Brighid walked off the escalator at La Gare Montparnasse and headed straight to a ticket vending machine, entered her destination, Quimper, inserted her EMV chip and pin debit card, and took the dispensed ticket.
She walked into la grande salle, her roll-on in tow, as she passed a group of African teenage males. One stepped out of the group, walking up to her with a grin, and asked, “hey chérie, quel est ton six.” She smiled, having played the game before, flipped her hair, walked away, and said, “dans tes rêves petit.” The boys laughed, mocking their friend’s in vain attempt.
She walked to quay 5, found the blue and gray TGV Alantique, and boarded coach number 3. She wanted to be left alone, so found and sat down in a no-table solo chair.
Tomorrow was a full moon, and Brighid and her sisters were to meet as they did every equinox eve.
The train slowly and smoothly pulled out of the station. Brighid was always amazed at how smooth the ride was, remembering a TF1 documentary that the TGVs used Jacob’s bogies to achieve that smooth ride.
Once outside Paris the train hit its maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), briefly stopping at Rennes, Vannes, and Lorient before arriving at the Gare Quimper terminus.
Brighid waited till the coach emptied of the few passengers traveling to Quimper this time of year, pulling out her phone, opened up the Uber app, and typed in “72 Chemin de Tregont Mab, 29000 Quimper, France.” A driver responded, already waiting at the passenger pickup at the front of the gare.
She got her roll-on, walked off the coach, and out the gare. It was typical Quimper weather she thought to herself: dark, wet, and cold. She saw her ride, a blue Renault Kangoo minivan. An Algerian driver got out, opened the door, taking her roll-on as she got in, and closed the door.
“Manoir Tregont Mab Madame,” the driver said in a thick Marseille accent. “Yes,” she replied relieved to be home. She leaned back in the seat, closing her eyes, not wanting to chit chat with the driver. She could feel her body relaxing, her pulse slowing, her anxiety ebbing.
The Tregont Mab, built after the French Revolution, was 6 km southeast of Quimper, in a secluded forested area, and was owned by Madame Gwen LeCarvennec, a member of her tribe sworn to serve the Druidesses of Enez Sun.
Madame LeCarvennec was 12 when started working at Tregont Mab, and had become chatelaine in her 50s. The house mother, responsible for the care and protection of young druidesses as they came and went from Quimper.
The car turned off the paved road and onto the long winding dirt road to the manor, finally reaching the crushed rock courtyard and stopping. The driver rushed to open Brighid’s door. A young apprentice girl greeted her, instructing the driver to where to carry and drop off the roll-on.
Brighid walked into the house, relishing the smell of baking bread, stewing chicken, and the slight pleasant musky smell of an old French house. She loved this house and the many memories inside. It stirred deep emotions within her, remembering vividly her coming of age and deep and lasting bonds built with the druidesses. She laid her coat on the foyer chair and walked down the beautiful intricate blue and beige ceramic tile to the kitchen.
Madame LeCarvennec was in the process of taking groceries out of a wicker basket when Brighid walked into the kitchen. Madame LeCarvennec looked up and her face lit up, smiling. “Ah me petite biche,” she said, putting down the groceries, and kissing Brighid on the cheek two times.
“Come, sit, tell me what has been happening with you since the last time I saw you, cherie,” she said. Brighid sat down at the table and Madame turned to the cupboard and pulled out some peanuts, chips, and Pernod, then to the frig for a pitcher of cold water and freezer for ice cubes, setting everything on the table. She put the peanuts, chips, and ice in separate bowls. She poured the Pernod in two glasses and gave ice thongs for Brighid to serve herself the ice and pour the desired amount of water to dilute the Pernod to her taste.
Brighid had never stopped being awed at the Ouzo Effect, Pernod turning milky white when diluted with water. She savored the anise smell, picked up the glass, and sipped.
Madame sat down next to her and placed a hand on hers. “How are you doing,” she asked with a frowned expression. “I am tired,” replied Brighid, putting the glass down on the table, “and afraid of what is about to come.”
“Have the others arrived,” Brighid asked. “They have and are all on the island preparing for tomorrow’s equinox,” replied Madame getting up, opening the refrigerator, pulling out eggs, butter, and ahead of Bibb salad. Brighid watched her in silence prepare an omelet and salad for dinner. She took another sip of Pernod sliding deeper into her thoughts.
Madame placed a plate of omelet, salad, and a big piece of fresh bread in front of her. She thanked Madame and ate slowly, thinking through what had and might happen.
When she’d finished. Madame called the girl to take her up to her room. She followed the girl up the winding green-carpeted staircase to the master bedroom. The girl turned on the main light, turned down the sheets, threw open the floor to ceiling drapes, revealing two all-glass french doors, then turned around, turned off the main light, and closed the door quietly behind her, leaving Brighid in the dark.
