She stood finally and motioned him to follow her out of the room. They went downstairs back to the chapel where she lit candles to shed a soft glow over the altar. She had a suggestion for him. “Tis early in the night… the child will sleep the night through and I will watch over her.” she gave him a thoughtful look and a lilting light smile. “You have been gone but only a few days in your counting, but in one other’s countings, I think she has been waiting for some long centuries for you to return to her… Go now and find your woman, she remains in her hidden home nearby. Go and spend the night with her and your son.”
Adrian was taken by awed surprise with her news of a son. He could not fathom such an event. He had left her so quickly and so recently… and now to be told he had a son waiting as well, one that had grown possibly into manhood never knowing of him. He could only pray that the witch and vampyre blood in his son’s veins caused him to age so slowly as the rest of them. Of course it must be so, else he would be long dead by now! He reached his ancient home in the deepest depths of night, to find his Melusine waiting at the window with a candle as she had done every night for centuries. She had sensed his coming, but still flew to him and wept with joy as she wrapped arms around him. “Acchhh, Well, tis about fine time you showed up at last!” she chided him as she showered him with fiery kisses.
When finally they parted from each other, she called out to a much irritated sleeping maid, “Gwenna, go and fetch Julian, bring him down here at once and tell him his Father is here!”
While they waited for Gwenna’s return, Adrian cautiosly told her what had happened, and that he must leave again come dawn. She nodded in understanding, she had known there might be difficulties with this.
Gwenna finally arrived with a small boy of about five in tow. He was half asleep and thought he must be dreaming when the man lifted him from his nurse’s arms and held him up in the air to look up at him in great awe and sheer joy. A blessing that Adrian had given up as ever coming to him and Melusine, this small wonder of a boy with such a guarded and serious look about him.
The time was short between them and the little boy eventually nodded off back to sleep held close in the arms of a Father he knew little of. Adrian and Melusine spoke quietly so as not to wake the boy. She admitted that when he left, she had not known of her condition. She had been so greived over his leaving that she had spent some time at Avalon with her sister Vivianne, assisting her to tend to Arthur’s recovery which took much time. She had realized her blessing and been as much stunned by it as he was now. Vivianne had insisted that she remain at Avalon in that mist of time for quite a long while. The boy had been born there and they had only recently returned here for a short visit, promising Vivianne that if he did not return while she was here, then she would go back to Avalon and wait for him. Adrian stroked her arm, reached over to kiss her and told her, “You must return then to Avalon for the time being. I must take her again through the time slip and I would not like to have my son full grown and dead in grave when I return. You must advise Arthur of this event and tell him of our next plan.” She kissed him back and nodded her agreement.”
Before the dawn, he returned to the Abbey where Sybilla was waiting for him with little Ainor awake and ready to leave. Sybilla had already seperated the cloth and wrapped the remaining piece around the child. The other portion was now locked away in a chest to await Sybilla’s next challenge… finding one worthy and capable of the care of this precious piece of linen. She blessed Adrian and Ainor on their journey, added her own weavings of protection about the child, just as she had spent a portion of the night stitching prayers into both of the pieces of cloth. Sybilla gave him one added warning of caution, “You must be certain to use only this one time slip. There are a great many others out there but none are stable as this one. This time slip seems to have the ability to take one whole and completely into the other space. The other slips that are more natural have a way of splitting you… some part of you remains on this plane whilst the other part of you is sent elsewhere. Do not ask of me to explain, for I do not understand either. All I understand is that some others have come back to find that they have not really left? When they return here, there have been accounts of them facing themself… It is then that great turbulence and storms take over as though something more greatly unnatural has occured and the forces of nature rebel. Tis best you take no chances, use only this one.”
