Fortesque looks at his watch. It’s almost noon and he hasn’t heard from any of them. He feels a little anxious. He’s in the Maison de la Mer’s library, putting things in order for them; archives, diaries and books to look at. Perhaps they will ring soon, he thought. He’s been in the library since eight in the morning. Everything is in order in the house so he decided to get things ready, just in case they wanted to do their research early. There is much that Alexandria needs to know but for now, what he placed in chronological order is enough. He hopes it triggers some kind of memory that is kept within the soul essence if the family’s research is correct. He promised Hera that he will guide Alexandria through it. Hera had to do her research by herself, with a little of his help. She may not be the complete reincarnation but if she wanted to, she could have been. She was the brightest star among her predecessors, if he’s not mistaken. How wonderful magic is and how sinister it can be too, he thought as he places a large book with images on the table. He finishes organizing the last diaries of Hera. He checks his watch and it’s almost one in the afternoon.
Time goes by too fast if you’re not looking, he thought.
He crosses the room, goes down the spiral staircase and exits the room. He closes the door behind him silently and he walks towards the grand staircase, going down to the first floor. When he got to their room, he listens for a moment, checking to see if they are awake.
Hera sleeps until the afternoons sometimes so it’s not unusual for him to wake someone up.
He knocks on the door three times.
‘Miss Alexandria?’ he calls out. He knocks three times again.
‘Miss Alexandria?’ he listens. ‘It’s almost one in the afternoon.’
‘I am opening the door, Miss Alexandria.’
He found Boon not far from the door, struggling.
‘Sir Boon? Is everything alright?’
‘Yes, it is actually,’ he sighs loudly. ‘I couldn’t reach the door because I can’t go too far from Domina. Also I tried to say something but I think my voice is too soft.’ Fortesque notice that Alex is still asleep and Teg is sleeping the end of the bed.
‘It’s all good, sir,’ he assures Boon. ‘May I open the curtains? I should get all of you ready.’ Fortesque walks towards the window curtains and he pulled one side open, the sunlight looks like waves, spreading into the room. He goes on the other side and did the same thing. The room is flooded with sunlight and it finally wakes Alex.
‘Oh my….what time is it…I slept like a baby!’ she says, yawning.
‘Give me five more minutes,’ Teg says to no one in particular, ‘maybe even ten minutes.’ Teg is snoring again as quickly as he woke.
Alex gets off the bed and walk towards the open windows. Fortesque is opening some of the windows, letting in a bit of cool air.
Alex is blown away by the view. It was spectacular. Horses can be seen running around freely from a distance. Farm animals roam the fields. The property grounds are huge and behind the manor, is the way to the coast.
‘How big is this property, Fortesque?’ she asks, as Boon stands beside her.
‘It’s about twenty eight thousand square kilometres,’ he tells her as he admires the view next to her.’
‘That’s pretty fuc…,’ she hesitates, ‘…friggin’ large property. How long has this been in the family?’
‘Six thousand years? Maybe a little more?’
‘I’m surprised the government doesn’t ask it back, or make golf courses around it,’ she chuckles.
‘Oh no, Miss, they leave us alone really. We’re like the royal family, in a sense except more incognitos.’
‘Do you have break-ins?’
‘Not even normal break-ins, Miss Alexandria. There’s a spell that will make them go back the same way they come in. It’s quite amusing to see them confused sometimes,’ he smiles.
‘I’m awake and I feel good!’ Teg announces, flying around the room.
‘I shall leave you to get ready. I shall ask Martha to prepare lunch. Please ring when you are ready’
‘Thank you, Fortesque.’ He half-bows, crosses the room and exits, closing the door behind him quietly.
Alex is staring at Boon. Boon looks back at her nervously.
‘Y – yes, Domina?’
‘I just realized something….’ Alex says as she looks at Boon, up and down. This made Boon even more nervous. What did he do this time, he thought, racking his brains.
Alex points at him, scowling, ‘YOU’RE STILL WEARING MY PYJAMAS, OH MY GOD, BOON! YOU’RE FILTHY!!!’
Boon is in shock. He looks at what he’s wearing. It’s not dirty, maybe just a little but it somehow it offends her. ’I apologize, Domina. I didn’t know I’m supposed to change it,’ he says as he quickly takes the pyjama top off.
‘Wait! I didn’t tell you to start stripping! Wait here!’ Alex half runs to the cabinet box and went through her things. ‘Here, take this. It should be your size. Don’t ask whose it is, just go and change inside the bathroom!’ she tells him as she pushes him towards the bathroom.
After a minute, there was a knocking on the bathroom door. ‘Domina? I’m finished changing.’
‘You can open the door, Boon’ Alex is fishing through her things inside the cabinet box, looking for something to wear. After a moment, there was a pause. Alex thought this was strange. ‘Boon, are you okay?’
