I woke up this morning after having slept in the Circle of Stones, next to Marcus.
“Beautiful morning, this,” he spoke cheerfully.
“Yes, it does feel good.”
I inhaled deeply of the springtime aromas and flavors in the air. The ground was freshly green with new grass, and the world around was filled with the activity of plant and animal life.
“What say you, Lady?”
“I need time for thought. And then time together in spirit-handfast. After that, a decision, my Lord.”
He nodded to me, and wandered off aways to give me space, but not out of the Circle.
“Marcus?” I called quietly after a few minutes. He turned and walked back towards me, sitting down cross-legged in front of me. I shared my Vision.
“There is a small village nearby to the northeast. And, just past a stream on the far side of the village, a small cottage sits. We go there first. And then…”
“And then, Lady?”
“And then we leave by a different door and go to a huge gnarled tree – ash, I think… something light-barked – but I don’t know. However, the tree holds a portal to Fey and our trail leads there.”
“Shall we go now?”
“No. Wait. First, let us handfast our Spirits to be as One in this journey. Also, it may help to uncover other pertinent information.”
“Agreed, then.” And he held out his hands – palms up – for me to lay mine upon.
Soon, Marcus whispered, “You did not speak of a church, and yet, here it is. Fear you something, my Lady?”
As he spoke, between us in our Myst, a Vision of a church appeared. Quite the stereotypical Protestant village church with white-painted wood and a steeple with a cross on top.
I whispered back, “Yes, perhaps. I gave it only a glance and pursued the rest of the Path’s Vision.”
“I think it’s more important than we know,” he said softly.
I sighed. “Yes, Marcus; you are right. There is something there. I see it. A small box at the feet of a statue of Mary. It calls me. Awesome power invoking both deep peace and dark fear in me.”
“Such gifts always have inherent in them those two potentials.”
“Then, I must go. I am glad you are with me.”
Thoughtfully, I touched the fear, and saw a similar church in a town called Salem, from a much different time. I shivered at the tragic memories it projected, but I let it go for a later time. This was a different church, with a different welcome.
We released ourselves from the Spirit handfast, and rolled up our gear. Bowing to the Circle, we left and began walking northeast.
* * *
As we topped a small hill, we saw a village nestled quietly below us. Many hardwood trees populated the area, but not enough to make a forest. There were sheep on a far pasture, and some horses to the west, soaking up the early spring sun.
We wandered down the main dirt road of the village, met by a curious mongrel dog, who followed us until a squirrel taunted him. Then they both went racing off into and through neighboring yards.
The church stood out, shining, as the sun touched its steeple and cross, drawing our immediate attention. We reached its front door, and Marcus opened it for me.
Although many of the villagers were stirring and beginning their morning chores, none seemed to pay us any mind… as if it were not unusual at all for outsiders to visit their church as they passed by.
I stepped inside.
Dusty sunbeams were streaming through the eastern stained-glass windows, draping the pews and pulpit in soft rainbows. There was a sparkling off to the left, and I realized that the sunlight was reflecting off some object over there. I moved quietly over to the wall, and – in an alcove – recognized a statue of the Mother Mary. The sun was brightly playing upon a small box at her feet.
I stood still before it, and lightly tranced to touch into the energy here and surrounding the object. It was peace I felt – not fear.
“It is yours, Daughter.”
I opened my eyes to look around for the woman whose voice had touched my heart.
“No. Close your eyes, and see me.”
So I did.
And there before me manifested an older woman, in a sky-blue cloak and robe, with sandals on her feet. I was looking down, almost afraid to see her face.
“Come, come, Child. Look,” and She gently lifted my chin until I was looking into her eyes.
Her deep peace flowed over and through me until I could barely stand, or breathe. She spoke.
“You are doing well, Daughter. Truly. And you have found a wonderful guardian and friend in Marcus. I have a gift for you.”
Tentatively, I said, “A hug would be enough gift, my Lady.”
She smiled, then.
“That, you have for the asking – always. No; this is what I have for you.” And She stooped down, gracefully, and picked up the small wooden box. “My son made this, and I always carry it with me. Now it is time to gift it forward. Here.” And She held it out to me.
I was reluctant to accept such an obviously sacred object, but knew that refusing would dishonor both gift and giver. Trembling, I lifted it from her hand.
And dropped slowly to my knees.
