Oak, ash, and pine passed me by on the rocky hillside under a blanket of twinkling stars. My cloak barely rustled in the slight breeze. Already the Earth was getting ready to shed her autumn hues and welcome in the winter. I could feel it through the bite of chill in the air and the slight crunch my leather boots made on the hard ground.
These lands were perhaps more home to me than the castle. I knew each bush and gulley without looking. Out here I could feel myself; I could see my path clearly. Something that was harder and harder to do as the years passed.
I had come to find a place to find peace to think and to feel the way. There was a turning point coming up that much depended on and the right path must be chosen when the time came. I could sense it coming and also knew the choices would be mine.
One of the seven streams twinkled peacefully in the starlight as I neared the valley it ran through. The wind whispered and the trees spoke, whispering, Here. Rest here. Find your way here, young seeker.
I listened to the grounds speak and went to settle by the sparkling water, cross-legged on the cool grasses of autumn.
Like the whispers of a dream, the visions began, almost as if they had been waiting for me to be still. Images flashed before my eyes like leaves before the wind each too quick to catch in my consciousness.
There was a flash of golden barley hair which changed to the red of a braising copper. Both distinctive hues of the Britons.
There was a little boy, perhaps Liam, running through the woods towards the lake. Then a swishing glimpse of that copper hue and the image faded.
The world turned black, the stars stopped casting their silvery lights. There was a great rushing feeling within my breast. And the beating…the beating of a drum or a mighty pair of wings. Something was strange. Cold. Hunger. Strange land. Strange place. No right, no wrong…existence.
A breath cascaded into my lungs, bringing me back into the starry, autumn night. Fear of that last vision was all that remained of the experience. That and the sense that I must return to the house and stay there until the time of the Briton's arrival.
That must be the golden hair, but what of the red? Who is the one with hair like flame? I asked the winds.
All the answer I got was a soft, Go home. Go back, from the grasses.
Looking at the sky, I remembered again the last vision, the disturbing vision. I could not shake that feeling of not having right or wrong or choice. Simply the cold and the drums and the strangeness.
With a shiver entirely unrelated the chill air, I headed back towards the lake.
There was a sort of acceptance that had to be learned with the unique gifts of the Sight. At least that is what Conor has suggested repeatedly. I looked back at the stream, feeling the soft curls fly across my cheek.
I did not know if acceptance was the lesson needing to be learned, but rather understanding how not to feel the guilt that always accompanied these visions. I gave a wide smile to the hills, thinking that's Sorcha's suggestion anyway. My wise little owl…
Thinking of Sorcha lifted my spirits as no other thought could. I opened up my mind and felt her deep slumbering exhaustion through my own body. Sorcha's safe. I could handle all the uncertainties in the world if I knew she was safe and free.
An owl flew through the air, her glossy coat reflecting the moonlight as she swooped onto a nearby branch. She turned her glowing eyes on me and it was back. The strangeness. The cold. The great beating of wings.
When I opened my eyes again the owl was gone into the night. I traveled swiftly after that, making my way across hill and valley like a thing of the wild. Thinking about the vision, I did not see any way to prevent it. What will come will come, as Conor would say and for now I decided to let it be that way.