Brenny glared at Adrian as he sat down at the table with Eric. She had little use for ones who assumed that they knew better than her, that she was less than an equal merely because of her status in life. This man was far too arrogant for her taste. She cared not how important his mission… and, yes she did know of what it was. What he must understand was that he could not accomplish it without ones such as her. Just because it seemed that she be a lowly serf of a tavern wench or servant did not give him right to misjudge or mistrust her abilities or her intentions. She kept back her anger at him and her desire to tell him proudly just who she was. No, that would serve no purpose right now… she was here to aid Eric and the others in this cause, not promote her own. That would come later, she thought to herself. Eric had promised that should she help them in this, he would see to assisting her in her own battles. For now, she would mind her tongue, hard as that might be with this Adrian.
Before she turned from them, she could not resist just a minor slip and piece of her mind. She continued to glare at Adrian and spoke evenly in attempt to maintain control. “That child is still in grave circumstances and the Higher Council will not look kindly if you should place her in even more danger than she was before.” She then gave a scathing look at both men and continued in a soft but clear warning. “She should have went on to Avalon with her Father. That is where she should be, protected and training with the merlins and the ladies of the lake, not here in these dire times.” She turned and stalked away from them, leaving them with a last piece of her thoughts. “Achhhh But, of course men always assume that they know better, even in matters that they do not know of… such as the raising of children or the protecting of fairies. I am quite sure Vivianne was not so agreeable to this plan when it was put to her after the fact.”
Adrian was incensed at the young woman’s attitude and her words of warning. He set about questioning Eric on her role in all of this besides wanting to know just what their situation was now. If it was true that this was such a dire time then perhaps this be the wrong time and place for them.
Eric advised him to sit calm and listen while he explained the current time and situation. There were many things going on now that appeared on the surface to be greviously dangerous to all of them, but underneath and beyond these events was where they must look. Eric was frustrated with the situation as well but had better understanding of it than Adrian, who had not lived through the past few centuries. He had to choose his words carefully so that Adrian would completely comprehend what had taken place and was currently going on. He also had to do it quickly, he did not have weeks or even days to give his friend a detailed accounting of history.
First, he reassured Adrian that they were at the right time and place. Any future danger could be dealt with later if it came to that point. Hopefully by placing the child here and carrying through a plan which had been worked on for some time, they could avoid the possible dangers of the future. He went on to share the present time and most important events concerning them now.
The year was 1474 and the King was Edward IV. The more important fact for them was the matter of his chosen wife and Queen consort. His Queen consort was Elizabeth Woodville and she was the key in this whole situation that concerned them. While Edward was a descendant of some importance, being from the line of Eleanor of Aquatine who held some ancient witchly bloodline, it was more the bloodline of Elizabeth that currently mattered. When she had come into the rule, the witches faction had originally approved of her, deemed her suitable and went along with her supposed quiet, non threatening representation. Now, however, she was becoming a liability for them and for all of the ancient ones. She was bringing suspicions accusations upon them all and if she continued in such a way, she could bring about full scale annihilation for all of the ancients.
The Fairies had already gone much to ground and now resided only in a very few isolated realms. Their only remaining protection was from the Vampyre faction and from the few preistesses left who followed the old ways of the Ladies of the Lake. These included some witches who looked at it as their duty and honor to be the chosen guardians. The Vampyres had as always, managed to walk a fine line between worlds. The human population was becoming consumed with it’s fear and turning more and more to what they believed was their salvation… a church that in some ways was more wicked and corrupt than could be imagined. That church had over the past centuries gained an enormous amount of power and control over those who put their faith in it. Eric just shook his head and added that it was such a long and detailed history, it should wait for some other time. Now, they must concentrate on the most imperative matters.
Even the witches wanted little of Elizabeth or her line much longer. They were fearful of how much more damage she could cause, especially now that she had produced heirs for the throne. They proposed a plan of which would at least diminish some of her power later on. The witches faction had pleaded their case with the Higher Council that the child, Ainor who was trapped in time, be placed here in their protection and be allowed to follow her desitiny to rule. They would ensure that she was put in such a position as to wed the young heir to the throne, Edward V. The witches, the Fairies, and even the Vampyres were in agreement on this plan if it could be worked out.
The Higher Council was reluctant in interfering but, they did want the child safe and they also knew that it was vital to the balancing of worlds that the voices of all those representitives be listened to. If they were all of the opinion that this was what they wanted, then they could go forth with their plan. They must ensure however, that the child remain safe and well cared for at all costs. In human terms of time, it may have seemed this plan took place over but a few short months or years… but, in the timeless reality of that other world, there were those who had seen this coming for some time. Those ancient seers could not control the future outcomes, but they could make plans to possibly avoid some of the chaos they saw. Sometimes it worked well in their favor, other times it back fired. It was the risk, the chance they always took. This was one of those such risks.
