“Hey, look!” Eliza nodded to the large black ship looming just a few feet from their tiny boat. Sebastian turned quickly, following her gaze to the Marianna. It floated gently on the rippling ocean, despite its cumbersome size.
“Faster!” Sebastian urged, pushing the oars behind him with more force. The boat groaned forward, resisting the pull of the waves. “We’re almost there!” Eliza paid no attention to the blonde strands of hair whipping about her face, instead she stared intently at the vessel ahead. The closer they came to ship, the more they could make out the people waving at them from the deck.
Suddenly a flash of green eyes caught her eye, was that? It couldn’t be…
Eliza leaned further in her seat, trying to study the robust young woman with green eyes. “Hello! Hello!” Sebastian was standing now, waving to the people standing on the deck. He then turned and lifted the blanket off the children, who were of course eager to get away from the cramped space.
Eliza herded the children up the tiny ladder, and then took the babies from their place underneath the seats, wrapped in soft fleece. She handed the very youngest to Rebecca and her two sisters, Mariella and Connie. Finally, after all the children were placed but Asher, she took the little handsome boy by the hand to someone she knew would take care him very well.
The young woman whirled around, her green eyes sad. Once she recognized who she was looking at, she screeched. “Oh Eliza!” Olivia wrapped her in a tight hug, eyes brimming with happy tears. “Olivia,” Eliza smiled, her face resting on her friend’s shoulder. “I brought you someone.”
Olivia looked over her shoulder, “Where are the others?”
Eliza’s expression must’ve gave her away because Olivia cried out, “Not them too?”
“What do you mean?” It was Eliza’s turn to ask a question.
Olivia sighed before putting her face in her hands, “When I went missing, I was kidnapped by a soldier. This soldier took me to the headquarters, where I was interrogated for a day. It was terrible. The living conditions, the men. However, a kind lady, a cook, smuggled me out using her food wagon. So then I traveled to the shore, where I found this ship docked. I decided to try and see if the people would take me, and they did, telling me that they didn’t really care what religion I had. That’s when I realized some of the people from our village were here. “
“Liv…” Eliza hugged her again, “Lily went looking for you, but Jane was taken, along with Rebekah and Levi.”
“Dear Lily? The poor girl is probably lost, maybe even in prison!”
“She wanted to find you, Jane tried to talk her out of it, but I told Lily she was old enough to make her own decisions. So she went, but I gave her a switch blade, for protection.” Eliza shook her head, remembering the night.
“Well hopefully she hasn’t gotten far.” Olivia looked wistful, her red waves floating about her pale freckled face.
“I’m going to look for her, which is why…” Eliza leaned down and picked up Asher, handing him to Olivia. Asher giggled and patted Olivia’s cheek, settling nicely in her arms.
“Ohhhh!” Olivia grinned at the little boy, who now lay his head on her shoulder. “I love you, baby boy.”
Eliza smiled at the two of them, so safe and protected from the troubles of the world. “I must be going now, goodbye Olivia and Asher.”
“Goodbye Eliza.” Olivia grabbed her arm, “Remember, Yahweh is stronger than you are hon.
Eliza smiled, “Thank you.”
The sky was nearly dark as the small boat pulled ashore. “There, we’re back, miss–” Sebastian paused and looked Eliza in the eye.
“Eliza.” She thought to tell him her surname but decided against it. The corners of Sebastian’s lips curved into a slight smirk as he realized she wasn’t going to tell him her last name.
“Alright then, Eliza, we’re back.”
Eliza pursed her lips and stared at the purple-gray sky and nodded as the small boat bobbed near shore. The man stepped out and onto the dry land just ahead, pulling the tether of the boat toward him and extending a hand to Eliza, guiding her onto stable ground. The two shared a smile for a second before awkwardly looking away, letting go of each other’s hands.
“Err, thank you kindly, Sebastian.” Eliza gushed. She gathered the skirt’s of her dress and climbed a little ways up the hill, turning abruptly. “May the Father bless you greatly for your bravery.” She bowed her head slightly and Sebastian nodded, though his eyes were serious. “Be safe, Eliza.” He turned his back to her but secretly he was smiling widely.
