I knew not how long I drifted in and out of deep slumber disturbed by scattered memories and dreams. When I finally came to, I woke to find John still by my side looking haggard and exhausted. I opened my eyes to stare up at him, reached my hand up to stroke his weary face and I saw a crystal drop of tear in the corner of his eye? I tried to speak but my words were faint and raspy. He leaned close and put a finger to my lips to hush me, “Shhhhh don’t try to speak yet, just smile and let me know that you are here with me now and won’t fade away again to that place of unknown where I can not reach you!”
His words confused me but I felt better for hearing his voice clearly? During my sleep, I had kept hearing his voice faintly, from a distance in some sort of fog? I had tried to reach him in my dreams but the mists and clouds kept me searching through the endless images passing around me. Now, I blinked back my own tears and smiled softly to assure him I was awake.
He held me closely and breathed a kiss upon my forehead as he spoke, “ Thank the stars and the Gods above! I thought you would be lost to us forever?” When I looked up at him, puzzled, he continued, “Eleanor, you have been quite ill, near death in fact for many days!”
I was still so weak that all I could do was curl myself within his arms, squeeze his hand and offer my own whispered prayers of gratitude to God for allowing me to survive whatever had brought me so near to death.
It was many more days before I was well enough to even sit up in bed for a length of time and understand what had caused my condition? John was ever by my side and had to be forcefully removed to take his own much needed rest. His friend, Judith stayed with me and so patiently and slowly explained things to me. I will be forever grateful to her kindness and her friendship to me! John was so overwraught with his own emotions that he had great difficulty explaining things that my troubled mind had failed to grasp, connect or piece together.
Judith seemed to understand this and slowly filled in the blanks that she was able to at a pace that I could accept. I was finding it hard decipher large amounts of needed information at one time.
The first thing Judith quickly grasped was that I was not aware of how much time had passed between that first blaze of fire surrounding me and my next moments of memory. I thought it had all happened at once? Judith explained that we had been in this present time period for some weeks before that! She told me that I had been suffering from some sort of disturbances for awhile. When I asked her what kind? She thoughtfully replied, “You were here with us, but not? You would often be taken by some kind of trance, where your mind seemed to be elsewhere? Like you were daydreaming or not paying attention to what was going on around you?” She struggled with an explanation that I could understand. “Sometimes, it would be only a few seconds, other times long minutes of us trying to get your attention? When we finally did, you would react as though startled and you would look around as if you weren’t sure where you were?”
She asked me cautiously, “Do you remember any of this?” I shook my head and replied sadly, “No, nothing… I know nothing of the past few month, I guess?”
She hugged me gently, “Well, never mind about it now… Don’t worry about that, just concentrate on getting your strength back and recovering! Now that we know what caused your illness, you are on the way to getting well!”
At one point, I suddenly had a worried concern, a moment of sheer panic, “What about the girls! Where are the young ladies who were in my charge, my care?!” My panic was whether they had been lost somewhere in the time slips! They were my responbility, my duty to look after and keep safe! I was overwhelmed with fear and the thought of having lost them? Well, not so much Mary… but the two young ones, Elizabeth and Jane… I could feel my heart wrenching at what might become of them!
Judith hushed me and stilled my fears, “The ladies, all three are fine, being seen to my your excellent maid, Penny!” Judith seemed to share my secret opinion of Mary? She added her comment, “Well, Jane and Elizabeth are fine… I’m not really sure if Mary ever was quite fine to start with!” She shrugged and nodded her head, “That one, Mary seems to have a lot of unresolved personal issues!” She made another mumbled comment about understanding how that might be due to her Father then uttered a thought of maybe there was hope for Elizabeth and Jane yet? After a pause, she returned her attention to me, “Don’t worry yourself about them for now, Penny has them firmly in hand and they seem to be adjusting quite well to this new time and place?” She added, “They are anxious to see you as soon as you’re well enough! They’ve been so worried about you!”
Over the next few days, I learned that my illness was related to the rapid transformation of my body from human to fairie? This transformation was as unsettling to me as the time slips? Probably even more so! The only thing more unsettling to me was John’s transformation to Vampyre! It all went against my entire raising and my beliefs instilled in me from my earliest years in a time when such things were hidden away and never spoken of aloud? A time when such beings were considered demons and abonimations… A time when these creatures, if discovered would have been burned at the stake! I remembered my fears of being accused as witch or worse? How did one reconcile oneself to their system of beliefs being stripped away and replaced… My mind had such difficulty trying to grasp all of this, understand it and somehow accept it? I did not know if I could… but, if I could not come to terms with it then how should I survive? This was not something I could hide away in a seperate compartment of my mind, something I could deny existance of as in the case of the time slips, which I so often denied and shut away, tried to pretend to myself that they were natural events…
Judith kept assuring me that given time to get used it, I would adjust to it and be the better for it? I tried to hold to those thoughts in every moment of panic that I encountered.
John finally returned to me, well rested and much calmer. I was glad to have him near, but fearful in some ways of his transformation. I knew little of Vampyres, and what I did know was dark and fearful? I remembered stories of them and…. I also remembered a hidden fear I had for that smallest child of Marie DeJewel’s? Little Marguirite, who as she grew in her childhood had a strangeness, a malady that no one would speak of outright? There were hushed whispers about her and how she must be a changeling child…or a vampyre? I had worried so about her health and thought her so sickly that she would die and I would be laid responbile? In the end, as far as I knew though, she seemed to thrive happily in her new home with her Father, Francois DeFrance? Even after the birth of their son, Francois and Isabel DeFrance had showered her with love and affection. She was well loved and no one ever spoke of her odd malady.
John sensed my fears and did his best to ease them. He discounted the myths and explained to me that the Vampyre bloodline was ancient, much as Witches’ and Fairies’ . The fear was all in the unknown, and assuming the worst of that which one did not know or understand? He very patiently told me, “Eleanor, the key to underanding and accepting all of this is in the learning and knowing of all the things which people tried to keep secret and hidden away? You must allow your mind to be open to all of this, else you will never be whole!”