Encounter with a Spring Goddess
Fantasia Divinity Publishing 02/27/2019
Orphans Rhiane and Macsen hide in the woods to prevent their separation. They don’t know that a spring goddess has heard their pain and is on her way. But the god’s ways are strange—will Artio help or hurt them?
Artio redoubled her speed, her distinctive sound flowing around her. The animals in the forest paused as she shot past. Curious birds followed her, cheeping. Somewhere an owl hooted.
When she got to the location where she heard the bear’s roar she saw a girl and a boy with her bears. The boy had ventured too close to the den. Her cubs were too young and defenseless to care for themselves and the mama bear would do anything to protect them. Artio studied the newcomers. They were interlopers in this part of the woods. Too often mankind blundered into her animal’s homes and destroyed them with the carelessness of their kind. Humans acted without fear of reprisal, destroying the environment, uncaring of the consequences. She did not fault those who took what they needed to survive, but in this day and age humans killed for sport and left the unused pieces behind. Her bears were her spirit animals, not trophies.
If Artio did not act the bear might tear apart the boy. Her first instinct was to let the bear do what nature demanded. Life was part of her gift, but in order to give life sometimes it must be taken. The child was frozen in place, his body shaking. The girl, a few yards behind, was pale with fear. Judging by the similarity in the shape of the chin and nose, this was his sister. Both had a sturdy quality speaking of a solid lineage and upbringing.
The girl’s blue gaze went from her trembling sibling to the woman who left no mark on the ground. The trees and vines responded to the goddess’ presence and new growth began as she stood there. There was a wariness in the girl but also a respect that made Artio’s heart sing with delight. It had been a long time since anyone acknowledged who she was.
“You are a goddess,” the girl managed to get out, the words strangled.