Itaea spoke up before Geodhun could speak again. "Our Realm was no longer a safe and carefree place. Folk began to mistrust each other. Several creatures, those of us who dared to speak out against the Fabula, mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Including many of the unicorns." She cast a regretful look towards the lock-covered door. "The Fabula and her cronies built a castle high on the slopes of Donath's Pinnacle and from there she began to make rules where no rules had previously existed. And anyone who dared to disobey her rules was severely punished."
Taylor interrupted at this point, throwing an apologetic look in Itaea's direction as she did so. "Donath's Pinnacle Isn't that where you came from, Geodhun And what kind of rules did the Fabula make"
Geodhun nodded. "Yes, Donath's Pinnacle is my home and the home of my mountain tribe." He sighed, looking pensive. "Things were once a lot different than they are now," he said sadly.
Itaea spoke again. "The Fabula made rules that constricted the freedom of the folk of the Realm. She made the nights long and cold, reducing our beautiful days to just a matter of hours. The Fabula is a creature of the night. She is dark and sad and she prefers the shady glow of the moon, rather than the brilliant warmth of the sun, to light her path. She knows no other way. She dispensed her creatures through the land to control the movements of everyone who lives here. She forbade the sound of happiness."
"Yes," piped up Lyric. "She does not allow laughter nor song." He dropped his tail down from his face, his jovial mouth pulled down in an unhappy curve. "It is not natural to curtail laughter."
"She also ruled that we were not to gather together in groups," said Hammond. Taylor thought he too sounded unbearably sad. "According to the Fabula, we must all serve her as individuals and pledge our allegiance to her rather than to each other. This is not a natural way to be. We were never meant to live alone, without companionship. But the Fabula fears the power of friendship and love."
Taylor frowned as she gazed around the assembled group. "But we are gathered together now. Friends always come together to help and support each other. I don't understand. Why would the Fabula make such a rule"
"It is easy for foolish people to make foolish rules, but creatures cannot be forced to do that which goes against the very makeup of their character for long. Such a situation will always mean rebellion. Of course, we do still gather together, but we do so in secret." Itaea stood up and began to pace restlessly around the room again. "The Fabula is aware of how disliked she is. She hopes that by banning gatherings of creatures she will prevent herself being overthrown. She may have power over us in some way, but behind closed doors and away from prying eyes folk will revert to their natural loving, kind, and collaborative selves. As I am sure you already know, Taylor, most folks are good and kind at heart. Even the Fabula, though it is difficult to see any goodness in her. Light will always eventually triumph over darkness, regardless of how impossible it may seem."
An image of Amy's traitorous face sprung to Taylor's mind. Amy had proven to be a traitorous character when she thought she was out of Taylor's sight. Unfortunately, it seemed that Amy's true nature, the one she kept hidden away, was anything but good and kind. She was deceitful and duplicitous. Taylor felt the familiar stab of pain when she thought of how Amy had gone behind her back to build a bond with Matthew, becoming close to him without her knowledge and without breathing a word of their developing relationship.
Taylor came back to the present with a start to see everyone looking at her expectantly.
"Well" Geodhun said impatiently. "Will you do it or not"
And that was that.
Everett yawned. Waskel was already asleep, curled up by the fire with his head on his brother's lap and his mouth lolling open. Lyric's eyes were drowsy and only half open. Itaea had finally stopped her pacing and joined Taylor, Geodhun and Hammond around the table. For over an hour now, they had been discussing ways to bring the Fabula and Taylor face to face. Everyone seemed to have a different opinion and there was still no satisfactory resolution in sight. Taylor's mouth was dry and her brain hurt but it seemed their discussion just kept going circles.
Itaea raised her large yellow eyes to meet Taylor's blue-eyed gaze. "What you must not forget is that you always have free will and the ability to make your own decisions. If at any time you decide you cannot continue, you will be given the opportunity to return to your own world."
"And we will help you all that we can," reiterated Geodhun. He stared at her solemnly. "Are you sure you want to do this We have told you the legend of Caparthia. Now that you know everything, are you sure you want to help the creatures of the Realm"
Taylor pushed her fingertips into her temples, trying to make sense of it all. "Yes. I think I want to do this. But I'm confused. You have just told me that two strangers will come from the other side of the mirrored wall and defeat the Fabula. But, I am only one. Are you sure that I am the right person You yourself told me that you weren't sure if I was the right girl, Geodhun." Yes, the mountain dragon had explained the Legend of Caparthia to her, a tale of how one day a mighty battle would be fought and won to defeat the evil in the kingdom, but Taylor was still having trouble understanding how she fitted into the story.
Geodhun eyes were round and unblinking as he gazed back at her. "Yes, but I may have been wrong. It has been known to happen on very rare occasions. When we first made the decision to come and get you there were two of you – Amy and yourself. Your friend was supposed to come with you for moral support. However, we understand that your circumstances have changed, but time is now running out for us. Our people are becoming too despondent and isolated under the rules of the Fabula. We must act now. We must do what we can with what we have. You are here, and unfortunately, you will need to do the work without your friend's support. You have chosen to stand as one and we must respect your choice."