The entire Forest of Memories extended below Llyle and Arthur as they headed west towards the River bank. Both were quiet while Llyle turned Arthur’s words over in his mind. As they flew closer to the bank, Arthur spoke. “Tell me, Llyle, did you notice the trinkets sitting on the shelves back at the Den?”
“I saw a few, but I wasn’t looking too closely” the boy admitted, only half paying attention. It had become easier to fly the hover scooter without having to think so hard and he found he only had to keep it moving forwards instead of up where they were, just as Arthur had instructed back at the Den.
“They have been collected over millennia, combed from the banks of the Dream River every so often after they materialized, so to speak, from the flowing dreams.”
“I remember you said that some of the furniture in the Den got washed up,” Llyle said, paying a bit more attention than a few minutes before.
“It’s true. There are some wonderfully decorative items in the Den, but also elsewhere in Avalon.”
“Elsewhere? Like where else?” Llyle asked, a bit puzzled. How would the fae even know what the stuff is for, if there were indeed this elsewhere? Just how big was Avalon?
“Indeed. Elsewhere. You see, my dear boy, Avalon is much larger than you might think. Where we are right now is but a tiny stretch of one of the many rivers”
“Well, I guess that makes sense. I bet all of it is as beautiful as this view is!”
Arthur smiled a bit at Llyle’s appreciation of Avalon and quietly wondered what Llyle’s decision would be when the time came for him to choose. Either way, the old fae was ready for whatever the boy chose.
When they reached the River’s edge, the sun was below the horizon and the sky had faded to blue-black, stars emerging behind them. Llyle turned the hover scooter to the left and then followed the bank towards the distant light he assumed was the Port town.
It would take a short while to get there and so he kept their conversation going. “Arthur,” Llyle says, his voice tinged with the inquisitive tone of something trying to figure out some complex concept. “You mentioned a crystal ball. How does it work?”
“Oh, that old thing. I’m surprised it works, though judging from where we are, I’m surprised that I was surprised in the first place.”
“Is that because everything here was a dream and all that?”
Arthur nodded though Llyle didn’t see it. “It is.” He said when he realised the lack of eyes trained on him. He cleared his throat and continued. “It’s a funny thing, that ball. It shows me things that I need to see; sometimes I see things I want to see and others I see things I have to see.”
“Aren’t those all that same?”
“Not really, Llyle. Some of the things I saw, I did not want to see but I had to see. Your arrival was something I needed to see, which it showed me. I did not show me that you would have to encounter Nightmares on your first day here, however.”
“I guess I understand. What about Tom and Jerry? How did you know about them if you’re so old?”
“It keeps me entertained, on occasion. I’ve seen things over the years, though many were not at all pleasant. Things such as wars that involved the whole world not once, but twice! Each time it was because of some lunatic.”
“And lot of people die in wars, right, Arthur?” Llyle asked in a sad voice.
The old fae heaved a heavy sigh. “Yes. Too many for any to know the true number, not to mention the innumerable victims left behind in the aftermath. Let us turn to lighter topics, shall we?”
The hover scooter with its driver and passenger were closing in on the blue glow that was indeed the Port town. As they flew closer, Llyle could make out the orange glow of torches sprinkled here and there, almost stars themselves in an inverse, glowing sky.
Llyle decided to practice a little and took them on a slow circuit of the remains of the town. He noticed Sartrix veering off and waved to her, which was acknowledged but a piercing cry and a dip of her head. Llyle turned his eyes to the ground, the blue light from the scattered Stars below meeting his scrutiny. Rubble lay everywhere, shattered tree trunks laying here and there, all lit up by blue light sprinkled with orange. He thought it looked pretty bad, but supposed it could have been worse. The damage wasn’t total but it would take a great deal to get it back to what it was before.
Down below he could see people milling about, assessing damage for all he knew. Out of the corner of his left eye he saw an orange light moving. He turned the scooter towards it and saw a faerie waving two torches around over their head, though he wondered why.
“Arthur, what’s that faerie down there doing?” He pointed down to where the faerie was waving the torches, which looked to be getting more frantic the longer they hovered there.
Arthur peered over the edge, craning his old neck to see. “Ah, they want us to land.”
“Land? Land where?” Llyle was truly puzzled.
“Over there, by the tent over there” and the old fae motioned in the general direction Llyle should go, assuming the boy had seen it over their little circuit of the Port. He himself did not know where exactly it was in relation to what was below them.
“What tent?” he replied, speaking slowly.
“Alright, just take your Star out and wave it around over the side. They’ll show you where to go.”
Llyle did so, looking over at the faerie with the torches and waving his Star around in as wide an arc as possible to make sure it was seen. He even thought of home to make it glow brighter than the surrounding blue light. The faerie below changed the pattern of their waving and then motioned towards in the direction of the cave mouth leading to the Star Field.
After following the torches for a short while, Llyle saw that he was to land in a ring of blue lights. The torches were at its opening. He did his best to land them gently, Arthur reassuring him the entire way down. They touched down fairly gently, but with a slight jolt that had Llyle apologising profusely.
Arthur told the boy to calm himself and got off the hover scooter. He headed towards the figure at the opening of the ring, ignore the fact that the circle was made up of faeries holding spears tipped with glowing blades. Llyle stood gawking at them for a moment before realising he was being left behind and quickly followed his mentor. To the right he noticed a large, winged form lit up by the spear tips. He smiled at the quetzelcoatl. She lowered her great head in greeting and then turned to look at the figure Llyle and Arthur were walking towards.
They stopped in front of the figure. It was a familiar-looking faerie that Llyle had not seen for many hours. The faerie handed the torches to another to its right and did a curtsy. “Captain says he’d like to see you as soon as you’re able, Arthur and Llyle.” Lizzy said cheerfully despite the dismal surroundings.