Mythos short story competition
Congratulations to Rhiannon, Linus and Theo for their story Moon Maiden the joint winner in the junior category
For thousands of years, the world of gods and the world of mortals have stayed separated. We have lived in oblivious harmony and have gone about our curious lives with no interference from any higher being, god or goddess.
But it is time you knew about Dyffryn-fernant.
And the strange and wonderful partnership of mortals and magic.
There once was a land, far above us in the sky, and was unlike anything you or I have ever seen, where the buildings were huge and magnificent and every being was untouchably beautiful. This was the home of the gods, a long time ago. And this land was known as the moon.
Living in this ethereal world was a young woman. Her name was Rhosyn.
She was the daughter of a powerful god and soon was to be married to another, a tall and mighty man.
However, Rhosyn was reluctant. She didn’t know why, but the thought of marriage made her uneasy.
It was the week before the wedding. The beautiful lady was walking among the trees of one of the moon’s splendid forests, deep in thought about what would become of her future. The night was dark.
She was alone.
Suddenly, as she ventured among the familiar trees, a bright flash caught her eyes and she looked up. A star, flaming and brilliant, was soaring across the heavens, hurtling with immense speed towards the horizon.
Her breath caught and she took steps to chase after it, skirt billowing and hair flowing behind her, heart in her throat, dashing, sprinting-
Her foot had caught on a stray root and suddenly she was plunging downwards, her view of the moon, her home, rapidly growing smaller as she plummeted towards earth.
The star was forgotten as she screamed for help, but nobody was there to see or hear her cries as she flailed…
The sky went white around her and then… darkness.
Rhosyn opened her eyes. Tall grasses obscured her view of the sky.
She got to her feet, and swallowed. Where was she?
Looking around, she could see that the place she was in was completely derelict. It seemed to have once been a beautiful garden, but now was overgrown in some areas and completely dead in others.
The sight of the fading garden filled her with sadness but the thoughts most on her mind were,
‘how am I to get home? What should I do? Is there anyone who can help me?’
Then, a pool of water caught her eye and she raised a hand to her throat, realising how thirsty she had become. She knelt at the pool and drank, but, however, did not notice the sprouting green trees around it, their trunks russet and purple coloured, or the shimmering of something under the water…
‘Fair lady, may I help you?’
Rhosyn recoiled, startled to hear the voice of a salmon, its head poking from the water of the pond. Soon enough, she gathered her nerves and knelt down to the salmon, hopeful for its help.
‘Dear mister Salmon, I’ve fallen from my home and I do not know how to return. Are you able to help me?’
The salmon nodded wisely, its scales glinting in the soft light.
‘Young one, if you save the garden, the garden will save you. Its name is Dyffryn-Fernant. Go.’
The young woman nodded, filled with determination to help the derelict garden. She thanked the salmon and stood, turning to face the withered grasses and dying flowers.
Something caught her eye by a tree. It was a book!
She studied it and soon found a peculiar passage…
healeth the garden
rest’re its life
bringeth the lant’rn
the soon to beest wife
seeketh the ash tree
und’rstand its pain
revive the wond’r
and a home thee shall gain.
She searched all day, all through the garden and the surrounding valley, but there was no sign of any lantern. Her hope diminished with every step and as the sun began to set, she began to cry, tears rolling down her cheeks, but soon felt a warm presence, somewhere nearby.
She looked up. It was the lantern!
In the fading dusk, Rhosyn could see it clearer than ever.
She reached forward and carried it out into the open. The effect was almost immediate. Tiny spots of light, like far away stars, revealed themselves from every plant, every tree, and approached. Rhosyn laughed. Fireflies! They were fireflies!
She set down the lantern and watched, smiling, as the beautiful light illuminated the garden.
That night, Rhosyn lay on the bed of grass, surrounded by droplets of magic, and felt really, truly happy.
The next day, she retrieved the magical sap from deep within the beyond, and healed the Ash tree which towered over the whole garden. As soon as she spread the glowing sap onto its dying bark, the tree flourished into life, along with the other trees of the garden! That evening, once again, Rhosyn, falling asleep in the great boughs of the tree, was even closer to home.
But the next day she was lost. Even though she had brought back the wildlife of the garden and restored the trees, the plants and flowers still wilted and decayed all around her.
After a day of searching for some sort of idea of what to do, she approached the field of dead meadowsweets, and knelt before them.
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t save you…’
How could she get home now? She had tried her best but didn’t know how to save the beautiful flowers of this garden. Defeated, she began to sing. The notes tumbled from her mouth like water from a ledge…
But, although she thought nobody could hear, the flowers of the garden very much could, and rose their heads to sing in answer.
Magic had been spread into their very roots…
Rhosyn gasped as the meadowsweets around her began to rise and bloom, tiny flowers of each plant curling open in the light.
The blooming soon reached the edge of the field but continued to spread, and Rhosyn could see, the other parts of the garden were also flourishing as the magic of her song spread across the garden. Soon she was surrounded, and laughed at the beauty of it all. The beautiful girl sang until sunset and then well into the night, surrounded by a chorus of bright colours and floral life.
The next morning, Rhosyn knew in her heart that the garden had been healed! As she looked up to the great ash tree, fireflies buzzing around its branches with meadowsweets rising up to her waist, for the first time, felt she was truly at home.
The call from above came a few days later. The sky darkened and suddenly there was a voice, booming and shaking the very ground. Rhosyn looked up from where she was tending to some Lilies.
‘RHOSYN OF THE MOONLANDS! RETURN TO YOUR HOME AT ONCE!’
She paled with fear.
‘It’s my father… he’s calling me… for my wedding!’
She ran out to the open, standing defiantly with her hands balled at her sides.
‘Father! It is I, Rhosyn! It is not my wish to become married! I have found my true home here on Earth, leave me be!’
Her fathers reply was filled with firey anger.
‘THE DESCISION IS NOT YOURS! YOU ARE TO BE MARRIED OR YOU WILL BE SMITTEN!’
Rhosyn was filled with fear, but she swallowed and stared up to the thunderclouds, an equally thunderous look upon her face.
‘Go on then, father. Smite me. I would rather die than go back to the awful place that you call home.’
Her father let out a roar of anger and the clouds trembled with the weight of this feeling. Rhosyn stood her ground, surrounded by the life of the garden which had not only become her home, but her friend.
A bright light appeared, tearing through the clouds and sky. It was huge and unavoidable, and she closed her eyes, shielding her face with her hands as the air became hot and dazzling and the world flashed out of existence and she was nowhere but she was everywhere and everything was too bright, too-
Rhosyn took a breath. The world was still and calm. And then she opened her eyes.
She… She was alive! Around her, the air was lit up with the light of hundreds of fireflies, beneath her feet were the comforting white blossoms of the meadowsweets, and around her…
Around her, curved to protect her were the huge and strong branches of her friend, the Ash tree. But as she looked, she could see that the tree was blackened, and dead.
It had sacrificed itself to save her.
Rhosyn let the tears flow freely and knelt at the trees base, looking upwards to the sky. The clouds had cleared, and there was no word from her father.
‘Thankyou, Ash tree. I’ll never forget you.’
And from that day onwards, Rhosyn’s spirit would stay with the garden forever, tending to and loving every tree, animal and flower.