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Sep 21, 2018


Mad Mabon

A Crazy Ink Anthology

There's beauty in darkness and no one knows it better than those who celebrate Mabon! A celebration of darkness to come, Mad Mabon looks at the crazy lengths pagans go to make this sacred holiday perfect.

Like with all holidays, it takes all kinds of love, and sometimes crazy, to pull it all together. Stories with varying degrees of crazy preparation and one common theme – exploring the madness of Mabon tradition.

With something everyone can relate to, Mad Mabon is sure to make you laugh, smile, quiver and even cry as we venture together into the autumn equinox…

Sep 21, 2018

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Mad Mabon - T. Elizabeth Guthrie


For all those who know both the panic and crazy joy that comes with prepping for the holidays.

May your harvests be plentiful.

Mabon is a pagan harvest festival which is celebrated on the Autumnal Equinox each year—around September 21 through September 24.

Also known as Harvest Home, this holiday marks the middle of the harvest cycle—when both the days and nights are of equal length. It is a time to reap what you sow, a time to give thanks to Mother Earth for the bounty she provides and a time to rest after bringing in the crops.

It is also the second holiday on the Wheel of the Year, which includes other harvest festivals such as Lammas and Samhain.


The Ash by T. Elizabeth Guthrie

Touchback by Tiffany Carby

A Harvest Promise by Lorah Jaiyn

An Unlucky Mabon by Rena Marin

The Rising by Krystle Able

Horned God by Kathia Iblis

The Wrong Ritual by M. Rain Ranalli


The Ash

Equality of day and night,

The balance of heart and spirit,

Mysteries of the natural world, I will not fear it.

We bare the fruits to the Goddess,

May the God be appeased;

It is the celebration of autumn's harmony.

Time to honor the Spirit world,

Make offerings to the trees,

Thankful for the harvest of prosperity.

Thanksgiving in the change of seasons,

Grace our soul with protection and security,

Bless the fruits of the Earth with absolute purity.

—Tessa Roberts

Chapter One

Nyla stood in the middle of the forest enjoying the sweet quiet. She knew it was the calm before the storm as she listened to the leaves rustling in the slight breeze. Not literally, but it was the last day before the final fall harvest. Once the crops were all preserved for the long winter, they would have the Mabon Festival, which was usually held three days after.

She loved this time of year most, especially since the time she had been chosen by the Fae to become the Keeper of the Ash, or Tree of Life. Their way of life kept to the old traditions, and Mabon was one of the most important. After all, it was a celebration to rejoice because her people knew they had enough food to last all winter. It was also a time to rest and prepare for Ancestor Night, or Samhain.

The whole village took meals together in the central lodge where they were cooked. Each family had its own lodge to live in, but the Chieftain preferred them to eat together in fellowship. It was important for all to get along so the village could thrive.

Nyla turned to head back but decided to take a detour to check on the Yggdrasil. While she adored being around her people, she loved being with the Tree even more. She secretly called it the Ash and would refer to it by name when she talked to it, which she did several times a day.

She didn’t understand how everyone wasn’t able to do this since she had been doing it from the age of three. That’s why she took Krystina under her wing as a witchling. She had been the only person in a hundred years to show the ability to communicate with every living thing.

She smiled to herself as she thought of her little witchling. She had a special talent for growing things and was going to make a wonderful Keeper someday.

Hello, Ash. How are you this afternoon? Of course, it didn’t answer her back, at least not in any language the human ear could hear or understand. The tree was a giant Ash, hence its name, that towered over everything around it. The root system was as enormous as the top of the tree, which was typical since the belief was, As It Is Above, So It Is Below. Lush leaves still clung to the branches and would be the last ones to fall for the year.

She felt its answer in her heart. I’m glad to hear that. Is there anything you need before I go in for supper?

Again, she felt its answer. She told Ash goodnight and that she would be back early the next morning.

She walked back to the village with a light step. Her heart brimmed for all things living. She recognized the fact that she had a wonderful life, even if it was minus a man. She knew one day she would find her forever love just as her protégé had already done.

She was a lovely woman with a lush figure, long brown hair that reached down to the top of her butt cheeks, and she walked with a grace that made the Fae themselves envious.

Nyla went into the main lodge and spoke to everyone she passed before joining Krystina and her husband, Michael. Just watching them at times made her ache for her own lover, but for now, she would wait until Freyr sent the one meant for her alone.

