Thursday, September 21, 2017

07 ~ Marie's Bluebells

The outskirts of Dragon Valley
Era of Prophecies: Year 809

Robert paced careful steps alongside a familiar, bubbling spring. He followed the downstream flow eastward, out of the thick magical air and closer to his home. He had traveled this path countless times in the seven years since the night he ran to help his mother - the night he met the spirit.

He never ran into her again, nor any place resembling the place he had been that night, and he had pushed himself as far as his magic would let him go into the thick magical fog. There was a small voice in his head that wanted to brush away what he had seen to be a childhood fantasy yet there were too many questions that couldn’t be answered by that.

He arrived back at his bag of samples he had collected that morning and carefully put the newest of the samples away to be studied. It was usually a long process to get the samples he would study, as he followed his mother’s ritual perfectly each time.
He would not just take from the Spirits.

He would conduct his research in the most respectful way possible after all they had done for him.
Robert had collected all of his samples, so all that was left was for him to count and measure the glowing bluebell population, which he had fondly named Campanula Marie, or Marie’s Bluebell, after his mother.

He had been in the process of documenting their glow patterns when he had discovered that once a year they would open and emit a sort of pollen that would glow and rise into the night like a festival lantern. They were still several months off from it, but Robert was hoping he could find a close patch of them to take his mother so she could watch.

He pulled out his notebook and began digging around for his pen. Realizing it wasn’t in his bag he scowled and began digging through his pockets.
Why did this always happen to him? Pens hated him.
“Missing something, Egan?”

His head swiveled at the familiar voice to find Catrina waving a familiar red pen between her fingers. “Hey, Cat. Where did you find that?”
“On the walk here, it’s how I knew you were out here.” She smirked, tossing the pen at him and it bounced against his shoulder. He had picked such a bright colored pen hoping he wouldn’t lose it easily, yet it evaded him just as any other normal pen would.

He picked up the pen and began to take notes down. He could see Catrina cross her arms in his peripheral vision and she huffed slightly. He had gotten fairly good at reading her over the years and she was waiting for him to ask her about something. “What brings you out here?”

“Funny you should ask,” she shifted with a purse of her lips. “I came out here to confront you.”
Robert looked up from his notes, his eyes glancing upward at the trees.

“Robert! You’re not listening!” She clenched her fists dramatically. “Earth to Robert!”
His head lulled over to look at her and he smirked. “I was calculating the probability of a stray lightning bolt putting me out of my misery before you tore into me about whatever it was I’ve done this time.” He shrugged loosely. “Unfortunately the odds are 1 in about… 255 million.”

Catrina rolled her eyes and scowled harder. “Wrong! That’s assuming you’re in a rainstorm and it storms every single day. Considering it’s a clear day and our average rainfall varies depending on the month, I would argue it’s closer to 1 and 867 million, rounding some ones here and there, and that’s being generous with the rainfall, to which in a bad year you could get close to 1 in 1 billion. Congratulations, you’re not getting out of this one!”

Robert’s smirk had grown into a grin during her speech as he watched her. Lately he’d been feeling different the more time he spent around Catrina. It used to bother him when she would be better at him in math, but now it was almost… exciting. His feelings for her were shifting in strange ways he couldn’t quite place.

The anger had softened in her eyes before her eyebrows narrowed and her anger returned. “Robert! Quit being a dope! I’m angry with you. Got a word for ‘stupid-head’ in French, Egan?”
He only smiled wider and laughed a little too, his voice nearly cracking. He cleared his throat awkwardly. “Of course.”

She stomped forward some and her glare intensified. “How about for ‘liar?’”
That got his attention and his face fell immediately, his brow furrowing in confusion. “What are you talking about, Cat?”

Her face shifted to something more smug and she backed up, pulling out a piece of crumpled paper she had and smoothing it in her hands. She began to march around him as she read the damning paper aloud. “‘Dear Mister Robert Egan, it is with GREAT ENTHUSIASM we express that your application to the Academy of the Lord Aadish has been accepted.'”

Robert’s gut sank, his face paling as she spoke. He cut her off with a low and threatening voice. “Where did you get that?”

