A Double Majesty of Grace 1
So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,
And found such fair assistance in my verse.
As every alien pen hath got my use.
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes that taught the dumb on high to sing,
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
Have added feathers to the learned's wing,
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
But thou art all my art and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.
'What's happening Vincent? You seem so still. Are you not worried about the children?'
'Children? Do you mean Mea and Cilla?'
'Cathy and Jacob.'
Vincent grunted in response. His absentmindedness worried Catherine. Since the event which caused their separation so many years ago, and was so recently repeated during the flood below, Catherine remained vigilant of her husband's vague and wary demeanour. Watching him and feeling helpless was too much like reliving a past whose outcome had been disastrous.
'Are you listening Vincent?' she pleaded with rising anxiety.
'I am Catherine, but my mind is focussed on our son and his wife.'
His weary wife sighed. 'I just asked you a question about them.'
'What?' Vincent looked up then. The look on Catherine's face brought him up short.
'I am sorry my love.' Reaching out he grabbed her hand adding physical sincerity to the verbal apology. His inattentiveness was inexcusable. 'I am trying to get a sense of where they are and what's happening but all I feel or sense is dead silence...no anxiety, no stress, no shock, just a vague stillness. This is more disquieting to me Catherine. I fully expected startling revelations about Lena to come to light.'
The blond head tilted to one side, its golden mane falling over one shoulder. ' Perhaps I was wrong.'
'Jacob would call if they were in trouble.' Vincent didn't look convinced. Catherine probed further. 'What does it mean...this stillness you talk about?'
Vincent got up, as he often did when troubled, and walked to the fireplace, where burning logs brought both light and warmth to the living room. Looking deep into the flames, Vincent remained thoughtful of the extraordinary event overtaking Jacob and Cathy. The gift of hindsight, bequeathed to their son, was both a blessing and a challenge. So much of what Jacob had seen over the years enabled everyone including Vincent to find the authentic history of their lives, from its very beginning. In many ways they were able to use the knowledge to draw each other closer together, uniting agreeable members of the Cult of the Golden Lion.
The entire family and many of the friends and enemies who passed through their lives belonged to a very old clan whose origins rose out of Egypt over fifteen centuries before the birth of Jesus. The awesome responsibilities of that history, as it attached itself to their everyday lives, brought both the pride of the lion clan and the constant battle for supremacy of its modern criminal holdings. The family's originating twins endured a complex and shocking physical separation from each other when their father was forced to leave his wife and one of his twins as surety at the palace of Queen Hatshepsut in ancient Egypt. Generations of their separate families, located all over the world, have been unable, since that time, to reconcile the untamed negative and positive energy of the twins dual nature which had been handed down along lines of DNA for years. At some fine point of light, the two sides would meet again and again but never as a uniting force. The journey out of Egypt as part of the Lion Clan would not be easy. Many would die and despite the more modern mundane fights for territory, for drug and human trafficking rights nothing was as important as reconciling the two warring sides through the merging of one child born to the Exemplar and one child to the Diosa who would meet, mate and produce the leminscate of eight sons.
Vincent and Catherine heard the details of many histories from their remarkable son. Based on intuited information, they had no doubt that Jacob was the child of the modern Exemplar, Vincent. Catherine was not a Diosa but she carried her own power and added immense feminine strength and intelligence to their son. Both believed that Holly or Merindia as she had been known originally was the modern Diosa but Jacob had not fallen in love with her. Both of the young people went their own way in finding love. Jacob's parents would have it no other way.
The nuances of ancient warring factions held little interest for Catherine and Vincent. The history was interesting but not really relevant to the life they lived. Based on their own rocky road to find love and happiness, they could only wish for their son to be happy with the one person he loved. If fate did not take him on a noble road to meet his destiny then it was better for him exercise free will, to fulfill his extraordinary potential, living life as he wished.
In a heartbeat, Vincent reviewed some of the more relevant history, allowing the details to flow uninterrupted through his subconscious. The sense of disquiet was heightened as remembered information continued to course through his mind. He halted in his meditations and stared again at the worried face of his wife, belatedly answering her question.
'The quiet is just as disturbing. It lends itself to inaction and I am a man of action Catherine.'
'You are presuming that there is bad news. What could Jacob discover, Vincent? There isn't much more to know about Lena. I am happy for her parents that they will have a greater knowledge of the life she lived. In fact, they will be able to mourn her loss in a way that was impossible before. To discover the lovely, educated granddaughter who has made something wonderful of her life and married a man who loves her as she is...well they should be happy.'
'I couldn't agree more,' he said acknowledging his wife's assessment with a nod,' but something tells me that the story will not have the ending they expect and the quiet worries me.'
