The air was warm and still under the trees and Rhea, feeling like a teenager and glad she was old enough to appreciate it, slipped off her shoes and dipped her feet into the tranquil waters of the river. The polished gravel on the riverbed was pleasant underfoot and tucking up her skirt like a schoolgirl, she waded out into the stream, holding out a hand to Alec and laughingly daring him to join her.
Nothing loath, Alec stripped off his shoes and socks and rolled his trousers up to the knees, wading in to catch her round the waist. He pulled her to him and kissed her long and deeply, the water swirling endlessly around their feet until they both felt they were being swept away by unseen currents.
They felt the water rising around and through them as if they were as insubstantial as the breeze. Alec turned Rhea around to face what he could see over her shoulder. Standing within the protective circle of his arms, Rhea watched the maelstrom forming around them, whipping the waters to a white foam. A tall figure emerged from the centre of the whirlpool, robed in the shifting blue of reflected skies.
“Champions of Light, I am the guardian of this stream. You stand amid angry waters and face fear with courage. The Horned One gave you the blessing of the Powers of Earth. It falls to me to give the benediction of Water, the blood of Earth.” The Lady raised her hands, and from them flowed a shower of rainbows that danced around Alec and Rhea, their touch a zephyr which played though their hair and caressed their lips before returning to the Lady’s hand. The two mortals bowed their heads in reverent wonder.
“I have a gifting for you. Where all is barren, remember me. Within my realm I may be summoned at need. Fare well.”
The whirling waters receded as Alec called,
“Lady, we do not know your name!” But the only reply was the song of the water at their feet.
From Sword of Destiny