As weary as she was from her time with her mentors and of the strange events of the afternoon before, the Seeker slept soundly and rose surprisingly early. The sun was just beginning to peek from behind frothy white clouds dotting the pale dawn sky. She hadn’t eaten upon her return, and the growl of her stomach told her it was time to break her fast. She dressed and made her way to the veranda hoping to share with the Queen all she had seen and learned.
Instead, the Seeker came upon a young Page who had obviously been waiting for her. Dressed in green from head to toe, he carried the seal of the Queen’s office, her golden coin. So intent was he on carrying out his assigned commission, he stared at the seal as if he feared it would suddenly disappear. When she interrupted his reverie he was instantly all duty and honor, focused on the moment at hand. She smiled at the ideas and thoughts she knew must run through the mind of a young page with dreams of Knighthood. Indeed, in his manner she sensed about him an awareness of something new afoot.
“My lady,” he said, with a quick bow. “Your presence is required in the courtyard entrance. A courier from King Aelfraed arrived during the night with a gift from the King.”
Curiosity etching her face, the Seeker followed the Page to the courtyard where sat a beautiful golden shield and six fine wands under a waving flag of orange and golden ribbons emblazoned with a slumbering moon. Even as she took it in the sun rose above the far horizon and filtered between the ribbons as if to say the time for sleeping is over. Your journey truly now begins.
She wondered if perhaps the courier had been Camus, though surely he would have stayed to greet her. Turning to the Page she asked if the man had departed.
“Yes, my lady.”
“And no message?”
“Only that your battle of faith has been fought and won. It is time,” the courier continue, “that you must accept yourself for who you are with your talents and strengths, and suffer no guilt for the traits you see as your weaknesses. It is your time to go forth to your destiny and encourage others with what you’ve found. And though your path may yet take you through dark places, these wands will ever be near weaving a web of protection around your heart.”
Incredulous and somewhat troubled, the Seeker thanked the young Page, dismissed him, and withdrew to the chapel to ponder on the King’s words. Go? Go where, she wondered. Was she meant to return to her temple mount home? But even as the thought crossed her mind, she knew she could not go back. She had learned too much in her travels, changed too much in her beliefs. That, she realized, left her but one way to continue her journey — over the misty lake.
Returning to the Retreat House she ate a belated meal and retired to her room to rest. On the way she had stopped at the boat shed to ask about a small vessel to take her across the lake. The caretaker assured her one would be waiting for her. At his suggestion she planned to leave just as the sun was rising the next day, for that, he had said, was when the water was most calm and steady.
As night time approached the Seeker rose and went to the wardrobe for her cloak. She found, instead, a silky, white mantle hanging in its place. Her pack and her feathered hat were gone as well. Only her staff remained behind. A parchment note had been affixed to the mantle. It read:
This, your new cloak, is a symbol of innocence and purity of spirit and mind. It is to remind you that while all of us are human, individual, and fragile at times, we are also Creatures of the Divine. Therefore, let your heart be light. Endeavor to leave your emotional burdens behind and look forward to the Great Awakening set before you as you experience of all Creation — both outside you, and within.
She smiled knowing only the Queen would have left the beautiful garment. And only the Queen would have understood this crossing was the beginning of her new life path.
Arriving at the small dock, her boat awaited, provisioned with victuals for the long journey across the lake. Climbing in she stuck her staff into the shallow water and pushed the boat away from the dock. Silently the small coracle glided into the calm, smooth lake. Looking back toward the shore the Seeker beheld six silver swords hovering above the small craft. She knew all too well the power of the mind over the heart and intuition. She had struggled with the Swords of Regret before. At last she understood the reason for the six Wands King Aelfraed had sent for her protection. Another time she might have turned back in fear, but now she set her face to the east and the rising of the new dawn in the sky — and in her life.
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)