“If the Lord saw fit to make these little spirits, they must have some purpose in his plan. And in the end, they must be accountable to him in some way, even as we are,” he finished.
“Now as to Margueritte’s place among them, that is something to think about.”
“But my Lord.” Little White Flower spoke up. “If the little ones did not have someone to watch over us and set boundaries for us, there is no telling how much mischief we would do to this world and to all the people in it.”
“I believe this,” Lady Brianna agreed. “Even under Margueritte’s watchful eye they can’t seem to resist lying, cheating and stealing.” She shook her head.
“But we’ve brought it all back.” Little White Flower spoke for the defense. “Or nearly all of it.”
Father Aden looked at the fairy and then Margueritte and prepared for two experiences for which he could hardly prepare.
“Margueritte, I do not know why you should have to be born again and again as you say, but I understand that only such a one would be graced with the gift of these little spirits of the Lord,” Aden said.
“Gift?” Margueritte half-kidded to lighten the atmosphere. She knew it was her turn to show something. She took her Mother’s hand and held tight. Taking Aden the Convert’s hand with her other hand, she closed her eyes. She and her mother had discussed it. This was not the place for the Danna. But Gerraint, Son of Erbin, was willing to come through, and he was a well-known man of faith. In only a moment, Margueritte disappeared and Gerraint sat in her place. A tear came to his eye as he spoke in the chapel.
Good Father,” he said. “I too do not know why I am reborn and never know the glories of Heaven, nor did any of the scholars of my day, not even Merlin, only one thing is needful to remember. This is Margueritte’s life, and this fine Lady is her mother as surely as anyone was ever mother to a child, and this surprisingly quiet one is her good sister, annoying though she can be.” Gerraint smiled a little as Elsbeth was not too old to stick out her tongue and make a face. “And this one is part of her responsibility as it was part of mine in my time.” He smiled for Margueritte’s mother and squeezed her hand and then he went home and Margueritte appeared back in her own place. Her mother hugged her, and none too soon.
The last surprise became a surprise for all except for Aden who had been forewarned. Brianna looked at Little White Flower and spoke clearly. “Get big, please,” she said.
“Must I?” Little White Flower asked one last time.
“Yes, you must.” Brianna affirmed, and the fairy did and stood tall and slim in a full-length white deerskin-like dress that made her swarthy skin stand out. Her long hair that reached to her knees looked nearly as long as Margueritte’s, and certainly as dark, and her eyes, a rich loam brown appeared to dance with sparkles of Gold.
“Golly Gosh.” Goldenrod said from one pew back where she had snuck in to watch. Little White Flower appeared to be twenty something, much older than Elsbeth ever suspected, and much more beautiful, as fairies are, than human eyes normally get to behold. Little White Flower immediately looked to her friend, but Elsbeth did not know what to think. She always thought of her fairy friend as about her own age, which was not quite ten. She never imagined her as a full-grown woman. She did not know what to think.
Little White Flower looked again at the Cleric who was but thirty, after all. And there was something in the look to make a heart stop. Father Aden also did not know what to think or what to say, though it crossed his mind that many of the scholars at Iona were married. They had not given into that silly Roman superstition concerning celibacy, and he felt glad for that.
Lady Brianna finally, and graciously, as was her way, broke the ice and hugged Little White Flower. “Welcome to the family,” she said, and added, “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”
Margueritte nodded, and then got up to hug her too. She suspected for some time that this might be the case, and probably could have known for sure if she thought hard about it.
Elsbeth got up last of all. She neared tears and knew what would happen long before any of the others. She had lost her fairy. Little White Flower would be Father Aden’s fairy now, and she would remain his for the rest of his days.
They had peace in the triangle after that, or as much as there can ever be when there are little ones literally under foot. The promised prosperity came to the farm, and everyone benefited from the bounty.
In the Lord’s year 711, Tomberlain got formally invested as a Squire as he turned seventeen. All of those who had been calling him that already cheered. The rest cheered as well and said it was well deserved. Owien, age 12 cheered loudest of all as the two boys were indeed becoming fast friends. Owien looked up to Tomberlain as an older brother and mentor, while Tomberlain found in Owien an alternative to having sisters. He also did not mind the adulation of the youngster, but unlike some who would have swelled their heads, Owien’s adoration of Tomberlain drove Tomberlain to always do his best and try to be the best so as to not disappoint the boy.
Lady Brianna recognized in young Owien a quick mind and a sharp wit which she claimed would be wasted in the fens. She brought him and his mother to the Triangle. She set him to page for the master at arms, and when he turned twelve, she began to send him with Tomberlain and the girls to Lady Lavinia’s to learn his letters.
Thus, the children grew. Margueritte turned fourteen in the spring of that year and showed every sign of becoming a fine young lady. Elsbeth turned eleven that summer, and she also tried very hard to be grown up. She was eleven, going on twenty, Margueritte teased, and there was some truth in that, though Elsbeth still had plenty of childish moments. Elsbeth, Margueritte, and sometimes Goldenrod became fast friends again, and did nearly everything together. They often rode far into the wilderness to picnic and play, and though Lord Bartholomew resisted the idea because, as he said, there are still spies around, and there were, Lady Brianna convinced him to let them go, because she knew the time the girls spent together was drawing short, and soon enough they would find nice young men, and after that they would never have such time together again.
“And they better be nice young men.” That was all Sir Barth had to say.
Once again, everything changed when the fall came, and the leaves first began to change in the Vergen. It seemed a warm day, what Little White Flower called a Navajo Summer, when a great shadow appeared, circling around the open fields. The men came running in. Sir Barth and Tomberlain were with Redux and Luckless by the forges, and from there, looking down on the grain, the shadow looked clear as a new cast bell.
“But it is big, whatever it is. Where are the girls?” he asked.
“Riding,” Redux said. “I helped saddle their mounts only an hour ago.”
“Damn.” Lord Bartholomew swore, which he rarely did, and then he turned his eyes to the dwarf who seemed to be trembling with certainty.
Luckless swallowed hard. “Dragon,” he said, and the men turned white.