A small bell dinged and the televisions in the cabin dimmed and muted as the flight attendant's voice came over the speakers announcing their descent into London. Tuning out the noise, Elizabeth and her two friends, Amber and Greg, gathered their trash and got their seats and tray tables back into their proper positions. It had been a trip six years in the making. Between juggling school and work, the three friends were excited to be in the place that had held all of their fascinations for the past decade.
Now at twenty-four, Beth's heart gave a small patter as she looked out the plane and saw the infamous skyline of London as they approached. Upon landing, the long process of getting off the plane began and on more than once occasion, Beth had her heels hit by luggage and knocked her not-so-funny funny bone on the seats several times. Thankful to be off the plane, they moved swiftly through the airport. Amber called out to her friends that she needed to 'use the loo', and disappeared into the bathroom.
Taking the opportunity now that they were alone, Greg said nonchalantly, "I sure could go for a strawberry lollipop right now." Beth grinned, and rummaged through her purse—finding what she was looking for, she handed the small square box over to him. Inside the inner black velvet box was a Ballerine Cartier ring that she helped him pick out months before their trip. "Do you have any idea as to where you plan on proposing to her yet?" asked Beth, nodding towards the box.
Tossing it into the air and catching it, Greg swung his carry-on bag around and placed the box inside. "I was thinking about popping it when we go to Glastonbury, seeing as how it's where King Arthur and his lady Guinevere lived and died." Nodding her head in approval, they chatted about how he was planning on doing it, but hushed when Amber finally made it out of the bathroom.
Bustling their way through the airport, they made it through the required checkpoints and gathered their luggage without issues, and after their brief tutorial on driving in Europe, they were in their rental car and heading towards London proper.
They spent the next two days eating all the traditional London fare and perusing the pubs, as well of course, doing all the tourist attractions London had to offer. From there they traveled to many other places including Cardiff, Stonehenge, Oxford and so on, until the ended in Bath, where they stayed the night in a quaint bed and breakfast after soaking their feet in thousand year old thermal pools at the site.
The following day, they left the city of Bath and headed south towards Glastonbury, the fabled city of Avalon and resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Upon arriving, Greg parked the car and they all got out. Looking around the area they could see Glastonbury Tor in the distance, as well as the remains of the abbey in the forefront. Greg glanced down at his watch and noted the time.
"We have about twenty minutes before the tour starts. You want to hit up the gift shop?" Beth and Amber nodded and made their way to the small gift shop. At five till, they made their way back outside to find a small crowd gathering in front.
The tour guide, Arienne Goode, was already checking off guests for the tour and quickly checked the three friends off. Once everyone was gathered, she wasted no time in getting down to business. "Glastonbury Abbey - or Avalon as it is also known by, was founded in 716 by King Ine of Wessex and was of the Benedictine order.
In 1184…" She gave the history of Glastonbury Abbey: from the fire of 1184 which led to the discovery of the two skeletal remains in a hollowed tree trunk along with a cross bearing the names Arthur and Guinevere, to the Glastonbury Thorn from which a sprig is collected by the oldest pupil of St.
John's every year and given to the Queen of England, a tradition that's been around since King James ruled in the late 1500's. When she was finished, she allowed the tourists to mill about the ruins and take pictures before moving along to the next attraction, the Glastonbury Tor, which for hundreds of years has been a paranormal anomaly, including reports of ghosts, druidic arts, UFO's, and fairies, to name a few.
It was the talk of fairies however, that piqued Beth's attention. Ever since she was a little girl, they'd been a staple in her life, to the point that in her teenage years, she thought she was going crazy. Up until she was seven, she thought they were just tiny little winged creatures that were sweet as pie. Then the dreams began and the person in them told her differently.
Breaking herself from her daydream, Beth separated from her group and began to walk around the Tor. When she had first approached it, she felt a low hum begin in her bones, radiating from her center and causing goose-bumps to form on her skin.
Now that she was closer, those feelings intensified to the point that her head began to throb and her stomach began to flop around. Feeling ill, she rested a moment against the Tor, breathing deeply and fighting the need to throw up. After a few moments, her body settled enough for her to function. Pushing away from the wall, she rounded the south corner and heard someone one call out, "Well, what is it?" Hurrying closer to where the commotion was coming from, Beth saw that a half circle had formed around a standing Amber and a kneeling Greg who was presenting her with the ring.
Amber spotted Beth over Greg's head and she gave her friend a shocked smile as she let the first stream of tears fall. Looking back down to Greg, Amber nodded vigorously as she reached down and grasped the collar of Greg's shirt, tugging him up, her arms flying around his neck as she tangled her hands in his hair and brought his lips to hers.
The crowd around them cheered, Beth included. While she was indeed happy for her friends, she couldn't help the constricted feeling in her chest.
She'd once wished for her fairy tale ending, but after seven years and several failed relationships, she was approaching her twenty-fifth birthday in a week's time and had all but given up hope of ever finding someone that compared to him, the one man she held in the highest regard and to whom she compared all potential boyfriends. The man of course was purely fictitious and lived in her head; she hadn't seen or dreamt about him in nearly seven years.
He was the reason why she thought she was insane: her fairy tale Prince, Conlan. Shaking off the feelings that always stirred when she thought about him, she walked over to her embracing friends and hugged each in turn.
