No one has ever told me to get lost.  The funny thing about that is, I might be able to… certainly, I wander off pretty far when talking on the cellphone.  I need to pace while chatting, and while I used to be tethered to the wall, depending on who I am talking with I might wander a mile, two miles.

I’m great with maps.  I can fold them faster than Princess Glovebox if necessary.

It isn’t about me, because the magic isn’t about me.  It’s about what you need to find.

The first day I sat at my desk I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t know exactly what I had been hired for, although I know I was desperate for a job.  I had a desk calendar and a heavy black phone with actual push-buttons, some odds and ends pens and paperclips.  I figured I’d answer the phone if it rang and do my best to delay folks until they gave me the hint as to what I was doing.

Out of the hallway I thought led to the restrooms came a striking fellow in blue.  He was just under 7 feet tall, and he leaned on a black spear.  His long white hair was bound in the back with black ribbons.

“I seek the Goblin Castle,” he said, standing in front of my desk.

I’d been to a few science fiction conventions, so I figured this was just a great costume.  And the question?  I’d seen “Labyrinth” no less than 20 times, courtesy of my wife and children.

I was about to tell him, “Don’t go THAT way, no one ever goes THAT way,” when something entirely different came out of my mouth.  “You must pass the field of flowers like yellow bones bounded by three roads.  Upon the crest is a bridge of silvered stone.  Three times must you walk across it before they will open the door to the warrior lost, and then three times tested before the King will honor what he owes you.”

My employer stood in the shadows behind me, petting one of the cats who wandered about the place.

The gaunt blue man, (who I noticed had long pointed blue ears) bowed before me, and then stalked back into the hallway.

I got up from the desk and went down the hall.  It kind of had a 1970’s feel with the linoleum on the floor, an aged yellow light, and doors marked “Women” and “Men” on the side.  An exit sign hung askew, fastened by a single screw over a door that claimed to be attached to a fire alarm.  I had not heard any of the doors open.

I peeked into the bathrooms.  They smelled like industrial soap, same scent as at the hospital.  No tall blue men, no one, in fact, inside.

The fire door kept me back the first day.

The second day the calendar and the pens and paperclips were gone.  The phone remained, a silent sentinel.

Three women of varying ages, long red hair on all of them, stood before me.  White ribbons were twined around their wrists.  The middle aged one was in a business suit, the youngest in a summer dress, and the eldest wore something kind of like a kimono and something you’d see at a Renaissance Faire.

“We are looking for the King of Earth and Light,” the youngest said.

“Or his brother of Evergreen,” the eldest said.

“Or their brother Snow,” the one in the middle explained.

I felt the words take form through me.   It was not like an entity answering them, but more like knowledge being poured into my head like some kind of light.

“The Kings share this place.  One has left, seeking in sorrow his Queen.  One wrestles for summer, the other feels his heart grow frost.  They stare at the moon wondering why so few still seek the stars.  Follow the sun for a season and you may find a footprint.  They cannot hide from their mother, and the one with the quick laugh sometimes wears feathers in his hair.”

I didn’t know what it meant, but it sure got the girls excited.  They thanked me and went back through the hallway.

That day I tried the door, and no alarm sounded.  Outside was an alley.  No girls, no blue elves, no signs of anything but a trashcan with some broken down boxes and plastic flowing in the sunlight.  A regular alleyway.

The third day, the phone was gone, and I was called the Questor.

That’s who I’ve been for some time, now.  I don’t know how my employer handles the requests, how they’re brought in and how they pay.  I have faced down the Stormcrow.  I have understood that my employer has motives that may not align with mine.  I suspect she simply isn’t human.  But I get paid via a company, and I go home to my wife and kids and cats and we are happy.

When the Portal Doctor came in, he had been one of the first humans I’d met, and, at that, a fellow with a sense of humour about all this weirdness.  I hated sending him into darkness.

My wife told me I should find him again and invite him to dinner.