Yuletide Un-Merriment

Yuletide Un-Merriment

By Intricate Knot

“Yule is Quite Yuling…
It’s the Most Magickal Time of the Year!
When good goats go jingle belling,
Sam Sammy goes a caroling,
Most everyone is Mel-mellowing to cheer a fine bee…

It’s the Most Magickal Time of the Year!
All hearts are gold-golden,
Parties are toast-toasting,
Ghost stories tell-telling,
It’s the Most Magickal Time of the Year!”
~Intricate Knot

His thin lips and large muddy green ears curled in displeasure at the sounds he heard. This isn’t the way things were supposed to be going.

“What happened?” Diavex shouted. His voice, irritatingly and unexpectedly high-pitched for so large a beast, reverberated throughout the cave.
Besides himself, the only one within hearing distance is Crimson the Winter Wizard. Not a welcomed guest by the stretch of anyone’s imagination (even this Storyteller’s)! He sat on a hard, ugly, dull grey bench. So entirely ugly and dull that next to it concrete looks like the finest polished silver. Remarkably the discomfort of the bench is far outweighed by the fact that it’s located in a distressingly uncomfortable fire cage[*].

Diavex turned to Crimson,


“And how would I know?” Crimson rasped weakly. Though he exaggerated his condition, the truth is, Winter Wizards do not care for fire cages. Winter Wizards do not care for fire period.

“What if I tell you something first?”

“Why would you do that?”
His captor smiled. What a conniving, dark-hearted smile!

“It suits me, of course.”
Crimson looked up at Diavex,

“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m stuck in this place of despair with only you as a companion. I have no idea what is going on, nor do I even know what you’re referring to.” When Diavex opened his ill-favored mouth to speak, Crimson held up a hand, “And even if I had an inkling, you know very well that I would tell you nothing. Let’s at least have honesty.”
He shrugged then his lips curled into a disgusting smirk,

“Would you like to know how I created this fire cage?”

“I’ll take a wild guess: You used fire.”

“Yes, of course. But in this case, I used very special fire. You’ve heard of the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle[†]?”

Crimson’s winter heart sank though he refused to let on,


“Excellent. Then you’ll be delighted to know that I created this particular fire cage by yanking out the white flame from your precious candle.”
Are you serious? Diavex stole the white flame[‡]! No wonder he had sway over Crimson’s personage!

“‘Delighted’ isn’t the word coming to mind.”

“Don’t be silly. Of course I know this is devastating news to you. I simply cannot wait to share these joyous tidings with your friends. Won’t they be surprised?”

Being a Wizard has advantages that arrogant lunk-headed power-mongers like Diavex wouldn’t know anything about. Creatures of the lunk-headed variety don’t seem to realize that the pitfall of believing that you already know everything is exactly what prevents you from ever learning anything. Everyone knows that Wizards can tune in to whoever they wish and see clearly whatever that person (or persons) is doing. But did you know that Wizards can also send thoughts and pictures to whomever they so choose? Just keep that in mind if you ever think about kidnapping one.

Crimson sat in his painful prison and smiled imperceptibly. This was his moment. Diavex had handed him the information he wanted to send. Of course Crimson knew what was going on in The Forest and silently (very silently, if there is such a thing!) he cheered his favored Magickal student Fiddler and his best pal Wilbur.

The Wizard’s silence gave Diavex his version of the heebie jeebies. Of course, he didn’t like this one bit. In a strangely graceful motion he stepped closer to the Wizard, whispering,






He leapt at the fire cage shrieking,

“Tell me!”

Shattering glass is music compared to Diavex’s shriek, which can curdle cream, start earthquakes, and crack the skull of the un-Magickal sort. Fortunately Crimson is of the Magickal sort; however, that doesn’t mean he’s immune. Without ceremony, he promptly passed out.


Mid-kitty leap, Fiddler cried out in pain and crumpled to the ground. In agony, both Wilbur and Vin Kaj dropped to their knees next to their friend. The unspeakably hideous noise passed quickly. Thank goodness!

Wilbur and Fiddler glanced at one another. They both knew something else. Just before Diavex’s shriek had reached their ears, they had received a distinct image from Crimson.

“Seems that Diavex may have discovered what we’re up to,” Wilbur puffed.

“You think?” Vin asked.

Fiddler smiled, though his ears still rung painfully,

“Guess we better hurry.”

“Look, it will be faster if you two climb on my back again,” and Vin, Autumn Pumpkin Wizard Extraordinaire, offered his viney hands to our heroes: the sleek, jet coated kitty Fiddler and the coal feathered, owly-raven Wilbur. The two friends exchanged a glance. Their last ride on Vin’s back had nearly ended in them becoming a Great Oak pancake! But the Autumn Wizard was quite right, due to his great size and the length of the viney legs that stretched out from his pumpkin body, he is simply faster.

Onboard they climbed and off they went. They arrived even quicker than anticipated! Hooray for long, viney legs!

They dropped down from Vin’s shoulders and made the buzziest-beeline for Yuletime Square. Yuletime Square is a large, but somehow cozy cobblestone courtyard where inhabitants of the Forest gather during various celebrations, particularly wintery ones. On snowy days a huge bonfire is set on one side of the courtyard, opposite a circle of particularly tall pines called The Proud Pines, and in the middle is where the tallest of these the most Fantastical, Mystical, Magickal Old Pine stands. Normally at this time of the year the cobblestoned Yuletime Square is bustling with scads of holiday decked out celebrants. Sadly, because of the unseasonably hot weather only a few woodland creatures meandered about the square, fanning themselves with large leaf fans or drinking from giant glasses of sweet iced tea. This doesn’t exactly put you in the most holidayish moods!