"Did you know about this?" Amber questioned Beth. With a sly smile to Greg she replied, "Who do you think had the ring this whole time?" Amber swatted at Greg and Beth. "You two sneaks!" Standing straight up, Greg gave a formal bow and said in a mock British accent, "Would milady care to be my escort around the church?" Taking his hand and dipping into a curtsey she replied, "Why yes, milord, I would be honored." Beth gave a short laugh and rolled her eyes, watching her friends walk arm in arm around the church before passing through it.
However, as they passed through it, the world around them seemed to distort and blur, the colors muting, but everything returned to normal when they reached the other side and approached Beth. "So, how was passing through it?" asked Beth. "The hairs on my arm stood up a bit," Greg started, "and when we reached the center we felt a small breeze, but that was it," finished Amber.
"Hmm, all right then, my turn." Beth walked towards the tower, the feelings from before returning tenfold. Fighting the sensations, she pressed on, determined to walk through. Stopping briefly, she took a deep breath to calm the wave of nausea. With the urge to retch under control, she took her first step in. The moment she stepped through the archway, the world around her shifted, the modern world and the people in it disappearing. Looking around, she saw the familiar forest she had grown accustomed to seeing once a year as a child, with its thousands of trees covered in moss and the vibrant colored flowers that held hidden treasures.
Walking further in, she followed the familiar path she'd taken when she was younger. Beth walked to the edge of a pink, water filled pond and bent down to dip her hand into the cool liquid, cupping some in both hands to take a sip of the sweet water.
"You've come, Eilís." Startled by the familiar voice, her head snapped up to see the man she'd not seen in nearly seven years. "Conlan?" *** "Elizabeth, gaze upon the lunar mother.
Without her, the seas would never break at our feet, but be as still as the ground we walk on. Tonight's moon is special, and only happens eight times a year; it's known as The Wishing Moon and they fall on the full moons following the eight major Sabbaths. When this happens you can make a wish and it will come true." She had been seven years old when her mother told her about The Wishing Moon.
She watched as her mother looked upon the white celestial body, saying a silent prayer.
Looking at the parchment paper in front of her, she did as her mother did. She wrote her wish down and when done, her mother gave her a moonstone and wrapped the paper around it, tying it off with a piece of twine. Holding out a vial, Elizabeth dipped her small fingers into the opening of the jasmine essence and smeared the oil onto the bundle as instructed by her mother.
Walking silently behind her mother, they reached the farthest eastern side of the yard. Taking a spade, her mother knelt down and dug a shallow hole in the soil. Placing her own wish in the hole, she covered it and handed the spade to Elizabeth, who in turn did the same thing.
"Now," her mother spoke in a whisper almost too low for her to hear, "you thank the earth for allowing us to use her at this time, and more importantly, you thank to Goddess Selene for her taking the time to listen to your wish." Elizabeth looked up at the pock-marked, glowing moon, and with a grin she waved up at it, half expecting it to wave back as she said in a cheerful voice, "Goodnight, Selene! Thank you for the time, I hope you enjoy the moon cakes and tea!" That was the first night she dreamt of Conlan.
After being tucked into bed for the night, Beth fell quickly to sleep, only to be whisked away to a forest where the colors were so vivid and bright, even her dream-self needed time for her eyes to adjust. The tree's leaves glistened in the sunlight like an emerald, the bark just as brown as the ground she walked on but covered in a thin layer of moss.
The flowers that littered the floor were the most beautiful and breathtaking she'd ever seen. She ran over to one of the flowers and lifted the azure bell that was attached to a glossy green stem gently in her small hands. Beth bent down to smell it, but was startled when out stepped a small winged creature with jade hair.
Her large dragonfly wings flitted behind her and she gave a smile filled with pointed, razor sharp teeth. Bowing to the "giant" in front of her, her wings beat quickly and she ascended into the air. Beth waved goodbye to the fairy and continued walking down the path. There were small ponds everywhere, some glistened purple, some green and yellow, others like the crystal blue she'd seen the summer before while on her family vacation.
Beth walked up to one of the pink ponds and gazed into its depths. Below the surface she saw the mermaids she was so enthralled with and pretended to be.
The mermaid had yellow hair, with a matching tail of yellows and oranges. She looked up through the water at Beth and giggled, or at least that's what Beth thought as tiny little bubbles escaped her mouth. "I see that you've met Muirghein," a deep voice spoke in front of her.
Beth's head whipped up and she stared at the man in front of her. His hair fell in a cascade of chestnut waves to his waist. His body was slim and toned in all the right places, however it wouldn't be until she was older that she would learn to appreciate that part of him. Moving her gaze up to his face, she noticed that his eyes were otherworldly and gave a small gasp.
His eyes seemed to shift colors between the palest lavender, almost white, to a brilliant plum color that was much brighter than the fruit. In her later visits she would be able to tell his mood by these colors.
Pale for when he was not particularly pleased with something, or plum for when he was the happiest. "Who are you?" Beth spoke to him, curious to find out more about this place. Rounding the small pond, he made his way closer to her, a small smile showing off his perfect white teeth.
"My name is Conlan and I am your fairy Prince." Beth gave a girlish giggle. "My fairy Prince? But, you're so old." "I may be old, Eilís, but one day we will be together and we shall marry beneath the full moon. You are a very lucky little girl, for the Goddess Selene has heard your wish and the mother Danu has granted it." Beth, or Eilís as he called her, woke the next morning with a newfound passion for all things fey.
