A Call Answered (Spirit Walks Part 2. Ancient Practices)

Moonlight filtered through clouds, enabling Sama to see the lines she had marked into the ground by daylight. She stood, holding her athame, her ritual dagger, and silently walked the perimeter, drawing down and directing energy to construct the magical circle.

The chill wind pimpled her flesh, and her robes billowed. My channel to the spirit world is blocked, cutting me off from finding answers, she thought. I’ll show them. I will not be trifled with by stuffy cult Priestesses when they’re the ones who’ve completely overstepped their mark.

She called to the elemental guardians, ‘Lords I ask you to watch these rituals and guard over this circle, and to make a gateway for the passage of the Goddess and God.’

She began her call, feeling the energy swirling through the circle.
‘Samhain to remember the dead. Samhain to peer through the thinning veil of worlds and move the spirits to answer my pleas.

‘Maiden, mother, crone.
As the circle of the year wanes,
The season moves to cold and an end.
I am the crone, and darkness is my power.’

Dry leaves rustle on the woods floor out in the thick blackness beneath the trees, but Sama continued.

‘A time to die and to be reborn.’

As she finished speaking a long shadow emerged from the tree line. Large antlers protruded from the figure’s head, and Sama gasped in surprise.

The Horned God Cernunnos moved through the clearing with a slow shuffle. The long hair that fell from his head was silver, and as he looked up, she could see his gaunt face. He is beyond old, she thought; he is as ancient as the land.

He stopped, standing with a stooped posture, and looked across the circle to Sama.
‘You came,’ she said. ‘But where is the Hunt?’

Cernunnos replied in a voice that defied his appearance, a deep voice with a strength that echoed across dimensions, falling through space. ‘The Wild Hunt of the Fae is far from here.’
‘I need them to take me,’ she said,
They will not stop for you. The Fae Lord will not want you. Not while you are tethered to the earth.’
‘Call him. Call him for me, please!’
‘Why should I?’
‘Service, Lord. I offer you my service in whatever form I am able.’

The Horned God stared at her for many heartbeats, peering through his wild silver hair, and she began to wonder if she had pushed too far. Instead he laughed, and she knew she had.

‘Service?’ he said in his strangely powerful voice. ‘You do not know what I need or desire. But you will discover in time, mortal,’ and then he freed her from his gaze. He stood tall for a moment and threw his head back, howling to the moon like a wild thing. Sama hugged her arms tight to her chest, the sight shaking her resolve, and she wondered whether she had made a terrible mistake.
‘It is too late for regret,’ the God answered, knowing her mind. ‘The Hunt is coming.’

On to part three.

Constructive criticism welcome.

© 2008 Damian Herde

A Call Answered (Spirit Walks Part 2. Ancient Practices)


Toowoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

A continuation of a story that will travel across many of the groups in the Spirit Walks multi-group challenge.

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here.

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