Archive | July 2014

From the Creator: Outlander update!

This is  for all of the Outlander fans out there… And, I know there are a great many of you waiting anxiously and impatiently!

 

Dear Starz network;

                   Yes you have sucked us into a subscription. But do please understand and be forewarned that should you be failing with any part of the Outlander series, you will be immediately banished from our land and we shall send Guilles Duncan out in search of your soul and your bones!

 

With that warning given, please enjoy the latest video with music by Bear McCreary!

 

The official trailer posted on facebook  a short while ago was hauntingly beautiful!

https://www.facebook.com/OutlanderTVSeries.starz?hc_location=timeline

Wooooo! Finally, I have found a link to the video!

 

 

Eleanor’s Journal 79: Visions in the fire

previous post, Reina’s Reason:  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/eleanors-journal-78-reinas-reason-a-cry-from-beyond/

dark thoughts

                Eric was jolted out of his dark memories into the light of the present. He was still shaking from that moment of Reina’s good bye to him. It was one of those deepest of memories that he had buried and locked away in the furthest corner of his mind and his soul, never going back to once he set there. It had been far too painful to think of again. But, now he realized with some shock that he should have retrieved it and dealt with it and it’s meanings long ago. He stared into the fire, saw Reina’s face, and another one so familiar to him, and he heard the words again from both of them. Reina’s words of promise… a thousand deaths… so similar to the ones that Judith had once spoken of to him. When Judith had shared her thoughts on reincarnation and her sould coming back, she had looked at him so thoughtfully, had touched his cheek so softly and whispered, “You, Eric live one life eternally searching and waiting for that one final passing, but I could live a thousand lives, a thousand deaths and still return each time on the same search.” She had laid her hands gently on his heart and went on, “I would come back again and again to search until I found the piece of my heart, my soul that was missing…while you go on through time in an endless search for that same thing”

vision in the fire

                Eric wept as he finally understood what Judith had meant, what her soul had tried so hard to tell him. He had refused, resisted for so long to admit how much he loved her, needed her with him in every way. There had been some unknown fear constantly holding him back from accepting it. Now, he knew what that fear was. It was that strongest, inner most fear of having finally found that other part of one’s soul and then losing it once again. It was what had kept that one part of his heart closed off for all of these centuries. That fear, that pain had been with him from the moment that Reina went into the mist with their daughter. In a way, it was also a fear of the unknown. The fear of that unknown other side, other place that they and so many others went to upon their deaths, but that he might never go to… That fear combined itself with a hurtful resentment, that they could go and he could not, and if he could not go with them to that place then he did not want to see them again here in this place only to watch them go again. Over the centuries of life, he had often encountered ones who felt so familiar to him… as though he had known them in some other time. He did not want to admit that this was true, though in his soul, he knew it was. It was that self denial that ever resided with him. So, when he met those souls, he took the utmost caution to avoid them, to not let himself become attached to them in any way. Most of the time he had been successful, but in a few instances, he had been unable to fight the overwhelming need to be connected to them once more in some way.

                Judith was one of those souls… Brennie was the other one, one who he had felt such an odd connection to all of those centuries ago when she had come into his life. At first he had tried to shake it off, dismiss the feeling as just one some sort of attraction on both their parts. Although his heart was closed off in certain aspects, he did ever have a soft spot for women and children in distress. His friends always warned him that it was his one weakness and would be his downfall one day. He never saw it that way. He looked at it as part of his honor as a warrior, as a man to care for those who needed it… was not a weakness at all, he thought, but often took more strength and courage than to walk away from one who needed help.

              He could easily have walked away from Brennie during those darkest times of her life, but something inside of him said No, this girl was part of his destiny and something in her soul reached out to him, kept reaching out to him, even now. There was a gnawing thought in his mind that crept closer and closer to the surface as he took another drink of the whiskey, then paused to splash the last drops of it onto the fire. Sparks danced through the flames and he saw it, saw it so clearly now, what he had hidden away in the secret depths of his mind for so long. The images wove themselves in and out of the flames to his heart. Reina, Judith, an infant with a cloud of red hair…much the color that Brennie’s had been before he turned her, then Brennie herself. They flickered, floated and surrounded him, he knew it now. He knew why the bond was so strong between the three of them together. They belonged together, they were as one, bound to each other throughout time, for eternity. When Brennie had entered his life so long ago, his soul found her and brought her back to him, the daughter his heart greived and searched for. He had turned her and felt her as family ever after that. They had spent centuries searching, together and separately for that one other part of themselves that was missing and found it in Judith.

surrounded with love

              The realization hit Eric full force and he felt his breath leave him momentarily. When his breath returned, he was calm, at peace with the knowledge and knew that whatever happened in the future, the three of them would go on together, either to stay in this life or to go on with Judith to that other place one day. He knew that he could give up this eternity of living, and he felt that Brennie was at that point as well. It would be Judith’s choice to make. What ever she should choose, they would follow her. First, though, they must find her!   The images dimmed and settled into his mind. He could now face the rest of the memories that came, knew well that they could be no worse than than the ones of Reina’s death.

Eric's final farewell to loved ones

               After Reina’s death, Eric had little time to mourn or grieve for her. The only time he allowed himself that pain was at her burial. He thought that he should not survive that, had not wanted to at that one point. He had willed himself to go with her and their lost daughter at that point… refused to eat or drink, would not sleep, laid himself upon that grave in the brilliant daylight sun, wanting it to destroy him, to take him to her and their child.

