Faith: Tears and Sunshine

Here is the next part of Faith (Book 4 of the Waldmeer Series).

“I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real.” (Walking on Sunshine)

Chapter 18: A Thousand Years of Tears

In the Borderfirma Mountains:
Aristotle hung his legs from the top of the three-storey tree house in the palace gardens. It wasn’t the same without Malik. Tree houses are meant for sharing; sharing adventures and secrets. The last time Aristotle was in this tree house was half a year ago but in those months, many years had passed in the Borderfirma Mountains. Malik had long since outgrown the days of playing in trees.

Aware of Aristotle’s need for company, Lady Faith looked at him over the dinner table. “I’ve asked Odin to visit,” she said as she smiled at her son. “As soon as he can leave the Great Valley, he’ll be with us.” Aristotle’s face brightened. He took solace in knowing that Malik had lived and trained with Odin for ten years. “I’m sure Odin could take you with him on some of his trips,” said Lady Faith.

She knew that Aristotle was nothing like Malik and a warrior was the last thing that Aristotle was. However, Faith and Aristotle’s departure from Earth and return to the Borderfirma Mountains had been sudden and unexpected and Aristotle needed something to distract him while he was readjusting to palace life. After all, he was still a child and Faith, herself, was struggling to readjust.

In Waldmeer:
While still in Waldmeer, Faith woke, one night, to someone’s hand on her shoulder. She knew it wasn’t Gabriel because he was in Darnall. Sitting upright, her eyes adjusted to the darkness.

“Thank God, it’s you,” said Faith as she recognised Zufar’s silhouette.

Zufar looked at her calmly and waited for her to wake a little more. “I have news,” he said simply. He wasn’t smiling and so Faith braced herself. “Lady Faith,” Zufar continued reassuringly, “we know that life has no beginning and no ending.”

Faith stopped listening. No beginning and no ending, she repeated to herself. That’s a birth or a death. Her mother-instinct kicked in; Bethany, Malik, Aristotle… Lentilly?

Sensing her panic, Zufar said, “They are all fine.”

Faith searched her mind. Someone has gone. Who is missing? Who has gone? She sat upright and then said slowly, “It’s my mother. She has gone, hasn’t she?”

Zufar nodded. Faith’s mother, known as Nanny, was eighty-five. Her five daughters each ruled a section of Borderfirma. Since Lady Faith’s own children had been born, Nanny had lived in the Borderfirma Mountains because Faith was, in essence, a single mother even though she was also a queen. Nanny had taken over the temporary running of the Borderfirma Mountains while Faith and her children were all on Earth. Although firm, she was also caring and so she was well loved and respected in the palace and beyond. In fact, she was affectionately referred to as Queen-Mother Nanny by most Borderfirmarians.

Zufar told Lady Faith that it was not time for Malik or Bethany to leave Earth and that she must return to the Borderfirma Mountains immediately and take Aristotle with her. Faith hesitated and looked towards Malik’s room.

“I will wait until morning and explain to Malik what has happened,” said Zufar. Faith knew that Malik would be delighted to see his father. She then looked at the empty side of her bed. Zufar, who was not capable of jealousy, said, “A thousand years of tears can only be voluntarily avoided, Faith. Go now.”

Chapter 19: Love that’s Really Real

In Wurt Wurt Koort:
Rybert had one of his favourite playlists on in the Wurt Wurt Koort Tearooms; timeless, catchy tunes that make you want to sing and dance which is exactly what he was doing as he served the customers.

“This is a very old song,” said Lentilly innocently.

“It’s older than me,” said Rybert with a wink. “It’s fifty years old to be exact.” He added, “It’s much older than me. I am young.” He then grabbed Bethany by the hands and pulled her up to dance. He sang to her in his less-than-marvellous but more-than-enthusiastic voice.

Why do you build me up (build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around?
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still
I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin’

Bethany and Lentilly both laughed.

“Actually, this is a very depressing song,” said Rybert which only made the girls laugh more. “Bethany, where’s your mother?” asked Rybert. “I haven’t seen her for a while.”

Not having yet worked out an alibi, Bethany said, “She’s in the mountains.”

