Disclaimer: Not mine
This One Shot was written for the Reviewers Lounge Halloween Challenge
Yeah, I know. Somewhat long for a one shot… but the characters would not shut up. A longer piece will be posted in a chaptered story.
Rowena leaned forward, placing her hands in the mud at the edge of the pond and looked into the girl's face that reflected back to her. Glancing furtively over her shoulder least she be caught in this wanton act of disobedience to the gods, and seeing no one, she quickly lowered her head back down and examined the girl in the pond again.
She saw her mother's eyes on the face and bringing up her hand, she used one muddy finger to touch her eyebrow and trace its line. She dropped her hand back down into the mud and leaned closer to her watery mirror, turning her head to the side and looking out of the corner of her eye,. She was sure she saw her father's chin, and perhaps her grandmother's nose. Her light red hair, braided and held in plaits that twisted around her head had not been difficult to imagine, as she saw this same hair and fashion on every female of her clan.
Sighing and sitting back on her heels she again looked around to make sure she was not seen, and untying her belt, she lifted the heavy fabric of her robe over her head. She then stepped into the pond, walking away for the shore until the water was almost to her chin. Cupping water in her hands, she smoothed it over her face before bending her knees and sinking down until she was under water. Pushing off from the mucky bottom, she swam leisurely back to the shore, enjoying the bit of freedom this simple act gave.
As she waked back out of the pond, tugged the brown course material over her head, and retied her woven belt, she tilted her chin up to the sun and thanked the god of the pond for the refreshment she had taken and promised to offer her thanks at least three times more before the sunset.
She knew she was late for her lessons. She hurried up the path, her body wet and cool, under her robes, knowing Elbragh would be angry if she had kept him waiting too long. She hoped that his wife needed help this morning to keep him occupied. Quickly she whispered the blessing to the god of the pond three times more knowing that if her sins kept coming she would not find the time later.
"Rowena." Elbragh stood at the top of the earthen mound with his hands on his hips.
'Shite,' she thought to her self.
"Twice this moon I have waited for you, and both times you come to me with wet hair." He sternly shook his finger in her face.
"Teacher," she said, smiling. "The end of summer grows near. I shan't long be able to enjoy the pond."
"What of your studies?" he asked her angrily. "Your test is in this moon, and then the solstice is on us."
"I know all the sun prayers." She pouted, crossing her arms over her chest. "I have recited all three hundred sixty five of them. I know how to use the Healing stones, and to cast my Fylgie in mirrors, and all of our family back to Odin. Should I keep going Teacher?"
"What of the runes," he said, trying to be angry, but was not quite able to make his voice sound hard looking at her. "Or are you destined to sweep the floors and tend a hearth?"
"No, Teacher," she said softly. "I know all the runes, and even the Roman markings."
"Today we will go over the rituals again." He turned to walk up the earthen path towards the low-slung sod roof. Ducking down he entered the long enclosure and sat at the wooden table that took up the middle of the central room. Rowena entered behind him, picking up a sprig of wintergreen from the bowl just inside the door, and tossing the fragrant bundle into the fire she offered up a small prayer to the dwellings god.
"Teacher?" she asked. "The other clans, the ones to the south, they use their magic all the time, they do not hide, or restrict it to only the learned."
"Yes and the Slytherin clan will soon interbreed themselves to a weak small tribe if they allow no other clan to marry into theirs." He spat on the ground. "And the Huffle clan subscribes to complete seid. Do you want to live like that? Do you want to live in a place that only women can use magic at the hearth? A place where magic is only used at home and the men run off to battle?"
"No, it just does not seem fair that we don't use it between Oidhche Shamhna and Solstice," she sighed.
"Is it too much to ask you to show penitence of two moons to honour the Gods?" He opened a large scroll that lay on the table.
"It will make it harder this year to go all the way to the circle, and then to return using no magic." She took her seat opposite him. "It will make the journey seem much longer."
"Child, the test only comes with the full moon cycle, once every nineteen years." He rose to get a stick from the fire, and light the candle on the table. "You are lucky to be of age or you would have to wait a full nineteen years before you had another chance. Now, explain the ritual of warrior induction."
Rowena began reciting in the singsong rhymes that made the long ceremonies possible to memorize with out referring to the runes. She could easily fall into the rhythm of the words while her mind went elsewhere, often she was able to take in whole conversations as her mouth spilled out the words she no longer thought of.