When Eric finished his explanations, Adrian was still in a great deal of doubt. This was all such a chance and a gamble to take with this child’s life and her fate as well as their own. Eric argued with him on it. What other option or choice did they have. None, he reminded Adrian, “We have few other choices, save send you straigh back to the beginning and take the child to Avalon as Brenny so reminds us.”
Adrian stood up and paced around the room. “Well, then prehaps that is what we should do, should have done in the first matter.” He shook his head in frustrated anger. “This is a Damn Bloody mess, this is and I know not what to do now. For my part, I want to be done with this… I have need to go home to my time and my own family.”
Eric stood now as well. He knew it would come down to this matter of his own family with Adrian. “Your family is safe and well cared for, waiting for you on Avalon. Your part in this is almost finished and then you can go home to them. You have done your part, your honorable duty in this matter. Now it is up to the rest of us to continue it forward.” He was as tense and frustrated as Adrian. He was also a bit envious of Adrian’s fate and future but would hold that to himself. Perhaps one day a time would come for him to have that blessing and grace of a family to go to without it being torn away from him. Some of the events of the past few centuries he had endured still haunted him and he often wondered if he would ever be able to trust that another’s life would cease because of him. He could not, would not speak of these things to Adrian. Adrian must go back to live his own destiny and fate without the knowings too much of the in between times else it could cause him to make different choices and decisions and they would not end up right where they were now. These events and consequences of time travel were so complex and fragile that the slightest changes could make vast differences.
Eric gave Adrian this sound advice and warning of such consequences. He had already seen some occurances of it over the years and needed Adrian to be fully aware of such dangers. “When you leave here this morn, I will give you guiding threads woven by Melusina. They will take you to her at Avalon and they will give you the remaining details of all of this. You must rest assured for now that Ainor will be put in good care and the linen will be placed in such safekeeping as well.”
Their tempers remained short with each other and they argued a bit longer about the leaving of Ainor. Eric finally put an end to the discussion. “Adrian, my friend, You will do as you are directed on this. I do not want us to part in anger for it will be a long length of time before we see other again. We must follow the path and direction set for us each on this road now. Let us not wast more time together arguing but rather share a few pints of ancient Blood Ale together before we take our parting.”
He reached a hand out to his long time companion in friendship. “Come, let us head for the forest and enjoy a few moments of darkness before the light comes up and you must be on your way.” He nudged his friend and added, “Ainor is well asleep by now and I am sure that Brenny has calmed herself to her more usual pleasant temprement. Mayhaps we can coax a song or two from her. She has a fine voice and knows well all of the ancient tales and songs. It will ease your mind and put you in a better mood to return to that wife of yours.”
As they went to leave, Eric called softly up the stairs for Brenny to join them outside. He smiled at Adrian, “Smile Man, you are well on your way back to that lovely witch who entrances you. And, before you leave you will taste some of the finest ale ever brewed. Along with her pleasing voice, Brenny has talent for brewing such amazing concoctions as you have never tasted before.”
A few hours later as the sun began to slowly rise, Adrian found that he had to agree with Eric on all accounts. The young Brenny had soothed his thoughts with both song and the most delicious ale he had ever tasted. She had indeed calmed herself… more with the idea that this man would soon be on his way and out of her life than any other thought. Soon, he would be gone, she would deliver the precious child to her safekeeping, and then Eric would help her with her own troubles as promised.
Brenny was not truly happy or at ease with the plan these men had come up with for either little Ainor’s future or their own, but there was little she could do about it. It was a plan put in motion by those far more powerful than she could ever think to be so she must go along with it and pray it did not blow up in their faces to set them all a flame. She would do her part and deliver the child the woman who would care for her until such a time as the rest of the plan could be put in motion.
Eric could not venture out so far or so long in the daylight, nor stay for the length of time needed at this woman’s home. It was up to Brenny to don her more formal attire and persona to accompany this child to the home of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Stafford. Margaret lived a quiet life of seclusion much away from court. In fact, such a secluded life she led, many thought her dead and her second husband let it stand that way. She suffered from much hearbreak and bouts of what he called seizures… In addition to these ailments, she also held a firm and deep inner loyalty to the house of Lancaster, of which her eldest son was heir to. Her son had been taken from her at a young age and she had no part of raising young Henry Stafford. After her second marriage, she had born a daughter who was in the care of her husband who maintained his loyalty to the York clan, namely Edward, not so much Elizabeth. Margaret’s true ailments were not ones which any of the family would want ever known. She was one of those rare individuals who showed visible signs of ancient bloodlines in her vague views of the future and the past… which were labeled as siezures and mind wanderings.