The power and peace emanating from it was indescribable and overwhelming.
I felt Her lay Her hands upon my head, and whisper a blessing. Then She drew me up and into a hug.
Next thing I knew, Marcus was beside me, carefully holding me steady.
“Are you ok?” he queried, a bit anxiously.
I shook my head, as if to clear it, while wondering how much of this had actually transpired Outworld.
“I was allowed to witness, my Lady,” Marcus whispered. “It was real.”
I looked down and saw the small wooden box in my hands. Then, I looked up at the statue in the alcove. It was still glowing from the eastern sunlight, but the intense energy I had experienced was dissipating quickly.
I bowed to the image of Mary, and thanked Her for the Gift. Turning to Marcus, I said quietly, “I think it’s time to find that cottage beyond the stream.”
And we left the church, heading north out of town.
* * *
Just about noon, a small house came into view around a bend in the Path. Although at one time there may have been a fence, it was now completely engulfed by blackberry bushes, and several raspberry and blueberry ones, as well. A small gap allowed passage up to the front door. As we neared to knock upon it, the door opened of its own accord.
“Come in. Come in, Children,” we heard an elderly woman’s voice speak. “Sit down. Make y’selves comfortable.” And so, we did. There was enough room on the sofa for us both, and we sat hesitantly down.
Suddenly, she came bustling into the room with two cups of hot tea.
“Here; here, now. Careful. Quite hot; take care,” she said as she handed them to us. “Just sip. Dinna burn y’ tongue. That’s me lad. Help the lass out.” This, as I tried to hold the hot cup without burning my fingers. “Good. Good. Ye’ve come right on time. Albert’ll be in soon with some fruit and cheese to eat. Have ye been travelin’ long? How’s the weather south o’ here?” She was talking non-stop, as if she didn’t get many visitors.
“Oh, come, now, lass. Ye know better’n that. I just love company and conversation. And I enjoy bein’ a ‘compassionate witness’ for ye.” And she winked at me. Then, in a conspiratorial whisper, she said, “Good stuff at the church, yes?”
I just stared at her. Then Marcus laughed.
“I have sure missed seeing you, my Lady Elisabeth. I am glad we stopped by.”
“As if ye could’a not stopped, lad. Ah, here’s Albert now.”
Quickly, without hurrying, she cleared a small table before us, and pulled up two more chairs. Lord Albert brought in a huge tray of fruits, cheeses, and bread. As they sat down with their tea, the four of us broke fast, and began eating.
“Staying awhile this time, Marcus?” Albert asked him.
“No, my Lord. We are on our Way to somewhere particular and peculiar after we dine with you.”
“Ah,” he knowingly remarked. “Indeed. But ye’ll return in a fortnight, and we can celebrate then.” And he silently busied himself with creating a cheese sandwich.
As curiosity got the best of me, I spoke to Lady Elisabeth. “What does he mean?”
“Dinna worry, lass. He’s an old man, wont to throw playful words around. Give him no mind.” And she turned to him. “Albert, quit scarin’ the wee lass with your meanderings.”
Then she looked at Marcus, and said, “Do ye remember the tree, lad? The one ye mistook for simple wood and play?”
And at his stricken expression, Lord Albert broke into merry laughter, almost falling off his chair, spilling his tea on an unappreciative orange cat beneath his chair.
Lady Elisabeth poked him one, quite un-ladylike. “Stop it, Albert. Ye’re frightenin’ the children worse,” but she was laughing, too.
“Aye, Marcus, that one.”
Silence again, although Albert was still chuckling under his breath, while trying to make amends to the cat. He offered some cheese, which worked quite well.
After several minutes, Lady Elisabeth remarked, “We’ve made packs for each of ye of these foods for y’journey. It’s time for ye both to move on.”
This brokered no discussion, and so we finished our tea and grabbed our own packs, in addition to the ones she was now holding out for us.
As I walked to the back door, Lord Albert touched my elbow, and whispered, “No. This way, Child,” and pointed to an inner door.
Then Marcus looked at me and said, “Oh, I remember this. Tis no closet or cellar, Lady. Tis the way out you saw earlier in your Vision.” And he opened the door, stepping through and offering his hand to me.
Lady Elisabeth said, “Be careful, Children. Some things are not as they seem… and an obvious Path may be just that – an obvious Path.”
