Thursday, January 12, 2012

25. Shocking revelations from the fairy

        The fairy just told me the most astonishing tale.  I don’t know what to think, or how to react.  For the first time in my life, I’m at a total loss.  It’s all too much to comprehend or make sense of.  I have to think.  I have to write this down and get it out.  I have to get my thoughts straight.  I don’t know what I’m going to do?  Everything has changed now.  Everything!
        I was leaving town.  I was taking Bonnie with me and leaving.  We were all packed and had left the house.  We were out of here.  My trusty old Mustang was loaded and full of gas.  I stopped at church to find Westley and bid my friends one last goodbye.  That was my mistake.  It would have been better if we hadn’t stopped.  Then I would have remained in ignorance.  Then I could have left with a free conscious.  Then I would still love my little fairy.  Now I can’t leave.  I don’t dare.
        There was a service project going on at church, putting together care packages for the troops overseas, and I knew a lot of my friends, including Westley, would be there.  Westley never misses church activities.  I wanted to tell Westley we were leaving, to ask him to look in on my family, and help my mom as much as was in his power, to at least keep track of them so I could check back periodically.
        I entered the church, with Bonnie in my pocket, I still don’t dare go anywhere without her, and found Westley up front in the opening exercises.  He got picked to say the prayer again, which seems to happen a lot.  I waited patiently until the prayer was over, and was just waving to grab his attention, when Madison appeared at my side.
        Madison took hold of my arm and her eyes were round with concern.  She pulled me out into the halls and into one of the classrooms.  She shut the door behind her and stood with her back to it, blocking the little window above the handle.  She took a deep breath and folded her arms across her chest.  “You’re leaving, aren’t you?”
        How did she know?  Was it that obvious?  “Do I have a choice?” I said.
        She frowned and her forehead wrinkled.  “Of course you do, Michael.”  She stepped towards me and put a hand on my arm.  “You don’t have to go.  We can figure something out.” 
        I shook my head.  “We’re leaving.  There’s nothing to figure out.”
        Madison’s hand tightened my arm.  “But Michael, where would you go?”
        “We’ll be okay.”
        She looked at me earnestly, then said, “I don’t think running away is the answer.  We need to know what the fairies want with you.  Then we’ll know what to do.”
        I felt a stirring in the front of my sweatshirt and so reached in my pocket and pulled Bonnie out.  She leaped from my hand towards Madison, without uncurling her wings.  Madison was surprised but managed to catch her with cupped hands.
        “Hi Madison!!” Bonnie exclaimed happily, as she stood in the palm of Madison’s hands and stretched.  She’s so light and flexible she’s not hard to hold.
        Suddenly there was a small knock at the door.  Madison gasped and rushed stepped away to the far side of the room, keeping her back to the door and crouching over the fairy.  I grinned and cracked the door open.
        It was only Westley, munching on a candy bar.  “Hey, what’s going on in here?” he exclaimed.
        I motioned him inside and shut the door behind him.  Madison turned around and when Westley saw Bonnie, he actually dropped his Butterfinger.  Bonnie laughed and so Westley picked up his candy bar and gave her a tiny crumb of chocolate.  It wasn’t small to her though, and when she tasted it her face lit up.
        “Everyone likes Butterfingers,” Westley grinned now too.
        Madison smiled congenially and lifted Bonnie up to her face.  “So Bonnie,” she whispered, all so innocently, “Why is it you’re hurting Michael?”
        “What!”  Now Bonnie looked startled, and then perturbed.  “I would never.  I watch over Michael, always, always.”
        “You say that, but it’s not true.  Not always.”
        Bonnie stamped her little foot.  “I would never hurt Michael.”
        “Yet,” Madison said, then grew silent.
        Bonnie looked from her, to me, back to her.  “What?  What do you think?  Bonnie not hurting Michael!”