"Fine," Elbragh said smiling when she had finished. "You should do well." Then he stood and put more wintergreen and cow wheat in the fire signalling the end of lesson.
"Run along now, there will be no more lessons." Elbragh gave her a rare smile. "We leave in three days. The journey will take four, the test three with the last day on Oidhche Shamhna."
Rowena jumped up and ran to the door, then remembering her manners turned back and bowed to her Teacher with a wide smile. Seeing him nod to the door, she laughed and ducked under the low doorway and ran down the earthen path, her bare feet making soft slapping sounds as she went. She had just enough time to catch Erwin on his way home from the fields.
She saw him coming across the field. His long strides making him stand out from his younger brother. Erwin was the oldest of Morgan's boys. His grandmother came from the Claw clan, the same as her mother and she always felt at home and comfortable with him and his ways.
She slowed to make it appear she just happened by, and Élan seeing her, grinned and suddenly remembered he had forgot his cap by the stream and went back to fetch it, leaving Erwin and Rowena alone.
"Rowena," Erwin said falling in step beside her on the path. "You have no lessons today?"
"I am done," she said, looking at him with a wide smile. "I leave soon for my test, and then I will take students. When I am older, the Elder said I would be the Teacher of the Lesser Teachers. I am done Erwin, I have finished, finally."
"Finally?" he laughed at her. "Finally? At your age? You are the youngest we have ever had. I heard it said at the market. They say at seventeen years if you pass the test you will be the youngest ever."
"I will get paid for each student I have," she said shyly, avoiding the compliment he had given her. "And as an elder I will get my own land, with a dwelling already built."
"I am aware of that Rowena." He scowled down at her. "We will talk of this later, now is not the time."
"When will it be time?" She stopped walking. "You said when we could …"
"Rowena." He took her arm and forced her to face him. "I will speak to your father before we discuss this." Then cupping her face in his hands, he gently kissed her, and hearing her gasp, he pulled her into him, crushing his lips to hers.
He pulled back enough to see her face, then sighed and stepped back. "I am sorry Rowena," he said, running the pad of his thumb over her lips. "I have to talk to Morgan and your father first."
She nodded, and taking his arm, they started back down the road toward the hamlet in which they lived.
"When will your father be back from the war?" Erwin reached for her hand. "I am tired of waiting, I thought perhaps we could ask the Old Ones on Oidhche Shamhna, and marry on the solstice."
"I will be at the testing, and celebrate Oidhche Shamhna there." She wrinkled her brow as she looked at him, as he had known this of the past year.
"I will speak to Henger tomorrow." He promised, looking down her body. "You don't have to be here to ask the Gods. Go to your test, and when you get back we will make preparations for the binding."
"We will bind on the Solstice?" She was already nodding her head at him happily.
"Fine." He ran his hand though his hair in frustration, and wanting to hold her again. "We best get out or here then, before I change my mind and have you in a patch of weeds."
Henger was to return the day before, and as the female of the home the task of welcoming him had fallen to Rowena. Once again, she had prepared his homecoming feast. She could not well remember her mother who had died of fever when she was small, but still she set the table for three out of respect for her soul that still lived in her home. She set nuts out on the stones in front of the fire to roast, when she heard his heavy boots outside.
"Father," she said bowing as he came in, seeing him bending his head low to duck under the support beam of the door. Behind him another came, with a grand cloak and silver clasps.
"This is Vorimer," her father spoke quickly to her. "He will be your guest for tonight."
"Yes Henger," she said turning back to the fire. It was rude to look at a stranger, and ruder still of her father not to have told her of a guest. She pulled the joint out of the fire, placed it on a wooden board and carried it to the table, returning to the hearth to retrieve the mushrooms and parsnips, as well as the roasted nuts. The men talked quietly, too quietly for Rowena to find comfort in her father's return.
"Girl," Henger called her. "Bring a glass for my friend."
Rowena nodded and stood up taking one of the treasured elf designed crystal goblets from the table by the outer wall, and carried it across to the two men. Holding it up, her father filled it with wine, and then commanded her to drink.
Rowena looked up at him confused, and looked over at his guest who wore a smirk on his face.
"Drink with your husband girl," he said, throwing his head back with a laugh.
"That's right little one," Vorimer smiled, as he looked her over not caring that she seemed to lose all colour. "Although my first wife may not have much need of you, I promise I will use you well."