Lord Albert winked, and then remarked, “Lad, stay no longer than a fortnight beyond the Tree, or the Tree might pretend not to know ye. It might not let ye return.”
As he shut the door, the cat jumped through and ahead of us in the torch-lit darkness.
* * *
We left the darkness, as if leaving a cave, and stepped into bright sunlight. The landscape before us seemed to only hold one solitary tree. As we neared it, I realized it was the largest tree of its kind I had ever seen. I’d been next to a giant Sequoia, and this was similar, but the tree was grayish-white – with paper-like bark like a sycamore. Then it looked like it had been twisted, as if a giant had (after it was grown and fully rooted into the ground) turned it several times… and it had remained that way, forever.
Marcus stopped and stared at it.
“I remember you,” he said under his breath.
“And I you, Magus Journeyman. Brave to return. What brings you?”
There followed a long silence as I stood in Stillness to reach and experience the energy of the Tree. It then addressed me.
“Do you know this Path? Do you understand what you will experience?”
“No. Just that this is the Way.”
“There are other Ways.”
“There are always other Ways. This is my Way.”
“I have spoken.”
“And I respect that you have spoken. Will you now show the Portal?”
A green luminescence began to glow from a crease, low in the Tree’s trunk. Then Marcus said to me, “Lady, I would follow you, that I may allow you freedom of choice and provide safety behind.”
“Thank you, Marcus.” And I knew, also, that he would be better able to follow me, for he would not get as distracted by the Journey as I. We both knew that.
I stepped into the Crease… like a Crack in the Universe…a Fissure in Reality… a solid Path upon the Void. I was walking on the black invisibility of space as I knew it – stars above and below me. But I had done this once before with a friend, and I was less afraid. I held onto my Faith and continued walking according to the Current’s flow.
After a while, I stepped through a sheer transparent Veil of the Void, and found myself unexpectedly “home”. Not home as in planet Earth, but home on another galactic planet, somewhere. And I knew it was my home (is mine, time notwithstanding its cognitive construct). My “parents” welcomed me, as if I journeyed beyond these boundaries of home all the time. They were not Terran, but humanoid – somewhat similar to those shown in Spielberg’s “Close Encounters”. The feel, the sense, of belonging was deep and strong. There was a sense, also, that my Journeying was part and parcel of my Beingness here, and existed concurrently with my other actions and life, without disruption, distraction, or confusion. Amazing! We talked, my parents and I, about many things that I cannot remember now, and then I bid them farewell, moving back into the Current. What a wonderful experience!
At an intuitive level, I felt as if the Current were moving upwards in a spiral course, in reflection to the Tree’s physical appearance. I walked farther down the Path, surrounded by the blackness of a starry, starry night – not darkness, just black, a transparent black, if that can be visualized without the experience. I surely cannot describe it better.
Suddenly, as if through another Veil of energy, I came face to face with a giant Slug. This would be one of my worst realities to deal with, psychologically and metaphorically. The Tree knew this. And I knew that it knew. I held my breath, while I collected my Stillness around me.
Hesitating, but determined, I said, “Hello.”
Slowly it moved its head, as if centering on my voice.
I did not run, though I wanted to – whether I was paralyzed, stubborn, or daring myself, I don’t know. Most likely a combination of those.
It spoke, “Hmmmmmmmmm…”, as if considering some deep philosophical conundrum.
“Interesting...” The word was drawn out over several seconds.
“Offering respect in spite of overwhelming fear...” This sentence was drawled out like the moist dialect of a deep Louisiana bayou.
“Do not take the second door.”
And then, it turned its front section back to where it had been before. I knew I had been dismissed, or that the conversation (as it appeared) was over.
I pondered its curious statement as I moved on up the Path.
For the longest time, there were just stars and other astronomical manifestations. At one point, the Path seemed to pass through one of the galaxies photographed by the Hubble telescope. It reminded me again that Time and Space were so relative to my own thinking. And the “colors” of the galaxy were different through it and on to its “other side” as well.
All the time I was on the Path through the Void, I was hearing music – tones that resonated through me like the ripples of carillons in early morning service. It ebbed and flowed, paused and crescendoed, never the same, never apart from me, never “not there”. I knew that if I walked this Path often enough, and paid closer attention, I would learn to recognize certain tones and musical intonations associated with certain areas and objects.
