The Twinflower

A story of myth and magic, inspired by the Caledonian forest:

I realise now why my father had been so worried. In fact, I suspect he knew the truth all along but was unable to face it.

You see, he and my mother had always been fascinated by the legends of King Arthur. Holidays were spent visiting the places steeped in the mysteries of those ancient times and for my sister and I,  with our Arthurian names, it was just our way of life.

It was my sister Ganieda who seemed to worry him most. Mother would laugh, saying that she was just “fey”, a dreamer, but Father’s eyes betrayed his fear. As for me, I was just her twin brother Emrys, who looked out for her and kept her safe. But I knew there was an unbreakable bond between us and yes, at times I was scared. As we set off on a family trip to Scotland, I knew I was slowly starting to suffocate. 

On that fateful, final day we visited the ancient Abernethy Forest, wandering along the narrow tracks, deeper and deeper into the heart of the forest, marvelling at the towering Scotch pines, the wind whispering through the uppermost  branches. To me, it felt as if I was being dragged by an invisible force, further into the past.

Eventually, we reached a mist-strewn loch, still as glass, its waters clear and icy cold. Mother, Father and I crouched and splashed the refreshing water on our faces, irresistibly drawn to quenching our thirst, whilst Ganieda sat crooning to herself, eyes closed, as she rested on the grass. It seemed as if she was singing a lullaby…

…I opened my eyes and blinked up at the green-fringed sky. I realised I had slept and struggled sleepily to sit up. My parents were still asleep. But, of Ganieda, there was no sign.

Scrambling to my feet, I looked wildly around me. The air was cooling fast,  so I knew we must have slept for a long while.

I don’t know why I never thought to try and rouse my parents. Or, if I would have succeeded. Instead, I ran blindly through the trees, calling Ganieda’s name over and over again.

Eventually, I paused for breath. A Mountain Hare flashed through the heather and, somewhere above, an Osprey called. Slowly, my racing heart calmed and I began to creep forward once more…

I found my sister perched on an ancient boulder, a relic of the Ice Age. Her long golden hair, her ice`blue eyes and pale translucent skin, gave an ethereal glow to her surroundings. I reflected then, on how alike we were as, arms outstretched, I went to join her.

“Father said Merlin was sent here when he went mad, you know” 

I smiled. Maybe Father had guessed the truth after all. 

If you go to Abernethy Forest today, you will find a beautiful and rare flower. It has a single stem, topped by two perfect pale pink flowers, and it bears the name, the Twinflower. 

Twins. 

As were Merlin and his sister. 

 Ganieda.

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