The youngsters in my care huddled together in fear as the Roman soldiers stormed the beaches of the Isle of Anglesey. We had been in a rousing session of spell work when word reached us of their landing. Their intent was clear, annihilation. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gripped with fear for myself, which gave me the overwhelming desire to cloak myself with a spell and run. Alas, the children were left in my care and my responsibility to them outweighed my own fears. It did leave me with a few thoughts, however. If I could extend the spell to the children and they stay huddled and silent. I rolled my eyes at that thought, 14 completely terrified children stay together and silent. Who was I kidding? I had to come up with another plan, and fast. I didn’t even like children, by the gods, I should just leave them! I threw a glance back at them and one striking redhead with piercing blue eyes engaged me. Her old soul connects with mine and I see a flash of her past life. I swore right there, I would get them out, even if it cost me mine.
I asked Gaia to show me where the soldiers were on the island so I could plan our escape. She sent me images of several of our ritual sites and homes being burned to the ground or destroyed by other means, but that told me enough. This was my home, I knew places hidden from the unknowledgeable. I replied to her that we would need a passage to the cave system opened for us and she parted the earth in the corner next to me, a natural stone staircase forming in a curved pitch into the caverns below. I motioned to the children to remain silent and for them to begin their descent from oldest to youngest. As the children pass me, I tell them each a spell to repeat as they walk. The whispering filled the caverns as we continued through the cave system. Closing the earth back as if it had never been an opening or staircase, Gaia completed her task. The eldest child at the front was given the spell for illumination and was leading the way through the dark cavern system to the beach at the end.
We meandered through the massive cave system for a while. Periodically I would ask Gaia to show me the location of the Roman’s above us and every time, it was all I could do to remain calm. My home and family were being plowed down and I was cowering in a cave! This time was a vision of Albin throwing balls of light at a row of soldiers. They fell in a bright explosion as the light hit them and expanded. The whispers from the children varied in volume as the children began to wear from the travel. After what seemed like hours, I finally saw the light ahead of us as we reached the end of the cave system. I passed the children so I could beat them to the entrance of the cave. As I arrived at the opening, I cast the invisibility spell and told the children to stay back behind the lip of the cave. I peeked my head out and looked around. The beaches were relatively empty as the soldiers had moved inland. There were a few standing guard at the boats, but half of them were huddled up talking, not paying attention. I looked for the closest boat and devised a plan to move the children. I had to get 14 little bodies across the beach and into a boat without alarming the men…I was insane. I stepped up onto the outcropping surrounding the cave to get a better look. Sighing, I stepped back down to the sand and back to the children. They huddled around me as I dropped the spell. “Well, how are we going to get away from here?” the redhead asked. Her voice was surprisingly level despite the circumstances. I caught her blues eyes and replied to the group.
“OK, so, you know how I gave each of you a spell to say all the way down here?” They nodded in response. “Good, can you tell me what they meant?” They nodded and again one by one they told me their spell and what they were for. Fire, Wind, Light, a wave of power typically used to knock your opponent off their feet. They all continued, some with repeating spells. “Good, now remember, you do not have the unlimited power of Gaia, yet. You must save enough energy to keep moving. Do you understand?” The fourteen heads surrounding me bobbed.”Ok, here’s the plan. There is a boat large enough for us to all fit in about 5m away. The guards are about 15m away. I will do everything in my power to make us all invisible, but I cannot guarantee I can hide everyone. I need you all two to three deep, so you are still in a smaller bunch, OK?” They nodded again.
They lined up in rows, smaller ones behind the larger ones. I reached out to Gaia again for help. She shook the ground under the Roman’s feet and while they were distracted I pulled energy from her and sent my spell of invisibility down the line of children. It flickered but it worked better than I expected. Now, how long it would last was another story altogether. We took off from the cave entrance towards the boat at the water’s edge. My spell began to falter and the flickering grew worse, practically acting as a beacon instead of camouflage. I yelled back to the children to drop to the ground and as they complied, I dropped the spell, turning my power and attention to the soldiers. I threw the same balls of light Albin had been throwing then switched it to fire. “NOW!” I yelled and the children joined me in throwing their spells.
“Little ones to the boat, now…go go go!” The smaller ones that would have less stamina were sent first. The middle size children were slowing down with their barrage, so I knew they were running low, too. There were only three of them so I sent them on as well. Finally, it was just me and the older three. A few of the guards slipped out of ranks, and using the ocean, flanked us. I heard a clater from the boat and the children behind me screamed. I turned to look, dropping my guard for a second before one of the older children beside me cried out as well. “Ifreann fuilteacha” I yelled as all hell seemed to break out. Both groups of children were being attacked and there was only one of me. I threw my left hand out and threw a ball of light at the soldier with his sword raised to a boy’s chest. Turning my head I threw three more light balls towards the boat, striking the men trying to climb aboard. I yelled at the older kids still on the shore to run to the boat and we took off together. We clambered into the boat and pushed off from the shoreline. Two of the older lads began rowing the boat away from the island as I kept throwing light and fire. Crying began behind me as my energy waned and the island grew out of range. I turned back towards the stern of the boat to assess the children to find bloody water sloshing at my feet. “NO! No no no no!” I stepped forward towards the huddled and crying children to find several of the smaller children had not escaped the blade of the soldiers before I got to them. I knelt in the center of the boat and checked all the children. I gently picked up and cradled each one of the children that didn’t make it. I prayed to the gods to grant them a safe passage until their new life and slipped them overboard into the water. The others continued sobbing as their friends were released and I felt no reason to interrupt them. I felt so empty and lost as I looked at each life left in my care. How would I take care of all of them alone? Where would we go? These and so many more questions filled my mind as we headed to the mainland.Then it occured to me…what if there were more soldiers on the banks of the mainland, too?