Properties of the Trackless Forest:
* You don't find what you're looking for.
* What you do find is unexpected.
* You can never go back.
* The fittest survive.
* The Forest serves no master.
Rebecca psychometrys the notebook and sees Weeks writing in it, looking at his stopwatch, disappearing and reappearing. Lewis looks at it and figures out that it's not magical.
Rebecca thinks about the little ice age.
Something that looks like Young Lewis, from back in Rebecca's Adventures in Wonderland, sits in the shade, playing marbles. "I got lost on my way home. I'm glad you came back." Then he meets eyes with Lewis. Lewis vanishes.
The glass marbles and Young Lewis are still here. "I tried to find my way back, but then the storm hit. Then it started snowing, and I couldn't see anything. When it cleared up, I was here."
Kate thought Young Lewis was a dreamglimmer (some sort of giant grasshopper that symbiotically lives out people's dreams in the Nevernever) before, but they don't normally keep form once the dreamer has woken. Also, this isn't near Forgotten Braid walking directly, so it seems odd that the same dreamglimmer would end up here by chance.
Rebecca: "We go way, way, way back." Nevin: "Knowing you, that could mean a great many things."
Kate rolls Deceit to catch misdirection as Young Lewis picks up the marbles, sees some things glimmering in the undergrowth around the group.
Mike tries to use incense to detect magic, ends up choking on the smoke.
Rebecca asks for his favorite marble, which he takes from his back pocket. Uses psychometry. Doesn't sense anything; it seems like a marble.
Kate goes to use to investigate one of the bushes ("use the little girls' bush"), directs Mike to the other one. R plays marbles and lets Lewis win. Kate and Mike find jars each containing one firefly.
Lewis helps Mike heal Rebecca's ankle. Kate notes that if a dreamglimmer did magic like that, it would be an illusion and wouldn't actually work.
Kate asks what year it is. Young Lewis thinks it's 1950. (Young Lewis looks 8. Real Lewis is 67 years old. This implies that either Young Lewis is a few years younger than he looks, or he was born a few years before Real Lewis, if we assume that the current year is 2011.)
Kate leads the way on. Rebecca wants to find what happened to her mother. Mike wants to know what happened to Spring's Majesty. They find a campsite with the remains of a campfire and an area strewn with sunflower petals. Rebecca uses Psycometry on the flower petals, sees bees and butterflies landing on actual growing sunflowers. Mike looks at the fire; it's been out less than a day. Psychometry on the campfire: she sees a large pile of firewood in a dimly-lit stone building.
Young Lewis asks who old Lewis was, Rebecca is enigmatic.
Kate thinks this is a good place to use spring magic. She puts up a weak veil as they travel on. She tries to follow the sunflower trail, without particular success. Rebecca's starting to panic that Real Lewis is lost to them, this kid isn't him, and they'll never find him in a place like this. The sky grows dark, there is a roll of thunder, and a small cloud starts raining saltwater on everyone. Young Lewis weakly protects himself from rain. Soon, a strong wind blows up and starts pushing the cloud in some direction. They follow.
They find an earthen mound with a stone opening; they hear marching steps in the distance. They see inside the mound what looks like a stone table. It has scratches in it and dried blood. Mike's awareness of elements tell him the table is strongly connected to the forest. Rebecca tries to read the bloodstain, gets the sensation of thorny vines hitting her face, takes a mental hit. The stone walls are carved with lines. Young Lewis can't read it. Rebecca can't read it. Rebecca tries to psychometry the wall carvings. She sees high up in the branches of a full moonlit forest. Kate thinks that worldwalking will take her somewhere else in the forest. Rebecca r the jar gives an image of the jar.
Under the table is a stone floor. The table is solidly constructed. Young Lewis doesn't want to touch the table, but is convinced to. There is a sudden transition as Kate, Rebecca, Mike, and Young Lewis collapse.
Real Lewis is on a branch of a giant tree in a forest of huge trees with no ground visible, only a shadowy mist. The full moon above casts an unearthly light about the scene, and the faint sounds of owls and rustling leaves come from the distance. Ahead, in the largest tree, there is a dark opening, lead to by a path of leaves and dirt on vine-bound branches.
There is a pixie: "Ah, you mortals, full of contradictions. The only question is, what will you give up? Can you even see what's most important to you?"
"This is where I live."
Lewis knows all about pixies.
L: "I suppose my current state must intrigue you." P: Not really. You're not uncommon here.
"If you can't even find what's most important to you, how will you ever find your way?" L: "Sometimes it's more about the journey than the destination."
The majesty is missing; his bag is light. He's in human form, but still has some connection to the majesty.
He has his cell phone and two tarot cards, Science and Fear. He calls Saskia. Saskia answers and is worried about Jilli. Lewis tells her he's calling her from a dream. Saskia knows about the Trackless Forest and dreamglimmers. Maybe this is literally a dream; he doesn't have all his stuff, and he's not in his normal form. Saskia thinks it's midnight between the 22nd and the 23rd. Saskia should have been at the auction, but doesn't remember it. Then the cellphone turns into a crow who talks with Saskia's voice.
