That is what they call me. Lady Morgan of Carkstone, as though they could force noble blood into my veins just by naming me so. My lord and lady of Dunmorsvelle would shape everything that I am and do if they could.
You ask who I am? I am no lady, this much I know. The parents I was born to did not want me. I cannot blame them - who would wish for a Gifted child in days so dark as these? At least they did not leave me outside for the wolves, as many others might have done. For that much I thank them, and God.
My friend Malynn complains that I read too much for a girl of sixteen years. I tell her that books will teach me more than dancing and games ever will. I learnt everything I know from the nuns of Carkstone Abbey, where I spent my first years. The sisters taught me everything: even the Gift. It is no easy task to control it, but I know I have to. There are those who hunt my kind, who will stop at nothing to see us dead. They call themselves the Raethgeva. They are like shadows. Sometimes at night I hear the clatter of hooves and my heart stops.
I know this will sound foolish, but I am afraid of fire. When I was in my ninth winter, Carkstone burned down. Fires can come from nothing; a spark from a candle striking an altarcloth is enough. But for a while I thought it was my fault - I thought the Raethgeva had found me, that they had razed the Abbey to the ground looking for me. Even now, I still can't look at a flame without feeling guilty that I escaped without a burn. I do not know how many of my sisters lived.
The Gift frightens me more than fire does - but God must have made me so for a reason. He must want me to use the Gift to help others. I have always known that he has a plan for me.
My wardens, Lord Henry d'Ayleinn and his wife, the lady Elizabeth, have a plan of their own. They saved me from the burning shell of the Abbey, and now they think they own me. They keep me at Dunmorsvelle, telling me they will protect me from the Raethgeva better than any nunnery will. Now they have betrothed me to their son, Matthew, who always saw me as his plaything and still does. His games are rougher, now that he is near eighteen. When I showed Lady Elizabeth the bruises, she gave me some more for lying.
I am going to leave. I don't know where I will go, only that I cannot stay here. Let the Raethgeva find me, if they can. I will not wed Matthew, the Devil take him. Lord knows I've tried to escape enough times in the past, but this time I mean it. No-one will keep me from the path God has laid out for me.
(says the writer: ack, sorry! She does ramble a bit...)
[This message has been edited by marchpane (edited August 31, 2008).]
Tell me about this Abbey. Did everyone love you there? Anyone you didn't get along with, were any envious of your Gift? What caused Carkstone to burn down? Did any of the nuns survive, and if so, where are they now? How do the Lord and Lady protect you from the Raethgeva? How can a Reathgeva be defeated? If you don't like Matthew, is there any one else who captures your eye? We sixteen year olds have to stick together, I would show that Matthew a thing or two. Do you have rotten pumpkins in your world? Why didn't you use your gift to stop him? Is that possible? ~Joi
[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited September 03, 2008).]
Oh... forgive me; of course you don't know. I forget my place - I'm not much accustomed to strangers.
The Gift is part of your soul, a sense like seeing or thinking or breathing. You look the same as others, but you always know you are set apart. You can feel it just as you would feel having a third eye, or an eleventh finger. And it is with you from birth until the end of your earthly life.
The sisters at Carkstone always knew I was Gifted, but they did not know I was a healer until my third summer. Even when I was a baby, I wanted to mend everything: splintered chairs, broken bones, even torn spirits. Once, Sister Claryse was attacked by a guest of the Abbey; a knight. Wearing his gauntlet, he struck her face. I did not want her to be hurt. So I touched her wound and poured myself into it and tried to make it disappear... and it did. It's not so simple as it sounds... it takes much time, and sometimes there is a scar. I use all my strength and I ache for days afterwards, but I do not mind. I want to help people - what purpose would it serve, to have such a talent and waste it?
The sisters told me there are many Gifts and few who wield them, but their numbers grow. Mostly they work for their lords, if they can, or become monks or nuns. I have met one or two but no other healers. At Carkstone there was a sister whose Gift drove her to madness: can you imagine what it must be like to feel everyone else's feelings, anger and sadness and joy and hate, all the time? I know of no Gifted here at the manor, but I cannot say for certain. Most people keep it hidden if they have any sense. My wardens know of my Gift, and Matthew, and Malynn who is my dearest friend. I would trust her with my life. The others, not so much, but I have no choice.
How do I know my Gift comes from God? *looks affronted* Are you one of them, to speak so? The Raethgeva claim such marvellous things can only come from magic and Devil-worship. Did God not grant the power of healing to His servants, Saints Cosmas and Damian? And how can it be that the Beast grants his slaves powers that can only be worked for good?
*The Writer gives her a stern look*
Forgive my impertinence, annepin. Again I forget myself. I know you meant no insult. But I can assure you - the only Beast I have entered into a contract with is Matthew, may God deliver me from him.
By 'lady' I do mean a lady of gentle birth, yes: like the lady Elizabeth (though she is none so ladylike, to me at least). Besides their birth, ladies are taught that nothing is so important as silken gowns and dainty horses and noble husbands. A lady must learn to sing and dance, to babble endlessly of lands and children, to think more of her fair face than her immortal soul. I say again: I am no lady.
*The Writer yawns*
Alas, the one who pens my tale is, once again, awake well past sensible hours. She will retire for the night, and I with her. I will return tomorrow - after hearing morning service, of course...
[This message has been edited by marchpane (edited September 03, 2008).]