                 The others had been unable to reach through his grief and all thought maybe it was best to let him go. Scoithin said that perhaps it was what his destiny was, and they should leave it to the Gods… not intervene this time. Artorius had been filled with as much grief and pain, watching his friend suffer and he felt much guilt as well. Maybe this was his own punishment for having intervened where he should not have previously. He prayed to his own Gods for some answer, for some sign and eventually agreed with Scoithin that the Gods would make their own decision this time. The family carried out the burial rituals with heavy heart, saying silent goodbyes to Eric as well as Reina and the child.

Screenshot-2

             Scoithin knelt near Eric and kept a solomn vigil over his life hanging in the balance. She was joined by Eric’s sister, Freya. Though Freya’s heart was breaking, her warrior spirit was strong and she used to will her brother to live. She knelt there with her prayers and her thoughts focused on him bidding him to fight this wretched battle, to not give in, to be that warrior that Reina expected him to be.

Screenshot-3

                Artorius stood with Scotia and the youngest one, Helga at the edge of the river where Scotia called upon the Gods and the Godesses to carry the souls in safety to the other place. She lit the fires on the boat to carry them up down the river and send their spirits to the heavens above. Artorius lifted his sword, offered his own prayers for the guardians to protect all of the souls bring them to the peace of the after life. Young Helga cried out to the spirits in despair. Her heart was torn into shreds, her keening was heard throughout the forest and the sounds echoed around them carrying down the river. Even the animals lowered themselves in some sort of mourning for this passage of souls. The burial ritual continued until the sun set on the mourners and the stars filled the sky. The small group stood watch over Eric, waiting for the Gods to make their choice on his life.

Screenshot-7

He did not die, as hard as he tried, his soul would not give in and leave his body. As he clung to Reina’s grave and knew that she was no longer there, he still heard the faintest of heartbeats. He still felt a hand brushing his hair away from his face, and he heard her comforting voice still in his ear soothing him, lulling him into some sleep. In that dream state, he stood at the edge of that place, holding out his hand to reach hers.

Eric reaches for Reina

She touched fingertips to his and spoke. “You can not come now, there are many battles yet to fight for this land, these people. You must go on.” He stood there violently refusing to leave, trying to step over.

The energy of Reina

Reina had used her new found strength of spirit and pushed him away, yelling him this time. “Aye You stubborn man! Turn you around and look at those who need you now. Tis not me…” She cradled the infant and pointed. “We are safe now, but those who are left, they be needing you!” With that she used the force of her body and her spirit to push him back to the living.

Reina fades away with baby

Behind the Scenes: Update on Dunvegan Castle progess!

The current story line involving Eric and Reina required both indoor and outdoor scenes for filming. Rather than attempt to build a whole set for those scenes, I chose to incorporate them into the Dunvegan Castle build! The indoor set of Reina’s death was done in the lower level of the Castle. It was designed to portray the ancient cottage room in the Fairie village where Eric’s family sought sanctuary. It worked fine for that, and now that those scenes are complete, it will be a part of the old Castle rooms. It will represent what the oldest parts of the Castle would have looked like as a sleeping and private chamber for the first Clan leaders who lived there. In addition to this room, there will eventually be an old kitchen and work room as well as an old entry room.

Screenshot-13 Screenshot-12

 

These areas are based on information and one picture from the real Castle that I used for inspiration!

inside dunvegan16

 

In my adaption of the Castle for story purposes, I am trying to incorporate some real aspects of the Castle into it. During the present day,  Eric, Brennie and Svein are working on renovating the Castle and grounds, and having it open to the public for historical tours. Those tours would include these older sections and some background on what the Castle would have looked like before it became a Castle!

 

The outdoor scenes were filmed along the river bank below the Castle. That area now includes a memorial to Reina, which we will see in an upcoming episode!

Screenshot-11 Screenshot-9 Screenshot-8 Screenshot-7 Screenshot-3

 

A preview of the upcoming episode where Eric says his final farewell to loved ones.

Eric's final farewell to loved ones

previous episode: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/eleanors-journal-78-reinas-reason-a-cry-from-beyond/

next episode of Dunvegan Castle progress;  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/behind-the-scenes-finally-some-progress-on-dunvegan-castle/

 

 

Eleanor’s Journal 78: Reina’s Reason, a cry from beyond

Reina’s Reason, a cry from beyond

Trying to place an origin

a reunion of grief

             Artorius and Scoithin communicated their worry in thoughts while Eric and his family shared theirs in tears that mingled together. Eric cared not if he cried in front of these women. They had seen far worse of him in their years of growing up, tears were the least of his concerns. Suddenly, there came a weak moan from the bed in the back of the room. A whispered questioning, “Eric… Eric is that you. Am I but dreaming again…”

Feeling the heartache of a loved one Eric with Reina

             At the soft pleading voice, all arms dropped, tears forgotten, it was a rush of all of them to the bed. Eric sank to his knees at the edge of the bed to see his wife, now a mere shell of what she once was, her eyes half closed, she was grasping out into the air searching for him. He grasped her hand and kissed the palm that was so cool to the touch, as if the life had already left her. He leaned to wrap his arms around her, whispered in her ear. “Reina, Reina I am here, open your eyes love and see me. Hold on for me.” Her hands were as cold as winter, but her cheeks were flushed and full of the fever that was consuming her.

             Eric held her through tears, told her of how much he loved her and needed her with him, begged her spirit to stay within her body. She was in a half dream state that often comes with death so close, but his voice pulled her back. She summoned some inner strength to open glazed, clouded eyes to stare at him and smile softly. Her hands were weak and it took effort to squeeze his hand back, he barely felt it but knew how much it had cost her as she sank back on the bed and drifted off to that in between once more. She seemed to sleep now, they said, a good thing as she had not truly slept in some time.

holding love and memories

              Reina drifted in and out of deep sleep for much of the night. Eric refused to leave her side for any reason. As she slept, he prayed to those who might hold her fate, her spirit and begged them to send her back to him. The others came and went quietly, sensing that the time was close, they went about making preparations for the young woman’s death. They did not broach it with Eric, they knew he was not yet ready to say good bye. Artorius did manage to pull him aside  to let the women tend to her for a bit and have their time to say whatever was needed between them.