The bright silvery light of the waning gibbous moon lit up the room. Brighid opened the doors, cool cold air flooded into the room, as she took off her clothes, rings, earrings, and bracelets , placing them on the chair by the window, leaving only her torc on her body.
She knelt on a sheepskin rug. Next to her was a tray with a carafe of wine, a chalice, a bee’s wax candle in a holder, matches, an athame, a scrying mirror, and a bowl of salt.
She carefully took the items and placed them between the sheepskin rug and the open doors. She took a handful of salt from the bowl and from the center of the sheepskin poured a circle around her. She picked up the athame in her left hand, pointed it down at the circle of salt, slowly turning left, and softly whispered,
“Earth, Air, Water, and Wind, blessed be Awen, you who are of me and around me, guide me through the night, show me light in the darkness, so mote it be.”
When she had closed the protective circle, she sat naked on a sheepskin rug facing the outstretched forest below. All was quiet, tranquil ‘cept for the occasional eerie, forlorn hooting of a strix owl.
Brighid placed the scrying mirror in her lap, lit the candle, and drank the wine. Slowly she began taking deep belly breaths, breathing through the nose, exhaling through the mouth, releasing the stress in her body, and calming her mind.
She softly began chanting A-I-O, A-I-O, A-I-O, allowing her consciousness to shift and receive the flowing spirit of Awen, the wisdom of the trees, and the life force of Mother Nature.
She was no longer a Gallizenae, a ****** priestess of Enez Sun, but her power of sight had not totally faded. She still could see, albeit hazily, into the near distant future. She knew the older she got, the more it would fade, and eventually, she’d lose her ability. Her Second Sight
The ****** priestesses were chosen because of their gift of Second Sight. As a priestess aged out, the remaining eight, would look and find girls coming of age who had Sight. Former priestesses from the mainland would fly to her, test her, and if she passed bring her to Tregont Mab for training. Of the handful, only one would be chosen.
A girl’s Second Sight started at menarche, which was starting earlier in modern girls, which made training harder as the girls didn’t have the emotional or intellectual maturity to understand what was happening to their bodies or the responsibilities of being a priestess.
The girls were taught the history, language, and customs of their people and given a new Celtic name. Then they would be taught the ways of the Druidesses, incantations, flight, command of the sea and weather, shapeshift into whatever animal, heal the sickest, and foretell the future. But most of all, they were taught devotion to the pilgrims seeking out their counsel.
When the Honored One was chosen, she’d fly to Enez Sun, and in a ceremony, a brass torc was permanently wrought around her neck, never to be removed, as a symbol of holiness, a protector of her people, a Gallizenae of Enez Sun.
As one of the nine Gallizenaes, and a Sacred ******, she could not be touched by man, and no men were allowed on the island of Enez Sun.
A Gallizenae loses her Sight at 25, the same time the human brain stops synaptic pruning and reaches full maturity. During a ceremony, she retires, flies to the mainland, where she is bathed, washed, and scented with oils. She is led to the center of a circle of her people, laid naked on a bed of flowers and herbs, and given a young ****** man to have sacred *** with. A druidess at their feet and a druid at their head, the young man’s throat is slit during *******, allowing the blood to spurt and spill on her, giving her his vitality. The druidess spreads the blood all over her body and hair, painting her in red from head to toe.
A feast is held, and the body of the young man is burnt in a wicker man, releasing his spirit to Awen as naked women danced ecstatically around the fire.
Brighid vividly remembers looking into the eyes of the young man when he ******* and his throat slit. It was that of ******* ecstasy then horror, as he realized he was dying. It had turned her on, feeling his **** spasming as he came, the sound of the knife slicing flesh, his last breath hissing from his cut throat, his body deflating, and his **** going limp inside her.
She remembered being painted in blood, the frenzied dancing, and going into a trance around the burning wicker man, then nothing else, except waking up the next day, no longer a ******, a priestess, a Gallizenae, and sobbing all day.
She was still a druidess, and her new responsibility was to protect the nine Gallizenaes and her people. She would be sent out to live in French society, and listen for and report back any threats.
Brighid continued chanting, slowly going to a trance, and looking into the low yellow glowing candlelit scrying mirror. “Mother, maiden, crone,” she repeated, while never blinking or breaking eye contact with her reflected image.
A blackness slowly flooded her visual periphery, till all she could see were her eyes staring back and her. She stilled her mind, taking slow deep breaths. The eyes in the mirror morphed from her brown doe eyes to seductive sapphire blue cat eyes. The face slowly came to light and focus. A woman with shiny raven black hair, alabaster white skin, full lips, and stunning long-lashed sapphire blue cat eyes.
Brighid stared, enthralled by her beauty, her face forever burnt in her mind. She didn’t know who she was, but she knew she was dangerous.