What would you do if someone needed healing, and the only way you could accomplish it would give away your location to the Raethgeva? Would you risk facing them to save a life? Would it make a difference who needed saving?
[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited September 04, 2008).]
Greetings, Joi. It is always a pleasure to meet someone of my own age.
The Abbey was beautiful. It was small - only twenty or so sisters - and compared to the manor, it was cold, dark and dusty; we slept on stone beds and ate plain food. But I loved it. Malynn thinks I must be mad, but she doesn't understand - even though she is only a maid, her life has been too comfortable. Mother Lorrellan, the abbess, told me that the better you live, the harder it is to know God. I never forget that.
I was only a child when I left, but my memories are untarnished. The sisters loved me; almost as if I were their daughter. If any of them envied my Gift, I knew nothing of it. I think they pitied me, mostly, since they know what having the Gift can mean. They called me 'little sister' even though I was far too young to be a nun. But I wanted to take the veil one day, and would have, if not for the fire.
Sometimes I want to scream at God for letting it happen. I don't even know how it began. Lord Henry told me it was the Raethgeva, and for a while I believed it, but I'm not the foolish child I was. If they knew of me then, I would not be alive now. No, it must have been an accident - there were always candles burning. All I remember is the hot black smoke, the way it stung my eyes, and Sister Agnes carrying me... *shudders* forgive me, I try not to think of it...
Everything I cared for, the flames ate: my sisters, our books, our home. My wardens tell me the sisters who lived all moved to other houses, but they will not tell me who or where. After a while I stopped asking. I pray for them every day, and that I will meet them again in Heaven, if not before.
How do they protect me, the lord and lady? *snorts* They are my gaolers. They do not let me step outside unless Matthew or one of his men comes with me, and since they know how much I hate such company, they mostly have no cause to worry. I am safe enough from the Raethgeva at Dunmorsvelle, but only because it pleases the lord and lady to keep me like a caged bird.
I wish I knew how the Raethgeva might be defeated. So little is known of them: Blind Callan says they are fearsome knights who ride black horses, but even that is a guess. They call themselves holy warriors, Crusaders even. It disgusts me. The King of Mekuhva - our neighbour - funds their cause, and many powerful churchmen favour it. Not even our lords will stand up to them for fear of starting a war they can ill afford. I think there must be a way to be rid of them, but Matthew only laughs - what do I know, he says, since I am only a girl and can't even lift a sword? I do not know of these... pumpkins you speak of. Are they birds or beasts? Since he is a glutton and a brute, most likely he would either cut them to pieces or eat them.
I pay little attention to men. Even if I did find one I liked, no good would come of it, since Matthew attacks anyone who dares to look at me. The ones I know are mostly foul, ill-tempered dogs - why would I care for any of them anyway? Malynn says they are not all like that, but then she cannot walk past a man without flicking her eyelashes at him. No - I would sooner devote my life to Christ than to a man such as the ones I know.
*smiles* I must sound like an old maid. Malynn tells me that I will learn, one day, how wrong I am about men. On the evidence so far, I think not.
quote:What would you do if someone needed healing, and the only way you could accomplish it would give away your location to the Raethgeva? Would you risk facing them to save a life? Would it make a difference who needed saving?
That is a testing question, and a good one. Of course, I would love to say that I would do it without a second thought - but I would have to think carefully. I may be Gifted, but I am still only human. I know what the Raethgeva will do when - if - they find me, and I would be afraid.
But yes, I think I would do it, or at least try to. I have faith in God - if He wishes for me to live, He will protect me.
If it were Malynn, or her little brother Raelthen - or one of my sisters, God grant that I may meet them again in this life - then I would not be able to stop myself from healing them. If it were Matthew... let me say only that he had better pray the injury is not mortal.
quote:You love to read? Me too!! What is your favorite book? You're so courageous... When was the last time you felt safe and secure?
Books are wonderful. The written word is worth more than any Gift could ever be to me. I am blessed, too, that I grew up in an abbey and was taught my letters from an early age. Most girls are not so lucky - not, of course, that it troubles them.
You ask me to choose one book?! Dear God, I could barely choose ten! There were fourteen in the library at Carkstone, which is extravagant for so small an abbey; but then, Mother Lorrellan believed that we should be well-versed. They were lost to the fire. I never even read half of them.
I know which one, though. In one of my favourite dreams, I am standing inside the library, breathing in the dusty smell of centuries. Through the window I can see the smoke curling, and I know I have enough time to save just one book: and I always choose the same one. It is called On the Reason of the Devil. It is a fierce attack against the supporters of the Raethgeva, exposing their hypocrisy and justifying the Gifts with examples taken from the lives of the saints. Since they are rightfully deemed holy, he argues, why should the Gifted be condemned? The book was suppressed, and its author, the scholar James of Drigan, paid for it with his life. Since then, no-one has dared to even speak out against them. Forty years have passed since then.
*smiles* You flatter me to say I am courageous - I could never be so courageous as he. I can only hope God will give me the strength to be, one day. What I have endured so far, I have done because the alternative is to give up, and I will never do that.
I have not felt safe, not truly, since I left the Abbey. There is little the Raethgeva can do to me here, unless I am careless or someone betrays me, but I still don't feel safe. Matthew likes to call himself my protector but in truth it is he I need protecting from. It is difficult to feel secure, when this life fits me as ill as an over-large dress.