Sheila R. Lamb
Beltane: An Excerpt from Fiery Arrow
Patrick set up his camp and noticed numerous bonfires in the distance to the south. He stood gazing from the top of the ridge. What was going on? Another pagan ceremony of some sort?
“It’s Beltane today,” Brigid said.
“What is it?” Patrick asked, although he recalled Brawen’s explanation of the festival.
“Beltane is the festival for summer, a time when marriages are created. There is much dancing, wreaths of daisies and red clover, joyfulness; a holiday of celebration.”
Patrick studied the stars, listening to the faint chants of the people below. He wished he hadn’t been so harsh with Brawen.
The grazing animals settled for the night. Patrick started a small fire, and wrapped his wool cloak around him. He gazed into the flames, thinking about the distant celebration. It was near Easter-time as well, a holiday in Roman Britannia celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Many flowers were there too, cultivated, and perfected roses from his mother’s garden, but he mostly remembered the somberness of the priests and the sourness of communion wine. Faint drumbeats echoed across the land, a staccato reminder of his isolation.