Keeper of the Labyrinth, Part 2

by Tarasandia

Copyright© 2021 by Tarasandia

Fantasy Story: Tara's story continues. After preparing for a cross-country move and finding herself on a very different adventure, Tara arrives at the legendary city of Sessrumnir, where she meets with the city's ruler herself, the Lady Freya, and discovers where she must plant her precious heartseeds. NOTE: Although this story is marked complete, its 4 parts are published separately interspersed with other stories in the series.

Tags: Fantasy   Magic   Royalty   Young Adult  

I am stopped at the gate by a Keeper and asked to state my business; though I have never been here in current memory, the words I need come easily: “I have come to seek the guidance of my Lady Freya. I need to find the Garden of My Heart’s Desire.” I offer my box for the Keeper’s inspection, and open it to show him the beautiful seeds inside.

The Keeper smiles knowingly, and his attitude of challenge melts into the benevolent smile of a kindly uncle or old family friend. “Ah, heart seeds!” he says, “And beautiful ones, too, if I may say so!”

“Surely they are all beautiful?!” I respond, surprised by his comment.

“Some hearts are darker than others, you know. More pain to be healed.” the Keeper explains. Then he smiles and nods at my box, “Those seeds are full of light, and I would not be sorry to taste of the fruit they will bear.” I notice a twinkle in his eye as he lets me pass through the gate.

Beyond this point I am in the city, and I see no more men for they are all engaged in their daily battle on the Folkvangr; this is not my concern in coming her, though, and instead I enjoy the bright and busy streets of the city where women are going about their business with a purpose and freedom that is so unfamiliar to me after my time of forgetting on Earth. A sort of sorrowful longing rises in my heart because I know I cannot stay here, and I resume my search for the path to Freya’s palace. Though it sits at the highest point of the city and is visible throughout, the way through the streets is labyrinthine, and I spend many hours on my feet. I stop to take some rest and food at a small kitchen that opens onto one of the wider thoroughfares.

Before I leave, the proprietress kindly offers me directions for the remainder of my journey. I am not far, and make my way quickly to my destination. I enter expecting a bureaucracy, and certainly an antechamber of some sort filled with waiting supplicants: a sort of cleaner, prettier and more comfortable version of a courtroom or Motor Vehicle registry office. Instead, I walk where I will through the Palace and its grounds, and no one challenges or even questions my presence. I am known here, I realize, though in what capacity I cannot guess, for my memories are confined to the time of my current sojourn upon the earth.

I do eventually find my way to the expected antechamber, which is in the form of a garden, but there is no crowd of supplicants. There are a few women at various stations around the garden chamber, but they are to be engaged in their own business - writing, painting, sewing and so on. They take no notice of me, and not wanting to interrupt their occupations, I quietly take a seat because I recognize this as the proper place of waiting to see my Lady.

I am not sitting there long when a lady garbed in a brilliant purple suit with a fetching hat perched atop perfectly coiffed brilliant red curls comes to greet me. I look up and smile, and am somehow not surprised to recognized Jeanette MacDonald looking like she just stepped off the set of Sweethearts or Rose Marie.

“Tara, how good to see you’ve found your way here already! You must have been in quite a hurry once you got your delivery this morning!” she says, turning briskly toward a doorway that appears to be our direction as she speaks.

“You’ve been expecting me?!”

“Oh yes!” she assured me, “It would have been odd if you had not come, considering! We always know we’ll see someone once their Heartseeds have been called up from the Vault of Desires.”

“I had no idea.” I thought I had come of my own accord, but here they were expecting me! But why did they think I had arrived early?

Jeanette noticed the quizzical expression on my face, and a look of concern veiled her pretty features, “You must be wondering why we thought it would take you longer to arrive. Well, you see we had some concern about the impostors who were discovered working on your team of spirit guides. We thought it might delay your arrival ... but trusting your instincts was wise, because of course here you are already! Exactly where you need to be.” she concluded.

I remembered the Impostors only too well. Desperate for guidance of some sort, I had believed them to be representatives of my maternal ancestors, and had invited them willingly into my life. Foolishly, I believed their blandishments and praise, and almost fell under their sway. Only a timely intervention by dear friend had helped me find center again, reclaiming my power and setting me again on my true spiritual path - a slower path, perhaps, but true one that would eventually lead me Home. I had been a fool in a hurry to find may way through, and the incident is one I did not like to dredge up, much less discuss publicly with my true Spirit Guides!

“Exactly where you need to be,” Jeanette reiterated, then took my hand and laughed, her laughter not entirely human, and enveloped in the sound of a thousand tiny silver bells. Giving my hand a little shake, she shook me out of my dark reverie, and I followed her through a curtained doorway into an audience chamber of exquisitely carved white marble and furnished with brightly colored swags of heavy silk. There were thick carpets of the softest wool on the floors; Jeanette led me over to a semi-private alcove in a corner of the room, and I sank gratefully onto a bench and arranged a few of its gorgeous damask pillows to make myself comfortable. I closed my eyes and sighed as the weariness of the day flooded from me and soporific peace enveloped my entire being. I began to open my eyes slowly when I became aware of a gentle light glowing across the alcove from where I sat in restful bliss, then jumped to my feet in shock as I recognized my Lady herself seated across from me on a delicately regal settee.

“My Lady,” I cried, floundering about for some words of apology for my casual behaviour in her presence.

“Lady Tara, please sit down again. Surely we do not need to stand on ceremony after all these years, dear one?”

 
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