His Excellence arrives with a surprising request.
‘Just remember how important it is for you to be respectful.’
Casey nodded slightly allowing Marcus to see she had heard his words in her head.
As they walked in His Excellence stood up from the sofa. “Marcus, it is good to see you again.”
“It is always an honor to be in your presence.” Marcus answered taking His Excellence’s hand in his own.
Suddenly His Excellence turned to gaze at Casey who was standing with her head bowed.
“Your Excellence please let me explain why I have brought a mortal….”
His Excellence held up his hand to silence Marcus. Speaking to Casey he said, “Child look up.”
Casey did so immediately. Her face took on a look of awe. Everything her mother had told her about His Excellence had been correct. He was so beautiful to look upon her breath caught.
“You are the child of the Ingredior Utriusque.” His Excellence said softly. “You have her eyes.”
Casey nodded. “Yes Your Excellence.”
He turned to Marcus, “And she is blood bound to you?”
Marcus nodded. “Yes.”
His Excellence seemed pleased. “So am I to assume she is also Ingredior Utriusque?”
Again Marcus nodded, “Yes, she is.”
“Excellent.” His Excellence smiled. “I had hoped.” He turned quickly to return to his seat first nodding for Marcus, Gerard and Casey to also be seated.
Gerard sat down next to Anna on one of the love seats. Casey took a seat next to Marcus on another.
Marcus glanced around in surprise. They were the only ones in the room. He had never seen a time His Excellence was not surrounded by Pures who were close to him.
“Now then.” His Excellence said, “We shall get to the purpose of this visit but first, Gerard could you please ask Jacob to join us? He is outside on the veranda.”
“Of course, Your Excellence.” Gerard said getting to his feet quickly.
Marcus cast a glance at Anna and could feel her nervousness. Obviously she had felt her Maker was near but wondered why he had not joined them.
Gerard walked out and saw both Jacob and Katherine sitting in the seats he and Marcus had occupied earlier.
“Gerard.” Jacob stood to greet him. “It is good to see you.”
“Good to see you too, Jacob.” He smiled “And you Katherine.”
Katherine smiled. “Nice place Marcus has here.”
“Yeah, we like being here.” Gerard answered then turned to Jacob. “His Excellence wanted me to come tell you to join us.” He lowered his voice, “What the hell is going on?”
Jacob clasped him on the back as they started back inside. “Do not worry. When the reason for this visit is revealed I believe you and Annabelle will be pleased.”
That relieved some of Gerard’s fears. They were almost to the living room when Gerard whispered “Christa’s daughter is here too.”
Jacob gave him a surprised look, “I had no idea. Is she Ingredior Utriusque?”
“That I am sure pleased His Excellence.” Jacob answered.
They walked in and the conversation halted.
“Oh, I did not mean for you to leave Katherine outside.” His Excellence said seeing only Gerard and Jacob.
“I’ll get her.” Gerard offered. When His Excellence nodded his approval Gerard left the room again.
Anna had stood when they’d entered and now she crossed the room to hug Jacob tightly.
“Annabelle I have missed you.” He said to his child.
“As I have missed you.” She responded.
She returned to her seat while Jacob stood waiting for Katherine to appear. Once she and Gerard returned they settled in two matching chairs while Gerard returned to Anna’s side.
“Now then,” His Excellence said again. “We shall begin.” His gaze turned to Casey. “But first I have questions.”
Casey tried not to flinch hearing Marcus’s thoughts loudly.
His Excellence looked at Casey a moment then asked, “So how is it you came to know of our world?’
‘Tell him the truth.’ Marcus’s voice in Casey’s head commanded.
“My mother told me of your world a few months before her death.” Casey said softly. “She had come to realize I was like her. It had been her wish to speak to Anna about it but since Anna and Gerard had left their previous life by then she made the decision. She said she did what her heart told her to do.”
“That was wise.” His Excellence nodded. “And tell me child, how did you feel when you learned the truth?”
