The Beginning

Submitted into Contest #205 in response to: Start your story during a full moon night.... view prompt


Fantasy Coming of Age Gay

“Come on, Aine! We’re gonna be late! Mother won’t be pleased!”

The wind carries Maeve’s admonishment through the trees, where I follow just a few paces behind. Ignoring the comment, I continue through the forest, focused on reaching the clearing some ways ahead. Just enough moonlight filters through the canopy of leaves above to enable our journey. We are indeed running a little late. Considering this is supposed to be the most important night of my life thus far, I may have spent just a little too much time getting ready and put us a little behind schedule.

Worth it, I think to myself as we enter the clearing. The silvery light from the full moon illuminates the group of women in raven cloaks placing candles in a circle—the light glints off the tools lined up on the altar in the middle. In the midst, I recognize my mother’s athame by its handle, carved from blackthorn and inlaid with garnets.  The triple moon design seemed to glow from within.

As Maeve walks toward the women huddled in the middle (no doubt seeking out our mother), I scan the group, searching until finally, my eyes land on a figure near the eastern part of the circle. She turns, her grey eyes meet mine, and she smiles and starts over. Although there was no way she wouldn’t be here, I felt a wave of relief anyway. Cara has been my friend, my best friend since we were toddlers; we’ve gone through everything together. And tonight will be no different.

“Are you ready?” she asks as she walks up to me. Her ebony hair is down beneath her hood, curling wildly, framing her round face.

“As I’ll ever be, I suppose.” We turn and start walking toward the circle of candles, and suddenly my nerves get the better of me. “It’s just…” I don’t know if I can bring myself to say it. Growing up the way we have, I know the power of words, and I somehow feel like expressing this fear will make it come true.

“Tell me. What are you afraid of, Aine?” Cara places an ivory hand on my shoulder and gently turns me to face her. “Tell me.”

“It’s just, what if we get up there, do this whole thing, and…nothing happens? We have been preparing years for this; what if I get up there, do the thing, do everything right, and…and nothing? I lay awake at night thinking about it. I know it’s rare, but it DOES happen. And I just…what if it happens to me?”

“Aine, that won’t happen to you! Do you forget that I’ve seen you practice? Your talent is there, your gift for the craft, it’s apparent in all that you do.” Cara hugs me tight, and I am enveloped in the scents of lavender and patchouli. A little jolt of electricity runs through my body at the contact. I hold on to it for a second, then let it go, as I’ve been doing for the last year. Not the time for exploring whatever THAT means, especially tonight.

At that thought, Mother’s voice cuts through the various conversations to announce the beginning of the night’s ceremony. As I take my place within the circle, near the rest of the girls coming of age, I see Maeve moving to the North side of the circle. She wears her affinity for the Earth proudly, vining flower tattoos snaking up from her fingers, trailing up her arms. She's almost the element personified with hair the color of freshly turned earth and moss-colored eyes. I bet Maeve never questioned if she belonged.

My thoughts are interrupted again by my mother’s voice.

             “Ladies! Welcome. As we all know, this night is a very special one. After I cast the circle this night, all of our young women will take the next step on their paths. The Invocation isn’t something to be done lightly. By invoking the Goddess, you are bringing her into you, allowing her to use you as a vessel for her power.” As she speaks, she scans the crowd and makes eye contact with each of us. When her eyes reach mine, they soften, and I can see the smile behind them. I take her in for a moment.

             Her hood has fallen, and as she walks the circle, the moonlight reflects off her auburn hair. Where Maeve’s eyes are moss, Mother’s are a deep, emerald green. It makes me more than a little self-conscious, if I’m honest, being surrounded by such beauty.

             I’ve done my best tonight, using makeup to enhance my boring brown eyes, and it doesn’t look too bad. And although I have worked my hair into some decent “beachy waves,” there wasn’t enough time to do anything about the color. It’s not a bad color, per se; however, it doesn’t compare to the richness in Maeve’s or the beautiful red tones in Mothers. Just…brown and boring. Cara calls the color chestnut. I call it mousy.

             Finally, mother is ready to cast the circle. As she picks up her athame, a tingle of anticipation starts to form. As she calls to the guardians of each element, I can feel the energy build. Using the knife to direct the flow, she walks clockwise round the circle. The energy in the circle is getting higher by the second. I can feel it coursing through the air. It envelopes me and runs through my veins all at once. When she makes it back to the beginning, she heads to the middle of the circle to call Spirit and asks it to join our circle. And as she does, the flame on every candle soars in answer as Spirit arrives. For a moment, only a split second really, the energy called forth is searing. Like every nerve ending I have is exposed and raw. Yet, it is still not unpleasant.

              Looking around, I see the flushed cheeks of the women in the circle, and I know I am not the only one left exhilarated. As the flames recede to normal, the energy in the circle falls back to a steady current. A pleasant hum that will be with us until the circle is closed and the energy released back into the universe.

             Another jolt of energy surprises me as Cara takes my hand in hers. I look at her smiling face, her cheeks still rosy from the casting. Her eyes look luminous in the light of the full moon. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. As she looks at me, I swear I see her breath catch for a moment, and I wonder what she sees when she looks at me. She looks as if she is about to say something when we are pushed together with the two other girls coming of age and guided toward the center of the circle.

             There seems to be an unnatural hush throughout the rest of the group as the time for the Invocation has arrived. Suddenly my nerves have nothing to do with the hormones coursing through my body and everything to do with the fear of embarrassment. Not only embarrassing myself but my mother and sister as well.

Cara, who always seems to know what I am thinking, gently squeezes my hand. Although the gesture does little to calm my fears, I do appreciate the effort. I do my best to control my face, not to give the slightest indication of my doubt.

