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.