How would they get everyone to gather here? They need everyone, quite literally everyone in The Forest to participate to even have a chance of saving Yule. Our heroes stood in the very center of the square (and yes, squares do have centers) and made a Magickal Call[§].

The first to arrive is their good buddy Fizzy Frazelli, the Italian foxy-fox and her newly named best friend the beautiful (and frightful) Glassy Croon. In the blink of an eye (a very slow blinking eye) all the woodland creatures, faeries, and every member of the Great Holiday Making Tribe assembled. In the center of the amazing circle of towering Proud Pines, Fiddler addressed the group,

“Good friends, we have urgent news. Our Yuletide holiday plan needs to be grander, louder, merrier, and brighter than ever before. We cannot wait for the weather to change. Crimson is in trouble.”

“And so are we, dear creatures,” Wilbur added.
Vin Kaj nodded,

“All the holidays are threatened if we don’t take action[**].”

Because of the capture of Crimson the great Winter Wizard, though the calendar said it was December you wouldn’t know it by the weather! It felt like high summertime and sweat bloomed on many a brow. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. No nip in the air! No snow on the ground! Although it certainly didn’t seem like Yule, not one gripe or even a peep of complaint was heard from squirrel, red, lavender, green, or blue faerie, frog, imp, bunny, elf, bear, chick, wolf, robin, or deer. Even the trolls, normally the grumbliest of the grumblers, immediately began hanging the fairest of faerie lights and most glittery of garlands, humming carols all the while. In their own troll-esque of ways that is, which means they were quite off key, but no one let it bother them. Who had time to be bothered? All the creatures were too busy, speed set on hyper drive! Long tables were set up, where dozens of celebrants sat stringing popcorn and deeply red berries or cutting out colored paper in various shapes of stars and circles. Others dusted glitter on the cutouts and some made paper chains. Trees were decorated with their creations, while faeries flit hither and yon hanging delicate, sparkling glass baubles and bulbs on every tree branch and bow.

In the kitchens, Fizzy took charge of the baking. For what are the holidays without cookies, candies, and cakes to dazzle and delight? The scent of the divine desserts traveled to every nook and brook, granny and cranny of The Forest. Big white canopies were put up and more grand tables were set out and piled high with a wondrous array of tempting temptations. Glittery paper stars and snowflakes were hung with ribbons up on the ceiling of the tent giving the entire space a lovely shimmering glow. Mountains of treats could now be seen by all and many found a reason (mostly a chocolate sprinkled reason) to stop by the tent. Cookies, creams, and bars, oh my!

And all the while carolers caroled, led by Glassy Croon herself. No one had ever forgotten what a sweet singing voice she possessed. Now she used her Siren’s voice for good and what is a happier sound than voices joined together harmonizing about peace and goodwill?

The great Springtime Bunny Aloysius had a theory on that and decided to put it to a test. Loy, as he is known to his good friends Fiddler and Wilbur, gathered all the young children lucky enough to live in or nearby The Forest and organized games for them to play. Their squeals and giggles could be heard throughout the Forest. Nothing sounds happier than carols, except the laughter of young children.

Of course, fear lay beneath their folly, but no one, not a one of them let the fear overcome them for that would have been playing straight into Diavex Clop’s grubby, gnarled and clawed hands. And who but a coo-coo crazy creature would give a manically mad monster what he most desired? Remember dear Reader, fear is always the most desired of commodities by the lunk-heads, lunatics, monsters, and mad men, but it always within your power to not give it to them.

Back at Diavex’s Lair…

Diavex howled in frustration. He could nearly feel the Good Cheer rising in the air around them and it bubbled and boiled his icky, poisonous, green blood. How dare they snub their noses at him in this blatant manner! It’s as if they weren’t frightened at all.

“How can that be?” He screeched.
Unable to resist, Crimson stated proudly,

“Because, you small-minded, egotistical, lunk-headed beast, the holiday must go on.”

“No, no, no!”

“Say ‘no’ all you like. It changes nothing.”
Diavex fell silent, until an evil gleam grew in his eyes.

“We’ll see about that.”

Yuletime Square…

Abruptly, all merriment ceased and a hard knot formed in every woodland creature’s stomach. Fizzy reached out grabbed Fiddler’s paw,

“What is happening?”

“Fire, Crimson,” Fiddler whispered in horror.
Vin stepped up to them, his great voice booming throughout the square,

“He’s actually trying to torch Crimson?”

“Yes,” Wilbur answered. “But not with any old fire.”

“The White Flame? But how is that possible?” Asked Fizzy.
Everyone hung on every word just now. Their entire world seemed to hang in the balance.
Vin rubbed at his pumpkin chin,

“Well, it is possible to separate the White from the Red and Gold and Green and Blue. Not easy, but possible.”

They all turned to look at the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle. It stood in their midst this entire time. No one had noticed it was missing white. It looked as beautiful as always, well, nearly so. If one looked closely, as everyone did right now, you could just about tell that the White Flame was indeed missing.

“You know, all we need to do is get this candle to wherever Diavex is holding it captive along with Crimson,” Wilbur began.

Fiddler clapped his paws together,

“Of course! That is what Crimson was trying to tell us. We will get the candle there, wherever ‘there’ is, and the White Flame will do the rest.”

