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Bless Me Father ...

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:51 pm    Post subject: Bless Me Father ... Reply with quote

((This takes place within a few days of the conversation between Colleen and Hephaestus in Sublimation: Another Day In ... (NSFW) ))

Church St. in the Old Temple District was a nearly silent place in the wee hours of the morning. Her footsteps echoed on the cobblestones as she walked. Colleen Fenner had much on her mind and her heart was heavy these days. She’d spent most of the last few months in self imposed confinement. Despite the warm summer breezes that flowed around her, she wore a hooded cape. Much like the loose caftans she’d been wearing of late, the garment concealed her form. It allowed her to travel openly, yet, in shadows. They were self created shadows, shadows made from despair and longing.

A light rain began to fall just as Colleen stepped into the vestibule of one of the many Catholic churches in the district. It wasn’t surprising that she chose St. Patrick’s. Someone exiting the sanctuary allowed the candlelight from inside to be seen. In the moments it took for her eyes to readjust, she lowered the hood and replaced it with a black lace mantilla. Like her grandmother’s wedding veil, the lace was made in a rose pattern. While things had changed over time, cleansing of one’s soul was still a part of the ritualistic sacraments that were observed by the faithful. She opened the door to one of the confessionals, closed it, and knelt down. The door behind the grill that obscured the priest’s view of the penitent’s face opened.

Colleen cleared her throat. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” She folded her left hand over her right, a silvery band glimmered in the dim light. “I have no idea how long it’s been since my last confession or if I’ve even made a formal one in my lifetime.”

“Are you one of the old ones, my child?” the priest asked.

Choked laughter escaped her. “I didn’t think priests believed in such things, Father.”

“Let’s say I like to keep an open mind after arriving here.”

“You’re not alone in that.”

“So tell me, how can I help you?”

She was silent as she considered her words carefully. “I’m in despair, Father.” She took a moment to compose herself. “I had a good … no, a wonderful life. The actions of a mad man chipped away at it. He finally succeeded in using the tools that he exchanged for hammer and chisel to cause much of my life and my heart to shatter.” The swallow was audible. “I have a husband, who I loved and love dearly and deeply.” Again there was a moment of silence. “The loss of his love has left an emptiness inside me, an open gaping wound that is still fresh. I know from experience the wound will close, eventually. All that means is that it will be assumed that I have healed. There will always be an emptiness underneath what seems to be healed.” She twisted the wedding ring on her finger. “It’s always been brief shining moments, Father. Like Camelot, you know? I thought this time would be different.” This time the momentary silence was broken with a ragged breath. “I was right, but … this time Camelot will be forgotten. This time it isn’t just the marriage that is failing, this time I have failed my children. That is unpardonable.”

“How did you fail them?” there was concern in the man’s voice. He’d heard mothers saying they had failed their children as a prelude to confessing to infanticide.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colleen could sense the rising of emotion in the man. “Not to worry, Father. The children are in safe hands. Most are grown and on their own, but those still in need of care and guidance are being looked after by family and other well trusted folk.” That little word with a large meaning but was dangling on the tip of her tongue.

“You found others attended to their needs when you could not. How is that failing them?” he sounded bemused.

“That’s just it, I didn’t.” As she spoke, Collie was rocking, back and forth, back and forth. “I’ve had a bit of a memory lapse. I don’t know where I was, who I was with, or what happened. I returned, after what I learned was a couple of months, was to find no one answering my calls at home or returning messages.” She laced her fingers together. “Eventually, I learned that the six that were still at home were divided between relatives, sent off to boarding school or left for university.”

When she mentioned one of the children going off to university, he smiled thoughtfully. “How many off to school?”

“One is off to university, but she is seventeen.” She was careful not to mention names. One never knew what ears were listening outside or who had planted what bugs. The confessional should have been a place of sanctuary, but paranoia had grown in Colleen’s mind after receiving all those photos of what should have been known only to her and, in some cases, Darien. She had not seen any signs of the man that had taken her hostage, but when the dead started rising with the Nexus fluxes, she had kept a weather eye out. “She’s the oldest of them.”

“Is she eldest of your children or of those that were home before …”

“The eldest of those that were still living at home. Four daughters, two sons. One of the boys is with his father’s people, the other has taken on a job and is continuing his studies. Another girl is in boarding school. One of my married daughters helped with the arrangements for them. Another and her husband took on the guardianship of the two youngest.”

“Did any of those things go against your wishes?”

“With the exception of the youngest pair, the plans I had were simply moved forward. The girls going to school were to start school in the autumn. I ... I suppose my daughter thought it best to follow through on them and go ahead of schedule. Perhaps she thought school would be a happier disruption for them than coping with their mother and stepfather going to parts unknown.” She smiled a bit. “I did not raise my children to be completely dependent on others and I taught them to think for themselves.”

He couldn’t help but note her careful wording. “It is a parent’s duty to raise their children to make their way in the world, is it not?”

“It is indeed. I have written a will and instructions for certain other circumstances.” She inhaled, slowly.

“You had no plans for the youngest pair, then?”

“I did, yes, but they were provisions to be implemented only if their father, my husband, was unable to care for them.” A ticking clock, a watch on the priest’s wrist suddenly caught her attention. It echoed in her sensitive ears. “You see, that’s how I figured he was gone, too. Given the choice of the daughters of mine that took charge, he would have gone to the elder not the younger if our shared daughters were in need of something he could not provide.”
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Forgive me, child, but it sounds like all was done according to your desires. What is amiss?”

A humorless chuckle escaped the redhead’s lips. “Isn’t it odd how that word sounds so much like a mess?”

“I’ve never given it much thought.”

“I imagine priests have more important issues to concentrate on.”

“Hmm, well we do offer counsel to many about many things.” He stopped as he realized that she had slowly become the one in control of the discussion and not him. The unspoken question still hung in the air … Exactly why is she here?

“I’d like to know how the Church sees certain things. For instance, what about changes made because of rifts in time or the Nexus shifting?”

In all his years serving as the parish priest, he’d never been asked that before. “Can you be more specific?”

“Well, supposin’,” she’d held her accent in check until that moment, “that someone is tossed backward in time and does something that changes the future which is actually their present?”

“You mean a Butterfly Effect?”

“Some people call it that, but the story is actually called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ Let me see me if I can explain better.” Until now, she had had two answers. “Supposin’ someone was rescued from what would’ve been certain death, but at some point, someone goes back to ‘n’ does somethin’ to make sure they don’t get rescued. Is that truly murder?”

He remained silent. For the first time in years, he was dumbfounded by what he assumed to be a hypothetical situation. He was far from prepared for what came next.

“What if … it is you that initiates the change and your own life that ends? Is that suicide?”

Deafening silence fell within the confessional and the light rain that was falling when Colleen arrived had become a thunderstorm.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lightning flashed behind stained glass causing it to glow like daylight. A rainbow of colors glimmered on the floor and marble altar. Thunder continued to rumble outside.

“To purposefully take a life is a sin.” He paused a moment. “The church teaches that murder is the willful ending of a life and it generally without thought of remorse or consequences. A death that results from defending one’s life would not be called murder. It would be what the law would call mitigating circumstances.”

“The commandment does not say ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ It says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Unlike the law of men, there are no mitigating circumstances, yet, men have gone off to war to kill in the name of a God that will punish them for killing. There is a logic flaw there, Father, that is likely to come back to haunt those of your faith when they do enter their afterlife. That is the danger of allowing free will and setting out temptations.”

“That is one way of explaining things, but it is not necessarily how all my fellow clergymen would.”

She had asked about murder and suicide. Given the answers he had provided, she pressed forward and touched on yet another delicate subject. “And what of a life that is prevented from drawing breath? How does your church see that?”

“As with other circumstances, to end a life carried in the womb is a murder. Surely, you know this.”

Blue-green eyes shuttered closed as she spoke softly. “Your Christ taught love and forgiveness, but your God is filled with wrathful vengeance. While you will tell me that he is God and will do as he likes, the words supposedly delivered by him were the example followed when it was decided who was murdering in righteousness and who was not. What your Bible teaches in its Old Testament amounts to killing in the name of God being righteous. There are contradictions all over.” Her boots heels scratched the floor as she got to her feet.

“You came here with a desire to confess sins, but have only questioned what you already knew to be according to our mother, the Church..”

“When I arrived here, I had two solutions in my mind to ease my worries. Now, I have a third. Perhaps, a fourth.”

“I hope you will find the right path.”

“According to your words and teachings, Father. One pathway leads to suicide, a second to murder, a third to both, and a fourth … to nothing.” Before he could respond, she left the confessional, exited the church, and stood outside in the cooling rain.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She smoothed down the back of the cape and settled on a bench in a curbside shelter that had been built for those waiting on various forms of transportation. The rain had begun to fall in sheets. She questioned whether it was an act of nature or an unconscious action of her own. Collie had never really given much thought to the fact that is rained when she was unhappy. She wasn’t just unhappy, she was questioning her sanity and walking a fine line down a path to self destruction.

A man’s voice uttered a single word, Margaríti̱s. As she looked around for the source, she realized it was not coming from a person. It was echoing through the falling rain and whispering into her thoughts. “I’m going home,” was her quiet reply, “I already have many of my answers.” Her heart still heavy, she walked down Church St., turned a corner, and, with the aid of a travel stone, disappeared.

Morning would find her penning a letter to the youngest pair of her daughters.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She had to stop several times before finishing the letter, sealing it, and addressing it to Abby and Madison. She cut her finger and allowed the blood to drip into the sealing wax. Words were spoken and magic cast, the letter would remain sealed until they were ready to know what was inside.

Colleen took a long drink from the glass of chablis on her desk and began a second letter with … To my beloved husband. The words that followed, much like another letter she had written, came from a heart that was raw and laid bare. Since her return, they had avoided each other. She found herself wondering if he had fit any of the pieces together as she had. There were two letters written to him; one that was left in her desk and another to be secreted away like the one for their daughters. Colleen was preparing for the worst case scenario. It was how she dealt with life.

The last letter she wrote was addressed to Rhiannon at the Garden Tower and began: To my dear daughter, Rhiannon.

Once the letter to Rhi was completed, Colleen began to pen an entry in her journal.

I was warned years ago of the dangers of time travel. Unintended changes happen. I realize that Kirin’s intentions had been good, but was warning me of what happened to her the best thing for me? If she had let things go as they were, my life would be different now. I would likely not have Mir and Diana would have been the youngest when I met Darien.

There are several ways that things might change if I take the steps and go back on my own. The main question on my mind is whether or not I have the right to change Darien’s life in such a way that he forgets all or part of our life together. Given the memory issues that occurred upon my return, will I even know what I am supposed to be doing? I can’t really remember what happened between the time I was on those penthouse steps and when I woke up in Italy. There are flashes, but they are far from clear ones. Like him walking away in silence, bags in hand.

There is always the chance that whatever I do might heal the rift between us, but it’s not likely. There are two things I have always tried to hold onto to; the love of my family and hope. The latter has been fading with regard to a reconciliation with Darien.

If I go back, or maybe I should say when, the outcomes I expect might cause me to end up as company to Hades or to cross the bridge into the land of youth. The best thing I can hope for is that I will be in his memory as nothing more than a friend and that I shall forget I had ever fallen in love with him. Two other paths end up with death, sure and certain. It would be murder and or suicide as I told the priest. If I end up in the warehouse, with knowledge of what was, it will effectively be suicide. However, it will free Darien of what has become a painful life for him. Our daughters will be able to live a normal life outside of Eregor’s Tower. Then there is that fateful winter night, mother and children gone in one fell swoop. While the girls would be safe inside the tower, their father would not know. There are likely other ways, but those are the ones I know and can focus on. The strongest desire will be the one that wins.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Life in the Garden Tower had been very busy of late. Rhiannon was still teaching and taking part in various community projects. Running after her little sisters took its toll at times. Neither she nor Eregor minded that.

She looked over her mother’s letter and the following stood out: The strongest desire will be the one that wins. “Oh, Mama,” Rhi said ruefully as she shook her head, “I hope you know what you’re doing.” She got her sisters and nieces settled in with some books and toys before she was able to fully read the letter.

To my dear daughter, Rhiannon,

Long ago, when you were about the age of the sisters now in your care, the father that gave you your life left us all. As I’m sure you know, it was a difficult time for me. Some part of me regrets taking you along to that cabin where you probably heard the mess I became once the door to the bedroom was closed. Despite that, I would do that again as it was where you first discovered that you could hear the thoughts of eagles and sing with crickets and nightingales.

I charge you and Eregor with the care of Abby and Madison until my return and if I do not. They need what I cannot be or give right now. I know that after all this time you might find it hard to believe that your mother has forgotten who and what she is. I need to find out what happened and why.

The same year that I met Darien, I suffered a loss of memory. I’m sure that you recall it as your sisters and I went to offer aid to Kirin’s children. I suffer from a similar loss at present. I wish I could unlock the memory of what happened this past January. I recall being on the steps of Darien’s old penthouse. ( I suspect that’s where he’s been staying, but I have stayed clear of New Haven unless I am visiting your sister.) I don’t know what happened there that my mind refuses to accept, but whatever it was, I need to know or my mind might never be whole again. What was it that I heard or saw that I, who have seen the carnage of centuries of warfare and the delicate forms of the newly born covered with birthing blood, could not cope?

I have been tempted so many times to see if the key he had given me to the penthouse still fits and opens the lock. I put the key into a safe place and try to pretend that it is lost. You see, I simply could not bear to find him with someone else. If I found signs of another woman having been there, it would give truth to what I now suspect had been a lie or, perhaps, something else altogether. Either way, it would kill the last shred of hope. I cannot help but wonder if I had been with two different men in Galway and both of them were Darien.


Rhi looked up from the letter and dragged her hands down her face.There had been reports of doppelgangers of people that worked for The Rhydin Post, so why not one of Darien Fenner? “Damn it,” she muttered. Rhiannon considered a few possibilities. If her mother couldn’t tell them apart, then just which Darien Fenner was it that was roaming around New Haven? The Darien Fenner that Rhiannon knew never would have disappointed Maggie let alone not even ask after his daughters. Was that why her mother couldn’t get past the memory block? Rhi frowned and rubbed her temples with her fingertips as she lost herself in what ifs. It was half an hour and a glass of wine later when Rhiannon got back to reading.

With the well-being of your brothers and sisters attended to, I leave you with a set of addressed letters. You will know when the time is right to allow the reading of Abby and Madison’s. Should you be asked, there is a letter for Darien in my desk drawer at the house. He should not be given the one in your charge until this is done.

Being wed to a man that had been a guardian of time, you know there are many doorways to what was, what could have been, and what might be. I suspect our lovely Pearl knows and has seen some of these possibilities as she becomes tightlipped when the subject of what might be for Darien and me comes up. When I look at you, sometimes, I still see the gangly ten year old climbing up on Star’s back to go camping on your own or the three year old that was wide eyed with wonder to hear the voices of eagles and understand them. When I look at Pearl, I see the twinkle from eight year old Maggie’s eyes and hear the giggling of the six year old that Pearl once was. I long ago accepted these things, but understand why some people cannot. It’s much like why I understand how Darien cannot seem to fathom that Abby and Madison might be magically adept.


Rhi snorted. “More likely are than might be.”

I’m going away for a while to get some perspective. There are several ways for this to go. Not all of them are good endings. The strongest desire will be the one that wins. If the girls are suddenly gone from your care, that means that I no longer survive and they are with Darien. I think you know what changed. They will live. Perhaps, a life without their mother, is better than not having been the proverbial twinkle in the eye or waited upon and never having drawn breath.

Always remember, a mother’s love transcends death.

All my love,

Mama


The letter had been accompanied by a list of contacts and places.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was no point in trying to talk her out of it. Once Colleen had her mind set on something, she was like a dog that had claimed a bone. It was not her mind that was troubled, it was her heart. She had built walls around herself again. The easy and, sometimes, flirtatious laughter that was once heard so often, had become rare and, at times, forced. Cooking still gave her solace and, as she told Scottie, it kept her out of mischief when visiting one of her old haunts, Red Dragon Inn. It had been hard to socialize. People often asked questions that she didn’t want to answer or, worse, had answers to contradict those she wanted to give. It had happened at least once before. She still wondered if Riley had known how mortifying it was to publicly learn that Darien had been nearby and never even asked after the girls. That was one of the things that been used by her captor as he slowly tortured her. What Randy Vickers never truly understood was that easier to break her body and shatter her heart than bend a will that had been forged with iron. There was a twist of irony there, most fae creatures were allergic to cold iron. Because of who she had once been, Colleen and her descendants had escaped that curse.

As she waited for the shuttle to take her back to her homeland, she kept looking toward the entryway. The romantic in her pictured Darien rushing in to stop her. The cold hard reality was, he probably wouldn’t even know she was leaving. The odds were that Colleen would never see Darien Fenner again.

Paperwork had been put in order. Rachael would know what to do. She’d been the family’s lawyer since she’d returned to Rhydin. Collieen had written two similar letters to Darien. One that had been left in Rhiannon’s care would explain everything after the fact. By then, it would be too late to stop her. She expected that the letter in her desk would disappear if she was successful in changing things. Much like George Bailey wouldn’t have been there to save his brother, Harry, Collie would not have been there to write that letter.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The old house was quiet as Pearl walked toward it. Some might have said that she was far too young for the responsibility that had been placed on her shoulders. Or would be if her grandmother’s plans ended with a tragedy. While her uncle, Ian, was to inherit the bulk of the estate lands, Pearl was to get to know the house and its eccentricities. She could hear its voices in whispered sighs, quiet cries, and echoes of laughter. Within its walls, she could see images of past, present, and future.

Her grandmother had never mentioned being able to hear or see those things. Perhaps, she couldn’t. Was it possible that Colleen had grown so used to the sights and sounds of what had been or could be that that she purposefully feigned ignorance? Or was it that whatever had happened over the few months that she had been missing and out of communication had made her blind and deaf to the spectral visitors?

Pearl paused in the front hall and was confronted with what might have been. It was going to be a long day …
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whisper of silk rustling filled her ears as she stood in the foyer at the foot of the stairs. Her golden eyes closed and Pearl heard her own voice along with her younger sister’s laughter ringing in the halls.

“Come on, Catie! Let’s play! Don’t be pokey, now!”

Laughter and cries of other children filled her ears.

“The horsie’s name is Star, Mama! She telled me so!”

Chores first, play later! And wash up for dinner, we don’t have a mud bath in the dining room! Mom will tan our hides if we do!

Pearl was unsure if she was seeing the possibilities or the results her grandmother’s travels. Echoes of what might have been and what yet might be wandered the halls. Listening to the voices that drifted from each room, the young woman gained understanding as to why this task fell to her. She grew up with the ability to see into the world of the dead. Spending so much time in Eregor’s Tower had allowed her to open her mind to other things, other times and possibilities. While this seemed to be a limitless gift, it was, in fact, finite. She avoided looking for answers about her own life. In childhood, she had one glimpse in dream of who she would become; that had been enough.

When she exited Colleen’s private office, Pearl held a journal that was written in the hand of Kirin Lexington. Kirin was an older aspect of Colleen. The journal had been left behind with the following inscription, “For my Clover, when you are old enough to understand.” There was mention of an artifact, a mirror. “Really, Gran,” Pearl muttered, “magic mirrors? Next thing you know, we’ll be talking about wicked stepmothers and poisoned apples.”

It was the quiet sobbing that came from her grandmother’s room that drew her attention to that part of the house. Taking a breath, she opened the doors and made her way inside. The room normally had a cheery air about it, but this time a gust of chilly wind with a stepped on someone’s grave feel to it nearly bowled the young woman over. Was the house dying in some way? Pearl realized the cries had started the moment she mentioned her grandmother. “I can’t help you if don’t make yourself known. Come home, Gran, come home.”
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her grandmother didn’t appear, but as Pearl checked the room, she heard the whisper of rustling silk again. “I know you’re here,” this time her voice had a commanding tone, “which of them are you?”

“You know of us then?” A voice answered from the darkness.

“Of course I know. I share many of her dreams and nightmares. I am from what was and might be again. While well intended the lot of you are part of why she’s in the state she is in now. You are why her mind is fragmented.”

“No, child, we are not. We are here to show her what might have been. Did you expect her to not choose what would keep her children alive if not herself?” As she came into the light, Morrigan blinked owlishly. “I was supposed to be gone by now, so were the others. Something went wrong.”

“There are more than three of you here now. Has she seen them, too?”

“At least two more,” Morrigan said as she moved toward the French doors that lead into the private garden. “Only one has been able to get through. “

“Yes, I know. She’s visited in dreams. I’ve seen her.”

“I would wager the little one has seen her as well.” She gestured toward Pearl with slender fingers.

“You mean Maggie?”

Morrigan nodded. “Yes, your younger self.”

“The last, who is she? What does she represent?”

“She represents what your grandmother has always hoped for and never achieved.”

Pearl was silent for a few moments as she considered those words. “She said she was cursed to … “

Morrigan nodded. “Go on, child. Don’t allow her fear to hold you captive.”

“To always find joy in motherhood, but never in love,” Pearl murmured.

“Did she ever tell you about the gypsy who contradicted that prophecy?” Morrgian asked as she studied the young woman in front of her.

“No,” Pearl murmured as she shook her head.

“She was told that she would love many times, but toward the end of her lifetime, she would find someone that would make all those years of being alone worth it.”

“Are you telling me that she’s afraid because she’s not ready to meet death?”

“No, Mairead,” Morrigan’s head shook once.

“I go by Pearl now.” She smiled slightly.

“No matter the language, child, it is still your name.” Morrigan stretched out her hand to brush her fingers over Pearl’s cheek.

“What does it mean then?” She frowned, her eyes showed her sadness and, perhaps, a touch of fear.

“It could mean many things. However, she knows it’s possible. That might be why she’s frightened, she doesn’t think she has or will find it.”

“How does she …” Pearl smiled warmly as a memory from her childhood awakened in her mind. “Of course, Kirin’s knight.” Suddenly, she shook her head. “I only met him once. He’s a large man,” she made a gesture, drawing her hands apart, to illustrate just how broad-shouldered the man was, “very kind. We played a game called Goose with him and his friend.”

“I remember them well,” said Morrigan. “The knight’s name was Will. He was indeed put together very well.” A twinkle lit her eyes as she recalled the man. “Alas, he was Kirin’s and his friend, Kai, a real charmer, was married."

“Kirin had the fairy tale,” Pearl murmured.

“Not exactly,” Morrigan said with a shake of her head.

“She married a knight. Isn’t that a dream some girls have?”

“Some women do, some girls do, but simply marrying a knight doesn’t mean life becomes a fairy tale.”

“Go on.”

“They had difficulties, but in the end they worked them out.”

“The story I heard was that he carried her off on horseback.”

“He did indeed.”

“What was so special about him?”

Morrigan chuckled. “You mean you don’t know?”

“People have different opinions, Ma… Pearl.”

“I’m asking for yours.”

“He was everything she had ever searched for, hoped for, and dreamed of.” Morrigan’s expression became thoughtful as she got lost in reverie.

Pearl, too, became silent as she recalled a bit of advice that had been bestowed on most of her grandmother's descendants. If someone truly loves you, they will accept you as you are. They will not ask you to change or compromise the person you are to suit their needs or desires. Nor should you ask it of them. She left Morrigan to her thoughts and went to the house’s library. It was there that she realized the best place to look for any sort of message from her grandmother was to search her office. Something had to be there.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pearl paused just inside the door of Colleen’s office. “You told me to search the house,” she murmured. “I’m not even sure what I’m looking for, Gran. What message did you leave? I feel lost.” Her eyes closed as she listened to the questions that spun in her mind.

It wasn’t her own voice that she heard asking, What holds you here?

The answering, however, it was up to her. My family. Their love for me.

No, child. Who holds you here? Who is your anchor.

Image of things as simple as dancing with someone to some of the most difficult things she had ever faced passed through her mind like a slideshow carousel. Velen is my anchor. He has always understood who and what I am. He’s been the one holding onto me while I walked through storms and, when I have needed him to be, he has been my shelter.

What would you do if you lost him?

Her hands closed on the high back of the chair behind her grandmother’s desk. I would feel empty, like a big piece of me was missing. I would still be me. I would still breathe. I would still live, but the pain would not fade easily. Hearts do not heal easily. You know that, don’t you, she breathed, Maimeó?

Unfortunately, I know it all to well. I’m counting on you to help me. I have that emptiness in me because there are pieces missing. Can you help me find the answers, Seamair?

I’ll try. What is this mirror you mentioned?

You’ll know when the time comes. In the meantime, you have all the answers you need in front of you.

As the voice faded, a breeze drifted through front window. The prismatic wind chimes that hung over Collie’s desk tinkled. It was then Pearl took notice of the rainbow pattern they cast on the blotter and remembered.
-------------------------------------------------- -------
Summer 2011

Collie lifted Maggie up unto her lap. “So, ya want ta know how things work around here, do ya?”

Maggie, all of five years old, looked curiously at the collection of items on her grandmother’s desk. “I sure do! You never know when you might need a helper!”

“Well, alright then, but ya half ta promise never ta tell anyone the secret I’m goin’ ta share wit’ ya.”

“My ears are opened, my mouth is closed!” Maggie gave Colleen a cheeky smile.

“Do ya know what a prism is?”

Maggie nodded.

Collie chuckled huskily. “ ‘tis alright ta answer me, Maggie.”

“It’s a rainbow maker!” Maggie said with a joyful smile on her face.

“I like that answer.” Colleen smiled as she tilted her head upward. “See the windchime up there?”

“It’s got crystal things.” Maggie peered at the desk blotter and got wide eyed as she realized that there were sparkling rainbows on the paper.

She tipped her head to whisper to Maggie, “Find the special ones. You’ll know.”

Maggie studied the colorful patterns until something began to take shape. “I see her,” she whispered as she pointed out one figure.

“Good girl, can ya find t’other?”

Maggie’s forehead furrowed as she studied the patterns again. “Right there,” she murmured as she pointed out the second, “he’s right there.”

“Now, this is is how it operates …”
---------------------------------------

The key was so simple, she should have figured it out on her own. Pearl looked not at the blotter, but at the other light refractions cast by the prisms. Across the front of Collie’s desk was a carved wooden pen holder and inkwell. The rainbow of colors completed the shapes of two rearing unicorns. Pearl pressed her thumbs against the carvings until she heard two clicking noises. The sounds were her cue that something had been unlocked.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She curled her fingers under the center drawer of the desk and pulled it toward herself. Pearl smiled slightly as she remembered each of her grandmother’s instructions. She pressed her long fingers into each corner of the large drawer. Each time, she heard the familiar clicking sound. Collie loved puzzles, so did her granddaughter. She had learned the secrets of this one years ago. As she gazed at the rainbows of light on the blotter again, she saw the shadow of two plants that hung in the large office window. Gynura aurantiaca sarmentosa, Pearl grinned as she recalled the name of one. The recently watered soil would provide just enough moisture for the next step. She pressed her thumbs into the dampened earth. Pearl closed her eyes and moved her thumbs along the underside of the mahogany desktop. When she found two small depressions, she rolled her thumbs inside them.

The moisture opened the last of the puzzle locks to reveal a pair of compartments. One contained a set of letters and the second held the most recent volume of her grandmother’s journals.

Summer 2011

Collie pulled the journal from its hiding place. Her right arm was wrapped around Maggie’s waist as she jotted down the date with her left hand. In the book, she wrote down something else.

“What’s that mean, Gran?” Maggie peered at the strange looking words in the journal.

“It’s a code of sorts, Mairead,” Collie said as she kissed her granddaughter’s temple.

“Ohh..” Maggie nodded sagely. “So nobody knows what it says, but you?”

“I suppose the anyone who can figure it out would know, but those people are few and far between.”

Maggie tipped her head. “Well, why you showing me all of this?”

“Someday, mavourneen, ya might need ta know.”

“Why not Mama or Aunt Rhi?” The girl’s dark brows furrowed.

Collie considered that question a moment before answering, “Because you have a gift for puzzles and ciphers.”

“A cipher is just another kind of puzzle, Gran. Like the big rock in the museum in London.”

Collie couldn’t help but smile. “Which rock is that?”

“Gran, you knowed the one! The big one that Mama and Da showed me in the big museum where they got stuff from allllllllllllll over the place!”

“What’s on the rock?”

Maggie sighed and looked up at the ceiling as if to say, Why, me? “Words and pictures! Greek and Latin words and those pictures from the ‘gypt-shun tombs!”

“They’re called hieroglyphs.”

“Hero glyphs?” Maggie’s brow arched.

“No, hi-ro glyphs.”

“Right. Anyway, I know what they are!”

“The stone is called the Rosetta Stone.”

“So… what you’re sayin’ is that book you got has somethin’ to do with that big stone?”

Collie grinned as she tapped Maggie’s nose with a fingertip. “Now, my little clover, you are catching on.”
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Rosetta Stone had indeed been a clue, it took Pearl some time to figure out the connection. Three languages at least, that’s how her grandmother recorded the day to day events of her life. As a child, she hadn't made that puzzle piece fit. As a pre-teen, however, she was given full access to several libraries. Her gift for understanding multiple languages blossomed during that time. Pearl would be able to read much of what her grandmother had written, at least she hoped she would. The ancient form of Irish was not hard for Pearl to wrap her brain around. She’d grown up with a more modern form of it.

Colleen MacLeod-Fenner, despite a bit of a reputation for talking people’s ears off, knew how to hide things as easily as she knew how to reveal them. Her theory was that when one seemed open about their life, people are less likely to go digging about for things one didn’t want found. The secrets of others were not hers to tell. That was something each of her children had learned at an early age.

Pearl sifted through the small stack of letters. They were addressed to several people including the youngest of her aunts, their father, and her own mother. Her jaw tightened when she saw an envelope with her Aunt Rachael’s legal office as the return address. She knew what was in there, the document that no one in her family wanted to read. Not because they thought family matriarch would not be generous in her bequests, but receiving them meant that she had passed on. Being able to communicate with the spirits of the dead was a mixed blessing at best. Given what she was able to piece together, so far, Pearl was hoping not to the encounter anymore ghostly visages that day.

When she opened the journal, she found the following letter, written in carefully scripted letters of an ancient Greek dialect:

My dearest Mairead,

I always knew that, one day, you would understand. This place, the house, will be yours when I am gone. Your Uncle Ian has a great love for the land and most of it will be his one day. While some might argue that your Uncle Rick has the better claim to both, I have never concerned myself with basing what children should have on the marital status of their parents.


Pearl smiled thoughtfully as she read the note. “The house here or the one in Ireland?” she murmured to herself.

There is another path for Rick that is yet to be revealed.

If you have come this far then the odds are you already have unraveled the mystery of the Rosetta Stone that I presented to you when you were five. Your younger self is on the pathway to learning what you already know. I hope you both use this information wisely. I know not what was when you came from or if I still lived. While the past can change the future, do those that have seen the future have a right or a duty to reshape the past for what they believe to be the best outcome? Kirin did this for me once, she stopped me from meeting someone and it changed my life.

Because I have not seen the other roads that might have been taken, I don’t know what else I might have done. You will find what you need to know in my own words and hand. You may know of other choices, but I do not and must act accordingly.

Love,

Gran


Pearl tucked the letters back into their hiding place. Despite her curiosity about them, the contents of the envelopes were not meant for her eyes. Once the drawer was closed, she took Colleen’s journal and went into the front parlor. The setting sun filtered through the curtains. Summer was fading, autumn would soon be upon them. Pearl reclined on the settee that faced the fireplace and draped a coverlet over her legs as she began to read.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Journal of Colleen Macleod-Fenner - Mid- Summer 2014

The days grow longer and thunderstorms come more often. I cannot help it, the tears won’t fall, so the rains do. Without the children here, the house feels cold, lifeless, and lonely. For now, they are all better off away from me. It is the curse of being empathic. I cannot hide it from them all the time. It is difficult at best to mask it on my daily jaunts to see Abby and Madison. I ache to have them here at home with me, but we are heeding the warnings of Atropos. Until I know just how to change what has endangered them, I must entrust their safety to Rhi and Eregor.

I am returning to Earth for a time. I need to find my bearings in my homeland. I might brave Italy, but not alone. Rachael is attending school in London. While she has chosen to attend summer classes, she will have a few weeks off. Perhaps, she will be willing to accompany me.

Rhiannon has seen Darien in town. She won’t speak of what was said. She did say that he didn’t look like himself. I know my daughter, she was hiding something, but I did not press her for the details. She did say that she informed him of the twins whereabouts and suggested that he go see them. It is fairly clear that we are both in a limbo of sorts. Had I remained alone as I had promised myself, I would still be raising my children. Except, of course, for Abby and Madison, who likely would not have been born. Would it be better for their father if he and I had never been? Or to be precise, had never been more than friends? I have no answers for those questions. I have only more questions, most of them beginning with “What if?”

“What if?” I ask myself that time after time, but I can only find three answers. According to a priest in Old Temple, allowing a death to happen is contributing to murder or suicide. I dare not discuss this with the children or grandchildren that stepped backward in time to find their way here. Pearl and Velen, especially, who have apparently spent a great deal of time in Eregor’s tower, might have other answers. However, I have to decide this on my own. Or at least, offer the choices I know about.

The so-called happy ending has never been meant for me. Perhaps, however, I can change things to give him a different outcome. A chance for a better life, a clean slate of sorts. I plan to return in time for his birthday to present him with a gift.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pearl felt light headed as she continued to read more about things that had plagued her grandmother since her last birthday. The journal was returned to its resting place. She debated whether or not to share her concerns with Velen. She knew she would share her thoughts, but not her grandmother’s words. As to what all either of them knew that could help or hinder, she knew that no matter what they talked about that, in the end, Colleen would have to make her own choices as would Darien.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True to her word, Colleen had returned in plenty of time for Darien’s birthday and to see Maggie star in Annie at the Shanachie Theater. This time, she returned knowing where all her children had been. Darien’s dog had been placed in the care of Collie’s housekeeper, Victoria. She suddenly found herself wondering what would happen to the dog once a choice was made.

Arrangements had been made via a private courier for a delivery to be made at the Rhydin Post to Darien Fenner on the morning of 8 September. It was a bottle of forty year old Jameson Irish Whiskey decorated with indigo ribbons and a silver koala tie tack pinned to the center of the bow. There was a note that read: Forty for forty, a day early. Love, A & M. Providing he wasn’t there to accept the package, the courier was to leave it at the penthouse. If Collie remembered correctly, Monday was one of the days when the cleaning lady did her rounds.
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