time a third party joined the birds’ song. This new bird not only took the lead in their melody, she also took the lead on their journey. As she trusted her magical forest, she trusted the birds as well. Not long before the sun reached its highest point, she began to hear the sounds of water flowing through the forest. She smelled humidity and felt a cool mist on her face and body. Sure enough, she came upon a small waterfall that fell into a secluded lagoon. The birds found a shallow pool to bath and drink; they flittered and sputtered about. Without hesitating, she plunged into the cool water and rose to the surface, immediately feeling replenished. It wasn’t long before the birds insisted on continuing their journey. Afraid of losing them, she jumped out of the water and trailed behind. As they approached a clearing, the birds’ song became so joyful, she assumed something good was about to happen. The birds’ pace matched their song’s tempo and when they reached the clearing, they went separate ways. Afraid they had abandoned her, she began to run. The tree line broke and, to her surprise, she came upon lush fruit trees and bushes. Apples, pears, and strawberries caught her eye first; they were her children’s favorite. Quenched and full, the birds sat quietly close to her. This was the first time she was able to observe them without interruption. The first bird was emerald green and throughout their journey seemed the most spunky, comical, and obnoxious; which led her to believe that he wasn’t the oldest. The second bird was a shade of yellow, known to her as goldenrod. She was dainty, and elegant, but shy; which also led her to believe that she wasn’t the leader. The third bird, the iridescent, white, bold bird was definitely in charge. Not knowing what her future held, she was able to find refuge in her magical forest. She was comfortable with the birds and believed they felt the same way. She knew the forest was magical but she was still in awe about how familiar the birds seemed. As day turned to twilight, another up-tempo birdsong commenced. This one had a serious but compassionate tone. Being in the birds’ company gave her hope. She felt there might be a possibility she would never feel alone again. Alone is how she felt in the castle. Closing her eyes, leaning against an apple tree with the birds sleeping at her feet, she felt an overwhelming sense of security. But, as she rested, suddenly an abrupt, short, hot wind blew across the back of her neck and something nudged her shoulder. Uncertain if she should turn around, she looked to the birds, who awoke and reassured her. The most magnificent and powerful horse she had ever seen stood over her. He was so white he glowed, even in daylight. His amber eyes fixed on her as she stood up. As she extended her arm out to him, he moved forward and pushed his head into her chest and neck. He nuzzled her while she gently stroked his glowing coat. The horse’s eyes were spellbinding and suddenly recognizable. Many traits of the birds and now the horse were similar to those of her children and husband. She wondered if this was the magic of the forest at play. However, their connection was strong and she was determined to keep it that way. She vowed never to return to the castle. She became a legend to the villagers because she stood up to the evil Head Mistress and King Charles. Some say they can hear her singing with the birds whenever a child is born in the village. Some say they’ve seen her riding her glowing horse along the lake’s shores. No matter the tale, she lives in the forest among the birds that guide her, with her horse at her side. They have everything they need, especially each other. With each passing day, Rhiannon’s heart mends together, bit by bit, piece by piece.
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