        “Well, maybe not directly, yet … you’re letting other hurt him.  You won’t tell him what the Fairy Prince wants.  I think that puts him in danger.  I think he would be better able to protect himself if he knew exactly what the Fairy Prince is planning for him.  Bonnie, you are adding to the chances Michael will be hurt by not telling us what you know?  That’s the same as if you were hurting him yourself.”
        Bonnie wrung her hands.  “But I cannot betray Prince Vercingetorix.  I cannot.”
        “Who said anything about betraying anyone?  Besides, he’s the one that gave you to Michael.  Your first allegiance is to Michael now, is it not?”
        “Then tell us what the fairies are here for, what the fairies want.  There’s no harm in this.  You can tell us.  You know Michael and I mean them no harm.”
        Bonnie put a hand over her eyes to think, then smiled up at us.  “Yes, Madison right.  It is Bonnie’s duty.”  She beamed at us, and I think it was as if a burden had been lifted from her little shoulders.
        Then she told us the story of how and why the fairies can here.  I’ll relate if for you without interruption, for that was how she delivered it, and the three of were so struck with amazement and wonder we dared not interrupt until she had finished.
        “It a great honor Bonnie chosen for this expedition to the Realm of Humans,” she beamed expansively and fluttered her wings.  “Out of all the pixies serving in the palace, and with only four to be chosen, I was selected, me, to be one of the elect, to come.  Bonnie was so happy, and we all celebrated, and there was a magnificent banquet the night before our departure, and all the royal family was in attendance.  My best friend Jennie was also selected, my best friend in all the land.  We two out of so many.  It was on account our mothers distinguishing themselves during the War of Lofty Mountains, and on account of our own exceptional good service to the royal family since coming to the palace, and our aerial skills and agility, and capability as scouts.”
        We faced a long long journey through the kingdom to the land of gnomes, three days and three nights, and Bonnie had never hardly been outside the palace or surrounding grounds since coming to serve there as a very young pixie.  We travelled fast and flew hard, with few rests and little sleep.  Not as hard for Jennie and me as for others, for we flew without packs, and often ahead of the main party, to scout the way and watch for dangers.  Large carrier fairies had armor and supplies to bear, and became much fatigued, for they were much laden down with heavy burdens.  Finally we came to the borders of the kingdom, and our expedition was met there by gnomes.”
        They are such ugly creatures.  And they smell.  I had never seen one before.  They have no wings and cannot fly.  They live in the ground, with rodents, and worms, and insects, and grubs.  They are mean.  They are bad.  They hate all fairies and we hate them all.  They are such horrid creatures.
        A large party of gnome warriors led us on through their lands, another full day’s travel, although we did not cover nearly so much distance that day since they must walk.  Near nightfall we reached the foothills of the Mountain of Shadow Caves.  We camped there for several nights and days.  As dusk of the appointed day neared, they took us into a vast tunnel, a dark cave into the mountain, dark and scary, and we followed the gnomes right into the dark damp ground.  We left our army behind on the surface, our escorts, and our carriers, and only the 15 selected for our expedition went into the cave with the gnomes.
        We could not fly once in the cave, we had to walk, and it was dark.  Our way was lit with torches for we could not see the sun, or moon or stars.  It was so fearsome and so dangerous, and there were gnomes all about, but our leader Bricius, and also Prince Vercingetorix, and the warrior fairies, were all so brave.  We pixies took courage from their example and followed them as they followed the gnomes through the cave, although Jennie and I were much alarmed and walked hand in hand, staying close for comfort, as we wound our way deeper and deeper up into the mountain.
        After what seemed forever, walking through the dark, we came to a large cavern, much better lit, but with thousands of rock formations hanging from the ceiling like pointed teeth, as if to say, ‘No one flies here!  Stay down!  Stay on the ground!’  Now the gnomes in their dozens formed up and crowded along the sides of the cavern, and we fairies clustered in the middle, only 15 against so many of our enemy.  The gnomes were restless and barely constrained in their anger and desires to attack and maim, and where shaking their axes and hammers and swords at us, for they have suffered much at the hands of fairies in times past, for we have hunted them, and driven them from the fair lands of the realm, and chased them from all the open plains, so that now they only dwell in mountainous ranges and in the ruggedest of hill country.
