Shamhain at the Castle – Robert G. Wertzler

Margie was back at Dachaigh Nan Trolls, the castle on the far Scottish coast, hers now (“Such a thing to get used to,” she thought, “owning a real castle.”) She’d been in California casting her digital spells on her late brother’s associates lest they try to pursue his curiosity about the trolls. Both Eldest and Elurra had called to be sure she would be there for a special occasion, a feast, Shamhain. They said there would be guests. She did very much like the idea of spending the ancient holiday, root of Halloween, with trolls and a dragon.

Well, she discovered it would be, not one, but several dragons, Elurra’s friends. And then she was introduced to the guests from The Sisters Of The Sign, including two Sisters named Abigail and their students, three young women all named Penny. Margie was intrigued by the deference afforded the Sisters by the others (which included several Wiccan priestesses, witches and a very elderly gentleman who identified as a Druid priest), as they seemed to be regarded as something more than witches or priestesses, and something less than goddesses.

As the Lady of the Castle, Margie presided over the very abundant feast, which included the Trolls’ excellent home brewed mead. The dragons attended the feast in their human guise, but dined separately in their natural form, an event not suitable for mixed company, strict carnivores that they were. The feast was followed by an impressive bonfire, dancing, songs and prayers in ancient languages, more mead, and a great deal of conversation. Sometime near dawn, as most of the gathering were finally falling asleep, Margie remembered watching the Adams Family movies as a child and wishing her own family was as loving, if strange, as that one, and thinking how she had now found one like it and even stranger.

She went to sleep thinking, “This is what home feels like.”

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash


Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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