festival of Oak and Holly is the only time the four sitting queens are together. The Yule ball is the time for all four seasons of the Fae to come together and celebrate the coming year.”

I nodded and looked around me. The grand hall was quickly filling up with faeries of all types and sizes. Other magical beings where in attendance as well. Elendain and the elves from the elven-wood were here. The centaurs were represented by Serg. There were dwarfs and pixies, mermaids and dyads (the mermaids accommodated by the placement of large fountains down each side of the hall). The dyads pretty much stayed in the oak trees, only coming out to greet the occasional well wisher.  This party reminded me of the one I attended at Midsummer, only more lavish.

While marveling at my surroundings, I was surprised by a sudden flurry of faerie wings. Flashes of blue, yellow, red, and green obscured my sight. Four faeries whipped about my head in an excited frenzy. They were all talking in high tinkling voices at the same time, which made it hard to tell what was being said, it just sounded like a cacophony of jingle bells. Then it dawned on me, these were the first four faeries I ever saw! I held out my arms. Sunny, Bella, Pip, and Ferne all came to rest, two on each arm, wings fluttering wildly in their excitement . “Oh! my dear sweet friends! I am so glad you’re back! Pip, I do believe you’ve grown, and Sunny, are you still a relentless teaser?” Ferne, the plant lover of the bunch, glided up to tuck a sprig of holly behind my ear and gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

While we got caught up on the latest happenings, the lights dimmed and the huge crystal doors at the back of the hall swung open slowly. A path to the throne was made as the guests parted to make way for the procession of queens. As it turned out, I was on the front line after the throng of beings drew back to allow the queens passage. I could see them as they came down the aisle, stopping every once in a while to hug someone or share a few words. I noticed, as they made their way to where I was standing, that the people they stopped to speak with didn’t look at all magical.  I watched as Litha hugged a small woman just a few feet away. She looked up to see me gazing in their direction and offered a huge smile, then practically danced over to where I stood and wrapped her arms around my shoulders in a tight bear hug. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Glancing over I saw the small woman beaming approval and nodding. “Litha?, who is that woman, the one just over there.” I indicated with my head so that the petite little lady with thick wavy brown hair wouldn’t know I was asking about her. Litha turned and bent over as if to remove a speck of lint off of her gown, looking up briefly to see who I was talking about. “You will meet her. In the realm she is known as Sparkle, faerie blood flows in her veins too. She is very popular with the spring faeries, she loves bright colors.”

Before I could ask another question, Orlaith swept over to me with an air of “this one is mine” and took over the conversation. “Kind One, you look absolutely enchanting! This is your first Yule with us I think?” There was an undercurrent of tension between the queen of summer and the queen of winter, I thought, now I see why spring and fall have to separate the two, they are both very powerful in their own way. I hugged her. “Thank you, I can’t take credit, it was all Arial’s doing, you should be proud.” Orlaith took my face between both hands and kissed my forehead then stared at me intently, her blue eyes reaching deep into my soul. “I am proud of both my daughters.”

Did I just hear the queen of the frost faeries call me her daughter? Oh-my-gosh! I was stunned into silence. Orlaith moved down the path as people on either side bowed and curtsied. I started to make my way closer to Sparkle but was stopped by a dainty hand on my shoulder. It was Alina. She was standing, arm in arm, with another faerie I hadn’t met before. “Don’t go running off just yet! There is plenty of time to mingle. You need to meet Mab, the Queen of Autumn.”

The fall had been very short, or time just got away from me, and I realized that I hadn’t been to the palace when Mab reigned. “Your Highness.” I bowed my head and waited. Mab’s laugh was a lot like Orlaith’s, high and tinkly, but her manner was softer, more easy going. I guess that personality trait is a plus if you have to be the go between for Litha and Orlaith. Her hair was streaked gold and rust. She wore it shorter than the other queens and it had a unkempt wind blown look. The Autumn queen’s crown was a circular cornucopia. She was very steam-punk faerieish.

Mab lifted my chin with a finger. “I have a gift for you. If you don’t mind, would you honor me by gathering with the others at the entrance to the palace at midnight?” I promised that I would and as she moved away to take her place by the other three queens I wondered, what others?

The evening flew by (no pun intended). It was a blur of dancing and music, laughter and wonderful faerie food. Midnight bore down on me like a shooting star and as the time drew nearer I found myself filled with excitement. Who were “the others”? What was Mab’s gift? At five minutes to midnight I made my way to the arching crystal doors of the palace. I wasn’t the only one who was excited. When I arrived there were four others standing in a loose circle. Sparkle was there, she was speaking to a man with a pleasant face and easy going manner. The two other women were talking and laughing like they were old friends, one with thick shinning black hair, and the other with curly golden locks. They all turned to greet me, but before anyone could say anything, Mab appeared in a swirling bronze mist.

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.


 

Arial’s Coloring Page
Arial’s Audio Page

For those who would rather listen, you can find all of the audio post in one convenient place, just look under the tab "Faeries in word and song". These are arranged from earliest to most recent so that you will be caught up on all the adventures. Turn up your sound!

083
"Kind One?"
"Yes Arial..."
"You forgot something."
"I don't think so Arial, what are you talking about?"
"look at the bottom of the posts!"
"I still don't...wait a minute...oh of course! Thanks for bringing that to my attention, what ever would I do without you."

Arial wants me to point out that you can also listen to each post by playing the audio at the end of each posting.

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The Proximity Award Bestowed by Valerie Ashley proximidadeaward_thumb The Heart of the Dragon Award Bestowed by The Creative Chronicler The Dragon's Loyalty Award Bestowed by the Creative Chronicler
Fun Fairie Facts

You Know a Fairie is Present When...

You hear a whispering of leaves.
You see a whirlwind.
You feel a tingling sensation in your hair.
You have an unexplained loss of time.
You laugh uncontrollably, or feel exceptionally silly.
You see blades of grass bending when there
is no one around.

The Most Likely Place for Fairie Portals Are...

Lake shores
Islands
Glades in the forest
Where two roads intersect
Fences and border hedges (this is Arial's favorite)
Stairwells, hallways and landings
Tidal pools
Bends in a road
Thresholds

fairylake

Tami 45

I would like to give special thanks to Gail Schimmelpfennig for allowing me to put her wonderful poem "Seeking the Muse" on my site. You can read her poem in the fairy poetry section under "Fairies in Word and Song". Gail is Utah State Poetry Society's 2009 Poet of the Year, and I'm proud to say, a dear friend. You can find her on FaceBook where there is a group for the Utah poets.