 

sisters of heart

Moments of quiet goodbye between sisters of the heart.

Moments of quiet goodbye between sisters of the heart.

Some time during the night, Artorius came and sat with him by her side. Eric gave a broken sigh, “Can you help her?”

Prayers for a miracle

Artorius held his hand and placed the other hand on Reina. “Much of that is up to her. I can not do it, will not do it without her consent. What I can do is give her enough strength for a time to be clear in her mind and say what she wants to do.” Eric nodded and motioned for him to go on with it.

Screenshot-49

Artorius called Scoithin over and they both knelt over Reina stroking her and sending her energy. Her hands began to warm, her eyes fluttered open, and her pulse began to beat stronger. The older woman left then while Artorius remained stroking Reina’s arm for a bit until she came awake. She looked at Eric, her eyes clear and her smile brightened. Her hand squeezed his much stronger this time and her voice, though raspy, was more than just a whisper.

Screenshot-48

              Eric could not contain the tears of relief at what appeared to be some good sign of recovery for her. Perhaps the fever had burnt itself out, he thought, maybe Artorius had given her enough strength to fight this sickness. He held her face in his hands, kissed her sweet lopsided smile, tasted her tears and ran fingers through her sweat drenched hair. “You have come back Reina, you have come back to me… I knew you could do it. I knew you could fight this battle. Now, you will live, you will be strong again to face what ever comes with me. We will do it together.” He was so filled with joy that he could not stop himself from rambling on of love and of the future.

A kiss goodbye

              She pulled away from him gently, touched her fingertips to his lips to hush him finally. Her hands reached to his hair and stroked through the heavy locks of braids. She tugged on them and forced him to look into her eyes that glistened with tears. He wiped them away and whispered, “Shhh do not cry now, we will be fine… there is no more to cry for.”

              Reina sighed and hushed him back. “Hush you now Eric and listen to me. I have things I need tell you and you must listen to me.” He tried to quiet her, told her nothing mattered, there was nothing she needed to say that could not wait. They should have all their lives to say these things. She shook her head and held his hands, this time with a grip so tight that he could not pull away.

             “No, Eric… we do not have that time. I must go soon, I can not stay here much longer.” Eric was puzzled, her mind must not be completely clear yet. He assured her softly that she had nowhere else to go, where did she think she must be off to, he said with some faint humor.

                Reina laughed sadly and kept a grip on his hands. She was leaving deep red marks from the tightness of her hold now. “Eric, stop now, I know you would tease to make light of this, but we must face this one last thing together. Yes, you and I together must face this. I must go, I must go to her soon, I hear her always crying out for me. I can not leave her there on her own lost in the mist and not knowing where to go.” Reina’s voice became softer, filled with her own grief and pain. She started to fade away from him , then suddenly snapped back. “Do you not hear her Eric, she is crying out so loud now, she is so scared and hungry.” She pulled her hands away from him then and clapped them over her ears. Her head shook and her breath came in short gasps. “Ohhhh Goddess, Eric, How can you not hear your daughter calling to us? She is screaming now, I can not make it stop…” Reina threw herself back on the bed, moaned and reached out into the air for something, someone. “I am coming soon, my Brenna…” She collapsed back into an agitated half sleep, wrapping her arms around herself and crying for the one she could not leave alone.

Eric and Reina 2

             Eric knelt there next to her, holding her hand and faintly, he heard something. The sound came as if from a long distance through a tunnel, a weak cry, gasping for breath then another. It shook him to his soul. He turned to look at Artorius in confusion and panic. “Ohhh The Gods curse us… she is… her mind and her soul are broken.” He trembled and asked, “Do you hear that? Or am I as cursed as she is.” Eric had a dazed look on his face, not comprehending any of what was happening. He grabbed for Artorius’ arms and held on to him, violently shook his friend. “Tell me! Tell me you hear it, Tell me how to fix this!”

           The distant cries in his mind grew louder, a wailing keening sound that ripped his heart. He put his hands over his ears in attempt to shut it out before it drove him mad as his wife. Artorius did not know quite what to do either. He heard the infant cries as well, and it shook him to some fright. He had never seen or heard of such thing before.

empty arms Fear takes over

Suddenly, Scoithin appeared with a jug of spice wine. She touched both the men and told them sternly to drink it, drink it all if they need to. She would see to Reina and to the babe. The men just looked at her in shock, unable to propose what she might think she could do for a cursed spirit child. She just shook her head, “Of course you do not know, women do not much speak of it for the looks you men would give us… just as you are looking now!” She motioned for them to leave and take the jug with them. This was a matter for women to tend to…. She paused for a moment then had another thought, “Though, it is strange you heard it. Most times, men do not hear it. Maybe you do need to stay.” She pointed to a spot far back from the bed. “You stay back there and let me get them settled”

empty arms to fill

              She sat on the bed holding Reina in her arms, forcing drops of the spiced wine down her throat, murmuring all the while in some odd language to her. Artorius listened closely, tried to determine what it was… slowly, it dawned on him. Came to him in a flash of distant memory. She was speaking to Reina in some old Egyptian dialect, speaking something of souls parting and meeting again, of finding lost ones.

