© 2011 by dqmwartist
Michaela shivered as the cold water ran through her fingers, causing pimples to form along her arm. She felt so vulnerable out in the open with hardly a stitch on her small frame and in broad daylight no less. It had been months since she’d last seen her love and her heart ached every time she thought of him and the special moments they shared together. She remembered their picnics together in the woods, the laughter they shared while reading poems, and those tender moments where she would forget everything around her, but the man who loved her with all his heart and soul.
Her fingers traced small circles in the water as if drawing a ring that would rise up from the waters, one that her love had yet to put around her darling finger. He’d promised her the world before he left on an important journey and a ring.
“I promise ya that when I return, we will marry and ya will have your ring”
She’d looked at him with pleading eyes, willing him to stay and not to go. Journeys were dangerous things and she didn’t want to lose him.
“But what if…”She’d started to say but couldn’t force the words out…come back. After all things did happen when people went away, sometimes they didn’t come back. Her first love hadn’t, and she surely didn’t want the most important man in her life now to disappear forever.
“Shh…” he said as he placed his fingers upon her soft inviting lips. They were already swollen and inviting him to kiss them again, yet he knew if he did, there would be no going. “I’ll be back, promise ya.”
Michaela forced a smile, “Promise” she whispered as his feather light touch left her as he went off into the woods without a sound.
Michaela looked down at the cloth spread out for their picnic trying to hold back tears. She didn’t know what she’d do with her love gone. Not knowing when he would return might tear her heart in two. But deep down she had to be strong. Looking back up again she noticed a strikingly beautiful maiden in white, who almost looked as if she wasn’t really there at all.
“Who are you?” Michaela called out to the maiden, hoping for some conversation to sooth her heart.
“I am something you should be wary of; those like me have great powers. It can be dangerous to be around those like me.”
Michaela was taken aback by the silky voice sounding like bells ringing; and to think she should be wary of this maiden didn’t make sense.
“You are surprised, yet I sense there is a part of you that is not afraid.” Michaela studied her curiously, yes she supposed she should be afraid of strange things but for some reason she wasn’t. “Tell me your troubles and I will help you.”
Michaela felt her heart ease as she began to unwind the strings around her fragile heart, telling of her love and how he had to leave her side for who knows how long. Tears spilled down her face as she spoke, while the maiden listened. When she got to the end and looked up with a tear stained face, she was comforted with, “I will protect you till he returns.”
Brian sat on a table at Grace’s with his pencil poised and ready to write, but nothing came to mind. He was supposed to come up with a story in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and had at first been thrilled with the idea. With a library in town he figured there would be a treasure trove of stories to choose from for inspiration, but in every book he looked at there was only history, nothing exciting.
Ms. Dorothy had told him that he could also write a limerick with the first, second, and fifth lines rhyming. She had also voiced her utmost confidence in Brian, of which he was a bit doubtful, for the moment. She knew he was a great writer and hoped that he would be convinced as well. “There once was a…umm” Brian thought to himself as he looked up at what was going on in front of him.
A traveling maiden was up on stage trying to tell them all a story of Changelings; a fairy child who is often deformed or stunted. Brian listened to her tale of Fairies giving birth and often finding it difficult. His Ma having been a mid-wife he knew of such things happening. He wasn’t expecting the part in the story where Fairies will steal a mortal child and replace it with one of their own. That frightened him a bit to think that such a thing could happen in Colorado Springs.
He looked around to see if anyone else was buying this and saw that folks were listening, but Hank, Jake, and Loren were shaking their heads in disbelief. “There’s no such thing,” Jake remarked as he got up to leave.
“I would be careful what I say,” remarked the maiden to Jake’s departing back. “After all fairies do exist and anything could happen,” she added in a murmur. No one in town knew who she really was except for the maiden she’d found amid the falls. And that was one secret neither of them were going to tell.
Brian went up to her after everyone had parted for the afternoon. “Ma’am” he called up to her.