She continued without pause. “'Congratulations on your entry to Atalan’s most EXCLUSIVE-'”
“Cat!” He lunged for the paper, but she pulled her hand back quickly out of the way. “Where did you get that?!”

“You’re a LIAR!” Catrina hissed. “You told me you didn’t get in! You told your mother you didn’t get in! You were lying this WHOLE time!”

Robert continued reaching for the paper yet she kept it firmly out of his reach. “Cat! Give it!” He pressed forward against her, desperately reaching until his fingers brushed against the paper and then her own hand which silenced them both instantly.

Their eyes widened as Catrina’s face slowly turned a shade of red. It was strange seeing her something other than angry and bossy. Robert swallowed before regaining his composure and snatching the paper from her hand. He spun away from her and immediately tried to put distance between the two of them to cool his head.
When had it gotten so warm outside?

“You know how I knew you had to have gotten in, Robert?” Catrina wasted no time regaining her verbal footing.
Robert cleared his throat and tried to shrug nonchalantly as he looked back towards her. “You snooped?”

“I got my acceptance letter today.” She shifted and adjusted her clothes. “I had been preparing for a rejection letter.”
His brow furrowed. “Why?”

“Because my annoying neighbor didn’t get in, and he’s better than me in just about everything. If you didn’t get in then I thought there was no way in all of the Essence that I could’ve.”
Robert blinked a few times, almost unsure if he had heard correctly. He felt himself smiling softly. “That’s… probably the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Cat.”

Catrina shifted, brushing a strand of her wildfire hair behind her ear as she looked away. “Yeah, well… don’t let it get to your head.”
His smile grew into a grin. “Too late.”

She groaned as she rolled her eyes, yet she smiled slightly too. “Ok, big-shot, at least I won’t have to go to the academy alone. You’ll probably go before me, what with having to be sixteen before they’ll let you in, but your birthday is next week! You’ll have to get your own acceptance letter out as soon as possible so they know you’ll be coming! Why are you wasting time out here? You should be packing!”

Robert’s stomach soured again and he busied himself with packing up his supplies. “I’m not going.”
“What?!” Catrina stopped and scowled, her temper flaring again. “But you got in!”
“Doesn’t matter, Cat.” He stuffed away his notebook and dropped his pen in the process. He scrambled to pick it up and put it away. “I’m not going.”

“You’re joking, right?” She was close behind him. “Why the hell not?! You’ve wanted this for years! The God of Knowledge has accepted you into his private school and you’re throwing it away? Why in the world would you do that?!”

“Back off, Cat.” He warned her, biting his cheek as he slowly zipped up his bag.
“Back off?! No! I won’t! Not until you tell me what’s more important than your own freaking future!” She persisted.
Robert clenched his fists before shoving himself to his feet suddenly. “You know why!”

The force in his voice had quieted Catrina, who had taken a step away from him.
He exhaled harshly and ran his fingers through his hair. “My mom is really sick, Cat.” He shifted uncomfortably. “The doctors have been talking about hospice soon and… You know what happens to people in hospice-”
“What about the water?” Catrina asked him quietly, taking the step back closer. “You know, the one you did your thesis on that got you into the Academy? You got it once before, right?”

Robert felt his eyes burning and he swallowed harshly to prevent tears from spilling over. He shook his head defeatedly and his voice came out a broken whisper. “I can’t… I can’t find it, Cat.” A tear betrayed him and he wiped it away hastily. “I’ve gone out here every, single day for the past two years and… it’s not there! I can’t find it!” That broke him and he slumped to the ground, putting his head against his knees.

Catrina looked around nervously before taking another step forward and lowering herself to her knees next to him. Carefully her hand came up and touched his shoulder in a movement of comfort. “Everything will be ok, Robert. We’ll figure something out!”

He could barely catch his breath, “h-how can y-you be sure?”
She didn’t have an answer for that.


“With that last signature, that should do it, ma’am.”

Marie Egan smiled weakly. “Je vous remercie, Mr. Campbell.” 
“Please, ma’am, call me Lewis, and it’s absolutely no trouble. Your father was a long time family friend of my father’s, so I’m happy to help. I’ll have your will filed by the end of the day. Everything will be left to your son, as you asked.” Lewis cleared his throat as he packed away his papers. He straightened finally. “He would be able to collect it when he’s 18.”

