Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Look you here, warrior." I lead Tannr from the Lodge to a secluded path. "See the grove we set up?"

Tannr looks uncomprehendingly at the trees I planted, then caused to grow magically fast; oak and yew, rowan and blackthorne. All are sacred, and they conceal a surprise.

"First you should know that you must walk this path widdershins or you'll never see what I'm going to show you. You understand widdershins, yes?"


 "Aye, or anti-sunwise, however you remember it best. Follow me now, and watch out for the blackthorn."

Tannr stays close on my heels until I come to a certain tree in a certain particular position. Which tree and what position I'll be keeping to myself, thank you very much.

"Now, Tannr, step through just here, and..." He gasps and I smile contentedly. The ring of trees conceals a swimming pool, built with the usual concrete but dressed with native stone. The full moon bathes the water in brilliant blue-white light.

"The pool is kept warm by magic, sustained by the earth itself. We have many such bathing pools in the Bright Court and I merely adapted it to our use here. Feel free to use it while you're here."

I turn to go and he follows. "Ah, one other thing I borrowed from my people. When you leave to come back to the lodge, walk deosil - sunwise. If you don't, you'll wander lost, though you be but a footstep from the exit."

"Are you expecting trouble, that you built it this way?"

I grin. "Not trouble, exactly, no. This is a college town, though, and college folk tend to be young and rowdy - and - hmmm, how do I phrase this? - our pool parties tend toward clothing-optional."

Tannr looks like someone pole-axed him between the eyebrows. I swear inwardly, remembering too late that Raina is his sister and this might fall into the category of TMI. He follows silently and I hope that he's not brooding too much.

"Well?" Raina grins as he enters the living room. "What do you think?"

Tannr's voice is hushed, almost reverent. "Raina... it's beautiful. Beyond beautiful. I don't know how you can bear to leave this place for a week, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart - and Tori will, too, once I tell her about it."

"Will you stay for supper, Tannr?" Raina asks. "We eat late here... someone sleeps the day away...." Nick grins.

 "I wish I could, but I have to meet Ike for yet more shopping." He looks so appalled that everyone laughs.

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