Morgane walked the woods alone, knowing every twisting, tripping root, every boulder, every pebble. No thing could surprise her, frighten her, or harm her, not so long as her ring was on her finger, and her hawk perched on her gloved arm. She whispered a word in the Old Tongue to her hawk, and the silent bird of prey lifted on wings untouched by clumsiness, above the treetops and away to Morgane's brother's land...Morgane smirked sinisterly, and kept walking.
Presently, her hawk returned, and alighted on Morgane's outstretched arm.
"What news have you for me, my darling?" she asked the bird.
A note from the hawk's beak dropped into Morgane's open palm...
Tor ech na wedd ma
Tiel ech na chel my
Bev er ech na aree
Fey bre ca tonn ee
Hallow'd be the night, ere Morgane le fey walks Danach, there will be fright...
Morgane smiled and stroked her hawk.
"We shall have a grand time, to-night, I think..It is All Hallows Eve, my sweet, and there are many parties afoot.."
Morgane wrapped her cloak about her shoulders, and lit a candle with a whisper...
Morgane walked through the forest, her hawk still perched upon her fist, unable to see in the growing darkness. Soon, she came upon a large house, black, with white and silver shutters.
"Ah, yes, the home of Monsieur Baron Samedi..Buvos," Morgane cackled, and walked into his house.
Morgane walked past the strange mirror room, the eating room, filled with gadgets and splatters of egg, and many other strange rooms, many decorated with Halloween colors and objects. She moved past all those without interest, until she came to the bedroom. Buvos was in there, talking to himself.
"You said yourself there was no magik in you, insipido man..you're such a fraud.."said Buvos.
"Finally facing up to the truth, eh?" Morgane said, sinister seduction and evil in her voice.
"Morgane,"Buvos breathed, fear and anger in his eyes.
"The one and only, although many others try to impersonate me.." A flash of scornful anger lit up her grey eyes like lightening.
"Why do you come here, Morgane? I told you I wasn't really a voodoo prince, and that I can't help you. And even if these hands held magik-" Buvos mumured, gazing at his hands, then back up at Morgane,"-even then, I still would refuse to help you."
"Pitiful mortal man.."Morgane hissed. "If I had need of you, you would be my slave, at the snap of my fingers." To demonstrate, Morgane snapped her lily-white fingers, stained red--Buvos shuddered to think what that red might be--and instantly Buvos was on his knees. Another snap, and he was worshipping her, bowing over and over, hands folded, begging for mercy..silenty he cursed her, still able to move his lips, no sound coming from them. Morgane waved her hands over his head, and he scrambled backwards.
"Morgane!"Buvos shouted,"Get out of my house!" Morgane smirked, and whistled. Her hawk, black as night, came to rest upon her upraised fist.
"Remember this day Buvos..think ye that you could resist me? Think again, and live in terror of my name!" With these dark words, Morgane turned, and left.
Once home, Morgane heard the sound of a girl's voice-Limerik.
"Morgane?" she called, hesitantly.
"Yes, who's there?" As Morgane walked in, her lips curved in a sinister smile, sickeningly sweet and evil at the same time. "Ah, it's you, Limerik..my dear little frog."
Limerik bristled, but remembered what she had come for.
"Morgane, I want my love to stop hating me..." A wave of fear washed over Limerik just then, fear of Morgane, and she stopped. Morgane smiled again.
"I have just the thing." Morgane left, then re-entered, carrying a small black vial that smelled slightly nauseating. The liquid inside was green.
"Drink this, and your problem will be solved," said Morgane, and shooed Limerik out of her home, a silent smirk upon her beautiful features.
She casts a spell, 0, casts a spell,
Which haunts me more than I can tell,
Dearer, because she makes me ill,
Than who would will to make me well.
She is my store. 0. she my store,
Whose grey eye wounded me so sore,
Who will not place in mine her palm,
Who will not calm me any more.
She is my pet, 0, she my pet.
Whom I can never more forget;
Who would not lose by me one moan.
Nor stone upon my cairn set.
She is my roon, 0. she my roon,
Who tells me nothing, leaves me soon;
Who would not lose by me one sigh,
Were death and I within one room.
She is my dear, 0, she my dear,
Who cares not whether I be here,
Who would not weep when I am dead,
Who makes me shed the silent tear.
Later Morgane decided to go to the Central Plaza. The people there were always good for some fun, and very nearly always Buvos was there. Morte, le autour noir, or black hawk, was there, always on her fist, scouting the area.
