Lord Gwillym was married just the day before. Now he risks losing his daughter, who has been the most precious thing in his life since his wife died when Dairine was very young. In his desperation, he pleads with his daughter's playmates for help.
Gwillym went down into the heart of the forest. He knelt before a short stone altar grown over with vines and flowers. He and Dairine were the only two who even knew this place existed. He clasped his hands in front of him.
“It is not normal for the father of the gifted one to come to us,” a voice said. He looked up and what once looked to be nothing more than a gnarled root turned over. A pair of black eyes peered at him through bushy eyebrows. It didn't take long for a group of beings to surround him.
“I've come to ask for your help,” Gwillym said.
“Where is she?” an ethereal spirit asked.
“Dying,” Gwillym said. “She burns too hot and her body is too weak.”
“When did this start?” the gnarled man asked.
“It must have come on her last night,” Gwillym said. “We were holding a ceremony my new wife insisted we perform. It is where a sprinkle of water from the important people is spread on the newlyweds. It came to Dairine's turn. She couldn't even hold the dipper. She dropped it and then ran off. We didn't find her until this morning, when the servants came upon her.”
“There is a darkness in your house that we cannot penetrate,” the ethereal voice said. “None of us dare step foot in there now. It would destroy us, and through us your daughter.”