The only reason you’re still alive is because someone has decided to let you live.
I am not known to be merciful. But there have been, at varying times in my life, exceptions to this rule. When I was but a maiden, and when it was determined that I should spill my Maiden’s blood in the Great Marriage, it was also decided who of the young dedicants among the People would serve as the Stag King in that rite that is still to this day mostly secret.
For this rite, a piece of Initiatory jewellery had to be fashioned. This was to be wrought by my own hand, and I daresay, I laboured long and hard on that piece. The symbolism is meaningless to those who don’t know the Mysteries, but serves as a mark to those who do. Initiatory jewellery’s often masquerades as something innocuous, and the use of amulets is well known.
Fashioned of silver and bronze shaped with the serpent within the silver womb. All of this, symbolic to the Rite – the sliver being the labia, the serpent of bronze symbolizing the mating of female (copper) and male (iron) – also symbolic of the blood. The sweat and the seed of man, and the blood spilt at the taking of a woman’s maidenhead, it is as close as we in this realm can come to the alchemical process within ourselves. This most powerful elixir that practically every Wytch knows of was the beginning of the tie between us. Yes, Hector Barbossa spills my maiden’s blood, in the rite to which he was as the God, and I, the Maiden Goddess.
Yes, I know that those of you know about the ways of the Wytches are asking yourself the question: ‘So why does he yet live?” True – by all rights he should have died that night, but in the hours before, something happened. He was to be sacrifice and I did not see the sense of that, and so by my owne deception I took matters into my owne hand and I had but a short time to act. Within the first harvested apples, I chose one, and within it i placed the Satyrion root, sacred to the God, other sacred herbs and blood taken discreetly from a place close to my heart, on the underside of my breast. The scratch would not be noticed. He woulde not die, no. I coulde not allow it. By all the magicks of Avalon, in one moment, before the Rite, before my maiden’s blood was spilt, I had broken evr’y vow. When the act culminated, I would be able to do something that ev’n the First Lady of the Fortunate Island, could not. I would be able to walk between the worlds at Will. I had made myself the bridge to walk between those worlds, and had I not done so, other chapters in the life of Captain Barbossa, for goode or for ill, would ne’er have unfolded as they did.. This was to be the first act that woulde have me intervene on behalf of one that they claime is so terrible. Oh indeed, he is a black hearted beast, but even beasts need understanding. Perhaps I have developed what one woulde call Sympathy for the Devil.
And yet once the maiden’s blood is spilt, it cannot be undone.
But then again, I have gotten away from my story, haven’t I?
Later that night, I was led by the hand flanked by the High Lady of Island and her company of Priestesses, of which I was the youngest. We came unto a clearing that stood beneath a canopy of ancient oaks in a forest primeaval. The lichen cover’d limestone that had only been warmed by my bare skin against it. I was bound and blindfolded, I must have appeared to anyone both sacrificial and supine. No one knewe better than I that I had gone to that rite completely willing. T’was to the Wytches Council that I submitted for their final judgement as to the nature of my rite of Initiation. E’en as Initiates went, I had always felt as if I were pushing the edge further and further out to test my owne limits. I was ne’er quite sure if it was a limitation within myself or something that was external, or perhaps a little bit of both when I came upon an obstacle that I coulde not easily negotiate, but ne’er did I turn back. Not once. And so it was determined that I woulde be the Maiden that would be used to invoke the Great God. Much planning had gone into it, and the singular honor fell upon my shoulders. Endless weeks of preparing me were undertaken and each day that drew closer to the day that I would face Him, i’faith, I will admit that I felt apprehensive. Not even my owne sister knew all of my secrets, No one woulde be allowed to know how frightened I was. ‘What if He didn’t want me?’ I thought, ‘ What if He turned away?’ Yet all of feares I may have had were quelled with the same sentence that I repeated o’er and o’er in my mind.
In Trust in Myself, and The Powers that Be.
But then I had seen him before, and the apple concealed within my robes would be substituted for the one that they had. Laced not with the aconite, that would serve to slow his heart and make him easier to sacrifice, but instead with the herbes that would keep him safe with all the protection that I could muster. To this day, I am not sure why now – only that one knows inextricably intertwined fates, and ours were always certainly that.
