“Shall we go on a journey?”, asked Vivien to all of them. She had the most innocent expression on her face, as she sat down and looked at them.
“Look out of the window”, she continued. “Do you see that bench out there in the woods? Don’t you think that that would be a lovely place to sit a while, and breathe in the fresh air, before we start? There is much magic in these woods, and the spirit is alive. It is always good to sit and pause a while, and to allow some of the spirit to enter you. Without this, the journey itself would be empty and devoid of meaning, and we don’t want that.”
“What sort of meaning do you mean?”, asked Poison Ivy in a hushed voice.
“You bring your own meaning to the journey”, replied Vivien. “The bench is a conduit, a place for you to sit and meditate, before you take the first step on that journey. When the magic of the woods enters you, and it will to the extent you allow it, the spirits will then move inside you, and weave their own meaning into what you will do next. Some of it will be revealed to you in an instant, and some of it will be revealed step by step. Finally, some shades will never be revealed to your conscious mind, but will shape your thoughts, actions and destiny in strange and marvelous ways.”
Poison Ivy looked outside, and while she was seized with a longing to venture into the woods, and feel the vines on her flesh, she was also seized with a strange doubt. Something of the old, urban memories yet remained within her, and she was not sure of how she would fare in this strange land. There was also the tug and pull of the vines, and the creepers that spoke to her soul, and increased the desire to feel a greater part of this natural world that she had so little experience of.
As for Sam and Frodo, they found themselves most reluctant to leave the wonderful world in which they found themselves. Memories of recent events had shaken up their Hobbit souls, and all they wanted was breakfast, elevensies, lunch, high-tea, dinner, supper, beer, a pipe, mushrooms. It was a long list of desires, and it included a place by warm, crackling fire. The bench in the woods still managed to call to them, as something of the scene reminded them of their days in The Shire, and a voice called from deep inside.
Merlin and Vivien looked at them, with eyes full of knowing and understanding. To see into their eyes, was to fall into the depths of centuries of living, knowing, and the wells of wisdom that they hinted at, were deep indeed. Secrets, deep and dark, lurked deep in those eyes.
Were they ready for the next step? Were they ready to open that oaken door of Merlin’s home, and step out of the safety and comfort it represented?
“I can feel the yearning and the doubt”, said Merlin. “Before we embark on the journey, would you perhaps like to know a little bit about why, and how, Vivien and I chose and built this home to live in?”