Silver Birch Grove

Shadows from silver birch in fall

Prince Silver crunched golden birch leaves on his way to the Gather.

In olden days, the sacred site had been a fairy mound, in the midst of an ancient oak and pine forest. The Sidhe elders held gatherings before a magic granite obelisk beneath the mound. Then humans cut away swaths of trees and leveled land for house sites. Houses turned backs to the site, and the magic stone hid behind glamours.

Ley lines remained, conduits of magic power, stretching from the new world to the old and to other secret places. At their intersection, none could deceive, either by telling lies or misleading by silence. Prophecy foretold that one day, the ley lines would call to one born to control the power, a Ley Channeler.

Humans became uncomfortable too close to the site. Dark clouds foretold storms or cold winds raised goose pimples. Humans fled the strange weather, they remembered urgent business elsewhere or felt frightened without knowing why, hurrying home. In time, the land healed from the human tumult, and a grove of silver birch sprang up where the fairy mound had been. A brook tinkled musically, separating the grove from the backyard of a blue house.

The Sidhe court approached at twilight for the Grand Gather. They protected themselves by glamour and spells. They were hushed, but a frisson of excitement underlay their slow movements.

Queen Calla Drythorn cast a circle, allowing the others to let slip their glamours. To the fae, the circle looked like a wall of fairy lights, separating them, meant to deceive human eyes and ears. Into the circle, Queen Calla brought her only son, Prince Silver. All the children of the court were tested in their sixteenth year. Each year, the young fae had failed to grasp the powers.

The circle was invisible to humans. Except for Rowan. She was drawn toward the starry lights, twinkling among the amber leaves. She felt the call of a power she did not understand.

She walked toward the circle, unnoticed by all but Prince Silver, who gasped. “Mother!”

“Do you feel the power?” Queen Calla was excited, and her gaze sharpened on him.

“No, Mother,” Prince Silver noticed how disappointed his mother looked. All the other courtiers also heaved sighs of disappointment. “But a human is watching us!”

Queen Calla raised her hand, turning swiftly toward Rowan with amazement….

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham