Third extract of Foundation, the opening book of The Crossing Lives Trilogy. We started with Keira and Liam meeting in Celtic Ireland before joining Kathleen and her friends for a contemporary Desperate Housewives evening. This week Keira and Liam are back…
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KELANEY – IRELAND
By the time Keira arrived at their meeting point she was slightly breathless. All was still, it was too early for the birds to be chirping and cooing. There was not even a hint of wind to shake branches and make leaves fall. Keira felt as if she was in a kind of parallel world, having left all she knew behind and not yet arrived at her destination. She realised this impression came from Liam’s absence. He was nowhere to be found and this made her feel uneasy. In all their secret encounters he had been the one who made it to the meeting point first. As she was about to turn around to check the surroundings once more, this time going a little bit further, hands covered her eyes. She had not heard a noise. Instantly recognizing the feel of his skin on hers, Keira relaxed. She could sense the smile on his face and turned towards him:
“I was about to get concerned, you’re always the first one to arrive!”
“I know, but one of the horses was very restless so I had to calm him down before I could leave. How are you feeling?”
“Excited, impatient to start, and hoping that I will be up to my tasks.”
“Fear not, my darling, I know that you’re more than ready. Everything will go well.”
That day would see Keira participate to her seventh ceremony and this time she would be the one assisting Liam. He had explained to Keira that he was first going to anoint her with oil scented with frankincense and clove to consecrate her as a priestess. The gathering today had two purposes: To acknowledge Keira’s new functions and to give thanks for the magnificent summer that had allowed bountiful crops. It was only late September and therefore not yet time for Samhain, one of the two biggest festivals of the year. Samhain was the doorway to the dark part of the year and was held on November Eve, October 31st. There was nothing sinister about it: It was simply a time of change and it offered humanity a chance to reflect. Beltane was the doorway to the light and was celebrated on May 1st. Its main symbol was fertility. These two important dates were a reminder that life is a constant circle; Keira had yet to participate to either one since she had met Liam in June.
When the man she loved had first told her that he was part of a congregation honouring the spirit of Mother Earth, Keira had not even been disconcerted. On the contrary it explained the deep respect he had of all living creatures and of nature in its various forms. Keira had witnessed on many occasions Liam gently picking up a ladybird or a spider that had ventured too close to a horse’s hooves and putting it out of harm’s way. He also loved the different smells flowers exuded or to caress the leaves of plants, marvelling at the different textures, shapes and shades. She had also noticed how peaceful and at home he looked when sitting by a tree, his eyes closed. If anything it made her feelings for him even deeper. He had explained to her that he and his fellow believers would gather about twice a month to celebrate various earth cycles or simply to give thanks for what they had been given. They would also ask for spirit protection and believed that men should respect and live in harmony with nature. He had told her how blessed they felt and how amazing the power of the energy their celebrations could muster was. His eyes were shining as he was sharing his experiences with her and somehow the ripples these journeys had imprinted upon him echoed in her. Liam had put no pressure on her to become one of them but Keira had rapidly understood that the ceremonies were the work he had been talking about the very first night they had spent together in the cluster of trees. She was not an introspective person, one who would always consider the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. She followed her instinct in all situations. In that instance the lapse of time had been even shorter than usual before telling Liam she would be joining him and his friends. He had been delighted but unsurprised that she had decided to become a member of their congregation; it was in fact obvious that he had never expected anything else.