The cold forest air whipped around Eliza’s hair, tossing loose strands in the wind as she tucked down the edges of her dress, pressing forcefully forward as the turbulent wind shoved her back. Rain pelted down on the trees, causing her to shiver. Though the girl had her shawl pulled tightly about her shoulders, she couldn’t help but feel the frigid air in her bones. “Please, Father, keep me safe.” She whispered, pleading to the angry black skies.
“Eliza! Eliza, wait!” Came a sudden shout from behind her.
The young woman’s heart nearly stopped in her chest as she stopped suddenly and turned around. “Who’s there?” Her voice was shaky and could barely be heard above the storm. What if it was a solider?
But, they wouldn’t know my name, she reasoned. Eliza saw a figure approaching quickly, running toward her.
“Eliza, thank goodness.” Sebastian breathed, brushing his wet hair away from his face, smiling at her, “I thought you were lost.”
“You…chased me here?” The curiosity in Eliza’s voice was poignant, she was utterly surprised the young man had followed her through the storm all this way.
“Well…something like that,” Sebastian chuckled, scratching the back of his head, “More like followed you.” He shrugged, “I was worried about you when it started raining.”
Eliza didn’t quite know what to say but she nodded, laughing a little under her breath. “Well then, I’m grateful for your concern.” She smiled. Sebastian frowned, looking worried, “You’re going to send me back now, aren’t you?”
“Nonsense!” Eliza was laughing now. “The storm was scaring me as well, and as much as I would be obliged to go on my own, obviously you were sent here for a reason.” She tucked her hair behind one ear and nodded to the sky, “I’m thankful you came then.”
Sebastian didn’t know what to make of her little rant, so he nodded. “Shall we go? I know a place we could wait out the storm.”
It was a cave. A dark, wet cave. Eliza looked around for a stream but saw none. “Cold isn’t it?” Sebastian questioned, folding his arms as he stood in front of Eliza, staring at her.
“Certainly.” Eliza agreed, “Is there water in here?”
“I do believe so.” The man nodded, gesturing toward a dry spot to sit in the darkness of the large rock formation.
Eliza could see icicles hanging dangerously low from the roof of the cave but she ignored the thought to break them off as she used to as a child, knowing that a piece of ice that heavy could hurt someone.
“Do you come here a lot?” She asked Sebastian, cautiously sitting down on the chilly ground with her legs close to her body, pulling down her skirt. He nodded, leaning against the rock, still standing, “Very much so. It is a very nice place to think. In the summer it’s better, still wet but not so cold as during winter.”
Eliza nodded, slipping off her gloves and breathing warm air onto her hands. “Could you not just live here?” Sebastian seemed wistful as he gestured to the empty cave. Eliza raised her eyebrows uncertainly and glanced around. What he found comforting about a cold cave, she was unsure but maybe, just maybe, Eliza felt it too, the serene quality of being at one with nature. Nothing to distract you but the sound of the wind.
“I could.” Eliza nodded. She smiled. In her mind, the young woman could picture sitting here on a cold night, just pondering life and asking questions of her Father. “Most certainly.”
Sebastian glanced over at the girl and chuckled. She was staring into the cave with a thoughtful look crossing her pale face, hair blowing across her bright eyes.
There was definitely something different about this young woman, he thought to himself. Her intriguing faith was certainly one of great interest to him. Someday when they weren’t shivering in a dark cave, he would ask her in greater detail about this religion her people called their own. Someday, he thought to himself, what if I never see her again? But that was something Sebastian did not resign himself to. He was sure that, if this Father that she prayed to was in control, he would surely see the beautiful girl again.
Eliza was thinking about her friends, her community. She wondered about Jane and Lily, dear Leandra and kind, sweet Olivia.
It had been so long, yes, since she last saw Leandra. She knew that the girl was far away in the care of the king’s soldiers. Still, Eliza had a sure faith that she would most certainly see her friend again. And the children, they would be just fine, right? She couldn’t promise but she knew that she had a promise she could count on.
1John 5: 3-4 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy, because everyone having been born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the overcoming that has overcome the world: our belief.
At that, a smile covered Eliza’s face. Remembering ever she had been brought through, Eliza knew it was true. Without her belief, where would she be?
