We offer great services at great rates. Quality work done just for you.Visit our website to see what we do for you.
The Magic of Avalon Eyrelin by Mina Marial Nicoli is getting an overhaul. It has a new cover (book cover art supplied by Lorraine Hall), and it will be undergoing a new edit soon to release a new edition within the next year. Stay tuned, more to come on this as things progress.
Nym entered the world in a swirl of celebration. The event of his birth was ample cause for the Oosah tribe to rejoice – as they had when each of the elder siblings of this youngest prince were born. Nym’s parents, Prince Nok and Princess Ena, were the leaders of their tribe, and so it was with great joy that the Oosah tribe welcomed the newest addition to the royal family.
The trees of their redwood forest village were bedecked with fairy lights, courtesy of the friendly fairies that shared the forest with the tribe. Additionally, the fairies had caused droplets of dew to form in the night on every frond of every tree in the area, so that the entire forest sparkled in the morning sunlight as though it were covered in dazzling gems. Even the birds chirped their welcome to the new little prince.
In the magical world of Merellian, where this forest grew, the world was a rainbow of color, and so each of the redwood trees was a different vibrant hue. These trees’ fronds ranged from sunshine yellow, on through the entire green spectrum, the blue spectrum, and into the violet. Only the furry, snarly redwood bark was in the red ranges of color, and they were every shade of red from fuchsia through magenta, and even into the burnt sienna and brown tones. All of this color dazzled the eyes of the newborn baby Nemor.
The Oosah tribe were a tribe of Nemors. Nemors were furry creatures in a wide range of colors, who mostly resembled raccoons from our world, but also had something rather doggy hinting around the eyes and muzzles. Their eyes were large and soulful, like a basset hound’s, only in as wide a variety of colors as that of Nemor fur. Those eyes were all surrounded by the dark raccoon mask. Some of the elder Nemors had grizzly moustaches and beards, very similar to those of a terrier.
Little Nym was a lovely shade of Cerulean blue with navy stripes and a matching mask. His soulful eyes were a deep violet. His parents could not be happier with his coloring. His mother, Princess Ena, cuddled him in her rosy pink-furred arms, and she held out a finger for Nym to grasp, taking note that he had all four fingers and a thumb to grasp her finger with. Being newborn, Nym was as tiny as a little Yorkshire terrier dog, but he had awoken to the world with bright eyes and a happy expression.
Nym’s father, Prince Nok, stood nearby, observing his new son from a little more distance. Nok brushed his purple hair out of his eyes and gazed in only partially-dimmed wonder at his new child. Nym’s siblings were also nearby, although less interested in the new baby, as they chased each other around the tree trunks off to one side. Little lavender Ada was finally swept up in the black-furred arms of her big brother, Ono, and the chase ended. A stern look from their father made Ono put Ada down so swiftly she almost stumbled, and they meekly came over to join the rest of the group. Now, the Welcoming of New Life ceremony would begin.
Princess Ena went and sat in her royal chair in front of the hut she shared with her husband and children, and Prince Nok seated himself in his royal chair beside her. Baby Nym cooed in Ena’s arms as the ceremony finally started. First came the fairies, in a procession up the center pathway to the chairs. There were dozens of them all floating and flitting in an uneven line. Between them, they carried beautiful glass chalices brimming with nectar which they had made for the tribe as a gift for the birth of the new prince. Using their magic, they caused a light, airy, musical melody to waft through the trees in a breezy way. The dewdrops sparkled and everyone was smiling.
After the fairies came the head tribespeople, carrying gifts of their own: musical instruments made from fallen tree branches, the wood of these both rosy and polished; handmade tools for digging, scraping, and sawing; weapons for Prince Nok that consisted of mostly bows and arrows; wooden bowls, cups, and tableware for Ena, and more. Following the gifts came some of the tribespeople acting as performers. A Nemor over the age of two years old could breathe fire. It was usually a response to fear or anger, but some Nemors were able to control it and do it whenever they liked. Fire breathing while dancing was complicated and difficult, but these Nemors performed it beautifully, both their bodies and their flames swirling and spinning around without catching anything alight.
The fairies stayed well back to the sidelines during this performance. Their two greatest fears were fire and flood – the two main threats to their home in the forest. Nemors had the gift of fire, knew earth magic, and were able to control some of the water in the river. Fairies had water magic and a little earth magic, but no fire magic. The Nemors only controlled some of the water in the river because there was a clan of Ogres nearby – the Bogli clan, ruled over by King Gogul. The Ogres controlled the other part of the river, and where the Ogres had control, the Nemors could not influence.
