Picking up my bag, turning and waving one last goodbye I set off to the Guild.
I knew it lay on the edge of the Misted Lands, that vast area that lay beneath the densely clouded fog. I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation at the thought of entering the Guild, knowing how many people would be there, how much noise there would be and how unused I was to both those things.
As we are hidden from view, I had to find my way to the place between our worlds, there being no doorway, no dolmen, nothing that would signify a gateway as such … it is a mere crack, a threshold that you can only come across by sensing. I quieted myself, blurred my vision and continued to walk through the forest that surrounds our village. I sensed a slight shimmering to my left, this is where I must go – breathing deeply I walked through the shimmer, such a strange sensation, it’s as if your whole body has taken a jump forwards whilst you remained still; not a shudder as such but a tremor that passes through you at a cellular level … brrrrrrr!
I emerged on the path to the Guild – I could see the buildings in front of me, shrouded in blue mist. The Guild itself has an ethereal look and feel to it, an unreality which makes it appear less solid and bustling than it actually is. The buildings themselves looked as if to be watery, without substance. I have the oddest feeling that the Guild itself has shape shifting characteristics.
As I approached I saw the Guild Mistress waiting for me at the entrance. She embraced me warmly, welcoming in that way that immediately puts you at your ease. Before us I could see the long corridors meandering this way and that, all leading from a central walkway, along which I was being taken. I could hear voices and mutterings, snufflings and even a few growlings coming from behind the many doors. Obviously many artists in various forms were gathering for their journeys. Through the many and huge windows I could see the grounds surrounding the Guild, which, although on first sight looked to be rectangular with many straight edges and angles, was, in fact, circular, almost bubble-like, such was the feeling being there engendered. I was relieved to see we were surrounded by greenery, many, many trees, shrubs, plants of all shapes, sizes, hues and, I suspected, scents.
We entered the Journey Hall, wherein the trunks, bags, boxes, all means of travelling cases from previous journeys were kept and upon which the representations of the present travellers would sit whilst they were off on their individual journeys. I gave the Guild Mistress my doll self to take her place amongst the others.
The Journey Hall itself was an absolute joy to behold, the centre of which was given over to a giant compass. I wondered if it would be from here that each of us would embark.
From here I was shown to my quarters, a large room which contained everything I could possibly need whilst here. The natural light from the windows was perfect and I could not have been happier. The Guild Mistress bid me farewell for the time-being, we would meet again later of course.