Prolouge - Almost 18 years ago
She stood at the window rocking her babe while she watched the rain streaming down the window panes. It’d been snowing when she’d left Hanover but it rarely snowed this far south, it was no wonder Greg had moved here after he’d come of age.
Her brother had put up those silly twinkling lights that were so common during Christmas around every window in his family’s home so the raindrops looked like rainbow water. She’d never been allowed to live a normal life, they’d never had Christmas lights like this growing up. Everything had to look prim and proper at court, even the children.
What she was asking of her brother was in no way fair, she knew that, but she had no other option. Her daughter’s life depended on no one at court knowing of her birth. There were those that still believed in the prophecy and would seek to kill her for what her birth could mean. The fact she’d been away from court when she got pregnant had been a blessing, those that had been with her were as loyal as she had, they’d keep her secret. Until her daughter came of age and could protect herself she had to stay away, no matter how much it hurt.
“Tell her Greg!” her brother’s wife demanded as she waddled after her husband after their ‘private’ talk in the kitchen.
“I told you it wasn’t that simple Lisa. I can’t…Bridgette has a good reason or she wouldn’t…”
“She did the crime and now doesn’t want to do the time! With our son due in a couple months she figures she can just shove her bastard daughter on us and then go back to business as usual.”
Lisa wasn’t completely wrong but it really wasn’t that simple either. Had her baby brother been completely honest with the woman from the start…but who was she to judge? The father of her own child didn’t know he was a father. He did know who, and what, she was though and she might have even told him about their daughter had he not ran home to his father without so much as a goodbye for her. He’d been on a job, an important job, and had failed in completing it fully. Now it was safer, for all of them, that he didn’t know.
“Lisa,” Bridgette says turning to face them, “despite what you obviously believe I don’t want to be asking you to raise my daughter but it is in her best interest to not be apart of the world I live in yet. Things are…complicated.”
“What do you mean world you live in? We live in the same world.”
“Yes and no, but there are things in this world that you don’t…”
“That’s enough!” Greg growls looking at his sister through narrowed eyes. “Lisa we are taking in my niece.”
Lisa had been giving Bridgette the evil eye but turns on Greg fuming.
“I cannot believe you are giving her the easy out! Why should we give this Irish whore…”
A look Bridgette had never seen on her brother’s face before stops Lisa in her tracks. It’s a look she knew all too well on her own face when she had been much younger but Greg had always been the sibling with a level head, even before they’d started the change.
“That is my sister, my qu…my blood, you’re talking about Lisa! Never, ever, let me hear you say anything like that about her again. We are doing this and that is final.”
Lisa was still staring at Greg with wide eyes. Greg had always been fun loving, always smiling and cracking jokes. He’d infuriated their mother to no end, taking nothing seriously. He did his studies, and passed everything with flying colors but he had the luxury of not having to worry about the time when he’d take over for their parents like his sister had. There were more times than she cared to admit that she’d been jealous of his freedom.
After Greg had left it’d got some better. She didn’t have to see what she couldn’t have every day. He’d been gone from court for going on thirty years, hadn’t even come back for your coronation. They wrote letters on birthdays and holidays but they hadn’t seen each other in person again until she just showed up tonight. He knew what this meant, he’d memorized every book he ever touched, and even though he’d walked away from all of this and their family he was still going to help.
“Thank you Greg. I’ll send whatever she or you need. But she can’t know about me or our…family’s history. I realize the position I’m putting you and your family in. I wish I didn’t have to.”
She slowly cross the hardwood floor to stand in front of her brother, her heart breaking a little more with every step. Lisa storms up the stairs and slams the door to their bedroom leaving the siblings alone. Dragging her eyes away from her daughter’s sleeping face she meets her brother’s eyes, tears slipping down her cheeks.
“I know Gidget.” He says barely louder than a whisper then wraps his arms around her and his niece.
“You know I hate when you call me that.” she replies with a wet chuckle.
“I know but that’s what little brothers are for, annoying their annoying big sisters. Even when said big sister happens to be the queen.”
“I’m so sorry to be doing this to you. You only ever wanted a nice normal life away from court and everything our family means but if anything were to happen to her if I took her back to court with me now…” She trails off looking down at her innocent daughter. “Once she starts the change, things are going to change forever. You know what the prophecy Ms. Betty had…the Morrigan will send everything she can after her… I just wish I could take this for her.”
