“Forgive me, Great Mother. I have failed you yet again. I am your vessel on this realm and as such I should never doubt your ways. Nevertheless, when the time came for Caddaric to go back to Avalon, I despaired and fought against the inevitable, as I always do.
Please, give me strength to control my weak heart, wisdom to understand your signs, and courage to do your bidding.”
The wind picks up around me making the dry leaves and little twigs swirl. Faint whispers come in the breeze. A thousand gentle fingers move over my body caressing, soothing me.
“Oh, Mother, you are too kind and never abandon me. I promise to serve you faithfully and perform my duties accordingly from now on.”
The wind blows stronger, molding my clothes to my body, covering me in dry leaves. I feel faint and when I open my eyes, I’m not in the sacred grove any longer. I’m lying on a sunny field, there’s a gentle breeze blowing from the distant line of apple trees, bringing the sweet smell of their flowers in full bloom. Recognizing my beloved isle of Avalon, I get up and look around. I see the Lady of the Lake standing just a few feet away. I go to her and offer a curtsy. The Lady gently holds me by my shoulders, smiles serenely and holds my gaze. Not for the first time, I wonder if her eyes can read my soul.
“Rise, Rowen, my child. And do not cry. You should rejoice over your successes instead of mourning what you perceive as failures. Your apprentices look up to you and seek your guidance, because your advice is wise and respectful. The villagers worship the Great Mother according to the old traditions, because they follow your firm yet kind leadership. Despite being so young, my beautiful Rowen, you are wise and your people respect you.”
I am touched by her words. I never expected the Lady of the Lake herself would answer my prayer and come talk to me, comfort me.
“You are too kind, my lady. I am honored and, although I think I do not deserve your comfort, I am thankful.”
“I speak only the truth, Rowen, as all true servants of the Goddess shall do. Now, you will not like what I need to tell you. You have always been loyal to your vows and I count on that loyalty to see you through the task I need you to undertake.”
“You frighten me, my lady. What do you need from me? You know I would never deny you, or the Great Mother, anything.”