Morgane reached the Central Plaza, in time to see Limerik flee from Buvos, in tears.
"Probably because of me," Morgane reflected, then smirked. The silly frog.
"She did it to herself, although you're right, it was partially your fault." Morgane's voice cut through the Baron Samedi's thoughts.
"Back off, Morgane," Buvos said through clenched teeth, not looking at her. Morgane angrily appeared in front of him, in a flash of red, black smoke swirling agitatedly at her feet.
"How dare you speak to a queen so, 'Baron Samedi'? Show me the proper respect, 'Lord of the Dead'." With a snap Buvos was on his knees again, in front of all the people of the Plaza. Morgane waved her hand and the movement of all, save her, ceased for a brief time. In that time, she whispered:
"Ech no deed a, la chat et mone' va, ca lupine in drio vanci!" Morgane smirked haughtily as Buvos felt his limbs twist themselves backwards..soon everything was a blur of black pain, as he felt his nose and lips elongate and his black hair spread..
"Pffft, mroww, hsst!" Buvos said, trying to speak. Morgane cocked her head to the side.
"What's that you say, sweet puss? Come with me, my pretty cat.." Morgane attempted to pick Buvos up, but he spat at her and scratched her hands, then ran as Morgane swore. Everything became noisy and the movement of the people in the Plaza unfroze. Morgane disappeared in smoke, and Buvos fled in terror to his home.
"All in a day's work, eh, my pretty?" Morgane said, as she stroked Morte's soft ebony feathers. Morte screeched hoarsely in reply, and gently nibbled Morgane's fingers.
"Morgane?" A strong voice called to the sorceress, who was napping in her home. Morgane was instantly awake.
"Yes, who is it?" she called, almost afraid.
"My name is Baeris, and with me is the dragon Dulath, so don't try anything. I don't think you would want to, because I come with good news," said the woman who was Baeris.
"What is this news that you speak of?" spoke Morgane in a slithery, almost cat/snakelike purr/hiss.
"You have been Found by Dulath,"replied Baeris. "Although I don't know why,"she added, under her breath.
"Thank you, Baeris, Dulath. I shall come with you.."
Morgane walked haughtily into the room Baeris had decorated for the occasion. She smirked, seeing everyone draw back considerably at her entrance. Baeris gestured to the punch bowl, the treats, and a basket with some interesting orbs inside.
"Please help yourself," Baeris said, and walked away. Morgane went to the punch bowl and ladled some into a cup. She drank it in one gulp, and took a bat-shaped cookie. The basket of orbs drew her attention, and she put the cookie into her pouch, picking up an egg. It was a dark shade of gray, with little swirls of red in it, and when Morgane's warmth touched it, it began to shake. Morgane smiled in satisfaction as steam hissed out of the cracks in the shell, and a blood-red chen flew up to Morgane's left shoulder. Morte hissed in displeasure and the chen screamed a challenge. The hawk fluffed up his feathers and hopped to Morgane's gloved hand. Morgane stared at the chen and grinned, breaking off pieces of cookie to give to it.
"Hello, my little imp.."
Morgane stroked her gigantic 'thairling Silkieth, smiling and humming a tune.
"Catch a shadow by the wall
Don't look down or else you'll fall
What certain sons did cruelly rend
With pattern, blood, and song we'll mend
Dressed in thistle, crowned with bay
Slipping in behind the day
Painted, plaited, flower-strewn,
Beat the bodhran fierce in tune
Come alone or come together
Best the song in worst of weather
Writhing, twisting, turning, sliding,
Always here our time abiding
'til their minds are quite besotten
Mother's warnings all forgotten
Hands tight clasped we'll all round turn
And set the fire quick to burn
Cast your lot and lay your bet
Weave the steps into a net
Leave the Gate thrown wide open
And lure the weary traveler in
Never tire, reaching higher,
sing the fire, fire higher!"
(The Chant, by Mearabhin)
The fire in Morgane's pit outside of her house rose to terrifying heights, blazing stronger than any fire Danach had seen. Silkieth, unfazed, stared deep into the fire's soul, and smiled a sinister draconic smile, stretching out as if basking in the sun's sweet warmth. Morgane curled beside her dragon, the fire's light dancing upon her face, making her look red and devilish.
In dim samite was she bedight,
And on her hair a hoop of gold,
Like foxfire, in the tawn moonlight,
Was glimmering cold.
