Yesterday morning, I woke from a strange dream of the Sabbat circle. The others had fled back into the darkness, as the sun wound itself backward from the West. The Father and Mother, they left as well. Shadow and mist evaporating in the light. The embers of the fire were low, and hot, rolling in the colors of sunset.
Across from me there was another witch. I'd seen him through the fire once or twice, but I wasn't sure. He was older than I remembered him, but glowed with a stronger inner fire. It'd been a coon's age since I saw him. Three, maybe four years. I'd had word, but he goes other places, and does other Work. I smiled, I cried out to him, and ran 'round the circle-edge to see him... one of the old gay men that taught this young 'Whatsit' how to be Witch.
"How have you been, you old fuck?" I shouted, we shook hands from the wrist and clapped backs.
"Sick. But I'm better now." He said, right into my ear.
I could hear and feel it all in the words. He'd been sick, and he died. He died well, with his mind still his own, but he had suffered immensely. No one had told us, because he did not want to be seen like that by any of us. He knew we would take his symptoms (against his will, if we had to), and he'd still die - and we'd all suffer. It had been so fast I didn't even dream of teeth...
"Oh... Oh... no. But at least They fetched you here..."
"'Oh no', 'Oh yes' and don't fuss over me. It doesn't hurt anymore. And I wasn't -fetched-, I got here the same way I always do. We don't need psychopomps - we ARE psychopomps." He gives me a look - still the teacher.
We talk, longer than we should. When the piping tones start to come from the treeline, we run. The old dog and I, barking, nipping and rolling... and he stops. He looks off toward the piping, and he smiles his hound-dog smile. And then he's gone... he's faery now.
I got the call late last night, beginning with "You already know, but..." . He taught me about the spirits in the wood, and how to induce the shifting state, and so many other things. He died very abruptly (thank the gods). He is survived by his husband, and the children he made in the Circle of Art. His Family, blood or not.