        We fairies stood tall, erect and proud, especially the warriors, even though out of our element, on the ground, in the dark, under the surface, surrounded by enemies who would like nothing better than see us dead.  Our warrior fairies are so brave, and they knew the danger to their prince, and would fight to the last breath to protect him.  But the gnomes needed us, and we needed them, so an uneasy truce prevailed.  It had too, for if blood were spilt the portal would never open, and it takes both fairies and gnomes, working together, to accomplish the magic.
        Now Haerviu, the greatest chemist of all the fairies in all the realms, the Prince’s loyal vassal, came forward with Feidlimid, his assistant, bringing with her a golden bag of the special black silver fairy dust.  They were met by a trio of solemn gnomish magicians, with long white beards that trailed all the way down and between to their feet.  Thus began the ceremony to open the portal.  Iodocus brought forward the Dagger of Goleuni Nefol and the gnomes banged their drums and brought out the Hammer named Golau Uffern.  Haerviu poured the black silver fairy dust onto a stone alter.  The dagger Goleuni Nefol was struck against the hammer Golau Uffern.  Sparks erupted over the magical fairy dust, and one proved hot enough to ignite the magic of the powder.  The proper chants were spoken by fairies and gnomes alike, as the powder hissed and burned, and the room grew bright.  Above the fiery powder a light appeared, no more than a point at first, but bright, very bright.   It grew in size and intensity until the brightness exceeded that of a blacksmiths furnace, white hot, then bluish.  There was no heat though, it was not a fire, but pure light.  It continued expanding until it was large enough to hold a fairy or a gnome.
        By prior agreement, the first one through was Bricius, for it has to be a fairy first and a gnome last.  He ran and leaped into the fire, and simply vanished from sight.  He was followed by two stout warrior fairies, Teutorigos and Seisyll, I believe.  Every person in the cavern counted to themselves, hoping, for this was a moment of criticality.  They did not come back, after a count of 100, so now the rest of us solemnly commenced lining up before the light.
        We were going through.  The order was set.  We were going through.  First two gnomes, it was Jarl Knutr himself, their leader, their king, who according to their traditions must lead the way, followed by his ugly gnome queen, Gyda, and then two massive warriors with red hair.  Now the remaining warrior fairies and then the Prince himself passed through the portal, and then another squad of gnomes, and then it was our turn.
        I was frightened, but there was no backing out now.  I took Jennie’s hand, and Conobelinus took little Iodocus’ hand.  Then Jennie and I closed our eyes and raced through the portal together.  It didn’t hurt, it was a shock, like from an eel at the circus, a shock that passed through my body and set every nerve on fire, but faded instantly, and I was through.  I landed on solid ground and fell to my feet.  I started to uncurl my wings and fly, but saw I was still underground and resisted the urge.  I looked ahead in the tunnel and saw light, just a little ways off up a short incline.  I scampered with desperation to get out of that hole in the ground.  I crawled around a small boulder and I made it.  I was out.  I was out of the ground at last.  I was so relieved I wept.  I was in open air once more.
        Oh the wonder of entering a new world.  I could scarce believe my eyes.  Everything is so big here, and the colors are deeper and richer and darker.  Not so bright.  I stared about in amazement.  I knew I was in an alien land.  I saw trees as tall as hills, and ferns with leaves big enough to make a bed sheet, and grass as thick as tree trunks, and  birds, yes I saw birds, lovely birds like back home.  Some black and some colorful, red and yellow and blue even.  I felt alive and joyous and so happy.
        Then Bricius cuffed me on the side of the head, and Jennie too, who had come up out of the tunnel after me and was standing at my side.  Bricius scolded us.  “Hey you stupid pixies, quit your daydreaming.  We have work to do.  Now get to flight, and hurry it up before I have your wings clipped.”
