Moments in Magical Modernity: VIII (or, The Silver Lady’s Acolyte)


Author’s Note (2/22/17):  The idea that this piece belongs with the rest of the Magical Modernity entries has not let me go, not since I first published it. And so I am succumbing to it and will now count this lovely moment amongst my other glimpses into a world where magic is everyday but still so very…well…magical.

VIII.

The sun blazed its way to its cradle in a conflagration of amethyst, coral, and rose, stark and dragon-breath bright against the indigo of the coming night. This breath of celestial fire found her bathing in a lake on a ridge. The water ran in rivulets over soft skin and rained in droplets from fingertips as gold spread over the surface of the lake. As the burning gradually died away and the indigo velvet cloaked the sky, the stars found her amidst the trees. The blue-white light spilling from the Silver Lady’s train lit on firm, supple skin, a graceful curve here, a soft roundness there. As the light scattered over her, she basked in it, breathed it in like oxygen itself. She could feel the gold begin to shimmer in her hair as she basked in the blessing of the Silver Lady. She began to move through the woods, the scent of spring blossom thick and heady in the early spring night.

As the Kitsune moved, picking up speed along the forest floor, moon-spangled skin gave way to golden softness. Pale fingers became strong black paws, five gorgeous flowing tails trailing out behind her. Scents and sounds became sharp and heady, the very scent of moonlight filling her nose to the point of euphoria. As large as a direwolf, with a coat that splashed sunset fire and paws that threw up stars where they met earth, she ran and yelped, howled and leaped, stretching her nose and fanning her tails in obeisance and for the Silver Lady’s delight.

The first spring full moon, the air full of blossoms and new life, the many-tailed fox ran free in the blue-white light.

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Moments in Magical Modernity: VII


VII.

On Sunday mornings, the silvery peal of church bells can be heard ringing out over the city, calling to the devout and the believers, the lost and the hungry.  Places of worship fill with those who arrived weary and leave with beatific faces. But the churches are not the only places filled with the faithful, human and magical alike.

In a small apartment, an aged, bent, great grandmother sprinkles salt over and lights a warm candle near the lovingly-framed photographs of her children and grandbabies. Salt and light.

In a bare-branched, snowy copse, a frost fairy etches designs in ice on the ancient trees. Runes of renewal, healing, community, the hearth. With delicate fingers, she arranges jeweled webs, diamine dream catchers, between spindly branches stretched towards a winter-blue sky.

On star-hidden nights, silver-threaded, constellation-shot, blue velvet is hung over the beds of gargoyle children, folded snugly in their wings, so they know they are seen, loved, and protected by the skies they will soar.

Small groups gather in the warmth of the Hollow to talk about God and truth, faith and practice and impact. Pearla fills coffee mugs and tea cups, and Kingsley provides dishes of soup that warm hearts and open souls. Under the Hollow’s peaceful roof, debates are held, disagreements acknowledged, insights shared, and hearts encouraged. Souls often leave a little lighter, hooves, paws, feet, and wings moving a bit more briskly, and hands and hearts feeling maybe just a little fuller.

Moments in Magical Modernity: VI


VI.

Nighttime in the city has a specific Magic all its own. There is not only the typical nightlife of the city but there are also creatures of magic, myth, and memory who thrive under the night’s cloak. Creatures of shadow and star shine, who weave blue moonlight into lifelike sculptures that glow and shimmer. Who paint scenes full of inherent light, fit for dreams. There are creatures who soar on gigantic wings, gathering up the nightmares that would descend on the back of the darkness, gobbling them up whole. Of course, some slip through, but that’s a matter for another time.

As children, we are often taught to fear the night, and while that is still wise, there is so magical_night_by_tsub_chanmuch beauty to be found in it that must not be discounted. There are stars to be wished on, moonshafts to molded, gossamer to be gathered and woven, dreams to be cast and carried. Candle-golden windows in the deep night shimmer with firefly-gilded sand that none can properly see, full of wishes for sweet fantasy and sweeter sleep.