             As we stop at the altar in the middle of the circle, we form a sort of semi-circle around it. Mother walks to the girl on the left side of the semi-circle. From the altar, she picks up a silver chalice and offers it to her.

             “Kenna, would you be the first to Invoke the Goddess on this night? The first to start your path to dedication to The Morrigan?” Kenna nods her head and accepts the chalice.

             For a second, she stares at the wine in the cup, her blue eyes sparkling. Wisps of her honey-colored hair flutter around her face in the slight breeze. Taking a deep breath, she raises the chalice to the sky as if offering the moon a sip.

              Her invocation is flawless. As the words flow from her lips, there is, again, a building of energy. Not as powerful as mothers, not as affecting, but I can still feel it, humming through the air. When she completes the invocation, she’s practically glowing. Kenna sips from the chalice and passes it on.

             And so it goes, down the line, from Kenna to Aisling with her fiery hair plaited down her back. When she’s completed the ritual, her copper eyes flash with energy. She, too, sips from the chalice and then hands it off to Cara.

             She looks very serene and confident as she starts the invocation. As the words are said, again, energy starts to build. I have no idea if it’s because I am the closest to her, but this energy feels stronger; it winds itself around Cara as she speaks, inviting The Morrigan into her. Her hood falls back, and I can see the energy, the power, caressing the ebony ringlets. The ivory skin on her cheek becomes flushed.

             Her voice is breathy as she finishes the last of the invocation. She takes her sip, then slowly lowers the chalice and opens her eyes. For a second, there is the most peculiar shade of purple where there is usually grey, then she blinks, and it’s gone.

             From the shocked looks of the others at the table, I can tell I am not the only one that noticed the change in energy. Scanning the crowd, I see faces that range from concerned to very intrigued. Still obviously reeling from all that energy, Cara hands me the chalice.

             All eyes are on me as I lift the chalice to the sky. The energy from Cara’s invocation has subsided slightly, although I can still feel wisps of it twirling around our feet. Taking a deep calming breath, I begin.

Babd, Macha, Neiman, Sisters Three

Hear these words I ask of thee.

As soon as I begin, I feel the energy creep from the ground and wind its way around me—the hem of my cloak flutters with it.

Grant me vision; grant me power.

Hold me through my darkest hour.

             The power is all around me now. I feel it caressing my face and skimming over my body like the hands of an eager lover.

As the day becomes the night

The Phantom Queen becomes my light.

             Now the power is in me. Running through my veins. I’m practically vibrating from it. I can feel it all the way to the tips of my fingers and toes.

Raven Queen of Death and Art

Have my body, have my heart!

The power is concentrated at my center now. All I can hear is my heartbeat drumming in my ears.

All my faith I put in Thee.

Oh, Great Morrigan, be with me!!

             As the invocation is finished the power inside me subsides to a steady thrum throughout my body. I take a sip of the wine and return the chalice to the altar, finally opening my eyes.

             There is complete silence throughout the circle. Looking around, I see the faces of the women in the coven staring back at me. I hear a small laugh next to me and turn to see Cara looking at me in awe.

             I can hear Mother start the incantation to close the circle and release the guardians of the elements. Slowly the hum from the energy ebbs, until it is dispersed back into the universe. As the circle closes, the flames from the candles extinguish themselves and we are left bathed in the light of the moon.

             “That was incredible! Cara, did you feel all that energy? It was…goddess it was amazing! I have never felt anything like that before. It was even more powerful than I imagined! And you, you were beautiful! Your eyes, Cara! I swear they were purple!” I can feel myself talking a mile a minute, I just feel so exhilarated from the ceremony.

             “Aine, I have never seen anyone have that powerful of an Invocation! It was like you were really glowing! It was amazing.  You’re amazing! Aine, I-“  She stops talking suddenly, looking down at her hands.

             “Cara, look at me.” Gently, I tilt her chin up, until our eyes meet. In the smokey depths of her eyes, I recognize all of the feelings I’ve been living with for so long. Anxiety and confusion, but also hope, need…love. Throwing caution to the wind, I give in to my urge to press my lips to hers.

             After a second of hesitation, Cara returns my kiss, wrapping her arms around my neck and angling her head to deepen it. Grabbing her hips, I pull her closer. Her lips parted slightly and I can feel the tip of her velvet tongue. The taste of the ceremonial wine lingers there. Just before getting completely lost, I hear a rustling behind me.

             Reluctantly, I break away from Cara and turn to see Maeve and Kenna standing a few feet away. A look of amusement is plastered on my sister’s face. Looking from me to Cara, she breaks into a laugh.

             “Well, it’s about damn time you two. What do you think Kenna?”

             “Thank the Goddess. I was beginning to think you two would never take the leap. Just try to keep the PDA to a minimum, ladies. Some of us are still looking for our happily ever after.” Laughing, they both walk away to rejoin the group.

             Taking Cara’s hand in mine, we make our way slowly back to the circle. Talking and making plans. As we help to clean up from the ceremony, I stop to gaze at the beauty of the moon, full and bright. And that’s how I feel right now. I don’t know if this is really happily ever after, but I certainly hope so.


As the women of the coven pack up in the clearing, they are unaware that something watches them. In the darkness of the surrounding forest, a beast awaits. It, too, is pleased with tonight’s ceremony. The Invocation has awakened the powers of an ally, unbeknownst to the Ladies of The Morrigan. As it turns to report back to its master, its eyes flash purple in the darkness

July 07, 2023 19:19

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Shannon C.
13:44 Jul 13, 2023

This was such an enrapturing story! Your descriptions and details were beautifully written. Nice little last line twist too! Great story Tiffanney.


Tiffaney Day
15:13 Jul 13, 2023

Thank you so much!!!!


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