* * *
Somewhere, farther ahead, I again stepped through a Veil, ending up in a building reminiscent of Roman architecture. A man in a toga of high authority was walking towards me.
And then I recognized Marcus’ voice.
“Not exactly, but yes. Actually this time-place experience would look more familiar to you, if you looked outside. It is interesting that the Tree chose this as our joint experience.”
I wandered over to a huge veranda, and looked out on the land. Immediately, I knew. Jerusalem. Circa 33 A.D. And then, I knew who Marcus was.
“Pontius Pilate?” I queried.
Blushing a bit, he replied, “A lesson – a hard lesson – I needed to learn, my Lady. I thought, arrogantly so, that I could control this situation; that I could handle such an armed occupation in a generous and tolerant way; that I could show mercy with authority, magical power unseen. I mean, Caesar almost dared me, the rogue!”
“And, as you know, I was wrong.”
“What happened, Marcus?”
“Beyond what is obvious, do you remember that Yeshua said to me ‘You have no power but that which was given you’?”
“Well, when He said that it knocked me back off my own pedestal. It made me realize my own weakness. And when they took Him away, I wept.
Right then, I knew there was no magic, no power, no single thing I could do to alter this destiny, to alter His choice. I understood, finally, a Higher Power.
When I washed my hands, it wasn’t to absolve myself of guilt, as it appeared – it was washing my ego and arrogance from myself; it was repentance. Those who watched misunderstood, but He didn’t. He looked right at me with compassion shining through such terrible pain. I had tried to rescue Him, but for my own selfish reasons. He acknowledged my silent plea for forgiveness, and I never returned to Rome.
I remember seeing the anger in your eyes, and it hurt me, for the anger came not because I was Roman and had authority, but because I had betrayed my own honor, and crucified my own integrity. I’m sorry, Lady.”
“You’re human, Marcus. As am I. We make mistakes and learn. Let’s leave our footprints here and move on. I am not angry with you anymore.”
I turned and walked back the way I had come. And so, he could not see my own tears, for my own mistakes made at that time.
* * *
I felt I had been walking quite a long time, when – indeed, like the Slug had implied – there appeared two “doors”. It seemed strange to me that they manifested as such, and that I hadn’t – say – come to a fork in the Path with associated energy Veils. I suspected that the Tree itself had a hand in this, weaving these from the Threads of my own hopes and fears, my own expectations and assumptions.
I sat down in front of them and went to my Still place, closing my eyes. I sensed, surprisingly, that the Current continued flowing through both “doors” without any disturbance, as if they were identical.
Intuitively, I realized that one “door” probably showed me exactly what I wanted, but kept me within the Tree’s domain. So, then, I considered the words of the Slug:
“ Do not take the second door.”
A test of trust.
A test of faith.
A test to quit daring myself to prove myself.
Ok. Well, so be it.
I walked through the first “door”.
And I felt a presence follow me through. I turned, and Marcus stood there, smiling. I smiled back, and then hugged him for a long time.
* * *
Stretched before us was luxuriant green growth weaving into a deep forest. Somewhere far, far beyond, I could hear the soft whisper of a waterfall. This place was so alive, I could scarce describe it. It was as if we had stepped from the Void into Heaven… What a strange thought! Nonetheless, I could taste a world of amazing things – way past the paradigm of plant-animal-mineral. With every movement I made, I could sense the texture of the energy encountered or reciprocated. I could ‘understand’ the ‘communication’ in every interaction with plants, trees, rocks, and earth. But not just with physical contact. With my thoughts, in my mind and heart, I was holistically part of all the conversations and Beingness of this land, this forest. I was connected to, and interwoven with, everything… much of which was far beyond my comprehension.
“Marcus…” I whispered.
“Yes, my Lady?”
“Where are we? What is this?”
“I thought you knew…”
“I thought I knew… but… this… is more than Faery. I’ve never experienced this before.”
“As you transform more into your Truth, so does your Journey. This… (and he moved his hand in an arc before him)… reflects… you.”
“Whoa…” I paused a minute. “And yet, you remain…”
“…steadfast with you. As you do not see the changes in yourself, neither do you see them in me.” Then he paused. “ And still you doubt my presence…”
“Are you guys going to stand there all day?”
I looked down.
A fat fluffy orange cat stared back at me, imperiously demanding a response.
“I forgot I saw Papa Bear jump into the Tree portal with us. Interesting.” Then he looked at the cat, and said, “You’re right, of course. Which way, then?”