Casey smiled, “It was like everything suddenly came into focus for me.”
“I see.” His Excellence nodded then turned to Marcus. “Tell me why it took you so long to bond with her. I know you had been watching over her for many years.”
‘Well shit he knew?’
Casey blinked in surprise at how loud Marcus’s words rang in her head.
Much to everyone’s surprise His Excellence spoke before Marcus could answer him. “Ingredior Utriusque I understand you can hear his thoughts. There is no reason to try to hide that fact. Am I to assume my question has caught Marcus off guard?”
Casey wasn’t sure how to respond.
Marcus spoke up. “I am sorry Your Excellence. Yes, your question did catch me off guard. I did not realize you were aware I had been watching over Casey.”
His Excellence smiled, “While I may not been seen often it does not mean I do not keep track of what is happening. Since the day I learned the Ingredior Utriusque had given birth I knew the child must be watched. I was pleased you took on that role.” He looked over at Casey. “I am sorry for the loss of your mother and father.”
“Thank you.” Casey whispered.
“So then, Marcus. Tell me why had you waited so long to bond with her? I can tell your bond is fresh.”
“Yes, I bound her to me yesterday.’ Marcus admitted.
“Was the blood bond your idea?” His Excellence asked Casey.
Casey froze not knowing how to answer.
‘The truth.’ Marcus’s voice urged. ‘You must tell the truth.’
“I welcomed the idea of being part of the Healer world.” Casey said softly.
Again His Excellence shocked those in the room by laughing. “That was a very good answer. You think on your feet. We will talk alone later. There is much I must tell you.”
His Excellence turned to Anna and Gerard. “I have come here today for a very special reason. A reason that involves you both.”
Gerard could feel the tension in Anna’s mind and body.
“Yes, Your Excellence?” She answered.
“While it is true you turned you child without permission I have been pleased with the results. From all reports I have been given Gerard is an excellent Healer.”
Anna relaxed slightly, “Yes, I am very pleased with my child.”
His Excellence looked at Gerard. “Tell me, how many mortals have you healed?”
“Seven.” Gerard answered.
“And you enjoyed using your power to heal?”
“Very much so.”
His Excellence nodded. “And did you find it difficult to know if healing these mortals was the correct thing to do?”
This exchange was making Anna nervous. Why was Gerard being questioned?
Gerard shook his head, “No, Your Excellence. I felt it was the correct thing to do in each instance.”
“That is good.” His Excellence nodded. “However, I wonder why if you enjoy using the healing gift you and your Maker have isolated yourselves from the mortal world here on this island.”
Gerard could feel Anna’s fear. He knew he must answer correctly. “I do not feel we’ve isolated ourselves from the mortal world. We have just been enjoying the beauty of this place.”
His Excellence stared at him.
Marcus spoke trying to break the tension that had settled in the room. “Perhaps it is my fault.” He smiled, “I suggested Annabelle and Gerard come here when they left their previous lives and the beauty of this island has kept them here.”
His Excellence ignored Marcus but instead turned his attention to Anna. “While I do recognize the beauty of this place I am here to ask you to leave.”
Anna nervously glanced at Jacob but was shocked to see him smiling. “There is somewhere else you wish me to go?” She responded.
His Excellence nodded, “Yes I have already spoken to Jacob about this. I wish you to go to Highglynn.”
“Jacob’s Scottish estate?”
His Excellence nodded, “Yes, it is quite beautiful don’t you agree?”
Anna nodded, “Yes, very beautiful.” Fear was coursing through her body. She was being sent away from this island, she was being sent away from Gerard. “Am I to take my child with me?”
Gerard’s mind was racing. What was happening? Jacob had assured him he and Anna would be pleased by this visit. Were they to be separated?
Looking at Gerard His Excellence asked, “Is it your with to go with your Maker?”
“Yes, of course.” Gerard answered trying to keep any emotion from his voice.