Though, the next night and the next she didn't dream of the magical place, nor did Conlan visit her. It wasn't until the following Wishing Moon after her eighth birthday she would see him or the place again. From the age of eight until her eighteenth birthday she would wish for the same thing and on that night she would always visit the world of Sheelin as it was called, which translated into the lake of the fairies.
Conlan told her about his culture, to ready her for her arrival when she joined him. She learned all about the merrowfolk—or mermaids as she knew them—and all things fey, from leprechauns and banshees to everything in between.
He even told her about the stone circles and cairns and how they were portals and openings into the Seelie mounds to which they had been exiled and in which they had been living for centuries. He also told her about his mother, Danu, who was the mother of the Irish lands. She was known as a Goddess of these parts, but in recent times had been nearly forgotten as such rituals and customs of ancient times were all but abandoned by most.
Through these visits she gained a wealth of knowledge she would later share with her mother and her best friend, Amber. Both had wondered at her creativity but took things in stride, claiming it was due to her reading, movies, and overactive imagination. When she was fourteen, she got her first boyfriend. As she spoke of him to Conlanabout how he'd walked her home from school and kissed her—she watched his eyes change from swirling purples to white. "Are you jealous?" Beth asked in disbelief.
His lips pressed together in a thin line as he regarded her. "I think that would be the best emotion to describe what I am feeling right now." "Why? It's not like any of this is real, you're just a part of my overactive imagination." "Nothing about this is imaginative. Everything you see here is real. When you dip your hand into the water, if you were to wake at that moment your hand would be wet.
If you smelled a flower, its pollen would still be in your nose upon waking. How do you figure your only 'dream' about me is when you wish for it when then Wishing Moon comes around? If this was a dream, I would kiss you right now as you have wished for, but I am not." Beth thought about this for a moment.
The past year she had asked for him to kiss her, as well as this year. "That is how you can figure this is real. I will not kiss you until you are eighteen." "Why won't you kiss me until then?" "Because that will be when you are an adult and are able to fully understand what it is you're asking for and what you want." Every year until then she would still add it to the wish, but the kiss never came.
When she turned eighteen, she gazed upon Selene again, along with her mother and Amber, who had joined in on the tradition when they were nine. All together they wrote, anointed, and buried. When she was finally in Sheelin, she walked to the pond where she first met Conlan. Not long after her arrival, he came walking up with a small parcel in his hands.
He greeted her with a half-smile and extended the package to her. "This is for you." She took it and opened the wrapping of linen and twine. Inside was a white silk gown, so thin she could see her fingers on the other side.
Letting it fall open fully, she saw that it slipped over her head and had ties at the sides. The neck and the ends of the bell sleeves had a delicate pattern of beads that looked like knots. "It's beautiful, Conlan. Thank you." "I'd like for you to put it on. It's what the royal men give their betrothed. It's typically worn without undergarments, but feel free to leave yours on if you wish." Conlan cast a glamor for her, giving her the privacy she needed to change.
That was something she still was amazed by even after eleven years of seeing him. The glamor more or less fuzzed the area around her, much like shower doors. She opted to go without undergarments as he said was traditional for his kind, to tempt him into seeing her as the woman she was and give her what she desired the most. For the past four years she'd wanted him, and no matter how many times she wished for it, he would not give her the kiss she so craved, only small kisses on the forehead or cheeks.
This puzzled her greatly because this was a dream—she should have control over it. She'd had plenty of those kinds of dreams, but this one was always different. She had no control here and she refused to believe this was real, because things like fairies and mermaids were mythological; they didn't exist and never would. She was not crazy. Glancing down at herself she could see her rosy nipples through the thin fabric, their peaks poking out and further down she could see her soft brown curls.
There was no way he would refuse her now. Beth let him know she was done and he dropped the glamor.
His reaction was almost instantaneous at the sight of her. She watched as his eyes turned to the deepest shade of purple she had ever seen.
His physical reaction could be seen easily due to the thin material of his pants. Unlike other men she'd seen naked, his erection hung heavy down his left leg, pressing up against the leg of his pants. Beth quirked an eyebrow at him, a knowing smile playing across her features.
"I guess someone likes what they see." He tore his eyes away from her and glanced down at the ground. "It definitely does what it's intended to do, but I should have waited until our wedding night to give it to you." "Why is that?" she asked, making her voice lower than normal to give it a seductive quality.
"This is given to the women on their wedding night to arouse their men. You have unfortunately done so and there is nothing that I can do until you are here." Conlan took the few steps forward needed to reach Beth. "There is, however, one thing I have wanted to do to you for a long while and that you have been wishing for." He finally stood in front of her, a foot taller than she.
Bending his head down he heard her whisper, "A kiss?" and he replied back with, "A kiss." His lips descended on hers in a faint brush. The jolt that went through her body was unlike anything she'd ever felt before. No other kisses compared to the simple, chaste kiss. The resulting gasp from him had her hand going to his head and pressing her lips more firmly to his. Taking it further, she delved her tongue into his mouth, tasting him for the first time.
He tasted like the tea and fairy cakes he always served her while she was here. They kissed until they were both breathless and finally pulled their faces back to look into each other's eyes. At one point during their kiss, his arms wound up around her, but one of his hands now rested on one of her breasts. His front was pressed against her as well, and with her short stature, every breath she took made contact with his erection.