“She’s the visionary, not me. Ask her.” And he sat down, and licked his butt.
“He talks, Marcus?”
“Impudently, but, yes. Sometimes even wisely. Here in this Place, every creature, every bit of creation, does.”
“But he’s right. We do need to move on.”
“The ‘obvious path’?”
And I looked around, and saw the trail as well. Remembering Lady Elisabeth’s words, I agreed.
“Yes – the obvious Path.”
* * *
It was taking quite some time for me to integrate all that had occurred, and was occurring, around and within me. It was incredibly difficult to even focus on the Path. Marcus, in a very unassuming manner, kept me from wandering off it, by offering to hold my hand – just as a precaution to my innate (and sometimes dangerous) attraction to new and sparkly energies. I had acquiesced, acknowledging my weakness to such things. And, in fact, I did not mind at all holding his hand. It was warm and grounding, and made my heart smile quietly.
As the day was nearing sunset, we came upon the waterfall whose music we had listened to since our arrival. It was absolutely glorious! It fell from a considerable distance, and misted our faces in greeting as we drew close. On the opposite bank of the river was a small stone house, with a lit lantern hanging by the door. I turned to Marcus.
“The Path goes under and behind the falls. See how it comes out over there? We’re going to get wet.”
“Yes. Yes, I can see that. Wait… Lady… Look!”
And as I followed where he pointed, I spied Papa Bear already over there eating snacks from the house owner’s hand.
“Cats! Well, I should’ve known that he would somehow manage both to find food and keep dry. And I would guess that probably makes him a bit smarter than us, yes?” I sighed, a bit exasperated.
Marcus laughed, and smiled at me. I smiled, and laughed as well.
“It’s good to hear you laugh, Lady.” And then he squeezed my hand, before letting it go.
As we neared the house, I finally recognized the figure sitting with Papa Bear. It was my Dwarf friend, Smashfoot, who proceeded to engulf me in an enormous hug.
“Finally, Roundabout, you are here! What great news! Come; come… And with him! Well, things are indeed looking up. Come on in! I’ve just gotten a bit o’ supper ready, and if we get to it before Chip and his Da, we’ll have enough for us all.”
* * *
When I woke up the next morning, I found Smashfoot outside gathering herbs.
“Morning, Smashfoot,” I greeted her.
“Morning started a long time ago, Roundabout. Are ye hungry?”
“Tea and biscuits, then. Sit here. I’ll be right back.”
And so I sat on a tree stump that had been carved to create a comfortable seat. Smashfoot arrived a few minutes later with tea and biscuits on a small wooden carry-table. She sat on the ground, and set the table between us.
“Where are Marcus and Chip,” I asked.
“Ah, they’ve gone off with me husband to hunt, over in the mountain meadow. They’ll be gone a day or two. So, it’s just us; and you’ve got work to do.”
“Just as I said: you’ve got work to do.”
Then she laughed.
“Not like gathering herbs or chopping wood. No, this is more to do with weaving.”
“Weaving?” Chagrined, I contemplated how I would accomplish such a thing with no skill.
“Not from wool and yarns. From energy. Your energy.”
“What am I supposed to weave?”
“It’s what you’re supposed to unweave.”
“Unweave. You’re supposed to unweave your simulacrum.”
I just stared at her.
“I don’t get it.”
“It’s like your shadow, although there are no real shadows in these Shining Realms. And in your Human Realm, you are more ITS shadow, than otherwise. You created an image of yourself to survive.”
And then she stopped talking.
Many minutes passed, and silence spread its silver wings, gliding wide upon the World. Small birds flitted in and about the greenery, conversing in quick short notes. A breeze wandered curiously through tree branches, gently brushing my face and hair. An animal and its mate passed by, paying us no mind, but keeping a respectful distance. Smashfoot looked as if she were napping, although I knew better. And still the Silence wafted about us like the gentle lullabyes of Angels.
“Come, Lady. I have just the Place for you to work in solitude. No distractions.”
She led me to a tiny grove of dense green bushes and trees – warm and quiet, with a sense of peace and safety.
“It is a Gift from the Green Man to our People – just a touch of His energy woven into this Place. I will come for you at sunset.”
And she walked away.
