Fantasy, Coming of Age
The magical heralds emerged from the mist. I hadn’t thought they’d seen me, but before I knew it I was tasked with choosing the guide for the next merlin in exchange for the ability to read. They didn’t even ask me if I wanted this!
Now, all I had to do was survive. If only they’d decided to grant me a little magic as well…. But I’m stubborn, and magic or no magic, I walked a path that introduced to spirits and led me through a war.
I didn’t know magic. I didn’t know how or even if I could carry out the herald’s task. But the one thing I did know was that I wanted to make a difference in the world. I became a healer. Then the herald’s prophecy started knocking on my door and my life became even more complicated.
Avalon is a gate to other worlds, even Earth. Healer’s Awakening is a story of a young lady who just wants to find her own voice in a world full of turmoil.
I looked back up to see a gigantic elk stride out of the forest mist, taller than any elk I had ever seen before. A green sylph was standing on the elk’s head, holding onto the massive antlers while leaning forward. When the elk turned his head, green sparkles trailed off the sylph’s feathers.
I had never seen a sylph before, only heard about them in stories. They were powerful, magical female spirits. Suddenly the giant elk raised its head and bugled, the sound echoing over the lands. I gripped the branch I was sitting on very hard. Part of me wanted to run through the fog to meet this elk; another part of me didn’t want to move. If I did, the pixie children might become more afraid and cry.
It bugled again, even louder as an even bigger elk stepped out of the forest a little farther away, pawing the ground while facing the first elk. This bigger elk looked very old; most of his hair was white. Instead of a sylph, there was a large blue spinnel with dragon wings riding this larger elk. Like the elk, the spinnel looked old, but it held itself upright even as the elk he was riding bugled a challenge back.
Both elks pawed the ground and bugled again. Suddenly, they began charging toward each another. The green sylph screamed out a challenge and the blue spinnel raised one clawed wing in the air. I held my breath. It felt like the world was waiting for the outcome. At the crash, all the fog burst away from them. The larger, older elk stumbled but kept his footing. The slightly smaller elk crashed to the ground and the green sylph rolled to the side. Quickly jumping up, she flew to her elk, even as it was shaking its giant head.
The older white elk huffed and looked down at the younger elk. <“My time is not yet over.”> Its voice sounded in my mind, deeper than any voice I’d heard before. But it also seemed very old and tired.
The smaller elk stood up while shaking its head again. The green sylph clung to the antlers. <“My time is soon, old man. She is awakening.”> This voice was female and just as strong as the other voice, but it sounded young.
<“True,”> said the larger elk. <“But will she be ready?”>
<“For power, yes.”> replied the smaller elk dipping his head. <“But her judgement is still that of a child. To grow without falling into darkness, she will need a guide. Someone slightly older who has the balance to stand next to her without becoming lost. Without that, the future becomes even more uncertain.”>
The white elk pawed the ground. <“There is wisdom in your words. I agree, a guide must be chosen. But we are not permitted to choose directly. However, if we both agree on a Voice, they could choose a guide.”>
<“Agreed,”> replied the younger elk, and it swung its head to look at me. <“But to request this burden of someone there must be a gift.”>
<“Agreed,”> said the larger elk, and it too turned to look at me.
A gift? I got gifts on my birthday and Yuletide. Since today was Spirit’s Day, was I going to get something sweet? I really liked honey bread. Instead, I felt a tingling in my head and the words our lady’s scholar had me write out started making sense in my mind.
Both elks turned to walk back into the forest. Just before they disappeared into the mist, I heard from the younger one, <“It is a gift, Petra Abara. Freely given. Use it as you wish to nurture whom you choose. When she emerges, there will be a light brighter than any day. We only ask you to make a choice of who her guide will be, but it is your choice to make.”>
As both elks disappeared, the mist retreated. I ran back home faster than I believed possible.
By day David Hochhalter is an optical engineer who has designed some of the longest terrestrial systems in the world. Since he was given the 2:00am middle of the night idea brain instead of the 9:00am brain, he decided to try writing instead of reading technical manuals. Besides, imaging stories is more fun than reading about amplifiers. His published books are Wandmaking 101, Wandmaking 201, and the Healer’s series starting with Healer’s Awakening. Currently, he is working on another series in the same universe.