“It will be naturally drawn back into the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle and away from Crimson.”

“If only we knew where ‘there’ is!” Fizzy said in frustration.

“Actually,” Vin interjected, “The Candle can lead you. You see, the flames want to be together.”

“Yes!” Fiddler turned to Wilbur. “You’ll fly us and the Candle will lead the way.”

Back at Diavex’s Lair…

Inky black smoke curled and oozed from Diavex’s fingertips. Tendrils of the sickly smoke twined around the bars of the fire cage where Crimson sat imprisoned. The White Flame and Crimson fought back pushing outwards, while Diavex’s smoke slyly coiled around each white-hot bar and pressed inward. Already the cage had begun to shrink. Worst of all, Crimson was tiring.

A Winter Wizard is simply not his best while surrounded by heat and flame.

Yuletime Square…

“What?? Me? Fly??” Wilbur sputtered.

Though his kitty-heart beat faster with nerves, he kept his voice soothing and matter-a-fact, “Yes, of course you, who else can do it?”
Fizzy and Glassy both picked up on Fiddler’s cue,
“A most excellent plan,” Glassy sang.
Fizzy clasped her paws together,

“Would you boys like a sandwich or two for the journey? Or how about some cookies?”

“Have you all lost your minds, all at once? This must be some kind of event, a Guinness Book of World Records event!” Incredulous, Wilbur seemed to pale, which is quite difficult for an owly-raven to do.

“We haven’t lost our minds, Wilbur. We need speed,” Vin said mildly.

“But you’re fast, Vin Kaj. Faster than anyone, ever,” Wilbur countered.

Fiddler laid a gentle paw on Wilbur’s shoulder,

“Yes, he is faster than anyone, except you, my friend. The longer we debate, the more we risk.”

Wilbur looked out over the sea of expectant faces. He wanted to help to help save the day. It’s what he loved to do best. And sure, he wanted to fly, didn’t he? No he didn’t! He didn’t want to fly at all. Flying entailed concentration, intense concentration. And it was lonely. He had to do it all by himself, didn’t he? Even if his pal Fiddler was with him along for the ride, he would be the one responsible. It would be up to him. And it would mean being up in the air. All the way up there! Where the air is thin and everything looked so tiny here on the ground. And he wasn’t the same up there. He felt lighter and, and untethered. Untethered. That’s without tether. Yikes. And what if his wings refused to work? It had happened before. Too long ago to even remember it what happened. Besides there wasn’t time to get into all that right now. Wilbur could actually feel the panic rising up in his throat. He wanted to scream in terror and run away. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

You may be wondering…how can a bird be afraid of his own wings? How is that possible? Stranger fears are made each and every day, dear Reader. Sometimes telling stories is the scariest thing I face and I’m a Storyteller, for Good Forest’s sake!

Everyone was waiting expectantly. He had to say something.
“But, I haven’t flown in years. Years, Fiddler! Decades, centuries.”
“I know, Wilbur. Believe me, I know. And please believe me that I would not ask this of you if it wasn’t the only way. He will never expect.”
“He’ll never expect it? I’ll never expect it! And where do you purpose we began this flight?”
Hmm…it is true, even the hardiest of birds cannot just take off with a rider on their back. They’re not helicopters, you know! A runway of sorts is necessary. Fiddler knew the perfect spot,
“The Cliff’s End, of course.”
“Why, yes. It’s all so obvious now. We’ll just jump off the cliff, not die, and we really need to remember that bit, because the rest of this “plan” hinges on the not dying part, fly to wherever Crimson and Diavex happen to be, hit Diavex over the head with the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle, save Crimson, then we’ll all come back here and eat cookies.”
Vin clapped his hands,

“Sounds good to me!”

“Okay, we’ll just go about this logically in true Wilbur fashion.” Fiddler turned to the assemblage, “Tell me everyone, what are faster: Vin Kaj’s viney pumpkin legs, or black, beating owly-raven wings?”
Wilbur grumbled,

“Well, when you put it that way.”
In unison the entire group of creatures, beasts, fairies, elves, rabbits, chipmunks, butterflies, and trolls whooped,

Still grumbling,

“Oh sure, single me out why don’t you?”
Fiddler gave a kitty paw-pump,

“Yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing: singling you out. Now come on Wilbur, stop stalling and let’s fly.”
And with that the group gathered both Wilbur and Fiddler up onto their shoulders and carried them both to the Cliff’s End. Then everyone waited to see what would happen next.
Wilbur merely walked to the edge and looked down.

“It’s a long-”
Fiddler interrupted cheerfully,

“It surely is!”

“And you’re certain-”

“I couldn’t be more so.”

With a huge, grand sigh (a sound that only the Wilburs of the world can make with any real justice) he stood as straight as he could and stretched out his magnificent, great ebony wings.

“Climb aboard, I suppose.”

Not risking a moment more Fiddler lightly leapt up on Wilbur’s back. Vin Kaj grabbed the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle and handing it to Fiddler,

“Best of luck to you, lads.”

Fiddler held on tightly to the beauteous candle. It seemed to want to pull them forward and immediately pointed West.

“If we crash, I’m blaming you, you know.”
“Yes, yes, of course. Let’s go.”

I’ll admit it, they got off to a shaky start. But after dropping for a hundred feet or so (and with much gasping of the crowd standing up on the cliff above), Wilbur seemed to get back into the swing of flying.

