Just a quick note: The scene at the Beltane Fires is unbelievable when the song called Murrow Turning Over In His Grave By Fleetwood Mac is playing in the background. It is on their new cd just released entitled Say You Will.

Beltane Fires - Chapter 10

When the girls arrived at Stonehenge the limo pulled to a stop and the chauffer came to open the door. One by one the girls got out and waited for Shannon to lead the way. She got out of the limo last and looked around her. Other covens came to join in the celebration, the place was swamped with men and woman alike. It seemed to Shannon that everyone who had ever worshipped the druids was here to celebrate Beltane. Robes and gowns of every color adorned the faithful. Tonight they would all be of the same coven. She gathered her group and started up the hill. A huge bonfire was lit just before the entrance to Stonehenge. Hundreds of Wicca were there preparing to worship their own deities. It was a little after eleven o'clock when the celebration finally got underway. Drums were softly playing and someone was playing an ancient dulcimer somewhere in the distance. The whole scene looked as if it was taking place thousands of years ago. Shannon called her group to order and they all joined hands in a small circle. She began by centering their energy through prayer" Mother, we call to you over the winds of this illustrious night. Hear our plea, we come here to worship just as the ancient ones did. On this first night of the new season we ask you for renewal. The earth that we love so much awakens from her long slumber of the cold and dark winter. We are here with you to share in her rising. Sweet Mother, hear my words and come to us, your ever loving devoted daughters. As always we are here to do your bidding." The chanting from the other covens mingled with theirs. Everyone there was rejoicing in the renewal of the earth for another season. The music softly became a melody that most were beginning to dance to. Shannon could see the faces of the hundreds of people there from the glow of the Beltane Fires .The tempo of the music started to increase and they started swaying to the beat. Some were turning slowly and than as the beat got faster so did the dancers. Some chose not to dance and instead remained in the shadows watching or praying on their own. To Shannon it was perfect. A man dressed in a dark blue robe similar to her own took her by the hand and started leading her into the steps of a dance. He was spinning her and swaying with her slowly. One of his arms wrapped around her waist, gently turning her this way and that in time with the music playing. She looked up into his face, it was a young face but his hair was silver almost white and he had on a crown of gold similar to the one she had seen Elrond wearing. His silver hair fell to his waist in the back and his eyes were the color of gray smoke. He looked down at Shannon and smiled .He laid his hand along her cheek, bent his head and softly kissed her on the lips never missing a beat to the music. That fast the kiss ended and he was gone. Shannon still dancing to the music moved closer to Rhea and her friends. The full moon hanging over the meadow below gave an eerie quality to the whole night. Shannon looked at all of the people gathered here for the same devotion and wanted this night to go on forever.

Elrond stood in the room he had given Shannon while she was here. He had intentionally left the lights out. In the dark he could imagine she was still here asleep in the bed. Standing at the one of the open archways leading to the balcony, his head leaning against the frame looking out over the land he claimed as Imladris. He thought about how she had left. Running away from him, as if he would have held her captive. The thought bothered him that she had felt the need to sneak away. Was she afraid of him? Didn't she realize that he was falling in love with her? Every woman he had ever loved had run away from him. First his wife, Celebrian. And now Shannon. What was it about him that made them run away? He hoped she had made it back to her own time all right. What would happen to her now? Would she just die? Would she suffer painfully? He prayed she would not. Suddenly the flash of light returned as if answering his questions, there was Shannon in another vision. She was dressed in a dark gown of deep blue and silver. Dancing by a fire somewhere. There were others dressed the same, the one he had come to know as Shannon's friend Rhea was there with her. He watched his love swaying to a dance of some kind. The woman was magnificent, her long hair flowing as she spun around in dance. Then he saw a man take Shannon into his arms and join in the dance. Elrond watched and clenched his fist as the man bent his head to kiss her. The bastard touched the woman that he thought of as his own. He would kill him if he were given the chance. He watched longer as the man disappeared and Shannon moved away. Then the vision was gone. Elrond still stood there looking out over the grounds glowing under the full moon and whispered her name "Shannon, come back please" he said sadly. He stayed there like that most of the night.