              Reina calmed down, her sobs turned to occasional gasps and hiccups. The distant screams and wails softened to the same small gasps and gurgles. Eric had a vivid flash, a sight of Reina somewhere in that mist, cradling a ghostly white infant wrapped in white swaddling, a fluff of curly wild red hair aout her head like a halo. She was making tiny little gurgling noices as she latched on Reina’s overly full breast. Reina sat in some sort of glowing trance rocking back and forth humming to the little one. He opened his eyes and looked over at the bed where Reina sat half reclining, resting in the woman’s arms wrapped around her, and her arms wrapped around some invisible bundle. A gentle sigh left her lips, she rocked to and fro and hummed in peaceful contentment.

Easing a soul to rest

Much later, Scoithin explained to the men as Reina slept soundly. “She will go soon, you will not convince her otherwise. Her mind and her heart is set to joining the babe. I tried to get her to let go, told her there would be others waiting for the babe, to care for it… but she has set her mind that she must go with the child.” She sighed softly. “I’ve seen it happen before, there is no way to ease them or reason with them once their heart is gone to the other place.” She looked at Eric with some other puzzled concern. “She will be back in a bit, says she still needs to speak to you of something… She was much upset by it and says it was not fair of you? Do you know of what she speaks?”

wanting to leave

Eric lowered his head and nodded to Artorius. “I believe she speaks of what we talked of earlier.” He walked back to the bed and sat at the edge, fell into his own disturbed dreams while he waited for her to come back.

 A deatly sleep

It was early morning when she woke, groggy from the spiced wine and the near death sleep. She reached for his hand and raked it hard with her nails. “Are you awake? I have words to speak to you before I go.” She watched the blood come to the surface of his hand where she scratched him… “Why did you do it Eric? Why did you not meet your death when you should have. We could have all gone together but now, I must go on my own with the babe.” Tears came to her eyes as she smeared the drops of blood from his hand up to her lips and licked it for the last taste of his soul before she left.

Eric holds Reina

Eric gripped her hand, then reached to kiss her lips and tasted his blood on her. He wept with her now. “I did not know, Reina, how could I know what had happened to you. I was at the edge of death myself when Artorius found me and saved me from death. But, know this Reina, I will walk out into the sunlight, I will have them behead me if that will bring us together again on the other side. If that is what you want, I will surely give my blood, my body, soul to you for ever more.”

Eric holds Reina2

                   They held each other and their tears wet the linens around them as well as their clothes. She finally took a breath. “No, that is not what I want of you. This is none of our doing, yours or mine and we should not cause one another to suffer eternity for it. What I want from you now, my warrior is for you to fight on… fight on with honor, fight for this land, and for our people. Fight for me, for our babe, Brenna. Live your life well, my beloved one and know that I will find you again, again and yet again. I go willing to be with Brenna, she is a lost soul out there… I can not leave her. But, you, you are my warrior, my strength. You must go on and be grateful for this chance the man has given you. Do not waste it!” She wept again, held on to his hand and held it close to her chest, then whispered, “Do not waste it! For if you do, I will come back… I will haunt you till your dying day and never give you rest!” She laughed weakly and pulled on one of his braids, brought his lips to hers and kissed him deeply.” They laid on the bed together, holding each other murmuring words of love, of memories and of promises. Reina grew quiet, her breath would come in short gasps and she would drift in and out of sleep. At times she would whisper out to that spirit child, soothing and promising to be there soon. Eric closed his eyes and saw what she saw, that small bundle of light clouded in the red hair, pale blue eyes that filled the round little face. A slight frown that turned to almost a smile and turned towards them as though she heard her Mother’s voice. Eric fought back his tears and smiled softly. He added his own whispered offering. “Shhhh little one, Mama is coming for you. She will forever hold you safe until we can all be together again.” The ghostly infant looked to him and blew bubbles through a smile.

Sleep in peace

Reina’s heart slowed, the light in her eyes faded and she reached once more up to Eric. “I love you, I always have, I always will…If I die a thousand deaths, I will always come to you, do not weep. We will find each other again.” Her last breath left her as she rested within his arms, still now, at peace. Eric looked up and could see her spirit drift away. He saw her reach out into the air and turn back to him with daughter in her arms. Her head held close to the baby’s she looked up and smiled at him that one last time, her half smile as though she knew a secret that no one else should ever know.

previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/eleanors-journal77-fear-fate-conscience-and-consequence/

From the Creator: Historical information!

Scota_&_Gaedel_Glas

If you just read today’s story update, you might be wondering about the Healer, Scoithin Reil? If you haven’t read it yet, go do so now! 

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/eleanors-journal77-fear-fate-conscience-and-consequence/

 

The character of Scoithin is based on various legends involving a migration  of early Egyptians to Ireland and Scotland.  Scota, in Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, and psuedohistory, is the name given to two different mythological daughters of two different Egyptian Pharaohs to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry, allegedly explaining the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, and later to the Irish invaders of Argyll and Caledonia which became known as Scotland. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scota

 

Stone_of_scone_replica_170609 SconeAbbeySeal1

 