So, I made myself comfortable, propped against an Ash Tree that welcomed me. I pondered this thing, this ‘simulacrum’. And – as I thought – it became more and more logical and plausible, and then, visibly obvious in my mind. How else to escape such an abusive childhood? How else to escape the technological horror of electrical shock “therapy”? How else to survive?
… and so a very clever child, unaware of itself and its skill, wove a duplicate child made of energy, and indistinguishable from the real one to humans who could not see past their own illusions… the child made a golem of itself, reweaving the energy lines each time they were shattered by the hungry, harmful, needy powerbrokers who kept it…reweaving continuously, so that there was never a time when the simulacrum did not exist… so that there was never a time that the protection offered by it did not exist… now, in truth, the child was not completely immune to the actions performed upon its energy twin, but removed enough to remain alive… after the electro-shock experience at seven years old, however, the child lost remembrance of the simulacrum… the child lost remembrance of itself, too… and though her energy twin remained engaged and interwoven in the energy of her world, she had no knowing of it, or herself…all she felt was a lack of Being – no identity, no emotion, no impulse, no energy…
…unknowing of her early childhood weaving, the young woman – now 21 – wove another simulacrum that she could give identity, emotion and life to… and she found that she could do this quite well… for the next 28 years, she allowed herself to become this simulacrum for the sense of security and sanity it gave her… then, she met a wise woman who could see past that illusion, past the simulacrum, and right into the Truth of her Soul… the wise woman did not try to unweave the simulacrum, nor did she try to point it out… she merely began helping the woman become aware of her own true Self… she knew that this young woman was smart and clever enough to find herself, once shown the Way… even as the young woman wandered in far-off Realms, with the Faery and others, she had no Knowing of the simulacrum or her ability to weave it, for in those Places she was her true Self, and was honored as such…for – in a shamanic sense – the young woman could travel as her true Self in safety and confidence because of the sacredness of the Shining Lands…and so she had no knowing of this dichotomy of Self…
…in the subsequent seven years, she listened closely to the wise woman, and worked intently to find and be herself… she came to understand the myriad aspects of herself, and how to weave them all into one Self… she learned how to use the template of God’s Oneness to successfully re-weave her own… almost flawlessly, almost seamlessly… but, no matter how deep, how diligent, how hard she worked, there always seemed to be just one more piece… one more piece missing… a shard, a broken bit of sparkly… left out and keeping the crystal not quite whole or healed…
* * *
And, now, here, traversing the Faery Realm once again, I had been shown the missing link. I had sensed my energy ‘twin’, my simulacrum, who is but a breath away from me, and yet half a galaxy away in terms of my understanding. Here, in this magic Grove, where I am my true Self, all sentient Life responded to me as a genuine and authentic entity. Here, I had been given the opportunity to actually work with my simulacrum: to become aware of my energy ‘shadow’, and to re-weave my own energy back into my Web, unweaving the bits that weren’t “me”.
I knew this would take a while.
I took a deep breath and relaxed into the warmth and comfort of the Tree.
I considered, first, the child’s simulacrum. A magnificent piece of art. From putting together bits and pieces of memory, the wise woman and I had discovered that this was no ordinary simulacrum (if ordinary could ever describe it at all). This golem, this shadow twin, had linked inextricably with the child, and could learn to energy shape-shift into whatever human phenotype could survive the situation presented to it… and did.
So, my understanding of my gift of shape-shifting wasn’t false, but once removed… as were all my true gifts and abilities – singing, dancing, journeying, healing, and such. I knew, then, that all I had to do (right…) was re-weave my simulacrum’s energy back into myself, leaving out whatever energy-debris wasn’t mine. Simple as it sounds, there was a very deep and complex fear factor integrated into the simulacrum because of its origin – because of the reason I, as a child, had created it. There were also the reasons and fears attached to the ‘shock’ experience that were held in conjunction with my shadow twin. I felt that I had survived the abuse, but not that Room. I had to re-visit both, and see for myself what the Truth was. I had closed my eyes to do this, when I felt a tug on my shirt.
I saw a much older version of Smashfoot, and more tree-like, standing before me.
“Do not fear. I am a Wyr-Sylvan. What you seek to do should not be done here, nor alone. Come with me. I offer my cottage, and my company, if you so wish.”
And so I followed her, through the Green Man’s domain, into what was known as the Old Forest. I had never come in here – had never been invited. And one didn’t go in here uninvited… ever.