Finally, a story update! So sorry for the long delay on it but hopefully I can get back on track with it now! This story update does not contain any illustrations other than a few Character references. I really just wanted to get this posted as soon as possible since there has been such a long absence from the actual story. I do apologize for that! this is the continuation of Eric’s ancient past and the people in it.
Previous story post, Eric’s story: Visions in the fire: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/eleanors-journal-79-visions-in-the-fire/
Eric’s soul was still fighting as it slammed back into his body and Reina’s parting words were burnt into his mind, engraved there forever. Sometime much later, as the sun began to rise over the river, he regained consciousness. His heart was barely beating, his breath so shallow that it was almost not noticeable. It took the greatest effort for him to lift his head and his eyelids to see the group of women kneeling around him. The reminder from Reina was the only clear thought in his head. “Look around you, there are those who still need you.”
The women gasped at his slight movement and Artorius, who had been standing aside guarding their mourning, quickly stepped in. He picked up Eric’s nearly lifeless body, threw it over one of the horses, swung himself up and yelled for the women to follow as he took off up the hill towards the safety of the closest enclosure. Eric’s body would not withstand another dose of sunlight and Artorius knew it.
The river they buried Reina next to was between the Fairie realm and the remains of Eric’s home where Svein resided under the heaviest of Vampyre guards. Artorius headed for that place as it was the closest. It was much in ruins and held the worst of memories for all of them, but there was little other choice for the time being. He knew that the women would be in dread of returning there and thought momentarily of sending them back to the Fairie realm. He did not have time though to argue with them and he thought that their concern for Eric would well outweigh their fears of their old home. Artorius urged the horse on up to the protection of the buildings not waiting for the women to catch up. They all knew the way well and were close behind, leading the other horse.
The Vampyre guards, having heard the commotion, were waiting with doors to the stable open. Scoithin had mounted the other horse and arrived in a flurry. The horse well lathered, the woman’s hair and cloak whirling out around her as she jumped down unassisted and ran to Eric’s side as Artorius pulled him down to the floor. She cast out orders to the guards and to Artorius as she knelt down next to Eric to assure that he was indeed still alive. No one thought to disagree or question her. It was obvious that she was well in charge of this particular situation. It would be apparent later on that Scoithin was well in charge of most situations. She was not a woman to be taken lightly and her quiet power would long be one to lead this group.
Scoithin very quickly had Eric put to rest in one of the more private sleeping chambers. She determined that he would live and what was most needed for the present time was deep sleep. To assist in that deepest sleep she poured some vile smelling liquid down his throat and left his sisters, Freya and Helga to watch over him.
While she was occupied with seeing to Eric, Artorius was meeting with the guards to inquire about the condition of Svein, who was locked away in a darkest lower chamber. Young Scotia sat at a table near by, head in hands, listening closely to what was being discussed about her Father and crying quietly. Her Father who had once been so strong, so full of life and cheer, so full of love for her and her Mother… was now broken in his mind and spirit, locked away in some dark unreachable place filled with the demons that haunted him, might haunt him forever it seemed.
The men continued their discussion and seemed to forget she was in the room. Scoithin entered the room, saw her grand daughter weeping in the corner. She approached the men holding up her hands and firmly demanded they cease their talking, pointing to the young girl who had sat silently taking in every word. “Cease these words now! Have yourselves some heart for his daughter who has already endured enough for a lifetime in the past months.” The men suddenly looked towards the table and bowed their heads in remorse.
Artorius moved to the table where Scoithin was attempting to soothe the girl. He waved the men out of the room and knelt close to the two women, reached his hand out to Scotia’s face, which was buried in her Grandmother’s shoulder. He stroked her face and turned her to face him with care. “Scotia, I know these words, this truth is hurting you greatly now but, it is your Father who is in the greatest pain. You do understand this, do you not?” She looked at him tearfully and nodded her head. He and Scoithin held her and comforted her as much as possible while he went on with the most difficult of thing he felt he should ever have to say to one so young.
“Your Father is in some darkest of in between places right now. He can not move forward out of that place and return to us, nor can he see clearly to move on to the other side where he might find peace. It has come time for us to help on his way to either side… for us to put it in the hands of the Gods, much as we did with Eric.”
The realization of what he was saying hit Scotia and she shook with weeping. She shook her head fiercely. “Nay, I can not do that. I know what you are asking and I can not give you leave to do it. I can not bear it, can not stand to lose him.” Her voice came in soft gasps between sobs.
Artorius brushed her hair away from her forehead. “Would you have him live on the way he must now, chained to a wall in the dark being held by those guards who must hold him in the tightest of grips just in order to force feed him nourishment to ensure he does not die of that? You think that is a life he truly wants? You have lost him already. If he stays this way much longer, he will never come back to you or recognize you.”