The Ogres hated the Nemors, and so the Bogli clan was always laying traps for the Oosah tribe, trying to catch a Nemor or two, trying to ambush them, injure them, or further complicate the lives of the Nemors. To defend themselves, Prince Nok always had the perimeters of their village guarded with Nemor sentries. So far, it had been enough. Nok knew, however, that one day, it wouldn’t be – the Bogli would make a move, and who knew how things would end up, then. This was never far from Nok’s mind, although it was a bit more distant at this moment than usual. Still, the guards were at their posts, even during celebrations. Perhaps they would be safe enough for the time being.
Ena cuddled Nym in her arms while she enjoyed the fire show, and at first, Nym’s eyes had widened and sparkled when they began to breathe fire. But as the show went on, his eyes slowly closed, and the baby Nemor dozed.
Nemors are quick to develop, and within days after his birth, Nym was bouncing and bumbling around the forest near his family’s hut. His siblings, Ada and Ono, were very gentle with him, and they were instantly charmed by this little blue ball of fur. In very short time, Ada had Nym piggybacking with her while she ran all over the village, saying hello to everyone they met. Other times, it would be Ono carrying Nym around, although Ono was far more serious than Ada, and more inclined to frown. Ono also did not greet the people of the village as joyfully as Ada did. He was more somber and tried to carry himself like an adult. Even so, it was rare, indeed, when Nym couldn’t make Ono smile by being playful.
Nym loved to romp. He loved to bounce on the moss and soft earth of the forest floor. He loved to jump into the ferny bushes that were everywhere around them, and then pop out at his siblings, trying to surprise them. He was a lighthearted, perfect Nemor infant, and everyone instantly loved him. Even the fairies took an interest in him, bringing him small flowers and ferns and sticks to play with, and laughing at his antics and the cute little cooing sounds he made when they brought him something new.
Within a month, Nym had said his first word – snake. He had been told repeatedly about snakes, and his mother had brought him a few to play with. They weren’t really just to play with, however – as always with mothers, there was a lesson to be learned. Nemors were gifted with the ability to put snakes and other reptiles into trances and even to cause them to sleep. Because of this, snakes were not a danger to a baby Nemor the way they might have been to a human child. Nym was not merely meant to play with these snakes, but was intended to practice enchanting them. Princess Ena showed him how, and Nym paid very close attention while she demonstrated.
“First, Nym,” she said, “you get the snake to watch you – like this.”
She made eye contact with the snake and held it. When she moved her head to the left, the snake moved its head to the left; when she moved it to the right, the snake also moved to the right.
“Then,” she said, “you slowly lower your hand like this.”
She brought her little hand up to chest level and then lowered it slowly, with the wrist turned up and the palm open. The snake’s gaze went from her face to her hand and followed its downward motion. As her hand reached the bottom of its arc, the snake’s head was only inches from the ground, level with her hand, and the snake had its eyes locked onto it.
“Now,” she said energetically, “you follow through with the other hand!”
So swift it was like a blur of motion, she brought her other hand down from above in a long swinging arc, simultaneously darting her lowered hand down and forward so that it slid under the snake’s chin. The falling second hand came down smoothly on top of the snake’s head, and then she was holding the snake’s head, top and bottom, between her two hands. The impact of the dropping hand was a light slap, but the moment her two hands closed around the snake’s head, the snake was enchanted. She gently rocked her hands from side to side, and the snake moved effortlessly with her, drifting down into sleep. Once it was asleep, she gently set its head on the ground and let it doze.
Ena looked at Nym, then, and saw his jaw had dropped open and his eyes were sparkling with excitement.
She laughed and said, “Now you try, Nym. Choose a snake.”
Nym looked at the snakes around him, and choosing a light pastel violet one near him, he said, “Snake.”
And there was his first word.
Ena laughed again, delighted that he had spoken, and said, “Yes, snake. That one will do. Now, we will go through it again. Make eye contact with it, Nym.”
Nym was so quick to learn to enchant the snakes that Ena was rather surprised. Yes, it was a natural talent for Nemors to be able to do this, but no Nemor she had ever known of had learned it as quickly as Nym did. Nym succeeded on his very first try, and did not require his mother to help him or walk him through it again – the single demonstration she had given was ample instruction for him, and he instantly mastered the technique of it. Even his older siblings and his father were impressed with the speed at which he picked up the knack for it. Within less than five minutes, Nym had put all of the snakes that had been brought for him into deep slumbers, and the snakes did not awaken for over an hour. The whole village raved over his unusual level of talent.
