Dani spent two months in Sanctuary before she realized that she belonged there. She was smart enough and she made sure to work harder than everyone else so her biggest problem was just waiting.
Someday, someone was going to leave the valley and they would need a replacement. So she continued her botanical studies, taught herself to read tarot cards, and thought a lot about what it might be like to realize your destiny.
This day was warmer than usual and Dani could just imagine how Fiona would react. Her mentor was very small and thin and thus always cold. Today she would be comfortable and so perhaps, more forthcoming with her teaching. Dani had become quite fond of her in their time together. But the best thing about being in Sanctuary was the feeling of belonging somewhere. The feeling that she had finally found her way to a place where she fit in.
She noticed it right after she arrived. During the first few days, when everything from the food to the light was different, Dani realized she was actually happy. And not just happy but Happy! Despite the confusion of time and place, somehow Dani was breathing contentment.
“It doesn’t matter,” Dani said “if you are really what people think you are. Because people make up their own reality based on what they believe.”
She was seated next to her tutor watching the sun set over the distant hills. Fiona smiled her wrinkled smile.
“Yes,” she said. “So true. And once you have figured that out you can change your reality.”
“Are you serious?” Dani said.
“Very serious. We are what we believe we are.”
“But what if I believe in something that is not real?” Dani asked.
“What is real?” Fiona raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, suppose I believed I could fly? I wouldn’t just suddenly be able to do it!”
“Have you tried?” Fiona asked.
“Tried to fly?”
“Tried to believe.”
It was several days later when Dani found the wild endive patch. “Back home we called these dandelions,” she said to no one in particular. So it was a surprise when a whisper answered her.
“We called them lion’s teeth, goats beard…sometimes a fairy clock. But most often we just referred to them as “blessed medicine.” There was a small woman standing in the shadow of a nearby tree. Her slight figure was wrapped head to toe in a blue-grey cloak which served to make her nearly invisible standing next to the grey bark of the massive oak, covered in it’s blue shadow.
“Oh – hello! I’m Dani.”
“I know. What would you wish, Dani?” the small woman asked. “If you could wish for anything what would you wish?”
“What would I wish?” Dani thought a moment. “Well, I very much want to become a soothsayer in the valley. But I’m afraid it will be a long while before that wish comes true.”
The woman chuckled. “Perhaps not so long as you think, Dani. Pluck a flower – no, not one of the yellow ones. One that has gone white and puffy. Blow on it gently and make your wish. But Dani – be careful of what you wish for. Sometimes they DO come true.”
Dani plucked a fluffy dandelion, thought for a moment longer then blew gently against the flower-head. Immediately many tiny seed parachutes drifted away, each in it’s own direction. Dani smiled and turned to thank her mysterious friend. But the woman was gone. Only her cloak remained, crumpled on the ground.
On the side of a cliff Dani stood poised on one foot, thinking of Fiona’s words. She had not tried to believe the impossible and it had begun to trouble her, this reluctance to take a leap of faith. How could she expect to become a wise woman, a healer, sage, oracle, if she could not believe in those things which she could not see? She drank the tincture which Fiona had given her and closed her eyes.
“I believe that I am here to fulfill my destiny as a soothsayer,” she said aloud. “I believe that in this world, in this way, I can fly.”
From below in the valley Fiona watched and wondered. When she saw Dani begin to levitate the soothsayer smiled. “Such a shame I will not be able to see her grow,” Fiona thought. It was the only thing she regretted.
Then she laid herself down amongst the soft grasses and prepared to die.