Catherine frowned. 'Your logic makes no sense to me. I understand that you feel the need to do something. Perhaps it is part of your recovery from that awful flood, rather than a need to worry.'
Vincent didn't dismiss his wife's words immediately. He gave some credence to the possibility that she could be right. His body had healed from the tunnel crisis. His mind felt clear and able to process information. Instead he thought, 'maybe what I feel is a perception of well being, but perhaps Catherine sees it differently'.
'Your concern is not misplaced, my love but, I want to assure you that I feel well and my mind is clear.'
He gave voice to his thoughts and her unspoken anxiety. The words held neither anger nor rebuke. Vincent well knew the source of her concern. The never-ending ache in his heart from their years of separation could be activated at the most fleeting memory of his decline into madness. Standing apart from her was no way to offer reassurance either. He left his position at the fireplace and resumed his seat beside her on the couch.
'I will keep my worry to a minimum. You are the anchor which helps me to balance my anxieties as a parent versus the base drives in my body. I never want to return to that time again.'
Catherine threw her arms around her husband. 'Some of your base drives have kept me very happy these past few months. Don't let go of all of them.'
Vincent's responding smile was comical. His face was inches from that of his wife. For long moments he stared into her eyes, holding her gaze by sheer will alone. When he finally spoke again, the tenor of his breathing had changed adding the husky whisper signalling desire.
'How is it that I can love you even more? When I look at you today, I see a difference I would have feared even a short time ago. Today, you are strong, self assured, and very close to the woman you were before I last held you dying in my arms and yet my fear of losing you has only just begun to diminish.'
'Losing me to death?'
'No Catherine, losing you to the life you once knew.'
'Can you still believe that I would ever leave you, even now Vincent?'
'It crossed my mind at one time but since Terry's wedding I have seen a side of you that my heart...my heart..could only imagine.'
'I can't understand how you could even entertain the thought. I realize that there were some things which needed fixing within me. I am still trying to get my brain to connect with many parts of my body but I am happy that the part which connects so beautifully to you, is working well.'
Lost in the moment was the worry about any of the children. Mea and Cilla were with their natural grandmother, Erin. If there was any deep concern about Jacob and Cathy, it was put on hold. Catherine was determined to reassure her glorious husband in the best way possible and remove the last fear from his beautiful eyes.
The stillness in the room breathed with a life of its own. No one wanted to move an inch. Shock held them all immobile. Jacob's final words fell into the void, like stones sinking in water. He could not meet his wife's eyes. They were shocked, staring ahead, unblinking. Both her arms were outstretched. Frozen fingers gripped the hands of her grandparents. Few knew as well as Cathy what Jacob's final words meant. She was without doubt Freddy's daughter, the first born, the Diosa. Why didn't the knowledge bring some powerful alignment of the senses. Surely if the words were true, she would feel the immense power of the so-called role of a generation. Cathy was almost afraid to move, as if doing so would activate an unmanageable crisis on the one hand or force her to realize that the events described by her husband were just a myth.
Deep inside, she had no wish to change even one moment of the lovely life she lived with the handsome man whose devotion already made her feel like a goddess. Nothing more was needed to make her life complete, except their own child, one day. Now, in this moment of truth, she was unsure of what was facing her. Myth or reality stalked the inner workings of her mind, pulling her back to the past for a glimpse of what was possible.
Images of a time long ago, even before the age of Knut and Arden, filled her mind's eye. Subconsciously she knew it was in those early middle years, the beginning of the dark ages when life was harsh, women were nothing more than chattels of the men and war was ever present on the horizon. Who was she in that time? Inner vision searched for a feminine face she could recognize as her own. Instead she saw a male figure, astride a magnificent white horse. When he turned to stare down an unseen enemy, Cathy knew the knight was her own self. No not herself, she quickly amended but the ancestor who lived to produce the family line of the man holding her left hand. She felt the tingle connecting her to his lineage, descendants of Pepin, the Belgian born grandfather of Charlemagne. The connection filled her with awe.
Deep in her subconscious, she explored the fast moving scene seeking any other point of recognition in the historical vignette. Searching, as if she was standing on a rotary dial, she surveyed around the perimeter before feeling another part of herself fighting for air and life in the midst of a group of screaming women. Stepping back from sensation, she observed that the knight spun the white mare, pulling hard to avoid injuring the hoards of women being rounded up. Beyond the smaller fray, a battle raged on between the fierce looking men on both sides of the warring factions. Under siege by the Celts, a Frankish farming community was struggling for survival.
The Franks were not a part of the Lion cult. Their origins were different. They had originally moved north from out of the heart of the Indus Valley. Clearly they did not want to relinquish the land which had been hard fought over centuries, but the Franks, as farmers, were the weaker of the two cultures and not well equipped to fight.