“Yes?” She answered turning around to see where the little voice had come from. It took her a moment to notice the little blond haired boy with the brown jacket. He was quite handsome.
“Is there um, any charms against Changelings?” Brian asked with a little hesitation. He remembered some time back his attempt at warding off a witch. Unfortunately that endeavor backfired on him and Ms. Dorothy turned out to not be a witch.
She nodded, held up a finger for him to wait and disappeared into her wagon. A moment later she was back with a small parcel and strict instructions on what to do to prevent a visit from a Changeling.
“Thanks,” Brian beamed up at her pleased to have something to make him feel better to make sure that no harm would come to him. She smiled down at him the way a mother would that made Brian melt a little. “Do you have any other stories you could share with me?”
“Yes I do,” she replied happy for the diversion. “Hop up on the wagon and let me tell you some.” Brian obliged and began to listen to her tales of mythical creatures, Gods, and Leprechauns. He liked the Leprechauns best; the little folk who took good care of your shoes making them look like new.
When she finished Brian hoped down, landing on his feet in the dirt. He then turned to thank her, but was shocked to find that the maiden and the wagon had vanished into thin air.
Brian closed his eyes, rubbed them and went to look again. Everything was gone which puzzled him even more. Had she been real? Looking down at his hands to see if the parcel was still there he noticed it was gone too but something else was left in its place.
In his hand was something heavy and warm, along with a small note. He slid the heavy object out of the paper to take a closer look. It was beautiful, very intricate and reminded him of a dream catcher. He then put that inside his pocket and opened up the note:
“Tell them the tale of Kyla, the Goddess of protection and love. Her dedication to mortals is legend in the land of Leprechauns. She protects those worthy of true love. Look for a book beneath your pillow with stories to share with those you love.”
Brian quickly folded up the note after reading it and ran home to find the book Kyla had promised him was there. Before long he was engrossed in her stories.
Sully moved quietly through the woods not making a sound. He had been gone much longer than he thought as the days turned into weeks and months. There had been storms at sea and one that nearly killed him, save for a beautiful figure in white and his love for Michaela. It broke his heart to have been gone for so long, but he had no choice. She deserved the best he could give her in a ring, even if it meant a brutal separation before forever tied them together.
In New York he had been told of a wonderful silversmith who could turn metal into beautiful things. He’d been very intrigued but at the same time didn’t want to put all of his eggs in one basket. Yet once he’d seen the man’s work, his mind was made up. He would be the one to make Michaela’s ring no matter the cost. Getting the final design took a lot of frustrated negotiations but the end result was stunning.
Michaela looked up from the water at the sound of a branch snapping in the distance. She froze and by instinct covered herself with her arms, afraid to move. Her heart pounded in fear until a familiar breath and touch brought tears to her eyes.
“Michaela,” Sully whispered as he put his arms around her shivering body. God she was cold. “Sully,” she whispered back through tears that fell down her cheeks.
“It’s alright, I’m here now,” Sully replied quietly hoping his voice would sooth her. “To stay?” she asked timidly. “Forever” came the reply as he held her all the more closer to his warm body.
“You’re shivering; we’ve got to get ya out.”
“I’m fine really…” Michaela didn’t get too far as Sully lifted her from the water, wrapped her in a warm blanket and set her down in the soft grass. He stared at her, looking so vulnerable and yet so beautiful. Reaching into his knap sack, Sully pulled out a small round object enclosing it within his hand.
He then reached for Michaela’s left hand, unveiled the ring and placed it upon her finger. Michaela drew in a breath, stunned.
“Will you have me as your husband?” He asked his heart in his eyes with the ring poised to slide onto her finger.
“Yes,” Michaela breathed in reply, unable to remove her gaze from the blue depths of his eyes. She then looked down at the ring; it was so beautiful and spoke volumes of their love for each other, a crown for loyalty above a heart joined by two hands, joined forever.
High above Kyla gave her own special blessing for the couple’s love she protected.