Scotia paled and clutched her Grandmother’s arms. The older Vampyre woman looked down at her sadly with tears in her own eyes. “Scotia, my dearest one… He is right in what he says. This man who is locked away in such pain is not your Father. If he continues on this way, he will never be your Father again. His mind will snap completely, will separate forever and he will cease to recognize any of us. He will live out his life in some madness of the soul, never be human or vampyre, but some horrific semblance ever wanting only to roam the earth in search of blood…”
Scoithin stood then and paced the room thinking before she spoke. “I have a thought, of one last thing that might bring him back to us.” She paused and stared at her grand daughter with tears still in her eyes. “It is a great risk and it may not work… but at this point, I see little else in choice, save putting him out misery immediately.” Artorius looked up at her with some doubt. Scotia stopped weeping to wipe her eyes and her nose, and peered up at Scoithin with some hope.
Scoithin went back to pacing and holding hands to her face while she shook her head back and forth. “No, I should not even be thinking of this. It is far to dangerous to attempt and it may drive him further into the darkness instead of back towards us…” She stood still and looked up at the ceiling speaking in her ancient language in some form of prayer.
Artorius finally bid her to go on with it and she slowly voiced her thoughts again. Staring again at Scotia, she spoke softly in a murmur. “The girl looks exactly like her Mother.” Her voice broke as she remembered her daughter. “Ahhh Scotia, tis plain for all the world to know you are your Mother’s daughter. Every moment I lay eyes on you, I see Gizella. I hear her voice in you as you speak to me. You are the only thing that keeps my own heart alive, you keep her alive for me in so many ways. When I look at you, I can erase that last sight her from my mind. Perhaps the sight, the sound of you near to him will do the same for Svein?” Scoithin’s face showed her heartache and her fear. “The guards tried inside of him, to tell him, let him know that you were alive but his mind seems far past that ability. Maybe if he could see you, hear you, feel your presence close to him, he might fight his way back?”
Scotia jumped up from the table in haste and youthful hope. “I would do that, I would go to him and beg of him to hear me, to see me!”
The two older ones turned to circle her and contain her brimming excitement. Their eyes were full of caution as Artorius spoke. “No, it is not as simple or as that Scotia. If it were that easy, they would have brought you to him immediately as soon as you returned. Your Grandmother is right. It is a dangerous act that could push him either way.”
Artorius sighed sadly and looked at both of the women before speaking again to Scotia. “Tis not you, child that is torturing his soul. It is your Mother’s death that has driven him over that edge. I believe that what your Grandmother is suggesting is more for your Mother to drive him back this way?” He looked at Soithin in question and she bowed her head in agreement.
Scotia looked at them both in confusion. “What do you mean? I do not understand…”
Scoithin took Scotia’s hands in hers as she explained. “What I am suggesting Scotia, is that you must go to him not as yourself, but as your Mother. She is the only one he might still cling to memories of somewhere in his soul. You must go to him as her and tell him in no uncertainty to return here to those who need him most.”
Scotia closed her eyes and clenched her fists, she drew in a deep breath and tried to calm her trembling nerves as she asked, “Like Reina did to Eric?”
The older adults looked at her warily and Scoithin replied softly. “What did you see out there?” She ran her hand down her grand daughter’s arm to sooth her fear. “It’s alright to tell us here of what you saw or what you felt.”
Scotia was young and still troubled by her own recent horrors. She also was as yet unsure and fearful of her abilities that had recently developed. Her Grandmother had tried to reassure her that the things she felt and the visions she was were normal for one such as she was, with the Vampyre blood that ran through her veins and the other ancient blood from her Grandmother as well. Scoithin called it prophecy, others called it second sight… She had inherited none of the other Vampyre traits as yet, and this gift of sight had just recently come upon her. She knew, though she told no one, exactly when it had begun.
When she had stood out there in the Courtyard, held captive by those Romans, unable to do anything but stare terrified at her Mother’s crumpled, beaten and bloody body laying on the ground. Gizella’s arms wrapped around her swollen stomach, holding the life within her tightly as she and the child took their last breaths together. During those last moments, Gizella looked over to her daughter and sent her a final thought. Scotia felt her Mothers arms around her, heard her voice in her mind hushing her cries and telling her to be strong for all of them. Scotia felt her Mother within her, felt her life leaving, the pain ebbing away. When Gizella pointed toward the open sea and the sky, Scotia looked up to see her Mother floating away with the infant brother she would never know in this life. She looked around in fright to see if the others were watching this too? No, no one was noticing, or watching the sea. The Roman men’s attentions were focused on their captives. She, along with her cousins, was dragged off away from the yard amidst the screams of those left behind.
From that moment on, Scotia carried some piece of her Mother with her and her dreams were often clouded with images that did not make sense. She thought it was because of the terrifying events taking place and tried to shut all of it out. None of the young women had spoken of their individual stories as there had been no time to recover or share it. Their immediate thoughts had been of Reina and then her death.
So, now Scotia stood with her Grandmother, and this Roman Vampyre soldier who they said was to be trusted… She could not bring herself to do that quite so easily and knew that her Father would never bring himself to do it even if he were to be saved from the Hell he was locked in now. But, still her Grandmother seemed to value this man’s word and his worth, and trust him? Both of them waited silently for her to speak.
