The Birth of a Legend

 

Leslie King

 
The Seduction was almost complete.

With every moment that passed, Caerena could feel the questing talons digging ever deeper in their greedy search to gain purchase on her soul. She had fought those penetrating strands for as long as she could, but her will to fight was abandoning her, leaving her too weak to deny the eventual outcome.

For her entire life, Caerena had held on to her belief in magic. Through all of her trials and hardship, she had held close to that certainty and taken comfort in the knowledge that perhaps one day, she would find the sparkling splendor within herself to chase all of her worldly fears away.

When the village children had reviled her, and thrown stones at her, Caerena had gloried in the thought that once she discovered the magic, she would be the one to laugh and taunt. When as a young woman, all of the local lads rebuffed her, and used her name as a curse; she had found the strength to live her lonely life without regret. As a being of Power, the men would beg for her company. Now, as an old woman, her staunch belief had begun to fade, but just as she resolved to turn her back on the possibilities that had grounded her entire life, those very possibilities roared out their angry denial and demanded her acceptance.

Her entire life had been nothing but a lie. She had always looked at magic to be her salvation, instead it would be her destruction.

The mere thought of all those wasted years spent in empty consolation was enough to revive her spirit. Raising her head, she cried out her torment to the very heavens above her.

"I deny you! Do you hear me? You left me to wander alone for an entire lifetime, and now, when I'm far too old to enjoy this power you would grant me, you come to make your claim? I refuse! Do you hear me? There is no such thing as magic!"

The roaring wind whipped ruthlessly through the small, Woodward's cottage; stirring the embers in the hearth and rousing the burning ash into a destructive funnel of gray, a mad dervish that surrounded the entire dwelling and caressed Caerena with its flame-kissed touch. She could feel each tiny coal as it landed upon her skin, burning into her arms, her face, her hands. It soon felt as if her entire body was nothing more than a solitary pyre. The Power would not be denied. It was inexorable in its quest to gain her acquiescence.

A continuous stream of images flew quickly past Caerena's clenched eyelids. Depictions of people she knew, and of those, she had yet to know. Young, old; weak, strong; man, woman. Yet no matter how diverse the pictorial litany, all of the subjects had one thing in common, and upon realizing that common thread, Cearena understood as well the reason that The Power had waited so long to claim her.

"No!"

Her shouted denial went unanswered; The Power enveloped her now. She could no longer feel the howling wind or the blisters, which covered her skin. The only pain she felt was that from within. All the sorrow of the ages converging into one gigantic horror that was simply too much for her to bear.

Flinging her arms out to her sides, she threw her head back and released her agony in an endless, mourning keen. A sound that contained more anguish than any one person could be expected to bear. A rising cry that traveled over the Burren of County Clare and all the way to the immense shadow of Ballynalackin Castle.

 

A small child was playing there, as her mother boiled linens for the great lord's castle. Upon hearing the awful cant, she ran fearfully to her mother's side and clung to her skirts.

"W-what's that sound, Ma?"

Raising her head, the tired washerwoman looked to the forest, as she answered her child.

"That be the cry of a Banshee, my pet."

"But why's she makin' such an awful ruckus?"

Smoothing her daughter's hair away from her face, the woman brushed a kiss over her brow before releasing the child.

"She's seen death."

 
 
 
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Author Bio

Leslie is an Author who has completed one full-length novel, and is busy hacking out her second. Her first, The Puck Stops Here, is a contemporary romantic comedy which was a winner of the Peninsula R.W.A.'s Ready-Set-Go Contest for Long Contemporary. She is now following her roots, and her own inclinations is in writing a historical fantasy, which is set in Ireland in the early Fourteenth Century. Leslie enjoys writing in all of its forms, be it short story, poetry, or Nonfiction.

She is the creator and editor of The Authors Almanac, an online, monthly newsletter which has received high praise from such sources as Novelists, Inc. News, where it was described as "A delightful newsletter that provides useful information for writers."

After years spent working in a bookstore, and reading books, she finally blinked one day, and said, "I can write a better book than that!" She has been chasing that dream ever since! You can visit her website, Leslie's Net to learn more about her writing, her newsletter, and her life!

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"The Birth of a Legend" Copyright © 2001 Leslie King. All rights reserved.
Published by permission of the author.
 
This page last updated 7-14-01.

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