"Father," she gasped turning to Henger, "Erwin is to speak for me."
"He is a fool, a poor fool," Henger said sharply. "I have but one child, you will do as you are told."
"What of my test, the teaching?" Rowena desperately thought of what to do, feeling the chasm under her grow larger.
"This is your husband." Henger reached out and grabbed her elbow, then pushed her into Vorigern's lap. "Serve him, pour him fresh wine, and then take him to bed."
She struggled to get up as Vorimer held her tight and as still as he could. As she continued to struggle, he pushed her on the floor, knocking the goblet on the hard earthen floor and watched as the crystal shattered into pieces of glass as small as flecks of sand.
"The Gods, the blessings, you can't do this." She crawled to her father and laid her forehead on his boot. "Father I have been obedient, I have done everything you have asked."
"Your gods are gone girl," he spat at her. "A new god is coming who will send your truths away. I have already taken possession of your bride's price and signed the papers."
"Henger, leave us now," Vorimer said, leering at the girl. "I have business to complete, and it proves to be a long night."
By morning's light Vorimer finally fell asleep, leaving Rowena huddled on the floor near a reclining bench. She waited until she heard his even breathing, and then grabbing her robe, and slipping it over her head to cover her nakedness she silently crawled to the entrance and fled into the grey light. Her feet pounded on the ground as she ran out of the Hamlet with no idea where to go, and no one to turn to. She ran until she was at the pond, and letting go of her tears she waded into the water to scrub off his scent, and the blood on her thighs.
She sat in the mud, not caring about her robes, now muddied and soiled, and cried into her hands. Her world had ended, her dreams destroyed. Even if she managed to get away, she would have nothing. She heard a rustle of leaves and in a panic turned only to see Erwin walking towards her through the brush.
"I thought you would be here," he said squatting down next to her. "What is going on, Henger came looking for you this morning."
She pulled away and turned her head, not able to meet his eyes. Her long upbraided hair formed a curtain around her face, and falling below her waist made her look almost wild and feral.
"Rowena?" he said impatiently. "Why would he think you would come to me in the middle of the night?"
"Erwin, leave," she whispered, trying not to cry, "If he finds you here, I don't know what he will do."
"Henger will not…."
"No, not my father," she said sharply, cutting him off. "My husband."
Erwin reached out, grabbed her chin roughly, and pulled her face to his. He saw her swollen lips and tear streaked face, he saw the marks on her neck and closed his own eyes to block out the sight. Standing up he took a step back from her, his mouth opened but he could not form the right words to say.
"Erwin?" She scrabbled up to face him. "I had no choice, he forced me."
"I know." He turned from her, and ran his hand thru his hair. "I know, Rowena."
"What should I do?" She began to separate her hair in to sections to braid, only to give up as her hands continued to shake.
Erwin paced along the shore of the pond once stopping to look at her, and then he began pacing again. He fought to control his temper, to still his hands and to keep his mouth closed. Within only a few minutes, his life had cashed down to his feet. He did not know how to pick it up.
"How much do you want this?" He walked over to her frowning. "I mean us, how much do you want to be with me? Because witch, I will give up everything for you. However, if we run there is no looking back, we give this up forever."
"Erwin?" She made his name a question.
"We will first go south," he said decisively. "You will have your test. We will ask the Gods for their grace, we will ask them to forgive what we must do."
He smiled at her and grabbed her hands, pulling up from the ground. "And if they bless us, we go where no one knows us. We start over. You teach, and I will take care of the fields and herds, and we will be part of the new world that is coming."
"You would do this for me?" She glanced quickly over her shoulder.
"No, I do this for me." He tipped up her chin, and kissed her softly. "Did he hurt you?"
"Erwin, please." She fisted his robes, and buried her face on his chest. "He did things, things …things that hurt."
"Shush," he whispered. "That is behind you, it is done. You will never feel that kind of pain again. I will never hurt you."
"Now." He stepped back from her. "We will tell your teacher that we will be there for the test, and maybe he will stand for us on Oidhche Shamhna."
She nodded and took his hand as they began their journey. Once she set her foot on the path to the test, she would not eat. The further the clan from the circle, the harder it became for the contestants to make the journey with no food. The failure rate was much higher for the clans that lived so far, making it difficult for the distant clans to have teachers. Rowena had practiced fasting, Elbragh had insisted on it. She knew she was able to go almost seven days. However, the exertion of the journey would only add to her hunger. She said her fasting payer now, as she took Erwin's hand and set out on the path.
