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The Ancient One
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-246-1
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Young Adult
eBook Length: 46 Pages
Published: April 2005

From inside the flap

[eBook version]

When Talwyn followed her people, the Golden, from the mist, she found herself reborn into a wondrous world of greens and blues and light and warmth.

When she heard the spirits within the trees call out to her, she found again the oneness she thought lost to her forever.

When the spirits showed her a future that would see her beloved trees destroyed, Talwyn vowed to protect them, even if it meant never returning to the mist again.

Within the swirling mists of time, fanciful whispers give birth to wonders beyond any known reality and shape a single moment into legend. This is one such tale...

The Ancient One

Reviews and Awards

 The Ancient One  has finaled in the 2004 EPPIES for Fantasy

Review from Love Romances

The Ancient One by Sheri McGathy

Sheri McGathy has done it again with "The Ancient One." This is a wonderful blend of fantasy and legend. It is terribly fitting in our own time with the way that Talwyn kept telling Cian to protect the trees, that if the trees are destroyed, so shall the world. The characters are all very well rounded and totally believable. I really enjoyed the fact that we don?t know what Talwyn is until the end of the story. I loved the mist and how Talwyn’s people came out of the mist to inhabit a world and then the time of change would come and they would go back into the mist. I could feel Talwyn’s loneliness when she was in the cradle of the tree and her people had left her behind. I loved how Talwyn couldn?t help herself from helping the woman that came to her for help. This is a very well written story that will engage the reader’s attention from the very beginning. This is definitely a tale that I recommend all lovers of fantasy read.

Chere Gruver, Member Reviewer’s International Organization

The Ancient One by Sheri L. McGathy is a story of "The Golden", who are born of mist. Talwyn is drawn by thoughts of a strange and mysterious land that beckons her to it. She is drawn to a grove of oak trees and soon becomes their protector. This is the story of the "Maiden" who protects the grove and those for whom she protects it. Reading this story made the reader yearn for a grove of trees of her own. It was a nicely written story that showed the author’s thought and intent as she wrote it.

Meg ? Love Romances

The Ancient One (Excerpt)


Long ago when time was new and her heart was young and true,

she gazed into the Pool of Time and saw the prophetic signs.

As the visions did unfold, her blood it grew most cold.

For danger rode the sky in flight, and darkness ruled the night.

She raised her gaze and asked of them, "What would you have me do? For these are visions that will bear no seed, until long after I am a forgotten dream."

"Maiden of Mist, we beg of you, give your pledge so true, and rest within our timeless womb to await this nameless doom."

She closed her eyes and went to sleep as the wind whispered on and on, "Sleep the sleep of the Ancient One, and dream the dream of the forever young. Your time, one day, will come."

Chapter One

Talwyn knew no other time before the mist. She knew no other shelter. Born within the mist’s cool nothingness, she could recall nothing else but its soothing embrace. The mist had always been there and she within it.

But the changing was drawing near. Her kind, the Golden, whispered of its coming, reveled in its nearness, and welcomed its arrival. She could sense the excitement ripple within the oneness they shared, yet she was not sure she was as eager to see her existence change.

Time passed slowly within the mist, yet with each turn of the wheel her world altered. The oneness began to fade, the sameness became less pronounced. Talwyn’s body betrayed her as it ached for another existence, while her mind was clouded with strange urges she could neither banish nor control. The intensity of the thoughts frightened her.

The mist grew thin, its once thick, fluffy whiteness revealing brief glimpses of worlds beyond its hazy veil. Worlds that Talwyn had not known existed and wished would fade from her view.

Even as her mind filled with dread, eagerness filtered through the thoughts of the Golden, the one thought linked and shared amongst them was now a jumbled array of many individual thoughts and emotions.

"? The departure comes. It draws near?"

"? Time has begun anew. The wheel has turned full circle. The season of change is upon us?"

"? Soon we shall recall the feel of Mother Sun’s caress upon our skin?" "? Aye, and the touch of land beneath our feet?"

"? Soon?"

