…The Clan of the Raven has withdrawn to the hills, to a high place in the sacred lands, nearer the centre.
Their fires are dead, their hearths are cold, the hilltop silent under the moon.
Others not known to the Gods
Others who would abuse the knowledge and the power of this sacred place
…Their campfires burn beyond the far hill, a day’s sight from here, they herald both an ending and a beginning.
Within the walls of this highest place, where they have lived in peace, lie deep secrets.
Envy has brought the others.
They do not know as we know.
They are not ready to read the heart of the Land…
…The Clan withdrew, beyond sight.
The walls and palisade are stacked with oil-drenched wood.
The bowl shattered into a thousand shards.
The blade is broken.
The sacred flame extinguished.
Only the crackling blaze before them remains…
…The Lady of the Rowan Crown smiles encouragement and nods her head.
The girl-child, seeded with knowledge and Knowing gasps in smoky grief.
The Guardian passes her the flaming brand.
Blinded by tears, yet she smiles at those who stand beyond the flames, the two and the arc of those who remain with them, ghosts already in the twilit darkness.
She turns, supported by the Guardian and thrusts the brand into the tinder.
The flames crackle and leap, high, into the night sky…