He tries to enter the tree opening, and fails. "You'll not find it so easy with only that."
Asks the pixie about the cards. "They seem to be connections."
About Saskia. "It seems that she is important to you."
Saskia: "A quest in a dream involves a guide. Are you the guide?" P: "May as well be."
Saskia: "Where are we?": "We're in his heart. Or my heart. Same place for now."
S: "Are you part of him?" "For now"
S: "The ward?" "How can you find your way if you cannot see what is most important to you?"
Lewis talks up magic as partially right as the most important thing to him; connections are the most important thing to him; he's an academic, connections are his vitality. Books embody connections, as does magic. P: "Connections are not all the same."
P: "Feel free to take a look around."
L: "Is it dangerous to look around?" "Is it dangerous to know your own heart?"
Opening the sight, everything has a faint foresty glow, needs to focus on specific things. The pixie is the Trackless Forest. Saskia and the Science card are as expected. The Fear card is connected to Jarvis, with "Not So Scary Now".
P: "For someone in his own heart, you seem very self-centered." "What do you mean by that?" "If I explained myself, what would be the fun?"
S: "What do you want?" "I seek to understand and observe."
L: "It's the old riddle, how can you understand one who does not understand himself."
Lewis walks back along the path. He finds a treehouse that looks like the back room at his shop, containing:
An empty leather-bound book that could be a ledger
A grandfather clock
A green jewel similar but not the same to either May's Tear
A trumpet-shaped shell
Lewis writes in the book. Nothing much happens. Clock hands point to midnight. It wasn't wound; Lewis winds it. Jewel looks ordinary. Listening to the shell, he hears the ocean.
P: "Are these the connections that are most important to you?" L: "It seems to be missing something. Ledger is commerce, clock is to do with time and what you pass on, the jewel is things to examine carefully, shell has the power to amplify and to calm, to speak with wisdom." P: "You remain quite self-centered." L: "Nothing here about magic, the wider magical community. It seems to be missing something very important to me: the practitioners of magic. People who have to work for magic." P: "And where might they be?"
Lewis prepares a ritual to find the one missing item, noting that all these things are connected to himself. Lewis makes a large circle with the focus points being the items, the room, and the three things he had with him. It's a summoning spell. He has things that are a part of him, and the other things are a two-way relationship. S: "How very appropriate for a practitioner; you require magic to find out what you want." Summons the moon and the path into a cat and an otter, who seem to be Rebecca and Mike, respectively. Mike: "Dude! I have paws!"
L: "Is everything here now?" P: "Is it? How would you know?"
S: "We never did find what the mist is. Are you trying to hide something from yourself?" P: "It is much different here than it normally is."
R: "The mist could be Kate." Kate rises up as a fox.
L: "I seem to be in a spreading dream, spreading into more people I know." K: "Isn't that a bit nervewracking?"
K: "We're in the Trackless Forest and he doesn't suspect any danger."
S: "Is that also his heart?" "Not so much." "Where's the boundary?" "Between here and there."
Fireflies light up shapes in the mist below, featuring:
Sunflowers and spears
A spider in its web
A sword wrapped in weeds
A rose among stones
Brambles in snow
After finding friends, fireflies light up the tree opening, revealing a stone table with a rusty kris on it. Upon examination, it seems to have sharp scratches and dried blood, same as the other one. On the walls, there are five things: (In parenthesis is the person who ends up with it.)
Broken spyglass (Lewis)
Small lead box (Saskia)
Notchless arrow (Rebecca)
Tiger's head (Mike)
Broken crown (Kate)
Kate looks at the crown and sees potentiality there. Kate takes the broken crown.
R: "I think I should take the broken spyglass, because I'm missing a catsuit."
S: "Something is clearly supposed to be sacrificed." Saskia knows it's of fae manufacture and meant for sacrifices. Reminds Mike of a parable where freeing oneself from attachment was giving up physical objects.
L: "What do you make of this?" P: "It is what it is."
S: "Does the forest seek a sacrifice?" P: "Things are often sacrificed. The forest may not have desires as you understand them."
Lewis doesn't want to sacrifice one of his symbolic links.
L: "Why is the dagger cold iron?" It seems like an ordinary slightly sinister dagger. It's sharp.
L: "What happens if I don't sacrifice anything?" P: "You leave."
R: "What happens if you sacrifice Malvora?" L: "It's not him; it's my fear of my enemy. It'd remove that part of me." "The part that fights against fear?" This retriggers Lewis feeling Out of His League.
L throws the dagger into an empty area of mist, compelled not to aim for anything in particular by feeling Out of His League. It hits near the sunflowers and spears. World grows hazier; vine ladder into the mist. They end up back in the barrow, with Young Lewis having turned a wacky giant grasshopper, i.e. apparently a dreamglimmer. Lewis, as a tree, is at the outskirts of the forest by the barrow, which is surrounded by a dozen summer footsoldiers with obsidian spears.
Lewis thinks the 5 things in the tree are challenges or hopes for the future. Lewis still has some mental stress from using the Sight. Lewis has started overcoming his feelings of Out of His League and has developed a new trouble: "With magic I [think I] can take on any foe."