“Good. That pleases me.” His Excellence looked over at Jacob. “Since we’ve spoken you’ve had the estate made ready?”
Jacob nodded, “Yes”
His Excellence turned back to Anna. “I am sure you are aware there was much controversy in our world when you turned Gerard without permission.”
Anna nodded, “Yes, Your Excellence.”
“There were those who questioned my decision not to punish you.” He smiled “Of course while I say they questioned it their questioning was done behind closed doors.”
Jacob smiled, “No one would dare question you, Excellence.”
His Excellence smiled, “Not where they thought they would be heard.” He turned back to Anna. “However I believe I made the correct decision. You and your child are a credit to our world.”
“Thank you Your Excellence.” Anna said softly.
“And I know the decision I have made now will be questioned. However, Jacob as head of our High Council agrees with my decision.”
“I do.” Jacob smiled.
“You and Gerard will make your new home in Scotland. As you know the estate is rather isolated so you will have limited contact with mortals. However I believe it is important that you do maintain some contact.”
“Yes, of course, Your Excellence.” Anna nodded.
His Excellence sighed, “Do you not wish to question why I am sending you to Scotland?”
Anna was shocked. “It is not my place to question you.”
“I suppose that is true.” His Excellence said sadly.
“Can I ask why?”
All eyes turned to Casey. She heard Marcus rebuke her for speaking but she ignored that voice.
“You may.” His Excellence smiled shocking everyone in the room. “As a Ingredior Utriusque it is your right to speak to me.”
Casey smiled, “Thank you. So why are you sending them to Scotland?”
His Excellence settled back against the cushions before answering. “Three days ago a Pure child entered this world. I have chosen Annabelle and Gerard to raise the child. I know there are some who will not be pleased with my decision. They will point out that both Healers are very young. That Gerard’s turning was controversial. However this decision is mine to make. I have consulted with Jacob on the matter so my decision will stand.” He turned back to Anna. “That is of course if you and Gerard wish to accept the roles of caretaker for the baby.”
“This is so unexpected.” Anna’s eyes were wide, her mind racing. A child.
Gerard spoke up. “Your Excellence you have given us a great honor.” He looked at Anna then said, “Yes, of course we welcome this opportunity.”
“Good.” His Excellence suddenly stood. “Now I wish to speak to the Ingredior Utriusque alone.” He walked towards Casey then extended his hand. “Come, child. Let us take a walk.”
Casey smiled into his eyes. “We have much to discuss.”
“Indeed we do.”
The room went completely still as His Excellence placed Casey’s hand on his arm then led her from the room. Marcus’s wondered if his warning about being cautious had been heard by Casey. Judging by the way she had been smiling at His Excellence he doubted it very much.
“A baby.” Ann’s shaky voice broke the silence.
Jacob looked at his child. “How to you truly feel about this news?”
“I am not sure.” Anna admitted.
Katherine smiled, “Pretty shocking isn’t it? When Jacob told me what His Excellence planned I thought he was joking with me.”
“Jacob does not joke.” Anna answered automatically.
Katherine’s laugh rang out. “Oh Anna, you have no idea how much your Maker has changed.”
Much to Anna’s surprise Jacob reached over to pull Katherine onto his lap. “Being with Kat has changed me.”
Anna’s eyes grew wide. While she had know Katherine and Jacob had stayed together and had seen them a few times since leaving her previous life she’d had no idea Katherine had changed her Maker. He was smiling into Katherine’s eyes, caressing her arm. Suddenly Anna felt overwhelmed.
Gerard reached for Anna’s hand feeling her inner turmoil. “Sugar, what exactly does this all mean to us?” He of course knew that Pures were rarely born and so had no idea what caring for one would mean to them.
Anna shook her head.
Jacob spoke. “Annabelle you do realize how much of an honor this is?”
“Yes, I understand that.” Anna said slowly. “But a baby?”
“A Pure.” Marcus frowned. “You are to be given care of our newest Pure.”
