It arrived this morning: a yellowed envelope with a thick, crimson wax seal, addressed to you and you alone. When you cracked the seal, a single silver coin slipped into your hand. The metal felt cold against your skin. Patina crusted the surface of the coin, but beneath it you could see a single engraving of a flickering flame. The letter itself bore only the words, "I'm waiting for you," and a hand-drawn map.
That is how you found yourself here, on the edge of a great, green wood. A path winds beneath the trees, marked by colored flags. You follow these down the worn trail beneath the trees, savoring the songs of birds and the fragrances of the forest, but as you walk, nature slowly blends with more human elements. Distant voices, laughing and singing, harmonize with the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. The soothing, mystical scent of incense and the mouthwatering aromas of food mingle with those of damp earth and growing trees. The trees thin and open up into a large clearing filled with a rainbow of colorful tents and stalls. A man dressed in motley minds a booth at the end of the path. His twinkling eyes take you in, and he waves you forward.
You offer him your silver coin, but he pushes your hand away. "No, my friend, no ticket is required. Those who find the faire are meant for the faire, and it belongs to them." You thank him and wander past into a world outside of time. Jugglers and musicians play for the gathered crowds, many wearing exquisite costumes. Browsing stalls filled with wondrous goods you find shining chainmail, polished leather satchels, dried herb bundles, and flasks bearing unknown potions. You show them all your coin, but all wave you away. That coin is not for them.
In the distance, a crier summons those gathered to witness a joust. Horses nicker, stomping hooves, eager to charge. A woman with wings gifts flowers to passersby. She hands you a rose with a wink. You show her your silver coin, and her smile broadens. Without a word, she points towards a deep purple tent beneath the shadow of a great, twisted oak. You approach, and as you do the scent of incense surrounds you, softening your world. Your skin tingles with an unknown energy as you push aside a curtain of beads and enter. An older woman with snow white hair gives you a strange smile. A crystal ball glimmers on a cloth draped table surrounded by candles which cause it to flicker eerily. You show her your coin, and she extends her gnarled hand. You drop the coin into her palm, and immediately she places it in a leather pouch before offering you a chair. She caresses the crystal. The lights within it swirl and change, flashing through otherworldly colors.
"I see many things," she intones. "Reunions with old companions and meetings with new. Adventure, yes, but also days of comfort and familiar surroundings. Times of peace and times of excitement ... you have many paths before you, many choices, but through all, a light goes with you." "What light?" you ask. "You will see, but now, the faire calls to you." She stands and pulls the curtain back, allowing sunlight to flood the space. "Go, find what awaits." You step out again. Light and laughter dance among the tents, and you long to join them. Remembering your manners, you turn back to bid the old woman farewell, but the tent is gone. In the shadow of the old oak is only a large, flat stone upon which flickers a single candle....