Because of these visions and her insistances on them being real, she was much confined away from others as she grew older. A few of her close friends and family still knew of her existance and kept ever close watch and care over her. Much of her heartbreak came from the loss of her children, having never been allowed to care for them or raise them. One of her closest friends and confidantes knew of this and endeavored to find some way to ease her friend’s pain, even if for a short time. The Queen Elizabeth’s mother, Jaquetta was that friend. Even though she was now a staunch supporter of her daughter and the Yorks, she did never forget her once true loyalties to the Lancasters and to this friend of hers. Jacquetta was also a well trustworthy and silent witch. She remained true to her ancient ways while keeping them in the utmost secracy. Even she as Elizabeth’s Mother, feared what might come with her daughter’s continued open and blatent misuse of her rank, her power and her abilities.
It was Jaquetta who was a part of this plan to guide the child Ainor towards the throne. She took it upon herself to quietly lay the groundwork and the plan to place the child in the care of her friend and cousin, Margaret. She deemed it would give Margaret some peace, some solace to aide in caring for this little one and it would ensure much safety for Ainor.
Because it all must be done in such secracy and only a very limited and trusted few must be a part of it, Jaquetta had searched out trustworthy ones from the Witch and even Vampyre factions to assist in it. She had called upon the quiet watchers, the Ladies of the Lake for guidance. They had sent young Brenny to her as well the vampyre, Eric.
The young woman, Brenny was an ancient priestess from the higher lands of Scotland, but was also connected to the Royal families of there. She was currently residing within the household of James III of Scotland and was a distant relative of Margaret’s. It had fallen to Eric to escort her here and see to the transfer of the child whence she should arrive.
In the dim morning mist, she watched and waited as Eric said his goodbyes to Adrian. Her mind was troubled and filled with the worries of this plan, as well as worries of her home in the highlands. She found it very hard to keep her thoughts well trained on this current duty of hers and not think of the troubles that she had left in order to do this thing for those Ladies of the Lakes, of whom she was one of. They had called upon her to carry this out and she would do as asked, but she vowed to herself that once it done, she would return and put right those problems she had left there. As she waited, her mind wandered as always back to those other troubles.
Brenny tried not let tears slip out from the painful hidden thoughts that constantly bothered her. She had no home to speak of… she was an illigitimate, bastard daughter, one of many within the larger extended family of King James III. By all accounts, she should have been of no concern or value to him in his schemes and power. For some reason, though he had deemed that she should be a part of his court. She knew not why. She only knew that she had been removed from her peaceful and much isolated home in the northern highlands and brought to his court to live under his rule. She had earlier lived a content life with her Mother’s relatives, all witches and Ladies of the Lake. Well protected and loved by them, she had never questioned her parentage, knew only that her Mother had died giving birth to her and knew not who her Father was… nor did she care at that time. It seemed of no importance to her life there. Someone had known though, and eventually James had been made aware of her existance. He had used the knowledge to gain control over that part of the land, and over the much ancient Ladies. It was in recent years as she grew into her young adulthood and of a marriagable age that he had called for her to placed at his court and under his control. She knew full well that it was not any family concern behind his actions. She was just another of his pawns, his weapons to use against others or to use for his own advantages. What he really wanted from her were the stories, the histories that she had locked away within her vast knowledge of songs, ballads, stories and legends. He wanted to control those but he could not because she would not sing them, tell them, nor write them down as he demanded. They were locked in a battle over this which it seemed was at a stand still. He had vowed that until she should do as bid, she would ever remain his ward, his hostage to do with as he saw fit. She had vowed to never sing another song, tell another story and die in his custody rather than give in.
This trip now to England, which had been set by Jaquetta, the Queen’s Mother was presented to him as part of his show of good faith and alliance with England… a show which he was much intent on right now, as he had just signed a marriage contract to eventually wed King Edward’s daughter, Cecily. For this reason, he had allowed the visit of Brenny to these English relatives. He had no idea that he was being used in a far bigger plan than his own.
Brenny shook the thoughts from her mind and returned to the more important matters at hand now. Eric came back to her side and walked quietly with her to the house. He would sleep for much of the day and she would make preparations for the trip to Margaret’s home where Jaquetta and Margaret awaited their arrival.
These two older women, friends for so long, sat waiting together for the arrival of a little child who should carry a heavy weight of changing a course of the future, and mending a woman’s torn heart.