Talwyn’s fear overwhelmed her. What was this change? What would happen to her when it arrived? Would it hurt? She knew nothing about the worlds beyond the mist. How would she survive?

"Hold no fear, little one," the oldest of them whispered near her ear. "I have lived long and have seen many worlds through the blessings of the change." The old one’s thoughts touched Talwyn’s own. "Let me show you."

Memories of a time beyond the mist filtered through the collective, giving name to places and things that before held no understanding for Talwyn. A vision of moonlight as it glittered off the surface of a calm lake left her breathless while the feel of a cool breeze against moist skin made her shiver. The blissful warmth of Mother Sun made her sigh, and the wonder of color made her smile.

Talwyn grew still as images filled her mind, visions of her kind as they stepped free of the mist and walked on land. Emotions washed over her in great waves and gave her understanding. The knowledge given eased her fear. Excitement claimed her and she found she longed for this change to arrive.

Time passed and the mist grew warmer. Its shimmering silver curtain of moisture began to fade. Soon rays of sunlight filtered through the haze and hinted of something more waiting just beyond the veil.

Colors seeped in where once only gray prevailed. Shades of reds and pale yellows splashed against the silver veil of the mist, followed by greens and blues and browns. So many colors, from so many worlds, yet no one world called to the Golden. They floated on.

Each dawn the mist revealed another world, and each time the Golden turned away, until one dawn, Talwyn felt a stirring amongst them, an eagerness that awoke the same strange stirring within her.

A whisper sang through the fluffy softness that surrounded her, "Be ready."

Talwyn was.

The mist parted to reveal a world filled with colors. Hues of browns and blues, greens, reds, yellows nestled beneath sparkling white haze. The Golden trembled. This was the one. This world called to them. It would be the place of departure. Here, the changing would commence.

"Now, child." Her mother, Nia, clasped Talwyn’s hand. "We will step free together, you and I, and together we will know the joy of self."

Closing her eyes, Talwyn took a deep breath and followed her mother from the mist into the world that waited beyond. When her feet hit solid earth, she fell forward, her frail limbs refusing to take her weight.

Nia’s laughter washed over Talwyn in soft comforting waves. "Here child, I will stand for you until you may stand for yourself." Her mother slipped her arm about Talwyn’s waist.

Talwyn held a hand up and giggled as her stubby fingers wiggled before her eyes. "Mother, look." She smiled as she raised her arm.

"Aye, child. ?Tis the change. We are remade."

Talwyn trailed her fingertips down the length of her mother’s silky hair. "It shines," she whispered. Tipping her head back, she met her mother’s golden stare. "Mother, you are beautiful."

"As are you, my dear." Her mother lifted a stray strand of Talwyn’s hair. "See how you shine with the brilliance of the day? My child, you are a true daughter to the Sun, and a fitting sister to the Moon."

Talwyn frowned. "I do not understand."

Her mother laughed. "My sweet child." She tapped Talwyn’s nose with her finger. "Outside the mist, we honor the sun; she is our mother, and we, her children. Her warmth nourishes our kind." Nia sank down and sat upon the ground. She pulled Talwyn onto her lap and wrapped her arms about her. Laying her cheek against Talwyn’s, she said, "We honor Mother Sun and thank the land for allowing us to share of its blessings. When the change again calls to us, we will return to the oneness of the mist and take a bit of this world with us. ?Tis the way of the Golden."

Talwyn nodded. "Will the change be soon?"

"Nay, child, we will be long upon this land. We are at the new turn of the wheel. Here we will stay and bask in the warmth of Mother Sun." She lifted her face skyward and sighed as the sunlight played across her cheeks. Hugging Talwyn close, she whispered, "Sister Moon dwells there, within the shadows of the night, just beyond Mother Sun’s touch." Nia pointed toward the western horizon.

Talwyn squinted against the bright blue of the sky. "I cannot see her, Mother."

"You will. You hold within you the power to see. When the light of Sister Moon shines silver against your skin, you will know it is time to leave this world behind. You have time to experience much before the mist calls us home."