He pulled his cloak over his head and brushed away a few errant flakes of snow from his shoulders. He breathed out a long breath into his cold, rough hands, this warmed them with incredible speed. He stepped out from the Coaching Inn into the day. His footfalls were cushioned by the blanket of fresh snow. His long staff arced its way through the air as he walked, and made a small dent in the snow close to his right footprint.
Walking slowly along the road ahead, he was virtually unnoticed by anyone. If you were to look directly at the Guardian, you would have thought he was not really there. An aberration of light. If you really concentrated on the apparition, you would be so disinterested that your mind would actually seek out something else to look at. No matter how hard you tried you would not see him, no human could. Cats were one of the few animals that could see his kind fully. They would stop their hunting pursuits and watch him pass, basking in his warmth.
He was respected by all creatures on the planet.
Humans were the only beings wrapped up in their own self that he did not permit them to view him.
They had forgotten how much they needed him.
His journey through the village had been the same route for millennia the Ley lines were clear. This was ensured since the early days. Deals were struck with tribes, witches, lore folk, and eventually councils. The Fae always respected the Ley lines, so they need not be bothered. The covenant within the local council seemed nothing more than a simple highways act modification, no one ever questioned it, it was just the law.
The Guardian was travelling many miles south in this land, following the St Michael's Ley line that tracked from Great Yarmouth to Penzance. He had called in at key points along the way, performing his vital task.
The snow covered asphalt road made his journey easier than the early days of mud tracks and stones that were pitted with holes and traps. The dung was replaced with modern day litter. Burger wrapping's, plastic bags and other strange things thrown from the windows of passing cars poked their way through the white blanket. He did despair sometimes of these humans, wondering why the did not appreciate the gift they had of the planet that kept them.
He approached a milestone on the outskirts of a village near Stonehenge. The word milestone was in common parlance, but it was a special thing. Lifting his arms high into the air he extended the staff aloft. The ground beneath his feet began to tremble. He held the top of the staff in two hands now, the tip pointing skywards. Light began to be drawn from the sky above and was being pulled into the end of the staff. The clouds covered the fading blue sky and twisted into an inverted whirlpool of grey-black water vapour. It gave the impression the light was being rung out of the sky. The day turned dark around him. The staff glowed brightly with the stored light. As the shaking increased in pace, and he fell to his knees, he held onto the staff as if it was a wild animal trying to escape from him.
All at once, it stopped. The clouds settled and parted showing once again the a deep blue sky.
He fell forward to the floor, panting heavily, still holding on to the bucking rod. Its pace slowed and it jerked a little like a freshly landed fish. It finally settled. The white glow of the staff receded back to brown.
He sat at the side of the road and took out a small flask and, putting it to his lips, he drank deeply. People walked past him chatting about the odd weather they were having, and what was happening with the latest being they call a celebrity.
They did not see him.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. And shook his head, the cloak's hood fell backwards exposing his head. He tipped his head back and took two deep breaths and then got to his feet, using the gentle vibrating staff to steady himself.
The journey to Stonehenge was taking its toll on him, as he had many more stops on the way. Each stop he acted as a conduit between the earth and the sky. Each transfer of energy took a piece of him, and after two centuries he was ready to retire.
The Heel Stone stood on the edge of the Henge close to the road. He hauled himself toward it and placed a hand upon it feeling down its side, searching for something. He found the opening.
The time was right.
I t had to be now.
He focused all his remaining energy in lifting the staff with to hands toward the hole. It shot forward and embedded itself deep into the stone, so only the end was showing. He collapsed on the floor.
Bright rainbows of light circled the stone, pulsing in waves. These circled higher and higher culminating at the pinnacle of the stone. The light accumulated in a large glowing orb of blinding white light. It hovered there waiting, waiting for the signal.
He looked up at it, the light illuminating his clear blue eyes. He raised a hand and flicked towards the orb.
It flew into the sky and disappeared into the blue canopy.
The sun would now rise again for another year. His work was complete, his turn was over.
He closed his eyes, smiled and relinquished himself to the Earth.