She heard Erwin call her name, and looked up to see him waving her forward, smiling widely and pointing to a valley that was below him, and not yet visible to her. Grabbing her walking partner's hand, she pulled her along as they ran up the slope.
"On the valley floor ahead of them were dozens of tents, all in different colours and each flying a banner with their clan's symbol. The cloaked figures numbered far more then Rowena had ever seen. What astounded her however, was the circle of stones that stood in the middle of the tents. She had never seen a complete circle, her own clan's circle was only a memory of what it had been, and not nearly as large as this one.
Looking at Erwin, he again pointed to the right, and atop the next rise. There stood the testing centre. The centre, constructed of logs erected in a circle, mimicked the size of the sacred stones. Inside the circle were planks of wood set atop smaller logs, used as tables. The circle looked austere and solemn.
"This is where we leave you." Erwin looked at her tenderly. "The testing starts today and ends on Oidhche Shamhna they all say. I do not want to see you until then."
Rowena nodded as he walked off, knowing the humiliation of banishment would make it impossible for her to complete the test, and could result in cruel punishment for Erwin. Even though he had done no more then hold her as she slept, she was another man's wife.
She also knew that elimination before Oidhche Shamhna would be unbearable. The clan had talked of the one unnamed that had not returned to the clan when he had failed on the first day. To make it through the second was to pass. If she made it as far as the Oidhche Shamhna celebration her clans, standing would raise. Rowena had no doubt that Elbragh had prepared her well enough to finish.
"Who asks to be admitted?" A cold voice spoke from under a drawn down black hood.
"I, Rowena of the Clan of Raven, descended from Odihinn of the North, and his son…," Rowena began her lineage, the first of the tests she was to take. It took her a full forty-two minutes to recite her lineage from both her father and her mother's side. Once done she put out her hand, palm up and waited to be accepted.
The wizard in the black hood walked to the centre of the wooden circle, and picking up a small glowing ember, returned to place it in her hand. The ember did not burn her flesh, as it had not burnt his, attesting to the truth in her words.
"Enter Rowena of Raven." He stepped aside allowing her to pass as he went on to the next student who waited. Helga stepped up and became the next to enter. Placing the ember in a cooper bowl, she took up a hand bull of elderberry leaves and covered the still glowing cinder, closed her eyes and waved the smoke of the smouldering leaves towards her face.
Rowena then walked to the first table, which had a calendar laid out in the pattern for crops. A different wizard, also with his cloak pulled low, pointed to different days and waited for the prayer for her to give the payer of the day's god. Rowena did not hesitate as the songs came forth clearly, and loudly. She recited twenty-two prayers before he handed her three small chips of blue stone and moved on to the next table.
The stone, used for the healing rituals, and incantations whispered while casting the stone could cure many diseases, and the passing of ones hands over a body could show what she needed. On the table were small pieces of things she could also use, phoenix feathers, a small vial of unicorn blood, a sliver of dragon heartstring, and a length of Centaur muscle.
She left the stones on the table when she had completed her test, and she moved on to the table of mirrors. Positioning one mirror to align with the fading sun, Rowena paused, knowing that it was too late in the day to capture the amount of light she needed. Raising her hand she cast a small orb of light and positioned it to the east, readjusting the arc of her self-made moon, she placed the second mirror to capture its light. Then looking hard at the flickering reflections on the table she spoke of the future.
She knew she was finished with the test when a hand took hers and squeezed it. Looking up she saw the dark cloak of the test giver pulled back and an old face leaned into her own. Seeing the sky now full black she realized much time had passed.
"Your trance was deep," he whispered, "and disconcerting. Have you talked to the men of Rome?"
"Rome?" she questioned. "No, Teacher, it is forbidden."
"Why did you cast into the moon phase?" He pushed back his hood. "You were taught to toss to the sun. Were you not?"
"Yes Teacher," she said, looking down at the mirrors and feeling she had failed. "I needed more light."
"Why did you not merely enhance its light?" He continued to look at her closely.
"It is the end of the cycle." She bit her lip, knowing she had failed. "The moon should be at the brightest it has been for many centuries. I just thought to capture it."
"Go then." He stepped back and raised his hood. "We begin in the morning."