“Looks like the rain stopped for now.” Sebastian’s voice brought Eliza from her thoughts. He was standing near the entrance of the cave, looking back at her.
“Already?” It had seemed like merely a few minutes since they had arrived her, when the rain had just began.
“It would seem so.” Stepping outside, Sebastian reached a hand out and turned back inside. Nodding, he spoke, “Yep, clear and dry out there, it is.” Eliza stood and she too looked outside. The raindrops had stopped by now and the only noise was that of the wind blowing calmly, knocking the occasional shower of water of a tree branch.
“Should we continue on or stay here the night?” Eliza questioned, unsure of which to choose. “Stay here is what my choice would be, unless that is, you would know of another place to sleep nearby.”
“No, no, you’re right, this is the closest thing to a shelter I can think of near here.” Eliza nodded. Sebastian stood at the opening of the cave for a moment more before turning back. “Well.” He spoke, “I’ll sleep here. Keep watch. You should stay farther back.” Eliza smiled gratefully as he offered the girl his coat. “Here,” he nodded, “You can sleep on this.”
“Thank you ever so much for this, Sebastian,” Eliza said earnestly, “I mean it. You’ve gone out of your way to help me and I’m very grateful.”
“Of course.” The young man smiled, he nodded slightly to her. Eliza walked back toward the further corner of the cave and laid down the coat, pulling her shawl to wrap around her. Thankful for the coat and her warm clothes, Eliza closed her eyes and laid her head on the soft fabric, sleep taking over her swiftly.
The sun glowed a light ivory, a glimmer of hope in the dawn. It sat hovered between the horizon and the immense sky. The large ship floated in the distance, a large silhouette against the clouds.
Eliza smiled and pushed her oars a little harder, sending a cobalt splash behind her. Feeling the sudden speed change, Sebastian looked up quickly, his lips curving into a smile.
“In a hurry?”
“Yes.” Eliza looked past him and set her eyes on the ship, its immense size becoming more and more apparent with the distance.
“Are we there yet?!” asked a little voice from underneath the skins. “Shhh, my dear. We are almost there though.” Eliza continued to stare at the horizon, afraid of pointing her eyes to the children.
Sebastian laughed quietly, staring at the distant shore behind Eliza. “What?”
He smiled at Eliza, eyes twinkling, “It’s just that in all my twenty years I never imagined I would be smuggling a boat full of children disguised as blankets to America.” She laughed with the man. It was true, but Eliza never imagined that she would be doing the same.
“I agree,” Eliza couldn’t help the grin covering her face despite the circumstances. “And how old are you?” Sebastian asked, his face inquisitive.
Eliza nodded, “There’s a girl even younger than me in our group. She’s seventeen. She’s the one trying to find Olivia, the one who disappeared.”
“I was wondering…why does the king persecute you? I mean, what faith do you have that he doesn’t want you to possess?”
She began to tell him the beginning of their faith, a small sect in the middle of all England.
Liam Jacob Westington was a confused man as he walked out of Wonutherton College on a brisk Friday evening. A drawn out discussion with Professor Berisk had left him doubting the very reason he lived. Walking on the icy streets of downtown London, he had reason to believe that maybe he had everything wrong. For all of his life he had felt empty at the church he went to with his family, a beautiful cathedral that employed the Pope as the head teacher.
Maybe the Savior’s name wasn’t really Jesus? Or that his mother was to be worshipped with Hail Mary’s? Should the Sabbath be kept on Sunday or Saturday? What was Communion really about?
At only twenty-two years of age, Liam had not yet been tasked with a wife or children, nor a laborious job. However, he still felt as if he was older than his grandfather at times, with a complex, thoughtful mind.
As Liam approached the affluent section of town, Brisbane Avenue, he was filled with a quiet peace. Even though it seemed his faith was being turned upside down, he somehow knew everything was okay. However cliché that sounded.
Liam smiled to himself and looked up into the sky, seeing that nearly all the stars were out. It certainly was late, but it was all for the enlightenment of his mind, as far as he was concerned.