With soft gray eyes she gloomed and glowered;
With soft red lips she sang a song:
What knight might gaze upon her face,
Nor fare along?
For all her looks were full of spells,
And all her words, of sorcery;
And in some way they seemed to say,
"Oh, come with me!
"Oh, come with me! oh, come with me!
Oh, come with me, my love, Sir Kay!"--
How should he know the witch, I trow,
Morgan le Fay?
How should he know the wily witch,
With sweet white face and raven hair?
Who, through her art, bewitched his heart
And held him there.
Eftsoons his soul had waxed amort
To wold and weald, to slade and stream;
And all he heard was her soft word
As one adream.
And all he saw was her bright eyes,
And her fair face that held him still:
And wild and wan she led him on
O'er vale and hill.
Until at last a castle lay
Beneath the moon, among the trees:
Its gothic towers old and gray
Tall in its hall a hundred knights
In armor stood with glaive in hand:
The following of some great king,
Lord of that land.
Sir Bors, Sir Balin, and Gawain,
All Arthur's knights, and many mo;
But these in battle had been slain
Long years ago.
But when Morgan lifted hand
Moved down the hall, they louted low:
For she was Queen of Shadowland,
That woman of snow.
Then from Sir Kay she drew away,
And cried on high all mockingly:--
"Behold, sir knights, the knave I bring,
Who lay with me.
"Behold! I met him 'mid the furze:
Beside him there he made me lie:
Upon him, yea, there rests my curse:
Now let him die!"
Then as one man those shadows raised
Their brands, whereon the moon glanced gray:
And clashing all strode from the wall
Against Sir Kay.
And on his body, bent and bowed,
The hundred bladed as one blade fell:
While over all rang long and loud
The mirth of Hell.
~ Madison Cawein (1865-1914)
Morgane stared in displeasure at the mob of people, all carrying torches or scythes, ascending the cliffs to her new home. Her new home, a cathair, was no less frightful than the old one. It was carved into a high, ebony cliff, and below her was a black forest--in fact, The Blackness--with twisted trees and dangerous flora and fauna living there. The land was in a state of perpetual autumn, dark and cloudy, with full, red or orange moons every eve. Morgane lived in complete solitude, away from all humans. She scorned their presence and prefered to be alone, with her 'pets'--a dragon, a dragonchen, and a fearsome hawk, twice the size of a normal one. But now they had come to find her.
"Perhaps they knew it was our tea time," Morgane purred, laughing, her grey eyes narrowed and flashing like lightning every few seconds. Imp and Morte huddled on either shoulder, and stared out at the peasants. Imp suggested bombarding them, and Morte happily agreed; Morgane smirked while a sinister cackle rose in her throat. The two aerials were lobbed from her wrists and dived downward, into the faces of the mob people. Silkieth slithered forward from the back of her dark stone home, and peered over Morgane's shoulder.
What are they doing here? the dark queen asked her mostly human counterpart, distaste coating the words that were projected into the witch's mind. Morgane looked over her shoulder and stroked her dragon's horns, then looked back at the havoc Morte and Imp were causing, her red lips twisting.
"I suppose they wish to give us a gift basket of some sort," she replied, and Silkieth snorted.
Are you going to give them a gift in return?
"Of course," said Morgane, "it would be rude not to return their kindness." Imp and Morte returned and perched on Silkieth's back, shifting from side to side in anticipation. Morgane looked back at her companions for a quick moment, then raised her arms and stared at the crowd milling beneath her home.
"Welcome, my friends," she hissed, her long nails, blood red, catching the starlight and shining, almost glowing.
"I am so glad to see you here," she continued, "although I do wonder what kind of gift is so urgent as to wake me in the middle of the night." Morgane had not slept at all that evening.
"Anyway, I wish to thank you. I don't get many visitors, but those I do get, I have always treated hospitably. And so, dear friends, here is a gift for you!" Morgane chanted quickly, binding the mob in place.
"Come ye as the charm is made!
Queen of heaven, Queen of hell,
Horned hunter of the night
Lend your power unto the spell,
And work my will by magic rite!
By all the power of land and sea,
By all the might of moon and sun
I call the Earth to bind my spell.
Air to speed it well.
Bright as Fire shall it glow.
Deep as tide of Water flow.
Count the elements fourfold
In the fifth the spell shall hold."
