By Carol Sandford


Chapter 09


Two days later, the arrangements were set. Lwaxana Troi and several other people, including Guinan, all come to bear witness to the rare occurrence, led the couple to the entrance of the deep cavern, on the outskirts of the Jalara jungle.

Its gaping entrance was partially hidden by the natural foliage of the jungle’s vines, and the overhanging branches, heavy with the sweet scented blossoms of a bougainvillea-type plant outlined the darkness of the invisible perils behind.

Lwaxana fussed around Will and Deanna, checking their provisions, checking their equipment, making sure that the rope had no frayed sections to its length, all sixty feet of it!

Will searched Lwaxana’s face for anything that would give him a clue to what they were facing, but her steely gaze gave nothing away, nor did her inane chatter.

Giving a final yank to the harness strap around her precious daughters waist, she kissed her demurely on the cheek before stepping away to address them both, head on.

"Will...Deanna. What you are about to face has only been undertaken a handful of times, its success even less. But, if you come through this, you will never know the meaning of misery ever again. Your life will be blessed with happiness. Your life will also be blessed with many children, and you will be rich beyond your wildest imaginations, but not with material things, or wealth, the richness will come from your own hearts, and it will start right here, in this sacred cavern."

Many sets of misty eyes turned towards the cave’s mouth once more. Some were afraid, and some were curious as to what secret wonders it held. Others were envious.

Very few people had met their one, true love. Their one, true Imzadi. But most had not been brave enough to face the unknown that lay beyond the black, sinister, entrance of the cavern.

Lwaxana’s voice broke through the many thoughts of the silent bystanders as she addressed the twosome once more, stepping between them and clasping their hands firmly. It made an interesting sight. One could feel the power dancing between the trio as they faced the unknown ahead.

"The journey through will take two complete days, and two complete nights. When you reach the other side...if you reach the other side...at noon, we will be waiting. As we have witnessed your entrance, we must also witness your exit. No one must come to your aid, no one must answer your thoughts. You will be alone. But remember, you must not breath a word to anyone, ever, about what you see. It is a secret that you must take to your graves. Our prayers are with you my angels. Be safe."

Taking a step back, Lwaxana released her hands from theirs, and then drawing them together, place Deanna’s within Will’s. A tender touch to their backs forced them to take that first step.

Will and Deanna turned to each other and their eyes locked. Both were scared. But then Deanna felt the gentle squeeze to her fingers, saw the tiny smile on his handsome face, instantly calming her fears, and then together, hand in hand they stepped into the abyss.

The small crowd watched them disappear into the darkness. Some sighed, and some gasped in awe at their bravery. Some had tears cascading down their cheeks as the couples love and devotion washed through their senses.

Lwaxana felt rather than heard Guinan sidle up to her from behind, and she smiled slyly to herself, knowing what the dark woman was about to ask.

"What’s in there, Mrs Troi, what are they going to see?"

Lwaxana chuckled, emitting a curious scowl from the El-Aurian, and then, in a quiet, jovial voice she whispered,

"Nothing, my dear, there is absolutely nothing in there."

The puzzlement on Guinan’s face caused Lwaxana to laugh out loud.

"What do you mean? If there’s nothing in there, then what is the point of doing...this!?"

Guinan’s arm swung around, gesturing the area, the cave, the people.

"The point is, that they have taken on the challenge, so therefore they have already passed. Will has already proved his love just by having the courage to seemingly take the risk."

Guinan stared at the older Betazoid open-mouthed, speechless for some moments before stuttering,

"So, just what is in there?"

Lwaxana shrugged as she spoke,

"Oh, a few trails, a few pools, a few surprises, nothing of any real danger. Don’t worry, they will be perfectly safe. They will come back out more in love than ever before. It is a place of discovery, mostly for them."

Guinan finally smiled, understanding the concept of the deceit, marvelling at the ingenuity of these wondrous people. She had one more question.

"How long will it take us to get to the other side in order to meet them coming out?"

Lwaxana turned away, preparing to follow the intimate crowd back to their homes, speaking over her shoulder as she moved gracefully away.

"Oh, it’s right here. There is only one way in and one way out, only they don’t know that."

  Book index   Previous chapter   Next chapter