I am, to all intents and purposes, lost. Lost in a strange and mysterious land without a map, with nothing to guide me but my own senses. I have been here before; lost that is, not this place. When I first arrived in that dark mirror of London and when I first stepped ashore at Jasper Cove, I did not know those lands either, but I survived. At least my arrival here did not involve a shipwreck. Like Jasper Cove, I would seem to be on an island, or, at least, as far as I have explored anyway. Like Jasper Cove, it is wooded, but this is a denser, darker and somehow far older wood with unfamiliar plants and trees, some twisted into odd shapes. Here and there, old stonework and even older standing stones emerge from the undergrowth and the moss. There is a strange feel about the place that is oddly familiar. I can liken it only to those few times, back in London, when I strayed into the faerie realms; to that place they called the Sithen. If that is so, then I have much to learn. For all that I worked for the Unseelie Court there, and was even bound by blood to one of them, my captain, my beloved Catt; I never knew much of their ways. I knew some others better – from my mild flirtation with the lady Astrid, and later, from the dealings I had with her kind – the Fae of Light – when I was among those sent to negotiate treaties between the kindred and the fae. Even then, I knew little of their land. I could be wrong; I have been wrong before, but that is my impression of this place.
I was reminded of Astrid on my arrival. I found myself on a rustic stone bridge over a pleasant gurgling brook, with the paths either side deep and sunken between the roots of the trees that lined them. Before I could get my bearings, a tiny faerie flew up to me. She, for it had the shape of a miniature woman, was about the size of Astrid’s little friend Lyra, but unlike that tiny devourer of mint imperials, this one had the wings of a dragonfly rather than Lyra’s butterfly ones. She buzzed around me, dipping and darting, as persistent as a wasp at a picnic. Unlike Lyra, though, she did not appear to speak, or to understand when I spoke to her. Perhaps she does not understand English, or speak it. I think that she may be of a breed associated with water, given the dragonfly wings, for she did not follow me once I strayed away from the water. I may be wrong, but I have this vague idea that some of the little folk have associations with the four elements.
That was the extent of my interactions with others of any sort. Oh, except for the rock. I can’t exactly call it a conversation, but I found a rock. It asked me if I wanted a reading and then gave me a rune. “Ehwaz,” it said, “a rune sacred to Frey and the summer and also the rune of the horse, and thus associated with change and travel. Like a horse, emotions today may be powerful and must be controlled in order to carry the traveller to a safe destination.” That made me laugh out loud. To borrow a phrase I once heard from one of my more ‘modern’ friends – “No shit, Sherlock!” After recent events; a rune associated with travel and change? Ha ha, very funny. Thank you, Mr talking rock. I think I prefer the old fortune-telling dolls at the fairgrounds, where you put in a farthing and it tells you that you will meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger.
I would have settled for meeting anybody, but I found nobody. Of my fellow escapees from Jasper Cove, I saw no sign, but then, I did not explore very far. I think I saw what looked like a castle on higher ground, but I did not find my way there. Perhaps tomorrow. Greyson said that Sophia would be safe, so perhaps I can trust that the others are too. For now, I have taken shelter under some old stonework to take my rest. I have endured much over the past hours and need to recharge. I will need to feed soon too. I have Sophia’s bottle, but that will not last me long. Another challenge I have to face in this new place, wherever it might be.