Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wednesday Briefs The Faery Of Beacon Lake

It's been a while, but I'm finally back in the saddle and working on my first Wednesday Brief in a very long time.

I'm not going into details of why I've been awol, let's suffice it to say that I'm writing again, I'm back and I'm hoping 2018 will be the best year yet for my writing.

To celebrate my new start, I'm starting a new story that is based on an old Welsh legend and is set very close to where I live. It only very loosely follows the legend but at least I'm supplied with a ready made story arc and I get to write about two things I love - Wales and faeries.

So, without further ado let's get into the story. It is introduced by a lady we'll get to know and love as the story progresses. Listen to her, she speaks a lot of sense.

Ancient medieval manuscripts tell the story of The Physicians of Myddfai and the lady who rose from the waters of Llyn-Y-Fan-Fach (Translated as Lake of the Small Beacon) which lies nestled in the Black Mountains near Brecon in South Wales. The story is well known in Wales, first appearing in The Red Book of Hergest and later absorbed into the quintessential collection of Welsh Folklore, The Mabinogion.
This is not that story. In this story it is not a lady who rises from the lake. It  is not set in Myddfai, nor on the banks of Llyn-Y-Fan-Fach, but an imaginary place that is reminiscent of both but infinitely more pronounceable.  



That fool of a boy had got himself mixed up with faeries. I’ve dragged him out of his fair share of scrapes over the years, sometimes by the ear, but I’m not sure I can get him out of this one.

You don’t mess with faeries. I don’t know how many times I’ve told him that. They’re not human and don’t take the trouble to try – not unless they want something, and that never turns out well for the human involved.

It’s not so much that you can’t trust the fey folk, but more that they don’t trust you. Too many, humans are the enemy. You came tearing into fey lands, taking what suited you,  and destroying the rest, and the fey didn’t take too kindly to that.

In the very beginning, human and fey lived side-by-side. If not in harmony, then at least in peace. That was before the warriors came from across the seas and took whatever they wanted, calling it their own. That’s the difference, see? Fey take care of the land: humans think they can own it. How can you own a living thing? Living things own themselves, otherwise that’s slavery but you’ve done your fair share of that over the years, too.

‘Course you don’t call it slavery anymore, do you? You think you make your own choices in complete freedom. Humans really are fools.

For a human, Owen’s about as good are you’ll get. He’s got his head screwed on the right way, but he’s a dreamer all the same. I ask you, what boy of going-on-twenty spends all his time wandering around in the middle of the night on the mountainside? How he hasn’t broken his back, I don’t know. 

That’s what moonlight does for you, see? Makes you into fools. That’s because moonlight is magic, or to be more precise the moon-dust within the moonlight is magic. A good lungful of that is plenty to have a grown man acting like a five-year-old. Many a foolish deed were done after a night of dancing under the moonlight.

Some as knows the right ways can make real magic on the nights when the moon is full and hangs over the lake like the dug of the Mother herself. With a good suckling of moon-dust in your belly, a man could almost think himself invincible. Or even…in love.

Ah love. The most powerful magic of all. It can make a man of a boy, a child of a man and a damn 
fool of them all. Love magic is powerful stuff. Magic love? That’s a whole new ball game, and that fool boy can’t even see the park.

Falling in love with anyone is bad enough; falling for a fairy is nigh on the most stupid thing a man can do. What about a woman? Read your history. The stories of a woman drawn off the path by a pretty fey boy are rare.

Mind you, that’s exactly what’s set our Owen’s blood afire – a pretty fey boy. Not that I’ve seen him, but it’s rare a fey is ordinary. Ugly or beautiful but never in between. A people born and raised on the extremes. Afraid of the in between? Perhaps. But they’ve good cause to be.

I told that boy not to go wandering around near the lake in the moonlight. Lakes are doorways, see. Lakes and mirrors both, like caves and wild places. They are the in between, where two worlds touch and folk foolish enough can be lured from one side to the other. At least Owen came back to tell of it.
It’s rare nowadays for the fey to steal someone away. There was a time when no mother would settle for the night without setting iron in her baby’s cradle, lest the fair folk come in the night and steal them away, leaving a changeling in their place. Now, the fey can’t get near. If not iron, there is cold concrete and glass, poisons in the air and everywhere eyes watching.

In places like this, though, in the heart of Wales, where the old stories are still half believed, the fey have a few places where they can still pass through their gates and do no end of harm if they can get away with it. Here, the mists come down so fast and the winds blow so hard that sometimes people wander onto the mountains or down to the water, and are never seen again. Or, if they do manage to wander out, they are forever changed.  

Here, it’s still possible to meet a fairy, but if you do best beware because the fey don’t like what you’ve done to our beloved Mother Earth and we’ve no reason to play fair.

Now visit the rest of the flashers this week for some wonderful stories.

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