Afraid of what might happen, he pulled his lower body away. Overcome with lust, and a need to satisfy the girl—woman—in front of him, he knelt to the ground. Beth gasped as he fell to his knees. His hands went for the bottom of her dress and pulled it up. Gathering the fabric in his hands, he lifted it and held it at her waist.
Beth moaned low in her throat as he kissed his way down her stomach until he reached the top of her curls. He gave a low growl in his throat before inhaling her scent. Her knees nearly buckled when she felt the first swipe of his tongue. He began tentatively at first, but as she moaned and writhed at his mouth's ministrations, he gained confidence in what he was doing.
During the course of him tasting her, one of her legs wound up on his shoulder as he lapped at her, and one of her hands entwined in his hair. "I need you inside of me," she panted. However, he went on as if he hadn't heard her.
He ran one of his hands up to her breast, tweaking the hard nipple he found and cupping her soft, heavy globe. The other hand wandered up her leg that was over his shoulder and came to rest on the cheek of her bottom. Her cries became more desperate, the tremors coursing through her body more violently as he continued to use his tongue on her.
Her hips undulated against his face as he paid more attention to the spot that made her wail the loudest. With a quick suck and a few rapid flicks of his tongue, she threw her head back and came.
Her whole body seized up at the tremendous pleasure he had just brought her with his tongue, a feat in itself since he hadn't given her the penetration she craved. Conlan drank at the juices that came from her until her body went slack above his. Standing up, he stayed a good distance away from her, careful not to move all that much since pleasing her with his mouth had brought him to a feverish state of arousal; the shifting of his pants nearly brought him to orgasm.
She stood before him, a sweaty Goddess, and he wanted to do nothing more than get back down on his knees and to pray and devour her once more.
Beth was still trying to catch her breath when she noticed his erection again, only this time a small wet spot was present. She went to move towards him, but he parried her movement, stepping back. She smiled at him. "Please let me return the favor." She saw his erection give a bounce and he sucked in a deep breath. "That cannot happen, Eilís." "Why not? You have given me more pleasure than I knew I was capable of.
I should be able to drop to my knees and take you within my mouth much as you did to me." His eyes went from the deep purple of his passion to almost white. "Because it is the oath I gave centuries ago. The first time I am to spill my seed must be into the womb of my betrothed. To do so before that would bring me shame." It was almost as if he'd slapped her.
"The first time?" Conlan replied with a quick nod of his head. "You mean, you've never…ever, came before? "To say it in your own words, yes." "How can that be?" "We are all brought up that we are not to partake of those pleasures until we are with our mates.
Doing so shows a weakness of character. In addition to that, the first time with our betrothed wields great power. It helps make us what we are. " "But this is just a dream and you should be ravishing me right now." "Eilís, how many more times do I need to say this to you?
This is not a dream." Conlan moved closer to her and she reached out for him, but he grabbed her wrists and cradled them in his hands before she could touch him. Beth watched as countless emotions played out on his face, finally sorrow overcoming them all. "When you leave from here tonight, you will not see me again.
If you want to see me again, however, you must travel to Tyrone in the Beaghmore Mountains in Ireland and do so before the age of twenty-five, before you enter into your third life cycle. There you will find a plethora of cairns and stone circlesyou must find the largest of these cairns and find a hole-stone.
Once you've done this, enter into the grand circle under the light of the moon and you will know what to do here," he spoke the last of this in a whisper before placing his hand over her heart. "Wish for me to come and I will come.
I have watched you grow into an amazing, brilliant, beautiful woman and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of eternity with you. Is tú mo ghrá." Bending his head down, he gave her a closed-mouth kiss, but the passion and love that flowed from it made her heart stop for the briefest of moments and the dream dissolved. In the morning she woke wearing what he had given her.
And he was right; she could taste his tea still on her lips. *** Conlan moved towards her with the grace she remembered and her stomach clenched at the sight of him. A smile of disbelief crossed his features, and the deep voice she remembered so well graced her ears once again.
"You came, Eilís." "I must have hit my head pretty hard," Beth said, moving a hand up to her head to feel for any bumps that might be there.
Conlan shook his head. "Still in disbelief, I see." "I gave up on this six years ago. Finally came to terms with the reality of the situation that this is just some elaborate plan my brain was making up. You never came back; what was I to think?" Conlan moved so he stood in front of her. He reached out and cupped her face in his palm, which she instinctively leaned into, craving his long lost touch.
"I told you six years ago, that after your eighteenth birthday I would be unable to reach out to you in your dreams. I never abandoned you. I told you what you had to do and here you are." "Then how is that you're here now with me, if you can no longer reach me through dreams?" "Aye, that is an easy answer. The veil between our worlds is practically nonexistent here.
When you crossed that threshold, your soul called out to me, plucking me from my world, bringing me to yours. I am as close to you as I have ever been. This is not a dream, but rather an alternate reality, so to speak.
You and I are together in Sheelin, though the people around you and your friends saw you collapse to the ground." Beth took comfort in his touch and words, but she was waging an inner turmoil regarding her sanity. She wanted to desperately believe in this, to be with the one man to whom she compared all others. On the other hand, things like this really didn't happen, at least not to sane people with college degrees. "I-I don't understand." From out of nowhere tears began to fall down her cheeks.
