The night was dark save for one star. I breathed and felt much pain. My voice echo in the hollow earth when I cried out. I had fallen into a sidhe and there I lay atop a mound of broken timbers and sod.
There was no flying out of this, nor could I climb up the walls as if it were a well. Panic gripped me, I confess, my breath came too quickly and as sod was still drifting down I breathed so much I began to cough. I struggled to my hands and knees. The fight to breath focused me. I was not dead, nor even that injured. I was in the home of my friend, the girl who had laughed, Jella.
At first this was small comfort. I was in darkness and knowing that none of my folk would ever find me here brought rising panic again. I tried to remember the place in my dream, it had been lit in the middle and around the perimeter. In truth it wasn’t that large. I walked down off the pile I had ridden to the floor and promptly tripped over something hard and sprawled on stone flagging covered with more of the result of my descent.
I rose again, walking like a blind man, arms waving, I headed off in what I thought a straight line toward the wall of the place. Eventually I must find it, surely. Before I did, I found a wall of stone. I followed it to a quick turning and felt along one side to the back. Reaching, I found a screen richly carved with images my fingers could not puzzle out, but I followed it to stone again. Now I hurried, trusting this was a back wall and was rewarded with slamming my knee into something hard. I fell into more hard edged items and then the stone floor. In agony I clutched my knee.
Light was gone from my world. I was lost. Lost in a big room, not much more, but it was frighteningly strange for a boy who had always lived with not much more than some leather between himself and the sky. I felt stiffled in the dusty hole. I cried out for the only friend who I thought could help, “Jella!” Echoes died quickly and silence mocked me, “Jella, where are you? I need you now.”
I felt my way back to the wall and was too wounded in spirit and frightened by the dark to try to find my way. I leaned back against the wall and stared, marvelling that eyes opened or closed it made no difference. “Jella!” I closed my eyes.
The sun was rising where she was. I saw it color the clouds before it mounted into the sky. There were herd deer everywhere. The north deer all have antlers and they are all colored alike, I could not tell which was male and which female, I was in a sea of tawny, antlered, steam breathed herd deer. There were snorts and a bellow and the creatures shied from where I was.