Rain where whipping against the old stained windows. Airy whispers screeching like the wailing banshee, through the worn oak wood. Solid, yet time had been allowed. To have their hunt through these exact walls, padding feet could be heard. Along the stone clad floor. Who could this be? Sandy coloured hair among stained purple. Flickering silver eyes gazing at the alluring fireplace.
A comfortable sofa, you know? Those from the early 20th century, the shadows from the light of the fire, curled and entwined along the walls. The sandy haired figure sat down.
Not much of a figure really, a boyish face could be seen beside the sofa. No older than 20 at least.
Silver eyes were drawn toward the mantelpiece; nearly a palm sized amber stone. Was set in the in the middle of it carved around were. This hunting party though not much common in houses these days, the leader of the hunting party seemed to blend within the branches. Of the simplified embroidery, a chuckle escaped the man’s mouth and said. And to believe that old badger gave me this manor!? The baritone vibrations resounded, with a clear Londoner cockney accent. His great great uncle had given this man a legacy, where few blood kin were left.
The boyish face sighed and. Drew his feet beneath the velvet green afghan. How would he know... I was looking for a place to live? He asked himself. Perhaps dad spoke with him? Oh well.. he muttered. Need to start refreshing this manor in the morning, let’s see I already bought soap, and there are a dozen of old mops. And about a dozen buckets too, though they are still made of wood. As the young man mused along his mental to do list, the winds had started howling like ghastly wolves of the hunt.
The man decided to retreat to the master bedchamber, his feet closing in the distance of the quaint staircase. Rich filled paintings and armoury adorned the walls, along the second corridor. Where there once had stood torches along the walls had been replaced, some 60 years ago with electric antique lamps.
The door creaked open as the new master entered the bed chamber, in comparison to the many other rooms in this old manor. It was clean, and the draperies had not yet faded from their original colour, the four poster bed set up by the oak wood wall.
Similar carvings to the ones downstairs on the mantelpiece, these did not show a hunting party, these fair creatures carved out from the wood, seemed to be gathering for a feast. And a grand one at that, a notable yawn escaped the young man’s lips.
Alright about time to get some sleep. His eyes cast down to his knitted sweater where his name, adorned his left chest Calum. He slipped out of a majority of his clothes, except his boxers. And slid is tired body eagerly into the surprisingly soft mattress.
The curtains of the four poster bed surprisingly closing on their own, a tinkling bell of a giggle and a fluttering light passing by the darkened room.
Encircling the bed was a small shimmering ball of light. Soon quite soon the ball of light became more visible, the small creature landed beside the bed. No taller than a 5 year old child, tanned and wearing a small robe adorned with vines and green dyed leather. “New master? New master of this house he is?” It whispered softly. “Topaz will care for the young master” then a small child like hand. B****** gently through Calum’s sandy hair, the little creature named Topaz padded her small feet over the old tower planks.
The old door creaked as she slowly closed it, her small robes billowing between her l***. When she reached the ancient entrance hall of the manor, “Come...come my small friends playful wind sprites help me rid of this dust!” Suddenly several minor gales arrived in the entrance hall” swirling around Topaz, “Come now our young master needs our help”.
The silver clad wind sprites nodded and whispered hurriedly with each other in excitement, Topaz rolled her equal coloured eyes. “Attention... Swipe away this dust.... please?” She asked gently, that seemed to get the wind sprites attention, and they soon whirled around the whole manor. The glass stained windows flew up, as the offending dust slipped out like storm clouds.
By the comfortable embrace of a waking sun the grand manor shined and gleamed after the nights cleaning , windows were shut and the wind sprites bid their cousin good bye. “Thank you so much for helping me.”
Topaz said with a polite bow of gratitude, some of her worn hair strands and her fringe. Accompanied the bow, the wind sprites fluttered away. As Topaz went inside to do the remaining preparations for Calum’s breakfast, she muttered a few words in the fae t***** quivering blue and green tendrils admirably, swivelled over the small table.