        I rose swiftly into the air, Jennie by my side, and we started ascending spirals going counter to each other, searching for dangers as we rose.  We were in a meadow surrounded by giant coniferous trees. There was a slight breeze blowing, but I could see the moon above and the stars.  It was night.  Conobelinus soon joined us, and then Iodocus rose in the midst of us three, with the sacred dagger.  Straight up Little Io flew, past our heights, well above the trees, to a place of safety where she was assigned to protect the sacred dagger, which was vital for our return and could not be lost.
        At the top of the trees we found some warriors.  Elisedd told us they had the area secure and free of danger and to return to Bricius and report all was safe.  Jennie, Courtney and I dove to the ground and alighted near Bricius and Prince Vercingetorix, who were surveying the exodus of gnomes through the portal.  I saw the remainder of our party emerging from the tunnel, Haerviu and Feidlimid, and last of all Lugubelunus, the king’s agent.  More gnomes followed them.
        I curtsied and waited for permission to speak, for Bricius was talking to the Prince, and I dared not interrupt. “You highness, I wish you would not, it is best to stay near me and not wander,” Bricius was saying
        “Yes, I acknowledge your counsel,” Prince Vercingetorix said.  “But I hear running water nearby.  I wish to investigate.  Someone should.”
        “As you wish, your highness,” Bricius bowed, and the Prince rose into the air and flew off in the direction of the falling water.  Bricius nodded to one of the warriors hovering nearby, and trusted Drust hastened to follow the Prince.
        Haerviu put a hand on Bricius.  “He is young.”
        Bricius shook his head.  “That fool, he’s going to get himself lost or hurt and cause us no end of trouble.  The Duke will have my wings shorn and burned if I should come back without his son.”
        I coughed to get their attention, but saw them stiffen.  I turned to see Jarl and Gyda Knutr approaching.  There is bad blood between Jarl and Bricius, they have fought together in the past, and Bricius has slain more than a few of Jarl’s kin from the Knutr clan.  But today was not a day for revenge.  They stopped to glare at each other for several silent moments, Bricius had his hand on his sword, Jarl towering over him trying to intimidate with his size and mass.  Then the gnomes moved on and I was able to breathe again.
        Bricius snorted, then noticed me.  “Well?”
        “Sir,” I responded.  “Elisedd reports the area is secure and free of danger.”
        “Good,” Bricius rubbed his hands together.  “Now you pixies, fly into the moon and find the designated house of humans.  You’ve been briefed on how to gain entry.  Learn if all are asleep and report back.  Genovefa and Conobelinus - go.”  Immediately my two companions flew into the air and rose, circling towards the south in the direction of the moon.”
        We were all three supposed to go.  I couldn’t contain myself.  “Not I?” I cried at last.
        Bricius eyed me sternly.   “Hold your tongue, pixie.  You stay.”
        I watched my fellow pixies fly over the tops of the trees while Bricius and Haerviu and Lugubelunus held a conference.  They weren’t happy with the large number of gnomes that were still emerging from the portal.  Far more than was needed for this expedition.  Some were forming up around the meadow in defensive postures, others deploying along the path to the human house to provide security, all as planned; but other gnomes were forming up in columns and trekking out in groups and departing into the woods to the north.
        “It’s definitely a migration,” Haerviu said.
        “The king will not be happy,” Lugubelunus remarked.  “And you opened the portal for them.  Your precious Duke will be held responsible.”
        “Could not be helped,” Bricius snipped.  “You have to expect some gnomish treachery.  It’s their nature.”
        “Still, I don’t like it,” said Lugubelunus, rubbing his fat belly.
        “Nor I,” Bricius agreed.  He stroked his whiskers, then turned and glanced around.  “Where is that fool Vercingetorix?”   He glared at me.  “You.”
        “Yes sir,” I rose a few feet in the air.
        “Go get the Duke’s son and tell him I said to return immediately.”