Early sources

Edward J. Cowan has traced the first appearance of Scota in literature to the 12th century.   Scota appears in the Irish chronicle Book of Leinster (containing a redaction of the Lebor Gabála Érenn).[However a recension found in an 11th-century manuscript of the Historia Brittonum contains an earlier reference to Scota.   The 12th-century sources state that Scota was the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, a contemporary of Moses, who married Geytholos (Goídel Glas) and became the eponymous founders of the Scots and Gaels after being exiled from Egypt.   The earliest Scottish sources claim Geytholos was “a certain king of the countries of Greece, Neolus, or Heolaus, by name”, while the Lebor Gabála Érenn Leinster redaction in contrast describes him as a Scythian. Other manuscripts of the Lebor Gabála Érenn contain a variant legend of Scota’s husband, not as Goídel Glas but instead Mil Espaine and connect him to ancient Iberia.
Another variant myth in the redactions of the Lebor Gabála Érenn state that there was another Scota who was the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh named Cingris, a name found only in Irish legend. She married Niul, son of Fenius Farsaid, a Babylonian who travelled to Scythia after the collapse of the Tower of Babel. Niul was a scholar of languages, and was invited by the pharaoh to Egypt and given Scota’s hand in marriage. They had a son, Goídel Glas, the eponymous ancestor of the Gaels, who created the Gaelic language by combining the best features of the 72 languages then in existence. See also Geoffrey Keating. Although these legends vary, they all agree that Scota was the eponymous founder of the Scots and that she also gave her name to Scotland.

Scota and the Stone of Scone

Baldred Bisset is first credited to have fused the Stone of Scone with the Scota foundation legends in his Processus (1301) putting forward an argument that it was Scotland and not Ireland which was the original Scoti homeland.

Bisset was keen to legitimise a Scottish (as opposed to English) accession to the throne after Alexander III of Scotland died in 1286. Alexander himself at his coronation in 1249 heard his royal genealogy recited back through 56 generations to Scota.   Bisset therefore attempted to legitimise a Scottish accession by making Scota significant, as having transported the Stone of Scone from Egypt during the exodus of Moses to Scotland. In 1296 the Stone itself was captured by Edward I and taken to Westminster Abbey. Robert the Bruce in 1323 used Bisset’s same legend connecting Scota to the stone in attempt to get the stone back to Scotland’s Scone Abbey.

So, that my fans, is how Scoithin Reil has ended up on the Isle of Skuy by way of some ancestor’s long journey to a new home!

 

 

 

 

Scoithin Reil, Elder woman and Healer of the Clan.

Scoithin Reil, Elder woman and Healer of the Clan.

 

Scotia of Svein, daughter of Svein and Gizella, grand daughter of Scoithin

Scotia of Svein, daughter of Svein and Gizella, grand daughter of Scoithin

 

Eleanor’s Journal77: Fear, Fate, Conscience and Consequence

previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/eleanors-journal-bonds-of-trust-and-friendship-forged/

Fear, Fate, Conscience and Consequence

             Eric still had not moved nor uttered a sound but when Artorius touched his shoulder, he suddenly came back to life. He turned quickly, grabbed the other man’s arms and stared into his eyes with an unspoken yet knowing and urgent question. Artorius held him tightly and responded cautiously. “We will see if there is some chance of saving her once we get there. That is all I can offer for now.” Eric finally managed to make some voice through his fear. “Then we must hurry if there is even a slimmest chance.” He closed his eyes in attempt to hold back tears of blinding pain for thought of losing his wife.

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              The two of them made a harrowing journey through the darkness of night and wildnerness. They spoke little, rested little, ate even less. There seemed to be no need for words between them. Eric was lost in thoughts and memories of his wife. He spent his waking hours pushing his horse on through the thickest of forests, streams and hilly landscapes, thinking of little else other than reaching Reina in time. He prayed to the Gods, the Goddesses, to any spirits or entities he could summon in his mind, asking for miracles, bargaining for the young woman’s life. His few hours of sleep were filled with Reina, from her childhood days of following him about tagging after him constantly… her tiny pixie like face ever smiling and giggling behind him. Then quite suddenly it seemed to him, she turned into some other creature entirely… she became a full woman, calm and serious but with some knowing smile that betrayed that seriousness when she would look his way with those eyes that could play tricks on anyone with their faint changes in color depending upon her mood. Her pale skin that glowed and never grew darker from the sun, never blemished or freckled…save a few sprinkles over her nose that remained of her childhood. Her hair that curled around her face, down her back in waves of a glossy russet, reminding him of the woods she came from. One day she had been an irritating little minx to him, and the next day, he was lost in the depths of her eyes, her soft smile and the waves of her untamed hair.

              She of course had known from her beginnings that one day, Eric should be hers. She had never doubted it even when he had waved her away and treated her like a pestering little sister. She had just smiled her little lopsided grin, stuck her tongue out at him, laughed and skipped away… then came back again and again, until that one day when she stuck her tongue out at him and let him capture it with his mouth, sealing their fate just as she had planned. He had captured her tongue, her smile, she had captured his heart all in front of her Father that day. Reina had planned that well, he thought, smiling sadly at the memory. Of course, her Father, having witnessed the action, went immediately to the Clan elders and demanded that Eric be mated with Reina. It was just a show of formality on everyone’s part… they all knew that Eric would mate with Reina even before Eric ever realized or had notions of that sort. Once it was set, Eric had no arguement or disagreement with it. In fact, he was glad of it, for he knew somewhere in his mind and heart that Reina was the right one, the one the Gods had set for him.   Reina… all that he could think of on that journey through Hell was of her, he tried to send his thoughts out to her, to will her to live to smile at him again.

          eric's horse bolts

                 Artorius knew that it was useless to try to deter Eric’s thoughts but had to make some feeble attempt at calming the man’s turbulent emotions. Eric’s wild fear and bursts of rage were affecting the horses and their travel. When Eric’s horse nearly threw him into a merky and muddy river bed, Artorius decided it was time to stop and rest for a bit. Eric slid from his horse and the animal bolted away in wild abandon, as far it seemed as possible from Eric and his mindless curses of frustration. Eric shouted for the horse and swore violently when the animal took off.

