“My daughter… became the Maiden… became Morgan Le Fay”
Morgan’s broken body shook me, seeing her so… humiliated when I knew how strong she was and how much it hurt her to be seen like that, my maternal instincts roared back and I did what I could to heal her. I was surprised then when Merlin did the hard work for me. I can’t heal with a click of my fingers, I am an old school sorceress, poultices and salves, and time is far better than a quick fix. And yet, I was grateful to him for it. Once Morgan was comfortable and sleeping, Minotauros by her side, I saw it: a glimmer of red connecting them. Smiling, I left her quietly and made my way down to the lounge.
I conjured a bottle of the strongest whiskey I had ever made, taken directly from the Mad God’s recipe book and chugged. As I jumped on the bar top and began to dance, the caustic whiskey burning down my throat, I remembered holding a child, the first child since my own two boys and my mind returned to that moment.
“Mama, mama,” the little one cried out. My heart, as it always did, went out to the small girl, and I walked over smiling.
“Mama, look!” She had learned a new spell; lightning bugs floated from her fingertips, illuminating the dark world around her.
I picked her up, and swung the child in the air. “Morgana, that’s amazing! Mama is so proud of you!” She giggled as she threw her arms around me, nuzzling her soft cheek into mine. The simple move brought tears to my eyes, I knew I didn’t deserve Morgana and I kept wondering when the other shoe was going to drop.
I set her back down and we walked in the forest. Large, beautiful, primeval, what would later become known as the Forest of Dean was the perfect place to train in magic in those dark times, as most people wouldn’t enter there. The stories and myths were true. Werewolves, vampires, witches and dragons all roamed freely and I took advantage of that security to raise Morgana. I hoped to do better with her than I had with Mermerus and Pheres.
“You’ll spoil her,” Baba Yaga would always warn. I looked at the old woman, wise beyond her years, the Crone to my Mother, and we knew that Morgana would be the Maiden once she grew. The “mortal” Triple Goddess was nearly complete. Baba Yaga and I could feel our powers growing beyond measure.
“Yes, mother,” I chided back as we’d enter the house, showing Baba Yaga what Morgana had learned that day. “She could be the most powerful of us all, my friend,” I said that particular day. The moon was going to be full that night and I felt my power blossom with it, as the Mother, that was my due.
“You know what they say about power and responsibility, Medea,” the Crone croaked out.
I looked at the old woman and smiled brightly, drakonic fangs sticking through. “Yes, Baba Yaga, that she will have her fair share of trials and tribulations. But I will do what I can to shelter her from the worst of them, while still allowing her to grow. As you did with me when you found me outside of Rome after Caesar’s assassination. Bear that in mind, I was already almost 800 years old then, all of what you did with me I cannot do with her.”
Baba Yaga pursed her wrinkled lips together; a sure sign that she had more to say on the matter. “You know her destiny Medea.” She all but shouted at me. I waved my hands in the air. “You know who she is going to be… what she is going to be.”
“Yes, of course, I know. I have foresight as well. She will be one of the most powerful sorceresses the world will ever know. And for that, I couldn’t be more proud already. People, the world over, will know who she is, even more so than you and I. I have already passed into myth, and that suits me fine. You will always have your fearsome following in Russia, be happy with that. Morgana is my chance to be a mother again, for real. You will not take that away from me.”
It was rare for her to wither under my gaze, but she did, and I sighed. Angering the Crone was never a good idea. Baba Yaga just turned to Morgan and smiled. “Child, why doesn’t Grandmama tell you a bedtime story?”
“Yay!” Morgana crawled from her window-seat perch and stumbled her way into the kitchen. She reached up to Baba Yaga with grabby hands, silently saying she wanted to sit on the Crone’s lap. As Baba Yaga began the story, the memory faded and I jumped back into the future.
“Alright, Morgana, now focus on the pin-prick of light piercing through the darkness.” We were out in the forest, Baba Yaga had returned to the continent, and Morgana was turning 18 the next day. We celebrated by teaching her the spell I knew she was most anxious about. “Find that point, that small, nearly invisible point, and see it in your mind. Know what it is in your heart, and feel the power of the fire in your soul. When you have it, open your palm and visualize it.” I held out my hand and smiled as a small purple star appeared in it. As always, Morgana’s eyes lit up and she tried it herself.
“I can’t make it work.” She said a couple of times before I dispelled my star and held my hands over her eyes.
“Trust me, child,” I said softly. Morgana closed her eyes. “Now, feel the power flow through you.”
Morgana did as she was told and, in no time, she had created her own minuscule star. When I removed my hands from her eyes, she looked at it. The pride and joy that beamed from the young woman’s face, validated my entire life. “Mama, I did it.” It had been years since she’d call me Mama, but my heart soared.
“Yes, my love, you did. There isn’t much more I can teach you.” As midnight tolled and Morgana’s birthday began, the other shoe dropped. The one I had been fearing for years. Excalibur, the sword of light from Camelot, had been pulled from the stone.
Morgana froze and turned to look at me. “Medea, I see it. A shining city, a man of magic, a king.” I nodded sadly. We hadn’t kept her future from her, but I had hoped that my teaching her would guide her down a different path. “I need to go.”
We walked back to the house and I sighed. I pulled out a necklace, one I had kept with me since I left Colchis. “Take this,” I said as I put it on her, a shining midnight blue dragon scale glimmering in the candlelight.
“But this…” Morgana placed her hand on it and looked at me. Tears filled my eyes.
I nodded and took a deep breath. “Was Chalkiope’s. It was discarded by my friend, the Colchian Drakon, and fashioned into a pendant. Because from now on my sweet girl,” I kissed her forehead, “you are the Maiden, my sister. Go and do us honour as we will do for you. And know that Baba and I will always have our eyes on you, and if you need us, you just need to ask.”
For a moment, the woman gave way to the child, and Morgana threw her arms around me, clinging to me as she did in her youth. “I love you, Mama,” she whispered with a quivering voice.
I hugged her back tightly and smiled sadly. “Go now Morgana, or should I call you Morgan Le Fay now?”
Just like that, the child was gone and the woman had returned. “Yes,” she replied strongly as she withdrew from our embrace. Confidence and purpose had hardened her face. “I am Morgan Le Fay.”
The memory faded and I slumped back down on the bar, my drink empty and I cried. I cried for my lost little girl, and for the scared and broken woman upstairs. I cried because of what was coming and the potential losses involved. My Morgana, who grew up to be more like me than I wanted her to, but still. I was damned proud of her, and I would protect her until I died, that was a promise I made when I found her wandering the woods. It was a promise I reinforced when I began healing her wounds, and it was a vow I felt in my soul as the tears fell down my face.
~Co-written with Morgan Le Fay (Kelsey)