        With no little trepidation, I complied, and flew off into the woods in the direction I had last seen the Prince wandering towards.  It was scary.  I was by myself, in an alien woods, and it was dark and not pleasant.  As I left the meadow and flew into the shade under the trees, I became so sick with fright I had to land and almost vomited.  I wanted to turn back, but I couldn’t.  Then I saw the most wondrous of creatures, the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in my life.  I have since learned what you call these magical creatures, they are butterflies and moths. 
This one was so beautiful, with the largest and softest wings I had ever seen.  It was a good omen and it was flying in nearly the right direction, and so I took courage and followed it.  It became my companion.
        Presently we emerged from the trees into a vast expansive meadow of strange other worldly characteristics.  There was only one type of vegetation growing, grass, only grass, and it was rich and green, all the blades of exactly the same height, so that it had the appearance of a rug as it stretched off into the distance.  And in one corner of the grass meadow there was a small pond with a waterfall pouring noisily out of some rocks, and it was surrounded by flowers and shrubberies of the most beautiful type, which were nowhere else to be seen in the meadow, and it had water lilies.  But the strangest thing, there was no steam flowing into or out of the pond, and it was fed by a magical waterfall coming out of the top of a rock.  Despite this water from the rock flowing into the pond, the water level in the pond stayed the same depth, and did not overflow it rocky banks.  There were large, monstrous even, golden fish swimming in that tiny pond, and what they found for food in a pond so small, to grow to such monstrous size, one could only guess.  It is a place of great enchantment and strong magic.
        I saw the prince standing at the edge of the pond.  He stooped and dipped a hand into the water and brought it up to his lips.  Drust was hovering in the air above him with a great spear, flying guard, keeping watch for dangers.
        I immediately flew over to the prince.  “My lord,” I exclaimed, and landed before him and bowed my head.
        The prince grinned at me.  “Ahh, Boadicea is it?”
        He actually knew my name.  I curtseyed.  “Yes, my lord.” 
        He waved out over the pond.  “Have you ever seen such a marvel?”
        “No my lord.”
        Before I could deliver my message, he rose into the air.  “Come, let’s check it out.”  He flew up to the top of the rock where the water was emerging in a fountain and then spilling down the sides.
        I followed quickly.  “My lord, my lord, a message from Bricius.”
        “Yes, yes,” he said without looking back at me.  He knelt down and thrust a hand into the water, which was gushing out from a perfectly round hole in the center of the top of the rock.
        “Bricius says you must return immediately,” I said.
        Now the prince looked over his shoulder at me.  “What for?  Have the scouts returned with their report on conditions at the house of humans?”
        “No my lord.”
        “Well then, why does he want me to return?”
        “I do not know my lord.”
        “Well go and ask,” he commanded.
        This alarmed me.  “My lord, Bricius said to get you.  They are alarmed by the gnomes.  The gnomes are … “
        Durst interrupted then, thankfully.  He spoke with urgency, “It is not safe here, my lord.”
        “Fine,” Prince Vercingetorix rose to his feet.  “I’ll come.”
        It was with no small relief that I was able to lead the prince back to Bricius near the gathering point by the entrance to the tunnel, through which the portal still glowed.  We alighted near Bricius and his counselors and just in time too, for we had no sooner tucked our wings than Feidlimid cried out and pointed to the top of the trees.
        We saw them, Courtney and Jennie, coming high and fast and straight.  They landed at Bricius’ feet and were all out of breath from their exertions, and I envied them.  What wonders had they seen?  Then I remembered the magical pond, and what fun it would be describing it to the amazement of the other pixies when we got back home.  Also I had spoken to the prince, and he spoke to me.  He said my name!
        The report was not all good.  Courtney and Jennie did find the designated human house, and had found the entry point as expected, and that entry into the house was clear, a critical factor, a small swinging hatch at the bottom of the back doorway to house, which swung up, and which was critical to our getting in.  Smaller expeditions over the past years had done well in identifying and planning every detail.  Not entering, but flying about the windows, Courtney and Jennie had been able to ascertain that all humans inside the house were asleep in their bedrooms.  All the animals were asleep too - the cat in its basket in the kitchen, the bird in a covered cage, the snake in an aquarium, but the dog was not in its doghouse, which lies outside the house.  The dog was actually in the house, in one of the bedrooms, with two of the children.  That was no small concern to Bricius.  The dog would be a danger.  It would be bad if the dog awoke when fairies entered the house.