Satisfied that the crowd was held, Morgane whispered something into the cup of her hand. When she opened her hand, a bright blaze of fire wriggled there in her palm. She threw the fire down; it landed and made a circle around the group of terrified people, who had dropped their weapons. She whispered twice more, into either hand, then opened them. A drop of water fell from the left and landed, creating a moat around the fire circle. A gust of air blew from the right and 'round the mob, carrying the weapons away into the night. Last of all, Morgane blew a little dust from both hands. The dust swirled around the mob and blinded them.
"There," Morgane said, wiping her hands off on her skirts, "that should teach them..." But, her evil did not stop there. Morgane was not content with simply terrifying those below her. She chanted once more:
"By the knot of one--the spell's begun
By the knot of two--it cometh true
By the knot of three--thus shall it be
By the knot of four--'tis strengthened more
By the knot of five--so may it thrive
By the knot of six--the spell we fix
By the knot of seven--the stars of heaven
By the knot of eight--the hand of fate
By the knot of nine--the thing is mine!"
Morgane cast a handful of dragon scales cast off from Silkieth, feathers from Morte, and fur from when Buvos was shaped as a cat, into the air. The three things combined and landed upon all the heads of the people. Their screams mingled with Morgane's laughter, Morte and Imp's screeching, and Silkieth's roars. When the noise stopped and the people were visible, the moat and the ring of fire were gone. But so were the peasants. What was left in their stead were hideous creatures of fur, feather, and scale. Morgane laughed.
"Now you may never return to your kin again, unless to warn them of my wrath. And even then you will be shunned; people will scream and run from you, else try to hunt you and kill you, to eat or hang as a trophy. And your blindness will be no aid. Go now!" The creatures scattered. Morgane watched until the last one disappeared. Then she raised a finger in the air, pointing as the moon sank beneath the horizon.
"I'm a bit tired," Morgane muttered, and patted Silkieth, stroked Morte, and scratched Imp's shoulders before moving deeper into her cathair, to her sleeping quarters. She cast off her cloak and dress of midnight black and slipped beneath the crimson sheets. Before sleep, Morgane murmured the lullabies for her companions.
"Mighty wings once carved the cumulus, sowing storm-filled clouds and reaping rain.
Soaring, we bounded the radius of the peak-crowned heights of our domain.
How long is the road to Dragonheim?
The length of a dreamer's call.
How number the miles to Dragonheim?
It is none, I say, and all.
And the sky roared when touched by our flames; it sang to words wrought in fume and smoke.
Firey visions dwelt within the names of numberless tribes of dragonfolk.
Where winds the path to Dragonheim?
Hidden in a name; a secret sound.
Where stands the entrance to Dragonheim?
In the place never lost, though seldom found.
Majestic mountains once housed our young
Born from crystal eggs that caught the light.
In strong shadowed heights our dwellings hung
Ne'er crossed by the foes that feared our might.
What shapes the trail to Dragonheim?
A maze of dreams, pointing straight.
How travels the way to Dragonheim?
On paths of soul, beyond the gate.
Now the lands are gone, scourged by the ire of modern day people's decree.
But spirits live on, look to the fires:
You must catch our souls to set us free.
In what age stands the halls of Dragonheim?
Time beyond time, between the worlds.
Where dwell the inhabitants of Dragonheim?
They smile as your spirits soar and curl."
Sing another, Silkieth commanded, and Morgane nodded.
"The last one," she said, and began:
"They say the flame-wrought winds are dead;
Ethereal dancing, jeweled wings--no more.
Monolithic rationality is the head.
Noble dreams and works--shattered, torn.
The world was theirs--never doubt.
But the magic and power faded away,
When the light gave way to spiritual drought
And Oppenheimer replaced Morgane le Fay."
Morgane paused and grimaced, but Silkieth nudged her arm insistently, and she continued.
"But in some strange souls they found a home:
Those inspired, lost, exiled castaways.
Music and verse and the Craft are the bones
Of those long lost archetypes of elder days.
And it takes a mere seed to create an oak,
and music and light, rain and mirth,
Bridging land and sky with its growth;
Fulfilling the call to renew the Earth.
So nurture these dragons who live within you--
The Burning has ended and they may go free.
Let them grow so that their work may continue,
an' it harm none, do what ye will--Blessed Be!
Her eyes closed; she slept the sleep of a wolf, halfway between dreaming and awakeness. Silkieth curled up nearby, and Morte fluffed his feathers on a stand next to the bed. Imp lay between Silkieth's horns.
In the back of the cathair, forty scythes and torches lay in a pile..