Marie’s brow furrowed slightly, she opened her mouth yet had to stop to cough. Once she had collected herself again she reached for Lewis. “What if he needs it sooner? I want my son to have access to it should he need it.”

“He’ll receive a weekly stipend, according to our agreement, that will come from his inheritance and any interest earned from said inheritance.” Lewis answered her kindly, patting her hand carefully. “I’ll see to it myself, ma’am.”
“Thank you kindly, Lewis.” This seemed to ease her and she relaxed back on her bed as the nurses moved around her. Lewis finished packing up his bag and he moved to stand when Marie’s eyes came open wide. “Wait, please!”

Lewis had stopped what he was doing and looked at her curiously.
She had used most of her strength to careen off the side of her bed, her hands fishing beneath the mattress carefully before she pulled out an envelope. “I… I know…” It took her a minute to catch her breath from such exertion and she coughed gravely before attempting again. “I know this isn’t technically in your job, but could you do me a very big favor, Lewis, and take this to the courier in town?”

Lewis smiled softly and took the letter from her. “Of course, ma’am. Sending final letters out to other relatives?”
Marie shook her head, yet she smiled brightly, pride beaming from her face. “My son was accepted into Lord Aadish’s Academy, this would be his acceptance letter of intent.”

Lewis’s face furrowed and he looked at the letter in disbelief. “Your boy got into the Academy? My, my… that’s incredible! I heard they had cut enrollment this year in half. Only the brightest students can get in!”
Marie smiled even brighter, despite the wear of illness in her features.

One of the nurses that had stopped by to check Marie’s pulse looked at her with slight confusion. “I thought he told us he didn’t get in? Granted I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Bright boy, indeed.”
Marie shook her head. “I didn’t believe him when he told me he hadn’t been accepted.” She took a long breath in and winced as the nurse pressed fingers into her arm. “So I had Hildy check under his mattress… that’s where he always hides his important things… and surely enough my little boy had been accepted.”

The nurse’s brow furrowed. “Why wouldn’t he tell us that, though? That’s wonderful news!”
Marie’s smile softened. “Knowing my boy he probably was worried about me. I won’t let him throw this away, though. He’s worked too…” she paused as her head drifted forward slightly with dizziness. “-too hard for him to throw it all away on account of his…” She had to catch her breath once more, “silly maman.”

Lewis bowed his head. “It’s a honor for me to take such important postage, then.”
Marie let out a slow breath, her voice growing more and more weary. “Thank you again, Lewis. Please feel free to add an extra charge for all of your help when the time comes.”

“Nonsense, ma’am, I’m more than happy to help, and I would much rather your son be the one to receive that money.” Lewis responded levelly, tipping his head once again. “With that, I will take my leave so that you can rest some.”

“Take care, Lewis, and never forget how grateful I am to you.” Marie spared him one last smile as he let himself out. 


Robert had placed his samples down beside the kitchen door as he got into the house. He opened his mouth to call for his mother when he heard the sound of footsteps moving around. Several footsteps.

Hilda had come into view with a gentleman who left out the front door, stepping around more nurses that were entering the residence. Robert’s brow furrowed with confusion. “What’s going on?” He asked carefully, looking at Hilda. “Hildy? Why are there so many people?”

“Mon petit coeur, is that you?” His mother’s voice was soft and came from the living room. She had taken to staying in that room as it was warmer than the rest of the house, usually.

Robert rushed into the room only to be confronted by three more nurses. “Maman? What’s going on?” His head was spinning. “Are you feeling ok? I can get you some stream water if you-”
His mother held her hand out, motioning him to come forward. He moved quickly and took her hand before kneeling beside her bed. “Darling...”

Robert’s eyes filled with panic and danced around the room as the nurses slowly filed out. “Maman? What’s going on?”
“My sweet Robert,” she gripped his hand loosely. “The doctors decided I may need some extra assistance tonight.”

