As Ember and Perhluna walked the odd “forgotten/limbo” place became an empty void. The area was dark and devoid of light and yet they could see or Ember felt like she could. She could sense when things were close by or moved around her even when she couldn't see anything. At first it had been disconcerting but she quickly became accustomed to it. In a way it was almost soothing, peaceful. There was no sound yet the air seemed to vibrate with an unknown life. Seeing nothing made her more aware of her other senses. She could feel Perhluna's pulse on her shoulder. She could hear a slight whistling sound as he breathed; it was almost musical. She became more aware of her own body and how it felt, the sounds it made.
She was getting lost deep in these thoughts when she began to register strong sweet scent and suddenly Perh began sneezing uncontrollably. “What is it, Perh?”
In between sneezes, he replied, “ I ...I...I'm a.....ller.....gic to the plants here.” Sneezing more, “must go. Find.....Tris.... k...r....,” and with a final sneeze, he disappeared.
“Perh!! I can't believe you are leaving me, again.” Ember turns around in the space hoping he will pop back in, but knowing he won't. She decides to continue forward toward the sweet smell and she begins to see tiny spores floating around her. As she walks, she begins to hear a slight flapping sound and before she knows it she is being surrounded by and swept up by millions of butterflies. She gasps as she becomes part of a giant kaleidescope of colors floating through the air and then like a wild roller coaster they all drop suddenly onto a giant plant. Ember blinks as the butterflies flutter around and bright sunlight streams down through their masses. She discovers she is sitting atop a light green sphere with ridges like a peeled orange, covered in what with long flexible spikes of the same color. It is some of these spikes that she leaves back on as she is mesmerized by the butterflies activity. A bee the size of a minivan buzzes by, knocking her off balance and she rolls off the orb, frantically grabbing for the spikes around her. She lands on a slender leaf and slides down it as if it were a stalk before falling to another and sliding and falling and sliding until finally she lands on the ground.
She stands, dusting the dirt and pollen from her pants and surveys the surroundings. All around her, she sees strange looking flowering bushes. Several have sphere like blooms that look like big green furry pillows, others look like silver golf balls, a few look like strange pods from another planet..... She is absentmindedly walking when she seems in the distance a plant she recognizes. It's dark beauty seems to be calling out to her, pulling at her to come closer and take a look inside.....
“You must feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland right now, “ a melodic voice says behind her. She turns to see a large beetle inches from her. She jumps back and then squints at the beetle, thinking it was the one who spoke. A warm laugh follows urging her to look up at the sound in time to see a lovely lady, with long flowing red hair much like her own, slide from the back of the beetle and encircle her in a warm embrace. “Welcome to my enchanted garden, Ember.”
“You know my name?”
“I know many things about you and your family. I am Triskele, this is my garden and you are here to learn a few things before you continue on your journey. Come. Sit with me,” Triskele says as she takes Ember's hand and leads her over to a cluster of mushrooms growing by a small stream.
“Triskele, you must be the one Perh was referring to,” Ember says to herself. “Wait, you know about me? And My Family? How do you know about us? What do you know? Can you help me contact them? Can you explain why I'm here? And where is here, I mean I know it's your garden, but where is...”
As Ember continued rambling out her questions, Triskele gave a light laugh and stopped her, “My, you do have an inquisitive mind.” When Ember blushed, she added, “that is never a bad thing, sweet Ember. One of the reasons you were chosen for this journey is the hunger for knowledge that drives you. Your parents named you well, for it is not your flaming hair that you were given the name Ember, it is for the element that burns so brightly within you.”
At the mention of her parents, Ember gasped, “my parents. I barely remember them. Did you know them?”
“I didn't know them well but I have communicated with them on occasion. They are closer than you think. There are many things you do not yet know about your heritage. Your lineage is very strong and you and your siblings are destined for great things. Your parent knew this, as does Elspeth. Your mother and father were needed in other realms. It is sad that you lost them at such a young age but know that they are never far from any one you. You carry their warmth in your heart, just as each of your siblings carries an element of them within themselves. You are the fire, the family protector and you are the one that will keep the passion burning.”
“But, I'm the quiet one. The one nobody ever notices. Wyndel is the social butterfly and Fossy is the one we all go to for guidance. No one pays attention to me. They all think I'm just a hermit.” Ember protests.
Triskele chuckles, “Yes, you have always been the quiet one, but the time is coming for the spark that's inside of you to ignite. That is why you are on this journey. You must find your inner strength and learn how to harness the power that has been lying dormant. Fossy will still be there to ground you, just as Wyndel will fan your flames and carry forth what must be known and Misty will be there to ease the emotions that may get singed along the way. It is time for you to stop smoldering and learn how to direct your energies. You are already starting to become more outspoken in the short time you have been on this path. Each stage of this journey you will learn new things. Things that may not seem important at the time but that will come back to you when it is time for them to play out. Being the quiet one all these years you learned to watch, absorb the things around you. You will discover that is one of your greatest gifts for you often see what other overlook.”
