Nothing I knew, experienced with my family or read in books could prepare me to Maxim and his world. Another day I went to my gym class; once the teacher had checked everybody was there, I just disappeared without being noticed. I wanted to see Max and I called him so that we could meet at Place des Vosges. When he found out I skipped a class to see him he wasn’t too happy and told me how the teacher was responsible if anything happened. Place des Vosges was far enough from my school and it was a nice place to sit. I always found it so peaceful there, especially when some people play under the arches. That day, there was a string quartet and we could hear them from the bench on which we sat. At first he didn’t talk, as if to punish me from not being in class…
“Oh come on Max, you’ve ever skipped a gym class? I mean, the guy doesn’t even care about me. I am so plain. He is all over the cute girls in my class and the guys cause they’re good.
“And you’re not?
“Well not really. I hate basketball. He might just notice that the ball is not falling as often as usual but I doubt it.
“Ok, but next time, just assume you are skipping your class. You may not like your teacher but since you are supposed to be there for his class he is responsible for you. So we are sitting here until the end of your class and then only I let you go.
“Fine, deal. It’s not like anything dangerous could happen here right?
And so we talked: talks of dreams of the future, of the present, of the past. To me, dreams of the past were an oddity. I mean, they were just memories. And then he explained.
“Estelle, memories are of the past here, but there are pasts of other lives.
“Really? So we did meet in other lives.
In that moment, I realised that we had met in so many dreams before we did in real life. I had just not connected the dots because he had not looked like himself even though he always felt familiar. We had met in so many different situations, different periods, and countries. Once, I was a slave to his father. Once I was a man, a child, even a murderer though not by choice and he had beaten me before showing the path to righteousness. It seemed that suddenly a light had been lit.
“What is it Estelle?
“Did you not feel it the first time we met?” He furrowed his brow. “When I saw you, it was like… I don’t know how to explain it. Like I …
“had always known me? Forever not only in this world.
“Exactly. I can’t tell you why. I had dreamt you before, so many times. And you looked like you mostly. But sometimes, it was just something about you. You didn’t look like yourself but it was still you. I was a soldier and you were my general, or a slave girl and…
“I was your master.
“Well the master’s son but yes. Have you not had these dreams?
“Well I have, but I am surprised that it could be you. And even more so that you could link all of it together. You are not initiated.
“Well you’re not a Wiccan, how could you know to put the dots together?
“I don’t know… what? Wait a minute. You… are… a Wiccan?
“How do you think I knew so much about them?
“I don’t know… I just thought well that you had studied them like I have gathered all the information I could about Greek and Roman cults…
“Well I could have done that indeed, but knowing it from the inside is much more interesting believe me. Anyway what you have been experiencing is indeed memories of past lives.
He talked to me about some of his dreams and I did of mine. Some did seem similar and yet they were different in the same way that three people going to the same play will experience it differently or as it is said like there are as many testimonies as witnesses. But then, when I was a slave, I would know about the slave quarters when he would know about the nicest rooms of his palace. Or if I were a child in the streets d and he a merchant, I would experience the streets and stealing my food for a living while he would know the counterpart. Our experiences of our dreams were different too. And then he began telling me about another one except that it sounded more like a tale. Oh he didn’t start with a “once upon a time” or ended with a “happily ever after” but it still had the grandeur and style of a tale or an epic. As he weaved the story for me, it felt as if a tapestry was being spun in front of me playing the adventure. I was like swallowed in this world, which his voice revealed to me, the thread flowing to create this story.
It was another world, maybe the first of all the worlds. I didn’t know whether he actually said it or if it just crossed my mind as I started walking on a paved road surrounded by fields of luxurious grass, what looked like corn and bathing in the light of two suns shining in a deep blue sky. Far in the horizon and yet as close to me as Maxim sitting on the bench, there was a tree that reached the sky; a huge, massive, ancient and magic tree, which overlooked this all world but not threateningly, rather as its protector, a dispenser of beauty and truth. Behind me, mountains, crowned with white snow; to those I felt I belonged and for a second I wondered why I was leaving their protection and then it suddenly became clear that I had been ordered to that tree. It did not seem such a positive force but rather a frightening shadow looming over me. Yet, I continued walking following Maxim’s voice through the beauty of this magical world, in which a noble and wise king ruled. He was seeking an heir for he had not been blessed with children. Believing he had found the one in a very talented young boy from overseas who was marked by magic he designed for all the best magicians in the land to teach the future king the greatest secrets. But after he was taught all this, the young man revealed his true nature; he was evil incarnated in the world and so he betrayed his oath of magic and denounced his true Name before going to a land of darkness where he devised plans to destroy the tree. It was clear then that I was looking at the world before it was ravaged by war.
So the king searched for another heir, one to counter the darkness he had created. And he knew that he would die in the war that was sure to come. But only the priestesses of the mountain could tell him who the child was. He had ignored their advice not to bring the first one to the island and the priestesses had denied their teaching to the chosen heir. This time, he wanted to make amends and do things they were done regarding the Goddess. So he had prayed the high priestess to come and reveal the name of the heir; and so she had been called to the king, whose power was that of the God, of the tree. She rarely left the mountains that were her realm but that time she had come upon the request of her king.
This time, when the child’s name was told and he had been fetched from his home in the island, the king did not get the best magicians until the young man had proved his worth. In a certain way, the king was not as ready to give his love unconditionally and somehow he never did. But he loved the child and found true light within him, so the young man became his heir. And this time the priestesses did give some knowledge of the Goddess. That was when he had met her,
“Ar-Ilyn, the Golden Priestess, I said as Max paused.