        Jarl and Gyda Knutr, seeing the pixies were back, approached once more and stood over us, silently listened to our conversation, not speaking or contributing, just listening.  How rude.
        It was time to make a decision.  Bricius consulted with Lugubelunus and Haerviu.  I worried he would abort the mission.  The dog was a problem.  “I think we should go ahead,” Prince Vercingetorix exclaimed.  “We didn’t come all this way to turn back now and fail in our quest.”
        Bricius nodded.  “We will proceed; however, I want extreme caution by all.”  I wanted to clap my hands with joy but refrained.  Bricius looked up at the gnomes.  “If the dog awakes, it will be up to our friends here to protect our retreat.”  The gnomes nodded gravely and hefted their axes. 
        All the fairies gathered around Bricius for final orders.  Haerviu gave two special bags of fairy dust, one bag large and one small, to each of us pixies - Courtney, Jennie and I.  The warriors checked their weapons.  Bricius consulted the stars one last time.  Then we flew off in a body for the house - Courtney and Jennie leading the way and me following, and also the prince and all six warrior fairies.  It was so exciting.
        We flew over the trees and over the grassy meadow with the pond s and waterfall and down to the appointed human house.  It was massive, large and square and rising up in the air like a colossal fortress.  We landed on a pad of cement of incredible smoothness by the small doorway through the larger back door.  Teutorigos and Judocus went in first, through that little swinging doorway, into the house of humans.  They are so brave.  They were followed immediately by Elisedd and Cadeyrn, while Seisyll and Drust took up positions on either side to guard our exit through the doorway.  I caught a glimpse of gnomes out in the yard, local gnomes, dressed differently from those who had come over with us, without armor.  They were busy securing the route back to the portal.  I saw rats about too, lots of them.
        “Come on,” Courtney said, and the three of us pixies went into the house.
        It was dark in the house, but the moon was bright that night and the window shades open and that was enough.  We were in a large cavernous room with a ceiling so high it was a marvel, and odd human type furniture all about.  The room had an amazing rug that extended from corner to corner and exactly fit the floor without seams.  There were rugs hanging from the ceiling next to the windows, and pictures on the walls, and corridors leading to other rooms.  It was most strange and wonderful, and not a little intimidating.
        The warriors were circling about the ceiling providing cover.  Teutorigos swooped down at us, waving at us to take flight.  Courtney was assigned the cat, and she flew off first, towards the kitchen.  Some warriors followed, staying near the ceiling.  Jennie and I saw the stairs and few up into the air and then up the stairs and on into a long upstairs corridor, where we found another whole set of rooms, bedrooms.  Warrior fairies were already upstairs waiting for us, as was the prince.
        In the first room we saw two young children, human girls, sleeping.  I took one and Jennie the other.  They were so large, but peaceful looking, and innocent and cute.  They were only children, despite their enormous size.  We sprinkled dust into their faces, from the larger of the pouches Haerviu had given us, directly into their breath, to ensure their sleep, and hurriedly flew back out of the room.  The door was shut on the next room down the hall, where the dog was, so we slipped by silently, holding our breaths even.  Then we came to the largest of the bedrooms, and found two adult humans, a male and female.  Jennie and I put dust into their breaths also.
        Back in the hall we were met by Courtney.  She was flush with excitement and gave us a positive hand signal, which we returned.  The prince motioned us to hurry, and led the three of us into the final bedroom.  There were two little girl humans in there, much younger than the others.  We put the sleeping dust into the larger ones breath, and then hovered over the smaller one.  She looked so peaceful.  The prince gave us a nod, and we all drew dust from our smaller pouches, and then together sprinkled that special dust into onto her sleeping face.
