Let the Race Begin!

Well I see you have found your starting point.

I stand as soon as I hear my instructor’s voice. “I have?” I look around me. It seems that each trial I have faced I have started from this same point; with the exception of the Lesser Air Idol. I have gone across the pond. I have gone left of the pond. I have gone right of the pond, which leaves but one direction. It is the direction I now turn; away from the pond.

Listen closely and listen well to this clue that I do tell.

His voice echoes in the still of my mind.

Deep in the forest in a still green glade,
Lies a stone temple, Faerie made.
Nature now claims it for her own,
And here is where the great idol is home.

Four faeries dance in harmony,
Their elements blend nature's symphony.
Into their circle you must find,
The path that best suits your mind.

Suddenly, as if someone flipped a switch I feel Water, Air, Fire, and to a lesser extent Earth, calling to me. I am off like a rocket. My feet barely seem to touch the ground.

“Woo Hoo! Show them what a Half-Blooded Ollerond can do!” Charles yells. His voice and the camp are but a blur in my mind and yet crystal clear.

I am doing more than just leaping and dodging trees and logs. I am now soaring over streams and running across lakes. Sometimes I am on the ground. Sometimes I am in the trees. I am nature and nature is me. I follow my elements like a horse to drink.

I stop. My blood pulses to a rhythmic beat. Before me stands a tall stone wall. It reaches up high above my head. There are no trees to climb nearby to get in. Somehow I know that the only way in is through the wall. I cannot go over as I did while training with Dad. I must go through, but how?

Walking to the wall I touch it. There is a familiarity to the feeling as I bring my fingers together. “The Ice wall!” I exclaim quietly to myself, remembering the feel of its glassy surface. I call water to me, thinking to enter in the same manner I had the Entrance Hall.

I am pushed back. Do I try each element one by one? I step back up to the wall and touch it. I bring my two fingers together and listen. Not just listen with my ears, but with all senses. The temple hides secrets, but it also gives secrets. It is not my strongest affinity that I must use to enter. It is my weakest; Earth.

Crouching I touch the wall on either side of me with a finger. As I hold the earthen element in my mind I trace a doorway. I do not make it tall, just big enough for me to cwral through. That is all I am asking this element for.

The stones grumble and groan as they make my door. I squeeze through the opening only for it to bang shut behind me, leaving me in total darkness. My foot is caught in the stone. I am on my stomach, with no real way to face the wall. I cannot pull myself free. Tears spring unbidden to my eyes. I beg and cajole Earth, with little effect.

My elements tug at me, trying to pull me forward. Earth keeps me trapped. No, it cannot end this way. I will not let it end this way. I must pass. I must save Ash. I move to kneeling and reach behind me. Commanding Earth I trace a door for my foot. Earth reluctantly obeys. Jerking my foot out, I send myself sprawling onto the wet floor.

Slowly I stand and create a small ball of flame above my head. I send it off and up, using air to move it around. Its light cascades upon a maze of broken walls and plants that thrive in the dark. It is towards the center I must go. I see the path I must take and call my little light back to me.

It the quiet dark, it feels like forever before I near the center wall. I am surprised I have heard no one else enter. I stand stock still, letting the last of my footsteps echo away. Wishing for an electronic ear like my father has, I listen. Only the drip, drip of water disturbs the silence.

There is at least is a doorway. I do not have to bother Earth for entrance to the center room. My ball of flame goes out as I cross the threshold. I do not know what purpose this room used to serve, but it is now filled with a glow. A glow emitted by the Greater Idol. A gasp escapes my lips unbidden. It is as the rhyme stated.

Four faeries stand in a ring holding hands, their dance frozen mid step. They are larger than life and all I must do is walk between them. But the spaces between them are filled with vibrant colors; one for each element. They pulse and swirl with the beat of my heart. Earth is the dullest and Water the most vibrant.

There is no doubt in my head what element I am to enter through. The colors of water swirl into a portal as I step closer. Air and Fire may be near and dear to me, but it is the power and strength of water that is my life line. I step through.

For a moment it seems as though the Idol has come to life. The Faeries in the ring smile at me as they bring their clasped above my head. Go in peace, they seem to whisper, Morgan Le Fae of Ollerond.

I find myself, not back in camp, but in my pond. I mean I am under the water at the center of my pond. I walk along the bottom until I have surfaced and reach the edge. Puzzled I start back towards camp. I take no more than two steps when my instructor interrupts me.

You have finished too quickly, so now you must wait where you are.

I frown slightly, but turn back to the pond. I sit in the lotus position Dad has taught me. I decide to practice with earth. It is the one element that I still have not mastered, though I know I will never be as good with it as Air, Fire or Water. Perhaps, I think, it is jealous.

The End

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