We arrived at the Guild Hall just as the sun was setting. Angaewen said for me to go straight to the Guild Mistress as she would be waiting for me.
I made my way through the grounds, I had forgotten just how beautiful they are and how, almost magically, they suffuse one’s being with such a sense of calm and ease.
There she was, ahead of me, waiting in the doorway to greet me. We embraced as long lost friends. Such warmth, reminded me of the feel of Iolite. The Mistress led me into a room which was softly lit and held the faint smell of jasmine. She motioned for me to sit, indicating a beautifully upholstered armchair. I sank into it, aaah, it was like being held by a huge, soft yet firm marshmallow – so comfortable! She sat in another opposite me.
“So tell me, how was your trip,” she asked.
“Well, I have not been gone very long,” I replied, “but so far I have enjoyed it very much. I have met a Whispering Woman, and the most astonishing Lizard who speaks! He led me to the People of the Stone. I was just introduced to them when Angaewen turned up to bring me back here.”
“I see you are not so happy about that.”
“Well, no,” I felt a little embarrassed. “I had only just arrived and then it was time to leave, so yes, I do feel somewhat tetchy. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, as I know if it wasn’t for the Guild I would not have journeyed at all.”
“I understand.” She smiled softly at me.
“The reason you had to return here Willow, is precisely because you have begun your journey proper.” She continued, “Up until this point you needed to be under the guidance or protection of the Guild. Now you have met others who can guide you so it is no longer necessary for you to be attached to us here.”
“I am not sure I understand,” I said.
“When you started out, it was under the guidance of the Artists’ Guild. You left your facsimile of yourself here so that, if necessary, you could return at any time. You no longer need that safety-net. You are ready to continue your journey on your own. Do you have any artwork that you have done on your journey so far?”
I reached into my bag and showed her the Lizard cloth which has begun, and also the larger Dreaming cloth. I gave her my Sacred journey note and sketchbook. She looked through, making small nodding movements as she read, smiling at the sketches and words before her.
“Wonderful. It is exactly as I thought. You have done all that you needed to for the Artists’ Guild. You have begun to find your voice. You are now free to carry on your journey into the Misted Lands without the constraints of time upon you. Here,” she pointed to a table in the corner of the room, “Eat supper with me. I shall then take you back to your original room and in the morning Angaewen will return you to the People of the Stone. I am sure you will learn much from them. I envy you in lots of ways, you are at the very beginning of, what I am sure, will be an exciting and rewarding adventure. Always remember, you are never alone, even though, sometimes, it may feel that way, it is not so.”
“Thank you Mistress,” I said. I was jumping for joy inside at the thought of being able to continue my journey. I had thought that being called to return to the Guild was the end – in fact – it is only the start.