Things went on very smoothly for a while. The only discord in little Nym’s world was the occasional tribal meetings that his father attended, which increased in frequency as the months went by, and caused his father to come home a bit grizzled around the edges with stress. Nym didn’t know why for a long time, as no one talked to him about it. But he certainly picked up on the tensions, being a feeling creature as he was.
The tribespeople were becoming increasingly tense as Gogul, the king of the Bogli clan of Ogres set more and more harmful traps for the Nemors. While foraging for food for the village, one Nemor had a big stone fall on him and he nearly lost consciousness. Luckily, he had been near the Nemor tribal border, and one of the Nemor guards came swiftly to his aid, dragging him back across the line and into the village. Another Nemor, while hunting for small game, fell into a hole that had been camouflaged with fern fronds, and had spent the better part of an hour bellowing for someone to help him. That had been a close call, for as the Nemors were reaching him and pulling him out, a horde of Ogres came storming down on them and they had had to run for their lives back to the village.
Some days, the Ogres were everywhere around the village – behind tree trunks, hiding behind rocks, hanging out in the branches of the trees; but on other days, there was not a single one to be seen. And one time, one Nemor accidentally stumbled on the Ogres having a meeting and talking about roasting the village alive. That Nemor barely got away with his life, and would not have gotten away at all, had the Ogres seen him. The world they lived in was becoming increasingly dangerous, and no one had a good solution other than possible relocation, which no one would agree to. The Nemors loved their home and refused to abandon their village.
Of course – as these things must – one day, the actual confrontation arrived, and it was a very dark day, indeed. One of the Oosah tribal guards messed up, and that started it all. The Nemor had been up half the night drinking nectar with his friends, and so he had not gone to his post well-rested. Within only hours after taking up his guarding position, he had dozed off to sleep and was snoring. The Bogli clan chose that opportunity to finally make their move. On that day, the Ogres had gathered together and were all in a pack near the Nemor border. Only one Ogre was paying attention to the guard, but it only took the one to notify all the others when the guard slept, and they rushed over the border and into the village.
Using their water magic, the Ogres called up half the river and flooded the village. Frantic and confused Nemors were running in every direction. Nym escaped drowning only because his sister Ada snatched him up and dragged him up into a tree.
Where is Ono? Ada wondered frantically, Where are Mother and Father?
A few moments later, Ada and Nym spotted Ono in another tree some distance away, and were comforted that he was at least as safe as they were – for the moment. The water receded and the forest steamed as the moisture evaporated out of the forest; yet still, they knew it was not safe to leave their positions of safety. Shortly after that, they saw their parents, Ena and Nok, along with a large group of tribespeople, rush toward the Ogres and begin breathing fire at them. The Ogres crouched back, but it was too late. The forest began to burn. The fairies, meanwhile, had fled the village – although feeling ashamed and cowardly for doing so, they could not face both of their worst fears – fire and flood – at the same time. They were terrified, with the fire, over the possibility that their little, delicate wings would burn like candle wicks.
The blaze of the fire was consuming everything in its path. Huts were torches sticking up out of the ground, ferns were tinder, and then the fire began to crawl up the trees. Nearly too late, Ada realized that she and Nym were no longer safe in the tree. The fire was just about to jump from the next tree over, and so she grabbed Nym and raced down the tree trunk with him. Reaching the bottom, she shoved Nym down into a small hole under the roots of the tree, and, gathering stones from around the tree, she quickly covered the hole with the stones to keep the smoke from going into the hole.
Feeling that at least Nym was safe for the moment, Ada went up into another tree. She realized that she had lost sight of every other Nemor – or Ogre, for that matter – and she made the mistake of being so distracted in looking around her that she failed to notice when flying sparks from another nearby tree set her own tree alight.
Nym laid huddled in the hole under the roots in terror. The air in the hole was dark, dank, and stuffy, and he felt as though he could not breathe. He was too scared to move, however. It felt like it had been an eternity since Ada had put him in there. Hours had passed. Hours and hours. Lying tensely in that black hole, he could hear the forest continuing to burn all around him – at first, it was close-by; but as time went by, it gradually moved further away. Finally, still too frightened to have attempted an escape – with his tummy rumbling in hunger, and wondering with fear where his Mommy was – feeling too tired to stand it anymore, the baby Nemor fell asleep.
Nym slept well into the night, and was finally awakened by a glimmer of light and a scratching sound at the stones covering the hole he was lying in. With a mixture of fear and hope, he realized that the stones were being moved. As he came more fully awake, he remembered, with returning terror, where he was and how he came to be there. Little Nym’s throat felt like it was closing up, and he felt that he could not move for fear as the stones shifted in front of him.