Rowena ran from the testing circle, letting out her breath and trying to remain calm. 'In the morning' he had said. She had passed for one more day.
The next day was long and gruelling. The wizard handed Rowena a scroll and told her to read aloud. She looked at the cloaked figure oddly. This was the history of her clan. She did not need to look at the runes to recite this story. Sighing she lowered her head to the parchment and began.
As she finished the first scroll, another and yet another were put before her. Each scroll going back to a previous time. The third and the fourth scroll were unfamiliar to her, and she read with delight at the new information. The man laid out a fifth scroll with great care, and two other cloaked men came over to the table.
"Take your time," she heard Elbragh's gentle voice and smiled at his presence.
The runes were more ancient then were the goatskin on which they appeared. She had heard that scrolls like this existed, and had dreamed of one day seeing one. Now, here before her was one older then her very clan. This must have come down from the North eons ago. This was the book what bound all clans together, one that was full of prophesy and promise.
Waving her hand to cast a glowing orb to shed more light on the ancient scroll, she began reading in her soft voice not noticing the hush that had come to the test centre as every one stopped to listen. This scroll was not part of the test for Teacher. This scroll, only offered to those who had completed the first part flawlessly, would give her the right to be an Elder.
After the first test, of transfiguration, six were left, and after potions, only four. The four new friends looked at each other and nodded their greetings, as once again they approached the tables. Each looked down at the same set of numbers, and then the same set of runes, potions and stones. They computed the crops cycles, the phases of the sun, and the full moon.
Rowena concentrated as she felt her head spin from lack of food and looking around the circle saw that only she and Salazar remained. Smiling at him, she returned to her work and completed the full nineteen-year moon cycle, which would place the full moon over Orion's left shoulder in only fourteen months from now.
Looking up at the cloaked wizard before her, she frowned and looked back at the table.
"Your premise is wrong," she said hesitantly. "This is three days off. You must have had someone else copy the problem."
"And, why would three days matter?" he asked slowly.
She looked up at him, worrying her lip and wanting to tell him to go three days more with out food if he needed to know what three days could do.
"Three days now would multiply to twenty seven in the next cycle. That would throw off the solstice, the corps, and the tides would…," she paused. "The prophesy sir. It is the prophesy from yesterday, about the three days that would change our world. This is the computation of the last three days that you have given me."
"Yes Elder." He smiled at her. "You are correct."
Rowena stepped back from the table shocked at the news that they now knew the day. The exact time that would destroy what she held close. The title bestowed on her went unheard as she spun around looking for Salazar at the table behind her. She saw only the cloaked testers watching her as her ran from the circle to find Erwin.
She ran from fire to fire, searching and calling his name. He was the only other one from her clan so the waving banners above the tents meant nothing to her. Hearing her name, she spun around and saw him walking toward her with Elbragh by his side.
She hurried to him only to have him stop her with his hand raised and palm out. He shook his head, and looked around quickly.
"Rowena, we must be careful." He scowled at her. "You are not yet released."
Rowena felt her face redden as she ducked her head down, turned to Elbragh, and began the story of what she had just learned.
Yes," Elbragh said to her quietly after hearing her out. "When you cast your Fylgie into the mirror it was revealed that the error in date was intentional. This test was written years before your clan moved to this island. The error has been found before many times, with no understanding of why, until now."
"What will happen?" she questioned.
"I am no longer your teacher Rowena," he smiled sadly at her. "I am afraid we all must decide for our selves. We will take this information home and see what is decided."
"Erwin, I must speak to him," she looked around Elbragh's fire again. "Where is he, I need to see him."
"No," he grabbed her shoulders and gave her a small shake. "Stay away from him until I speak to the gods for you."
"You know?" she whispered, she eyes filling with tears.
"He had to tell me if you want me to stand in the circle for you," he said smiling. "I can not say I approve of what you do. However, I cannot see you wasted on a hearth in the home such as that one. He is known for his cruelty."
"I would rather die then be with him," she said honestly.
"Now go." All he could do was nod at her. "Enjoy this time as the time of your test will always be in your memory."
Oidhche Shamhna had begun.
The four newest elders stepped into the inner circle walking to the middle, and then turning their backs to each other, the faced the four directions and offered up the opening prayer. Around the circle, fourteen fires burned, as tradition required, only now Rowena knew the reason. Fourteen was the number of moons they had, and fourteen was the number of clans that would survive. . This was the last Oidhche Shamhna celebrated in this circle that was ancient when her ancestors had come to this island. Her world would now end, as had the world of the original builders.