And yes, of course they saved the day. As it turns out, the most important day of year and the crown jewel of holidays: Yule. Unfortunately, Fiddler and Wilbur didn’t get a chance to hit Diavex over the head with the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle. In the way of lunk-headed bullies, as soon as he saw them coming he ran away. I’m sure he’ll turn up again one day. But not today. Today is for celebrating with friends and family.

Whatever your celebration or even if it’s a day of non-celebration, one cannot completely dismiss the specialness of this time of the year. It’s a time for miracles and Magick, but most of all it is a time of joy and love. Regardless whether it’s cool and crisp or hot and humid, can’t you just feel it in the air?

A Very Merry Yule to you all and to you all a very kindly goodnight.

[*] If you’ve never experienced a fire cage, count yourself lucky. As implied by the name, fire cages are made of fire. Not just any fire, but white-hot fire: Flames so flaming hot that they reflect white, rather than gold, orange, red, or even blue.

[†] The Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle is made up of five great flames: Red, Gold, Green, Blue, and White. Most notably the Brightly-Burning Yuletide Candle is what lights the way for the holiday. Oh, you didn’t know that? If you think on it a minute, perhaps two, it’s quite logical. Even if you celebrate the same holiday every year, you still need to find your way to it. Suppose you lose your way?

[‡] Stealing the white flame from a candle meant for good cheer and merriment, and then using it to control a Winter Wizard? How evil is that? Evil enough to be called evil by this Storyteller.

[§] Well, they don’t have cell or email service in The Forest. The woodland creatures tend toward good old fashioned face-to-face conversation; however, there are times when the Great Holiday Making Tribe must communicate with one another quickly. And this was most certainly one of those times!

[**] The way it works is that every year Yule is celebrated. After Yule comes the New Year. And after that? Well, certainly you must know the rest of the holidays! The point is: if Yule isn’t celebrated (or “You’ll” depending on how you celebrate) it doesn’t take an expert in Time to know that the New Year cannot happen. And of course without the New Year, we cannot have any of the rest of the holidays, now can we?

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.


Featured Artist Interview August 2015: Intricate Knot

To find where Intricate Knot sells her wares visit her artist page on HAB. 

Interview with Intricate Knot of Art For A Gloomy Day and Tarryfails Corner:

At what age did you discover your love of Halloween?
My love of Halloween began several lifetimes ago, at least a few centuries. Hope there aren’t any witch hunters out there reading this!

Seriously, my love of Halloween did begin over a multitude of pagan incarnations. In this lifetime it is pure icing on the Jack O’ Lantern. From the time I was first allowed out of the house to Trick or Treat (somewhere around the age of 6), I realized that Halloween is the best thing going.

What is your fondest Halloween memory?

This is a challenging question, as all my Halloweens are filled with fond memories. If we’re talking this lifetime, putting together costumes for my son’s trick or treating adventures. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we loved getting creative with my brother’s old make up kit (from his theater days). One year, my son transformed into the Terminator. Resplendent with partial robotic skull exposed (alá scar putty, oozey fake blood, and humble tin foil), and the ever-important black leather motor cycle jacket. Schwarzenegger eat your heart out.

Recently, I would have to say the first year after I joined HAB and participated in the Trick or Treat Giveaway. It was a first in many ways, not the least of which it was the first time I’d ever participated in a giveaway. It gave me such a wonderful feeling seeing a photo of my offering lined up next to such amazing pieces done by the other artists in the group. I felt like, phew! It’s been a long time coming folks, but I finally found my tribe.

How do you celebrate Halloween?

If time and energy allows, Halloween celebrations begin with some kitchen magick: making candy apples, apple pies, cinnamon potpourri, simmering, savory stews…and the list goes on! My husband and I decorate our sizable patio and our house. Stringing up candy corn lights, red skulls, and glowing purple LEDs…oh my!

Halloween is the great no-pressure holiday. It’s more than that, though. There is the entire season of autumn…the snap in the air, the energy that all builds to the day itself. The images, art work (especially the creations of our group!), sheer fun (and horror), not to mention the most excellent treats and tricks of Halloween is a spirit that I carry within all throughout the year.

When did you start creating in your medium and what training have you had?

Well it all started with a doodle of something that looked like a cross between a gloomy gene and a disgruntled meatball. (Hopefully) I have improved from there. I’ve had no training what-so-ever or at least not in any formal capacity.

When I was a kid I wrote stories and doodled pretty much 24/7 and by the time I reached the age of 16, I’d decided that this was what I was meant to do with my life. Then [insert dramatic music here], I allowed one teacher’s opinion of my work dissuade me from this course. Years went by. Then one day, I had the proverbial epiphany (more like a swift kick to the head) and now I just don’t look back. I still doubt my work…I think all artists and artisans do. Just part of the package! But the difference is now I keep going, despite the doubts.

What was the inspiration to create what you create and when did you know you wanted to create Halloween?

I’ve always loved all of the symbology of Halloween: witches, black cats, Jack O’Lanterns, scarecrows, ghosts, goblins, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, ravens, owls, haunted trees, and on goes the list! Artists are inspired by what draws them in and Halloween draws me in. It’s simply a magical time and the only time of the year when it’s not only okay, but you’re actually encouraged to come out of the proverbial closet and be a witch, which is freeing. That’s what inspires me.