The finest china landed gently on the table a fork and a knife laid properly beside the china. Newly cooked eggs, toast and 4 fried slices of bacon swiftly appeared on the plate. After her work, Topaz yawned and mumbled “Little I should get some sleep, daylight will soon hide me” Topaz went over to the adorned fireplace, pushed a small button as a stone door opened, and her l*** went inside. Small stairs lead up to a hidden alcove where Topaz had arranged herself a small bed, a small desk and even a worn stool.
Some old scrolls hung upon the wall, with images of over flowing gardens. She changed into a small white night gown, and even tied a night cap around her head. Topaz crawled into her bed, and drew her woollen sheets over her lithe form.
Calum yawned around 8:00 am. The sun greeting him good morning, stretching his arms in the air, and swiftly went out of bed to stretch his limbs a little. Lazily Calum went out of the old master chamber, although his eyes of silver visibly widened as he walked down the stairs. “Frozen gales! What happened” he exclaimed as he saw the state of the clean entrance hall, he ran hurriedly around the manor only to see every room and nook impeccably clean.
And free of dust, “I must be going mental I swear upon my bloodline this manor was drenched in dust last night.” He shook his head firmly and tracked his way toward the sitting room, seeing the fire place already ablaze. Breakfast set on the table, he numbly sat down in the chair. Leaned back and sighed, “Who was here last night?”
His thoughts wandered as he recalled an old family myth his mother once told him when he was much younger. “You know Calum, your great uncle’s manor it’s magick I tell you.
Magick mother.. Oh yes it has Amberia Manor well it is very old as you know. But it has some guardians around, they are called brownies. They are a kind of fae you see, watching over and taking care of the home of certain human families. I once spoke with the brownie guarding Amberia, she is very nice. Topaz is her name. Can I speak with her? ” Well...if she deems you worthy perhaps..“
The memories faded and Calum chuckled.” I’d bet it is Topaz that has cleaned the manor” Calum muttered and stopped his thinking as his stomach, grumbled in protest. A clear sign that he should eat, and he did exactly that gingerly enjoying the breakfast.
Around noon Calum wandered the vast grounds, and ventured into the quaint forest not far from the manor. His silver eyes curiously looking at the small strange circles occasionally appearing between the beech b******, he loftily sat down by the stream. His eyes peering into the water, suddenly a greenish face appeared on the shimmering surface, green hair and light blue skin. Foggy sparkling blue eyes met his silver grey.
A body clad in river grass, serenely walking up and sat beside him.
Calum tilted his head and gaped at the beauty sitting beside him, as he blurted out. “What are you?” she giggled and leaned against his ear, “I’m the kelpie of this river” his eyes boggled in surprise and he quickly distanced himself from her.
She pouted and crossed her blue hued arms “Oh stuff it...!” She shrieked offended. And suddenly glared coldly at him “I couldn’t drown you if I wanted, I’m bound by the oath”
Calum couldn’t help but wonder what kind of oath this kelpie was speaking about, although he wanted to hear her name. “I’m sorry err...Miss Kelpie. But could I please know your name” Her green hair swept to her right as her eyes softened at the polite tone. “Grámhar...” She whispered. “That is a beautiful name Grámhar” Calum said with a smile, she giggled and a few covered red hues appeared on her cheeks.
As she swept into her stream once more.
As Calum walked further into the forest he saw a large hollowed willow, and was that chattering? He heard....firmer against the tree trunk as suddenly his toes, was firmly hit on something hard. “Ouch what was that!” Calum shrieked in pain, and hopped around in circles like a fool, trying to rid of the aching pain.
A rumbling chuckle came from the roots of the old willow, and if you listened carefully....well? “Oh ho got’ ye now little boy, jump jump! Foolish human jump” and suddenly a mocking laughter rumbled from beneath the roots. At poor Calum’s pain if you look a little closer there was a small man rolling around between the taller straws laughing admirably.
Calum, frowned and leaned down to view the small man. “And what are you he said slightly offended?” The man stopped laughing and walked over to him and said “Finn is my name, I’m a gnome you little human oaf!” The gnome screamed. “Honestly the kind sir didn’t tell ye anything did he?” Finn said knowingly as Calum confusedly r***** the back of his neck.