Before they left, Sybilla mentioned a last thought to Adrian. “May this small bit of my life and my time be useful to you and ease your mind in all of this matter. The year now is 1122, my name is Sybilla de Normandy. My Father is Henry I of England, tis he who is waging war out there to keep his lands and his crown right now. My husband is Alexander I of Scotland. I know not of what will take place from here, only that I have some feeling that my husband’s and my time is short lived together. I came here in hopes that by giving my life to God, I could somehow change our path, our destiny… I have a guiding spirit leading me on my path, my husband’s saintly Mother, Margaret of Essex does watch over us. I know that all who rest here, such as that haunted spirit of this child’s Mother, are well watched over and protected. May you go in God’s light, and that of the Goddess as well.”
Her words made not much sense to him right now… he knew little to nothing of what was taking place in this time. He committed it to his memory though, as she said, it may help to guide him in the future… And he thought, when he arrived there, he would search for the resting place of this woman and lay flowers of respect and gratitude upon her, just as they had done for Guinivere.
He left her that day and returned briefly to his home and his wife before taking the next journey. Sybilla had asked of him to wait until evening to enter the slip. She needed a small amount of time to place the linen in the hands of one who could be trusted to pass it along where it should end up in the future. She did know of one woman whom she could trust in this matter, one who would keep the secrets to herself and do as needed to pass the chest and the linen along…
Her Father, Henry’s new wife, Adeliza of Louvain was a quiet and devout woman who would understand the importance of this prayer linen. Sybilla knew that if Adeliza had her choice, she would have given herself to her church rather than to her King. All that Sybilla should need to ask of Adeliza was that she find a way to pass this precious material on to worthy women who had some deep hidden belief in the ancient ways. Adeliza should look at this as a mission from their God to reach out to others who might face persecution.
Sybilla went that day to meet with Adeliza and convince her to take on this much private task. Adeliza was a friend with her, they both felt a deep inner calling to that spiritual realm which many others did not quite put so much true faith in. She had trusted Adeliza before with the secret of her occasional visions and her second sight, her vague glimpses into some future. Sybilla believed that God had gifted her thus for some reason, and that she should use her gifts wisely and with God’s council.
Adeliza had not condemned her, nor been repelled but rather became her supporter and her confidante in this difficult cross that was hers to bear. So, she sat with Adeliza and shared some of her recent visions. She told Adeliza that her step daughter, the Empress Matilda would return here one day and be in need of support. Adeliza must find a way to give it, and to pass on this ancient and blessed prayer linen to her. She advised Adeliza that the linen was not so much for Matilda, but for some women who would come after her. They would be in great need of it’s protection and would also know of what to do with it. It was more for Matilda to be custodian and care taker of until such a time came when it would be evident who should recieve it. When Adeliza had questioned for more, she had replied in some deference and regret. “I know of naught else, my Lady, I only know that it must go on to Matilda’s line. There will be a woman, of the name Eleanor who shall recieve it. You are the only one who can see to this. I would not ask it of you if God had not set it so. You will one day be close with Matilda, she will need you and you must be her friend as you have been mine in this life.”
She sat for a time with her friend, they spoke of common spiritual matters that interested them both and they prayed together for guidance. As she stood to take her leave, she hugged this gentle Queen and whispered, “You are a true and loyal friend to me. There will be dark times ahead for all of us but God will bless you and we shall someday walk together in his grace to do his work.”
Adeliza heeded her friend’s request and put in motion the journey of the mysterious linen. Some years later she had indeed handed over the chest and the linen to her step daughter in much secracy, at the same time that she swore her alliegances to that woman’s right to the crown of England. What ever else she might think of her step daughter, the woman remained a faithful friend as much as possible through a bloody battle for her son’s right to the crown. Matilda could be well trusted with the ancient relic. She had been entrusted with other ancient relics kept them safe. For some reason, she did realize the importance of the linen even though she knew well that it was not meant for her but for the future.
