Annoure sat on the shoreline, breathing in the scent of wild roses, as she watched the wispy clouds lit with streaks of purple and orange. She drew her knees up and wrapped her arms around them, feeling contemplative. On the edge of her consciousness, she sensed Grandmother trying to reach her. The feeling grew so strong that she found a place on the bank where the stream was still, perfect for gazing into.
At first she couldn’t quiet her mind, but finally she moved into a deep meditative state. Grandmother’s face soon appeared in the sparkling surface of the water. “I’ve been searching for you, Annoure. It’s been a long time since you’ve come to me. You need to start using your powers to reach me more often.” Grandmother paused, frowning. “I see you are with child.”
Annoure’s eyes widened, surprised her grandmother knew. “I’m carrying Thorstein’s baby, but I’m uneasy because we aren’t married. His father forbids it.”
“Marriage is not important. A child is always a blessing from the Mother Goddess. He will have Druid blood and be strong with the Sight.”
“Marriage is important so that I can be free and no longer a thrall.”
“You are already free. True freedom is a state of being and does not depend on your outer circumstances. You have Druid blood and create your own path.”
“I didn’t choose to be stolen from my home!”
“Before being reborn, you chose to be reunited with Thorstein. I’m watching over you. Do not be afraid, no matter what happens. Through your trials, you will receive training and grow into your full powers.”
The vision faded. “Grandmother, come back, please. I need you.”
Her mind whirled as it often did after talking to her grandmother, whose ideas were so different from the priests. Annoure worried if she would go to hell for eternity if she didn’t follow the teachings of Christ. Yet, perhaps the priests were wrong.
The Druids she knew were men to be revered. They were spiritual leaders, diplomats, healers, musicians and teachers. She sighed, sad that so few Druids were left in her homeland. The early Romans, and later the Christians, persecuted and killed most of them.
As she sat pondering, a vision of another time flashed before her. She stood next to a powerful Druid in a sacred oak grove where they’d come to worship. Gathered around them were a tribe of Celts from a nearby village. The Celts had red-painted cheeks and lemon-bleached blond hair and colorful clothing.
She gazed into the eyes of the man beside her, feeling the great love between them and knew he was Thorstein. He spoke to the people about their ancient history and of future prophecies.
The vision disappeared and Annoure looked around the forest surrounding her, sensing this life wasn’t as real as the one she was just in. Was Grandmother right? Had she chosen to be with Thorstein again? She smiled thinking of him. She’d happily spend her life with Thorstein rather than old Bandolf, the noble her father had pledged her to.
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