What if it is one of the Ogres? He wondered in terror.
A single stone finally toppled all the way out just after he had this thought, and Nym saw, then, that the light that came into view was a fairy-lamp. Several tiny faces peered in at him in the hole.
Nym’s relief was profound.
The fairies pulled more stones away from the opening until it entirely cleared. After a few moments of encouragement from the fairies, Nym finally wriggled out of the hole under the roots of a tree that had been reduced to a vertical stick of cinder. The world he saw in the circumference of the fairy-lamps was an unrecognizable blackened husk of the one he had known before all of this. He could not reconcile that view with his home. The place held a feeling of absolute emptiness, and he knew that, other than the fairies, he was alone. They were all gone – every Nemor and Ogre. Being too young to understand death, he did not know where they might have gone to – and some of them might have escaped. What he did know was that he missed his mother, father, and siblings. He could see their faces in his mind every time he closed his eyes.
Nudging and cooing at him, the fairies were finally able to lead Nym to the edge of the burned wreckage of the forest. As he followed them, he could hear the distant hiss and pop of the fire still raging somewhere further off in the deep woods.
Once out of the forest, the fairies took him far away.
Sometimes using magic, they lifted and carried him; other times, they let him bumble around on his own as long as he was going in the right direction. They took him into another forest, out of that one, and into yet another one – ever travelling southward.
Finally, they reached the edge of a poplar forest. A little way along the edge of this wood stood a large, ancient, cathedral-like building. The fairies sensed huge amounts of magic throughout the building, and they decided to stop there. As long as that building stood, the fairies never left it again.
Nym was with them there for a little over six months, and played in the trees every day. He lived on the nectar of the fairies, but always felt homesick despite the sweetness of their brew. Sometimes, he remembered his sister, his brother, his parents, and he wondered where they were, or whether he would ever see them again. He felt like the last of his kind – alone, rather friendless – despite his fairy friends.
Most of all, he felt a deep longing for family.
And then, one sunny day when Nym was one year old, a little human girl came through a magical doorway between worlds and found him in the trees. She came with love and jelly beans, and she became the family Nym needed so much. Her name was Avalon Eyrelin – Ava, who would take Nym all the way across Merellian to fight an evil that threatened the land; Ava, who would love, nurture, and keep Nym safe – and he, in return, would save her; Ava, who, at long last, would eventually help him to find his lost people once again.
~ February 11, 2017, Copyright @MinaMarial
There once was a little girl whose eyes twinkled like sapphires, and whose heart shone like the very bright sun. There was also a little boy whose smile was mischievous, yet open, and full of fun. The two of them played every day, soaking up the sunshine as they ran over fields and glades, playing in forests and on hillsides. Streams were especially fun for these two children, as they had a frog friend who told them tales. This is one of the tales the frog told them one day:
Once, down in a deep blue lake, there lived a mermaid. But this was not a mermaid as you have ever heard of one, she was tiny and lived in a carbuncle encrusted hermit crab shell. She pushed her upper body out of the shell to look about the underwater world, and by pushing with her freshwater slug foot, she could stroll along the bottom of the lake. She was very deep down, and that is how no human had ever seen her. The sunlight barely reached her. Every night she would go into a hollow under a large rock to sleep, but during the day, she would come out to see the blue, filtered sunlight rippling in light, wavy streamers along the lake floor.
Her best friend was a large blue fish who had lived his whole life in that lake, and he brought her trinkets every day from the shallows – the shells of other creatures, water weeds to make her hammock bed under the stone with, flowers that grow underwater to put into her hair. Sometimes he brought her pretty stones he found along the shore, and she had piles of odds and ends around the opening to her cave that he had brought her, carrying each one in his mouth to her and giving it as an offering or a gift. The fish’s name was Brock, and the mermaid’s name was Aisling.
Sometimes, in the warmest part of the afternoon, when the lakewater was really comfortable, Brock would let Aisling ride on his back while he swam around. This suited them both very well and they spent a lot of time laughing and chatting and finding trinkets to take back to her cave.
One day, when they were swimming together, though, disaster struck.
Brock had taken Aisling up near the surface of the water so that she could see the sky better, but a boy in a boat had seen them. Reaching down into the water quickly, the boy snatched up the beautiful creature in her jewelled shell. Brock tried to follow, but being a fish, he could only jump so far out of the water, and truly did not want to jump into the boat where he knew he would die. He wanted to save Aisling, however, and he swam around and around the boat so fast that it started to spin in the whirlpool he was creating. He was a very large fish, after all.