Eric and Artorius on their journey

             Artorius paid no to it, just shrugged and offered advice. “He will return when you both have calmed yourselves of each other. Leave him be. You have abused him and yourself enough for today.” He then turned his attention to starting a small fire for them to rest near. Motioning for Eric to sit, more of a command than a suggestion, he finally spoke. “You must cease this turbulence of your mind now. It will do no good, either to her or us. All we can do at this point is focus on getting to her in one piece. If you keep on like this, the horse will in all good sense refuse you and you will find yourself walking the rest of the journey… which, you might agree, would slow our progress considerably.” He passed a chunk of bread and a jug of blood wine over to Eric, who waved it away stating he was not hungry.

             Artorius forced it back to him. “I know well you have no appetite but you must still eat, drink and rest a bit… your body, your mind and your heart. You must prepare yourself for what ever fate the Gods will bring.”

              Eric shrugged and gave a heart wrenching dismal frown. “I can not bring myself to face those thoughts, I must carry through with the thought that we will find her alive and on some path to wellness… Else, I would give up now and let the horse fell me from a cliff.”

             Artorius nodded in understanding, and said little else save one comment. “Is that what she would want for you then? To join her in her untimely death. Is that what she believes in, that you should take the fates into your own hands and die along with her.”

A serious discussion

              Eric thought for a moment then responded. “Have I not done that already? Have you not done that, in saving me. Have you not taken the fates in your hands by intervening to save me when I should have died in that battle… Perhaps, that should have been our destiny, for me to die in that battle and for her to join me in this death.” He hung his head, holding it in his hands before the fire that burned down to the faintest glowing embers, much like embers of life burning out.

watching the fire

               Artorius sighed in some agreement. “Ahhh, do not think that I have not wondered now about that same thing. It weighs heavily on my heart right now. All I can reason is that I did the right thing then, gave you a chance to live. What I could not know, nor can any of us ever know, is what the consequences of our life altering decisions may be. We do what we feel we need to, what we feel is right and just at the time and then we must bear the brunt, the result of that decision throughout our life. We can not go back and change it, we must move forward no matter what. Yes, I did alter the fates of your life on that day, as you did in accepting it as well. All I can do now is pray that we should reach your wife in time, that I can offer her some hope of healing your souls throughout the future. I intervened where maybe I should not have… now, it is up to the Gods to decide the rest.”

              They both sat silently watching the embers fade to charred bits of ash, wondering if this what the future would hold for them. The embers died out and the men found a few hours of rest wrapped in their robes. After some rest, they set out once more with a silent determination to reach their destination at the quickest speed possible. Neither of them made mention of what they might find when they arrived there.

              It took them another three days of travel to reach the hills where they would find the deceptive rock formations that hid the entrance to the Fairie lands. The rock circle was within a glen deep in the forest of those hills. If one did not know where to look, or what to look for, they would search in vain forever. Then, even if they had some knowledge of what to search for, if they did not know how to enter, they would never gain access to that other place well guarded and hidden within the strange mists that surrounded the circle of stones. Eric knew all of what was required for admittance to the territory but hesitated at first, only because he feared what he would find in that sanctuary. They were so close now, and his fear deepened to his soul… something, someone was telling him, warning him of heartache ahead. He could feel it within him, could feel now that Reina was still with him but slipping away.

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Artorius must have felt it too. He stopped and stared ahead at the entrance, shaking as if to rid himself of some unseen force touching him. He reached back for Eric and they both stood for a moment, trying to calm themselves before facing what ever was waiting for them.

              The wooded space they walked through the stones into was not quite a village, but consisted of a group of cottages built close together to form a circle around a clearing which served as a common area for the group that lived there. One large stone cottage stood at the other side of the entrance with four smaller ones on each side of it. It had once been more than comfortable for the small group of Fairies who called it home, but now was over flowing with those who had sought sanctuary in the space. There were a large number of people sitting and standing quietly around the cottages… far too quietly, Artorius thought. They were a ragged, worn group whose eyes still showed the fear of recent events. As Artorius walked past them, he could feel their frayed nerves on edge at the sight of him in his Roman attire. He tried to set minds at ease with his thoughts, reminding the Vampyres there that he was of their kind and his allegiance was to them.

              An old one, the wise woman, the healer, stepped out of the big cottage and motioned them to come. Eric walked slowly, as if in a trance toward her. He looked around at the people, his people and saw the sorrow in their eyes as many reached out to give him some form of comfort in their touch. They were eerily silent, the women brushed away tears and the few men shook their heads and would not look him in the eye. He knew that something was very wrong here, more than just their general sadness over the losses to all…

             He entered the cottage to be surrounded by his sisters and his cousin. Eric lifted out his arms and they held to each other tightly, heads bowed for some moments. Their joy at being reunited was muted by the grief they felt.

a reunion of grief

meeting the healer

              Artorius kept himself to the door’s edge. He did not want to intrude or cause discomfort on this time, knowing that his presence would no doubt cause the young women more despair. As he waited there, the old one came close and stroked his arm. He looked down at her as she continued to stroke, not just his physical being, but his mind as well. She was a mixed bloodline of Fairie, Vampyre and some other blood that he could not quite place. She smiled softly, sending thoughts his way. “Ahhh, you are not familiar with my other bloodline, then..”

           He nodded and shared his confused thoughts with her as he looked at her closely trying to discern her other origins. She was an elder, but held her age well with a royal sort of grace. Her hair was a shiny, deep black with only a streak of silver running through it, swept back into an intricate braided rope around her head. She was of a darker complexion than most he saw in this country and her face was thin and unlined from wrinkles. Her dress was a long flowing robe of a style he had seen else where some time ago. “I must admit, you seem familiar in some way. I have some feeling that your origins are a long distance from this Isle.”

