Dec 4, 2008

The Mists Of Departure

I have been uneasy of late.

A mist has been rising from Loch Avie at unexpected times for the last month or so. Adding to my stress has been Nellie’s behavior; she has been very restless - leaving the Loch far more often than usual and swimming much more aggressively. I have been talking to several of the biologists in the Royal Society in an effort to try to decipher her actions. No answers thus far.
But two nights ago upon waking from a vivid dream I sensed that science has nothing at all to do with her behavior. Nor the mist. Nor my discomfort.

I dreamt of ancient waterways, and of a people that were my ancestors traveling across the expanses of water. Men of the clan along with the Chieftain sailing in longboats. Women and children were also present wrapped against a hard coldness. They were stoic as the wind and waves battered the boats. But the eye of my dream was drawn to the Chieftain talking with his second in command.

“…there is too much change in the spirit of the place…”

“Aye, M’Laird. Even those under your protection have expressed the sense that evil spirits were around your land.”

“Och! Mo charaid, I am not so sure tis truly evil. But I’ll tell ye this, the spirit is changing.”

The second nodded and they both turned and faced forward - never looking back toward their homeland. A short time later my eye was captured by the Laird’s wife as she moved from her honored position in the longboat to the bow standing behind her husband. Her small hand reached to touch his shoulder, but he had already sensed her.

“Yes, mo annsa?” And he pulled her pale hand to his shoulder and held it in his own strong, freckled and weathered hand.

“Where do the winds lead you, muileach? Where do they take us?”

“The elders and I have chosen an island not too much farther from here. We will find the land before complete darkness surrounds us if the winds continue with us.”

Suddenly the mists covered them completely and I heard shouting which faded into nothingness. Then total darkness.

I sat bolt upright in bed with a gasp of breath and touched my face. I had been weeping - the tears continued streaming down my flushed cheeks. I was so restless that I decided to walk. I did not bother to put other clothing on – I simply needed to be moving. With my silk nightdress flowing around me, I took the secret passage out through the bottom of the Keep. The grass and snow near the Loch were soft against my bare feet – and cold – but I kept walking.
The dream was beginning to solidify things that I had not been allowing myself to feel. Something was changing in my lands.

Was something coming? Already here? Was the Loch about to be attacked?

Allowing the emotions and thoughts to flow, I realized that for the last several weeks, I had felt unsure; unclear. That is not like me at all. As I turned the corner on the far side of the conservatory, I stepped on something sharp. I knelt down and picked up the object. An arrow fletching. Smiling, I realized that not everything was changing. A knight thought to be long since gone was still patrolling my lands faithfully. This was not the first evidence of Tele’s presence since he left Caledon. Upon closer examination of the ground, I noted hoof prints and boot prints in the snow and mud. It seems my Lancers must have also been here. Perhaps they met with Tele, or, as I had done, simply found evidence of his movements in the loch.

Suddenly Nellie was at the shore. She snorted at me the steam pouring out of her nostrils in great clouds. As I stood she dove deep into Loch Avie. I walked to the shoreline under the great willow tree. I felt her before I saw her next, the water and air vibrating with the ferocity of her movement. She fully breached the surface and landed several yards off shore in a thunderous splash of the loch water. She turned to look at me and paused only briefly as our eyes met. The fire in hers was clear and she was breathing hard. Rapidly she turned out to sea and began swimming. I knew that I must follow her. This much was clear – Nellie practically demanded it.

I ran into my offices in the Keep and called for my airship. Within minutes we were off tracking her.

“It’s as though she has begun a migration, Your Grace,” said my airship pilot.

“Yes. I believe you are correct, Colonel Somme. She is in earnest.” I said pulling the gentleman’s topcoat around my shoulders and feeling glad that Somme had been in the distillery resting after patrol to hear my call over the secure channel.

Next: Ancient Homelands


Christine McAllister Pearse said...

Does this mean I should start worrying about my "air rights" in Loch Avie again?? ;-)