“Which mountains?” asked Rybert.

“The ones, ah… on the border,” said Bethany unconvincingly.

Rybert looked confused and decided to change course. “What’s she doing there?” he asked.

“Er… looking after the family business,” said Bethany weakly.

“What business?” asked Rybert.

“Oh, um… lights,” Bethany babbled. “We have a family business in making lights. You know, everyone needs light. The world needs lighting up.” Oh, just shut up, Bethany told herself.

Dropping the subject, Rybert whispered into Bethany’s ear, “Come back tonight at 7.00. My aunty is giving a talk to the witch coven but a few others have been invited.”

“Your aunty?” asked Bethany.

“Yes, Aunt Charity,” said Rybert with excitement. “She is the one who challenged the rogue head witch forty years ago and then her daughter died and she left Wurt Wurt Koort. She hasn’t been back since but they say that she now she is a very powerful and accomplished witch.”

That evening, Bethany and Lentilly sat at the edges of the small group and listened to Aunt Charity who was around eighty-five. She didn’t look powerful. She didn’t even look like a witch. She did have unusually calm, deep, blue eyes and a very still body.

Lentilly whispered to her mother, “If Aunt Charity’s little girl died when she was ten and that was forty years ago then the little girl was born the same year that Rybert’s Buttercup song was born.”

Bethany looked at her daughter. Lentilly’s maths mind is sharper than mine and Mum’s, she thought, but her train of thought is a little odd.

“That’s how children cope with death,” whispered Rybert. “They don’t over sentimentalise it like we do.”

“You are a font of child raising advice for someone who has never had children,” whispered Bethany a little sarcastically.

Rybert shrugged. He knew it was true so he didn’t need to defend anything.

“As there are children with us tonight,” said Aunt Charity, “we will leave the talk as is and continue next week. By the way, all of the adults here have been chosen and will be expected to return for the future talks. It is not compulsory, of course, but it is highly recommended that you take advantage of the opportunity.”

Bethany looked at Rybert. “Witches,” he said explaining nothing.

Addressing the group, Rybert jumped up and said, “Time for something less serious.” He turned on his favourite playlist and stated singing about sunshine and feeling the love that’s really real.

I’m walking on sunshine (Wow)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow)
And don’t it feel good
I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real
I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real
I’m on sunshine baby (Yeah)

Chapter 20: Just Go

In Darnall:
“No,” said Gabriel. “No, Faith-Amira. It’s not alright. It’s not alright at all.” He was angry; angrier than Faith had seen him in a long time.

After being in the Borderfirma Mountains for a week, Faith had been told that she could return to Earth to see Gabriel for one hour only. She materialised outside his apartment door that morning She knew he would be pleased to see her. However, when he opened the door, once he recovered from the surprise of seeing her, he wasn’t pleased. He stood there with that particular Gabriel look on his face which said, You hurt me. I’m angry. Don’t talk to me. I want nothing to do with you. But don’t go away. If you do, I’ll be even madder.

“Ah, can I come in?” asked Faith meekly.

Gabriel didn’t say yes but he stepped aside. Half an hour passed with Gabriel saying virtually nothing. He busied himself with eating breakfast and getting ready for work. Eventually, Faith had to tell him that she only had an hour. She knew it would flame the fire but the time was fast disappearing.

“Great,” said Gabriel. “That’s great. Why wait? Why don’t you just go now?”

Oh dear, thought Faith. Gabriel knew why Faith had to return to the Borderfirma Mountains because Malik had told him straight away. He may not like it, thought Faith, but I suppose one good thing is that Malik could tell Gabriel the truth about where I was. He didn’t have to make something up.

Faith said quietly, “I have responsibilities, Gabriel.”

“Responsibilities?” glared Gabriel. “To who, Faith? Who exactly do you have responsibilities to?” She had to admit, he had a point. Not wanting to watch her leave, Gabriel grabbed his jacket and said over his shoulder, “I’m going to work. Bye.” He didn’t start work for two hours.

Faith sat in his apartment for ten more minutes and then the pull to Borderfirma took her back to the palace.

The Waldmeer Series

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