Trying to place an origin

             She sighed as she watched the family group in front of them. “Yes, you could say that and you would well be right. I would say that I am as far away from my ancestral home as you are from yours.” She paused for a moment, watching the dark hair girl with some sadness. “That one there, she is my grand daughter. Daughter of Gizella and Svein.” A tear fell down the old woman’s cheek as she went on. “My name is Scoithin Riel. She is named for my ancestor who traveled here to make a new life for us. Her name is Scotia… I must thank you sir, for finding her. I thought she would be lost to me as well.”

Scotia of Svein

             Artorius bowed his head and squeezed the older woman’s hand while she wiped the tears away with her other hand. They stood back watching the group share their own tears. The woman spoke softly, “They have each other for now, it will aid in the pain to come ahead.”

            Artorius asked the question that needed to be answered. “But, she still lives, does she not? I can feel her presence hovering on the edge.” He looked at the woman, with her vampyre blood apparent. “Can we not save her?”

              Scoithin answered him in thought. “Are you of full blood? I am not of full blood and I feared that to try would cause her even more pain. You know it is difficult to turn one of Fairie blood, and as sick as she already was, I dared not attempt it.” Artorius nodded his head, he understood her concerns. She went on, “Besides that, she does not have the will… she does not want to go on.” She hugged herself and sighed sadly. “I told her what had happened with Eric, that he lived and would come for her… She told me she would hold on for him, to see him one last time but that she must go. She keeps saying she must go, she can not wait much longer.”

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Eleanor’s Journal 76: Bonds of trust and friendship forged

previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/eleanors-journal-75-a-warriors-training/

Bonds of trust and friendship forged

The dragon sword

             Eric found that the only way to survive this new life he had chosen was to close off his mind from everything else save what he needed to learn. It was not easy in the beginning and he would often have to force his thoughts away from his family and that place he had called home once. Artorius would grimly remind him of what was most important by drawing blood with his sword. The wounds were not deadly but the pain would immediately bring his mind to the present. Artorius was cold and brutal in his lessons with Eric. He would bring him to ground with blade to his throat and calmly comment,

            “Ahhh I did not save your life only to have you waste it because you are foolish! Just because you have Vampyre blood now does not mean you can not die again in battle. Would you prefer to lie out on some field in bright sunlight, your blood draining out from you and your skin frying through to the bone? Remember please, if you lose your head, you lose your life. Do not think you are invincible just because of your blood. There are still a great many painful ways for you to die.”

Sword lessons

              Eric was not foolish, nor was he stupid… Over confident at times, yes, but he was learning to control that as well. He learned to be a Roman soldier because he needed to survive, it was as simple as that. He had no loyalty to the Romans, and he slowly discovered that Artorius had little of that either. Artorius’ loyalties were owed to some other power that went far beyond that of Rome or the Vampyres. Artorius followed Rome because some other source set his path for him. Now, in these unsettled times, this other allegiance was setting his course. Eric knew of this only because of missives and messengers who would arrive in silence and disappear as quickly as they had come. He had watched just as silently and knew that there was something else going on that had little to do with the Romans.

             Finally, one night he summoned his courage to broach the subject with Artorius. They were in Artorius’ sword room, where most evenings were spent. It was a constant process, keeping the weapons clean and ready for use, as well as the gear for the horses. Artorius was teaching Eric the necessities of these chores… which naturally involved Eric doing much of the work while Artorius supervised. His attention to detail was exacting and he never failed to point out the slightest nick or dullness on a sword. Eric was just as much of a perfectionist in these things as Artorius and was by now as well skilled as his teacher, but he most often would remain silent and allow the man to go on with his instructions even though he knew full well what needed to be done. It was during these times that Artorius would let his guard down, allow his cold blooded warrior demeanor to slip away, and they would talk as friends. Friends, that was what they were becoming.

              It was a deep seated friendship based not on blood, not on necessity, or community. It came from the realization that they respected each other, they shared common interests and values, for all of their differences, they like each other and they trusted each other. It was for this reason that Eric felt he needed to know more, he needed to know what was going on. He felt is was a matter of trust between them, that Artorius should be willing to trust him with what ever this secret was. It bothered him greatly that Artorius had not trusted him enough to share this with him.

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              Eric put the last sword down and stared again as he always seemed to, at the sword on the wall. His attention was always grabbed by the sight of that sword and the red dragon shields surrounding it. It was not a sword that was ever used, but hung there more as a symbol, a seal of something for Artorius. Often, he would enter the room to find Artorius staring at it in thought, or in some reverence… speaking quietly to it as though he were offering prayers of some sort. Eric though that whatever Artorius’ secret was, it had to with this sword. So, on that night when he turned his eye from the sword and found Artorius still staring at it in that way, he found his voice and asked his friend about it. “What is this Sword and shield to you? What does it mean?” He asked the questions softly, not really expecting any answer. On a few other occasions, he had asked casually and received no answer save, “Someday, I will tell you.”

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              This night, he asked more seriously with a manner of needing an answer. Artorius turned to him and did answer him this time.  “The time has come my friend for you to know, I think. Go find us some of that stronger wine and I will tell you of this Sword and what it means for both of us.”

              Eric quickly returned with a jug of the strong blood wine that he had begun to acquire such a taste for. As they shared the wine, Artorius shared the story of the Sword and of the secrets it held.  “It has nothing to do with the Romans.” He nodded his head, “Well, I should reword that, it has all to do with the Romans, and their leaving of this Isle.” He turned to look again at the Sword and paused for a moment to take a drink of the wine. “The Sword and the Shield are that of the one who will lead us after the Romans depart. It is of the one who will help us to be rid of the Romans in this place.” Artorius turned from the Sword to Eric and spoke softly and calmly. “As I have told you before, the leaving of the Romans will not be peaceful. In order for this entire Isle and it’s people not to be laid to total ruin and devastation, it will require a strong and just Warrior who can band the people together to fight as one to defeat the Romans.”