She hesitated for a moment then remembered her Mother’s words along with Reina’s words to Eric, be strong for others are in more need now than I. Scotia spoke haltingly and whispered of the sight. “Did no one else see it? I saw Reina with her baby daughter, in the mist… she was pushing Eric back to us, telling him he must stay with us, that we have more need of him than her.” She looked at Scoithin and Artorius as they both sighed and held her close.
Artorius stroked her hair and his voice soothed her, “It is alright, Scotia, only a very few have the gifts to see such things or feel them.” He sighed and went on, “You must always remind yourself that is a gift, this ablility you have been blessed with, for often in your future, it will feel more like a curse than a gift.”
Scoithin held her grand daughter in her arms and added her own thoughts. “My dearest child, I believe you have more to tell us of this sight, and of your visions… but for now, we will sit by the fire and you will rest with me for a bit.”
Some time later as the three of them sat near the fire, Scotia shared the vision of her Mother’s leaving and of the feeling that Gizella was still within her guiding and protecting her. Scoithin and Artorius both nodded in some unspoken agreement. Scoithin spoke gently to Scotia. “Then I was right in feeling that Gizella is still with you somehow.” She picked up Scotia’s small hand and held it while she explained, “Your Mother is with you because she still has work to do here. She, and you are the only ones who can do this. You must clear your mind of everything else and let your Mother do what she needs to do to help your Father.” Scoithin looked at the girl thoughtfully and went on, “Your Mother needs to do the same as Reina did for Eric. Your Father will never rest or be at peace with himself or this world unless she can get through to him through you.”
Scotia sat on her stool near the fire, staring into the flames and nodded her understanding while whiping tears from her eyes. Artorius spoke then. “You must understand that this is still very dangerous for you and for your Father. If you do not think you can do this, we will not place you in that danger. I am still in doubt whether this will work, and I would not put your life at risk for this.” He frowned then stood and started pacing, “I am torn on this, Scoithin. Perhaps better to let him go on his way to join Gizella rather than attempt this?”
At that, Scotia jumped up from her stool knocking it over in her haste. Her face was not quite her own, it suddenly took on the lines and the appearance of some other older version of herself. She spoke clearly in a near hysterical, hurried voice, “NO! You must give him a chance, a choice! You must give me a chance to help him! He must stay here, there is work for him to do in his future and he must be here for Scotia!”
Scoithin and Artorius stared at the young girl in surprise but quickly composed themselves on realizing how strong Gizella’s presence was. As fast as she had appeared, she left and young Scotia was standing there shaking. She looked about to fall to the ground and murmured of how cold she was. Artorius picked her up and carried her to a bench before she could collapse and faint into a stupor. Scoithin motioned for him to pick her back up and bring her to the back sleeping room. He carefully set her upon the bed and she drifted into a deep sleep.
Scoithin covered her with heavy blankets and they stood there watching her while they whispered together. Scoithin spoke firmly, “There, You see, I was right. Even if Scotia is not strong enough yet for something of this nature, Gizella is strong enough for them both and she will not let any of us rest until she has had her chance to save Svein.”
Artorius rubbed his forehead in frustration, still frowning in some concern. “I must admit, you are probably right in this. And, I have never seen before quite such an appearance as this? That does not mean though that I am not still worried about the success of this and of Svein’s reaction. To jeopordize her life, and that of everyone else’s if it should go wrong and he become even more uncontrollable?” He shook his head, “We can not send her into this as she is now, look what this one momentary appearance has done to her? And, we can not send her down there on her own… We must be prepared for the worst event. If it should go wrong, if he should break loose we must be prepared to end it for him rather than risk her life. That is the only way that I will agree to any of this?”
Scoithin nodded her agreement. “We can wait a few days more and prepare her better for it. I will fetch the others to help with it. And, I will abide with your decisions on how best to keep her safe from harm should it go wrong. I am sure that Gizella will not allow for any harm to come to her daughter in this. If it should come to be that she can not get through to him, I believe she will take matters into her own hands and see to his end herself.”
Artorius frowned even deeper at this. “NO! We can not let it go to that end, for it would not be Gizella’s hand in his ending, but Scotia’s. Then the girl would have to live with the knowledge and the overwhelming feeling of guilt at being responsible for her Father’s death.”
A sudden realization of that fact washed over Scoithin and she bowed her head. “You are right, I had not thought of that. I can not allow my grand daughter to carry that pain with her through life. Do what you need to, to see that it should not come to that.” She looked down at the sleeping Scotia and stroked the girl’s hair, brushing it from her pale face.
She called for a maid to sit with Scotia, giving instructions to send for them as soon as she woke. Scoithin and Artorius left the room to make their preparations. At the doorway, he thought of something else. “Those others whom you call to help… are they who I think they are? They are not the Fairies or the Vampyres, are they?” He gave her an inquiring and somewhat skeptical look. “Do not bring more trouble down upon us than we already have, Scoithin.”
She drew herself up showing her most regal and royal nature that which she had been born with a sense of. “Do not question their ways, their loyalties, or their abilities. They are far more ancient than any of us and though they live in secracy, they will live on just as powerful or even more so than any of the rest of us. The Druids will help in this and will seek nothing in return for it.” with that, she turned her back to him and walked away.