“I don't understand what makes my family so important. Why us? Why me?” Ember says, shaking her head, trying to absorb Triskele's words.
“All in good time, sweet Ember. You must be patient. The answers will come to you when you are truly reading for that particular knowledge. The Universe has a way of knowing when the time is right. Don't let the thirst for knowledge, all the questions bubbling up in your head frustrate you. You still have quite a journey ahead of you with many wonderful new things to discover. Enjoy it. Do not rush it along, or you may miss the messages that are most important.” Triskele pauses, “I feel your worry over your family and being gone. Worry not, for they are doing well. Elspeth, understands the path you are on. She has many gifts and although you can not communicate with her while you are on this journey, she has guides that keep her posted on how you are. She is quite crafty and will keep the others from worrying. You must focus on you while you are here. Are you ready for your next step?” As if Ember had answered, “yes,” Triskele stands and extends her hand to Ember.
Ember takes her hand and they begin walking through the garden. A small pouch appears in Triskele's free hand and she hands this to Ember, who takes it with a quiet, “Thank you.” Dying to know what's inside she anxiously looks from the pouch to Triskele.
Triskele laughs lightly, “It is empty, but we are going to fill it with some magickal flowers you may find useful on your journey.” She floats up to the brilliant yellow cluster of blooms, “ This is Yarrow, use this for protection in these realms.”
Ember gathered the flowers in the pouch she had been given and followed from the ground as Triskele went to the next plant, “ This is Nigella, use this if you find yourself in a desperate situation and you need to leave a place.”
Plucking an elongated pod, she said, “this will give you the gift of speech, to communicate with those who speak an unfamiliar language. It is an Agapanthus Pod.”
She continued to pluck blooms from the many plants and instruct Ember on their names and uses. “Must not forget the Dianthus Barbatus. This will give you invisibility when you need it.”
Ember stared at the green puff ball with skepticism. “I don't know how I am going to remember the names of all of these and do I eat them, throw them, how will I know.”
“Excellent question, which brings us to the final one. This is the Silver Brunia. It is known as the record keeper. As a fossil flower it remembers all. Eat a bite of it now and you will remember all that I have taught you as well as how to use these flowers. Save the rest, for should you need to come back here for any reason, eating the other half will bring you back. It will only allow one regression, so use it wisely.”
Ember nibbles on bulbous bloom until she has consumed, “mmmmm, it taste like a warm wine.”
“That is the knowledge flowing through your system. Well, sweet Ember, our time is up and you must continue on your journey. Any message for Elspeth?” Triskele asks, as they stop at the mouth of a Black Calla Lilly laying on it's side. “You must walk into this bloom as it is the doorway to you next stop...”
“You can get a message to her? Um, just tell her, I love her and miss everyone,” Ember pauses looking into the dark leathery abyss of the flower's flute, “ It is awfully dark....”
Triskele takes Embers hand and turns her palm toward the sky, “ In this realm, things are never as they seem. In the darkest of places you will still be able to see as long as you venture forth with your eyes wide open. But since you are a child of fire, I will show you one of your powers.” holding Ember's hand in one hand and placing her other just below Ember's heart, she tells her, “concentrate on your core. Feel the warmth, the fire that inside you. Let it build....then visualize it traveling up to your shoulder and down through your arm into the palm of your hand...” both women jump as a huge flame leaps from Ember's palm and singes the edge of a nearby bloom. “Sorry!”
“Quite alright, these things take time to master and time is not something I have left to share with you. Try again, this time concentrate on controlling the flow... as it moves down your arm... slow it down.... only release a little of it...” Ember's palm turned bright red with a tiny black dot in the center. “Let a little more out.. but keep control.” Slowly the black spot turned into a tiny dancing flame. As Ember laughed with excitement the flame began to grow much larger. “Control, Ember. You must concentrate on your control. Your emotions can feed the flames, so you must keep them in check when you use your gifts. Eventually this little trick will be second nature to you and you will not have to concentrate so hard. But always remember, magick and it's power must be respected at all times. It can be used for both good and bad, so always remember the rule of three, which is whatever you send out returns to you three-fold. You will learn more of this later.”
“Yes, ma'am. I will use it respectfully, I promise. Thank you so much for all you have told and given me. I feel as though I should give you something in return.”
Triskele gathers Ember in a warm embrace and whispers in her ear, “fulfill your destiny and you will give us all a greater gift than you can imagine.” then holding her at arms length she adds, “now off with you. You have many more adventures to find.”
Ember hugs her again and then turns to the neck of the fluted Lilly and with her palm facing up in front of her, she makes a small flame and enters the bloom, looking back with a sheepish grin only once......
(This episode Ember found herself on Triskele Rose's Blog, Flower Magick. Be sure to stop by and learn about the many magickal plants, their tale and their uses. A special thanks to Triskele for inspiring such a wonderful landscape for this episode. Come back next week to see where she ends up next.....)