I remember now.
It came back to me all in the flash of his beautiful smile. All my
mundane life, I realise now, can be summed up in one word - Thibault.
We were young together, Thibault and I, there in Piet in the shadow
of the great castle. We were happy. I called him T. He called me Annie.
We knew nothing of Chadul or Sgrios, or of evil or injustice. We weren't
like anyone else we knew. Friends of the serpent and the frog, the wind
and the rain, the tiny flowers off the path, the overlooked things,
the rejected things, the little things. We loved them so...he always
said he wanted to serve them, to protect them...and now he protects
the king himself.
I went to Loures today to explore. We both dreamed about exploring
far-off places, finding wild exotic things, maybe even a place where
we were allowed to be free, to be ourselves, and be understood. I wonder
if he has ever left Piet. I wonder if he ever leaves the castle now.
I follow Luathas' light wherever it leads me...a light T cannot see.
His parents were minor nobles - the king had granted them land to farm.
My parents were dead since before I can remember. I was raised there
by an old couple who had no children...they owned the land before Thibault's
family, and his parents allowed them to stay in their little house there,
with the little patch of vegetables and the little grove of trees, when
they had to sell the land after a bad harvest. His parents were always
very kind...they did not treat me differently although I was not a noble
daughter. I can remember all the days we spent together playing by the
pond after our chores were done. I remember being gently chided for
running wild in the fields with him. And we would laugh, because even
though they didn't understand our bond, we had each other, and that
And then I remember when we were about 12 Deochs old, they told us
we must be grown-up now. He was sent away to learn to be a soldier,
a good nobleman as his father was. That same Deoch my good "aunt"
died, and my "uncle" followed her shortly after, unable to
remain on Earth without his soulmate. Without a family and without a
name or a fortune I was sent off to work. His mother had friends in
Mileth...she had been born there. She helped me find work planting flowers
around the church and tidying and mending anything that needed a little
touch. I cried for Thibault for many moons. I did not fully realise
why I missed him so then...I knew only that I had lost my dearest friend,
and with him, the life I loved. I tried to write to him but I could
not know how. I tried to look for him but I knew not where to even begin.
And then one day, I felt the light, the light that all Aislings experience,
the light that changes life forever.
I see him now, in the throne room at Loures. How he has changed, grown.
And yet in his eyes still I see the spark, the light I knew so many
Deochs ago...the curious sparkle as his gaze darts to the door to see
who or what is passing through today. He is so charming, always, to
the people he meets. I hesitate to leave, I stay near him in the hopes
that he will look into my face and see that it is his Annie who stands
before him now. But he does not. I am just another of the countless
faces of priests and wizards and bards and nobles and rogues and monks
and peasants and officials who pass through Loures each day.
My T. How I long to tell him of all I have seen and done and heard
in my life as an Aisling. All of his hard work, all of the energy he
placed into following his heart and his dreams has been fruitful. He
has risen to a place of honour in the court, and he has done so without
sacrificing himself. I can see in him Ceannalaidir's strength, Luathas'
wisdom, Fiosachd's keenness, Cail's serenity, Deoch's love, Giloca's
compassion... truly he is a son of Danaan. And yet the light of Aislinghood
has not touched him...he remains in the mundane world, unable to see
or understand my new life.
I do not regret the gift of Aislinghood. Truly it is a wonderful thing,
to see in this way and to help others with my gifts. I love to heal,
to pray, to join couples in love and marriage, to create life-giving
potions, to travel throughout Temuair, spreading Luathas' light to all.
And yet, how I wish, more than anything, that Thibault could share all
this with me. There is nothing I would not give to tell him of all the
wonderful things I have seen and heard and done, to have him accompany
me on my travels - to see the same look of joy on his face that I remember
seeing when I would show him a new cave or bird or flower I had found,
the special feeling that only I could bring.
For this is my great secret: I am an Aisling who loves a mundane. Am
I a disgrace to all Aislings? I know not, though I fear so. I know only
that I can no longer keep this powerful emotion in my heart a secret
from the world. I must profess it to free my soul. I know that love
is a good thing, and in my heart I know that Thibault is worthy beyond
compare despite his place as a mundane. I know that I have loved him
since the first day we met, and always loved him, with a love that has
grown more with each moment.
For I remember now, I remember everything...it came back to me, all
in the flash of his beautiful smile.
EireAnn de Balthasar,
Priestess of Luathas