Finn clad in his beige and brown top hat, a ruffled copper red beard covering most part of his face. And then there was that small sledgehammer, which had branded Calum’s foot just minutes earlier. Finn’s calculating blue eyes scanned Calum he had to admit, the new young master didn’t look all that special. “But the kind sir....he wouldn’t have chosen the chap, unless there had been something special about him” Finn mumbled to himself, and cast a glance up at the much taller Calum.
“What...?” Calum asked confused, as he laid his body further down on the grass. Dubiously looking at the small gnome, “Did...did you know my uncle Caim?” Finn nodded firmly and replied “Aye lad. The kind sir Caim, I saw him grow up. I also became one of his best friend’s. Aye...aye Sir Caim was a very special young man”
Finn trailed off lightly and the poor gnome seemed quite heartbroken at the mention of Calum’s uncle. “Eh..” Calum started awkwardly “Do you know why Uncle mentioned me in his will? And why he let me inherit the manor?” Finn swiftly dried away a few tears with his sleeve and sniffled. Calum withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket, and laid it beside Finn’s small figure. Finn staggered over to the left corner of the handkerchief, and firmly blew his nose. Sounding like a small instrumental triangle, and Finn’s blue eyes met Calum’s silver ones.
“Aye lad though he rarely saw you, when you were a toddler. There was something special about you, he told me so. I recall seeing you as a toddler” Finn said and Calum’s eyes visibly widened in surprise. “I have been here before? ”Finn nodded, “Aye your mother and father also lived at Amberia, for a few years due to money problems. Caim he said one time you had the family glamour”
Calum listened closely and then asked
“What does that mean Finn?” “It means young master, that you have the ability to see me and my cousins” “Wait...here...a frozen second” Calum said as he thought of his current encounters with the creatures around the manor grounds.
”There is...Topaz in the house, Grámhar by the stream, and now Finn...” Calum thought to himself, as he r***** his chin. “Then you guys are fae kin? Right...” He asked uncertainly. “Humm... You aren’t all that bad yer know yer stuff, that’s good” Finn nodded in some pride and acceptance.
Awkwardly Calum mumbled before he rose from his position “You can keep the handkerchief” “Thanks chap, If you need to know something I live beneath this willow” Finn said hurriedly, and then he scooted inside his small home.
As Calum could hear the quick closing of a door, Calum shook his head and treaded his way back towards the manor. “Such an odd day, a very odd day he mumbled” His eyes glanced up at the setting sun. He hadn’t realized so many hours had passed the rustling over of the tree leaves as he traced the path with his feet.
Patiently back at the manor Topaz had woken up, removing her night cap and night gown. Neatly folded on her small bed, she smartly jumped into her robes. And adorned her hair with a small silver comb, she gingerly traced her fingers through her hair and picked up a handheld mirror, similar to the comb. “Now then about time to prepare the young masters dinner” Topaz said firmly to herself, and courtly swept out of her hidden room.
Slowly appearing close by the ornate fireplace, “The young master....he used to love chicken...yes yes..” She said encouragingly to herself, and her slithering fae t*****. Serenely from Topaz’s lips as appropriate china.
And assorted equipment appeared on the table. Quite soon grilled chicken, cooked potatoes and rice was steaming from their pots. Topaz’s child like body, swept down to the old kitchen, and fetched a brown bottle with the withered note of Avalon Cider delight 1234.
This bottle was with most cautious care placed on the small table. Topaz tilted her head and, heard the creaking doors coming from the entrance hall. “Ah oh...the young master is back already” she mumbled hurriedly and disappeared from sight.
Calum yawned as he fished up a descent sized jar filled with rich honey. “I don’t hope she will find honey offensive” he mumbled and looked at the jar. He yawned and decided to walk toward the sitting room. As the tendril scents of fresh newly cooked food assaulted his nose, “Oh my, she certainly knows how to make food” He mumbled in awe, as his eyes caught the set table, although before he sat down.
