Elenie and Ieaun had been travelling for many moons, through ever-changing scenery, camping out at night and travelling on each day. They had passed though many gates and many different fae worlds as they sought for Elenie's mother. Tonight, the rain was falling heavily and they had yet to find a place to shelter when Elenie heard cries for help inside her head.
"Quickly, there are fae up ahead somewhere who have been imprisoned, they need our help!"
With that she spurred Ceridwen on, leaving Ieaun and Taliesen to follow her. It wasn't long before they arrived at an isolated house in a clearing. All around were scattered odd sculptures and massive rocks, but Elenie paid these no heed, rushing straight into the house, heedless of any potential danger.
Ieaun rushed to follow her and as they entered the house they saw a large number of odd machines and a hoarder's collection of random jewels and metals, but what Elenie's attention was drawn to were the stacks and stacks of insets and butterflies held in small cages and stacked all over the house.
"Ieaun, these aren't all butterflies or insects! Whoever lives here has faeries imprisoned in their small form in these cages! We must set them free!"
It took a long time, but eventually Elenie was satisfied that they had released all of the faeries held captive in the strange house.
However, as she straightened up from releasing the last faerie, they were both startled by a woman who appeared from nowhere and, pouncing in front of Elenie, shrieked "What do you think you are doing? You've just destroyed years of my work! Who said you could let them all go free?!"
As the strange woman circled them, hissing in a disturbingly insane fashion, Elenie found her composure and responded "Those were not all simply butterflies or insects you had in that house, many of them were faeries, intelligent people whom you had imprisoned. We do not need permission to set them free!"
The woman hissed again "Foolish girl! I know they were faeries! I have spent centuries building up my collection! Now, I shall have to start again and I think I will begin with you... Your blood will taste so sweet and when you are held in a magical cage and watch me drain your precious man here to death perhaps you will regret interfering with me!"
Realising suddenly that the woman was a vampire addicted to the blood of the fae, Elenie reached into a pouch and threw a potion of bottled sunlight and bees at her feet.
Not waiting to see her reaction, Elenie and Ieaun fled immediately, leaping onto the waiting unicorns and galloping away into the night
Ignoring the weather, they continued galloping all night without stopping.
It was only when the sun rose in the morning that they realised that in their headlong flight the night before they had ridden between lands and the coniferous forest the crazed vampiress had lived in had given way to pleasant open meadows and small deciduous woodlands.
As they slowed down and rode gently through this landscape, they noticed an elderly woman ahead apparently gathering firewood.
As they drew near to the woman, feeling somewhat cautious after the night's events, she dropped the wood she was carrying and addressed them in a quavering voice; "Greetings good travellers, can ye spare a crust for a poor old woman?"
Deciding the old woman was no threat for now, Elenie and Ieaun began to rummage in their saddlebags saying "of course we can, it's about time we had our breakfast in any event and we'd be only to happy for you to join us".
As they handed the old woman some food however, a striking change came over her. Her grey hairs turned black and her rags magically transformed into a respectable outfit topped with a witches hat!
"Well now, since you have been so generous to me when you thought I had nothing, and since you say you have not eaten yet this morning, perhaps you would care to come back to my cottage and join me for a more substantial meal?"
Sensing no threat from her, the two of them happily agreed and, holding the unicorns to a gentle walk, followed her to a sweet little cottage nestled amongst the trees.
When they got inside, the friendly witch asked them to sit down at her table and bustled around her small kitchen cooking a meal for the three of them.
Then as they sat around eating, she persuaded them to tell them all about their quest and the adventures they had had so far.
"Well now, I don't where you might find this unseelie fae you're looking for, but I think I might be able to point you in the direction of someone who would. There's a gate near here to the realm of a powerful fae by the name of Winterdream, if anyone might know where the one you seek lives it would be her. Although she'll tell you is another matter!
"In the meantime, if you've ridden all night without rest you must surely be tired now. You two go upstairs and have a good long sleep and don't you worry about anything here. I've got plenty of wards agin evil around this place!"
Elenie and Ieaun were both exhausted after their long night and, despite their excitement at the prospect that they might finally find someone who would know where they needed to go, they gratefully went upstairs and fell fast asleep in the big brass bed.
Elenie slept soundly, but Ieaun's sleep was disturbed again with glimpses of visions...
He woke with a start and, leaving Elenie asleep, went downstairs to brood on what he had seen. As he sat there, the witch came up from her cellar.
"I thought I heard someone come downstairs; now something tells me if you are up already then you haven't been sleeping well, care to talk about it?"
After a long moment of quietness, during which she came up and sat herself in the other chair, Ieaun began explaining the problems he had been having with his visions, the fragmented nature of them and the fog he seemed to be seeing through.
The witch sat there in silence for a while after he had finished and then said
"Whilst I suspect the one you seek has protections up against people using the Sight to find him, if you can see anything then you are able to pierce those shields. You are clearly troubled by the nature of what you have seen and you admitted that these visions all feel very threatening and ominous; I believe therefore that your own fear of what you will see is blocking you from seeing the full vision, that is why you can only see parts - your subconscious is refusing to let you see the full".
By now, Elenie had awoken and as she began to descend the stairs she heard the end of their conversation...
"You must accept your fear and put it behind you to see; remember, however bad the future seems, it can be changed if you have the courage to do so."
Turning her head as Elenie came down the stairs, the witch continued, "and now your wife is awake and so I should prepare you some food and give you the directions you need to continue your quest."
She was as good as her word, and over their meal she gave a clear description of the gate, a map to guide them and also packed them plenty of sustenance from her fridge, refusing their protests about taking too much of her food.