Baba Yaga looked out at the crowd from behind the silver throne. There was a sense of waiting, beneath the veneer of confusion. She could feel the adlet’s eyes upon her again.
Well, the stage is set, and it is time. With a smile on her wrinkled face, she stepped out into the open.
“Your majesties,” she said, her bones creaking as she bowed low.
“Who are you?” the Fairy Queen asked.
“Where I am from, I am called Baba Yaga. When I met your lovely daughter, I was known as a Ragana.”
“What do you want?”
“Ivy asked a question, I felt it was time for me to answer.”
“You? You called Mary?”
“Not I – the Vila did, but under my instruction. Why would I do that? Let me tell you a story.”
The world was young once, and men ruled it with an iron fist. Life was hard, they had much to do to shape the world in their image. But their women and their young, seeking escape from drudgery, created worlds of their own with words and belief. Some of these were dark and frightening: the dragon that breathed fire, the old crone who would curse those who crossed them, the Fairy Queen who protected her lands from the evil of mankind. Some were beautiful and majestic: the wise centaurs, the pure unicorns, the laughing dryads. And some of these stories changed through the years: the elves, once tricksters, grew noble and stately. Mermaids, sirens as they are, sometimes betray their nature and fall in love with humans. For years and years, we existed in these worlds, some separately, some together, growing on our own, and growing apace with the humans.
But time has passed, and the world is now old. The stories have changed, and we are forgotten. Have you not felt the waning of your powers? Have you not felt the drain on your spirits? How there are fewer and fewer of you as time passes?
A hundred years ago when I felt it, I met an adlet who was once a man. He came from the land of the frozen seas, and I knew nothing of him or his kind until he came to my hut. But it was then that I realized another change that was happening. A happier, kinder change I hoped. Our stories, on the verge of being forgotten in our homelands, are also being retold in the lands of others, renewing and reshaping us.
So I charged him with a mission – to find out what he could do for me, or for those of us. (Here, she looked balefully at Ataneq). For years I heard nothing of him, until finally, a whisper came back to me. So I came here to find three coexisting lands - the land of disbelieving man, the ancient kingdom of the the Fae, and the forests of the elves. And in Ivy Iliana, I found new hope - if I could keep her and her husband alive long enough to see my plans come to fruition.
“What plan is that?” the Elven King asked after Baba Yaga had fallen silent.
“I needed to know if Jane and Mary were changelings, or if they had the blood of the Fae in them. The Vila helped me in that, last night, calling the high winds, brewing a storm strong enough to lure here into the Old Fairy Kingdom for protection. She came - and later so did Mary, though I had not planned for that. The Queen’s anger was stirred, and I was afraid that I had failed. But - as was seen in this court - they have blood enough of the Fae that the Queen herself cannot deny it when they come face to face.”
“What do you plan to do with them?” Ivy asked.
“Nothing, my dear. I just needed to know. Your children are special, Ivy Iliana. In them, all three bloodlines are evident. And in them, is our salvation. Remember what I said - it is their remembrance that sustains us. To deny them any part of their heritage is to deny all our futures.”
Back to the theme list.
The Vila are the Slavic versions of nymphs, who have power over wind, which they delight in causing storms of high winds. They live around hills, mountains, and high mounds. (cf.Leimakids, Limnades, Oceanids, Dryads, Nephele). They can appear as a ghost-like figure with a long billowing cloak wrapped around them.
In Polish mythology, the Wiła (pronounced [ˈviwa]), and in South-Slavic mythology the Vila (Serbian pronunciation: [ʋǐːla]), are believed to be female fairy-like spirits who live in the wilderness and sometimes in the clouds. They were believed to be the spirits of women who had been frivolous in their lifetimes and now floated between here and the afterlife. They usually appear as beautiful maidens, naked or dressed in sparkling beautiful white dresses, green skirts of leaves, and special fabulous blue robes.
Some random happy awesome news - tonight I'll be talking to a university book club about my book Love in Penang, as well as, apparently, the state of creative writing in English in Malaysia.
Well, I think that's what I will be talking about because that was the topic given. But I don't really know yet because everything is still a jumble in my head.
But yes! Exciting! My first speaking gig as a writer... or well, as an editor. Hah. *wiggle*