Conlan dipped his head down and kissed them away. When he reached the corner of her mouth, he licked a stream of tears before caressing her lips with his tongue. Igniting a fire within her, Beth turned her head the fraction of an inch it needed to go and kissed him. What started out innocently enough soon turned into a raging battle of tongues and hands as they pawed at each other trying to get as close as possible. When Beth snaked her hand down his front, he jumped back as if he'd been burned by the fire roaring through her.
"If you want me, this, you must come to Tyrone.
Remember where I told you to go, what to do?" Nodding her head, in a breathy whisper she replied, "Yes." "Be there in three days. Bring your friends and maybe that way if they see me, you'll know you're not going crazy. If you still want this then, we'll talk about what'll happen, a chumann." Just like that, he was gone and Beth opened her eyes.
Her head in fact did hurt, but she slowly recognized the faces around her: Arienne the guide, Amber, Greg, and an Australian couple. "Welcome back," Greg said. One of the Aussies took center stage in her visiona doctor back in Australia-and after a quick exam deemed her alright to get up and continue on, but gave instructions on waking her every few hours that night in case of a concussion.
Deciding they'd had enough, the three of them made their way back towards the car and decided to go and grab something to eat. "Want to tell us what happened back there?" Amber asked. Opening the car door, Beth gave a mumble telling them she needed to eat and she'd talk once she had food in her stomach.
Driving back along the route they took to get to the abbey, they stopped at a sandwich shop. Inside they ordered food and drinks and took a seat at a table in the corner.
There was a scuffle going on inside Beth's head, on whether or not to tell them what had happened or just wait and find out when they went to Tyrone. Taking a sip of pop, she gathered her courage. If he didn't show up, she could always blame her fall. "Amber, remember when we were younger and we did those Wishing Moon rituals?" She watched her friend pink a little in the cheeks, giving small look towards Greg as she said, "Yes, why?" "Do you recall Conlan?" "…Yes." "Who's Conlan?" Greg piped up.
Ignoring him, Beth kept eye contact with Amber. "If I said I just dreamed of him or traveled to Sheelin, would you think I was crazy?" "Not quite." "Someone want to explain to me what's going on?" Greg asked a little louder this time.
Amber spoke for Beth, "Conlan is a fairy Prince she wished for when she was younger. Every year for the Wishing Moon following her birthday, she wished for him.
He would come and teach her things about Sheelin, the fey city he lives in. He stopped coming when she turned eighteen." "You're kidding me, right? You don't actually believe in that sort of thing do you?" "I do, as a matter of fact. If it weren't for the Wishing Moon, you wouldn't be here right now." Amber launched into her story of her Wishing Moon rituals, how she wished that Greg would notice her.
As the years went on she wished for him to notice her on a more romantic level. While Beth no longer wished, Amber never gave up hope and continued her rituals, until finally Greg kissed her.
"You may not believe me, may write it off as coincidental, but I believe her and in the Goddess Selene." Turning to Beth she continued, "If you believe this is real, I will go with you to Tyrone, with or without Greg. You owe it to yourself to see if this if fact or fiction. Either way, I have your back just like in seventh grade with Jessica." "And I guess I am going along for the ride. What are you going to do if your fairy Prince is real?" Beth gave a small laugh and shrugged.
"I don't know, but first things first, we need to get there." The next two days went by in a blur. They visited a lot of the main cities as they drove up north towards Manchester, where they ended their United Kingdom portion of the trip in Edinburgh. Hopping on a plane, they enjoyed the forty-five minute ride to Dublin. Upon landing, they went through the same routine as landing in London.
Retrieving their rental car, they maneuvered their way to the heart of Dublin, The Temple District. When they reached the hotel, it was barely one in the afternoon. Deciding it would be better to do something rather than sit around until nine when they would begin their journey north to Beaghmore, they settled on doing a two hour walking tour of Dublin. On the tour they visited the River Liffey, where they walked over the famous Halfpenny Bridge, St.
Patrick's Cathedral and the Guinness Brewery, to name a few highlights. At the close of the tour they went to a nearby pub to have dinner. There they debated whether or not to check out of the hotel and look for a place up north in case something happened. Deciding against it, the three went back to the hotel, showered and changed before heading out. The road they drove on was very narrow and they were glad to be the only ones on it. It took them two hours to reach their destination and once there, they parked in the visitors lot.
Getting out of the car, Beth walked up to an angled sign that gave a description to where the sites were. She looked at the map and decided that site "E" was the most probable spot based on what Conlan had described.
It didn't take long to find it. Greg and Amber stood off to the side and let Beth do what she had to do. Walking the circle, she noticed that the inside was littered with small, jagged rocks, which fit the site's nickname of "Dragon's Teeth Circle." When she completed the circle she took off towards the cairn. Thousands of misshapen rocks were piled high and it took her a couple of minutes to find the hole-stone rock, which was round in shape and smaller than all the rest with a nearly perfect hole in the center.
With the stone in hand she entered the stone circle, careful not to trip. Beth walked the circle a total of seven times, each rotation she got closer to the center. Holding the stone up to her face, but not quite touching it, she turned until the moon was in the hole and pulled it further from her face.
Taking a deep breath she spoke, "Conlan, Prince of the Sheelin mound, it is I, Elizabeth. I call you forth from the earth to teach me the ways of the fey, to love me and to care for me." Nothing happened.