Derva walks the city streets, starry glimmer splashing from her hair, sprinkling from her galaxial skin, and spreading in her wake. Clouds slough off from the moon in shame when she turns a questioning eye towards them. Away they skitter, leaving the blue moonlight in full force. She smiles at a long-distant howl that filters out against the sky in the cold, clear air. It is a howl of years and knowledge and experience. She will commiserate with its owner over a cup of elderberry tea at the Hollow in the small hours before the sun peaks its bright flaxen head over the line where the sky meets the sea.

But, for now, it is night. Night with all her Magic. Night with all her mystery. Night with all her ritual, tradition, and art. For now, it is Night, and Night belongs to her own creatures.0771e0d9a2df787e564c26022bc206c7

 

Photo credits:

Magical Night – http://orig01.deviantart.net/f791/f/2008/232/f/2/magical_night_by_tsub_chan.jpg

Starry body paint — https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/07/71/e0/0771e0d9a2df787e564c26022bc206c7.jpg

Moments in Magical Modernity: V


V.

Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.

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Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.

 

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Moments in Magical Modernity: III


III.

“It’s Waxing Day! We are going to be slammed. Make sure you call an order into the Hollow and coffee up!” Della smiled as she reminded her newly awakened brother.

Shawn ruffled already-messy hair and yawned: his only reply.

“And we are closing at five, receipts and inventory by six. The Running’s at seven!”

“I know!” Shawn growled, “I know the routine. Thorns, you’d think this was my first Cycle.”

His big sister just chuckled and headed downstairs to their shop: Della Luna Furriers.

This was not your typical furriers. They didn’t sell furs; they stored them. Della Luna specifically catered to werewolf furs. During the moon’s cycle, werewolves often shed their pelts like cloaks to avoid any…unpleasantness before the full moon. So they stored them at Della Luna until Waxing Day, the full moon.

On Waxing Day, Della Luna was busier than ever, everyone came to claim their pelts, cleaned and aired, from the vault for the Running. The Running was more than just a gathering of werewolves; it was a celebration of their species and an upholding of their history and culture. Every city’s pack gathered, Turned, ran, hunted, and celebrated together. Children of age had their first Turning in the safe company of their parents and family instead of facing the shock, pain, and elation alone. New mates would often choose Waxing Day to start their family together. Young werewolves often began flirtations in the fur that carried on into the flesh the next day. Older wolves received the respect and support their greying muzzles warranted, as well as first bite of any spoils of the hunt, as was right. The Running was a time of community, family, and friendship, but, sometimes, also of reckoning. Wolves who had issues could choose to fight it out in the fur (though never to the death, that just smacked of old-world barbarity) and the affair would be considered forever settled.

Della threw open the shades, unlocked the doors, and turned on the lights. Della Luna’s was open for Waxing Day business!

She gladly handed over the pelts of the Bondariches, including a glossy black one for their daughter Sienna. Tonight would be her first Turning. Children’s pelts could be separate from them as early as three and kept until their coming of age at thirteen.

The Connors came by. Lovely couple, just married this past Yule. Lilian had a kind of glow about her as she accepted her grey and white pelt, and Della wished them good luck and silver blessings with a knowing smile.

Shawn soon returned with their order from the Hollow. Pearla had thrown in some of her famous breakfast sandwiches as well as scones with saguaro cactus blossom jelly (the blossoms having been picked at the midnight of their single day of bloom) to help them through the undoubtedly busy day.

Della happily accepted her peppermint mocha, skim milk, three sugars, no whipped cream, sipping it with a melting sigh. Thus invigorated, once more unto the breach! The day passed quickly, busily, and soon the sun was threatening along the autumn horizon. The lights of Della Luna’s melded into a warm glow behind the locked door as Della and Shawn quickly and lovingly did their inventory and receipts, setting things up for the return of the pelts on the following day. Quietly, Dell noted the names that had been carefully crossed out in the recording ledger, those wolves who had passed beyond the moon within the past year, as well as smiling softly at the new additions to the ledger.