The Holiday Must Go On

The Holiday Must Go On

By Intricate Knot

“My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies;
Fairytales of yesterday will grow, but never die;
I can fly, my Friends.”.


On their way to save or perhaps duel Crimson (last of the Winter Wizards) and definitely duel Diavix Clop (all-around-creepy-villain) Fiddler and Wilbur (esteemed members of the Great Holiday Making Tribe and our heroes) came to the aid of Vin Kaj (Autumn Pumpkin Wizard Extraordinaire). In truth, they had been seeking his aid, when it turned out their services were much needed by Vin Kaj who was having a most difficult (and strenuous) time putting Summer to rest. Well, he’d never had that much trouble killing off Summer before! That must have been the doing (or not doing) of Crimson, last of the Winter Wizards, yes?
Ah, have you not learned anything from these knotted tales, dear Reader? Nothing is ever, ever as straightforward, as we would like. Then again…things are often far simpler than we ever give them credit for…

Riding on Vin Kaj’s grand pumpkin back certainly made the journey to rescue Crimson much quicker! The strides he made on his long brawny, green vine legs were tremendous! Fiddler and Wilbur bounced and jostled atop the beautiful orange expanse of pumpkin, though it wasn’t terribly comfortable. The two dodged tree branches, while hanging onto Vin. The Forest became a blur of greens, golds, and browns as they whizzed past brush, bush, and tree.
Their thoughts picked at them all. None of them really knew what had become of Crimson. The speed, bouncing, and jostling were so great that conversation of any sort was quite impossible. Each kept their own counsel…

Sleek feline Fiddler nurtured a shimmering trust in his big kitty heart that his Magickal Mentor of by-gone-days continued to be as he has always known him to be: Of sound mind, body, and most importantly, Spirit.

Could the ill-famed Diavex Clop somehow have turned Crimson into a Waywardly Wicked Wizard? Wilbur’s logical and often cantankerous owly-raven brain asked. He worked and worked the question in his mind to nearly the point of exhaustion, wanting to make absolutely certain that he didn’t reject the notion simply for the sake of his good friend, Fiddler. And came up with the answer…a resounding “no,” Crimson has not been turned. This is irrefutably impossible.

And Vin Kaj? As a fellow wizard, he harbors not a whiff of doubt in his great pumpkin head or heart. His only thought was to get to Crimson as quickly as possible. Sooner even that…

Dear Reader, if we take our heroes hearts and minds into account (and how can we not?) it can only mean one thing…coercion. Is Diavex Clop somehow forcing Crimson to help him keep things hot, sticky, and humid in The Forest? Eeeeeeee yuck.

“Wait. Hold up, Vin Kaj,” Fiddler implored.

Once an Autumn Pumpkin Wizard Extraordinaire gets going, it is a herculean feat to get him to stop. Even for himself! Viney tendrils shot out from his toes, grasping passing trees, boulders, or brush, anything to slow them down. He swerved, swung, and skidded along pebbles, strewn leaves, and bits of twigs along the path nearly upending himself, along with Wilbur and Fiddler. Vin held onto Fiddler and Wilbur, Wilbur and Fiddler held onto each other, and everyone held on for dear life! Dear life? Yes, for straight in the middle of their path, the path they could not seem to stop themselves from hurtling along, stood a Grand Old Oak. Lovely, amazing, and awe-inspiring at any other time, mind you, but not when one is hurtling towards its sturdy trunk the width and height of a small mountain! If any of them were the sort to shriek in terror, this certainly would have been the time for it. Luckily, the time for shrieking-in-terror passed, as they finally came to a stop, a nose-breath’s distance from rough, brown bark of Grand Old Oak.

Copyright Twilight Faerie


Fiddler and Wilbur tumbled off Vin Kaj’s back. They all heaved sighs of relief and worked on pulling themselves back together.

“So, what was that about, Fiddler?” Wilbur asked calmly.

“Um…I just wondered, where are we going?”

“To save Crimson, of course,” Vin interjected, though not quite as calmly as Wilbur.

“Yes, but where are we going?”

Wilbur opened his golden beak to speak, but then promptly closed it. Vin shook his head with a grin, then sat on a convenient boulder. A Thinking Boulder.

“Why don’t you tell us, Fiddler? I’m afraid that I really don’t know.”

“I don’t know, either,” and he leapt up onto the boulder, sitting next to Vin. They both looked expectantly at Wilbur.

“Mmm, I may have a theory.”

“Which is?” Boomed Vin.

“I believe we’re running in circles, which is just what Diavex would like us to be doing,” And with a flap of his black wings, he joined his companions and perched on top of the Thinking Boulder. He thought for a moment, then said with conviction “Well…this is the Most Magickal Time of the Year-”

“When goats are jingle belling-” Fiddler continued.

“And even salmon go caroling-”

“And most everyone is wishing you Good Cheer,” Vin finished.

“Everyone except Diavex Clop,” Wilbur said sourly.
Hmm…they were all thinking again. Not a bad thing, for these three had quite a handle on their powerful minds.

“Diavex tried to stop Halloween,” Vin Kaj offered.
“Yep. And now he is trying to stop us all from celebrating Yule,” stated Wilbur.
A look passed between the two friends, dear good friends who had been end-to-end of this Universe and beyond together.

Fiddler shook his head decidedly,

“That cannot happen. If he stops Yule, he stops the New Year.”

“And if he stops the New Year?” Vin asked.

“He will stop the Great Holiday Making Tribe-” Wilbur explained.

