Sunday, 22 December 2013

Chapter One Hundred and Three

When they had passed through the portal, Elenie and Ieaun found themselves in a wintry world.  On this side however, the portal was guarded by a couple of fae who, after quizzing the couple on why they had come here, ordered them to accompany them to seek an audience with the ruler of the realm.

The two portal guards led them to snowy glade where they found a beautiful fae woman seated on a throne of ice.  The two guards took up positions on either side of the throne and announced their purpose;  "Lady Winterdream, these two have come through the portal and claim to seek your aid in their quest."

Winterdream looked at the two carefully; "A faerie and a mage mated, so why do you come seeking my aid and what is your quest?"

She waved a hand and the snow compressed itself before their eyes into a pair of chairs.

"Be seated, and tell me your tale."

Elenie and Ieaun gingerly seated themselves upon the icy chairs.   They exchanged looks and Elenie took a deep breath and began the tale.

"Many years ago, when I was a toddler, one of the unseelie fae killed my father and cast spells upon my mother.  He made her forget that I was her child and then treated me as a slave while I grew up.  When I reached my teenage years, with the aid of Ieaun here and a fae by the name of Robin Goodfellow, I escaped his power and, realising that he had been found out he fled, taking my mother with him, but not before removing the spells he had cast upon her.  We've been looking ever since for where he has hidden her so that we might rescue her."

"I see" responded Winterdream, "but tell me this children, why should I aid you?  Oh I know of whom you speak and, indeed, I do know where he keeps his lair, but why should I aid you?"

Elenie glanced at Ieaun confused, then turned back to Winterdream "I don't understand, we need your aid because we do not know where he holds my mother, and we were told you might know."

Winterdream sighed "I realise that child, I am not a fool incapable of grasping what you have said, but why should I aid you?  What cause do I have to interfere in the doings of Morgana and her knights?  I know that Auberon's child favours you but that does not mean that I owe you aid.  As for Puck, he answers to none and bears none of the consequences of his meddling."

As Elenie stared at her, her mind racing frantically to try and come up with an argument to convince this powerful fae to aid them, Winterdream suddenly looked across to one side and stood up.

A sparkling, chiming sound filled the air and a small dot of light flew up to Winterdream and danced around her.  As it danced, the chiming sounds formed into words; "Lady, lady, it's her!  The girl who found us in that house and set us free!  It's her!"

Winterdream gestured slightly and the spark of light flared brightly and turned into a young faerie boy.

"What are you doing here young one?  You know that I am in audience and you should not interrupt me."

Taking her seat once more, she turned to Elenie and Ieaun;  "It seems there more to your story that you have told me.  I must speak with my fae and learn more of this."

Gesturing to the female guard stood on her left she continued "Danae here will guide you to a place you may sleep for the night.  I shall consult and speak with you further on the morrow."

Taking their leave politely, they followed the guard, Danae, who led them through the snowy meadows to an igloo.  Pointing them to the entrance she told them that they would find everything they needed inside. 

Neither Elenie nor Ieaun expected what they found inside; rather than a rounded room made of ice, they found themselves at the foot of a spiral staircase and, climbing to the top, they found a beautifully appointed room.  The room was decorated in shades of light blue and white and all the furniture was made of silver birch.

Not being ready to sleep just yet, they seated themselves near the large windows and discussed the days events.

"So, what do you make of lady Winterdream?  Do you think she'll help us?"

"It's hard to say; my heart nearly stopped when she said she knew what we needed to know but that we had no call on her help.  I couldn't imagine how we could persuade her to help us, but then that little one turned up; he must be one of the ones we freed from that crazy vampire lady back in the forest."

"He must be, and the way he spoke suggested that more of those we freed are from this realm; if we're lucky maybe she'll decide that freeing them puts her enough in our debt to tell us where Nicodur is holding your mother."

"I hope so, to come this far and to know that she has the information we need only for her to refuse to help us would be such a setback; the question is, how much does she feel her help is worth - I have a bad feeling she may see helping us as putting herself against him and the fae queen he serves and I don't know what the consequences of that might be."

They sat for a while in silence contemplating this before Ieaun stood up and, taking Elenie's hands, pulled her to her feet.  

"Lets not think about that for now.  There's nothing we can do until tomorrow, so let's take advantage of what we have tonight and worry about what tomorrow will bring when it arrives."

Pulling her into his arms, he continued "Winterdream may help us or she may not, but one thing we do know from my visions is that whatever dire things I saw happen when we find Nicodur, we will find him.  If Winterdream will not help us then we will find another way."

"I'm not sure we can take much comfort from your visions considering how they ended my love.  I - I don't want to die."

Ieaun leaned in and kissed her "Don't think about it my dearest.  We'll find a way to change that, and we'll rescue your mother and take her home.  Now, when we were looking round this room earlier, I spotted a hot-tub in the bathroom - how about we go and have a good long soak before bed?"

Elenie agreed and they adjourned to the attached bathroom where they changed into something more suitable for bathing and spent some time embracing before finally getting into the tub.

"Ah, this feels so good.  I hadn't realised just how cold I'd gotten out there until now..."

"Well, if you've been feeling cold, I know just the thing to warm you up some more" teased Ieaun as he leaned in again to kiss her.

