We passed through the bottom of what Barte announced as “The Great Lake of Shanahan,” before flying out and into the open Shanahan sky. Galaxy was literally swimming up a deep, wide and surprisingly well lit underground pool. Finally the whale shot straight up and out of the top of the lake, and so we where there.
The World Of Shanahan was dressed in rich green with crop fields and valleys of long tall grass, and mountains larger than Galaxy. It’s a farming world. A free peaceful world.
Barte tells me that the world stretches out for many millions of miles, and nobody knows what’s out there. The most of its never been explored, but the parts that have don’t seem to bring the explorers back.
“We stay here for a year.” Lexus announced. “This is a safe place for Little Bee to grow and live. When the last harvest is up, we leave.”
Buckly then stepped forward; “Zector, send a message to the trees of Shanahan and have all the Farmers gather around the north side of the Great Lake. The Communion Court will be setting up a great market, where farmers may come to collect gold and silver, and seedlings from the traders of Galaxy. Myself and the court shall be funding this year’s harvest.” I watched Zector translate the message to a dozen different tree faces, in a dozen different tongues. Interesting work I must say, being able to talk tree.
When everyone left the Eye – except for of course Zector, Phrancis and Lexus who never seem to leave – Buckly approached me, “you will not be attending the market, Little Bee.” He said.
“What! Why not?” I snapped back.
“It’s still too dangerous. You’re famous, and worth ransom to outlaws, bandits and anyone who has trading links to the World of Scorpio. If we let you attend the markets; people will point, annoy and sell their own greedy eyes to keen listeners.”
“What? But nothing like that happened in Ezarco?”
“That’s because Ezarco lacks gossiping trees, people that can read and write, and fairies. Ezarcians hardly know what’s going on in there own cities. But unlike Ezarco and unfortunately like Dobbingson, Shanahan is rich and some say overflowing with trees. And trees love to talk.”
“Well what am I’m doing for the entire year?”
“You’re going to live with Barte on his corn crop farm. He has a nice cosy home there. You will like it, Little Bee. Gweyne and I will visit regularly, when we’re not busy with council work and politics.”
In the flutterbee, on the way down to Barte’s farm, the Heirophant of Shanahan told me all about the Do’s and Dont’s in the World of Shanahan. For instance: I should never praise MoonDay when in the presence of other Shanahans. “It’s on MoonDays that the werewolves and halfmen-beasts come out to eat the sheep, kill the livestock, wreck havoc on the community and slaughter men, women and children.”
Another Don’t is to never expect chivalry from the men. In Shanahan, a woman can do just as much as any man.
After a while of Barte’s lesson, I did notice there were a great many more Do-Not’s than Do’s. The list went on: don’t threaten another man’s property, if you do, the owner will not hesitate to shoot you with an arrow. Another Don’t is to never identify yourself as either a witch, a vampire or a half-beast. The Shanahan Community kills all sorts of creatures. “They don’t like the company of the communion or the fairies very much, but they’ll put up with them plainly because of the travel and trade they can acquire. Make yourself known as an average human girl.”
“Oh and one more Don’t, don’t stir up the scarecrows. They’re a vicious creation.” I thought it was a joke at first but then I realised Barte wasn’t smiling, and he’s fully scarecrow himself.
We’ve arrived. And oh damn Barte’s house is beautiful. It’s orange with two levels. Its roof slants upwards into a triangle shape. He even has a huge pond full of fish and toads and mossy green lilies. His backyard paddock stretches out for miles on end. It’s full of trees and bushes, gardens and personal crop fields, cows and even a golden brown horse which I think is still a babe. Inside, the floors are tiled with stones, there’s a beautiful rich oak staircase. He even has a chimney fire place, a living scarecrow named Pumbic, and oh of course, a human wife!