“She’ll be safe here, I promise you that. She won’t grow up as we did, always looking over her shoulder. I can give her the tools she will need when she is able to join you at court. Does her father…”
She pulls back and look up at him startled. No one aside from Ms. Betty and her husband knew who the father of her child was. No one else, not even her brother, could know; not until she had come of age and was safe, or as safe as she’ll ever be.
“Know where she is?” Greg finishes slowly, confused by her reaction.
“No. Only Ms. Betty and Mossie know anything. It was her idea to bring Aoife here.”
Her brother grimaces, “Please tell me you didn’t give my niece a name she won’t be able to spell easily. You mean Eva right?”
“No! Well not completely. Aoife Andrea Jean Danann, or I guess Russ would be her last name here?”
“I can add it to the end if you’d like but makes no matter to me. I do think Andrea will be what we call her though, sounds much more American.”
“And easier to pronounce and spell.” she adds with a chuckle.
He was right of course, she’d just always loved that name. Most Irish names were spelled one way and pronounced another but growing up American Andrea would be easier.
“Yeah that too. Can you stay until midnight? You could ring in the new year with Lisa and I. She’s a good woman, she just doesn’t understand.”
“You need to tell her little brother. She will begin to notice eventually. You have a child on the way, she needs to be prepared for the birth. Trust me, it’s impossible to miss.”
The light that had shown from the babes eyes the first time she’d opened them had been amazing but was definitely not ‘normal’ and even a mortal without the ability to see into their world would notice. Now that she was four days old the red eyes she’d been born with had begun to fade into a vibrant periwinkle, so much like her father’s. It was an unusual color for sure but most humans couldn’t see past the vale that separated this world from the other and more than likely wouldn’t even notice. Lisa would notice though she had a feeling.
“I know, I just don’t know how to now. I wasn’t planning for her to get pregnant.”
The large grandfather clock in the corner of Greg’s office strikes the hour, eleven chimes. It was well past time she had planned to leave. She’d been a little too happy her brother’s wife had needed to talk to him when Bridgette had first arrived, it’d given her more time to hold her babe, it was just so hard to say goodbye knowing she wouldn’t be able to see her, to hold her again, for eighteen years. She’d miss all the baby stages and with how…complicated the relationship would always be she’s not likely to have another baby. Lisa wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t right either. Leaving Aiofe here was the easy out but she’d give just about anything to not have to. The Morrigan would pay for taking these years away from her, she’d make sure of that.
The pendant on the necklace Bridgette is wearing pulses a couple times against her throat drawing both of their attention.
“It’s time?” Greg asks pulling her away from her thoughts.
“Yes. Ms. Betty has a portal for me to get back to court at first light. It’s just…”
“I know it’s hard but if you’re late they’ll come looking for you thinking something is wrong and that wouldn’t be good. Go, and know that she will be protected and loved. You’ll see her again before you know it.”
Tears where falling freely down Bridgette’s cheeks as she hands her precious bundle to her brother. She hoped Andrea would understand why her mother had given her away and wouldn’t be a part of her life when she was finally able to tell her. Leaning down she presses a final kiss on her daughters brow then looks up at her brother to find he has tears running down his face as well.
“I’m trusting you to raise her right, so she’s ready when the time comes to know the truth. Make sure she knows she’s loved.” She finishes with a hiccup.
The baby gurgles, drawing both of their attention. Reaching a finger into the blanket Bridgette strokes her daughter’s little cheek memorizing ever inch of her face. Andrea wiggles an arm out from under the blanket she’s wrapped in and holds onto her mothers finger.
“Be brave little one. Face each challenge with courage and wisdom and when all else fails believe in yourself and your heart. Mummy loves you so very much.”
Taking a steadying breathe Bridgette looks back up at her brother as her pendant pulses again.
“I love you baby brother.”
“I love you too.”
She slides her finger out of her daughters grasp and takes a couple steps back then touches the pendant at her throat. A swirl of blue fireworks erupts around her feet and travels up her body slowly. The last thing she sees is her daughter’s eyes looking back at her before the fireworks reach her head and her brother’s office dissolves around her replaced by another office hundreds of miles away.