Avengers of The Fellowship
The Story of Dubha Wanderbee
On a cloudy spring evening thirty-five years ago, a beautiful white haired baby, who had been born into a family of nomadic Halflings, lay peacefully in her cot. The baby’s parents had left her sleeping in their old weathered wagon as they cooked fish over the open camp fire. When suddenly, the baby’s mother Bramble, heard a high pitched wail come from her week old daughter. Bramble, closely followed by her husband Uisce, scrambled quickly to check on her.
She pulled back the fabric door and spotted a weird distorted creature standing over the baby’s cot, his twisted bony hand firmly clasped onto the top of the newborn’s head.
Just as the new parents gasped in fright at the sight before them, the demon turned his distorted head in their direction. With a snarl, his lips pulled back to reveal his pointed yellow teeth, his eyes glowed red and he let out a soft eerie chuckle. The baby’s screaming halted straight away as the demons glowing eyes slid back onto hers. With a mumble of strange words and sounds escaping the demons mouth her eyes began to glow a bright blue. The demon paused, and for a split second, a look of confusion passed over his face.
A look that both of the parents missed as they stood shaking in fear. An expression that indicated, if even for a fleeting moment, that the demon’s plans did not go as he had intended. Never before had he witnessed such resilience to the darkness from such a small creature. Her freshly hatched wild magic held strong and protected her from the darkness. Her bright blue gaze burned into his eyes and frightened him enough that he decided he would have his fun elsewhere. It was this moment that when this baby girl began to grow up and show signs of magic, people recalled the demons touch and presumed it was the source of her feral power. But in actual fact the magic had already been coursing through her little veins before the demon even appeared in the wagon. A magic that was pure and good and celestial.
Unfortunately for this child, her parents and her clan did not know that her pureness and goodness had protected her from the demon. To the very traditional Wanderbee clan, the baby had been marked and they truly believed she would now bring bad luck and darkness to them all. And so it was that they named her Dubha, after the black darkness that they believed now coursed through her veins.
She became the runt in her clan and was shunned throughout all her years with them. The adults would rarely make eye contact with her and her own mother eventually just ignored her. When anything bad ever happened to the clan the blame fell on poor little Dubha and her siblings and cousins would run away and scream when she came near. The only person to ever show her any affection was her father, but it was always hidden from the others, only Dubha ever noticed it. Even though she was ignored and her family did not want her there, they were always too afraid to abandon her in case she somehow placed a bigger curse on them. So they travelled together and they made sure she was fed and educated in the hopes that one day she would gladly leave on her own adventure without bringing more bad luck on the clan.
Dubha grew up strong and resilient but managed to stay surprisingly good and pure at her core. She spent a lot of time on her own and became obsessed with books and knowledge. When she started to come of age and was sent to stores in whatever village or town they pulled up to, she found it very hard at first to converse in ways that were expected of a pretty little Halfling with chocolate brown eyes and long white hair. Over time she realised that other people beyond her clan seemed to like her unusual ways. It was as if people could sense her pure heart and they always warmed to her even if she was acting kind of odd.
Sometimes while at a market or in some of her favourite book stores across the land she could swear that those unusual creatures who mumbled words and moved their hands in weird stared at her. Once or twice she even got the feeling that she was being followed. She did not realise that sometimes when she was around others that had magic coursing through their veins, her eyes would glow blue. These people and creatures that followed her found it very unusual to come across a child that had so much untouched wild magic, magic that was already fighting to get out. But these people and creatures ever curious and she was always very lucky that they never had any malicious intentions with hopes of harnessing the child’s magic for their own gain.
At the age of sixteen, when Dubha was finally starting to become more settled in herself and was a little less odd, strange things began to happen around her. Objects would randomly disappear only to reappear in the most unusal places, like her missing shoe on top of her sleeping father’s head. And once, the camp fire suddenly burst into flames when she sneezed.
Some of her cousins and siblings that had started to warm to her as they matured and began to doubt these tales of demons and curses, even began to notice these unusual occurrences. At times they could feel themselves wondering if there was maybe some truth in what the elders had always said about Dubha.
Then one evening, as the Wanderbee clan sat around a blazing fire signing songs that had been passed down from generation to generation and a full moon shone overhead, Dubha felt a strange sensation fizzle through her body. She rose from the outskirts of the circle of Wanderbees to make her way to her wagon when all of a sudden blue streaks of lightning began to shoot from her hands. She looked over at her family in hopes that they had not noticed and they all sat gaping in her direction. Her mother stood and, for the first time that Dubha could recall, she looked her straight in the eyes.
“It’s happening…” she yelled, pointing her finger at her only daughter, “after all these years the demon is finally showing itself.”
Dubha began to well up and shake in fear. She had been told stories about that night with the demon many times and even though she refused to fully believe them, she had always felt there was something different about her. As she took a step towards her clan looking for help, they all began to scream and ran in the opposite direction. Just as Dubha was about to burst into tears, massive
bolts of blue lightning exploded from her chest. Her magic that had been swirling around her body for years finally found an escape.