“There won’t be any holidays,” finished Fiddler. “And what a sad, Diavex Clop world this would be.”

“Worlds, actually,” Wilbur reminded.

“Yes, worlds,” Fiddler agreed.

“So, what do we do?” Again, Vin posed the question.

The question that made their bellies sink.

It broke their hearts, but they all knew what they must do. Well, actually, they didn’t “know” they only felt what was right. Feelings can sometimes be confusing. Are feelings always right? Hmm…that is a very good question, dear Reader. I will go out on the proverbial precariously lengthy limb of the proverbial sturdy tree (sturdy as the Grand Old Oak) and say that yes, feeling are always right, even when they hurt a bit (or a lot) and in fact are especially true when they hurt a bit (or a lot).

Vin and Wilbur held back, wanting to give Fiddler time. Being a cat, Fiddler possessed both grace and speed in abundance. Wordlessly, he leapt from the boulder and nodded at his companions.

Abandon the rescue of Crimson. Unthinkable, but the right thing to do. Back to the Heart of the Forest the trio went. Deep in the center of The Forest lay, the Golden Heart of It. The Magick of Holidays beat here, stretching Its’ beams of light and beauty for all to see, even if they should choose not to partake.
The three had a great deal more work ahead of them…happy work though they grieved for their friend Crimson. The Party-of-the-Century, the Holiday-to-Begin-and-End-All-Holidays needed to be planned and prepared for and celebrated…Yule rules the day. A Merry Yule is sure to rid the Forest of Diavex Clop once-and-for-all. Besides, regardless of circumstance, the Holiday Must Go On.

To be continued…quite soon!

Illustration “Grand Old Oak” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur and Vin Kaj with permission of Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.


Autumn Interlude

Autumn Interlude

By Intricate Knot

“Keep the Jack O’ Lanterns lit in solidarity”.
~Twilight Faerie


Last season our heroes, esteemed members of the Great Holiday Making Tribe Fiddler and Wilbur, were traveling as fast as their spry kitty and wiry owly-raven legs would take them. They had to find out what had happened Crimson, last of the Winter Wizards. Had the ill-famed Diavex Clop coerced or worse yet, somehow turned Crimson from being the Magickal Mentor of Fiddler’s youth into a Waywardly Wicked Wizard? Or had that wickedness lurked under Crimson’s wise and benevolent exterior all along? I promise no answers in this installment, Dear Reader. There is a matter that must be undertaken first. Rushing headlong into a battle without all tools at your disposal would be foolish, indeed. And in case you hadn’t noticed, neither Fiddler, nor Wilbur is foolish…

“Hang on a tick or two,” Wilbur, the owly-raven halted in his black-feathered tracks.

Fiddler, being the most graceful of felines, stopped right alongside him,

“What is it?”

“Diavex doesn’t like the cold.”

“I believe we went through this already, Wilbur. What’s your point?”

“We can’t run in what is surely a trap of some sort without some sort of defense. Diavex is at his strongest and most devious and unrelenting evilness in this heat.”

“And we,” Fiddler swiped a black as coal kitty paw across his perspiring brow, “are not at our best. What do you suggest, friend?”

“I believe we need to make a stop along the way.”

“Ah, of course, Vin Kaj.”

And who, pray tell, is Vin Kaj? Why Autumn Pumpkin Wizard Extraordinaire of course, Silly you. No one is more suited to dissolving the heat of summer and putting in its place that snap in the air, that slight chill, and those thrilling goose bumps along one’s arms and legs. And if while walking home at sunset you find the hairs tickling the back of your neck then you know for absolute certain that you’ve just been blown a kiss from Vin Kaj himself on the finest of Autumn days.

The twosome continued on their way, veering only slightly off their original course. They walked through a darker part of the Forest. Here the trees grew a bit taller than the rest of the Forest, and thereby cast deeper shadows. Naturally it was cooler here and a winsome breeze whistled his way through branches of trees, through the hedges, and stirred up a few fallen leaves, leaving them to dance along the way with Fiddler and Wilbur. Nearly as though they’d determined to join them in their quest. Perhaps they had.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

They heard him before spotting him. The sound of a sharp axe shrilled through the air. An axe? A sharp axe? Yes and yes. And our heroes didn’t run in the opposite direction of that sound that seemed to harmonize with the sighs and grunts of what must surely be a perturbed Wizard or perhaps something even worse? Of course not, that’s why they’re called heroes.

He was tall, a good seven feet, at least. He towered over what appeared to be vapors…red-gold vapors, barely visible, but Fiddler and Wilbur could feel the burning heat from where they stood. The red-gold vapors appeared to grow hotter still…a formidable foe that seemed to press, surround, and lick at the great orange and green twiney, viney heels of Vin Kaj. Drops of sweat rained off the twisted vine that sat at the top of his pumpkin head. More deep green curling tendrils sprung and bounced almost joyfully from out his fingers and down at his toes, while he hacked, chopped, slashed at the waves of Summertime heat that continued to pour up through a long crack in the earth.

“Damn it, Summer. It’s no longer your time. Why are you making me work so hard? We both know how this is going to end.” Vin Kaj asked, sounding more curious than angry.

“It’s Crimson,” Wilbur answered.

In surprise, Vin turned to our heroes, his ax coming precariously close to the two. A sharp toothy grin split Vin’s deeply orange face,

“Why it’s Wilbur and Fiddler, rascally heroes to my rescue! I’m ever so glad to see you both!”