Sitting down beside the couple, she started asking about the upcoming festivities and if Krystina had prepared the ritual so Nyla could check it early the next morning. They had to do things in a certain order to prepare everything for the Mabon ritual.

Hello, Nyla and yes, I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me. All is in readiness for the rite in three days’ time.

Wonderful, Krystina. I must say you are a most efficient little witchling.

I’ve had a wonderful teacher over the last year.

Well if you keep going the way you have been, the Fae will be choosing a second Witch to keep watch over the Ash.

That would be such an honor. Krystina beamed at the thought.

Just think, I’d be married to one of the Tree Keepers. Michael tugged Krystina toward him until he could kiss her gently on the lips.

Nyla couldn’t help but smile at their love play. Her witchling was a beautiful young woman with long blonde hair and a sylph-like figure. She looked like one of the Fae as tiny as she was. On the other hand, her handsome husband was a big, broad-chested, young man with red hair and a redder beard.

They continued to chat about the upcoming ritual and how good the harvests had been as they ate until the Chieftain rose to his feet and tapped his staff three times to gain everyone’s attention. They all fell silent and turned to listen.

Good eve, one and all. I have an announcement to make, and I want everyone to hear it. He stood proud and tall as his eyes swept over the crowded lodge. Several members of our tribe have been noticing things missing recently. I’m not one to say we have a thief amongst us, but I am going to say to anyone who knows of someone that might be playing pranks—would you please take them aside and let them know we do not tolerate this kind of behavior?

Everyone started murmuring about who the prankster could be. Since most of the tribe was in attendance for the meal and no one owned up to it, they continued to speculate.

And remember that Mabon is in three night’s time, so get the last of your chores done before the winter snows are upon us.

With that, he sat back down, and everyone continued to eat and talk about what was going on

Nyla, any idea what the Chieftain is talking about? I hadn’t heard anything about people losing items, said Krystina.

I had one person come up to me about some missing tools yesterday but thought nothing of it other than they had misplaced them. Now I’m wondering what could be going on, replied Nyla.

She excused herself to walk around the village and meandered to the Ash again. Maybe it knew what was going on.

If not, then it would be a wait and see game. It probably wasn’t anything, but just in case, she needed some answers.

Chapter Two

Alastor was bored. No other word for it. He came back to Earth after sneaking out of Uffern for the millionth time, but this age was different. Something felt off, and he couldn’t put his finger on it.

He was in the guise of a traveler and kept telling the individual villages that he was on a pilgrimage. They fed and clothed him without question.

I can’t believe how gullible these humans are. I can do anything I want, and they will support me.

He went from village to village pulling pranks on people or being totally evil and making some of them disappear. He even got so bored at one stop that he decided to make the entire village fade from view.

The humans lived their lives as if nothing had changed. He thought it was hilarious to watch visitors come by and talk about the village that used to be there. No one could figure out what happened. Finally, he grew tired of watching and moved on, leaving them invisible.

He traveled for several days then came upon Derduin, where Nyla and her people resided. Alastor felt the difference immediately, especially since the demon medallion kept burning his chest. He went in search of the source of his discomfort.

He came upon Nyla at the fork of two large creeks where she had gone to bathe and do her morning ritual to the Fae. He watched her for several minutes before she realized she wasn’t alone.

She stood and pulled her cloak tighter around her once she realized that it wasn’t one of the villagers. He was a tall man with long black hair and he carried a sack slung over his right shoulder. She couldn’t tell the color of his eyes from this distance or anything else about him.

She waited for the stranger to make the first move, that way she would know friend or foe. She held her dagger close, so he wouldn’t know she had one.

Hello, I didn’t mean to startle you. My name is Alastor, and I’m a traveler looking for a home.

He decided to add that last bit to his story in hopes of quelling the instant mistrust he could feel emanating from her.

Hello to you, Master Alastor. I welcome you to Derduin. Where do you come from?

I’m from the lands far away. Things have gotten a bit out of hand, and I felt the need to find some peace, so I’m currently searching.

Well, you are invited to sit at breakfast with my people, and I can introduce you to our Chieftain.

That would be most welcome, Mistress...

I am Nyla. Follow me please.

Thank you, Nyla.

He followed behind her meekly. It suited him for the moment to seem that way.

They walked in silence back to the village where life went along as usual. People were working to make sure the last of the harvest was in and gathering herbs to hang up for drying in the main lodge. No one paid them much attention.