Sybilla de Normandy remained quietly in seclusion at her small Abbey. It was said that she died young at a place called Eilean nan Bannoamh: Isle of the Female saints. Her husband, King Alexander I of Scotland founded a Priory there in her name and marked her burial place as Dunfermline Abbey, Fife. What he had truly done was allow her wish to be set aside and left to follow her soul’s calling in this other place. It had been her foremost desire that he follow his own destiny and mayhaps find one who could give him an heir. His heart could not do this however, and though with her supposed death, he should have been free to wed another and sire a child… it was not meant to be. He died in 1124 and was succeeded by his brother David who would later support his niece, Matilda’s claims to the English crown. Sybilla did weep at her husband’s passing but maintained her isolated existance as the Abbess and guardian of this small ground and it’s much tortured spirit until her old age and her passing to that light. She made her journey to the light in 1151 at the same time as her much beloved friend, Adeliza. Though they died apart in different abbies, they walked into that light together.
Adrian’s next journey into that time slip landed them far into the future with as usual, another bloody battle taking place. As they arrived, he had surveyed the carnage going on and could only think to himself, “It never does seem to end.” This time he kept them out of sight and away from the fighting. He took a moment to focus on the linen wrapped around little Ainor and feel what it might be telling them. The child seemed on edge and picked nervously at the wrapping that seemed to tug and pull out from her of it’s own volition. He held Ainor closer and placed a bit of the cloth in his hand to feel where it would direct them. Strangely, it acted like one of those water witch sticks or, one of those navigating bits of iron that pointed direction on the seas. Through the darkest of the night, he followed it’s lead until daylight when Ainor began to stir in his arms and he knew they must find shelter to rest until they could more safely travel by cover of night. He traveled best by darkness and could not be out in much of this daylight without suffering serious consequences from it.
He set his thoughts to searching for some shelter, and hopefully for some other Vampyre faction who might aid him. His thoughts were answered, once again by his good friend, Eric who appeared out of nowhere with his usual grin. “Haaaa, and so we meet again my friend. What has taken you so long this time?”
Eric laughed and quickly led him to the safety of a small hunting cottage, where a young woman was waiting. The woman was not a vampyre, but she was quite lovely looking with her amber curls, her well endowed cleavage, and a pale creamy complexion. She smiled happily at Eric and kissed him soundly. Eric kissed her back and indulged in some fond handling of her curves before letting her go. “This is a friend of mine, Brenny…” He motioned for the woman to take little Ainor, “Brenny will care for the wee one whilst we rest. And, then after that we will see to getting you and her to safety.”
When Brenny took the child, she went to unwrap the linen hastily and both men jumped to admonish her. Eric told her, “Leave the shawl with her Brenny.” Brenny looked at them in some annoyance, “Accch, she must get down on the floor and stretch for a bit, and she must eat… she can not do such things wrapped up in this. I will put it up where tis safe from harm for now.” she shook her head at the men. “tis a sorry lot of care takers you two are. She is not an infant babe that must be swaddled in this blanket constantly. Tis not good for her, or for the cloth either… They both need a rest from each other for a time!” She turned her back on them and attended on Ainor with much fuss. “And, do you think I have not a brain in my head that I can not see the value of that cloth. Ahhhh be off with you both to sleep your day away. This child and I will be quite fine without you.”
The two men looked at each other in some mutual embarrassment. She was right of course, neither of them knew a whit really about tending a child. Poor Ainor, if she should have to be left in their care for very long.
Later that evening when they woke, they found a much content Ainor occupying herself with a basket of yarns and beads on a pallet near the fire. Brenny was sitting close by sewing upon something. Adrian looked closer and cringed in fear as he realized what it was she was stitiching upon. He flew forward to grab the linen out of her hands but she held tight as did the linen. She looked up at him with a knowing and stern stare, “Mind you not, I know exactly of what I am doing with this linen. I know well what is and of it’s importance and it’s power.”
Adrian stepped back and looked at her with some inner thought. He realized that he had misread her earlier that morning. Could his senses have been that affected by his exhaustion… She calmly answered his thoughts, “Nay, you did not know because I did not want you to until I should be sure I could trust you. Just because you are Vampyre, and a friend of Eric does not mean that I should trust you implicitely. That is how witches meet their ends in any time or place.”
Eric stood aside, he knew enough not to interfere in any arguement that Brenny should bring up when she set her mind about something. He just pulled Adrian over to the table, “Leave her, she know well of what she does. We must discuss other things now.”