“How do you know? How do you know her name?
“I don’t know…
“You know exactly what I am talking about, aren’t you? You were there…
“I don’t know but it feels like I belonged there, in the mountains…” I paused. “Yes, I think I was there.”
He looked at me in a new way as his eyes widened in shock and surprise.
“You’re her. Oh my God you are. You know what I am talking about; you’ve walked this world too.
“Well, I think I do know this dream. It does ring a bell, but if I have it was never as clear as just now when you were talking of it.
“What is the centre?”
I didn’t even hesitate.
“The tree; the Tree of Life, Tree of the God. Wherever you are you can see it, well I think except when you are at its feet, then I can’t.
“You are so her. The Priestess was always blind within reach of the lowest branches of the tree. That’s why she rarely left the mountains.”
I didn’t know. I knew I had to have been there but had I been this Golden Priestess? Oh, right then, I was willing to believe it; it felt like I had really belonged somewhere. I wasn’t the shy girl who hardly had any friend. In another life I had been a powerful magician, a priestess of the Goddess – whoever she was – and I had seen the future. Indeed I was really willing to be this Ar-Ilyn.
“Maybe I am…
“Well, I think you are. But I guess future will tell us soon enough for sure. I hope I can recognise you in my next dream, because I can never see her face. You don’t have an aura strong as hers but then she was older when I met her so maybe that is why.”
I knew then that I was not that priestess; I knew my aura – I had searched what it meant – would not change. In my dreams, no matter how old he had been his aura had been the same as now. Sometimes not as intense because he had not been a magician but always the same vibration, calm and serene hiding a power of light rarely found anywhere. But I did not say anything; I realised then that I had never been and would never be as powerful as them. I suddenly felt like just a pawn but I did not want him to think that of me. Not just yet. When he met her, he would know that I was just nothing. But then, maybe he knew at the same moment I did and didn’t want to hurt me either.
Day 30? I think
During the next few months I dreamt this world a lot more and I understood many things when dreaming of other lives. I could figure them out right away now whatever their guise. Just like I had been a man in previous lives, she had been a man too on a couple of occasions, a brother to me or a protector of some kind. As I had known when talking to Max about the Golden Priestess, I was never as powerful as they were. And yet after a few weeks of dreaming, I stopped feeling like a pawn but rather a necessary part of the triangle. I realised I was the link between them; they could not meet if I was not there and when this was clear I finally understood the relation that would bind us. We could not fall in love with one another; the one time I did fall in love with him in my dreams, all went wrong.
I was jealous of her, her beauty and her power so I forged an enmity between them and they ended fighting each other allowing a reign of darkness over the world. And the one time they fell in love, I was estranged from them, they did not come to help me when I was sentenced to death as a sorceress and that time also the world came to a terrible end as they died too. How could I know? Why was it that in my dreams, even when I was dead I remained in my dream world as a spirit, always trying to achieve what I was sent to do, only I never knew what it was? Dead or alive, I would often find out at the end, when it was either too late or when all the cards had been dealt. And then I could not achieve much. And I would never know how much I achieved because once my deed was done I would wake up. Once, I think it was the first time we ever met, I was the one who allowed them to come back to do what they had to do but that was it really? And I am not sure it helped much.
I wished I could speak of this with Maxim but the next weeks were difficult on everybody. He had his final exams and I was having many examinations at school too as we were getting to the end of the year and the teachers wanted to find out whether we had learnt anything useful and could move on to the next year. After many hesitations and discussions with my parents I decided to go for a scientific course; I loved maths, physics and chemistry although I wasn’t too fond of biology… My teachers hesitated too apparently and thought that I would be happier in a literary course, but my marks allowed me to pass in science major.
And then Ben and Laure had their big competition, which caused all discussions to be about her, her career as a professional horse-rider. Was she going to finish her studies as she had planned at first? She had put it on hold for the past session with special authorisation from the university, but she really wanted to continue. She was only a year away from her bachelor in natural science. Every night it was about this.
“Darling, what happens if you win that competition and are selected for the Olympics? What about your studies?
“Mum, I want to finish my bachelor and I have been working with my professors via mail and telephone. I will sit this session exam in September I have the authorisation from the head of the department. And even if Ben and I get to go to the Olympics well it is still a year away so I will have the time to at least pass the first semester and then we’ll see if I can get another authorisation to pass the exams later. Or I could try and pass all of it anyway.
“But that’s going to be so much stress.
“Mum, I’m not at the Olympics yet. It’s not even sure I’ll make it.”
I decidedly looked at my plate when she said this; she would be going to the Olympics and Ben too but I was not going to tell her. Again knowing what was going to happen was not necessary helpful. 2016 was only a year away and in horse riding most competitors were in their late twenties; but these two would be the youngest Olympians for the horse riding team.
“And if I don’t make it, at least having my bachelor I can still work with horses.”
That was the end of it; afterwards, Laure would refuse to speak about it. She knew what she wanted and she did not want to be talked into doing something else for now.
So all three of them were working really hard; the same could be said of my parents and so I spent a lot of time alone and found something else about myself that I could not talk to anyone, not even Maxim. Even he would not believe me. It was too big to even understand; I should have trusted him though.
It is weird how time goes here. I am not sure how long I have been here. I think it is a month; that’s how it appears to be. I try to mark the days on the last page of this notebook but I am not sure that I have a good sense of the days going.
I think they are giving me my meals at odd times to prevent me from knowing.