Avalon's Hope Chapter 1 : The Fae Dream (Part 2)
(Continued from Avalon's Hope Prologue and chapter 1)
Ask anyone and they probably couldn't tell you when it had happened, or why the structure still stood there, but it did. No one really knew when it had caught fire and burned, or maybe they didn't care. Of the dozens of people who walked past the structure daily, only a few bothered to even give it a passing glance.
Shadowed windows looked like blackened spider webs from a distance, but as they got closer the colored stained glass and the remaining pictures of forgotten stories beckoned to the pair. Cold stone walls still clawed their way upwards, struggling for one more clean breath of air. Oberon hurries up the stairs two at a time and reaches for the arched charred doors.
Puck places his hand against the door and holds it closed. “Tell me what has you so concerned about the twins.”
Oberon pulls the door open despite Puck’s weight against it then steps through into a long hallway lined decorative tapestries. The floors echo with his heavy steps and his voice bounces off the walls. “I had a dream, that's all. It's nothing.” He insists.
Lanterns that hang from the ceiling throw strange black shadows off Puck’s face. They scatter like rats towards the darkened corners and walls just as fast as they appear. At first, it looked as if the orange glow had lit his hair on fire, but that was just another trick of the mind. Pulling the heavy door closed, he snaps the lock shut then hurries to catch up to his large friend.
Oberon hopes Puck would let it drop at that but notices the silence that follows and knows he won't let it go. He could feel the now curious gaze on him as they walk down the impossibly long corridor. “It was just a dream Puck. Don't you go telling Willow about this either.”
Puck seems to consider that for a moment then waves his hand towards the far wall they are approaching. Instantly, as if by magic there is a rumbling, a scraping in the darkness like thunder overhead. It was coming from the thick wall ahead of them. The heavy stones were shifting, and cracking. They were moving, opening wider, lifting upwards on their own - No, not on their own.
Dozens of hands made of earth come into view underneath the widening hole. There were small ones like a baby, old weathered fingers that looked like they would crumble to dust, large strong hands with fingers that gripped the surface and tugged at the stone pulling it upwards. Fingers of all sorts entwine in a peculiar game of thumb war, or so Puck imagined. Small pieces of rubble fall from the bewitching sight, littering the floor. Higher and higher they danced, revealing an archway beyond the old cathedral. Soon there was a doorway large enough for them to get through. The multitudes of fingers scrape at the wall, holding the entrance to a hidden realm open for them.
Oberon shies away from the warm sunlight that comes charging through the opening like a bull seeing red. The warm rays hit them with the force of a pillow full of feathers as they step past the new archway and onto soft grass.
Puck looks back at the unsettling sight of the doorway closing behind them. A cascade of fingers, knuckles and hands roll down into the crevasse where the wall meets the floor seals them inside.
It was as if they had stepped into another world all its own. Ahead of them was one of the wonders hidden from the eyes of the world, and the non-believers. They had walked right into the pages of a story book. This was Sanctuary, a haven for the fae of Avalon and Oberon was its guardian.
Inside, a short path rolls down a hill that leads to the edge of a pool of the clearest blue water. Ripples from a diving waterfall disturb the surface enough to make the water appear to have a life of its own. Beautiful mounds of white foam leap from the water like dolphins playing. Splashing water like a cascade of a thousand crystals tickle the rocks teasingly then tumble into the pool. For a moment, the shimmering body of a woman reflects on the surface of the pool. The silhouette of her features swimming in the ripples, as if made from the water. Long transparent hair waves across the glassy surface then she was gone again, lost to the depths.
Bright colored birds fly overhead; there were red ones with deep blue in their feathers that changed colors in flight. Green birds blended with the trees, their feathers waving like leaves in the wind. There were pure white crows squawking amongst themselves, chatting away in their own language. Flowers of unimaginable vivid beauty and color crawl across the hills to bow at the roots of mighty oak trees like servants to their wise masters. The scents and sounds are nothing short of a symphony of addiction to the senses.
Down by the edge of the water was a fragile looking woman that stuck out in the sea of bright colors surrounding her. Willow immediately gave off an aura of someone who had seen dark times before and barely lived through them. She was skinny and at first glance looked sickly. The pasty pale skin was ghostly white in contrast to the lengthy black hair hanging to her waist. The silky strands were like raven feathers matted against gray stone. Sunk in dark eyes looked around sucking in every detail offered while her long fingers absently rub at the harsh jagged scar on her neck. She didn't appear to be part of this world and was instead a lost soul in a deep sea of wonder.
Willow glances over at the odd-looking pair that just came in. Oberon was so much bigger than Puck, he dwarfed the man. She smiles fondly to both, “I've been waiting for you to get back.” She says, covering her concern.
“Puck said that you were worried. I hope you weren't waiting all day like this.” Oberon's tone is gentle and caring as he sits down beside her at the pool.
Puck looks between them and gives Oberon a few moments to tell her, then blurts out faster than his words can catch. “Oberon had a dream! He won't tell me what it is though!” The outburst surprises him, and he lowers his voice slightly. “He was up on the cliffs outside the city too...”
Oberon snaps an attention-getting gaze at Puck, annoyed that he would tell Willow before he had the chance to.
Willow lays her thin hand on Oberon’s arm. The nasty scar on her throat makes her voice raspy and strained. “A dream sent you to the cliffs. It must be disturbing news,” She says in a questioning tone. “Tell me what it was about?”
Oberon turns his attention back towards the cool water. The silhouette returns to the surface of the pool and swims close to his feet. Unable to shake the images that have haunted him since the dreams, he succumbs to their assault and tells her everything.
(To be continued)