I can end this.
With Rossignol’s passing, something changed within me, as well as around me.
I began to hear voices calling out to me, disturbing my rest even more than usual. I tried to ignore them. I tried to blot them out, but they grew stronger and would not be ignored.
They came at me harder.
They had changed. I knew them. They were no longer screaming at me, threatening me, pleading with me as they had done, but they were calling out to me gently, but forcefully, as though calling me back to them, just as a siren calls out to sailors to see them shipwrecked upon the rocks. I could not ignore them.
Then it came to me how I could end this. They were indeed calling out to me; those voices that I knew. Voices belonging to the dead Chambertins were calling me back to them.
Perhaps that was how this ended, where I went back to where it all began, and where I could correct... if I ever could... what I had done, by becoming ‘shipwrecked’. Anything that ended this pain would be worth it.
I had to return to my roots and atone for my sins, as they were calling me to do. I had to get back into that chamber where I had committed those horrendous acts of cruelty, and I had to confront those memories once more and deal with those disembodied voices; those of her uncles, brothers, cousins, and of her father. He, was the more powerful of those voices. I knew they would demand much more than that of me, but I would pay any price to be free of this living hell I was trapped in.
I would give of myself, so that they... and I... would find some rest at last. How long had it been? Sixty years, seventy? Time did not matter to me so much as it once had.
I put my life on ‘hold’, and travelled down as far as St. Denis. It took many days, weeks, with the state of the roads of that day and the unrest in the countryside.
Travellers were viewed with distrust, even outright animosity. The Plague was once more rearing its ugly head.
My company would thrive in my absence. I had good managers, and a break, would see me out of sight of those who wished to know more about me.
That was when I discovered a war being waged for my attention, and it was a war within my own head.
There was one set of voices demanding I return; those I had first heard, and then there was another set, a strengthening group, that opposed me returning, for whatever reason.
The latter voices grew stronger as I approached St. Denis, slowly overwhelming the former and blotting them out totally once I got close to that town and the monastery.
That was when I discovered that I could not return, no matter how hard I wanted to.
There was that one force, calling me in, but another one stopping me; a force well beyond my control and that caused me to beome sick in some way. It was as though I became mad, with no control over my own body. As I turned, in what I thought was the direction of my former home, some three days of walking, to the west of St. Denis, I felt their animosity building against me. If I persisted, that deeply felt discomfort increased to the point where I could not think, I could not function.
I had to turn away.
They kept me away from that place. They would not even let me find it on any map, for all the good that would do me. It was gone from all maps of the area—the Church had seen to that, to hide their handywork. Anything I thought I might remember was well-closed-off to me.
I persisted, desperately needing to succeed, but I could not fight those forces, so I had to retreat once more, tasting of defeat. I returned to Paris.
As the years passed, I discovered that there were two brief moments in each year where those more powerful voices were quieted.
At a time around the Celebration of Christ’s Birth, and at Easter. Each extended for about twenty-four hours; just one day. It was too brief a window to see through all of that evil aligned against me, and to get back to my former home, so I knew better than to try, but I stored that knowledge away.
During those two brief intervals, I felt those other forces, those who pleaded for my return... the still living (in a way); tormented entities that still survived in limbo. The other voices opposing me, were quieted at that time.
The voices of the Chambertins were very clear to me, no matter where I was in France, but on those two days only. They still wanted me back, and they kept urging me to turn to the east or to the south, depending upon where I was, and to head home to make things right between us.
However, a single day, was not long enough to make any headway in my quest to return to my former home, before those other demons revived with the new day, stopping me again, driving me back.
I gave up. As long as I stayed far away, the more powerful voices left me in peace.
I knew then that I was truly cursed, unable to set anything right; destined to wander the earth for an eternity.