He went over to the fireplace and placed the jar with honey, close to what he assumed was the door to Topaz’s home.
Topaz’s bell like giggle could be heard around the walls. His silver eyes seeing the jar of honey disappear. Calum shook his head, and returned to his chair. Thankfully starting to eat the juicy chicken, adding a bit of good jasmine rice, as he poured himself a glass from the of Avalon Cider delight 1234.
“Oh wow...for being this old it’s so fresh, and the taste of the apples, is like as if I should have eaten it out of my hand” Calum said admirably, continuing to fill up his starving belly.
Meanwhile up in her chamber Topaz eagerly opened the jar of honey. And scooped a tea spoon into the jar the honey thick and sweet scented. Golden colour flickering in the light of her chambers, Topaz’s eyes shining with glee as she ate spoon after spoon with lovely honey “mm...humans certainly know how to prepare good honey.”
When we last parted with our fae friends and dearest Calum. They have just begun their discovering of many misted secrets of the grand ol’ Amberia Manor. Now let us see how Calum is faring these circumstances...
The wind swept across the known forest with a firm chilled grasp. Withering leaves of autumn had settled on the forest floor, bright orange and tainted red. The raining cats and dogs surely poured, over the quaint village being shadowed by the Amberian hill. A pair of silver eyes viewed the firm assault of autumn upon his grounds. “Such a pity I can’t stop this..” “tis...part of nature after all” Calum mumbled.
His feet padded against the stone cold floor, as he gingerly returned to an old thick ornate book. That with held information sacred to Amberia Manor one chapter especially told, Calum which riches the manor had kept in older times. Another described something dubbed a “Hunting Ball” curious as he was he decided to at least read the first paragraph.
“A Hunting Ball. A delightful occasion to show your subjects you care for their wellbeing, honouring the gracious hunt of Herne himself. And therefore bless the fields which the villagers work so hard to gain rich crops from. Tradition is that a boar shall be a part of the main feast, dancing of course is required in such a glorious occasion. ” Calum pursed his lips as if he had swallowed a lemon at the mention of dancing. “I can’t possibly dance..” He mumbled childishly, and glared firmly at the offending chapter.
The book he closed and laid it on the table. What he hadn’t noticed was that a familiar small shadow crept up along the mystified clad wall. A simple glimmer of a copper red beard affirmed the identity. A long old crooked needle in his small hand, Finn had very good ears indeed. As he plunged said needle on to Calum’s t****, Calum himself felt a piercing aching sting. As he bellowed loudly “Finn you sneaky old codger, just wait till I find you!” Calum comically stumbling between the, furniture in the parlour as delighted chuckles came from Finn who had been thrown on top of the fire place.
R***** his small head and picked up his brown top hat as he stated firmly “Tha’ what you deserve for not holding traditions around ere’..” Calum glared firmly at the cheeky gnome. It was not the first time Finn had decided to simply “drop by” as he often did these past weeks. Finn returned the glare toward the human man. “I can’t dance Finn... I simply can’t” Calum reproachfully declared, Finn observing the young master merely snorted and said
“HAH! Can’t dance he says...can’t dance can ye...” Finn suddenly said. Calum nodded his head as Finn shook his head with mirth. “You can dance lad with the proper music..all that hippy hoppy. An tha’ rolling rock thing” Finn persuaded and shook his head. Calum had to strain his ears to understand what the gnome meant, jokingly Calum asked “then what do you suggest I dance to?
I know no other..” Finn gave a cheeky grin of his and nodded “In yer blood lad in yer blood...and then of course...” Finn paused and jumped down to an old shelf hidden among the books. There an oddity of a very old gramophone stood.
As Finn nodded in approval seeing the appropriate record, pushing the needle over and then with a few struggles pulling up the handle. Suddenly the aged record persuaded its tunes of Minute Waltz within the small room. Calum’s eyes of course widened at the airy classical tune. “You expect me to dance to this?” Calum asked slowly, “aye... aye I do lad” Although the music played Calum numbly stood on the floor. And Finn eventually got annoyed by the boy “Che! You will learn it eventually laddie, mark my words” When Calum turned around to retort the gnome had vanished...
