Authors: Gillian Summers
Table of Contents
To all who keep our forests alive, the conservators and the foresters, especially the USDA Forest Service and the National Park Service. May you grow many rings.
And to Tolkien, the most stubborn Siberian Husky on the planet. I miss you and your barking, beloved boy.
It takes a lot of help to get a book from idea to store shelf, and I would not have been able to write this book without the amazing editorial eyes of Andrew Karre and Sandy Sullivan of Llewellyn, the encouragement and support of agent extraordinaire Richard Curtis, and the love of my number one fan, my amazing husband. Much assistance also came from my long-time critique group, Maureen, Nancy, and Carla, who read draft after draft as if it were new each time and never griped. Well, seldom griped.
Thanks, too, to all the Renaissance Faire workers who transport their visitors to another era, one day at a time—the pirates and jousters (yum, the pirates and jousters!), the wenches and pub lurkers and strolling minstrels, the kings, queens, courtiers and turkey drumstick vendors, the rascally jokesters and the poor sod stuck in the stinky foam-rubber suit on the hottest day of summer. I love you all.
Into the Wildewood: The Faire Folk Trilogy
© 2008 by Berta Platas and Michelle Roper. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Flux except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
First Printing, 2008
Book design by Steffani Sawyer
Cover design by Kevin R. Brown
Cover illustration by Derek Lea
Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Publications
The Cataloging-in-Publication Data for
Into the Wildewood
is on file at the Library of Congress.
eISBN : 97-8-073-87133-2
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Cover model used for illustrative purposes only and may not endorse or represent the book’s subject.
A Division of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Dept. 978-0-7387-1332-8
Woodbury, MN 55125-2989, U.S.A.
Printed in the United States of America
CANOOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK
WILDEWOOD RENAISSANCE FAIRE CAMPGROUND
Five days on the road with Dad, and Keelie Heartwood still didn’t have a belly button ring. Her sort-of boyfriend Sean hadn’t called her even once, and now she was stuck at another Ren Faire. Worse, her best friend from California would soon arrive to see her in all her misery.
A horn blatted in the rain outside, followed by raucous laughter from the Merry Men’s cram-packed little party tent next door. She added a line to her journal about not being allowed to party with the other Rennies, and being confined to the camper.
, Keelie wrote. She closed the book where she’d been documenting her pitiful existence, then leaned back in her cramped bunk and stared into space. It wasn’t a long stare, because it was limited to the trailer’s cozy eight-feet-by-six-feet. She’d been working hard at thinking “cozy” instead of “claustrophobic.” It wasn’t fair. She was stuck camping, but she’d heard that all the other elves, including the nasty elf girl Elia, were staying at some luxurious lodge in town down the road from the Faire. They had room service. She barely had room.
Keelie was supposed to wait inside for her dad to return from his errand. It had been hours. She’d spent the time listening to the loud fun next door at the Wildewood Renaissance Festival’s party headquarters.
If her friend Raven were here, they could join in the fun. But Raven had gone to Manhattan after the last Ren Faire, to work an internship at Doom Kitty, the famous Goth record company. It was a better gig than digging up herbs with her mother, Dad’s old friend Janice the herb lady. Janice would be joining them soon, but Keelie really missed Raven. She was beautiful and confident, and treated Keelie like an equal rather than a fifteen-year-old tagalong.
The Wildewood’s theme was Robin and his Merry Men, and Robin’s partners in crime were singing (or what they optimistically considered singing) a rousing song that had something to do with married women and beer. Every chorus ended with a shout of “hey nonny!” They’d been at it for the past two hours, getting louder and more off-key by the minute.
Keelie sensed the trees stirring around her, and apparently they weren’t happy with the concert either. She’d been able to sense them all her life, but it was only since she’d moved in with Dad that they’d actually talked to her and allowed her to see their spirit faces. The ancient oaks, larger than the trees in Colorado, pressed their energy around her now, wanting her to come out and open herself to them.
There were whispering birches and silent elms, too, and small cherries and drooping willows that liked to keep their roots wet by the banks of the river that flowed, deep and silent, at the edge of the Faire’s campground. Sir Davey’s Earth magic lessons had helped her block the trees most of the time, so that she wouldn’t go crazy, but tonight she was tired, bored, and lonely, and she couldn’t concentrate on the simple words her father’s good friend had taught her. She had three more lessons to get through, from the notebook he had left her, but she couldn’t focus on them.
Keelie reached up and groped around on the little wooden shelf (cedar, from the north woods) built into her bunk. Her fingers closed over the smooth sides of the pink rose quartz she’d impulsively bought at the High Mountain Renaissance Faire. She held it in front of her, closed her eyes, and concentrated, trying to center herself. She inhaled and released her breath, then imagined that her feet were like tree roots seeking the dirt, grounding her. Her hands tingled, and there was a small ringing in her ears like tiny bells, which eased away most of the green tree-energy that surrounded her. The exercise would have been totally effective, but she was interrupted several times by shouts of “huzzah” from next door.
“Huzzah” was apparently the medieval equivalent of “You go,” and the Merry Men made full use of the word. Keelie opened her eyes. The room was bathed in a pinkish glow.
Yes! She’d done it. She’d been working with Sir Davey for weeks to summon the crystal’s protection. She couldn’t wait to show him how far she’d come. She slumped back against the wall with a sigh. If only she could use the stone to send herself to the beach, or, for that matter, to bring her dad home from his errand.
Her father’s ridiculous little homemade camper was fine for overnight stays, like the ones they’d had on their trip from the Faire in Colorado to here, the Wildewood Renaissance Festival in upstate New York. This Faire was the last stop in her dad’s annual summer Tour de Ren Faires. He traveled to three a year, selling the beautiful and unique wood furniture that he made during the winter. When they finished here, they’d head for his winter home in Oregon.
She’d gotten over the embarrassment of people seeing her stepping out of the elaborately decorated little fairy-tale camper perched on the bed of the old pickup truck. But it was dollhouse-sized—too tiny for the three days they’d spent cooped up here while Dad set up his shop. She missed the spacious apartment of the High Mountain Renaissance Faire. She wistfully recalled their claw-foot bathtub and the tapestries depicting unicorns and flowers.
Outside, rain thrummed on the metal roof and the wooden sides of the camper, and against the tiny windows. Even the little cat door, unlatched now to let Knot in and out, creaked slightly. Raindrops pelted it as if tiny water soldiers were laying siege to the camper.
Keelie shuddered, remembering the water sprite she’d rescued in Colorado.
reminded her of the Red Cap, the destructive evil fairy she’d defeated. Not bad for a girl who until two months ago hadn’t known she had magical abilities.
She checked her watch, a contraband object according to the rules of the Faire. Everything the visitors saw had to be in keeping with the theme: “
… nonperiod items must be left in the staff living area so as not to distract from the period ambience …
” That’s what the Players’ Manual said.
What a joke. If that were true, then everyone over fifteen could forget about having teeth. She’d taken history; she knew what it had been like back then. The world of the Renaissance Faire was a fabulous fake. Fun, but not to be taken seriously, so she figured some rules were better ignored.