“Erm,” Guiltily Wilbur glanced over at Fiddler, who twiddled his cat claws.

“Oh no, you see, Vin we-”

“Hmm, haven’t come to my rescue at all, have you?” The Autumn Wizard said jovially, and then threw back his head whilst giving a great hoot of laughter, “then I’m even all the more lucky, aren’t I? Because you’ve happened upon me when most needed.”

“Well, you see,” Wilbur began.

“We really need your help, Vin Kaj,” Fiddler finished.

“Of course you do, but first things first. Summer needs to sleep now. He’s being quite difficult this year and won’t let me kill him and stuff him into the grave.”

Our heroes merely blinked up at the giant wizard. Kill Summer? Why hadn’t they heard it put this way before? They’d lived in the Forest a long time. They’d been around the block, so to speak, a time or two or three hundred.
“Kill Summer?” They asked in unison.

“Heck yeah! You don’t think he just decides to exit quietly to make room for round, sweet apples, shivery spider webs, shorter days, longer chilly nights, and fat pumpkins, like me, do you?” He took one glance at their surprised faces and gave another chuckle. “I see you did. Frankly, I’m surprised at you two, both of you the very spirit and vim of Halloween! Well, we don’t have time for a lecture I need your help, my fine fellows. You’ll find a few axes just beyond that hill in the circle of Spook Trees.” With that Vin turned his back and resumed his hacking, “I’m not really built for this sort of thing, you know,” he said while straw and bits of vine flew out from his fingertips. “Generally, Crimson gives me a hand or at least a pinky’s worth of a cool breeze. Can’t understand where he is this year.”

“Well-” Wilbur began.

“Well what?” Vin demanded. He stopped his hacking and looked at the two.

“Crimson, willingly or unwillingly is in league with Diavex Clop, which is why we’re having this untimely heat wave.”

Vin shook his head,

“If Crimson is helping Diavex then he is doing so unwillingly.” Then he winked at the two, “Better grab those axes, fellows,” and he turned back to battle those high temperature vapors.

Fiddler and Wilbur found themselves walking up the glowing, windy path to the Spook Trees.

“We can’t leave Vin battling Summer back by himself,” Fiddler said with a shrug.

Wilbur sighed,

“Yes, it sets us back on our quest, but this could help our cause all the same.”

“True. Oh my.”

“I’ll second your ‘oh my’ and raise you a wow.”

What a sight the two beheld! The glowing, windy path had led them to the dusky, most beautiful, and forbidding Circle of Spook Trees. These trees are tall, at least 20 feet or more and their graceful, gnarled branches stretch up toward an orange, pulsing light, which hovers directly at their center. Lavender pools of some sort of Magickal goop glimmered at their twisted roots and at the base of each jet black tree trunk lay a sharp axe, their blades glinting grimly, yet somehow mischievously in the smoldering light. Special axes meant for a special purpose: to chop the waves of Summer’s worst burning rays.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

“Hmm,” they both hummed and each of them grabbed an axe. Fiddler grinned,

“Let’s go kick some Summer butt.”

“Sounds good to me,” Wilbur agreed.

The two quickly joined Vin Kaj at edge of Autumn. Nothing like killing off Summer’s miserable, sticky, careless heat to let off some pent up steam! And these friends certainly had some built annoyance. Diavex had eluded them, caused all the Forest much trouble, and now it appeared to have captured, coerced, or somehow turned one of the few remaining Forest’s Wizards. He really was a most bothersome creature and this Summer was no picnic in the park, either. ‘Enough already,’ Fiddler thought while expertly swinging his shimmering ax at the wave of heat. ‘Enough, enough, enough’ Wilbur chanted in his head, whilst doing the same.
With one last heated shriek, Summer fizzled away, slipping through the crack at the edge of Autumn. Swiftly, Vin Kaj grabbed a handy headstone (just one of the many that hung about in this part of the Forest) and sealed old Summer in his grave.

Copyright Intricate Knot

“Phew,” they all said in unison.

Then with a grin, Vin Kaj swung his ax to rest on his broad, viney shoulder,

“It’s no wonder at all that the leaves on each tree and the petals of every flower whisper heroic tales of you two. A Happy Halloween to you both, my fine fellows.”

And with a renewed sense of energy and hope in their hearts, the trio now made their way to Diavex and Crimson.

To be continued next season!!

Illustration “Walking With Leaves” and “Spook Trees” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur with permission of Intricate Knot.
Illustration “Vin Kaj End of Summer” by Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.


A Tale of Winter

A Tale of Winter

By Intricate Knot

“Just as Spring needs the Faeries,
Winter must have her Wizard.
For who but a Wizard could make all those varied and wondrous snowflakes?
Keep up.”
~ Intricate Knot

When last we left our heroes and esteemed members of the Great Holiday Making Tribe, Fiddler and Wilbur (after a bit of schooling by Fizzy) had made up with Glassy. In turn, Glassy led them to the Faeries, Aloysius, Artemis, bunny helpers and fall assistants, flowers and pumpkins! Everyone was (and still are) back where they belonged, everyone of course except the villainous Diavix Clop, who sadly is still hiding somewhere in the Forest. Not where he belongs at all…

Copyright Intricate Knot

Winter had come in its full Magickal and icy force. Yule also came and a merry time was had by all. But from there things went a bit doolally…

The New Year should have begun, but somehow didn’t. Storms of rain and snow should right now be drumming and thrumming, sprinkling and crinkling throughout the Forest. But that’s not what’s happening!