She took him straight to the Chieftain and introduced them, then asked to leave so she could continue her chores in preparation for the Mabon ritual. The Chieftain dismissed her, and she scooted out of the lodge.

There is something about this man that sets me on edge. She hurried to Krystina’s lodge and knocked for permission to enter.

Gaining it, she went inside and sat down to tell her about the village’s new visitor. She told her about the instant dislike and that for no reason she could tell just yet, there was something off about him. 

Can you go by the Chieftain’s lodge on some errand and see for yourself? Maybe I’m just too wound up about the upcoming festival.

I’ll go right now. Stay here until I return.

Krystina went to the Chieftain’s lodge and knocked then waited patiently to be allowed entry.

Come in child. Meet the new guest who will be staying with us until after the Mabon Festival.

Hello, sir. My name is Krystina, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.

She was a consummate actress when she needed to be.

Hello, Mistress Krystina. It is a pleasure to meet you.

Did you need something child? The Chieftain looked at her inquiringly.

Yes sir. My husband asked if I would come see you and ask if you would be free later to look over the food storage buildings and let us know if you felt anything else needed to be done.

I trust Michael with the task. If he feels everything is secure, then we will go with his word.

Thank you, sir. I will let him know. Good day to you both.

She left and hurried back to her lodge to talk with Nyla. She felt something off about this Alastor person too. She hoped they could figure it out and get things back to normal before the festival in two days’ time.

Nyla. I know exactly what you mean. Something is off about him.

I was hoping it was just me. Okay, we have to find out who he is and why he’s really here.

Or what he is. I don’t think he’s what he’s professing to be.

Nyla looked at Krystina sharply. What do you mean?

When I look at him, he doesn’t seem to be ‘solid’. There is something wrong with his appearance.

I didn’t notice that when I met him. I’ll have to see if I can sit with them at the high table tonight and get close enough with my wand from the Ash. That will let me know if he’s what he says he is.

Good idea.

They continued with plans for the ritual, then switched to their plans to figure out who or what their new visitor actually was. Soon, Michael came in from overseeing the food storage and joined them in their conversation.

I’m not sure what to believe, but I know neither of you are shook up easily, and I can see this bothers you both very much. We’ll do what needs to be done where he is concerned.

Chapter Three

After breakfast, the Chieftain dismissed Alastor, and he spent the rest of the day checking out the village. He knew something was off, but even after snooping around the village and speaking to everyone he passed, he still couldn’t figure it out.

Hello again.

He turned around to find Nyla and wondered how long she had been following him. He hadn’t sensed her at all.


Hello, Nyla. Can I help you with something?

Actually, I was wondering if you might like a complete tour of the village?

Why yes, I believe I’d like that. Thank you.

They walked away chatting. Nyla explained how close knit the village was. Everyone was family or friend. She went on about how the harvest was excellent this year, and they were all looking forward to the Mabon Festival.

As she talked, Alastor kept looking around to try to find the reason behind the feeling he kept getting. He noticed Nyla kept avoiding one area of the village, and when they walked near it, those feelings became much stronger.

Okay, so I know I need to get over there now. They continued walking and eventually found themselves back at the fork in the creek where they first met. Alastor stayed clear of the water while Nyla walked over and bent down with cupped hands.

Care to join me for a drink?

No thank you, I’m not thirsty at the moment. Would you mind if I wandered back to the village? I find that I’m rather tired all of a sudden.

Of course, Alastor. How rude of me to keep you. Where, may I ask, did the Chieftain put you while you’re here on your visit.?

I’m staying in his lodge for the duration of my stopover.

She was shocked to the core upon hearing that. The Chieftain never took travelers into his own lodge.

I understand. I hope you sleep well then.

She watched him walk back toward the village. She had a million thoughts going through her mind, but the most important one was the fact that he wouldn’t go near the running water. She needed to talk to Krystina.

Nyla found her working in the main lodge putting things together for the ritual. She was laying out all the herbs needed, making sure they had everything.

Hey, Krystina we need to talk. I just took a walk with Alastor, and it was very interesting.

Oh yeah, how so?

We walked all over the village and then down to the fork in the creek. He wouldn’t go anywhere near the rushing water. What do you make of that?

Well, from what I’ve learned from the ancient scrolls, it usually means some sort of evil.

Yeah, that’s what I remember too but was hoping you might have found something more.

Not so far. Maybe we need to find another way of testing him?

"Yeah, I think so too. We

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