It was beautiful, truly so, to be here again.
It spoke to me in many ways, this hill and these ruins.
It welcomed me in many ways.
It welcomed the him in me, the me for belonging to him, and even more so because I had given him a son.
I remember lying here and looking up at the clouds and knowing that the child I was then carrying was Lucian’s. I remember who I was then, way back then, a hundred thousand years ago, and before I became what I am now, whatever that may be.
Beside me, the dark and handsome man in blue and silver steps away from me and looks around, hands held at chest height, warding against the witch who had taken him to nowhere.
“Where is this?” he asks, and there is fear in his voice.
I don’t smile at him when I say, “You should know. You’ve been here. Just remember.”
Carran looks around and narrows his eyes, looks up to the sky, sniffs the air as though this would give him a clue. He thinks but his thoughts are most unclear, cloudy, displaced.
The whole man is displaced. His shell, his physicality is here and it is restored, but his totality is in many places and not working together as it should.
The stay in becoming must have tuned my awareness far finer than I had previously experienced it in consciousness. I can clearly perceive where he is distorted, broken and torn, not functioning.
I wish I had known this level of awareness when I had known his father. I wish I had known his father at anything beyond the bestiality of the physicality, wish I could have woven into him, and given him something in return for his never wavering support and, yes, you could call it love and gentleness. I look at his broken son and silently form a pledge field that spreads afar in ripples of the clearest, brightest blue – Conna, I will do what I can for your boys. I swear it. No matter how afar things might develop and how I lose a sense of this, and that, how deeply I might slip in between and off the vertical, I will dedicate a part of me to take care of them in your place, in the place of your wife who was slaughtered, I will repay you in kind and it may ease my burden at your passing, at your gift of life for us that day.
Carran is a grown man, not a boy, but to a father, nothing ever changes and no matter what happens, there is this sense of protection and regard not for an equal but for one who doesn’t know yet, cannot know yet, will come to know sometime, and one would do anything, anything at all to take this suffering into oneself and spare them yet at the same instant, it is clear that all must be repeated yet again, renewed yet again, and there can never be a shortcut to the coming of age that only death can bring.
I see before me overlaid across the dark haired man, straight backed and proud, the torn lines of support and the tangles and the deep black pits that drain from him in all dimensions, and there is no point in linear speech and I take him to Serein with a gentle enfolding of pure blue wings.
I fly there yet there is no there.
I search for it but there has gone, has been dismantled some time ago, and only ghostly remnants and wisps appear in the space of the impossible web that then I did not know how to feel inside me with that familiarity of old.
I sigh a sigh that breathes a mist of stars and dissolve myself in many ways until there is a spreading that is not unlike the becoming yet it is not as fine and clusters of awareness do remain, and these call to each other and re-establish first connections of that fragile web, rebuilding it with the sound of their many voices, shifting pitch and harmony to create more and yet more receivers that will soon enough re-resonate and mirror once again the all-there-is in this unique and most entirely spacious way.
When the seeds of resurrection have flowered and the resonance structure takes it’s own life back from source and settles into its entire mode of being, I call myself and re-emerge, with Carran, young he looks and oh! so handsome in a simple shirt of blue and riding trousers on a plain of flowing emerald that interleaves with richest strands of azure and midnight blue beneath a silken stillness of what serves to be a sky and source of light in this our incarnation.
He is surprised, afraid, disorientated, of course he is. He looks around, looks at me, widens his eyes and points at my wings of blue and I wave them for him and smile.
From the distance, from out of the azure, a figure is approaching on horseback. It takes a while for him to come closer and closer still, there is much distance to be covered and I raise my wings in salute and am entirely delighted to be seeing Conna here this day.
He too looks glorious and not at all the shell that I remember, man of old in dirty rags and grizzly beard, that is how I knew him but here, he is of an age with Carran as he was and he is simply shining with who he is, such charm, he must have broken a hundred sighing ladies hearts during a single ball.
“Conna!” I call to him with joy, and radiant colours fly from my mouth. He rears his horse before me and leaps to the ground, stands before me and takes my hand and kisses it with fervour.
“My dear, sweet lady,” he says and smiles at me. I smile back and am about to stroke his face when Carran comes between us, breaks us apart and pushes me aside so I need to flap my wings to keep from falling. This raises me lightly and I decide to fly the emerald plains and soar whilst father and son talk and do and be together whatever they need, whatever Carran needs to re-align himself and live again with some volition.
I fly and swoop, strong powerful beating of my wings and invisible currents supporting me both, rising higher and higher above the plains until the two men below become invisible and I forget about them and become one with the flight, with the time, with the freedom and the true sense of immortality and invincibility that lies inside this state of being. I find patterns within patterns and I trace them with my flight, entirely joyous, entirely unbound and entirely unaware of anything at all until I hear a call and a beckoning and with a sense of regret I release the strands and spiral down, freefalling, tumbling with my wings folded until the ground is nearly upon me and I stretch and reach for the final glide to land in the soft emerald.
As soon as my feet touch the ground, the wings disappear and leave my shoulders smooth and bereft; yet I am satisfied and walk towards the two men.
Carran now looks like he does in his physicality; he has been crying. Conna still shines as brightly as he did and I cannot help myself, I must go to him and he holds out his arms to me, embraces me as I wrap myself around his chest and soak him, drink him with my admiration and my gratitude.
I wore the wings here but what were you if not another of my angels?
He smiles and shakes his head and says in his wonderful voice, so clear and steady in this place, so much as I still sometimes hear it in my head, “You were my angel. My angel of deliverance.”
We are all angels.
We just don’t know it.
I release him and we share the soldier’s handshake. He gives me a small mock salute and turns, remounts his horse and speeds away, straight out into the never ending land until I can no longer know he’s there.
I turn to Carran and observe him.
He is full of sadness, of anger and of desperation but all of that is his and does belong to him by all rights. He is no longer displaced as he was and he looks at me in a different way.
“Is this an illusion?” he says and seeks an honest answer.
I shrug my shoulders for I would hope that I should be never anything other than honest to a Conna son, and least of all here in Serein.
“Truly, I don’t know that,” I say to him. “What is important is that you are different.”
He looks down at his hands, strokes his uniform, slowly nods.
I take us back to the old castle on the hill.
He is confused and blinks into the light and I turn away from him and walk to the edge, the place where you can see the whole valley stretching before you, the place where we stood and I cried for him.
Ah, Lucian. My reason for being here. I must awake you. I must move it along. There is nothing to be gained by waiting. It must happen, sooner or later, whatever it might be. I can’t know.
The clouds rush swiftly again, as though there was a river stream across this valley and it made it appear as though the valley was in motion itself, stretching back upon itself, the light high wind that tingles here but higher is a fast and powerful current pulling at my dress, my cloak, my hair.
Carran steps up beside me.
“My lady,” he says, slowly, with difficulty, “will you accept my apologies?”
The valley stretches further still with every moment I stand here and gently sink into the grass. With every moment I miss him more and more, a pain building gently and insistently.
“I – I don’t know who or what you are,” says the man by my side, faltering and reaching for words he doesn’t possess, “but I should not have judged you in terms of …”
Had he not been a Conna son, I might have left him there, to find his own way back to the borders of his homeland which lay off to the left, beyond the valley, beyond a river you cannot see from here. But he was and so I touched my hand to his arm and took us back to the Abbey in Pertineri, where I left him before returning instantly to Tower Keep and my sleeping love, sleeping under guard of my bright angel.