        The little girl human caught her breath and rolled onto her back.  Then she opened her eyes.  She looked up at us.  I expected her to cry, she was hardly more than a baby, but she didn’t.  We flew in front of her face and beckoned with our hands to her.  We hovered and then backed away, and she set up.  We sang to her, and spoke coaxing words, and we got her up and out of her little bed and on her feet.  She was just a toddler but her balance was good.  She cooed and reached for us and we backed away, singing and speaking sweet rhythms to her.  She followed us out into the hall.
        The warriors motioned us to be quiet and we heard the reason.  The dog was stirring in the room behind the closed door, the room where we had not been able to gain entry, because in human houses they have inside doors, of all things.  We heard the beast whine, and it scared me for he sounded so large.  I listened in horror as he padded across the carpet to sniff at the crack at the bottom of the door.  We renewed our efforts and coaxed the baby human girl down the hall, and got past the door with the dog.  At the top of the stairs, she stopped, and we had to sing so pretty to tempt her to follow more.  She had to turn around and crawled backwards down the stairs.  Yes she did.  All the while her dog was getting louder with his whining, and was scratching at the door with his paws.  The warrior fairies were getting very anxious and some had drawn swords and other readied arrows in their bows.  We got the little human girl to the front door and pushed up the flap at the bottom.  She crawled out after us, a close fit, and stood up on her feet again, on the back porch of cement.  Immediately the warrior fairies shut and put wedges in the door flap, to secure it tight behind us.
        Things begin to move fast, once we were out on the grassy meadow.  We sang with all our heart and flew most beautifully and were most enchanting, and she followed us, yes she did, she followed us quickly across the meadow of grass, reaching for us and laughing and giggling.  Her dog had caught our scent though, and had somehow gotten out of the bedroom, I don’t think the door had been that tightly secure.  He raced down the stairs and began barking and scratching at the back door of the house, where we had blocked the smaller doorway.  We got to the woods, and none too soon, for the ferocious beast burst out through his little doorway, and commenced baying and baying like some type of bloodhound from gnomeland, as he raced across the grassy meadow in rapid pursuit of us.  He came fast, oh so fast.  We were not even halfway through the woods to the meadow of the portal between realms, when the crazed doggie reached the woods too.  But then the gnomes fell upon him.  They had ropes and snares set up and poor dumb beast ran directly into their traps.   They entangled and snared his legs and tripped and caught him.  The dog commenced yelping and howling in the most awful manner as he struggled and fought against their snares.  They gnomes didn’t dare kill him though, for to draw blood would close the portal.  The dog got to howling and yelping so much that we almost lost our hold on the little giant-human girl, and she sat down on her rump, and looked about at the dark woods, and started to cry.  We spoke soothingly to her, and sang our best, and she quieted at last, then she stood and followed us once more, and we led her into the meadow which contained the portal.
        We got her to the rocks and the entrance to the tunnel in the ground, and then increased our efforts even more, knowing it would take our best enchantments now - for no one may cross through a portal between realms unwilling.  The little girl was going to have to get on her hands and knees and crawl into the ground of her own accord, and crawl into the light on her own, without physical force.
        Then disaster struck.  Little Io came swooping down out of the sky all excited and screaming, which thing she ought not to have done except for dire emergency, for her mission is to safeguard the magical dagger by staying high, away from all threats.  She fell at Bricius’ feet, screaming her warning.  “A human is coming!  A human is coming!  A human is coming!”
        We looked back in horror and heard a human shouting from beyond the woods.  It was you Michael, and you were shouting, “Amie!  Amie!” which I now know is the name of the little human girl we had brought out of the house.  We heard the sound of scuffling back in the woods, and you freed the dog, which then set upon the gnomes with a fury.
        “Abort the quest!” Bricius shouted.  “Abort the quest!!  Prince Vercingetorix, head for the portal, warriors, clear him a path to the portal, pixies, to the tunnel and quick.”
