chapter three

Holding the torch high in her left hand, Lisbet Mary stepped through the doorway into the Otherworld. She trailed her fingers across the carved door smiling at the scenes of woodland beauty, and the Faeries with leaves in their hair. She took three small steps forward.

Suddenly, from behind her, the creaking noise began again, and she jumped forward in surprise as the doors swung shut with a loud resounding THUD. She could feel her heart pounding; her hands were moist; her lips were dry; and she wondered just ‘who’ or ‘what’ she was going to meet in Otherworld.

Lisbet’s eyes grew big and round, widening as she peered at the circular, wooden walls – knotted and rough. Here and there, niches were filled with tiny silver mirrors, small steel swords and glass bottles filled with brightly coloured runes. She thought she could hear the sound of tinkling bells somewhere beyond the room. She crept forward and realised she was inside a large tree, the woody smell both strange but pleasant.

She had reached the ‘Knowing Tree’.

In the middle was a Labyrinth, carved into the hard earth floor. In its centre was a large wooden pedestal. Excitedly, she walked the weaving path of the Labyrinth to reach its centre. She carefully followed the directions on the map – and did not step outside of the path. On the top of the pedestal was Rhaido, the rune for journey, emblazoned in silver.  “The ultimate union: what comes at the end of a journey, when what is above and what is below are united and of one mind”.

She held her breath as she pressed the silver rune!

The outline of a small doorway began to glow and pulsate in the pedestal. The doorway was not much taller than herself – and she reached out to push it open. The light flickered and she felt a tingling sensation as she was immediately transported to a dark cavern. By the light of her torch she could see several iron gates and she could hear soft whispering voices calling out in misery. One of these voices sounded familiar and she moved towards a cell barred by a rusty gate and peered in.

Behind her something lurched forward suddenly and clutched at her hooded cloak with long, sharp talons.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” said a deep gravelly voice.