I walked the same path from Diedre’s cottage that I walked every day since I had arrived. Today however, I walked to the tall tree in the center of the meadow with a redheaded fey at my side. Her skin was painted up like a lily and she remained very quiet as we wandered in the April air looking for the little birds that had drawn us this far from home. It was comforting to have someone other than Auriel or my Grandmother to walk with amongst the little flowers. Diedre continued my education and training, she kept me on my toes.
The faery girl and I found our way to the large tree and sat beneath its canopy as little rays of sunshine broke through and dance around us in the breeze. It wasn’t as warm as it could be, but it wasn’t summer yet either, and my heart longed to be back in Morden. I remembered waking up in the cottage, alone and scared.
I had rolled over on the mattress too quickly and had met the floor with my face. The brilliant sunlight that filtered through the window was almost blinding after sleeping for so long. I cast a tearful glance around the room at my surroundings. There was a little armoire at the foot of the bed and a loveseat that had been pushed beneath the window to sit on and read. Beside the bed was a little nightstand that looked as if it had been carved out of the trunk of a tree very recently. Little buds still blossomed on the outside of it, even if in some areas the bark had died and fell away. The bed I had fallen off of was made of solid iron and had a few quilts and two down pillows tossed on it for sleeping. It was nothing compared to the large bed I had back home.
But isn’t this my home now? Isn’t this where I belong? Will she take me to see Gabriel? I thought she was dead. Where am I? How did I get here? Auriel … he flew here. What about Alex? Kat? MOM! Did they live? I vaguely remembered the cloud of demons following us over the ocean but then I had closed my eyes.
I shuddered and stood from where I had been sitting and forced myself to walk towards the door. I opened it to find a young girl with bright blue hair and pale white skin, sleeping in the hallway outside my room. I stepped around her and looked across the hall to two other doors. I opened the first one to find a bathroom and the second one was an unused bedroom.
The hallway was probably five feet wide to the spare room with a staircase leading down from it. I followed the stairs to the main floor, on my right was a large den area with an old stone fireplace and little white couches everywhere. On my left was the exit, the door to the outside, but I had nowhere to go so there was no point. I continued on down the narrow hallway to another stairwell and a large set of double doors. There were little cherubs and vines engraved on the doors and I pushed them open to find a long dining room. I walked through the dining room towards yet another set of doors on the opposite side, except these were galley style. On the other side was a large kitchen and there were several, strange looking, chefs preparing a meal amongst the tables. I removed myself and walked back the way I had come.
Breathlessly, I found the second stairwell again and ascended the stairs to a separate second level, at the top the stairs turned abruptly and changed from wood to carpet. Here was a large room with an easel pushed off to one corner, surrounded by a sea of paints of brushes. Across from the doorway was a beautiful vanity mirror a table, which was lined with sparkling jewelry and little shells. Against the far wall was a large sleigh bed that looked as if it too had recently been carved from a very large tree.
Diedre came around the corner, which I assumed to be the bathroom, with a beautiful smile of such grace spreading over her lips. “Good. You’re awake.” She opened her arms to sweep out in front of her. “Welcome, Granddaughter.”