by Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
forest spring water
All dressed in flowing purest white, many tall sidhe with great wings the shape of that of an angel but the opacity and colouring of dragonfly wings slowly stepped forth through the forest along the path, leaving no trace or imprint in their wake. They all wore sweeping gowns and cloaks that brushed over the leaves regardless of gender and some wore pearly silver crowns. Halos, perhaps. They stepped silently and sung, though their mouths did not move and their pale silvery lips did not quiver. It was not long before I noticed they all had their eyes closed, perhaps the gentle lullaby had put them to sleep? I caught a last wonderful glimpse of the sidhe before they were snatched again as Gillidore pulled me surely downwards back into the cave with him. I found a tear coming to my eye for I knew that I would never see such true beauty in my life again. “Dear friend, no one has looked at the sidhe and survived for the compiled beauty of their song and their form would be too much for mortals.” He whispered “then how am I still alive? How am I not asleep eternally?” I asked. Gillidore could not answer and refused to speak anymore on the subject. Once the song had died away and midnight approached, Gillidore pulled me ungraciously onto his soft back and trotted out of the cave and back onto the path. Strangely, no animals remained on the path now, no bugs in the soil, no dragonflies in the air, perhaps they had all fallen peacefully asleep from the sweet song. It was not long before I found myself growing tired and weary from my journey and realized I had no food or a place to sleep for the night. Luckily, being inside a book, I had a simple way to remedy this. I took out the pen once more I wrote: Exhausted from her travels, she soon found a large hollow tree with a warm hearth and bed and comforting food for her to eat and a lantern hanging outside, to help her find her way. Sure enough I did. A hollow tree stood large and imperious with a tiny firefly lantern glinting outside and ornate bird cages suspended at different heights from the branches. I knocked once, twice, three times, just to be sure no one lived within. With no response, I entered and found a hammock with small thin blankets hanging just inside and bowls of nuts and sweet berries in all colours; red, violet, lilac, rose… even colours I didn’t know existed.
Gillidore lit the fire and before long I found myself fluttering my weary eyelids to a close and glazing absent mindedly into the embers as they danced and dallied up and up and up through the chimney and into the starry night sky above, thinking of everything and of nothing. As my thoughts turned to the quest it came to me that perhaps I might die or perhaps I might never get back home, it hadn’t come to me before because people in stories always win and return home in one piece, well the good ones do, don’t they? And I was trying to vanquish evil, wasn’t it? Then it came to me that Uriel might have mislead me, perhaps he was evil and the shadow master was fighting evil? Luckily, sleep took me quickly and I did not have to dwell on these thoughts any longer.
I was awoken softly by a tinkling ethereal sound that did not wake Gillidore. Carefully, I swung my legs from the hammock and took the book, the pen, and the compass out of the hollow tree, picking up the lantern as I did so. I tiptoed away from Gillidore and the tree and into a little glade to find a sudden buzzing from beneath my fingertips: the compass had started to shake again. I had not understood what this had meant up until now but I could only assume it mean danger for the first time it’d been in motion was when I arrived inside the book and the clearing was filled with shadows. Could the shadows have something to do with the shadow master? I continued forth to discover the origin of the sound.
The glade was dark with the minimal light the lantern cast and it was not long before I began to listen more closely to the song for I could not detect the direction it was coming from and the golden needle was spinning erraticly. The song was in a language I could not understand. In annoyance, I laid down the items I had stashed on the dewy forest floor and stood perfectly still, my eyes closed for a second. Then the strange language softened and the music which surrounded the words became more quiet and the words echoing throughout my mind in English. How was that possible? But then again, how was any of this possible? The words became louder and louder inside my mind until they were perfectly clear -
If you close your eyes and you open your mind, the veil will disappear and you’ll see it all.