01 2.0 The Light Who Binds2Bluebell Kildare

July 7, 2022, Red Ages

Fat, icy raindrops fall from the night sky, drenching my hair and clothes. I should have worn my cloak tonight. Varg and I bound up the steps to St. Michael’s Church and welcome the dry antechamber.

I hope Father O’Brennen is still up. Though I’m not religious, he’s always been there for me. When my parents died, he encouraged my grandparents to take me in, but they were too full of hate for the Gifted, so he placed me in the Green Tree Orphanage. The housemothers would bring us here for Sunday mass, and I would escape to the bell tower, happy to be alone. When I came of age, Father O’Brennen let me live rent-free in an apartment next door until I got my first job. Above all, he’s always been a counselor to me, someone to just listen when I need a sounding board. I certainly need both now.

I find him in the kitchen, standing by the beige tiled counter with a cookie in his mouth. A few crumbs fall to the gray slate floor as he chews. Father O’Brennan is of average height and build, his graying hair capped with a small bald spot. But his most stunning features are his deep-set, dark gray eyes that are so expressive, so wise, and so filled with compassion.

“Father O’Brennen,” I call from the arched doorway, leaning slightly so Varg can poke his head in next to me.

He jumps up guiltily.

“Having a midnight snack, are we?” I tease.

An abashed smile fills his gentle face. “Caught red-handed, I suppose. Come on in, Blue. I’m glad to see you looking so well. Would you like some cookies?”

“I’d love some.”

He opens the cookie jar, grabs another plate, and pours me a glass of milk.

“Mmm, chocolate chip,” I say through a mouthful of cookie. “My favorite.”

He chuckles, then pulls out another jar and hands a cookie to Varg. “That’s peanut butter for him. So, how are you, Blue?”

“Fit as a fiddle.” I peer down at my cookies and pick at the corner of one until it crumbles. “But I’ve had a bit of a shock over some things I learned today.”

His eyes soften. “Well, sometimes it is best to unload your worries. So why don’t you share the burden with me?”

I smile at his gentle kindness. “Remember how you told me I was stillborn and my mother called my soul back into my body?”

“Of course,” he says, studying my face.

I peer intently at my plate again. “Well, the same thing happened to me again in the crypt with Blackwater. Jack found me because my soul’s light was burning so brightly, he said it was shining straight past the moon. He called my soul back into my body and gave me Vampire blood to bring me back to life.”

“I see.”

I glance at Father O’Brennan. His forehead is furrowed in grave concentration.

I push forward through the rest. “Well, that isn’t nearly all of it. Today, I spoke with Jack and Dragomira. You may know her as the owner of the Dragomir Magical Artifact Shop.”

Father O’Brennen gives a little murmur of acknowledgement.

“Apparently, a prophecy from the beginning of the Red Ages foretold of my birth, and somehow I’m supposed to fight the Great Demon Lilith and destroy her.” I keep going now, avoiding his gaze because otherwise I’m afraid I won’t get it out. “I’m called the Illustrissima. It means ‘the Light Who Shines.’ The prophecy says the Great Pact will be broken, and I have to destroy Lilith to save mankind and deliver the Vampires from their curse.

“It says a lot of things in threes—like I’ll be thrice guarded and have three weapons. It also says I’ll have three deaths.”

I pause now, conscious of how ridiculous it all sounds, expecting to see disbelief or scorn on his face. Instead, his solemn eyes gently hold mine as he places his hand on my shoulder. “That’s a heavy burden to bear.”

“Yes, it is. I’ll do what I can, of course. But I have no idea what I should do now.”

“If this is your calling, it will find you,” he responds. “When the time is right, I’m sure you’ll know what to do. Just trust in the Lord and follow your heart.”

“Well, you know, I’m not very happy with the way he runs things, so the Lord and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms right now.”

Father O’Brennen smiles at me gently. “I know that. I’ll pray for you, if that helps.”

“Thanks, Father. It does. So, can you tell me anything about the number three? It struck me as odd that everything in the prophecy was supposed to be in threes.”

He gets that dreamy expression that he gets during mass sometimes. “Three is a very important number in the Catholic Church. It signifies unity, completion, and perfection, and as you know, the Trinity is comprised of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In broader Christianity, Jesus was crucified and entombed for three days before he arose. It’s a strong number, significant in Pagan mythology and other religions, as well. Some mythological gods were considered to be triple-deities and were said to have three different aspects. For instance, the goddess Badb was also known as Macha and Anand. Ancient Druidism was comprised of three specialties; the Bards who were the memory of the tribe, the Ovates who were natural healers, and the Druids and Druidesses who were shamans or directors of the rituals.

“Those who believe in the Lady of Light say she came to earth once at the beginning of the Red Ages to teach Daylight Vampires to feed without killing, then a second time to usher in the Great Pact. And it’s said she’s promised to come to earth a third time at the end of the Red Ages to guide us to peace. I think it bodes well for you that things will come in threes.”

How interesting. “Do you believe these other Gods really existed?”

He smiles. “I believe in only one God. But I think you have to consider what “existed” means. If a group of people believe in a god and worship him or her, doesn’t that god exist for them? Over man’s history, many gods have been worshiped. Some people believe those gods truly did exist and when man stopped believing in them, they lost their divine powers and faded away. In my faith, I believe those were false gods and idols and whether they truly existed is not of consequence.”

“I have one more question, Father.”

“I have open ears.”

This question has confused me the most. “Why me, Father? Why do you think all this is happening to me?”

Father O’Brennen eyes droop in deep empathy. “You’ve had a hard life, Blue. No doubt. But don’t most heroes have to rise above hardship and misery?”

Return to Top