“Prithee, fair ladies, wouldst thou tell me where the joust competition is being held today?” asked a man dressed in what had to be a combination of last years’ Johnny Depp pirate costume from the local Halloween store and a mishmash of tie-dye clothes from a thrift store.
Elizabeth Adamson held back her laughter, and let her best smile shine, as she replied, “Good sir, the jousting lists are down the path to your left. Just look for the flags with the fair Queen Elizabeth’s colors and you will find the tourney grounds.” Elizabeth felt over-dressed in a white silk chemise under a light & dark blue velvet dress secured with silver laces. The white corset beneath the chemise was poking her ribs. Susan had tightened the corset and dress so Elizabeth’s breasts were pushed up & bound tight and her waist shaped to an hour-glass figure. She couldn’t bend over from the restraints holding her body in.
Susan Clark waited until the gaudily caparisoned man was out of sight before she burst in to giggles. “Oh my God, how much guy liner did he have on? When do you think the Johnny Depp pirate phase will go away?” Susan had a kerchief skirt of green, white & brown. A peasant’s blouse of yellow was secured with a brown bustier.
Both women wore belts hung with pewter goblets, bells, and miscellaneous items. Elizabeth had a fan of blue & green ostrich feathers dyed to resemble a peacock and a small knife with blue rhinestones in the hilt. Susan had fox’s tail hooked to the back of her skirt.
Elizabeth shook her head. “Not soon enough for my tastes. I doubt any privateer wore make-up, not even Anne Bonny.” Elizabeth finished the last drops of water from her container. “I’m going to refill my bottle. Do you want anything?”
“Why don’t you wait? Our time is up in a half hour. We’ll go walk around, get some lunch, and do a little shopping. Who knows, Elizabeth... you might make a connection with a cute guy.”
“Isn’t it enough I signed up to volunteer at this Renaissance Fair and actually showed up in costume? I’m not ready to meet any guys yet.” Elizabeth sighed, playing with her water bottle.
Susan tsk’d. “Bryan’s been dead two years now. Honey, he wouldn’t have wanted you to become a recluse for the rest of your life.”
“Can I help it if I’m not over my husband’s death from cancer yet? I’m not a hermit. Remember when I tried that speed dating service? That was scary. Remind me never to do that again. ”
“Showing up for 15 minutes doesn’t count. You talked to what, two men, before you booked? Except for work and errands, this is the first time you’ve done substantial since the funeral. You’re not an old lady, Elizabeth. Last time I looked, you were still a young woman. You’ll be 26 on May 10th, right? That’s ancient.”
Elizabeth laughed, “Says the woman who is saving for a face lift as a 30th birthday gift.” She watched a group of men dressed up as chanting monks walk by the information stand. “Check it out; the guy at end of the line is bashing his head with a book.”
Time passed quickly for the two friends and soon a couple dressed in matching highland garb came to relieve them. Elizabeth and Susan make a quick sprint to the bathrooms. The next stop was the food area where they bought meat pastries and a cold brew. Finding a table in a grove of trees, the women sat down to eat lunch. Elizabeth studied the people wandering by. One woman wore a Gothic outfit with white & black face paint. She sported a wicked looking sword in a baldric hanging off her back. She was with a companion dressed as a barbarian warrior. His outfit was complete with an axe hanging from his belt. Not too far away, a witch chatted with a fairy. Countless folks walked by wearing Renaissance-period clothing.
Elizabeth sighed. I wish I had the nerve to come as a witch. Not even Susan knows I’m Wiccan. Bryan knew and he tolerated my faith. It’s funny how a serious Catholic and a Wiccan were able to oversee their religious differences. If I only could do real magic like Maleficent or Regina from ‘Once Upon a Time’.
“Shall we see the shops?” Susan asked her friend.
“Yeah, I’m up for that.” They walked along the vendor rows oohing & ahing over the variety of goods available. Susan picked up a new bustier for her wench costume. Elizabeth found a set consisting of matching ring, bracelet and necklace of silver with blue crystals. She put the pieces on immediately happy how the jewelry co-ordinated with her clothing. They made their way to the jouster’s field to watch the next show. As the knights challenged one another, Elizabeth began to feel queasy. Soon, the urge to vomit was too much to ignore. She whispered to Susan that she was going to find a bathroom and telling her friend to stay and see the show.
