Mesmerized by the lavishness of her gown and ring, Anna turned to Lucius for answers. However, he wasn’t talking. He was simply leaning against the gate looking into her eyes with such tenderness that she wondered if he could see into her soul.
She couldn’t look away. Why did his eyes seem to dance and sparkle in the sun? How was it that rainbows of color played in their irises?
Embarrassed that she was staring at him, and confused that she couldn’t ask him a simple question without losing her train of thought, Anna turned to the boys with the dog. They were a welcome distraction that warmed her heart.
As they sat cross-legged on the grassy lawn, the boys tossed a yellow ball into the air. Over and over the ball went up and the dog would jump and snatch it in mid-air. He was quite good at his trick which made Lucius laugh and Anna smile in amazement.
Lucius touched her arm, “You must be hungry.”
His touch seemed electrically charged and she flinched before realizing he was asking a question. “Well yes, I suppose I am.” she replied. “I finished off my provisions this morning. But, oh wait, I have no money to pay for anything. I was hoping to find work and possibly board and lodging.” she answered, sincerely hoping he would guide her.
“It’s not necessary, Anna. Come. Let’s eat.” He took her arm gently and steered her under the crepe myrtle and down the path to the right.
Her matching pretty, blue slippers clicked on the cobblestone, as her gown flowed soft and smooth against her skin without the slightest restriction.
She glanced at Lucius’s knee-length tunic. Loosely fitting, it was made of a different material in cream color. A mandarin collar peeked through his loose, sandy hair, and baggy linen pants covered his legs.
“How is it that I’m wearing this gown?” she asked puzzled.
“Oh, that. It’s what you wear all the time, but you couldn’t see it until you came through the gate. It originates in your spirit and displays your gifts. And by the way, the color tells me that you are a Seer.” Lucius answered without missing a step.
“What does that mean?” she crinkled her eyebrows.
Lucius turned to her. “You’ve always known things. But you didn’t know how you knew them. It’s why you came here in spite of the village traditions. You knew it was not only alright to come here, but that there were things here that you wanted.” his voice was serious but his eyes still sparkled.
Guiding her, Lucius headed toward the Castle door, which was in full sight now on this side of the crepe myrtle. Anna held her gown above her feet as they hurried up the thousand tiny steps to the great doors above. She was eager to see the interior of the massive, white-stone structure that had lured her to come so far.
Anna began to feel flushed with the sun on her arms and the excitement of the lushness and beauty around her. But just as they reached the top step and Lucius glided through the entrance, Anna bounced back as though she ricocheted off an invisible barrier. Her recoil pulled Lucius backward off-step and lost his grasp on her arm. She tried once more to step forward with her hand out in front. There she touched something which felt like rubber, but she couldn’t see it.
Lucius stared at her wide-eyed and her brows knit in suspicion and disbelief. Both her hands gingerly played over the air in front of her as though she were a mime.
“Anna, you’re unforgiving.” Lucius stated with surprise.
“What?” she returned confused by his response.
“The castle doorway is like the gate, except you can come through the gate because everything imperfect about us is forgiven and erased. This door is the opposite. We must BE forgiving to walk through it.” he explained.
Anna gazed through the doorway into the lavish marble hall lined with luxurious chandeliers. Then she searched Lucius’s eyes as she sought deep within herself for the unforgiveness that kept her from entry.
She knew it was the villagers who maintained a fortress of stress and anxiety in her mind. She harbored anger and frustration toward them for their years of superstitious fear and hurtful bullying. She shook her head at the memories and sighed as she looked down at the granite steps beneath her feet.
“You have to forgive them, Anna. Not only that, you must understand their position and love them while they are in it.” Lucius coaxed her gently, but eagerly.
Anna looked up instantly and stared at him, incredulous at his suggestion. “You have no idea what they put me through!”
(to be continued)