Robert swallowed, growing more confused. “Assistance? Tonight? Why?” His mother reached up to soothe him again and he nearly jumped back as he grew more paranoid. “Maman…?”
“Je t’aime toujours, mon petit coeur. You know that, right?” She whispered to him softly.
His eyes began to water as he stared at the nurses that watched their encounter from the doorway. His eyes jumped back to his mother. “Maman…?”

“Right?” His mother insisted gently, wiping away a tear that had spilled from one of his eyes.
“Oui, maman.” He whispered, his voice breaking. “Et je t’aime aussi.”

“The good doctors say that my time is coming… very soon, mon petit coeur.” His mother broke the news very slowly and carefully and while Robert knew exactly where it was heading he refused to accept it.
He shook his head, “the bluebells won’t let their seeds out for another few more months.” Tears spilled overs his eyes. “You… you have to see it with me. You said you wanted to see it… it only happens once a year… I moved some of the flowers around so we could… so you would be able to see it. I-I found a good spot not far-”

His mother attempted to wipe at his face, yet reaching him was getting harder. “Come here, my baby.”
She pulled on him gently and he moved without question, sitting carefully on the edge of her bed and collapsing into her familiar arms where he sobbed. “Maman…” He whimpered for her.

“Mon garçon… mon beau garçon.” Her hands moved gently against his hair as she soothed away his tears. There was quiet for a few moments before she spoke again. “I know you got accepted to Aadish’s Academy, petit coeur.”
His body was shaking with the tears. “I-I-I didn’t want to l-leave you.”

“Hush, my darling… I know.” She soothed him gently, her movements were slow and drained yet still warm and loving. “So I had Mr. Campbell take your letter of acceptance to the courier today.”
Robert pulled his head up, wiping his face against his sleeve. “B-But… I didn’t write one?”
His mother smiled weakly at him. “Yes, but I did, my dear.”

Panic began to fill him and he shook his head firmly. “No… no I won’t leave you. I won’t.”
She frowned softly at him, sadness in her eyes. “I know, my dear… but… I’m afraid that I’m leaving you, my boy.”
This sent him spiraling out into tears that he choked on. “No… no! The greatest creator cannot have you yet… please…” His face burned and his throat clenched tightly, making it hard to swallow.

His mother tried to rock him but she lacked the strength. She coughed slightly, which made the nurses step forward from their hovering in the doorway, yet Marie held up her hand to silently stop them before she returned to comforting her son. “Robert, I need you to listen to me-” She tried to make her voice steady. “I know I don’t have much time, and I can feel my mind slipping from me, so I need you to know-” She coughed into her arm and focused on catching her breath. “I… I need you to know…”

Robert could tell it was getting harder for her to breathe and he clenched his jaw to try to stop more tears from falling. “J'écoute.” He whispered.
His mother finally caught her breath and she nodded. “Promise me that no matter what happens that you will never stop chasing your happiness.”

“Maman…” He bit his lip forcefully to try to stop it from shaking, yet he couldn’t. “Please…” He wanted to beg her - beg her not to leave him; beg her to stay with him and comfort him. He didn’t want to be alone. He didn’t want to have nothing left.
She touched his forehead gently before wiping his tears away. “Promise me you won’t stop learning… but more importantly, that you will never… never stop pursuing whatever it is that makes you happy.”

“I… I promise.” His voice cracked on another sob and he rested his head lightly against her. “Please,” he sobbed. “Don’t… d-don’t leave me!”
Soon the sound of his sobbing filled the room as all the nurses stood in the doorway, watching the heartbreak mournfully.

His mother’s face was twisted with sadness from his plea as she watched her son cry into her lap.
She knew she wouldn’t survive the night.
Marie Egan cradled her son against her and sang to him the lullaby she had sung to him all of his life with the last of her strength.

“Je t’aime, je t’aime toujours.”

“I am forever yours.” 

“Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, mon cher.” 

“You’re always in my prayers.” 

“Softly, sweetly, wrapped up in heaven’s arms.” 

“Sailing, soaring, over the moon, gathering stardust.” 

“Be still, be safe, be sure.” 

“Je t’aime, je t’aime toujours.” 

“Wishing, praying, all of your dreams come true.” 

“Please remember, where’er you are…” 

“My heart is with you.” 

“Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, mon cher.” 

“Always in my prayers.” 

“I am forever yours.” 

“Je t’aime, je t’aime,” 


The sound of papers shuffling. “Mister… Robert Egan, is it? Yes, very good! Congratulations on your admission, and welcome to the Academy.”

Robert stared at the ground numbly. “Thank you.”
“Tell me, Mr. Egan, what will be your field of study?”

“My… field of study?” Robert slowly lifted his weary eyes from the ground. He swallowed hard.
“Promise me that no matter what happens that you will never stop chasing your happiness.”

The woman behind the desk was waiting patiently for his answer.
Je t’aime, maman. Robert took in a careful breath, putting on a brave face.


SimNoWriMo Word Count: 3,487
SimNoWriMo Picture Count: 79


French Translation:
(Merci, Blamsart! Je t'aime et tes pantalons.)
French Lullaby by Kelly Sweet, "Je T'aime."
"Je vous remercie" - "I thank you."
"Mon petit coeur" - "My little heart."
“Je t’aime toujours, mon petit coeur." - "I love you always, my little heart."
“Oui, maman...Et je t’aime aussi.” - "Yes, mom... and I love you too."
“Mon garçon… mon beau garçon.” - "My boy, my handsome boy."
“J'écoute.” - "I am listening" 


  1. (gross sobbing)
    That was so ---TOO MUCH
    i have a weak heart, I GOT TEARS I DID GOSH.
    This really hit hard Liv, ok ok
    I kind of ship Cat and Robert, I do. They're cute nerds lol XD
    im a mess
    such a mess

    1. (gross sobs with you)
      It really hurts. It hurts so much sometimes.
      I'm still recovering from it.

      IT'S HARD TO NOT ship them a little, yes. Cute nerds indeed. My baby... my sweet baby Robert. (pets his head) I'm putting him through so much.
      Hopefully the next chapter will lighten everyone's spirits!

  2. SO I CRIED.

      Marie's Bluebells. My heaaaart.
      Theran is busy with his Adriel but request is pending.

    I honestly thought I was just going to push Robert along to the Academy and YEA I knew his mother died but then NOPE the whole chapter spiraled out and now... ack I can't even BE.

    Ooh lookie here, someone sees someone familiar, eh? (eyebrow wiggle) Curious. Very curious. We'll have to see if you're right.

  4. Give me a second...(reaches for tissues)

    This was the toughest ride so far. Poor boy after everything he did, he still loses her. I'm glad she forced him to go to the academy! He shouldn't stay in the past, he's still so young, he needs to keep moving forwards.
    This was really heart breaking, I had to have my boyfriend hug me till I stopped sobbing.

    Lord Aadish, wasn't that the God of Knowledge? He has a private school? That's REALLY impressive Robert!

    Ahhh I'm still so broken up over this!

    1. Gawk this one still hurts me to reread for exactly what you said too: Robert tried SO hard to bring her back, to help her... but in the end there was only so much that could be done. Hilariously as I was writing this chapter - this was MEANT to be the Academy chapter, but it got entirely blown up and set the precedent for the next several chapters, which were not intending to go the way THEY did either, lol.
      I assure you I'm not trying to make light of your emotions by saying so, but it makes me very glad to know that I can touch people in an emotional way with my writing. My goal has only ever been to capture very human-like moments, and grief is one of those very-human emotions.

      Lord Aadish is INDEED the God of Knowledge with an elite school for the best and brightest. (Smooshes Robert in hug) my wittle baby is so SMART my goodness!

      (looks back up at those last images during the lullaby and clutches chest) hurrghhh me too, mate, me too. My emotions are much too strong!

  5. You so beautifully captured Robert's changing feelings for Cat, and his confusion over them. Poor little confused hormonal boy (and girl). I hope that we can explore it a bit more when they're at school and growing up.

    The death scene was also nicely done, you showed very well how close mother and son are/were, and I loved the lullaby at the end.

  6. There was that part of me that wanted that Make-a-Wish Foundation approved trip to see the bluebells but school and tragedy trumps all. Including love because this is a story I refuse to ship about. :P (Theran and Adriel are exempted for being paired from the start and also not being human)