She spoke the words one more time with the same result. She felt stupid. She knew that things like this weren't real. But in her heart was a smidgen of hope that it was. At least she'd come here to see for herself and to put her mind at ease about the entire situation. Lowering the stone, she located her friends. She took one step and tripped, falling to the ground and cutting open her hand.
In a fit of rage she threw the hole-stone across the circle and cried. She felt the arms of her friends encase her, both whispering words of comfort in her ears. She let the tears fall freely and the sobs wracked her body. However, she didn't notice anything unusual until Greg whispered into the night, "Holy shit." Beth and Amber looked towards where he was looking.
She was momentarily shocked into silence as the three of them watched the stones of the cairn shift and rearrange themselves into an archway, complete with a set of stairs leading into the earth. Then, a man ascended from within. His hair and body unmistakable. "My god," Amber said aloud. "Am I dreaming?" "If you're dreaming then we're all there with you." Greg got up and approached Conlan.
The fey Prince extended his hand in a welcoming manner and Beth was shocked to see Greg so willingly accept it. Beth didn't have time to process what was happening before he was crouching down in front of her. The tears once again came and he wiped them away with his fingers. The world around them ceased to exist and he pulled her to stand up.
Unlike her dreams or when she saw him at the Tor, when he kissed her this time her body exploded in sensations.
The touch and taste of him didn't compare to what it was now. She could feel every caress of his tongue, its texture as it swirled in her mouth causing her nipples to harden and a heat to spread through her lower body. Conlan pulled back before things got too heavy.
Beth, unable to meet his eyes, sought out her friends. She saw them a few feet away, kissing just as passionately as she and Conlan had just been. They pulled apart and blushed at what they'd been caught about to do. "It's perfectly natural what you two are about to do, it often happens around us fey, we tap into a certain part of your psyches and entice such acts as that.
Now, to talk to you about what is going to happen, from here, if Eilís wishes it so. I will take her home—or, to be precise, the place she could call home if she wants it to be after our meeting. You two, unfortunately, cannot enter into Sheelin. You are, however, more than welcome to walk fifteen minutes north into the surrounding woods.
There you will find a small cabin. Knock three times and tell them Conlan sent you and they will provide you with food and lodging for the night. I will have your friend back here in the morning at dawn." Beth blinked at his directed speech. "Is that alright with you guys?" Her friends nodded, dumbfounded themselves. "Dawn, be back here. You're being whisked away by your fairy Prince," Greg said. "Are you sure about this, Beth?" Since their kiss, Beth finally looked at Conlan. It took all of two seconds for her to give her reply, "Yes.
Meet back here at dawn." With the finality of the conversation, her friends watched as she stepped towards the archway and descend beneath the earth. Her breath was taken away by the vibrancy of the colors; like Conlan, the dream had muted the surroundings so much that she wanted to weep with the beauty of the reality. Conlan guided her to the pond she was so fond of, and the water was even cooler than she remembered it. "So, what exactly do we have to talk about?" Conlan launched into a speech, that if she chose to come and live with him and be his bride, there were certain things she needed to know and do.
"You are mortal, that is why my first release is so important for you. With it, I will be able to give you the magic of my people. It won't turn you fey, but it will make you immortal and allow you to live by my side as Princess and future Queen of this Sheelin fey.
And no, I know what you're going to ask, you're not the first one to have been changed this way. There have been many over the course of thousands of the years. When the time comes, there is a ritual that we can perform, if you so wish, that will lift the magic of immortality and we will gracefully grow old and pass on to the next realm." He continued on, telling her that she is more than welcome to talk and communicate with her friends.
They could go above ground and eat, see plays and whatever it was her heart desired. He gave her information as well for the Hand Fasting ceremony that would take place, and while her friends and relatives were unable to come down to Sheelin, they were more than welcome to attend the ceremony at the cairn. Taking it all in, Beth was shocked at how natural it all felt and she wasn't the least bit freaked out by it, probably because she knew how she felt about Conlan since she was sixteen.
"What about housing and bathrooms?" Conlan laughed at her. "We have homes, you just have not seen them and you won't be able to until we are bonded. As for bathrooms, are bodies adjust a little differently down here. It takes about three months for the full transformation to happen, but when it does, during your daily cleansing session, all bodily waste is removed as well." Satisfied with all that she had learned, she was surprised to find out that it was nearly daybreak above ground.
They walked hand in hand back to the stone stairs that led up and out. Before releasing her to go up, he claimed her lips once more, teasing her with his tongue. "When you get home, let your mother know of your plans; I am sure she is going to be understanding. When you're ready, call for me and I will set up a passage for you all to travel back here for the ceremony." "How do I call you, there isn't another Wishing Moon for a few months and for some reason, I don't think phones or computers work down here and I don't want to wait that long," she said quickly.
Taking the hand he held, he brought it to his mouth and kissed along the contours of her fingers, the palm of her hand, and wrist. She could feel the dart of his warm tongue as it caressed her flesh, and the need to have him sky-rocketed. Grinning like a cat that caught a canary he pulled away. She looked at her hand and there was a swirling set of vines that wrapped around her fingers and palm.
"Press this to any reflective surface and you will be able to reach me. Hurry now before the sun rises, if the gate closes, you'll have to wait until nightfall to get out and you're friends will think I killed you." She kissed him again briefly, then ran up the stairs and into the early morning darkness. Her friends weren't there yet, so she watched as the cairn slowly fell back to the ground and into the original formation she'd first seen.