The next day Shannon and the rest of her group slept late. They had gotten back to the inn at dawn and had gone right to bed exhausted from the dancing and the excitement of the night. Rhea and Shannon would be taking the plane home tonight instead of going on to Ireland to see her relatives. Shannon had been getting noticeably weaker and felt she should get home as soon as possible. The rest of her friends were staying here for a couple of days and then they would be heading home too.

Their bags were packed and goodbyes were said. Rhea and Mrs. Miller's son were loading the bags in the little rental car. Shannon brought out the last bag and put it in the back seat. The rest of the group came pouring out the door for last minute hugs. Maggie came up to Shannon and wrapped her arms around her waist laying her head on Shannon chest." We'll be home in a couple days. Thanks for getting us to come here, call when you get home OK? We love you! " Shannon pulled gently away and looked down into the eyes of her short friend. "Gees Maggie, I'll be there when you get back, I promise!" She said laughing. Maggie blushed and said "Yeah, I know but I worry about you!" Shannon felt bad then, she hugged Maggie and whispered "don't worry about me. I'm fine sweetheart. We'll see you when you get home." Rhea got in the car and started the engine waiting for Shannon to get in. Then they were leaving with Shannon waving at the rest as they drove off. Rhea asked her if she wanted to go see the stones one last time. Shannon thought about it and quietly replied "No, it would only make me cry again. Knowing I can't go back there now. I only had until the end of the fires to come to a decision. And I chose this one." Rhea didn't say anything she reached across the seat and squeezed Shannon's hand for comfort, then drove to the airport.

The flight home was uneventful. Shannon couldn't wait to get home. As soon as she got there she opened all of the windows and aired the place out. Life would get back to normal now or so she thought. She woke up the next day burning up with a fever. She called Dr. Richardson who had her come to the office. After berating her for taking a vacation instead of starting chemo right away, he changed her medication again. Her white cell count was rising. They had to get it under control, and soon. He walked her to the clinic and started the first session of chemotherapy that day. No more waiting. She had driven herself to his office, but after the treatment she had Rhea come get her. She would be back later for her car. Rhea got her home and made her go to bed. Later that evening Shannon woke up to darkness. Her window was open and she could hear the waves breaking on the beach. Rhea had let her sleep through the afternoon. She slowly got out of bed hoping that the nausea would stay in check long enough for her to go to the bathroom. Rhea who had been sitting in the living room watching the TV came to the bathroom door. "Shannon , you ok?" she asked.
"Yes I'm fine. I had to pee!" she called. She slowly opened the bathroom door and came out. "I feel like crap! Thanks for staying Rhea just help yourself to anything here. I'm going back to bed. Ok?" Rhea helped her get settled back in the bed and turned out the lights, closing the door as she left. And so it began.

The months following their trip to Stonehenge were riddled with doctors, chemo, blood test and vomiting. Rhea and the rest of Shannon's friends took turns taking her to the sessions, staying with her at home and working the small Wicca shop she had in the city. They had all adjusted well to the changes in their friend's life. Maggie and Chuck were there on this day. Maggie was sitting at the kitchen table working at her laptop when Chuck came in from outside. He was mowing the grass and cleaning up the yard from a thunderstorm yesterday. Maggie glanced up and looked at the clock. It was time to fix Shannon some lunch. She may as well fix her husband a sandwich. With his appetite he would be begging soon anyway. She had brought Shannon a bowl of clam chowder and her favorite mint tea. Carrying the tray to the small table and setting it down she noticed Shannon was still sleeping. She walked over and whispered softly "Shannon? Shannon honey wake up. Lunch is ready" Her friend looked so peaceful lying there she hated to wake her to eat. But she had lost so much weight already that it was important for her to keep up her strength. She had to go tomorrow for another session of chemo, and that would be another day of forcing Shannon to eat. Miraculously Shannon had not lost too much of her hair yet and there was only a few strands lying loose on the pillow. Maggie stood there picking those off and throwing them in the waste can. "Shannon? Shannon come on now wake up." Maggie said a little louder. There was no answer. Maggie reached to shake her gently and realized Shannon's skin was cold. She started screaming for all she was worth "Chuck, Oh my god! Chuck get in here!" Chuck ran into the room and Maggie was holding Shannon in her arms crying. Shannon had died in her sleep.

