I awaken to the softest of hands caressing my face. As I open my eyes, I look into another set of eyes, glowing with love and adoration like two emeralds in the heavens.
“Mother.” I manage to utter through dry lips.
Her glistening white hair adorns her delicate, royal face like a gentle waterfall. The noblest of archfey. “Nuada, rest. You’ve been through many a sore trial, and have more yet to come. You’ll need your strength.” She smiles sweetly.
“It is good to see you. I’ve missed you and Father since you left for the Far Green Country.” I croak out.
“We have missed you, Nin erui réd.” She says affectionately.
I look about, seeing the verdant landscape of a secluded grove, the diffused light of a golden sun filtering through the canopy above. It is only her and I within the grove. I am reclined against a soft bed of spring flowers and grass, and can hardly find the strength to move.
I say, “Father is not here. He must still be angry.”
“The grief is still too near. He will see you again when he is ready.” Mother says reassuringly. “And you and he will have your hearts restored.”
I breathe in the fresh air, sighing heavily. I must tell her.
“Mother, I have sinned. And Caitlyn…” I try to blurt it all out, but Mother puts her finger to my lips to stop my utterance.
“I know.” Mother says admonishingly.
I begin to choke as tears well up. I convulse with untold ages of remorse and guilt and anguish. She brings my head gently to her bosom, trying to comfort me like a small child. I’m so weak I cannot resist.
“And I also know, Nin erui réd, that you will put it right.” Mother says soothingly.
“I have traveled such a tiresome road, Mother. Done such unspeakable things. Seen such loathsome horrors. How can I right so many wrongs?” I say.
“Nuada, the light cannot shine its brightest lest it come from the darkness. The most wretched sinners become the most righteous saints. The silver cannot by purified without the smelting fire of the crucible. You know this. You know the journey will be arduous, the path treacherous and, at times, uncertain.”
“My path is hidden from me.” I choke out amid my sobs.
“Your path is laid out before you.” Mother states gravely. “And none but you can tread it.”
Mother lifts up my face and looks into my eyes. “You have been chosen for such a time as this. You cannot shirk, cannot flinch. Noble fey such as us embrace our fate.”
I slowly nod my head in understanding.
“I will see it done, Mother.” I say firmly.
“I know you will, Nin erui réd.” Mother says, as a light behind her grows brighter. “Now I must take my leave of you, until such time as we meet again. I will give your father your greetings.” As she stands, she pauses and kneels over briefly. “But first, a blessing for you my dear Nuada.”
Mother closes her eyes and speaks an eleven blessing as she cradles my face. The growing things in the grove move with an unseen breeze as she speaks, as if responding to her voice.
“No aer i eneth lín
tolo i arnad lín
caro den i innas lín
bo Ceven sui vi Menel.
Anno ammen sír i mbas ilaurui vín
ar díheno ammen i úgerth vín
sui mín i gohenam di ai gerir úgerth ammen.”
With that she kisses me on the forehead, and all becomes bright light and green haze, and then the dim light of my fitful dreams.