Elizabeth was happy when the line to the porta-potties moved quickly. Sitting down, her nausea seemed to disappear as fast as it hit her. She finished her business and washed her hands.
Something made her hesitate. The hairs on her neck stood up.
“Give me any money you have!” a low, snarly voice demanded. Elizabeth started to tell the man to get lost when she felt a hard object poke her flesh between the shoulder blades.
Swallowing her fear, she answered, “I only have a few dollars. I didn’t bring much with me on purpose and I’ve spent most of the cash I brought with me.” She reached in her pouch to pull out a ten dollar bill. “This is all I have left.”
“Bitch! You’re gonna mean trouble for me. Walk over to those trees and if you scream I’ll shoot.”
Not turning around, Elizabeth stumbled to a rest area. To her dismay, there wasn’t anyone around she could call for help.
“Let me see your pouch.” A white male in his 30’s wearing a generic pirate costume said.
She unhooked the leather bag from her belt and gave it to the man with a “Can I at least have my driver’s license back?”
Cussing, the man threw the bag to the ground. “No credit cards? Are you destitute? Dammit, you can ID me.” He bit his lip. “I can’t risk being fingered.” The criminal aimed his piece and pulled the trigger.
“My lady, can you hear me?”
Elizabeth’s brain tried to re-boot. She was confused and her thinking fuzzy. A cloth covered her eyes and she was in bed. Her temples throbbed with a headache. “My head is killing me.” She pushed up with her elbows, the cloth falling off her face. A warm, yellowish light greeted her when she opened her eyes.
The room was unlike any hospital she had ever been in before and Elizabeth had spent far too much time in patient’s rooms when her husband was being treated. The walls were made of a combination of wood & stone. Instead of a lamp, a stand held a dozen burning candles. Her bed was fancy, with four posts, a canopy, and bed curtains. A blazing fire crackled in a large hearth.
“Where am I,” Elizabeth asked the woman hovering bedside, “and who are you?”
The woman twisted her hands nervously together. “You don’t know me? This is terrible.” She turned to holler towards an open door. “Lander! Get your worthless carcass in here now!” She moved back to face Elizabeth. “I’m Trini, your apprentice. You took a fall from your horse. Don’t you remember? “
The man in question entered the bedchamber holding a brown leather satchel and a wooden box. “Lady Elizabeth is awake?” He studied the woman in bed as he came to her side asking, “How do you feel?”
Elizabeth stared at his brown eyes. He looked to be the right age to be a doctor but where was his stethoscope? “Who are you and where is this place?”
He set down his bags. “I’m Sir Lander, a knight of the Silver Serpents. You’re at home, in your castle, in Helfai. A week ago while riding to town, your horse shied and you fell off hitting your head. We were afraid you wouldn’t ever wake up. I have been praying to Jaira for your recovery.” He did a quick exam. “My lady, all seems to be well except for your memory. Can you conjure some witch light?”
Make magic? That only happens in movies and books. “I can’t do magic – no one can!”
Sir Lander patted her right hand. “You are a great sorcerer. Just concentrate and think about a blue light hovering over your head.”
She closed her eyes and thought about how cool it would be to perform true magic. She pictured a cloud of blue below the ceiling.
“Excellent, open your eyes and see what you created.”
A patch of brilliant blue lit up the room better than any ceiling lamp she had ever used. “I did it!”
“Of course you did – magic is part of your nature. I don’t know about your memory, though. It might come back slowly. If not, we will help you catch up on your life. Let’s try sitting up, shall we?”
Elizabeth pointed her finger and pictured a grey tabby cat sitting on a comfy chair near the fireplace. Instantly, a feline appeared. It was curled up sleeping on a thick green cushion. The cat wore a blue topaz-encrusted black leather collar.
Somehow I have travelled to a place where magic exists. Did I die in my world? I wonder what happened to Susan. I don’t know if I’ll find my way back home but meanwhile this is amazing. I live in a castle and I’m a real witch now. Elizabeth smiled. “Maybe that blow to my head wiped out my past. I’ll need your assistance in returning to my life since I can’t recall anything. I have a good feeling about it though. Things will be alright.”
Stay safe out there and Happy Halloween!