Dec 16, 2008

Ancient Homelands

Continued from Mists of Departure

Colonel Exrex Somme and I followed Nellie as she swam non-stop for hours. Her determination never wavered, and she stayed fairly close to the surface of the water. I was not sure whether that was for our benefit alone, or whether she also needed to remain close to her air source given her energyexpenditure.

Exrex kept the airship moving along nicely and I took copious notes on our route.

Finally Nellie stopped in a land I had never seen before this time. The mists were swirling around us as we hovered just 50 or so meters above the surface of the water. As the wind from our engines kicked the fog and mist up around us, I could see that the water she was in was a small inlet - a very small loch. As the ground came into view,Exrex maneuvered the ship a little lower down. Nellie had swum to the shore, was breathing hard, and looking up at a rise in the ground.

Snow was all around us on the ground as Exrex landed and moored the airship. We climbed out - me in his topcoat and a spare pair of too-large boots which had been in the ship. I looked up at the rise ahead of us. We climbed and climbed. I noted with interest thatExrex was not at all trying to dissuade me from my climb. I believe he sensed it too.

All around me there was a feeling of peace, of belonging. That odd sense of dread and disorder that had plagued me in Loch Avie had now disappeared. I needed to know where Nellie had brought me. I had to see this land.

At the top of the mountain I could see the ocean below on two sides, the loch and other land in the other direction. The land was sparkling like diamonds of snow and ice. A frozen pond. A small cave. This land was old and apparently not touched by human hands for some time.

I felt more than saw a flash of light, and the Celtic faces before me. Suddenly all went black.

Exrex was kneeling next to me. "Your Grace. Your Grace! Are you quite alright, my dear? You appeared to faint, but I was able to step up just in time to break your fall."

I held my head.

"You were only unconscious for a minute or two, my lady. What seems to be wrong? Do you feel ill?"

"Exrex! This is it. This is the land from my dream. I can feel it. This is the land of my grandmother's clan."

Nellie has brought me home.

Exrex made a small fire in the cave and we warmed ourselves a bit. He said that he sensed there was something "friendly" about the land. Looking at his map, he commented that the region was listed as Anodyne. I thought to myself that it was an apt name.

"My grandmother always called her homeland 'Skye'" I said. "But we never visited there."

He soon stood and walked over the the wall of the cave where he found something of interest. He asked if I could join him, and bring another torch.

"What have you found?" I asked.

"Something I believe that will interest Your Grace. This confirms your suspicions without doubt."

Coming next: The Frasers of Skye