The Fae Worlds

Finding The Farm

Stories of Matlocke, and the other farms, were passed down from one generation to the next. No one knew, by the time those stories got to us, if they were true or not, until Leah started dreaming of the world as it could be. She shared those dreams with me, each one of them more real than the last. Eventually she made the decision she needed to go looking to see if she could find the reason for them. I, not wanting her to travel the world alone, chose to go with her, even though my family were all against the idea.
They’d never believed the farms were real. Dreams couldn’t convince them otherwise, while I was more open minded. Tom, my older brother, said it was wishful thinking, nothing more. People wanted the world to go back to how it was before, and he didn’t think it was possible. We’d taken magic for granted, so it was gone for good.
Even as I followed Leah across the country, to where she was certain Matlocke once was, his words stayed with me. I couldn’t be certain we’ be able to do anything to help Ieria, but I had to try. We’d always been very different, and I wasn’t the kind of person, who, knowing there was a chance, could walk away from it. Leah believed there was a reason she was having those dreams. Her belief was enough for me.
Pushing through the snow, every step a little harder than the one before, I kept going for her. As though she’d heard the thought Leah looked at me. “We’re close, Celeste.” Her hand tightened on mine. “I’m certain of it.”
Nodding, I slowly looked around, trying to see any sign of the town. The snow was deep enough it was impossible to tell if there had been buildings there at any point. Close wasn’t a distance, so we could easily have still been a mile or more away from the town, and have it still feel close to her. Yet the fact she said it gave me hope once more. We would find Matlocke. We would find the farm.
Finding the farm didn’t mean the hard work was over. Centuries had passed since the last of the magic faded, and the farm, if the buildings even still stood, was going to take time to fix up. We might just find an area of arable land, enough to change our lives forever, to build up into something. Although then we had the question of where it was we would get more seeds. Leah carried with her seeds given to her by her grandmother, the woman who’d told us stories of the farm when we were young, but it was barely enough for one season.
Had it been anyone else who had the dreams I wouldn’t have gone. Not with all the doubts I had in my head. We might have made one of the worst mistakes of our lives, but it was a mistake I was willing to make with Leah. She was special, in so many ways, and her unerring belief life was going to be better was one of the many reasons I’d fallen in love with her. Having someone in my life like her brightened the darkest of days.
Glancing at her, seeing her determination, I smiled, and it was then I tripped over something. Whatever it was lay deep in the snow. For a second the two of us looked at each other, before I knelt, not caring how cold the snow was, and started digging through it. By the time I reached the ground my gloves were soaked through, but there was a brick. With one hand I tugged at it, to find it wasn’t going to move, leading me to dig along what had once been a wall. At least I thought it had to have been a wall.
“Celeste.” Looking up, I found Leah looking at me with amusement brightening her eyes. “We need to keep going. If we have found Matlocke the farm isn’t going to be too far away.”
With one last look at the possible wall I stood. She reached out to take my hand once more, and I shook my head. “My gloves are soaked.”
Raising an eyebrow she entwined our fingers again. “It won’t be long until we get to where it is we’re supposed to be, and then we can both get warm.” She tugged me east, away from the wall we’d found, my mind turning again to the map we’d found. It was hidden deep in the archives, but showed us some of what we needed to know. “What do you think the building once was?”
I shrugged. “Possibly, as it was the first building we’d come across, it was on the outskirts of the town, so possibly the blacksmith.”
“Yeah, I was thinking something similar, although…” Leah looked around. “We know the blacksmiths often went underground, deep into mines full of a mix of things, and where we are I can’t see anywhere they might have been able to do that.”
“Any entrance could have been covered.” Her eyes met with mine for a moment. “The snow hides a lot, Leah, and he could have had his own entrance in the shop somewhere.” I nibbled my bottom lip. “The problem we have, the one we’ve always had, is we don’t know all that much about how life was before the magic died. There are stories, yes, but we don’t know for certain all the blacksmiths did go underground. It’s possible the Matlocke blacksmith bought his ores from others.”
“True.” She sighed, her attention back on where we were going, and I squeezed her hand. “I dreamt of going underground a couple of times. Nothing about it was easy. The magic… it’s been coming back for a long time, if what I saw was true, and it dangerous down there. More dangerous than it was before, which, if the stories are right, wasn’t exactly safe. Beings once thought extinct have returned.”
