Title: When the Battle's Lost and Won
Character/s: Nimueh, Morgause, Morgana
Summary: When High Priestesses are killed, is that truly the end?
Word Count: 800
Prompt: 163 - Picnic in the sun
Author's Notes: I was hoping to create a strange and spooky mood and setting, and borrowed a few words and quotes from Shakespeare in the process.
When the Battle's Lost and Won
Nimueh appears in a blink and steps onto the heath's coarse grass.
The air moves, a blast of wind that tugs at the strips of her shredded skirt and makes her tangled braids dance.
She looks around, studying the surroundings. Turbulent mists boil all about her. She can neither see the standing stones nor the sky, - can hardly see her own bare feet, in fact.
With a word of command she pushes the fog back, creating order out of chaos. She circles a patch of grass, arms outstretched, blue eyes blazing, and opens up a solid space with clear sky above.
She nods in satisfaction just as Morgause steps through, slim and elegant in her red gown with its lace sleeve and ribbons. Morgana follows right behind her sister. She wears dramatic crimson from head to toe, a velvet cloak over an embroidered silk dress, her wide skirts swirling.
They are all three of them dressed in the colour of fresh blood. Nimueh approves. It fits the occasion. High priestesses of the triple goddess – the giver and taker of lives - should dress in Her honour.
She embraces the other two sorceresses with genuine affection. “Welcome, sisters, and well met. It has been too long. Truly, I have missed you!”
A bluebird flits past with a few sweet notes. It turns pink, then orange, and then dissolves into thin air.
Morgause's face is unblemished and whole. Her smile is warm and her eyes twinkle as she reaches out to pluck a crystal flagon from the air.
“A toast to mark our reunion, dearest ones. May there be many more!”
Nimueh produces her private drinking vessel, an elaborate golden chalice. She always preferred to drink from the cup of life. Morgana and Morgause use goblets carved from rock crystal, as translucent as their own skin.
Morgause gestures briefly, her eyes glowing gold. The flagon pours the wine.
“How have you been, Nimueh?” Morgana asks. “We have had but little news of you.”
“Oh, you know – nothing out of the ordinary. Portents and omens, toil and trouble, wherever the old ways are not respected.”
All at once Nimueh's dress turns pitch black. The shadow of wide raven wings appear at her back. Impatient, she shakes herself. The vision fades.
They sit down on the emerald grass. It is lush and soft as a carpet.
Though they toast each other and drink deeply, their goblets remain filled to the brim.
The circle of standing stones behind them flicker in and out of existence. At a distance, gray fog continues to roil. But above the three women the sun shines brightly.
Morgana leans back, turning her face to the sky and the sunlight. Her dark tresses sweep the grass. She closes her eyes, lets out a long breath and smiles.“How peaceful! How perfect! A picnic in the sun!”
“Picnic?” Nimueh asks and giggles, her mood increasingly mellow as she sips more wine.
“I did say picnic, and I meant it.” Morgana claps her hands once.
Suddenly the ground in front of them is covered in delicious dishes, served on silver plates. There are dainty white cakes and sweet apple pies, there are peaches and grapes, there are spicy tarts and tender meats, there is still-warm bread with freshly churned butter and soft cheeses. All of it looks and smells delicious.
For a moment there is also a whole roasted hog, complete with an apple in its mouth. Morgana grimaces and waves it away into nothing.
Morgause exclaims in delight at the feast before them. Nimueh laughs.
“A proper royal banquet,” Morgana shrugs. “After all, I am a queen, not just a high priestess.”
They fall to with delight.
Time passes quickly. Talk and wine flow freely. There is a lot of laughter.
But the walls of fog are advancing. Their sunny green island is getting ever smaller in the ocean of mist.
All too soon it is time to leave.
The ground beneath them is shifting now, dissolving. The grass fades and wilts.
With a sigh, Nimueh stands up and embraces her sisters in farewell.
The sky has turned black. Clouds as dense as smoke hover above them and will soon envelop everything. In the distance they hear the ominous, booming sound of thunder or battle.
Nimueh feels herself turning insubstantial in the fog, ready to take to the filthy air. She is sad. This happy respite from doom and death has been much too brief.
Dread drips from the air like rain. Foreboding sinks its claws into her and at the very last moment she is compelled to look back, facing the other two, her sisters under the goddess.
“When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?”