The beautiful pavilion at the end of this chapter is built by TheKalinotr0n and is available on the gallery!
After meeting onezero at Sugar and Ren’s party, Jaclyn felt that she had a clearer understanding of what she had been pulled here to do.
No words were exchanged, but plenty of information was shared.
“Start with the children,” that was the message.
With the recent baby boom, there were plenty of soon-to-be children for Jaclyn to start with. She’d already bestowed a blessing on Sempervirens, Cypress and Knox’s baby in the meadow, and she knew elf-blessings aplenty for all the other infants. The blessings hastened and eased the journey to childhood, and they brought good fortune, too!
Song of silver
Song of star
Light of moon
Light of eyes
Courage, strength, and forward-facing
Follow river, drink of dew!
Ulrike Faust entered the room just as Maaike’s baby became a child.
“What’s this?” she asked.
Jaclyn and the child still roamed in the bubble of happiness that the blessing left behind.
“Do you think you can just enter any stranger’s house and pick up their baby? And– wait? What sort of sorcery is this? She’s not even a baby!”
Jaclyn shot out a quick protection spell–forget, accept, remember.
“I can taste purple!” said the child. And Ulrike’s artist soul was intrigued. Maybe her goddaughter, after her sudden transformation, had something to teach her, after all.
Jaclyn visited every cradle in every home.
Flower at noon.
Like a river,
Follow this tune.
With every blessing, the infant twirled into childhood, eyes a-twinkle and heart a-glow.
This was the first step of her mission, Jaclyn knew. And she knew, too, that for the mission to succeed, she must perform this step flawlessly, following the intent that had pulled her here.
But impeccability didn’t rule out joy! In fact, she found that with every home she visited, her joy increased.
Magic moved through her, this she knew. It wasn’t something that she brought from within–it was rather a spark that traveled from some unknown star, entered her, and was passed on to the child.
It felt like a tickle, and it brought joy and hope.
Who knew what marvelous changes this world might find?
“I know you,” one of the boys said. “You were that one in my dreams, right?”
“I guess maybe I was!” Jaclyn said. “Did we drink the dew and feast on flowers?”
“It tasted like pink and purple,” said the boy.
“I always wanted to meet you,” said one girl. “I knew you’d come, I just didn’t know when!”
Sometimes, the children wanted to talk before she left for the next house.
“But what are the dragons really like?” one boy asked.
“Some of them move like they’re stuck in mud!” Jaclyn answered. “Mud dragons clump and stomp about looking for tasty boys to grab and munch!”
“But it’s not the dragons you need to worry about,” Jaclyn said. “It’s the disbelievers!”
“Keep your eyes open,” she continued. “Remember they’re out there, where you least expect them, and you’ll be fine.”
“I knew it!” The boy laughed. “Nothing to worry about!”
“Well, I wouldn’t say that there’s nothing to worry about,” Jaclyn explained. “But a boy who is alert, brave, and cautious can always move through life with magic in his step.”
“Magic?” said the boy. “What use do I have for twinkly starlight magic? I want to be strong, not superstitious!”
He wasn’t the only child who had already absorbed a distaste for magic.
“You don’t look like a real person,” said one girl. “You look like you stepped out of a book.”
“Sometimes, books–especially fairy tales–are about what is really, truly true,” replied Jaclyn. “So, if I look like that’s where I come from, perhaps I am really truly real!”
It was hard to argue with that logic.
After she visited the last cradle, the butterflies came, delivering the next message.
It’s easy to listen to a butterfly song: listen with your knees, your elbows. You will hear their song in all the spaces inside of you, and when you hear its message, you’ll know it’s true.
Gather under cloud and sun
Friends and soldiers, everyone.
Filled with laughter,
Filled with joy,
Gather every girl and boy.
She sent a text message to the children: meet at my cottage after school.
“I was waiting for your text!” said the first child to arrive. “I knew you’d be calling us soon! Is this our initiation?”
Mikaela brought anger with her. She’d had to fight to escape the clutches of homework and boredom in the parlor at home, and words that her teacher had said to her at school that day still burned in her ears.
“Magic? There is no such thing as magic!” Her teacher had scoffed. “And anyone who believes in fairies, elves, and hobbits is a nincompoop!”
Mikaela felt enraged. Her teacher was the nincompoop if that’s what she believed!
“We are assembled!” said Jaclyn, as the children gathered around her.
“And now, off to our assembly hall!”
They gathered in a pavillion.
“This is where we meet!” Jaclyn said. “When we gather here, we are no longer children of the everyday. We are now children of the moment, with all the magic and responsibility which that entails!”
“My teacher says you don’t exist,” fumed Mikaela.
“And what do you say?” asked Jaclyn.
“I say my teacher is a nincompoop!”
“And you may very well be right!” replied Jaclyn.
“They’re all nincompoops!” laughed Lucas Behr. “Mommy and Auntie, too!”
Jaclyn chuckled. It was how she felt in her heart of hearts, even if she seldom admitted it, and never admitted it out loud.
“They might be nincompoops now,” she said, after their laughter faded into happy-bubbles, “but that needn’t mean that they stay nincompoops. After all, butterflies were once caterpillars, and each of you was once a baby. Maybe, if we do what we’re here to do, the nincompoops can transform into actual, real human beings.”