The imp beside him looked at him with a confused expression. “Because the Witch asked us to.”
“Oh. So it’s true then, that the imps answer to witches?”
The imp shrugged. “Most. But mainly to this one.”
The confused expression on the imp’s face turned to curiosity. “Because she is also Leanen Sídhe. Did you not know?”
“Leanen what?” Darrick had a vague feeling that he was supposed to know who the imp was referring to.
The imp chuckled. “Oh, he does not know! The elf-man does not know!”
“What do you mean?”
“The Witch is Leanen Sídhe. She is of the fairy folk. In fact, elf-man, she is the daughter of the Fairy Queen, the reason of the Queen’s hatred of the race of men! Oh, the horrid humans who stole her precious daughter far, far away!”
“The Queen hates humans?”
“Oh, with an undying hatred. If she catches the Witch’s daughter or her husband, there is no knowing what she will do!” He chuckled with glee.
And Jane is in there, Darrick thought, a queasy feeling in his stomach. “How much longer until we get into this Fairyland?”
“Almost there, impatient one.”
They stopped at a large clearing surrounded by oaks. Darrick looked around, his eyes narrowing. He recognised this place. It was here, more than twenty years ago, that he had first seen his wife.
He run so far for so long that he didn’t know where he was anymore. He almost fell to the ground in exhaustion, his tiredness for once overpowering his grief. Why would anyone raid his village in the night and slaughter all his family but him? What had he done to deserve this? Why was he still alive? His father was dead. His mother had died in his arms this morning. His little sister, sweet Adele Adanessa, barely six, had been hacked to pieces before his very eyes. He lay himself at the foot of a great oak, inviting Father Oak to take him into his bosom.
“What are you doing here, child?” a soft feminine voice woke him up.
He looked at the young woman standing over him. “Child? You can’t be more than a year older than me.”
“Is that so?” she smirked. “How old are you? You huddle into that little piece of ground like a twelve-year-old.”
“I’m fifteen,” he got to his feet angrily. “What do you want?”
“Is that how you talk to girls?”
Darrick looked down at his feet. “No, sorry,” he said.
“What’s so funny?” He looked up again looking into her eyes.
Darrick opened his mouth, but couldn’t find anything to say.
“Anyway, as I was saying, what are you doing here?”
“Uh - I got lost,” he replied.
“Hm, I can tell. Come on, I’ll show you the way home.”
Darrick followed her through a clearing onto a clearly marked forest path.
“Just follow this path. You’ll get home soon enough.”
“How do you know?”
“Oh, I have ways. I’ve been there before.”
“I’ve never seen you before.”
“Maybe I didn’t let you.”
“Will - will I see you again?”
She smiled, winked and walked away.
Darrick felt a tinge of guilt. He should have gone home and told Ivy what he was doing. Or he could have sent a note. She would be worrying herself half to death by now.
Back to the theme list.
In Celtic folklore, the Irish: leannán sí "Barrow-Lover" (Scottish Gaelic: leannan sìth; Manx: lhiannan shee; [lʲan̴̪-an ˈʃiː]) is a beautiful woman of the Aos Sí (people of the barrow or the fairy folk) who takes a human lover. Lovers of the leannán sídhe are said to live brief, though highly inspired, lives. The name comes from the Gaelic words for a sweetheart, lover, or concubine and the term for a barrow or fairy-mound.
The leannán sídhe is generally depicted as a beautiful muse, who offers inspiration to an artist in exchange for their love and devotion; however, this frequently results in madness for the artist, as well as premature death. W. B. Yeats popularized a slightly different perspective on these spirits with emphasis on their vampiric tendencies:
The Leanhaun Shee (fairy mistress) seeks the love of mortals. If they refuse, she must be their slave; if they consent, they are hers, and can only escape by finding another to take their place. The fairy lives on their life, and they waste away. Death is no escape from her. She is the Gaelic muse, for she gives inspiration to those she persecutes. The Gaelic poets die young, for she is restless, and will not let them remain long on earth—this malignant phantom.
If you haven't had a chance yet, check out the giveaway page!