Beth watched as the sky turned from navy blue, to purple blue, orange and then the sun finally peeked over the horizon. She heard a noise from behind her and turned to see her friends approaching. Standing, she gave them both big smiles and hugs. "I take it your visit went well?" asked Greg. "It sure did. When I get back home I need to break the news to my mother and call on him.
In two weeks, I should be a married woman." In front of her, Amber flailed about wildly. "Oh my god, we're going to have so much fun planning our weddings! Since you're getting married first, I think we should start immediately on organizing yours." The rest of the trip was filled with sightseeing and Greg throwing in random quips about this and that, while the girls enjoyed the green landscapes and castles. Once back in the states, Beth shared the news with her mom and told her all about the wishes she had made when she was a little girl.
Tears welled up in her mother's eyes and she caressed her daughter's face, pushing her red locks behind her ears. "I'm glad you have found your Prince, Beth. That's what I wished for all those years ago: for you to find happiness. There's a reason why I look to the Goddess Selene rather than to anyone else because I know she listens to our heart's desire. Now, call upon your fairy Prince and let's get this show on the road." That night, she called on Conlan, pressing her hand to the fogged mirror of the bathroom.
She had her hair wrapped in a towel and another around her waist. Having not called on him before now, she screamed and jumped back as his face appeared in her mirror. "Shit, Conlan, you should have warned me! I thought I was just going to be able to chat with you!" They set a date and a time that she, her friends and her mom would travel back to Ireland, by means of fey. They planned the ceremony, Conlan telling her the only thing she needed to worry about was a dress, but it had to be of pure material, nothing synthetic, and to tell her mother to get the backyard free of debris on the grass.
Amber and Beth settled on buying pure silk in an array of colors that represented different things in the Hand Fasting ceremony. They attached ribbons so that it could be tied around her body and when the day came, her mother and Amber helped tie the silk around her and prepare her for her wedding.
It was almost noon their time, going on eight in Dublin, when they made their way to the backyard. Her mother had them all stand in a circle. Beth watched as the older woman took a large piece of driftwood and lit it on fire. Taking a vial of oil, she started at the north side and started to call out to deities Beth had never heard her mother speak of before.
She anointed each spot with the oil and moved on to the next. Once she was finished, she went back to the start and traced the ground with the flaming wood. When she was done, Beth felt the earth hum around her and her mother came to stand by her. Beth blinked; one moment she was in the backyard, the next she was standing near the cairn through which she had entered into Sheelin.
The cairn was open, so to speak, and already Conlan was standing there with the most beautiful woman Beth had ever seen. Flanking them were what she could only assume were other Seelie. Beth walked towards Conlan and three small flying fairies raced towards her with a crown of flowers, dropping it onto her head. She laughed as she took those final few steps and took the waiting hand of her Prince.
The world around them melted away as they both spoke their vows and the Queenwho, to Beth's shock, was overseeing the Hand Fastingtied the corresponding colored ropes around their wrists, binding them together.
When it was done, Conlan chastely kissed her and turned towards the mortals present. As if on cue, some of the Seelie went forward, two guys and one girl. They approached Amber, Greg, and Beth's mother, and kissed their lips without a word. Beth's mother wasn't the least bit shocked, but Amber and Greg locked lips with the strangers for the shortest amount of time.
The Seelie Queen spoke from behind all the guests, "With these kisses, you now hold the ability to call upon your friends. Press your hand to any mirror and speak the name of the person you want. It's our gift to you on this joyous night." Once all the tearful goodbyes were said and her mother and friends were on their way back home, Beth and Conlan led the recession down the stone steps and into Sheelin.
The two walked hand in hand, eventually splitting from the group. After a time, Conlan began to guide Beth to a large clearing surrounded by the trees and flowers she'd grown to love. Conlan turned and placed himself in front of her. Taking both of her hands in his, he bent low and kissed her briefly before kissing each of her eyes. He spoke in a language he'd rarely used around hersave for her nameand when she opened her eyes she saw a small brick house encased in what appeared to be ivy that bloomed with vibrant flowers.
Around the edges of the house, however, her vision began to blur until it was nearly gone. "We need to get you inside before the vision wears off or else we're going to have to do this again." "What exactly is this again?" "I had to give you the temporary gift of sight, so that you may pass over the threshold. If it fades, I'll have to give it back to you.
But don't worry, with our first coupling it will be given to you permanently, as will your immortality and even some magic." They hurried through the front door and Beth was shocked at how barren it was.
Save for a dining room table, two chairs, and a loveseat, from what she could see, there was nothing else. "There's a bed through that door over there and a bathroom across from it. This house has been used for hundreds of years when marrying a mortal, to bring them slowly over to the fey.
This is what you would almost consider normal in your place. It's also far enough away from the Palace that we won't disturb anyone when we make love." As he uttered those words her mind immediately went to the one thing she'd wanted from him since she was a teen.
Turning her head to look at him, she saw that he was already looking at her and his eyes had gone to the deepest purple she'd only ever seen once before. Conlan stepped closer to Beth and without any hesitation dipped his head yet again to her lips. What started out as a sensual caress of lips and tongues quickly turned into one of those scenes right out of the movies.
