Among Others
oak leaves and make a door for them to pass through. That will stop her getting hold of them. Fairies know a lot, but they can’t do a lot, they can’t really interact all that much with the world, they can’t affect things. They have to get other people to do it for them, and that means me. According to Glorfindel, he’d done as much as he could in making me get here this week. He hadn’t known where I was until I spoke to the fairy, and he couldn’t reach out until I’d burned the letters. But then he arranged things to bring me to him. (He rearranged the school timetable? All the school timetables? He arranged for Daniel to agree to let me come? He made me want to come to the cwm today? Sometimes I hate magic.)
    He said it would be easy, not like last time. No risk. The difficult thing is that I’ll have to be there at dusk. I thought that would be really hard, but when I lied to Auntie Teg and said I wanted to have tea with Moira from the Grammar School, she said she’d pick me up at seven and take me to Fedw Hir to see poor old Grampar again.
    Reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Spell Sword , which is fun so far.
    W EDNESDAY 31 ST O CTOBER 1979
    Near thing, but not the way I expected at all.
    So the first thing was, it was a long loooong walk. No fairies were anywhere near me as I walked it. They hate pain, I don’t know why, but I’ve known it as long as I’ve known anything about them. Even a skinned knee or a turned ankle will send them scattering. The pain screaming out every step from my leg must have been enough to scare them off for miles around. It’s a good thing I set off early, to give it time to subside after I got there.
    King Minos’s labyrinth is right up the mountain, the Graig. It’s one of the highest ruins. It was a very old iron works, one of the first, and an iron ore mine, not a deep one, just a scratching and mostly filled in. What’s left of it really does look like a labyrinth, or a maze anyway. You have to thread your way through the walls, and though none of them are more than shoulder-height it does feel like following a maze pattern. The bit where the entrance to the diggings used to be is in the centre, and it’s a bit sunken, and there’s a kind of lane that leads down to it. I sat on the wall there and rested, leaning my cane up against the wall. It was spotting with rain, so I couldn’t read, though I’d brought my book, of course. It was Delany’s Babel 17 , I’d been reading it on the bus. I’d brought oak leaves too, I picked them up on the way up through heavily wooded Ithilien. Glorfindel hadn’t said how many, but I’d kept stuffing them into my bag as I went. Oaks hang onto their leaves all winter, like mallorns, so it’s easy to find them.
    I was wearing my school coat, because I don’t have another any more. I hadn’t brought my coat when I’d run away. My school coat has the Arlinghurst badge on it, a rose, with the motto Dum spiro spero , which actually I rather like—while I breathe I shall hope. I heard a joke about a school deciding to have “I hear, I see, I learn” which translates as “Audio video disco.” I spent a little while thinking about that. At this distance, I could kind of like the motto. When I’m there, I feel I have to hate everything about it or I’m giving in. School seemed very far away as I sat there, coat notwithstanding. There’s something real and essential about the landscape in the valleys that makes everything else seem like a distant distraction.
    After a while the sun came out, feebly. The clouds were scudding across the sky at a tremendous pace, and I was looking across the valley from almost as high as they were. There aren’t many trees up there, just two spindly rowans clinging by the entrance to the old diggings. There were flocks of birds circling about, probably deciding which direction to migrate, marking patterns across the sky. After the sun came the fairies, peeping out at me behind walls, and at

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