“We need to plan,” I said.
‘What?” Whindel asked. He shook his head and appeared to have just woken from a dream.
“We need to plan. You know, you asked about the, you know what…”
“Plan? Maybe, but first we need to leave,” the wizard said.
We stepped out into a meadow.
“I thought we moved? Why are we in the same place?” I asked.
“You did move, but you took your surrounds with you.” The wizard didn’t look back at me, but set a quick pace towards the far trees.
“Seems awfully conspicuous to drop a forest and meadow next to the enemy’s stronghold, if you ask me,” I said. I felt uneasy, and the fact that the trees appeared to be racing towards us at a much faster pace than we were walking contributed to this feeling. The meadow had shrunk to a small glade and continued to shrink.
“It was, for a moment, to those looking for it,” the wizard said. “But soon it will no longer be a problem. Now hush.”
I heard a crash and looked over my shoulder. There was no sight of meadow or cottage. We were in a deep dark forest. I shivered. It wasn’t a pleasant place. The trees were misshapen and odd shadows grabbed at us as we walked by.
Unconsciously I drew closer to the wizard and the light fairy.
While keeping a close eye on the ground, for stray roots seemed intent on tripping us, I also watched into the wood. The trees began to straighten and looked healthier. Green replaced the brown and gray. Beams of golden light broke through now and again.
“Where…” I started to ask, but Whindel hushed me again.
After about 10 minutes the forest actually was quite beautiful. I saw a light springing from the ground before us. That is how it appeared in my mind, that instead of the sunlight filtering down into the space, it was glowing.
Whindel came to a stop in the middle of the golden clearing. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
“Ah, we made it. Good, good,” he said.
“Stupid question…” The other two looked at me. “Before I came here, I had heard that Blavour was a total wasteland, yet since I have been here, all I have seen is beauty. OK, the forest back there was very creepy, but the rest of it…”
“You’ve seen only a small portion of this world, and you’ve seen what your people would call the prime real estate.”
“Ah, OK. But still, so much beauty…”
“When Glumoric revealed himself and his treachery, he immediately went to the most beautiful spot on Blavour and laid waste to the planet. This world was resilient and bounced back. It took all of his power to keep the goodness and beauty at bay. When he slept, the planet sprang back, and the farther away from the capital at Malure, the more fully the beauty grew back. You were as far away as possible.”
“But now? I thought we were close to Glumoric’s capital city. Shouldn’t….?”
“Even then, there were some places that the powers were rooted to the core of the planet and he couldn’t uproot these places. This is one of those places. As I said, he chose the most beautiful spot for his capital. This place has the deepest roots. He has destroyed most of the land around it, but this core, though instead of being many square kilometers is just this small glade, has resisted. The power of this point repels all evil, but the farther you get from it, the more evil intrudes.”
“So that is why the forest was so, uhm, unpleasant.”
“Of course. The goodness from this spot was still being felt, allowing a forest to exist, but the evil from outside had corrupted it. Any farther the other way, and,” he shrugged, “it isn’t pretty.”
“This is the heart of my people, the center of our thoughts,” Asheelin said. “Most of us want to visit this spot, to remember Blavour that once was and, we hope, will be again, but very few have been able to make it, being surround by the desolation of Malure. This is the first time one of my people has stood here in a thousand years.”
“As foretold…,” Whindel said.
I looked at her with awe. “I feel such an honor,” I said. “You must have a special name for it.”
She nodded. “The Glade of Good.” She beamed.
I am sure my face displayed my disappointment. “The Glade of Good,” I repeated to myself.
She pulled herself up her entire five foot five and, with a proud glint in her eye, repeated, “The Glade of Good, the heart of my people.”
“Ah-hum,” the wizard said. I turned to him. “You may want to know that as the size shrunk, so did the name.” He looked at me with a stern, but kind eye. “Remember your manners…”
I bowed towards the light fairy. “As I said, I am honored to present in a spot so holey to your people. I humble ask you to forgive my ignorance.”
“Fine.” I couldn’t tell if she was still angry.
“Now that we all know where were we are, can you repeat what you said before we left the cottage?” The wizard eyed me expectantly.
What had I asked? My mind was blank. I was so forgetful!
“What are we to do with the Stone? What is our plan?” I asked.
“What do you want to do?” Whindel asked.
“I want to hang it around Glumoric’s neck and then send him to the Void,” I said. Asheelin’s eyes sparkled, but Whindel looked stern.
“You do not know what you ask,” he said. “You have no idea what it means to send one to The Void.”
“It means he is gone forever and won’t wake up again,” the light fairy said. “It means that he will be out of Blavour and my people can rebuild. It means freedom.”
The wizard stared at the fairy. His face softened.
“If you say so, so it shall be,” he said.
He stepped to the exact center of the Glade of Goodness and turned so he could look at both of us.
“I am at the center of the all that is good in Blavour, so evil can neither hear nor see me. I will agree, we must send Glumoric to the Void. I have a plan. I know what must be done.”
The glade suddenly brightened. The sky filled with flame. Something was moving our direction. Something fast. I felt that I was at ground zero a second before a major meteor strike.
“How did they hear?” I asked.
The wizard bowed his head. “It’s not what you think. ‘They’ who heard are not evil, though maybe not good. This may be the end of our quest.”
The fire surrounded us, but didn’t burn anything. When it went out, we were someplace else. Where I did not know. What I did know, is that we were surrounded by people. Strange people. One stepped forward. I recognized it as the other wizard we had met, Rawcliph. I knew who others must be.
“Welcome,” Rawcliph said. “I think not.”
— — —
Good, evil. Beauty, ugly. Is this universe so simple? And all of the power yet still it can’t be rooted out? How much power does Glumoric really have then? And why are suddenly back with wizards? Does the author have a plan, as Whindel claimed, or is he just winging it? All of these questions and more, will soon be answered! Stay tuned for our next exciting episode – same blog channel, same blog time!!