One moment she was clutching at him, drawing him closer to her body, the next she was in his arms and being deposited on a bed. Not wasting any time and not bothering to untie the ribbons that held her dress together, Conlan knelt to the ground and began to ravish her core. Beth's breath exhaled with a myriad of profanities at the pleasure she was receiving, and like everything else that was muted in their otherworldly interludes, this first round was just the same.
She'd never experienced such toe curling pleasure. Her back arched off the bed and she felt her body tighten with the impending waves that began as little swishes throughout her body. Conlan nipped, licked and sucked at just the right rhythm; the big wave finally hit and came down in a desperate cry.
With speed far too fast for her to follow, she was suddenly shoved up the bed, Conlan poised over her.
Looking down the line of her body, she finally saw what he'd been hiding for all those years. Looking back up to his face, she let him see the desire in her eyes.
Shifting slightly she reached for his erection and very gently began to caress it. Conlan's eyes closed at the onslaught of sensations, because never before had even he touched himself while in this state. Taking it as a good sign, she stroked him a few more times before he moved to pin her body with his and unleashed a sound that for moment she thought wasn't even human.
"I'm not going to last long, so you're going to have to forgive me." Beth wiggled her legs and Conlan permitted the movement until he was nestled between them. Grabbing for a pillow, she moved so she could place it under hips.
"This will help you sink into me further, heightening our pleasure." Conlan reached between their bodies and grasped his length with a shudder and groan, finally placing it her entrance. Beth cradled his face within her hands and guided him down to kiss him. Pulling away, she nodded to him once and he began to sink into her. She watched the emotions play out on his face: astonishment, rapture, love and lust. Once they were fully joined and he had his breathing under control, Conlan opened his eyes, not even knowing he'd closed them.
Beth looked up at him with eyes that radiated love, a large smile stretching from one side of her face to the other. He could feel the tremors that were happening deep inside of her and he gave an experimental twist of his hips that caused her to gasp. This was it. Conlan muttered the incantations necessary for their first bonding and began to move. He loved watching her face contort in the pleasure, but it all ended too soon as he lost control over his body and erratically moved within her.
A cry erupted from his throat; his whole body convulsed and hunched as his semen flooded her body.
Beth knew the moment he started to move, it was going to be over rather quickly, but she moved with him and encouraged him with gentle touches. When he finally began to climax, she thought it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.
Then as she felt him twitch within her, his body contorting with the pleasure, she felt the beginnings of his first release take over her body. Her eyes blurred, that was the first thing she noticed. The small stirrings of a sore throat vanished. She felt something happening to her body, and was unable to tell what exactly, but didn't care at the moment. She held on to him through it all, however, and he to her.
When the last of the tremors ceased, Conlan pulled his sweaty face from the crook of her shoulder where he'd buried his head to ride out his climax. "Is there something wrong?" he asked when he noticed she was blinking rapidly. "My contacts, I think I need to take them out." With a laugh he shifted off of her and stood at the side of the bed, helping her up. Together they walked to the bathroom, Conlan having to help her because she couldn't see. Standing over a round sink she peered into the mirror above it, taking one, then the other contact out.
Blinking, she focused on the person in the mirror, unable to tell if it was really her, or some sort of fey glamor. Noticing the plethora of thoughts that raced across her face, Conlan spoke, "Yes, it is you. It's what happens to a mortal when they mate with a virgin of the fey." "If this is what happens when fey men give their virginities, what happens to the virgin women, since they don't have semen?" "Aye, they do not.
Their virginal blood is the gift of life. It is collected by the Goddess Anu in a special ceremony, where her blood is then mixed with the rest of the virgin blood from centuries past. When the solstices come around, we then take a needle and dip it in the blood, pricking ourselves once.
It's essentially what makes us fey, enables us to do magic. That, combined with the first release of us men, increases the magic of the blood." Beth tried to ask more questions, but Conlan silenced her with a kiss. They found their way into the shower, a tumbling mess of arms and legs vying to touch and please. Now that Conlan had had his first go at love making, Beth was anxious to please him with her mouth to return the favor and dove right into coaxing and teasing him until he was nearly collapsing in the shower.
Eventually they made their way to the bed where they once again made love in whatever position Conlan could think of. Their lovemaking for the night ended with what made Beth feel like the most amazing, beautiful woman in the world. They'd started out with him standing and her kneeling on the bed as he entered from behind, but ended with her on her stomach as he gently rocked in and out of her shallowly. He loved how Beth shuddered beneath him as he kissed the nape of her neck and ran one of his hands down the side of her body, tickling his way across the swell of her breast when he came to it.
When he brought her shuddering to completion one final time, he quickened his pace and fell over the edge of bliss with her with a shout. Conlan breathed deeply to regain his composure, then rolled to the side off of Beth and gathered her to his body.
"Is tú mo ghrá," Conlan whispered into her ear before kissing it. "What does that mean?" "I love you." "Well, as long as it doesn't mean, 'What the hell did I get myself into', is tuh mah go- whatever, I love you, too." Conlan pulled her closer to his body and kissed her temple. "In time you will learn the tongue of the fey, Eilís." Snuggling in closer to her fairy Prince, Beth gave a small chuckled.
"From what I already know of the fey tongue, I rather enjoy it." Conlan gave a chuckle which Beth felt rumble against her back. "Sleep now and tomorrow I intend on giving you more lessons in our tongue." "I can't wait," Beth whispered. In a tangle of arms and legs the two drifted off to sleep.