I went to the nearest airport. The instructions from the High King were for me to go to Switzerland where I would go to a small chalet located about an hour from the airport. The key was where the directions said it would be. "Welcome, my dear," said a familiar voice. Out of the kitchen came Bill, the man who had many faces but couldn't disguise his twinkling eyes.
"I have strict orders from Himself to teach you and to take care of you. Martial arts are going to be part of your daily regime, and we are going to build a wall of color with our meditations. I have a lovely vegetable stew waiting after you have a deep soak", he said.
When I came out of the bathroom I was delighted to see Zooey. Holding my furry charge I ran to the kitchen. "It's easy to give you what you want Belinda, your needs are predictable" Bill stated looking at her. "I think before we start our martial arts training, you need to consider something else."
What was he talking about? "Amar," he said. "Have you noticed that you haven't even asked for him? It seems that your feelings for him have changed and if this is true he deserves to hear it from you."
He was right, I realized. The entire time I had been in the cave I hadn't once thought of him. I was so focused on our mission, this was not the time to think of myself. I wanted to be fair but there was no room in my life for romance right now. I decided to face the uncomfortable and painful truth and break up with Amar. I didn't want to hold him back or lead him on.
I sat in the window watching the snow. Bill had been right of course. I thought of Amar's visit and how it had occupied almost all of my thoughts and time. With a heavy heart, I called him. "Amar" she started. Before she could continue he stopped her. "I already know Belinda, you asked to let Gammy know and the others and you forgot about me. I know you, Belinda. You don't forget. I have slipped in importance from your mind. You have so many adventures, such an important cause to pursue that I have steadily become less important. I will always love you, you are a bright star. I have met a young doctor working with me in Fiji. She wants a simpler life, one of service. I desire a smaller world than you do, but of course, I will always support you in any way I can. My doctor friend doesn't know any of this, I had to talk to you first."
Painfully I acknowledged the truth. I had my cause, my mission, and, I admitted to myself, I felt fulfilled doing this important work. But what of Amar's?
I hated thinking I had been selfish but I realized I had been. Amar was such a great man, but if I were truthful with myrself, I did feel a little relief even in my sadness. I would always love him but underneath this sadness, there was an excitement growing that I didn't yet fully understand.
I knew Amar would always be an important part of my life. This didn't mean we didn't care about each other. We loved each other as dear, dear friends but we were from two different worlds and his was just as important as mine. Thinking more about it, I could understand how little I had given him in comparison to what he had given me. There was a knot in my stomach as I allowed the grief to travel through me. My heart ached with sadness and regret. Guilt coursed through me as I remembered how much he had given me. Nights of calling myself names, loneliness, fear which Amar, with his love had listened to and comforted me - I remembered and felt it all. I knew that they don't come any better than Amar. I reminded myself I hadn't even thought of him when I escaped the cave. Finally, days, weeks passed and she began to settle into the reality of Amar as a friend. It would hurt at first when I met his doctor friend but I trusted their friendship would overcome a sense of loss.
There was also an inescapable excitement and throb of a new beginning and soon I was able to embrace it. I healed, walked in the snow, drank hot chocolate by the fire with a purring Zooey and strengthened with each day.
Bill taught me martial arts that were to add to my magic and help me in earthly states. I silently thanked the hooded men for taking me to the depths of my fear. Had I not been so terrified I would never develop the strength and wisdom to realize I had conquered it. Now I felt conscious but determined in an adult way. The little faery girl was being replaced by an experienced and wise adult warrior-fae who could and would command respect. I was able to love fiercely now. I had become a force. Darkness forces the illumination or it destroys it.
With my new wisdom, I was able to see that the very thing that had almost destroyed my people, the church first saying we were evil, then denying our existence had given us power and strength. We were able to come and go since we were not supposed to exist. We were really only in the minds of children and the foolish. This gave us a great advantage.
Our fight was far from over. It was imperative to be aware and clear and not distracted. This lifted much of the pain I still was feeling from my breakup with Amar. I was also learning how much power there is for the people and faeries of the Light. Darkness cannot exist where there is light. I began saying this to myself over and over like a mantra to keep myself present and focused. My job was to ignite as much of it as possible. She felt a sense of renewal and excitement.
Having gone through everything I had to get to this point had changed me in ways I hadn't realized. I had been told by several that my carriage was different. Sometimes when I spoke about things I intuitively knew or had been taught by Bill and Gammy, I sensed some backing away as if I were intimidating. I was now a Warrior-fae and my girlish part only shone through when I fell into my reveries of magic and remembering. I laced my pain with deep love and determination. I felt like I was wearing a cloak that could be penetrated by the pure and innocent, nothing else.. I still had no defenses against them nor did I want to.
I took long walks in the snow thirsty for beauty. I loved the silent landscapes that seemed to gleam with mystery and promise by day and deepened under the night skies. I became accustomed to the grandeur of icy formations but I never took it for granted.
It was time to call the others for a conference. The moment was coming. I hadn't opened the message from the High King yet because Bill had asked me to wait until I was stronger. My struggles, losses and their resulting grief had enabled me to grow and mature. Dakah and Amar had been huge losses but though my heart still hurt, there was a deeper sense of self-reliance and power within. I was still sad and a bit angry but the beginning of my buoyancy was returning and I began rediscovering laughter. One more week I thought, then it would be time for them to come.