             Eric nodded, yes he had mentioned of this before but what did it all mean? He asked Artorius now of what was happening, what was going on behind the backs of the Romans?  Artorius smiled and nodded at Eric. “Yes, I know that you are wondering, you are suspicious of what is going on, yes? I only waited to tell you of all until I was sure of everything, and until I could be sure of your family’s safety before it all takes place.”

            Eric showed his surprise and his concern at the mention of his family. He had tried not to think of them, the young women who were in such danger and may not even have survived their captures.   Now, Artorius held out a hand to him, gripped it tightly and went on to reassure him of their safety. “Rest easy on that count for now, friend. I have found them all and they will soon be safely returned to the sanctuary of the Fairies.”

            When Eric stepped in to insist on seeing them, Artorius was firm in his denial of that. No, it would not be safe to bring the women here, nor would it be safe or wise for that matter now, for Eric to venture north to see them. Eric was needed here for the battles to come and must set his mind to rest that the young women were safe.

             Artorius did  begin to share the fates of the women with Eric though, and shook his head at their stories. “I can assure you that the women of your family appear to be just as strong willed and determined to survive as you have been.”   Four young women of Eric’s Clan had been seen by those Romans who attacked the place as high ranking and possibly suitable for some greater trade value in their capture. Eric held his breath as Artorius went on with the details. Artorius looked at Eric with some concern and curiousity as he asked of him,

             “ Before I go on with their fates, I must know something.  You had two sisters and a cousin…Yet, there were four of them which we found. Perhaps you will tell me more of just who this fourth one is that they deemed her of such high value to take her as well? It caused my men some amount of great difficulty in finding her once they realized that there was yet another who was being held. They would not have known even to search, except for the fact that the other women told them of her and threatened them with grave bodily harm unless they continued the search for this other young woman. It would seem that the women of your clan can be as fearsome and violent as the men!”  Artorius eyed Eric with serious speculation as he waited for an answer.

           The shaken look on Eric’s face was enough of answer for the man but he listened without comment or show of emotion while Eric’s voice shook as well. “She was not suppose to be there! I thought she was safe with her family but when I went back to them, she was not there. I thought she must be among those who had perished.” Tears came into his eyes as he recalled the mass destruction he had found on his return. Svein had made some attempt to clear it, but many of the bodies were so mangled with abuse before and after death, they were unrecognizable. Those bodies had been buried together in one mass grave. All who had lost relatives, had missing ones that they had not seen carried off by the Romans, assumed and even prayed that the missing were in that grave rather than with the Romans. Eric shuddered and took a deep breath before going on. “I could not find her anywhere, no one had seen her carried away, so I assumed like everyone else that she was in that grave.” He paused for a moment, tried to stop his shaking and looked at Artorius with some shred of desperate hope in his eyes.

          

Photo of Fairie pools in Scotland

Photo of Fairie pools in Scotland

            “ Reina, Reina is my wife… she was with child when I left for the fighting. I left her with her family, with the Fairies.” His voice broke as he went on. “I told her to stay put with them in the forest, that she would be most comfortable and safest there with her own family than on the coast with my family. I knew that those women of my family would have enough to worry about in caring for Gisella, Svein’s wife, who was about to give birth at any time.” Eric swore to himself as he thought back to that time, to his young wife, who had no love of the sea. The smell of the ocean had affected her badly in her pregancy and he had wanted her within the comfort of the forest glen while he was gone. “Cursed stubborn girl she is…why did she not stay put!” He shook his head in frustration and fear, as Artorius had spoke not a word… His voice rose “What of my wife, is she well? What has happened to her?”

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             Artorius ran fingers through his thick dark hair and clenched his eyes shut. He took a breath and silently cursed the Gods that forced him to share this news. “I wish that I could share good news with you on this, other than the fact that she is yet alive. She is alive, but barely… and the child is lost.” He held on to Eric’s shoulders as the man fell into a wave of trembling and shock. He knew that his words would have little comfort but felt he needed to say them anyway. “Had my men know sooner about her, they might possibly have been able to go in search of her first. I do not think that it would have mattered much though. From what they described, she was ill already before being taken. That was the reason for her being with your family. Her family brought her to your Mother for healing, not being aware that your Mother was already ill as well. She was already desperately sick when they took her on their boat that day, and shortly thereafter lost the babe. The men who captured her wanted nothing to do with a sick woman and sold her away as quickly as they could. Fortunately, those who bought her did so out of concern for her life rather than need or want of a sick slave woman. She was placed with a healer who eventually nursed her to enough of a state to find of where she came from. My men were about to go out in search of her when word was sent of her fate by the healer. You should thank the healers of that group, the Druids for saving her life.” He stood close to Eric, frowned at some though and then spoke slowly. “I think now that maybe you should return there as quickly as possible.”

             Artorius paused and his own voice wavered. “She is still gravely ill and I can not promise that she will even be alive when you get there. But, I understand now that you must go to her, even if it is only to say Goodbye to her.” Eric did not speak, he stood stone still trying to will his mind to accept what Artorius was telling him, trying to regain his senses. Artorius walked towards the door. “I will see everything ready, we will ride out immediately.” He looked back at his friend who stood still in his cold shock. “I would not send you out on this journey on your own. I will ride with you, my friend and will share your grief as my own.”