Calum had decided to brood a few hours as he took a detour toward the grand ballroom. Just as graciously ornate as the remainder of the manor, a courtly large crystal chandelier hung elegantly close to the roof. A tiled floor of black and white marble, some of his ancestors once upon a time had shipped from Greece. Windows high and grand with one not too many mythical images such as a group like artwork, of a satyr and his loyal nymphs seemingly dancing around in the artificial meadow. Going to the right next window there was a boy by the river. And a salmon lifted its head up to the surface, curiously looking at the boy. Calum’s gaze turned to the heightened platform at what seemed to be the very end of the large ballroom. “Guess that’s the old seat of the apparent Lord and Lady of the manor..” Calum mused as he absently started humming a waltzing tune, absently swaying his body to the waltz playing in his head.
A pair of child like eyes watched their young master dancing alone, Topaz slowly closing her eyes in concentration. A swivelled fairy tale light encircled the brownie, in her place stood a plump woman around her mid 20’s . Clad in what we would call old fashioned gown with green long sleeves, long flickered green skirt.
A braid brown and heavy slitherin along the woman’s back. Padded feet curiously stepped into the ballroom. The eyes of a yellow Topaz kindly shining towards Calum, poor Calum admiring the plump beauty in silence as she soon stood facing him and said worriedly “Master Calum sir..” returning from his stupor as he shook his head and turned his silver eyes to focus on the woman once more “yes you are?” “Topaz.. Master Calum” she mumbled shyly and awaited his reaction. “I thought you were a brownie..” He said slowly, and decided to let his hormonal eyes roam over the plump curves, awaiting her shy reply. “Well...ehm...Master Calum. Topaz still a brownie...though human form I has” Calum nodded at the reasoning though still a bit dazed at the sight of Topaz’s human form.
Truly abashed by the gaze in her human form, Topaz slowly asked. “A dance lesson Master Calum?” A sour lemon grimace painted his face at the mention of dancing. “Honestly... Master Calum sir you are a lord of an ancient family line. Carry it with pride as you did a few moments ago” A blush crept up Calum’s cheeks as he was scolded so openly by Topaz, feeling like he had done something incredibly wrong.
For example the flushing guilt of nicking a cookie around Christmas times here and there. He sighed and nodded, “fine... i’ll take the frozen lesson” Topaz gave a small grin, as she positioned herself and Calum. And then she hummed and said firmly towards Calum “Aaand...one....two..three
...one...two three..and turn me Master Calum” Fluidly Calum and Topaz waltzed over the ballroom. Calum felt thrilled at how easy this was when he had someone to dance with, quite suddenly Topaz allowed a shriek to escape her lips. When she felt an astonishing pain on her toes, their dance solemnly stopped Calum expectantly awaiting a few deserved shouts. But simply silence while Topaz’s t***** shook with foul fae words inside her own head. This released her human form, but then she decided to fade back toward her chambers. “Wait Topaz! I’m sorry!” Calum yelled in frustration as the ballroom didn’t seem that much grand and welcoming anymore.
“Guess I should take a walk...I’d rather not face Topaz’s temper right now” While he passed the corridors filled with an odd bunch of armour on each side. Some would resemble the height of children others would be nearly 6 feet taller.
Calum found it very odd, although he suddenly felt something move around in his b***** pocket. He stopped walking and looked down seeing a familiar hat peeking up by the seam of his pocket, tilting his head to the side he mumbled “Finn... what are you doing in my pocket?” Finn looked up and said firmly “Had to see if you followed my words” “Cheeky gnome...” Calum muttered annoyed.
The two decided to go out toward the forest and Calum had seen his chance to ask out Finn about the armours in the corridors. The rain had nearly stopped by now and the wind had slowed down, but the forest floor did feel wet under his feet. Calum had to admit, that mud stubbornly clinging to his foot soles. “Where are you taking me Finn?” Finn made a silent sign with his lips. It made Calum wonder they had already walked for at least thirty minutes. He decided to comply for the time being, as they trailed through a grassy path.
