||Double Dragon Publishing
||Feb 1, 2006
The Birth of Spring
An Enchanted Storyteller Tale
When the Winter King stays the wheel, refusing to allow the season to turn, the Summer Queen has no choice but to declare war.
Yet, there is one within the southern realms unwilling to see the people of Faery wage war. Astara, daughter of the Summer Queen, has taken it upon herself to journey alone to the northern realms, seek out the Winter King, and beg him if she must, to release the wheel. The season must be allowed to change.
The people of Faery could not go to war, for if they did, the land and all that depended upon its bounty would suffer. Somehow, Astara must make the Winter King remember this before the bitter chill of winter silenced her voice forever.
The Birth of Spring
"The Birth of Spring"
"Gather round, children, gather near," the old Storyteller called out as he made his way slowly through the town. "'Tis a tale I have to tell, and a tale that wishes told. Come, come, gather near."
He leaned heavily on his staff as he eased himself to the ground beneath an ancient oak standing in the center of the village square. There he silently waited for the children to come--and they would come--for all loved an enchanted tale.
He did not have long to wait.
"Come closer." The Storyteller wiggled a crooked finger as the children neared. "Sit, and I shall tell a tale so old, it was first whispered on a dragon's breath and spread by the waft of its mighty wing. Long has this tale remained hidden in the mists of time; long has it yearned to be told."
The Storyteller smiled as the eyes of the young shone bright within the pale light of the approaching eve tide. He leaned back against the oak and folded his hands around his gnarled wooden staff. Letting his voice grow soft and whispery, he said, "Close your eyes and come with me to the Faery realms, to a time when the season stood still and the wheel was unable to turn . . . .
". . . How dare he!" The Summer Queen, Lith-ah, flung the missive to the floor.
"He dares much," her advisor, Gavin, said as he bent and retrieved the parchment. "And threatens more."
The queen turned her back to him and stepped out onto the balcony. The sun shone warm against her skin, yet the breeze held a chill she'd not felt or known before in her realm. She heard Gavin's soft step behind her. Without turning to face him, she asked, "Do you think him serious?"
"Aye, the Winter King has the strength to hold the wheel. Even now, ice creeps ever closer to your border. Soon, he will hold all the southern realm within his frozen grasp."
"And our envoys?"
"He laughed at them and tossed them from his court." Gavin balled his hands at his side. "This new king ignores the treaties his father made. He refuses to release the season to you. No longer content to share the wheel, he instead has chosen to halt its turning. He wishes all the lands, including your realm, my queen, to be imprisoned in the long sleep--forever."
Lith-ah gripped the railing so tightly that her knuckles turned as white as the marble beneath her fingers. "If he would do this, then he leaves me no choice."
"My Queen, we could send another envoy. Surely, the Winter King will soon see the folly of his youth. We could--"
The Summer Queen silenced him with her upheld hand. Squaring her shoulders, she met her advisor's concerned gaze and stated with a voice gone flat and devoid of emotion, "Gavin, call our people to war."
Review by Chere Gruver for PNR
Once again, Sheri L. McGathy takes us back to the world of the Storyteller. A character we met in ELFEN GOLD, BOOKS 1 and 2. This time, he is telling another tale of the fae. The tale of Spring. When the Winter King refuses to release the wheel, the Summer Queen becomes furious. Even though she sent an envoy to the Winter King, he still refuses to release the wheel. Well, the Summer Queen now has no option but declaring war on the Winter King. When Astara learns of this, she knows she must do whatever she can to prevent it.
Sneaking out of the Summer Palace, she begins her journey to the home of the Winter King.
On her journey, Astara runs across different things. A robin whose nest has fallen with the tree it was in; two small children who have found a frozen bloom and a friend of hers, Wisp, a small, gentle breeze, trapped beneath the ice on a river.
What will Astara find once she reaches the Snow Palace? Will Astara be successful in her mission? Who is the new Winter King? Why has he decided to stop the wheel?
THE BIRTH OF SPRING—AN ENCHANTED STORYTELLER’S TALE is a fantastic story. Once again, Sheri L. McGathy weaves her magic with words to bring us this delightful tale of how spring came to be, and, as always, there is a lesson to be learned. I know if see the name Sheri L. McGathy as the author of a story, I won’t be disappointed when I begin reading, and this short story is no exception. We have a young maiden on a journey to save her world and her people from a war. A war which will destroy both. And Astara’s kindness and true nature is revealed as she helps those in need on her journey. This story will definitely leave you wanting more! My only complaint with Sheri L. McGathy’s stories, is that they come out so far and few between.
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