She raised her arms to the dark sky and invited the Old Ones to return. She offered them savoury meats, and roasted nuts, sweet cakes, and mead. She chanted the prayer of the dead, and asked them to share their knowledge of the after life and begged them to keep the evil away. She prayed that the last harvest on her clans land would be fruitful, and asked that their world survive, and above all, she prayed for wisdom.
One at a time new mothers brought up the babies born during the year and holding them up to the stars the four new elders introduced them to the gods, and spoke their names aloud for the first time. Rowena smiled when occasionally she would feel magic flow into the baby's soul. She knew that although the baby held mixed blood, the god's have accepted it.
When the moon reached the highest point, the bones of the dead were bought forward and as the babies were introduced, the dead were told goodbye. The clans elder would take the bones into one of the many earthen mounds and lay them next to members that had come before.
Elbragh did enter the circle for them on their first Oidhche Shamhna without a clan. He stood alone in the cluster of stones and raised his arms to the sky, and offered payers to the old Gods of Odin and to Odhinn before him. He asked for their grace, to release Rowena from her bindings, to allow Erwin to walk with her, and to pledge their lives together.
As the bonfires raged, and burning embers rose to the sky, he closed his eyes and saw what was to come, and heard the Gods caution. He cast an orb of light from the palm of his hand, sent it to the stars thereby accepting the terms set out, and with a sad sigh, lowered his arms.
He turned to leave the circle to see Rowena and Erwin standing together watching him. Fires burned and tables laden with food crowed the space between the tents set up to hold the sleeping children. Flute and harps, and deep toned drums beat out ancient tunes, all unheard, and unseen by the couple that he sought.
He walked to them, as others took their turn in the circle, and taking up Rowena's arm, he led them away from the festivities and her friends.
"Teacher," Elbragh said, the first to use her new title. "I am proud of you."
"Elbragh, what of the Gods, what did they say to you?" She stepped closer to Erwin.
"Child, you and Erwin have their blessings to make your journey and find a new home together." He did not want to complete the information.
"Elbragh," Rowena hissed. "Tell me all of it."
"Child." He shook his head and turned to Erwin. "You can marry in one of the many Roman villages."
"Elbragh," Erwin said gruffly. "Tell me what it is old man. I am loosing all patience with you."
"The binding will hold." Elbragh reached and rested his hand on Rowena's shoulder. "A child will be born, a female child. She will break your heart, Rowena. And in many centuries her line that comes from Vortigern thru you, and your husband, his descendent Vortimer, will join with the Slytherin clan that came from the Moorish people of the south,the tribe from the Fen, and will again rip your world apart."
Rowena gasped, and Erwin hearing the words reached for her and pulled her close. He placed his hand on her stomach and looked closely at her.
"It changes nothing, do you hear?" He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. "She will be born at my hearth, you will suckle her, I will take her to the naming, and she will be mine."
"That is many years away, and Rowena you know not all predictions come true," Elbragh said lightly and then turned and waved to the festival behind them. "Now let's eat, and drink our fill."
"Is that all you saw?" Rowena said, for the first time not trusting the old man. Erwin put an arm protectively around Rowena's shoulder, fearing to hear more.
"I am an old man that has never been further from home then this," he sighed, shaking his head. "I have never entered a Roman village, and would not live in a home of stone and brick. I would be afraid it would fall around my ears." He laughed at the thought and then grew quiet as he put his words together.
"Rowena," he said softly. "Our world is fast disappearing. We have spoken of this before. You live at a time of great adventure, and will do great things. If I had your wit I would join you."
"Where should we go Teacher?" she asked, knowing he would say no more.
"I have always liked the cool air that comes from the north." Elbragh raised his eyebrow as his blue eyes twinkled at them. "Now enjoy Oidhche Shamhna, and then go and find your new students."
1. The autumn festival is pre-Christian Celtic in origin, and is known in Scottish Gaelic as Oidhche Shamhna the "End of Summer".
2. Go to Wikipeda and look up Rowena for the references to Vortigren Vorimer and his son. I have always the similarity in names just too good to pass up
3. Fylgie the part of the total person, not quite a soul, not quite a guardian angel, gave insight and divination.