Shannon was laid to rest a couple of days later. Her friends had dressed her at her bequest in the green robe her grandmother had made for her .Her red hair flowed over her shoulders and she looked beautiful. Her face was a lot thinner and looked drawn. But she still had that regal quality to her features that made you imagine she had once been a queen to people centuries ago. Instead of the usual flowers on top of her coffin her friends had elected to cover her body with the white rose petals she had loved so much. It was a small funeral with only the girls within the coven and a few customers who went to Shannon's Wicca shop attending. Rhea, Maggie and Chuck went to Shannon's cottage the next day and locked everything up tight. The lawyer she had hired would take care of everything.

Elrond knew something was different, he could feel it. He had been having visions since he had last seen Shannon dancing by the fire. He saw her with Rhea sitting in kitchen of her home, he had seen her from time to time walking on the beach. Then came the visions of her in bed sick again. What was happening to her? Had the time come when she would be too sick to connect to him in the visions? He believed the visions were Shannon's way of keeping in touch with him. And he was content with that, he had to be. But it had been sometime since the last one. Where was she? He had been pacing back and forth in the library for the last couple of hours thinking about Shannon. Feeling cooped up in the house he decided to go for a swim. He walked slowly to the pool still contemplating what might have happened. He prayed Luthien would come to him and tell him if it was over. He took off the robe and walked down the stairs into the pool. The warm water immediately started easing the tension in his neck. He floated there for sometime and relaxed, lately he had been too emotional, and it was taking it's toll on him. Feeling bored with staying there he decided to take a walk in the meadow down near the bridge where he had last seen her. He was almost to the path leading to the meadow when he saw her through the trees. He stood there in shock! Shannon was back, she was walking slowly through the meadow looking at the flowers around her feet. She bent to smell the petals brushing against her green robe. Elrond thought he was dreaming. Please, by all that is holy let her be real. He ran to where she stood and locked her in an embrace that would span all eternity. He looked down at her and smiled before softly kissing her lips. She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed, she was home.

It was cold out now, and Rhea walked slowly down the inner city street. Shannon had been dead now almost four months. And Rhea had found it hard to let her friend go. She had the keys to the Celtic Magick Shop in her hands. Shannon's lawyer had called a couple of and months ago and gave her the news. Shannon had left the little shop to Rhea in her will. She had given her little cottage to Maggie and Chuck who were now expecting their first child. She had divided the rest of her belongings to the rest of the coven. Rhea unlocked the door and went in. It smelled musty in there. No one had been in there since Shannon died, no one had the heart to go in. Rhea walked around the shop remembering the days she had spent here with Shannon and the other girls. They had been happy times until Shannon had gotten the news from the doctor. She turned and made her way upstairs to the meeting room where Shannon had been their priestess. She walked in and looked around. It felt empty now and lost. Rhea couldn't hold back the tears that started flowing down her cheeks. Her vision blurred from crying and she sat on the stairs in front of the altar. That's when she saw it! The picture that had been carved into the altar was gone. In it's place was another. It was Shannon ! Her best friend was walking down a path toward a group of hooded druids. A tall man in robes walked with his arm around her! Rhea not believing what she saw reached out and touched the moral, it was real all right on closer inspection she realized the man with Shannon had pointed ears. She smiled softly , Shannon had gone home to her elf! She gently touched the carving of Shannon and whispered "Navaer , my friend Navaer ..! "

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this story, it was deeply appreciated. Remember Beltane is May 1st. Be good to the earth on that and everyday that comes. Plant a tree, tweak an elf and Blessed Be.

Navaer (farewell)!