        “But what of the child?” I heard Prince Vercingetorix shout.
        “Leave her,” Bricius responded.
        “No Bricius, we can still get her through,” Prince Vercingetorix protested desperately.
        “Leave here!” Bricius shouted more loudly, and then there was the sound of battle at the entrance to the tunnel.
        The gnomes were blocking our way and assembling in front of the tunnel to the portal, daunting our brave warriors and pushing them back and aside.  The gnomes had laid down their weapons and fought us with only bare fists and booted kicks, no weapons so as to not draw blood, but there was too many of them and they are so big, there was no way for our brave warriors to force the massive brutish gnomes aside.
        I was so angry they were preventing our beloved prince from escaping, that I took flight and then dove at the gnome that held their precious hammer.  I caught him from above, totally unaware, and I snatched it out of his hands.  Golau Uffern.  I had it.  I had Golau Uffern their sacred hammer.  There were shouts of anger and dismay from the gnomes as I rose to flee with their precious hammer.  They were furious beyond reason, and they remember me even to this day for the sacrilege I did to their sacred emblem, that’s why they hate me so, and will forever, for the blasphemy I did to their sacred hammer.
        I flew for the woods with all my might, hoping to draw the gnomes away, and many gave chase, which gave me hope that maybe our warriors could break through as a result of my efforts and escape back into the realm of fairies with the prince.  But no, as you well know, none of the fairies were able to reach the portal, none were able to get back to our own native realm.  Anyway, as I flew into the trees, I made the mistake of retreating back over the heads of those gnomes who had been fighting with the dog.  Before I could change course, there were nets thrown up before my path, all the way up to the lower branches of the trees, and I could not avoid them.  I was so stupid, I should of gone straight up, and then I might have gotten away, but the hammer was so heavy.
        One of my wings got tangled in a net and I fell and then swooped to the side and flew close to the ground, trying to get away.  I rounded a thick bush and dropped the hammer and flew back into the meadow, dragging the netting behind me.  I hit the ground and cried out, for I knew they would get me then.
        That’s when the dog burst into the meadow and he attacked us and caught a gnome in his teeth and shook him and maybe killed him and we knew the portal would close now, for blood had been drawn.  Everyone scattered for cover as the dog set upon another gnome and snatched him up and shook him in his awful jaws.
        I got up and ran, for my wings were entangled in a fragment of netting and I could not fly.  I was terrified of the gnomes, and even more terrified of that terrible ferocious beast that could snap up a gnome and kill it with a single bite with those awful teeth.  I ran into a couple of rats, and they turned on me, as if about to attack.  I fled from them and came to a rock, and stumbled and fell, and ugly Gyda appeared.  She had a massive axe and she raised it to split my skull and strike me dead.  She was really going to kill me.  Despite the truce.  I had defiled their sacred hammer.  She was going to kill me.  Then her husband called for help.  He was beset by Durst and Seisyll.  She knew I was helpless, but left off her plans to kill me herself, and ordered the rats to finish me instead.  Then she hurried to help her mate.  The rats closed in and would have killed me for sure.  There was no escape.  I drew back against the rocks and turned my face and waited for their sharp jaws to rend me.
        Then you showed up, Michael.  You kicked the rats away and shouted at them, and they fled.  You saved my life.  You reached for me and I jumped into your hand and you picked me up, and I was safe.  I was safe.  You saved my life.

        Bonnie started to cry.  That was the end of the little fairy’s story.  The story was over.  Bonnie wiped her hands together and smoothed her clothes.  “There.  Now you know how I came to be here.  Now you know the purpose of the fairy expedition.  Now you know what we want.  And they want your help for the next attempt, Michael, you can see how much easier it would be with help from a human.  You are to carry the little girl out into the meadow for them, so they can coax her into the tunnel and through the portal.”                                           
        That was all I could take.  Horrified at her words, I put Bonnie back in my pocket and took her home.

    January 12, 2013
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