It was a particularly lovely morning in my cottage, the rain had just stopped except for a light drizzle still falling. I just finished baking several loaves of cornbread and stepped outside, the air smelled sweet and clean. It was a good day to take a short journey to one of my friends in the upper worlds.
I typically like to journey through a tiny hole in the roots of a huge willow tree that lies just beyond my garden. So I wandered out past the fragrant herbs and myrtle to what is my favorite traveling tree. I could hear a woodpecker tapping away at the tree, which usually meant there was a message for me, but not always. I could smell the basil and mint growing in my garden and thought I better pick some when I return home. As I approached the willow tree I noticed the glint of metal at its base, right where my entrance should be.
As I got closer I made a startling discover. There was an ornate metallic tube stuck in the entrance hole! I removed it from the hole easily and examined the odd device. The metal was embossed with curlicues, dots, dashes and the letters “T.A.G” were in the center. It was encrusted with all different colored gems on one end along with a few gears and screws. I turned a small crank on the end cap and it slid off as a puff of steam escaped.
Inside was a scroll of delicate gold rimmed paper with writing and a tiny skeleton key. I pulled out the scroll gently and unrolled it. It read, “Your presence is cordially requested at Guild HQ. Please come promptly!” On the bottom of the parchment in gold writing it said “Traveling Artists Guild,” and was dated today! My heart was pounding wildly as I looked at the tiny map enclosed showing me how to travel there through the tiny hole in my Willow tree that I was all too familiar with. I was so excited to receive such a glorious invitation!
I quickly went back into my cottage and packed my travel case and knapsack for my trip. I took along a few loaves of fresh baked corn bread, herb butter, tea, chocolates, a parcel of meat-cakes, a flask of cider, wedge of cheese, apron, scarf, candle, skillet, pocket knife, 3 gold coins, my best pen, journal, bag of magic dust, art box and my traveling companion Henney. I posted a note on my door that said “be back soon” and headed back to the willow tree, grabbling bunches of basil and daisies on my way. I made myself as tiny as I could then headed right down the hole.
It’s always wondrous to travel to other worlds, much like an amusement park ride I hear, but better. This wasn’t going to be a long trip at all. I slipped down the Willow roots till I hit the Mitzie line root. I slid along that till I came to golden rock; the map showed me that I was to travel to the end of the Chalke tunnel directly to its right. I followed the tunnel down till I hit a fork and headed left. I could feel a breeze and hear water moving and knew I was getting close to the Booku stream. When I got to the stream there was a small red boat with a tiny white sail tied to a dock. I slipped onto the boat and untied it from the dock, and it gently moved away without me doing a thing.
The water below me was clear and luminescent; it lit the tunnel. I could see dozens of fish in all sizes, colors and patterns had surrounded the boat. They were carrying the tiny boat and directing it downstream, it took me quite a ways. The tunnel walls that surround the stream was a deep dark rumpled red, and at one point I could reach out and touch the walls and it felt like soft velvet! It was a peaceful ride, but a bit bumpy at times. As I rested I took a chocolate from my bag and plopped it in my mouth, and thought, this is the life! The boat finally stopped at a small dock where I saw a sign that read “Guild HQ.” I jumped out onto the small dock and gathered up my belongings. I took out a loaf of bread, pulled it into pieces and tossed it to the fish to thank them.
It was pretty dark but there were many torches lit around the dock. I picked up one and headed down the tunnel carrying my trunk; knapsack, daisies and basil. I finally reached a large door that was slightly ajar. As I reached for the knocker the door opened to reveal a very, very tall thin man wearing a purple top hat and tails. He said in a very low voice “Welcome to Guild Hall Keggy Featherwolf, welcome indeed!” he then winked and saluted me in whimsical way and with a huge smile, introduced himself saying. “Duboi, at your service, please allow me to escort you to the main hall.” Duboi carried my trunk as I followed him down a long corridor. Then he stopped at a large pair of mahogany doors and swung them open. I gasped as I saw what was inside.