Lettie and I are finally moving into the cottage today. Business is booming, or should that be blooming? Joe kindly did a little maintenance around the flat and we paid up in full and handed the keys over to a very happy landlord, he thinks he can increase the rental value of the property now that the maintenance work is all done and he has spare cash to redecorate from the rent arrears we gave him. We don’t have much to do in the cottage other than move boxes in, unpack and tidy things away, which is probably a good thing as the business has a busy day ahead. Things have taken off really well over the past week. It was very slow at first but our floral therapy bouquets are …well.. we can barely keep up with the demand for them. We had a small add in the local paper the first week and got a few orders in and a few people came by the cottage to buy directly from us. Word of mouth is powerful advertising it seems. Our sales trebled in the second week and we’ve trebled those again this week. I’m in charge of the shop and stock today while Lettie is off out and about buying seeds and bulbs and root stock so we can start growing our own selection of flowers. We have been surprised by the amount of people choosing our purple bouquet, it seems people can be intuitive to the hidden meanings of colours even when they have not studied or trained. Purple is a powerful healing colour which promotes restful sleep and natural healing and most of our orders are being sent to hospital wards. Oh, incidentally, we’ve called the shop ‘Flower Power’.
I am exhausted! I ran out of stock by mid afternoon with a further 20 orders still to fill. Thankfully the local shops still had plenty of stock for me to unwrap , rearrange, enchant and wrap up again. I don’t know how much longer we can manage just on ordered stock, we really need to get our flower garden up and blooming as quick as we can. Lettie’s been studying hard with the books we picked up for her that go along with the courses she has qualifications in, poor thing is dead on her feet this evening too with that and hiking around to find suppliers. We are having a ton of seed and root stock and bulbs delivered over the following weeks. Thankfully Joe and Agnes will be able to help us out when they arrive to get us planted up and organised. Joe’s crops are already in and growing well and supplying their part of the farm shop quite nicely. Just as well as we had an order just this week to see if we could manage an arrangement in vegetables as the patient was a hayfever sufferer. Purple sprouting broccoli (not to be confused with calabrese), red cabbage leaves and a few florets of cauliflower later and one non-allergic healthful bouquet was made. Speaking of hayfever, I am coming into my nickname of sneeze quite well, I hope that prolonged exposure will increase my resistance though. Oh I forgot to mention, now I am thinking of the farm shop side again, Joe and Agnes named it Veggie Might. Business is going great for them too, you see? the power of names is effective. (Incidentally the numerology of Flower Power is three and the numerology for Veggie Might is four!)
Evening falls and we eat lightly as we know we don’t want too much on our stomachs in preparation for flight training with Quoth. He was quite stern and a little offensive about it actually. But that’s Quoth. I am tempted to force a polymorph on him and transform him into a turnip or something. And yes Quoth, your bum DOES look big in that. Joe has found a spot close to the cottage which is quiet and visited infrequently so we have moved my granite altar up from its old home. We consecrated it at the last full moon so it has had a full cycle of empowerment under moonlight ready for us to use it tonight.
We cast the circle and invite the Guardians of the Watchtowers to join us and protect us. We transform individually into small birds, I chose a sparrow, Agnes a wren, Joe his familiar raven. Lettie, it being her first time, looks at each of us carefully and then picks another bird entirely. She chooses a grey partridge. We ask her why she chose it and she tells us it was her favourite bird to catch as a fox, plump and filling, she wanted to know the bird from the inside and alive, to feel its heart beating in her chest rather than pumping out its life blood as she tore its throat. Can’t argue with that I suppose.
We’re all set, we do a last preen of our feathers to check we’re all shipshape under Quoth’s watchful eyes. We do a warm up as instructed by Quoth.. I swear I have only ever seen birds doing these sorts of moves on Chicken Run. He’s pushing his luck, any second now he’s going to find himself facing life as a turnip! I heard that thought young lady, on the floor and give me 20 push ups right now! That does it! Fuelled by irritation I flap my wings and leap at Quoth… and I continue flapping my wings and discover I am actually flying.. well, I was until I realised it at which point I stopped flapping to look around me and plummeted back down to earth. Yes, go on Quoth, have a good laugh while you can you mangy little pipsqueak! I calm down as his laughing slows to a stop and realise that he had been winding me up to goad me into flying at him quite literally.
Now that everyone has seen how the goading works in getting us riled up enough to launch ourselves the rest let their controls down and allow themselves to be goaded to boiling point. Soon we are all fully fledged members of the avian society. We congratulate each other and thank Quoth for his odd but effective teaching methods. We turn to thank the Guardians for protecting us in preparation for closing the circle, but as we do, Paralda, Queen of Air, approaches us from her throne. I have never seen the Guardians move let alone cross into the realm of the circle itself!
“I have a task for you, as do each of my fellow Guardians. You have proved yourselves capable as a group of transforming yourself into chosen forms, now we would ask you to transform into forms of our choosing. We want you to conduct yourselves in these forms in your world without causing harm or destruction or fear in anyone or anything, you must only do neutral or positive acts. If you can do this for us, we will reward you with our powers added to yours even when you are outside of your circle, you will have a permanent conduit to us, something no mortal has had since the early days of your existence.”
This is a huge offer from the Guardians. My stomach knots and my head whirls trying to imagine what they might wish us to transform into. My companions are also agitated.
“The forms you will take will not be visible to your world, have no fear on that account, you will be as the elementals themselves, unseen yet working in the world for the benefit of a few or all. You will each take the form of each elemental in turn for four days and four nights between now and the next Esbat. You will each start with your own element and work around the compass points taking on the form of your waning element, your opposing element and finally your waxing elements. You know the order in which you each need to do this. Let us now thank YOU for this opportunity to walk in your world again.” Each Guardian walks up to us and bows to each of us in turn and then they depart leaving us quite stunned and anxious. I close the circle quickly and we hurry back to the cottage to talk about this immense opportunity before us, to plan out how we can each perform the task given to us by the Guardians.