The boy was in the boat by himself, and when the boat started to spin, he panicked and dropped the shell to the bottom of the boat and grabbed one of the oars from the same area. The boy then began to try to beat the fish with it. Aisling, using the distraction to her advantage, heaved and pulled herself up onto the lip of the boat and was about to jump into the safety of the water, when the boy saw that he was about to lose his prize and dropped the oar to grab at the shell. Brock, also, saw what was happening and jumped up near Aisling to assist her. Alas, he missed, and the boy snatched the mermaid just as she was jumping.
With Aisling in one hand and an oar in the other, the boy tried to row for shore. Brock did everything he could to stop him, swimming around the boat in circles, bumping it when he could. Just before the boat reached the shore, Brock succeeded in knocking the boat hard enough to flip it over and drop both the boy and the mermaid into the shallows of the lake.
In the fall, the boy dropped the mermaid, and she scuttled underwater toward the deeper part of the lake. The boy saw her escaping and scrambled to catch her again, but Brock interfered, this time meaning business. Brock bit the boy in the seat of his pants, causing the boy to cry out and stop his pursuit. Aisling got away, and moments later, Brock swam under her and carried her back to her rock at the bottom of the lake.
The mermaid and the fish considered the situation a close call, and they laughed nervously about it for the rest of the afternoon. However, they did not know that the boy had gone ashore to a cabin on the lake where he was staying and told his whole family about the mermaid and the fish that had beaten him, showing them the bite on his bottom with embarrassment. He was more anxious than ever to get the mermaid back again, so he was willing to go through any mortification.
The following day, the father took an even larger boat than the boy’s boat had been and rowed out to the middle of the lake. Not knowing what mermaids eat, he did not know what to bait his line with, and tried everything he could think of, to no avail. Finally, he decided to bait his hook with his wife’s pearls, which he figured no mermaid could resist, especially not one with a jewelled shell, which said plainly to him that she would appreciate such things.
Down went the hook with the pearls and the line followed after. It went all the way down to the bottom of the lake, and just happened to land right in front of Aisling’s cave. Aisling sat in her cave and watched the pearls come. They were so beautiful, but she knew it was a trap. She really wanted those pearls, though, and so she reasoned with herself that if she could just gently work them off the hook, she could get the pearls and the man would pull up his line empty. So she went to the pearls and started to gently unwrap them from the hook.
Now, the man was paying very close attention to the behavior of his line and the tension on his fishing rod, and he felt her maneuverings. He was a skilled fisherman. With a quick snap, he reeled her in very fast. As Aisling, tangled in the pearls, flew toward the surface of the water, she regretted her desire for the necklace and knew that it was no one’s fault but her own that she was now caught.
In the instant before she broke through the water’s surface, just as the man was beginning with awe to see the beautiful glimmerings of the jewels on her shell, Brock came from out of seemingly nowhere and snapped at the hook with his strong jaws! Alas, although his attack had set Aisling loose, the hook embedded into Brock’s mouth and the man pulled the fish out of the water instead of the mermaid. He pulled the hook out of his mouth and set Brock in the bottom of the boat.
Before the man could turn back around to try again for the mermaid, she had jumped onto the boat rail using the upward motion of the water when he pulled the fish out. She began to plead tearfully with the man for her friend’s life. She promised that he could keep her if he put the fish back in the water. She wept in heartbreak as she looked on Brock, dying in the bottom of the boat. The man was not heartless, and moved by the tears of a maiden, no matter how small, he returned the fish to the water. Aisling watched Brock return to the water and saw that he was still alive with a sense of true relief.
Holding to her word, Aisling moved toward the man along the boat rail, intending to give herself up to him. The man observed her beauty, and her gorgeous carbuncle encrusted shell, but thought it such a pity to see such a lovely lady weeping. He gently picked her up in his two hands, being very careful and delicate with her, and then, leaning over the boat railing, he set her in the water and released her.
Brock rushed up and caught her on his back, and they surfaced for a moment. Aisling sang her thanks to the man for letting them go, and blessed him and his children for his kind heart. Brock then took Aisling back down to her rock at the bottom of the lake, and from that day on, they were more careful never to be seen by men or boys, or by anyone in a boat.
The man went back to the cabin, and to his family. They were on vacation that day, but the man was a fisherman by trade in his small fishing village a few miles away from the lake. From that day on, the fishing was good, there was plenty to eat, and he knew he truly was blessed by the mermaid. He knew for the rest of his life that he had made the right choice.
The frog closed his story to the two children like this: “I knew this mermaid, and I knew the fisherman. Both are still happy to this day.”
Written for Ramona Fricosu, friend and fellow writer/creator
Copyright Mina Marial Nicoli January 2017