Blind Springs - House of the Serpent
I arrived at the quay to meet the Enchantress; many of my travelling companions were waiting. There were no barges and no ferrywomen to be seen. The Enchantress arrived; she seemed distracted as told us of the developments. It seemed that our trip to the Isle of Ancestors had caused a stir amongst the Duwamish locals, the ferrywomen had gone on strike as a result. The Enchantress explained that she had made alternate arrangements for us to travel by donkey to Blind Springs and the House of the Serpent. She was staying behind to attempt to broker peace between the locals and the ferrywomen.
On the outskirts of town guide waited with 12 donkeys to lead our party to the House of the Serpent. The Enchantress had given each of us a bag, with the instruction to keep it safe, should we become separated from the group it would prove invaluable. I had an uneasy feeling about this journey; there was something strange in the way that the Enchantress had explained the bag and its usefulness. I put the bag over my shoulder hiding it under my coat. While I was doing this a donkey had left the pack and started nuzzling me. I had a couple of apples from the Isle of Ancestors in my backpack. I fished one out and gave one to her. It was then that she spoke to me, “I am Neria, named of the Angel of the Moon. I will lead you to your destination.” My travelling companions had found their donkeys and we were lead out by our guide.
We were lead into a heavily wooded forest. Gnarled branches reach out across the path like fingers reaching for something just beyond their grasp. It was quiet the only sound the donkeys’ hooves on the dirt path. Suddenly there was yelling and the sound of galloping horses. Neria told me softly to stay calm. A hooded rider came up beside me, I looked at where his face should be, there was nothing, nothing but black. The rider reached out and grabbed my neck, I struggled, his grip tightened and everything went black.
I came to lying on the path, Neria nuzzling at my neck. I sat up leaning against one of the trees. The guide was gone as were my companions and the hooded riders. How was I ever going to get to Blind Springs? I started crying, this isn’t what I had come on this journey for. Neria came and stood before me, she said “I thought you were stronger than this, I can lead you to your destination, but we must work together. Do you have the bag that the Enchantress gave you?” I felt under my jacket and sure enough I still had the bag. I opened the bag and looked through the items that it contained: a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a unicorn medallion, a set of wings, spectacles and a map. The map didn’t appear to be of any use. In the bottom of the bag was a match box. There were no matches, just an empty box.
Neria took charge of the situation, she told me that if we worked together she would get me to my destination. I couldn’t see how anything in the bag would be of any use. She read my mind saying “Nonsense, you are not thinking clearly. I will give you instructions and you must follow them exactly, do you understand?” I nodded what other option did I have.
“Attach the wings to the base of my neck and place the medallion on my head between my ears.” I did as she instructed and before my eyes Neria had transformed into a pure white unicorn. “Climb aboard, and lets get you to the Blind Springs.” I climbed onto her back. She spread her wings and she started to gallop. The gnarled branches spread out giving us access to the heavens. I held fast to Neria’s neck, burying my face in her mane. I was too scared to look down. She tried to coax me, but I was having none of it. I thought of my companions and wondered what fate they had suffered.
We seemed to be descending, so I took a peek. Before us was a cleared area at the base of the mountain. “Are you sure this is the place?” I questioned. “No, this isn’t the place – but this is where I must leave you, you must continue the journey on your own. Remember the charms that the Enchantress gave you.” Neria said as she once again ascended to the heavens. It seemed to me the way this journey was going to be – it was about me, it is my journey and I have to find a way.
I sat on a rocky ledge to go through the items in the bag. I pulled out the map, not really expecting anything – it wasn’t readable the last time I looked at it. It was then that I remembered the Enchantress’ words “the spectacles are purported to have fairy like qualities.” I put the spectacles on – they were much like my own gold rimmed glasses – everything changed. The landscape that had appeared clear was now populated by a minute town. I looked at the map which now showed the town of Duwamish, the forest and the mountains of Myrrh. There was an imprint of a snake on the map and I took this to be my destination. I wove my way through the maze of houses, towards what appeared to be a camp fire. On closer inspection it was actually a bonfire, being tended by a strange looking little creature, like nothing I had ever seen. I asked his permission to light my candle. He asked what I might give him in return. I thought about the items that remained in my bag. I was sure that the anchor might still be of some use. That left an empty matchbox. I didn’t think he would be too pleased with that, but I lifted it out of the bag. It now seemed to contain something. I opened the box and to my surprise it contained a small round stone. It was pale green in colour and reminded me of Connemara marble. He took it in both his hands and he said: “Take the light and have safe passage to the House of the Serpent.” I lit my candle thanking him for his hospitality and started off towards the Blind Springs.
I estimated that it would take me most of the night to get to my destination. I hadn’t walked far when I heard a loud noise, it sounded like the beating of wings. I thought it would have to be a massive bird to make that much noise. I looked up to see the largest bird I had ever seen overhead. It was a large black bird much like a raven, only larger. It landed just in front of me; I didn’t know what to do other than stand there. I was in awe, but nothing about the journey was terribly surprising any more. Then it spoke, “Do not be afraid, I am here to assist you. Yes I am a raven and I am here to help you because you have a close affinity with my kin. Now climb upon my back and we will get you to Blind Springs.” Why did it seem that everyone knew where I was going except me? I blew out my candle and put it back in my bag. I climbed onto his back and held on to his sinewy neck. After my flight with Neria, I was nowhere near as fearsome and I actually enjoyed the flight.
It seemed just minutes after we had taken off that we were landing. The raven had landed on the doorstep of the House of the Serpent. I rang the bell and was greeted by the Enchantress. She invited the raven to join us for tea, he thanked her and said he must away, and he was gone. Leaving only a single feather in his wake.