First left then two rights, then one quick right through a naturally decomposing log which had mushrooms growing in between its old limbs, If you were able to use your eyes and ears you might notice a few flickering fairies close to it .Eventually 15 minutes later, the human man and the cheeky gnome entered an old grove of oak trees and an overgrown white circulated building with chipped crusted pillars, the cloaked ivy almost making a curtain of disguise among the ruins.
“Finn what kind of place is this? ” Finn jumped down from Calum’s shoulder his copper beard flying up to his small face as he landed like a sneaky cat on the overgrown grass. He shook his small head and mumbled “She should arrive soon..” Calum though decided to look around the grove, his thoughts swivelled with wonder. “This place it was something special about it. It has the feeling of being very old? No wait. That doesn’t sound right either.” Calum mused within his mindset, a chilling breeze ruffled his hair and his silver eyes gazed towards the old ruin. The ivy rustled in the breeze and there seemed to be footsteps coming from inside the ruin. Caw Caw! Something croaked just between a few thick branches of a mighty oak, his head turned swiftly and Finn well he calmly looked up and nodded at the Crow. The Crow with two eyes following it, although Calum couldn’t help but stutter like a complete fool while he saw the bird change.
Black feathers flew about like a mini tornado. Shimmers of changing limbs could be seen through them. A red yet simplistic gown started to take its form, the sleeves of such gowns were normally long but the owner had made the sleeves rather short. A chainmail sash was tied around the waist and its rings jingled by the breeze, and by now flaming red hair and a firm yet gentle persona had become visible for Calum to see a woman. Finn walked towards the woman and kneeled before her. “Gracious Morrigan tis and honour to see you in these forest lands of Amberia once more” The woman kneeled to Finns level and said. “Finn of Willow, I am pleased to return. It has been far too long since I dared seek out these lands.” The woman named Morrigan, although she had her unique kind of beauty. Her voice was so mature in comparison to her youthful looks, just like she had been through a lot in her time.
Morrigan cast a glance towards the human man staring she gave a mirthful chuckle and took a few strides toward Calum. “And to you...” “Welcome home my son” Calum came out of his stupor and dubiously looked at her. “I..I..already have a mother” Morrigan laughed this time as her blue eyes shimmered serenely. “Of course you have your birthmother. But I. I’m what some would deem an old mother. If you haven’t noticed yet I am the goddess who gifted these lands with sanctuary of old ones” Morrigan said with a grand pride noted in her little story.
She then laid her right hand on his shoulder and looked into Calum’s silver eyes. “And you my dear son are the new keeper of these lands. Regular humans can’t see me nor the others living here. That is why I chose your ancestors nearly a thousand years ago, to watch over this place. You were blessed by Titania she allowed your bloodline to become granted with the sight.
And in these times keeping Amberia safe is more important than ever before, humans lack the belief in me as well as the others” Morrigan’s voice had turned from gentle explanations, to the more serious and cross toned at her last words. Calum surprisingly was not shocked this time after all he had been told a less demanding version of the story during his boyhood. Then an eager question rose to his attention, “Are you not known for roaming the battlefields and gathering souls?”
Morrigan nodded slowly and yawned lightly. “But modern wars are so tedious... so little knowledge in the finer ways of torture, and those pruned metal pipes. That sometimes explode, I would have preferred they still used them axes and broad swords”
“So not much for you to do these days then is there?” Calum asked curiously, he saw her sad nod and decided to drop the topic. “You are kind Calum very kind. I’m sure you will do a proper job and protect this place. But now I wish to rest until new years that is when I will roam like I used to. With the believers of the old ways chanting our names it strengthens our powers, until then Calum my dear son and Finn of Willow I wish you a blessed old year. And we shall meet when the New Year turns... ” After those words the black feathers encircled her otherworldly beauty, and she turned into a raven this time that croaked a farewell. And set off toward the vast skies.