“Uh, yeah.” Gerard said thinking out loud. “But what exactly does that mean? Like we’re gonna act as it’s parents?”
“You will be responsible for the Pure’s care as it grows. You two must make sure it learns the ways of our kind but also that of the mortal world.” Marcus said as he stood. He began to pace slowly back and forth.
Katherine was watching him closely. “So you bonded with the Ingredior Utriusque and it was her idea?”
Marcus frowned, “It was what she wanted.”
“Well I’m sure it was what you wanted too.” Katherine’s eyes narrowed as she watched Marcus. “You really had no idea His Excellence knew you were watching over her?”
“No.” Marcus answered angrily. “I did not.”
“Why does it matter?” Katherine asked staring at him.
“I didn’t say it mattered.” Marcus answered.
Jacob too was watching Marcus. He could see something was troubling his friend. “Why is this disturbing you?”
Anna answered before Marcus. “It is Casey’s wish to become a Healer.”
“Wow.” Katherine whispered. She looked at Jacob. “That’s never been done, right?”
Jacob nodded, “Correct. A Ingredior Utriusque has never been turned.” He was watching Marcus again who’d resumed his pacing.
Marcus knew he was being watched. He turned to Jacob. “And no one knows if it can be done.”
“True.” Jacob nodded. “The fear has always been that a Ingredior Utriusque would not return from the dead.” When he saw the pained look on Marcus’s face he suddenly understood. “Oh.”
Katherine looked at Jacob then Marcus. “Oh?”
The room grew silent.
“Oh.” Suddenly Katherine understood too. “You fear you will lose her.”
Marcus didn’t answer.
Gerard wanted them to understand. “Marcus has very deep feelings for Casey.” He said softly.
“Because of their bond.” Jacob nodded.
Katherine was still watching Marcus closely. “Oh good Lord.” She whispered.
Marcus angrily turned on her. “Not a word.” He warned.
Jacob tightened his arm around her protectively. Katherine smiled at him knowing he didn’t understand. “Marcus has found his soul mate.”
Jacob turned to Marcus who was glaring at them. “Is this true?”
Marcus ran his hand through his hair nervously. “I’m not gonna discuss this.”
“You watched over her all these years.” Jacob said softly. “Yet you waited until the blood bond was something she wanted.”
Marcus glared, “Just drop it.”
“It’s really not so bad.” Katherine said smiling once again at Jacob. “Matter of fact I highly recommend it.” She placed a kiss on Jacob’s cheek.
Again Anna was shocked. Katherine believed she was Jacob’s soul mate?
Katherine looked back at Marcus. “Perhaps you are worrying about nothing. His Excellence may not want to take the chance of allowing Casey to be turned.”
Marcus tiredly lowered himself back to his place on the sofa. “If she remains mortal I will still lose her.” He whispered.
“I am sorry, my friend.” Jacob said softly.
Gerard who was stroking Anna’s hand comfortingly spoke. “Uh, not to change the subject but I’m still pretty confused. Why did His Excellence choose us?”
Anna nodded, “Yes why were we chosen?” She asked looking pointedly at her Maker. “Did you have something to do with this?”
Jacob shook his head, “No, I did not. Actually when His Excellence first spoke to me on this matter I pointed out how young you both are to the Healer World. Of course Healers have been given Pures to raise over the centuries but never Healers as young as you and Gerard.”
“So why?” Gerard wondered out loud.
“You are also wondering how difficult it will be for you and Annabelle.” Jacob said knowingly. As “wrong” Healers they would be forced to hide much of their true nature.
Gerard nodded. “Yeah.”
“You will of course do what you must.” Jacob said kindly. “However know this all of our kind will know of the honor that has been bestowed on you. Your place in the Healer world will never be questioned again.”
Gerard knew that was if they didn’t make any mistakes but the kept that thought to himself. He knew Anna was being overwhelmed right now so he didn’t want to add to her worry.