Disclaimer: I have not taken anything belonging to Tolkien. I have borrowed the character Elrond as a character in this story. No money is being made by me for this story. It is purely for entertainment and practice in writing fan fiction. Again, nothing I have belongs to the Tolkien Estate. The reference in this story on the topic of Stonehenge was taken from a book entitled Stonehenge A Closer Look by Bonnie Gaunt .

Beltane is a Celtic celebration held on May 1st , celebrating the coming of Spring. It is usually celebrated with great bonfires and singing and dancing . Almost like May Day in some cultures.

Beltane Fires, Chapter 1

The doctor had called it Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. She knew all to well what it was. It had killed her mother and now it was killing her. She had been feeling tired for the past couple of months. Shannon had thought well maybe it because she wasn't getting enough rest. Her friends told her she was cutting herself thin. Between keeping the shop in the black and the meetings with the coven for the Beltane celebration she wasn't getting much sleep. She didn't recognize the signs that had been right there in her face the whole time. Loss of appetite, the pale drawn look in her face and the endless feeling of not having any energy. She turned to vitamins, health drinks and finally went to the doctors for a check up. They did the usual blood and urine test. Then they called for another batch of test to be scheduled. That was two weeks ago. Dr. Richardson had her come back into the office for consultation . That's when he dropped the bomb. There was no telling how much time she had. One could not pin point it, he said. She remembered what her mother had gone through. The constant fear at first, not knowing when the inevitable would happen. Where would she be, what would she be doing when the time came. Hoping beyond hope that someone would find a cure before it was too late.

Her mother had been fine for the first couple of years. The doctor had told her once that she might be in remission for a while. The chemotherapy only made her sicker and then she gave up. The battle had been too great. It took its toll on everyone around her. Just watching everyday the one you love grow weaker, knowing there was nothing you could do. Her mother wasted away in front of her eyes. Now it was her turn. Could she be brave like her mother had been? Probably not! There was so much she hadn't done yet. Places she wanted to see , things she wanted to experience before that time came. She was still in shock, who would she tell? Her best friend Rhea? Could she put Rhea through that? She really didn't want anyone to know. That would make it too real. She looked at her watch as she headed down Linwood Street. Damn, she was late. The rest of her friends were at the coven meeting already probably waiting for her to show.

She rounded the corner and saw Rhea standing on the steps of the shop waiting for her. "I know, I know I'm late. Go tell everyone I'll be right there. I want to fix my makeup first." Shannon said.

"All right but hurry up. If I have to listen one more minute to Rachel tell me about her sexy nephew I'll puke!" she said

Shannon closed the shop door and locked it. She turned the sign in the window to closed and headed for the ladies room in the back. She went inside the little powder room and locked the door. Opening her purse for her lipstick she saw the pile of prescriptions the doctor had written for her. They would have to wait until tomorrow, she would get them filled then. She looked at her self in the mirror and frowned. She did look sick! She pulled out the lipstick and blush. Nothing helped. Now she just looked made up. Her long thick red hair looked mousy. Well at least she still had some she thought. Go-ahead Shannon make jokes! She could hear her mother's voice mocking her. Shannon always made jokes about everything when she was scared. Now was no exception.

She made herself presentable and went to join the others. On the way through the shop she opened the little closet in the office and grabbed her robe. Putting it on always made her feel better. It had been made for by an old friend. The wicca that had taught her so much when she was growing up. Her grandmother. It was made of a beautiful hunter green satin and was embroidered with a vine and leaves completely up one side and down the other with a fine lighter green thread. Her grandmother had always been there in the background. She would tell Shannon stories of the women in the family, how they would collect plants, mix their own remedies. They never went to a doctor she had told her. Some of the stories had been about the sight they had. They would know when something was going to happen. Some good, some bad things. And always they would stick together. The people of the village would call them witches and would not have anything to do with them. Grandmother would just laugh at them for being ignorant. That was back in Ireland, and when grandfather had brought her to America it was no different. She had been an outcast for her beliefs. But when the depression hit and the neighbors could not afford a doctor for their children they had come to Rose Hume for medicine to treat them.

