Isolde: Blood-Rose Guardians (a supplementary novella)

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Reunion

I was more nervous about the wedding than Amelia was, in fact, she was remarkably casual about the whole affair. When Hobart puts on a beautiful day, it does it well. A stunning blue sky, a sparkling azure ocean, yellow-white sand and a breeze so gentle that it caresses the skin as a lover might. There have been many weddings in my past, but sadly, most of the people in them have passed away now. As technology increased my involvement with such things decreased. It has become harder and harder to remain invisible, that I had managed it for so long was a testament to my determination to pass through time unnoticed. Despite my accumulated wealth, I have maintained a low-key life. My house is simple, old and completely normal in the local landscape. I have had to get it retrofitted on occasion for electricity and telecommunications, both things that were not yet invented when the house was built.

I haven’t worn a dress as lovely as this one in centuries, though it has far fewer undergarments than the last one. The fabric is soft and shiny and golden. I am surprised by my appearance in the mirror – the beautiful girl staring back at me has been hidden in the darkness for a long time, but this image is bright like sunlight. Though I would like to continue to help the Guardians, they are probably right to exclude me from all battles. The bunch of red roses is rich in colour and scent. I hold the posy to my nose and feel the soft petals brush against my cheeks. The scent is sweet and I am reminded of past encounters where I was given sweet posies of wild roses. Amelia’s bouquet is fitting for a bride as exceptional as she, never could I have guessed this future when I first left my father’s keep.

“I am ready,” declares Amelia, and I am suddenly aware of the room full of people surrounding me. Thomas’ sisters have been in and out all morning dropping things off and picking things up. Magical children have been running around our feet and we have had to be careful not to step on them. Azura’s dress is not gold, for that would clash with her own silver locks, but it is a fabulous shade of green – one that matches Amelia’s eyes. Amelia is the most simply dressed of us. Instead of the satin we wear, her dress is cotton; white and patterned with delicate lace, but a simple sheath that skims her body. She is radiant. Her skin glows golden, like her brother Falcon who has turned up to walk her down the aisle, or rather the sand.

“Okay, everyone take a deep breath,” directed Azura and without thinking I follow her command.

“Let’s go shall we,” says Falcon and I fall into line, still amazed that I am here to witness such an event.

As we cross the road from the small motel and head toward the matrimonial destination I am greeted by the sun; it welcomes me to its fold, the breeze too insists that I am free and welcome. The sand is warm beneath my bare feet; the coarseness of its grains a reminder of the grit and determination I have had to show to get to this moment in time.

“I have a surprise for you,” whispers Falcon into my ear as I pass by him.

“What is it?” I whisper back.

“True love exists and I will show it to you today,” he tells me as though he has read my mind and heart and knows exactly where my mind has traveled back to on this day.

“I can see it already – in your eyes when you look at Gabrielle, in Azura’s when she looks at her daughter and at Xavier, in Amelia’s when she sees Charity and Thomas. It is all around me – I know it,” I reply with tears in my eyes because I can see it everywhere and I know that I once had it too.

“Trust me,” Falcon says squeezing my shoulder, “now off you go,” he points in the direction of the congregation.

I take another deep breath and, as the music begins to play, I begin to lead the procession down the beach. I scan the faces. I see many new friends that I have made in this journey, a few faces I don’t know. Thomas waiting with such excitement for his bride, Xavier standing beside him, best man, his own eagerness to see his fiancé evident. Adam, his brother Samuel, and then a face from my own past. I stop in my tracks – could it possibly be? How could it? I want to call out to him, to make sure he is really there, but my voice has abandoned me and I stand there, frozen; still in the middle of the procession, bridesmaid and bride behind me, my mouth agape staring at a man whose face I thought had been lost to me millennia ago. His eyes catch mine and my heart skips a beat – he has seen me, and his face indicates recognition immediately. He smiles and breaks ranks to rush over to me. The entire crowd has eyes on us now – I can feel their eager gaze. The vision of my past stands in front of me and gently touches my lips and I know with certainty that I am not hallucinating for I feel the tenderness of a man who loved me body and soul. Tears are streaming down my face and I am still speechless; his time-wearied face also streams with tears. The crowd is silent, waiting it seems for us to say something, but I can’t…I don’t know what to say. I draw in another deep breath, but my chest is so tight that I cannot get a full complement of air; my heart is thumping, I am sure that the onlookers must be able to hear it. I gingerly raise my hand to his cheek and he closes his eyes and pushes his cheek into my hand. I drop the roses without thinking and bring my other hand to my mouth. It is him!

I am shaking now, my hands are quivering and my breath is erratic.

“William…” I stammer, I have more to say, but he doesn’t let me. His lips catch mine and he kisses me with such ferociousness that I am taken a little aback. Since that day so long ago when my happy future was ripped from me, I have awaited this moment, hoped for this moment but never dared to believe that I would ever find it! I wrap my arms around him and hold on for dear life in case this is a dream and it will be torn from me. Oh my goddess! He is here, he is touching me, and he is…still…

“Isölde, my heart, where have you been? I have missed you,” he whispered.

“I thought you lost, gone from the world centuries ago…when I was made this…I thought I had lost you forever…I have missed you too.”

He kisses me tenderly this time and I am swept up off my feet.

“I will never let you go,” he says collecting me in his arms.

“Promise me that, William, for I could not bear it again.”

“With my whole heart, I promise it.”

Clapping rouses us from our not so private interlude. I am jolted back to reality and realise that I am holding up Amelia’s wedding. I bend down to collect the flowers and turned to catch Falcon’s eye. He smiles and nods at me, and though my eyes are filled with tears, I smile and nod back. He had delivered exactly what he had suggested he would. He had given me back my William, the first and truest love I had ever felt. I know this is Elizabeth’s doing, as is every other carefully planned detail at this ceremony. I send a silent word of gratitude towards the heavens. William attempted to move aside to allow the procession to continue, but I held his arm firmly – I wasn’t letting go now or ever.

Azura followed me down the aisle and stood beside Xavier. Falcon delivered Amelia to Thomas. Amelia passed her lovely bunch of flowers to Azura, she smiled at me knowingly and then directed all of her focus on her beloved. The celebrant wrapped their hands with ribbon, a Wiccan ritual if ever there was one.

“Love is the key,” she began.

I tried to listen, but instead gave thanks for the journey that brought me here; for an immortal future with William by my side; for friendships with women so powerful and guided by love that they could help me keep on the path toward the light regardless of the pain and suffering of the past; for the opportunity to be a part of their Guardian world. I glanced up at William to see him staring at me. His hand slides about my back and he pulls me tight against him. His eyes glisten too. He smiles and his whole face lights up and I realise that the darkness had lifted! I feel alive, filled with love and light. Guinevere and the magic she wielded had kept their promise to me, I had been led back to the Light.


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