For as suddenly as winter had come, it left. More baffling, it had left without a seasonal bridge between it and summer. Begging the Shakespearean question,

“What fresh madness is this?”

Fiddler, our fine, sleek, musically inclined feline and Wilbur, our coal feathered, grumpy, Magickally disposed owly-raven pondered this and many other questions. For they now had not only one but two mysteries to solve in the Forest. How is it possible that winter left so quickly? Without a sign, hide, nor hair? Usually the snow began to melt, exposing the earth, dark brown and fertile. In turn the slumbering earth awoke letting her hair down…or up (so to speak) by sending out tiny green shoots sprouting upwards to reach for the sun. Bare limbed trees yawned and stretched, their branches tingling with fresh leaves. Leaves steadily growing by the hundreds and all to be gloriously full blown just in time to bring much needed shade for the coming heat of summer.

Not so this year! One day there was snow on the ground with temperatures well below zero. The next day the ground was covered in tall, golden grass…summer grass. And not the summer of June, but the full-heated-swing, the tip most peak of summer: August. What of spring? And where did all the lovely fruit go? What’s summer without peaches and cherries? Apples and blueberries? A day feels far too long and hot in the summer without fruit pies to share with your friends!

Our heroes pondered while Fiddler dangled his smart red fishing pole and Wilbur dipped his very fine claws at one of their very favorite thinking spots, Thoughtful Pond. Every Forest should have one. If yours doesn’t, please go out and get one immediately.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

“It can’t be a coincidence,” Wilbur said firmly.

“Indeed, it cannot,” Fiddler agreed. “But how is it possible that Diavex has hidden from us for this long?”

“However and wherever he is, one thing is becoming clear.”

“Which is?”

“Diavex doesn’t like the cold.”

“Hmm…” Fiddler pondered. “Well that is something we can use to our advantage. Come on Wilbur, we have someone to see.” In the way of cats, Fiddler had leapt from his sitting position and was already halfway down the path before Wilbur had time to pull his claws from the pond. That was fine with Wilbur, though. Being such firm friends, he was quite accustomed to it.
Puffing a bit when he’d caught up with Fiddler,

“Who-who are we-e going to see?”

“The Winter Wizard, I think we need a bit more snow in our Forest, don’t you?”

“Absolutely! Good old Crimson, why we’ve not seen him in-”



“Yep. Since-”
Wilbur slowed his pace and fell silent. When Wilbur went silent it was palpable.

“What?” Fiddler shrugged. “Crimson has no reason to be upset with us.”
Wilbur merely grunted and then stopped in his tracks. Fiddler had breezed past five wise oaks before he realized that his pal was no longer beside him. Silkily, he turned and meandered his way back,

“Okay. You’re possibly right.”
At Wilbur’s look, Fiddler gave a great sigh,

“Yes, yes. It is possible, perhaps even probably that Crimson could be a tiny bit annoyed with us, but that’s not really the same as being upset.” Now, Fiddler didn’t exactly huff. Huffing isn’t something cats do, per se. Cats are very good at oozing frustration though, and Fiddler oozed with the best of them.

“Again with the ‘look,’ Wilbur? Please speak your mind.”
They knew one another well, these two. Right now Wilbur knew that Fiddler bordered on annoyed, which is very Un-Fiddler-Like. He knew he needed to tread lightly. Crimson was one of Fiddler’s most favorite of souls.

“I see three possibilities right now,” he began softly. “One, Diavex has somehow coerced Crimson into helping him. Two, Crimson is in league with Diavex Clop. Or three, something happened to the Forest’s Winter Wizard suddenly. So suddenly that there’s not been time to replace him.”
Fiddler sat back on his haunches.

“Any of which explains the lack of segue in our seasons.” It was Fiddler’s turn to fall silent.
Being a true friend through and through, Wilbur knew when to talk, when to jab, and when to be still. Stillness was called for here. So, he just sat right down next Fiddler to wait for him.

Wizards are of course revered in the Forest, and there are so very few left. If one were to fall, well, it is quite possible that there wouldn’t be a replacement. But to replace Crimson? Fiddler couldn’t conceive of it. Yes, Crimson was particularly special to Fiddler.

Everyone should already know this, but in case you’ve forgotten, every cat (and every owly-raven for that matter) must have a Magickal Mentor. Crimson had been Fiddler’s. And like a revered parent, one’s mentor will always claim a special place in one’s heart.

Crimson being gone, was not an option. Could he be in league with Diavex? From what Fiddler could recall…well hmm…actually, that wasn’t a lot to recall. Crimson had not been forthcoming on his relationship with the insidious Mr. Clop, but yes, Fiddler sensed there had been something there…a previous encounter. Though he knew nothing solid, he knew this, Crimson would not knowingly, willingly, or otherwise purposefully aid Diavex Clop. It would be against the Forest and Wizard code.

And with that Fiddler stood and nodded firmly,

“I am not prepared to believe that Crimson is gone from the Forest by design or cause. You could be right and it may be that he has been coerced into helping Diavex. But a fourth possibility occurs to me, perhaps he was taken by surprise and Diavex somehow imprisoned him.”
Wilbur stood up and dusted off his feathers,

“Either way then, he needs our help. Let’s go.”

To be continued next season!!

Illustration “Thoughtful Pond” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur with permission of Intricate Knot.
Illustration “Flourish” by Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.