I stepped through the Goblin Key and found myself in the dining hall. Several beings were seated around the table, which was laden with food. They stared at me.
I apologised for the intrusion, and then a maiden stood up and excused herself. It was Illyana, my guide (this is not her True Name but one she gave me to address her, and she gave permission for me to share it in my telling).
Illyana came over to me and took my arm. I couldn’t help but look her over. She was gorgeous, with long blonde hair, and very…um…well endowed with feminine charms.She was wearing a light summer dress that hugged her curves in all the right places. As she led me away, she laughed and said she had expected me much sooner.
I said I was sorry for not visiting very often, but I was stuck in a rut and not being very productive. We walked down the flight of stairs I went down on my original journey, and past the door leading to the Field of Everlasting Sleep, down past Illyana’s bed chamber, where I first chanced upon her, down further, until we came out into a garden.
What I’ve come to call the Tree of Power stood in the centre, and she led me to a stone bench off to the side, where we sat down. She took my hand, and said that I looked troubled.
I sighed, and looked down. “I’m struggling, Illyana. I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. I have no purpose, nothing to strive for. I am adrift, and it’s been difficult find a point to anything. Participating in the Changeling Rite was not something I usually do. I tend to stay away from rituals like that, but something told me I should, so I did. Now, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this connection to the Unseelie or what is expected of me. My magick has been focused for so long on material wants and needs that I’m new to this. I…don’t know where I’m headed, if I’m headed anywhere at all.”
I looked up and met her eyes. They were striking. I felt embarrassed. “I’m sorry, m’lady. I didn’t mean to turn this visit into a therapy session.”
She smiled. “You humans. You hold so much pain.” She placed her hand upon my chest. 'There is a rage in you. A seething, roiling, darkness. I can feel it. You chain it down, deep inside, but it sits like a spider in the depths, waiting for those chains to loosen, its tendrils reaching out.
I looked down again, and she placed her fingertips upon my chin, and tilted my head up. “But there is also a great love inside. A beautiful, splendid, thing. A blessing that yearns to be shared.”
She smiled, wistfully. “Never have I seen one like you, filled with so much potential, and yet so much doubt. Imagine what you could become once you harness the power you possess, this rage, and this love. The very Heavens would tremble. It would be awe-inspiring.”
She stood up and held out her hand. “Come.” I took her hand and she led me over to the Tree of Power, placing me hand against its trunk. “Tell me, what do you feel?”
I felt a pulse, a thrum, of energy running through it, and I told her as much.
“What you feel is Life, the very heart of the universe.” She placed her hand again upon my chest. “The very same power flows through you, as it does all things. Do not doubt, but feel the truth of what I say.”
I looked at her. “That is not the kind of thing I expected to hear from one of the Unseelie Court.”
“Oh?” She cocked an eyebrow at me with a mischievous glint in her eye. She pressed herself against me, her breasts rubbing against my chest. “And what, pray tell, have you heard about the Unseelie?” she asked in a throaty whisper.
Needless to say, my body…reacted to her closeness, but I stammered out, “That you are malicious, wicked and inclined more towards the malevolent.”
She laughed, only instead of the usual light, airy, musical laugh, this one was deep, and guttural, and, if I’m honest, a bit scary. She gazed at me with a hunger I had never seen from her before, and licked her lips. “Wicked? Oh, I can be very wicked indeed.”
She noticed my reaction to her, and smiled an evil smile. “Do I stoke your desire, human? Do you lust for me?”
It would have been stupid to lie, so I said, 'Yes." Beauty and danger are a heady mix.
“Good.” She turned around and started walking away. “Follow me.”
We walked along a pathway through the garden. We were silent, and I did not know if she had taken offence to my admitting of my desire for her or not. I had no idea what might happen if she was offended. It doesn’t usually end well for the human in the stories.
I heard the sound of water, and we came out onto the bank of a flowing stream. She sat down on a slight embankment and motioned for me to join her. After a moment’s hesitation, I did so. The grass was slightly damp beneath me.
Illyana leaned up against me. “You must visit more often. There is much for you to learn here.”
I laid myself down, and she followed, placing her head upon my chest. “It’s very beautiful here,” I said. “I wish my life could be like this, so peaceful, and contemplative.”
In the distance of my thoughts, where my physical body was, I heard the drum track change tempo, signalling that it was time to return. She must have sensed it too, because she sat up.
"It’s time for me to go,’ I said as I stood up.
She smiled. “Don’t be long.”
I visualised the Goblin Key, and stepped through, ending the adventure.