Book 3 in A Legacy of Blood Series
From afar I had seen, but the reality in no way compared. Everything was better, the magical flow of air, the taste of it upon my tongue… enthralling, beautiful. A multitude of fragrances, wildflowers, grasses, swam amid the wind, the vibrant swirls of diversity washing over my face and cleansing my soul.
Earth was stunning, a paradise of wondrous potential. Standing still, I relished in the gentle sway of the trees, the soft brush and patter of snowflakes as they fell upon me. It was quiet, the sun slowly climbing the hills.
Donna had said I loved Scotland, and as soon as I saw it, I understood why. Energy and magic flowed from every crevice, seeped from the hills, and over-poured from the lochs and burns. It encompassed the land, fed, and nourished it. Weaves of ancient magic, the pure, undiluted breath of Gaia, imbued every living thing before retaining the lands history to memory, so those who walked upon it could feel the pull of the past, the promise of the future.
The display of light was stunning, beams of morning sun splaying through the branches, the translucent streaks of gold illuminating the undergrowth before revealing hidden dens, carpets of ferns dancing in the wind.
I took a step back, instinctively drawn to the shadow, the in-between I now belonged to. Odin had warned me about earth’s sun, the infant amid the universe. It would not harm me, but beneath it I would not tread. The aversion was worse than I had anticipated, the inner, primal need to avoid it, not the result of physical inability, but stemming from a deeper understanding. The shadows were a fortress for my soul, an integral part of me, like my heart and mind.
I lifted my eyes to the sky, rolling grey clouds speedily moving forward, doing as commanded and saturating the earth. Often unappreciated, they brought with them new life, preserved, and honoured the old.
I couldn’t help but think my purpose was similar, my destiny infused into the land like the legacy of our forebears who walked before us. Taking one knee, I scooped snow away from the decaying leaves and dirt below.
I placed my palm over the cold surface, focusing on the shifting of rock miles below, the ever changing but same world fighting for survival, constantly turning, constantly providing. As though it had a heartbeat, I could detect its pulse, could sense every particle, mineral, creature, working hard to provide the beauty we saw before us, the magnificent forests, meadows, and orchards above.
I sighed, the weight and fate of Earth, pressing heavily on my shoulders, imprisoning my heart. Everyone, whether they were aware of it or not, depended on me, the notion making me feel weary. I was tired, and I hadn’t even begun, the task before me seemingly final, the everything I would have to give to prevail.
Finian had told me about Conlaóch, how he abandoned me, publicly shamed me, denounced me. I had returned knowing that, already decided I would go about my business and avoid him wherever necessary. I grunted… It wasn’t so simple… Just one look from him was all it took for me to question everything I had been taught about him…
I felt his soul calling for mine… mine, beckoning to his. Every fleeting gaze, kind word, smile, was destroying my resolve, was relentlessly pounding against the shield I had erected around me. I couldn’t allow him such power over me, couldn’t submit myself to the possibility of pain, distraction, when I needed to prepare and fulfil my calling. I licked my lips, the dusting of snowflakes upon them melting on my tongue, cooling my mouth.
Irritated with the conundrum, I felt the shadows around me growing, weaving between my legs like a cloak providing me with a safe place of refuge. Within their folds I could hide from the world, hide from them all…
I clicked my jaw, annoyed with my own train of thought. I had been retaught, primed to battle Fenrir. I was confident, but when it came to battles of the heart, I was lost, unsure what to do. Frustrated, I kicked a pile of snow, my eyes drifting amongst the trees.
What was I doing? ‘I could not travel to places that would hinder me, could not offer myself up like lamb to the slaughter’. I had a job to do… nothing else mattered.
I turned to face my home… our home. I cursed, anger getting the better of me. ‘No, not our home’. Forcing resolve, I knew what I had to do. I needed to make him leave, remove him from the equation… But how, when he stubbornly refused to leave my side?