Greta stood. “I am sorry this refuge is not also the sanctuary I intended. In truth, I am only human.” She paused while there were nods and smiles all around. This had been what they wanted. They all knew it when they picked her, and the Ancient gods in concert anointed her for this work, to watch over the little spirits of the earth. They wanted a god who routinely got old and had to let go of life. They did not want an immortal over them. Being mortal themselves, they wanted someone who knew what it would be like when that time came.
Greta placed her hand on Berry’s hand. “I will speak with the craftsmen. There may be a way, and thank you all.” She hugged Thumbelin as a symbolic hug for them all. Then she turned to Berry who sat quiet and big eyed.
“What did you like best?” She whispered.
Berry licked her lips. “The Wafflies,” she said. “And the Apple Cinammons.”
“Me, too,” Greta said, though in truth she thought it all tasted splendid. “Thumbelin.” Greta spoke up. “Is Mab here?” Thumbelin nodded and pointed to the children’s table. “My, she is quite grown,” Greta remarked.
Greta called Mab to the table. “Get little,” she told Berry. Mab appeared shy in Greta’s presence. She stood on the table with her head down. Berry, who had only known Thistle as a fairy, felt quite taken with the girl. She immediately went to stand beside Mab. Berry stood taller, of course, partly because she was older and partly because she had so much human in her, but Mab glowed beside her with true blood fairy magic.
“Will you take Berry as a friend and show her Usgard?” Greta asked.
“Lady.” Mab curtsied as well as she could, but did not do a very good job of it.
“Stay on this island. Don’t go to the other islands,” Greta added.
“And no tricksies.” Thumbelin instructed her daughter. “Or anything like tricksies.”
“Be good to my Berry, please dear Mab.”
Mab looked at a pensive Berry from beneath her hair. Suddenly, she sprang out and took Berry’s hand. “I will,” Mab said, and to Berry she added, “Come on.” They took to the air. “You won’t believe the strawberry field, and the high mountain slides, and the cascade pools for swims.” And they were through the window, followed by a host of other young sprites.
“I worry about her,” Greta breathed.
“Your majesty is kind,” Greta told Thumbelin, but really, at that moment, Greta felt worried mostly about herself. She felt no closer to knowing what to do about the guns than she had before she came.
“It was my goddess who gave me a heart and taught me what loving-kindness was all about.” Thumbelin found a tear, and Greta found one as well. Once again, Greta felt she got far more out of the relationship than she could ever possibly give.
At the craftsman’s they made a lamp, a bubbling fountain and a wind catcher which is sometimes called a dreamcatcher. They went out to the nearest portal and set them up. Then they built a guardhouse underground. Greta’s became concerned for the comfort of her little ones who might volunteer for the hazardous duty. The craftsmen, however, were far more concerned with tricks and traps and every devious thing they could think of to catch and hold any possible creature or spirit from a three-day-old human to a near god. Greta sighed. The year was only around 145 AD, and henceforth, every road to Avalon would be heavily guarded. Even Lord Sunstone, the elf wizard who spoke for the knights of the lance, offered his every last ounce of magic if needed to secure Avalon, the seven isles and the innumerable isles beyond.
Greta looked at the next set of homes. They were a pool of water, small wind chimes to blow in the wind, and a lantern on a short pole. Greta spent a long time considering the lantern. She would never risk a fire sprite in the open, but they could certainly explode Kunther, or rather, Lady Brunhild’s plans.
“Trojan horse.” The words came to her, and she caught a glimpse of a man, a life she did not know. Diomedes. She lived his life among the Greeks at Troy. The image faded, but the Princess and Diogenes picked up the notion and repeated the words with certainty.
“Something cast of the strongest metal with air holes and a charcoal center to sustain the sprites for a day or two if necessary,” Diogenes suggested.
“A bear for the Nameless god of the Dacians,” Nameless said.
“A cat of the mountains for Danna and the Celts,” Danna thought.
“Salacia’s dolphin for the Romans,” Salacia added.
“But then it needs something on top, something over all to represent the unity of the three.” Bodanagus said, being no stranger to bringing the houses of the gods together. Gerraint and FestusCato shared the answer.
“A horse to rear up.”
“A horse whose nostrils flare when it rears up.”
“But the horse might give it away.”
“But can they survive?” Doctor Mishka always considered possible injury.
“Attach a string to Avalon so the whole contraption will be hurled home.” Those words came from the storyteller.
“Can I do that?” Greta wondered.