Rhea poked her head around the corner of the office door and frowned, "Are you coming or not?"

Shannon broke out of her daydream and quickly said "All right, I'm coming." She hurried and picked up the chalice she had set out earlier. It had just been delivered and was so much prettier than the one they always used. She hurried to the meeting room upstairs.

The altar was simple but elegant. It had been made by a local wood carver. Shannon had commissioned the man giving him explicit instructions as to what the carvings should be. There was a nice scenery depicted of the Stonehenge in England . The man had out done himself , everything appeared so life like . The detail was amazing. She had him carve the seven members of their coven holding hands in the center of the rock formation. It had cost her a small fortune , but was worth every penny.

She sat the chalice on it and reached to the table for the wine bottle. Turning to look at the rest of the coven she felt a deep feeling of friendship and love. These women had been hand picked by her and Rhea. Only their closest friends were asked to join. This is where she felt safe. She started the ritual with a prayer to the Goddess Sheila Na Gig. She was the Irish goddess of womanhood and the deity to whom they always devoted their rituals .She lit the candles and bowing her head asked the goddess for divine wisdom. The other six Wicca stood and held hands completing the circle with Shannon. After the ritual and prayers were finished they got down to the business of the Beltane celebration. "Ok, at the last meeting we brought up the idea that we could have the Beltane fire at Rachel's house. Because of the secluded area she lives in , on the water we should not be interrupted by the local fire department again. Anybody here object to that?" Shannon looked around the room at the rest of the coven. Everybody agreed to this by shaking their heads. "Ok, Rhea. What is the status of the order for the new robes?"

Rhea pulled out her journal and looked at the confirmation for seven new robes ordered for April 15th."They should arrive by tomorrow. If the UPS man hasn't lost them. that is!"

"Maggie what is the status of the refreshments we agreed on?" Shannon said looking fondly at the girl on her left. Maggie had always been the sweet one. She was five foot two and married to Chuck Manning who was six foot four. They were comical together. They would come to Shannon's for a cookout in the summer and when Maggie would sit next to Chuck or on his lap she looked like a ventriloquist and his dummy. Shannon was waiting for Maggie to get her notes in order when she started feeling dizzy. She held on to the back of the chair waiting for it to go away. She noticed that Rachel was staring at her, so she tried to appear as if nothing were wrong.

She heard a buzzing noise in her head and everything got very small and then went black. When she woke up the paramedics were over her and she was lying on the floor. One was listening to her heart and another was starting an IV. "No!" She said quickly. "No needles, please!"

There was a look of concern on the paramedic's handsome face "if we don't start one now, they'll do it when we get you to the hospital." Shannon turned her head to look for Rachel. Spotting her in the corner she said " I'm fine, I'm not going to the hospital." The EMS looked at the robe Shannon and the others were wearing and shrugged, "Whatever you say. But you should call your doctor and make an appointment to see him."

Shannon trying to get rid of them agreed that she would call her doctor in the morning. After they left Rhea called an end to the meeting and told the rest of the group she would let them know about the next one. They each called Blessed Be to Shannon and filed out of the room.

Rhea turned on Shannon and growled "Ok, what is going on? And don't lie to me. You know I can tell when you do."

Shannon looked at her best friend and lost it! She started crying and couldn't stop. In between the sobs and the hiccups Rhea finally heard what Shannon was trying to tell her. Rhea just sat there on the sofa with her arms around Shannon and let her cry. This just wasn't happening, not again!

After she stopped crying and was blowing her nose Rhea asked her "Is he sure? Dr. Richardson is he sure?"

"Yes, he's sure" she said. "The bad part is, there is so much I still haven't done yet. Places I wanted to go. We talked about going to Ireland remember? My uncle wants me to come to Limmerick for a visit . I thought we could go to Stonehenge in England and then visit Ireland all in the same trip. I did so want to see Stonehenge." All that crying gave her a headache. She got up to get the aspirin rubbing her temples. Rhea feeling really concerned decided to spend the night with her friend. "Come on; let's get you home." She said as she guided her friend out the door of The Celtic Magick Shop. Tomorrow they would talk some more. Tomorrow would be better day!