After listening to each droplet of dew that fell from the trees, and hearing animals that rustled in the foilage just beyond what she could determine, I felt Him.
His Presence was warm, waiting, and silent. For the longest time that I coulde ever could remember waiting for anything, I felt the Presence as He moved toward me, till at last I felt that He was standing o’er me. I coulde feel His eyes ‘pon my body, watching, studying, inspecting as if he saw through all that I am. is breathing was not unlike that of an animal, but more measured,…careful. I listened to the soft breathfalls, and the soft drip of mist ‘pon the foiliage and soft down of the forest floor, when, all at once I felt stripped bare to my very bones. The soft whispers of the trees shook like sistra, and they alone would be the only living witnesses of what woulde come next. The soft breeze became like breaths murmuring in Latin, speaking the words, asking the questions, waiting for my proper responses, both learned as a part of the Rite, and those things which came from my very Soul.
A Sacrifce lain upon the altar
For the Gift of Life, thou art given Life
As you have never known
Living Life, A’tween the Worlds.
He took my hand and led me away from the Ritual site in the clearing and we made our way along the path. Each movement, and each tree, rock, plant and bird seemed to be a part of another elaborate ritual. The air sang with it all. and it was as if my own eyes had changed. I turned again to look at Him to find that He was only inches from me. Still silent, He drew me to Him and kissed me. T’was as if a dark butterfly had lighted upon my lips, turning into a ravenous hungry wolf. I answered His kisses, and I knew that I too was changing with Him, answering His cries, His movements. He parted my thighs with a nudge, and I lay open to Him like a flower. Quieting my soft cry with a devouring kiss, He entered me: chalice to blade, sword to grail. Time melted away, I lost myself within the rite, spinning and hurling out into the Void, until at last, there was only darkness.
The next thing I remember I was fighting my way back to consciousness. He was tending a small fire and brought to me an infusion of herbs along with soft buscuits to break my fast. That he was still there, was no less than a wonderment to me. After the rite had been completed, after we both had reached our culmination, I was to have taken him to a stone circle and sacrificed him by my own hand. But I had long not seen the sense of it, and I could not bring myself to do it. Of course, I would have to shew proof – in the form of his heart. I find it ironic, however, that I substituted the heart of an actual stag instead and none of them were any the wiser. To my mind, the great beast sacrificed himself to stand in the stead of my lover. Remembering myself at last, I found my cloak and wrapped it round me. I was more afraid for him, and I begged him to leave before dawn, for the Ladies and their guards should return. I reached into a concealed pocket within my cloak and plucked the amulet that I had made from its hiding place here.
“You must know that this will keep you safe, should there be any retribution for what I have done this night, ” I pulled closer to him till I could feel his breath again upon my skin,”You are blameless in this thing.” I reached around his neck and affixed the amulet, his warm breath now washing o’er shoulder. I could tell that he wanted me once again.
He reached inside of my cloak to touch bare skin and passed his long fingers over my breast, “But I’ve a mind to see you again,” he said, removing his hand from inside my cloak to brush the side of my cheek.
“You will someday.” I smiled, “now go, please, I beg of you.”
With a kiss, and a smile of not-knowing-why, he fingered the amulet. After another moment or so, Barbossa did as I bade him to do, disappearing into the cloak of night. The amulet, the iron that it is made from, and that night, all of these are links, ye see. They are links not just to me but to what he knows. And well he knows of Magic. Little did I know how much I would have to bear as a result of what I had done that night. But, always at all times, I own that responsibility as mine alone – and still I am unrepentant.
There are sometimes when I wonder what became of that young man, the man who was the father of Maeve, my firstborn. It was many centuries ago, and no doubt the Wheel of Life has turned oft enough times for my lover whose name I never knew to have died and been reborn many times over. Sometimes I look into the eyes of my husband, and I can see the dark eyes of that very man-child staring back at me. I sometimes wonder if it is because I did decide to err away from the pillar of Severity and veer toward the pillar of Mercy.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 1957