Some time later, after a great deal of fun in the tub, as well as a good long soak, the two of them emerged, dried themselves off and made their way back into the bedroom where they relaxed on the bed.

Of course, beds being what they are, and the two of them now being fairly scantily clad, they didn't stay relaxing for very long... 

Kisses and the like soon turned into more...

And it wasn't long before the two of them were beneath the bedclothes (and not sleeping... at least not yet...)

The next morning came soon enough, and Danae led them back to Winterdream's glade where she was waiting for them.  After showing them to the seats which had been set out for them, she took her place behind Winterdream's throne.

"So" began Winterdream, "I understand that you set a number of my fae free where they were being held captive by an insane vampire."

Elenie cleared her throat; "We set a number of fae free from a vampire yes, we don't know who they were and it wasn't until we had released the last one that we discovered it was a vampire who was holding them."

"Still, you set them free when you could have ignored their plight and, knowingly or not, you put yourselves at risk doing so and may well have earned yourselves a powerful enemy.  As their liege lady I am now in your debt."

Hope dawned in Elenie's eyes; "Will you help us then?"

"Indeed I shall honour my obligation to you, and I pray that it will not lead to war between my realm and that of Morgana.  Before I grant you the knowledge and path you are seeking however, I have a warning for you, child of dragons."

"A warning?"

"Indeed; I sense the anger in you at what Nicodur has done to you, do not give into it.  The anger and the vengeance of the dragon-kin is dangerous and oft-times hurts them more than those they would seek vengeance against.  Do not allow your anger, your hurt and your desire for vengeance to rule you, lest in doing so you hurt yourself and those you love more than those whom you seek vengeance upon.  Remember this, you are fae as much or more than you are dragon and revenge is a dish best served cold."

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chapter One Hundred and Two

It was a fair way to the portal and the witch had thoughtfully packed them a tasty picnic lunch, so when Elenie and Ieaun reached a peaceful lake at around lunchtime they decided this would be a nice spot to eat at.

Spreading out the blanket she had also given them, while the two unicorns grazed nearby, they unpacked the basket to find it full of delicious home baked goodies.

As they settled down, Elenie asked Ieaun about the conversation she had overheard earlier in the day; "When I came downstairs this morning, you and the witch were talking about your visions and she told you to remember that the future could be changed if you were brave enough; what did she mean?"

Ieaun paused for a moment to collect his thoughts before answering; "You know that when I've been trying to see anything about where your mother is being held I've only been able to see fragments?  Well, I've been seeing these fragments in my dreams as well, but still just as disjointed and incomplete; I'd come down early having woken up from them and when she asked me why I was up so early I explained the problem."

"So, why was she saying about having courage and changing the future if you're still only seeing tiny bits which don't make sense?"

Ieaun reached into the basket for some food before replying "She thinks that subconsciously I'm blocking the visions because I'm afraid of what I'll see - and it's certainly true that I'm afraid of them - when I have them at night I wake up terrified and in a sweat.  She said I needed courage to face whatever is in the visions and that if I faced them and saw the whole thing then if it's bad we can change it, but we can't if I don't stop blocking them.  

"The trouble is, I've no idea how to go about pushing my fear aside - I want to know what we're facing but it's my subconscious mind that's blocking them and I don't know how to break that subconscious block."

They were both quiet for a while as they ate and pondered what to do next.  Although the sun was bright overhead, they both felt sombre and chilled, the discussion had brought the full force of the vision fragments back to Ieaun whilst Elenie was deeply concerned as she thought about how bad they must be to provoke that level of subconscious fear.  Eventually, as they were finishing the meal, she broke the silence; "Weren't you learning meditation at one point?  That's supposed to enable you to control your subconscious mind - could you try seeing while you're meditating?"

"It's got to be worth a try, I really don't like the idea of us walking into things blind and if I'm honest just what I've seen terrifies me!"

As Ieaun chose a spot to meditate in, Elenie decided it would be a good opportunity to brush Taliesen and Ceridwen and check their hooves; she knew it would be better if she left Ieaun in peace - no matter how desperate she was to find out the truth behind his visions.

Ieaun sat cross-legged in the grass and sunk himself in meditation, concentrating on calming himself and, when he felt totally at peace, imagining himself opening an inner eye to use his other sight.  This time the visions were different, flowing rapidly and silently into one another...

As he roused from watching the sequence, his heart was heavy with the realisation of just why he had been so afraid and he wondered how he was going to explain this to Elenie.  He knew though that he had no choice.

"Well, the good news is your idea worked..."

"And the bad news?"

"Erm, you know how Robin Goodfellow said that your step-father didn't want you dead?  Well, something's changed".

Elenie stared at him for a moment as she tried to process that information; "No wonder you were so afraid of the visions..."  her voice trailed off for a while before she squared her shoulders "So after murdering my father and abusing me for most of my childhood that ******* now wants to kill me?  Ok, so we need to work out what we need to change to stop him doing that.

"In the meantime, we need to get on and find the portal to this Winterdream's land, so lets saddle up and while we ride, you think on every detail you can of those visions and see if there's anything we can do differently when we find the ******'s castle because I'm not going to let him kill me and I'm going to make him pay somehow!"

They saddled up and rode on in silence, both lost in their own thoughts until, as the sun began to set, they saw up ahead a ring of stones with a strange distortion in the air in the centre of the ring.