Faerie Ring

Twilight sky, the sun sinking below the horizon.
The dusky light falling on the world,
Leaving half of it in shadow.
Playing tricks with your eyes,
Showing impossibilities,
Sight unseen.
Her eyes glow with anticipation,
Her finger, cut where the thorn pierced her skin.
Tiny dots of opalescent blood.
The rose remains in her hand,
Half forgotten, the pain of the thorns a dull reminder
Even that fading into the background.
It thirsts, drinking in the tiny droplets,
Seeking more, its tiny tendrils reach towards life
The life flowing through her.
Mists of time and place surround this tiny, grassy dusk-lit knoll.
Pictures of horrific beauty,
Too much for mortal eyes alone.

But she cares not for this insignificant bit of information.
Her desires, her hopes and dreams lie here,
In the sweet, clean scent of the air,
Of the feel of the tiny blades of grass on her bare feet.

She moves from the mist into the clearing,
As the sun dips below the horizon
The latest move in his never ending dance,
As his partner peeks her head,
An opalescent pearl, filling the sky.
She leaps, and the stars join her.

The girl, a mere human child,
She has no idea what she is getting herself into.
But the music starts, intoxicating,
And she knows she must find out.

The sound of pan flutes, bagpipes and electric guitars,
Every instrument ever created by mortal hands,
And a few that were not.
They weave a flowing melody,
Full of heady enchantment,
An enticing piece of bait for any of the unwary.
Or it would be, save the players are ignorant of their audience.
It bewitches the ear, and, like a thief in the night,
Robs all who hear if of their senses.
And pulls them inexorably into the dance.

This music, akin to that of the spheres.
It tells the tale of life and death,
Vibrance and strength,
Atrophy and entropy.
The rise and fall of the seasons.
And the dance of the moon and stars.

Unwittingly, the mortal walks, briskly now,
Unknowingly crossing the ring of mushrooms.
Into the faerie ring.
And so, gives her permission to these otherworldly musicians,
To do what they will
Until the sun peaks his head back over the horizon,
In search of his blushing bride.

Eyes still unfocused,
The mortal begins to dance.
It is a happy, joyful thing, albeit forced.
Like a cardboard smile on a plastic face.
The music takes up all her thought,
The dance expends all her energy,
And still, she must dance.

And still, for all its influence.
The other dancers,
Especially the musicians, didn't know she was there.
The people, to beautiful to be human,
With their tri-ringed eyes and silk and satin finery.
They danced with out tiring, a fierce joy in every movement
As they moved to the otherworldly music.
Her dancing didn't even come close,

And she was filled with a deep-seated awe
As the Great and Nobel creatures expressed feelings she could never recognize.

These were the Sidhe lords and ladies,
Creatures with power, ancient and deep.
Once-gods that roamed the earth.
Above them, pixies danced,
Spreading a dusty light over everything.

They were beautiful, so heart-breakingly gorgeous,
A beauty to drive men mad.
These are the Gods of old.
Beings of such power,
The Ancestors fell to their knees in their presences,
Built great temples to honor them,
And marble effigies to watch over them.

Now those temples crumble,
Those statues turn to dust.
The Gods shut themselves on Olympus
Only to come out on nights such as these.

This human, both blessed and cursed,
To stumble upon them.
It happens from time to time,
And each time, the poor mortal,
Swept up in a power greater then their own,
Either disappears forever,
Or falls asleep, exhausted, in the grass.

But even the night knows not what it holds for this girl.

She begins to weary,
But, for some strange reason,
She cannot stop this flurry of frenzied movement.
The hours, countless, fly by,
And she, exhausted, dances on.
Her feet are cut, bruised and bleeding,
By the pounding against the ground,
And the vicious movement of grass blade against skin.
The pain is almost unreal,
An ethereal, detached feeling,
As if she was an outsider to her own demise.
She wants to cry out,
But the dangers of drawing attention to herself are clear.
She came here unnoticed. She must leave the same way.
An uninvited guest has no protection offered,
The host not honor bound to serve them.
Their honor put to better uses,
While the swords do the talking.

Biting her lip,
The blood pooling in the teeth marks,
She keeps her council.
Finally, Dawn arises,
The sun, peeking his head over the horizon,
Casting shadows on the ground.
The music finally reaches its end,
And the entire crown thunders with applause,
The mortal joining in.
For even she, with blood marring her once lily-white feet,
Is sad to have the music end.

And like dew in the sunlight,
The Sidhe, lords and ladies of heaven and earth,
Began to fade into the forest surrounding
The little ring of mushrooms.
A Faerie ring.

She had thought herself safe,
When the last one,
A man with ages in his eyes.
Turned back and stared into her soul.
He smiled, both mischievous and amused. He knew.
"Such is the way of things." He said.
"You have safe passage among us this day, mortal,
"But do not be surprised if on some bright eve,
"You find one such as me outside your door."

And with that he faded,
Disappearing in a whirl of dust and leaves.

She shook, from exhilaration, from fear,
And most of all, exhaustion.
But she was safe, for now.
She escaped the ring
And promptly fell into the soft grass,
Exhaustion pulling her into oblivion,
Praying to be so lucky the next time.