By Molly Anderson | Posted 10/5/08 | Updated 8/19/23
Please welcome Lily, The Raven Queen, a fictional character from Stealing Plums, one of my books in-progress. Creating a world for her through story sometimes makes her more real to me than anyone else on earth. Lily, thank you for granting me an audience today.
Lily: I am not yours to command. No one commands me. I am here because I wish to be but I cannot stay long. What is it you wish to know? Shall I speak of my brave deeds in battle? My magical powers? My exceeding beauty, beyond all compare?
Q: We may speak of all these things yet. But first, My Queen, I wish to know are you the Shadow-Side of me, or a being of your own, entire?
A: I believe that all beings are one, and much closer to others than they may wish to believe. In that respect, we all play the Shadow, the foil, or others constantly. If you are asking whether I am some figment of your lively imagination as I suspect you should know that I am as real as roses. You did not dream me up never think it.
Q: I admit that I do not understand entirely the nature of beings such as yourself. I see and hear you so clearly, yet no one else is able to sense that there is a Queen beside me, right next to me, seated in the rocking chair. How is this possible?
A: This is a mystery of which I may not speak. It would unravel everything like a cat deviling a ball of yarn. Suffice to say that I am not here in the typical, physical sense. You have a spyglass in your head that allows you to see us; not everyone is so born, but only a lucky few. Cherish this; it is one of my most holy and venerated gifts I will say no more.
Q: I know that you have foot in our world, as well as a foot in The White Lands, where you rule a kingdom most fair. How is our world different from your own?
A: More magic dwells in The White Lands, and more danger, as well. Your world is safe and clean and bright. You have sacrificed darkness and magic to strange Gods, indeed. And yet, in its wild places, there are still sacred things to be found here; an ancient magic found in the groves and the hills; the very stones. In this season of waiting for winter, as the leaves change from green to gold and crimson, and great flocks of starlings gather for their great flight to the South-lands. There is magic here, but it is found only in the wild places. In the White Lands, magic is everywhere it is the air we breathe, the earth we walk upon.
Q: And what is happening in your own lands in this most magical of seasons?
A: We prepare to harvest the fruits of summer. We hunker down and wait for the cold. The land empties out; only those who are strong enough to survive winter may stay. Ravens and crows in our lands, and in yours do not fly away as the other birds do. They are our winter companions. They aid us in the great hunts, and act as emissaries to the Shadow-Land, the Void.
In my rooms in the tall blue north tower of my castle, I am packing supplies and clothing for a long journey into the wilderness, where I go to seek a vision for my people. I will fast for thirteen days and nights to prepare for this quest. It is customary for the Queen of the White Lands to journey into the wild each year at harvest time to speak to the spirits of those who have gone before. They will give us gifts and knowledge; advice for the year to come. The culmination of this is the Spiral Dance, the Great Rite, and the Feast of Plenty.
Q: How do you navigate between your world and ours?
A: There is a door that is not a door. It lives in the heart. It can lead you anywhere; if you are brave and true and wild.
Q: When you appear in our world, who are you?
A: I am an ordinary suburban girl, named Lily Blue. I live with my parents and sister in a house like any other. My father is a monster, disguised in a suit and tie. He hurts me. I do not stay there long, for it is a place where I have little power and endure much pain.
When I speak of my true origins, in the White Lands, I am shunned and accused of insanity. Escape fantasies, they call it. They want to lock me up in a cage, but they cannot chain my heart. Their cages and bars cannot contain this spirit. I know a myriad of ways to escape; to return to my heart's home. I will always return to this wild and magical place there is a door that is not a door, and it will lead me safely home.
©2008 by Molly Anderson. All rights reserved.