chapter four: Knowing Tree Faery

She felt herself being dragged backwards across the cavern and thrown onto an iron chair. Lisbet struggled to get free, but was quickly strapped down, stuck, with no way to move. She looked up from the crooked, gnarled hands into the face of a wizened half human form hovering in front of her and screamed. The creature’s voice boomed out again, “Answer me”- its face pushed right up close to hers. She could smell its breath – mossy and musty – and she saw that its hairless head was crowned with leaves and twigs. Its limbs were crooked and covered in the palest of white leathery skin. It wore a short tunic of brown leather and where its feet should be were two cloven hooves.

“I seek the keeper of the Knowing Tree, and I am Lisbet”, she said, with as much volume as she could muster.  “I demand that you set me free, and WHO are YOU?”

I am the tree keeper! What do you want?” bellowed the creature taking a step back to see her better. “I see you are nothing but a wilding child. Go back to where you came from.

Lisbet Mary was now shaking with frustration and fear – unsure of what to do next. She thought about its words and sang a verse from the song she had learned:

“Come home to me oh wayward child

To where the hearth fires yearn for truth

Leave your wandering wilding ways

To the Knowing Tree, beyond the land of youth”

Lisbet looked defiantly at the creature as she sang and watched as the wizened old face softened and changed. Lisbet’s pure, sweet voice had transformed a creature of the dark into a creature of the light. The Knowing Tree Faery now stood before her, with long red/gold hair and silvery gossamer wings! The voice of the shape shifter changed too, as she welcomed Lisbet to the Tree and released her from her bonds.

“I am the Knowing Tree Faery and you have come home to me, my wilding child.”

Lisbet felt her breathing return to normal as she looked up at this beautiful creature in wonder. The flowing fabric of her dress cascaded in brilliant silvery blues and greens, shimmering in the light of the torch. A garland of forest leaves was in the Faery’s hair and Lisbet gradually recognised her from the carvings on the doors. She stood up and placed her hand gently on the Faery’s face, feeling soft papery skin where once it had been gnarled and leathery.

“I have been walking a long time and I’ve seen some very strange places. I really need to find my Grandmother. She was lost to me several years ago.” She said to the Faery.

Lisbet Mary told the Faery of her journey and her quest to help her Grandmother escape from her prison cell. She told the story of how her Grandmother was accused and found guilty of witchcraft. How she had been taken away and incarcerated in a far off castle dungeon. She told her of how she had read the stones, entered the Faery well and walked the halls of bone to find her way to the Knowing Tree. Much time passed as the Faery listened intently to the words of this small child. She smiled knowingly and nodded in approval as Lisbet explained her quest.

Taking Lisbet by the hand the Faery led her back to the Labyrinth.

“You will find everything you need for your next journey. Here, take a mirror of dreams, a sword of freedom and the Rhaido rune.” She handed all of these to Lisbet solemnly.

Use the mirror to find your grandmother – look deep into its glass – it will lead you there.

Use the sword to free your grandmother – it will cut the chains that bind her.

The rune will help you to return to your home – you will be safe.”

Stepping back to the door in the Pedestal, she said “Now return above to find the wisdom you seek.”