Betrayal is often a turning point. Will what the hero or heroine has worked so hard for end in success or will it fail?
Join me for the next 8 Mondays for these glimpses into the sometimes heart-wrenching moments of these featured stories.
Today's moment of betrayal is an excerpt from Ruth A. Casie's story, The Druid Knight Tales.
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He stood by the stone altar. The mist thickened in deep pools and drifted to the bottom of the great sarsen stones. Churning like a phantom stew, fingers of mist crept up the stones, leaving a shimmering outline in its wake. The silhouette thickened, revealing the hooded forms of the Ancestors.
“Grand Master, who do you bring to the sacred circle?”
“The healer—” his voice boomed.
“Only you, the Grand Master, are permitted to approach us for our guidance.” The angry voice of an Ancestor reached his ears. “But we are forgiving.”
“I come to seek—”
“Before you tell us what you seek, tell us of your quest.”
A flicker of apprehension pulsed through him. He was certain Ellyn didn’t have much time and the full red moon hung large in the sky. Only a thin arc of sun remained on the horizon.
He removed the wrapped cloth from his pouch and laid the package on the altar stone. “I have passed your test.” He did not expose the mistletoe. He didn’t want the Ancestors to see the dead plant, not until he had Ellyn safely back to Avebury. After that he didn’t care.
“You have found your mate?”
Max hesitated. “Perhaps. I have much to tell you, but before I begin I ask for a boon.” He glanced over his shoulder. She waited for him.
“What do you seek?” the Ancestors rumbled with a cold, hard voice.
“Ellyn of Brodgar is ill. I ask you to help her. She is honorable and has served the people well and denies no one at her own expense.”
“You are the people’s Grand Master. She is your responsibility. We can only guide and help those who have passed on to our world.”
“No,” he insisted, pounding his fist on the stone altar. How could this be? For the first time in his life he felt helpless. He could not lose her. He knew if he did he would lose a part of himself. “She has done everything—”
“It is not for us to interfere.” The voice was calm and without empathy.
“You do not interfere? You demanded I find a mate.”
There was no response.
He tried to keep his control. “She told me she was compelled to come here. Why?”
Still they did not respond.
Anger surged through him. “You brought her here. She needs your help. She’s dying.” He pointed to where he left her.
“Only you can help her, Grand Master.”
“Me?” He stopped short. “How? If I could she’d already be cured.”
“Why do you care what happens to her? She is just a simple Orkney witch. Nothing else.”
Ideas flashed across Max’s mind. If he was the only one that could help her the answer must lie in his greatest gift. His magick. He must get her back to Avebury, back to his magick, before the sun set.
“Here.” He unrolled the mistletoe. “Here is your talisman. Send us back to Avebury,” he demanded.
“So, you found your mate,” the Ancestor said with a satisfied voice.
Max looked at the healthy mistletoe and gaped in astonishment. The plant was dead when he’d last looked. How could it now be alive? Icy fear raced up his back. He glanced at Ellyn on the far side of the circle. Her kisses. He had teased her and it was her kiss all along.
“You hold her destiny in your hands.”
* * *
After a year of searching, Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, finds the sacred mistletoe destined for his soul mate shriveled and dead. He must journey to the Otherworld and tell the Ancestors of his failure.
Ellyn of Brodgar is an exceptional healer. But each healing kiss depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Ellyn needs to find her own healing power before it’s too late.
Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld and have until the third sunset to appeal to the Ancestors or be lost forever. Together they find love, and as the last rays of the third sunset slip away, both are willing to sacrifice their hopes, dreams, and lives for the other. Do they have what it takes to escape the Otherworld and begin their life together?
* * *