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