Time seemed to slow down and as the magic continued to burst and flow uncontrollably from her, she was able to see the carnage that she was causing. All the wagons that were her clan’s homes, filled with their precious possessions, were engulfed in flames and the fire was beginning to spread to the surrounding trees. Dubha had no control over any of it and the raw power was consuming her. She was ready to give up and let the untamed force overthrow her when a heavy pressure began to encapsulate her. The blue bolts whittled down to sparks and she fell to her knees as she saw a tall hooded figure walked towards her unscathed.
“My dear child, you do not know it yet but you are a Sorcerer who needs to learn to tame your magic before you kill your family or yourself.” He helped her to her feet and passed her a bag. “I have been watching you for a while now. I could feel the magic building…I am sorry…I should have done something sooner.” Dubha could barely stand let alone speak. She held the bag loosely and looked into the shadow under the hood where she couldn’t see in the darkness but kind eyes could see her. She opened her mouth to try force a sound out, to ask him who he was, why he thought she was a Sorcerer and how he had just calmed the magic electrical storm she had just accidentally started.
“I stumbled upon your clan years ago when you were just a child and I knew then what was to come of you…but with time and distance you became just a memory…that is until a month ago when I sensed your power nearby and I knew your magic was getting ready to set itself free…” He reached towards the bag and shoved his hand into it pulling out a book and a stick when a voices floated towards them. Familiar voices to Dubha, her father and a younger voice, maybe her cousin.
“Look, I don’t have time…I am not here to be your saviour or teacher but I just couldn’t leave you when you are a danger to yourself and everyone around you. Here’s a book with some of the basic stuff you need to know. I wrote down the most important things over the couple of weeks I have been tracking you…you won’t achieve anything great from it but it will help you tame your powers.”
He flicked through the pages quickly and pushed the booked into her arms. He then held the carved wooden stick in front of her face and as he opened his mouth to speak the wind blew his hood down revealing a human male about twenty years her senior. With his free hand, he quickly covered his head once again and as the voices of Dubha’s father and cousin grew closer he hastily placed the piece of wood into her hand. “That’s a wand, use it to help channel your magic. You can no longer stay with your family Dubha, if they see you with any of this I imagine they will do horrible things to you and you could in turn really hurt them…even kill them…leave now…if you love them, leave them…learn from this book and educate yourself on the ways of a Sorcerer. My name is Tam and one day we may meet again on happier terms.”
Dubha blinked in confusion and before her watering eyes he disappeared, no sign or trace of Tam remained, only the bag and the book and of course the wand. She turned shakily on the spot, trying to make sense of her surroundings when a strong pair of hands grasped her shoulders.
“Oh Dubha, what did you do…my poor Dubh…your mother was right about the demon all this time but I still think your heart is good but…you cant’t be…you can’t be cursed…you just need to figure out a way to banish this demon from you…or whatever it is…” Uisce stood holding his daughter, ash covering his creased face.
“Father I am so sorry…I didn’t mean…” She paused as she saw one of her youngest cousin’s huddled behind her father, a look of terror on her face.
“Dubha, Dubh…you have to leave… you have to go… the elders, they are scared by what they saw, they always believed your kindness and goodness was a trick played by the demon. Now they will be justified in their beliefs. I know my daughter is in there and you have to figure out a way to get this demon out of you so you can come back to us.”
He planted a kiss on her forehead, she could not recall a time he had ever done this and with a tight squeeze of her shoulders he stood back.
“Be careful…and you need to find a way of hiding your eyes so people don’t see them when they turn blue or they’ll know there’s a demon in you.”
He lifted up his small niece into his arms and as she whimpered and nestled into him he retreated back into the tree line.
“Now go Dubh, the elders won’t be long coming back to check the damage you caused.”
It was after that faithful day that Dubha Wanderbee started her adventure. Over the next nineteen years she learned a lot about herself, her magic and the world which was much bigger than she had ever imagined.
A number of years had passed before she truly learned that she harboured nothing sinister or demonic within herself. It was then that she accepted herself as a Sorcerer.
She never saw or heard of Tam again, the hooded human who saved her that night, gave her what she needed to start learning about who she truly was. At times she questioned if that night ever actually happened but she still carried the hand written notebook in her bag and the wand on her belt as a reminder of where she came from and what her magic can do if she ignores it.
Sometimes, when she happens to be laying under the night sky with the smell of a campfire filling the air around her, she thinks of her family and wonders who else survived that night. She wonders where her father and cousin were and tries to imagine what they must look like now. There were times she thought about trying to find them, to pretend that whatever demon they thought was inside her was gone and she was just a normal Halfling woman now. But then she recalls the unyielding pent up magic that night and always comes to the same conclusion that there would be no way she could hide her magic and thus they are safer without her.
Even now, as grown Halfling, she does not blame or hate her clan for their cruelty towards her as she grew up. Some might even question if she truly recalled how mean they were to her, all because they did not truly understand what they had witnessed on that cloudy Spring night all those years ago.