Her first child, her son, was so full of darkness -
She could see it, she knew him, she loved him, and she could've taught him better if only he'd stayed -
"Okay, but I don't think I can hear you much farther."
"Still got the twine." Tug tug.
She sticks her head into the corridor. "What's wrong??"
"Sorry!" Kaylee yells. "Okay! Just - lots of spiderwebs."
"Okay." Tug tug.
She won't hear Kaylee again for a while. The signals on the twine keep coming, though.
She'll keep signalling back.
She reaches the light.
She called out to Vanessa one more time, before now, and Vanessa didn't answer. So she probably couldn't hear if she yelled from here.
The light is an opening in the wall, shaped more like something that grew that way than like something that was made intentionally or something that was broken. It looks out into - a forest in autumn.
She clambers through the hole.
From the other side, the hole is a gap in the bark of a hollow tree. It looks exactly like the shape as a gap in a hollow tree would look, from this side, though she didn't recognize the shape when light was shining through it into the dark.
She looks around.
That's a forest, all right. In autumn, which it isn't, and in the middle of the day, which it also isn't.
A great big bug floats through the air and comes to hover in front of her face. Not a frightening bug - it looks like it's an oversized lightning bug. And there is a tiny little person riding on it, with goldenrod skin and gleamingly black hair and a tiny little bow and arrow made out of a tiny little curve of wood and strung with gleaming silk, strung over her(?) back.
" - hello!" Kaylee says. She is thoroughly charmed, though she considers in the next moment that being thoroughly charmed by this person, who is asking basically reasonable and straightforward questions, just because they are tiny and little, is maybe condescending and prejudiced. "My name's Kaylee. I didn't know there was a forest here. I was following a passage through - what I suppose must have been a magic wardrobe - and it led to that tree - " she points. "Before now I hadn't believed in magic. I'm pretty - confused and astonished!"
" - well, there were some spiderwebs in there," Kaylee says. "But - well, I just walked through them. I suppose if you're a fairy they'd be dangerous?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Kaylee says. "Where I'm from there's no such thing as sprites or fairies. There's only humans - I suppose humans are my kind of giant."
"Yes, I guess, if eld-giant is another word for human - and, well, we have animals, but nothing else that talks. ...Well some type of birds can talk. But they don't talk as well as you and I are talking and they don't have cities."
"Is that the name of the forest, or the place the forest is? I haven't."
"Casthanaea is the name of all the world under the dome of the sky, Springland and Summerland and Autumnland and Winterland, and Giantland in the center within the ring-mountains. And at the center of Giantland is Tower Axial, and at the center of Tower Axial is the Throne of the World, upon which legends say an eld-giant must always sit or the world will end."
" - is there an eld-giant sitting on the throne now?"