Women screamed, fearful of being raped. They were herded towards a darker destiny under the rule of the Celts/Belgians. The women cowered and huddled their little ones close to their skirts. A young girl with vibrant blue eyes tried to keep her arms around two of her sisters but they were moved away from her with the shoving tide of bodies. She looked up as the white mare, which was known to her, came close. Against all common sense her eyes met those of the knight sitting boldly astride his horse. In a flash of recognition she blinked seconds before her body was crushed by the frightened women, then miraculously released. Seconds later, she lost all consciousness.
The sudden burst of energy which passed between Cathy and her Grandmother told her that the young woman was the ancestor of the woman at her side. Inside Cathy felt the same deep blow, as if the life ended but just as swiftly she experienced the release as the crowd, despite the horror of the moment parted and allowed the mare access to the centre of the melee. With one swift and unprecedented move, the young woman with the dark hair and terrified blue eyes was pulled up on the back of the horse. It wasn't an unusual circumstance. Being chosen by the enemy to be vanquished was either a blessing or curse. The role of unpaid prostitute to the victor lasted only as long as the needs of the flesh were uppermost. When the energy was spent, the women were discarded or killed. Cathy frowned trying to understand what was happening. She gave herself up to the moment and tried to put her own sense in the energy of the young woman.
In the moment of capture, Veneranda felt herself pulled up awkwardly. She released the hold on the two small children for she was unable to keep them at her side. If she felt any fear, it was quickly dislodged by the sparkle in the eyes of her moonlight knight.
Cathy knew there was an interesting story in the vignette, but she only needed the glimpse of a past to connect and verify that everything Jacob had said was true. At another time she would revisit the scene and learn more about the ancestry which brought her to the intersection of the space and time where she was seated. The joining of her grandparents in a distant past was necessary. In the meantime, it seemed an eternity had passed and yet no one had moved after Jacob's last shocking words.
Into the quiet, Vladimir and Kurt returned. No one shifted at the sound of the door opening and closing. Simultaneously, Jacob's cell phone was vibrating urgently on his thigh. He knew the caller. It wasn't his parents. He pressed the button through the material of his clothes and stared at Kurt, before tilting his head in the direction of Cathy. Kurt moved forward and offered a hand to Cathy. She separated herself from her grandparents and moved trance-like into his arms. Vladimir saw the shock in his partner's face and stretched out a hand to touch the tense shoulder.
The spell was broken.
The most heart-rending sobs came from the depths and out the dry lips of Hélène. The series of shocks had been too much. She was quickly gathered into the arms of Jacob where he exerted gentle pressure on her back to infuse her being with enough energy to antidote the emotional onslaught, sure to follow.
'I need to be alone for a few minutes. I will go to my room but I will come back,' she whispered hoarsely.
'Take what time you need. We will be here,' Jacob offered reassuringly. He watched her walk away slowly, hands clutched to her chest. Jacob felt confident that she would be alright.
The urgent summons in his pocket would not cease. He glanced at his wife, safe in Kurt's arms . Her grandfather seemed steadied by the support from Vladimir but the colour in his lips was worrisome. He turned his back on the scene and looked down at the message. His fingers ranged quickly over the keys trying to send a message of encouragement. It was useless. Nothing he could say would stop the course of events occurring that night. The release of knowledge to Cathy, Philippe and Hélène also allowed the other player in the centuries old drama to come to awareness of change in her life.
There was enough shock to go around. Each person had their own agenda. Hélène had no idea of the burden the news had placed on her granddaughter. She was just left speechless by the knowledge that she now had two granddaughters. Indeed, Philippe, had a slightly better understanding of the family dynamics but for the most part, Cathy's new role was lost to them but not to her.
On the other side of town, another family was impacted by the revelation. The youngest family member, not yet out of its mother's protective womb, floundered wildly, forcing the series of internal events which presage birth. The shock, it seemed, altered the course of Holly's pregnancy. Her baby, five weeks away from its due date, would not be held back. Jacob could sense that Holly was distraught. The power of truth, unfortunate in this case, superseded the post hypnotic suggestion of her father, Kardin. Everything she thought about herself was shattered.
The grandparents of Cathy and Holly, were also struck dumb. Jacob could not, in good conscience, halt the advent of this new knowledge into their lives and neither could he withhold information about the events happening across town. His dilemma was simple. A state of shock existed between Cathy and her grandparents. Holly and Brian were no doubt distressed by the change in their lives as well as the impending birth of their child who would not be born with the same degree of power. Everyone needed help and there weren't enough stable bodies to go around.
Jacob quickly called home but there was no answer. In a moment of desperation he reached out to his father along the cildhood lines of energy cemented by the love they shared.
'Dad, I need you to be present with me now,' he called out into the silence.