When the books were balanced and ready-made for tomorrow, Della then headed into the vault, fetching her own brownish red pelt and Shawn’s grey-tipped brown and, together, they shut off the lights, locked up the shop and, arm in arm, headed off to join their family, friends, and neighbors, just as the bright, full Lady Moon raised her domed head above the horizon to greet her Children.

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Moments in Magical Modernity: II


He narrowly avoided the frazzled human who barged through the door of The Hollow Bean (affectionately known by regulars as just The Hollow), keeping his chameleon-spiced chai safely out of harm’s way. Bryan Banebridge breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way out the door and into the city streets. He immediately took a deep sip of his chai and its fortifying additive. Being in the city always set his nerves on edge, as it often did for most Earthborn Elementals. His missed his acreage but it was the cost of doing business, and his investors were mostly city-fold sheeple (what he privately called humans, while maintaining that most of his actual sheep were more intelligent) who were wanting to diversify their portfolio with the now-popular “Gaiorganic”. He rolled his eyes nearly into the back of his horned head, a cold, autumn breeze rustling his russet hair as he wrapped the slightly-fraying green scarf with its hand-knitted pattern of fauns cavorting around a lamppost a bit tighter.

Fairy-run coffee shops were his favorite (perhaps only favorite) thing about the city. The baristas always seemed to get him and know just what he needed at any given time. Since fairies were Talented, they were tethered to any particular Element and so seemed to understand…well…everything a bit better than anyone else. Especially Pearla…

Bryan felt the tips of his ears warm and cursed himself for a foolish kid. Crushing on a fairy, not to mention a city barista fairy, is nothing short of soul-stupid. Especially for a country farmer faun.

Making his way downtown, Bryan rode up to some obscenely high floor in some obscenely tall crystal-plated building (crystal being fifty times stronger than glass and cheaper to manufacture with an in-house alchemist in your R&D). Stepping out of the elevator, he was greeted and ushered in by a pale portly man. Short, squat, and fat he was, with a mop of white hair atop rounded his pate. His eyes were beady, his nose pert, and he really did look entire too much like a sheep for “sheeple” not to float through Bryan’s head. This man wouldn’t last a day’s work on Bryan’s “delightful Gaiorganic operation”.

The meeting was long and arduous, the men attempting to haggle, but fauns are nothing if not built of stronger stuff and with the endurance and patience of growing grass. Eventually, stuffy, sweating with the exertion and pining for their dinners, the men gave in. They congratulated Bryan on his business acumen and the latter, his next three years’ investments secure in writing, made his grateful exit. All he wanted was his beat-up pickup truck and the cold country air.

Maybe one last stop at The Hollow before making his way back upstate in the autumnal night…

Moments in Magical Modernity: I


She barreled into the café, nearly knocking over a gnomish couple on their way out. “Sorry! So sorry!” she bawled as she made her way up to the counter.

“Softly and gently, Sophie, lamb,” said the fairy barista behind it, her words punctuated with a flutter of her sun-sparkly wings, her apron dusted with a sparkle of a different kind: glamourized sugar.

“I’m late and I…my presentation!” panted the aforementioned distraught Sophie.

“Gotcha covered, lovely,” Pearla replied before producing a drink just ready-made with a flourish. “White chocolate caramel latte, skim milk, easy on the foam, with a shot of charisma for that extra boost of confidence and pizzazz. Just what the alchemist ordered!”

“Pearla, you’re my treasure!” Grasping the cup in both hands as if for dear life, Sophie took a sip, careful not to tingle her tongue too much as she drank gratefully.

Pearla, on the other hand, just smiles softly. “I know, darling. Now go kick ass,” she encourages, fluttering herself up to lean over the counter to drop a kiss on her best friend’s forehead for good luck before sending the now-charisma-armed Sophie off into the fray.