‘Uhhh. Domina, I don’t know how to open the door.’ Alex and Teg look at each other and laugh softly.
When Alex is done with her shower and changing her clothes, she takes back the cabinet box and safely keeps it in her pouch. Teg went for a quick shower and he’s also dressed differently.
‘You have a cabinet box too, Teg?’ Alex asks, curious.
‘No. I just made it.’
‘Made it with what?’
‘The curtains,’ he says, pointing to a corner that is cut.
‘Let’s hope Fortesque misses that.’
They ring the bell and almost immediately, there was a knock on their door. A young man opens the door and gestures towards him. He takes them back to the dining hall and the food is ready, waiting for them. Alex notices there were four young ladies that are fanning them with banana leaves, pulling it gently with strings that are tied to the leaves. How posh, Alex thought. Once they are done, Martha appears before them. She tells them that she will take them to Fortesque who is waiting for them in the library. When they arrive at the second floor of the manor, Alex couldn’t help but notice that there are only two doors on the floor. Martha notices her curiosity.
‘These doors lead up to the library. And the other one leads to the observatory.’
‘The observatory?’ Alex asks, even more curious than before.
‘Yes, Miss Alex. Mistress Hera was an avid star watcher. She knows the movement of the planets and the stars well. She felt this is the closest she can get to feel their waves. She could have been an astronomer if she wanted to! She does phone those NASA people once in a while to give them anonymous tips. She is the most intelligent woman I’ve ever met but she is very kind.’ Martha sighs sadly for a moment but picks up her mood just as quickly. She opens the doors to the library and gestures for them to go in.
Alex found herself in paradise. There were books everywhere – not just books – old editions. She couldn’t find the right words. She knew she was surrounded by history, the world’s and her family’s, her family’s diaries – who would have thought that it would survive?
‘Miss Alexandria, please,’ a voice says, not far from where she’s standing. Fortesque is holding a tray of white gloves. Teg, levitating towards Fortesque, takes a pair. Boon is not sure whether he should take one. Alex suddenly appears next to him and takes a pair for her and Boon. ‘Thank you, Fortesque.’ She turns to Boon and orders him to show her his hands. She starts putting on a glove on his right hand. He starts to blush. ‘Next time, you’re going to put it on yourself,’ she tells him as she finishes putting on the right glove. ‘So you have to remember how to do this,’ she says as she finishes putting on the left glove. ‘You can touch the books, but gently, okay?’
‘Yes, Domina,’ Boon says, looking down.
‘This way, please.’ Fortesque leads them up to the spiral staircase. When they reached the top of the stairs, Alex couldn’t take her eyes off the books she recognizes. She wonders if they were first editions but that can wait, she thought and walked towards a large oak table where Fortesque is waiting for them.
‘Miss Alexandria, you will have all the time in the world to look through these books. Surely you can read them all with no problem. These are just part of the archives which have been translated by Mistress Hera into English. The originals and the translations are next to each other,’ he points to the right side of the long table. Over here, in the middle are Mistress Hera’s earlier diaries when she was about the age of twenty-one and inherited the manor. You can look through them if you wish. She wrote a great deal and she’s been keeping records of changes ever since she was ten years old.’ Fortesque pauses and notices Alex’s fresh mark. He clears his throat. ‘Pardon me for saying this, but I can’t help but notice that you have been marked with the symbol of the flower of life.’
‘Ah, yes! I was going to mention this to you first thing when we woke up but I got distracted by the spectacular view from the room. I woke up with it this early morning. What can you tell me about it?’
‘You will find that one of your families from every generation has been marked by the flower of life but yours is the complete mark. Others had an incomplete mark,’ he explains. He opens one of Hera’s diaries and it was dated, 1967. There is a drawing of the flower of life but only half of it was drawn. ‘She only had half a mark, significant, because the others only had one or two, the most four which is Mistress Georgina, the one in the painting.’ Fortesque sets the notebook down on the table. ‘I shall leave you here to look into the diaries and the books. I will tend to the manor’s needs. There’s a bell behind the table. Please feel free to ring it if you need any help or need replenishing of your refreshments. Martha is on her way to bring you some of that now. Good afternoon.’ Fortesque half-bows to them went down the spiral staircase and they hear him close the door behind him. Alex, Boon and Teg look down at the numerous piles of books on the table.
‘We better get started, boys. We have a lot to go through and when they give you books, it’s guaranteed to be quite a trial. I hope you both like to read,’ Alex teases as she picks up a diary and sets herself down to the nearest armchair. Boon follows her, taking another diary with him. Teg, flying over the table, chose a small book, opens it gently and smiles. A drawing of him was on the book, wearing armour with a sword in hand,
‘I have to admit, they make me look good,’ he says, flipping through the book as he flies over to them.
‘Okay, let’s do this!’ Alex announces.
(Written for 2012 NaNoWriMo.)