“Sweetheart…”
“Dreams aren’t reality. I know. People told me so many times.”
“Hey, you know me better. What we can’t be certain of, for now, is how many of those dreams are going to become our reality.” She glanced back at me, eyes grateful. “Some of those might be dreams of what others will do, when we’ve managed to rebuild the farm, because you’ll be the one to guide them.”
“Without you there to support me I’d have given up on this a long time ago, Celeste. Everyone else…” She shook her head, the two of us still pushing our way through the snow. “I can understand why they wouldn’t want to believe what I was saying. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe it, but then I had you, telling me I wasn’t wrong to hope for something more. I… what happens if we were both wrong?”
“Only cross the bridge if we come to it. You said we were close, so let’s find the farm. If that was the blacksmith’s then we know it was about a twenty minute walk, and we’re probably about halfway through it now, which means we shouldn’t be too far away.”
“No, we shouldn’t.” She breathed in deeply, before picking up the pace, my words having helped to give her the boost she needed. “The sooner we get there the sooner we know one way or another whether this was all for nothing.”
Falling silent I walked with her, muscles tense from the snow, until, finally, we reached what could only be the farm. In the snow were the remains of multiple buildings, along with some dead trees. There would be land under the snow somewhere, but getting to it would be complicated, and I knew it wasn’t what either of us hoped for.
Yet, for the first time, I was able to feel what Leah told me was there. The magic. As she stayed where she was I stepped onto the farm itself, and then… I have no words to describe any of what happened. How the magic seemed to sweep through me, like I was channelling it. Slowly, almost like it was tired, the magic worked to fix what it could, which was when Leah joined me. With our fingers entwined once more we seemed to give the magic more energy than it had before.
Almost unable to believe it was real I looked at Leah. She stared back at me, wonder in her eyes. Then, right when we thought it was over, the magic having done everything it could, she appeared in front of us. Anna, the guardian of the farms, who looked at the two of us with tears in her eyes.
“I was beginning to believe this was never going to happen.” She stepped forward, taking both our free hands in hers. “Thank you, Leah and Celeste, for making the long journey here, to begin the long task of bringing magic back to this world.”
Stronger than before the magic swept through the three of us. “How is this happening?” My voice shook slightly. “I didn’t think I was a part of this.”
“Oh, you are, love. I saw it so many times in my dreams, Celeste, but I didn’t want to scare you, because the farm…” Leah smiled. “It’s as much yours as it is mine. Without the two of us here this would have been a hundred times harder.”
Looking between the two of us, a tear trickling down her cheek, Anna nodded. “Leah’s right. She could have done this alone, but the magic’s been dormant for several years now, with no one above ground to use it. Waking it took the strength of two people who truly hoped to be able to do something to fix the damage done before. To be able to bring back the lost balance.” She smiled, using her shoulder to wipe her cheek. “You have a lot of work ahead of you.”
Breathing in deeply, trying to calm my emotions, I took the time to glance over the farm, seeing what it had become thanks to the three of us. Most of the buildings were still damaged, but the main cottage seemed to have been made whole once more. Some of the trees looked to have become alive, while others were still dead, and the land was visible.
“Magic is going to be a part of both your lives from this day forward. You have become a part of the farm, the way your ancestors would once have been, and the time will come when everything is whole once more.” Anna smiled. “Some of the trees will need to be replaced, but they’ll grow back quickly.”
“How are we going to replace anything, Anna?” The words were out before I could stop them. “Everything is gone.”
“Not everything, Celeste.” Letting go of Leah’s hand she led us toward the cottage. “We prepared for this as best we could, when we realised what was coming, and how those who chose to come to the farms would need help. In the cottage is some of what you need. The rest will come, with time. You’ll learn what it means to have been chosen by one of them.”
“Will the magic affect us?” Leah sounded uncertain for the first time in months. “Does choosing to live here change us?”
“In a way it will, but it’s not something to be afraid of. Magic… it’s complicated, and I’ve been dead for a long time now, so this probably isn’t the best time for me to be trying to explain how it all works.” I stared at the back of her head, and she looked back at me, smiling once more. “Yeah, I know. Being what I am is as complicated as the magic. I’m glad you’re both here, and I’m here, but it’s going to take some time to come to terms with all of this.”