However late it was though, the Westington mansion still glowed, set aflame by hundreds of beautiful candles. By this, Liam knew that Father and Mother were holding a dinner party, as this was their code. Too many times Liam and his sister burst in to the parlor with loud voices or dirty clothes, sometimes with friends or food. So they decided to institute an obvious (and beautiful), warning.
Walking up to the gate, Liam said hallo to the guards and went inside, stopping to admire the vast structure.
The mansion was an unusual white marble streaked with black, cut into a pristine square shape. It was tall, at nearly ten stories high, with many windows cut into the facade. There was a fancy embellished stone archway to enter into the mansion’s doorway, through which many wealthy aristocrats had walked.
Spreading out from the entrance was a roundabout cobbled driveway, in which buggies exited and entered. A large marble waterfall sat in the middle, surrounded by a tiny green.
The waterfall glowed a beautiful aqua, illuminated by candle light all around the marble enclosure. It’s comforting pitter-patter sound rang with Liam as he slowly walked past, heading inside.
He decided to go in the side door, which was more discreet. There was little traffic and offered an easy way to get upstairs. Even after living in the mansion for fifteen years, Liam could not understand why the bedrooms were on the fifth floor.
Still, he was just grateful to get to sleep after being up all night. He opened the ornate wood doors and made his way quickly through the corridor to the stairs.
“Liam? Is that you?!” His mother swished into the room, her black hair swept up into a chignon. A feathery white stole draped over her shoulders, dragging on the ground.
“Yes mother, how are you? I was just—”
“Oh Liam! You must go talk to Eliza, her father just became administrator!” She grabbed him by the arm, leading him out of the corridor into the ballroom.
His mother left him standing there with Eliza Marianna Grey, a pretty young socialite from Brisbane. She smiled at him, her blonde head cocked to one side, “Good evening, Liam.”
“Good evening to you as well, Eliza.” He smiled, “How is the ball?”
“Oh simply magical! Your parents have the most impeccable taste.” She grinned, swishing her white dress to one side.
“Thank you, they try.” Liam bowed, “Now if you would excuse me, I must retire. I am extremely tired.”
“Oh then, goodnight!” Eliza called cheerily, practically floating away.
Liam had to laugh to himself, that girl was so kind, but a bit dreamy. Still, he wondered why his parents wanted so anxiously for him to marry and build a house. Weren’t there farther more important things to attend too? He thought so, and spent many long nights studying the Bible to try and answer the many questions that crossed his brain.
What is the meaning of life? Why are we commanded to do all the things that we are? What is the meaning of the threshold? Why were some things stated in the Bible not acted upon?
This and many other questions were the things that plagued Liam at night, not marriage or having money. He resolved his best, though, to obey his father in all means and be dutiful. However, the great mystery of the Bible remained, and Liam was determined to figure it out.
Sorry everyone for the delay, we’ve been busy. How’s your Shavuot weekend going? Isn’t wonderful fellowshiping with others? I do believe so 🙂
I hope you all have a good day!
“Rebekah. Rebekah.” Eliza gently shook the young girl awake, “It’s time to leave. And remember to whisper.”
“It’s too cold,” complained Rebekah sleepily, pulling her woolen blanket over her head. “Mhmm. Come on.” Eliza pulled off her blanket and picked up the ten-year-old.
“Let go!” Rebekah quietly squirmed out of her grasp to the ground. “Put on your cloak.” Eliza handed her it, and then turned to help baby Eli.
“Liza!” Levi whisper-shouted and pulled her dress, looking anxious.
“I can’t find my hat!”
“Oh…” Eliza surveyed the camp, looking for his knitted green tam o’ shanter. “There,” she pointed to a far off rock, where his hat sat. “Thank you!” The little boy ran off, waving to his friends.
“Where’s my momma?” Levi’s little sister Hannah was whispering, her blue-green eyes round with confusion.
“She’s gone right now, Hannah.” Eliza quickly buttoned a shirt here, tied a shoe there.
“Why are we leaving when it’s dark?!” A little boy called out from somewhere in the crowd.
“Shhhh!” The reprimand came from both women.
“Alright children, hurry along!” Jane said quietly, herding them toward the woods. Eliza let her companion take charge and speedily grabbed the food supplies.
They began walking quickly down a predetermined path, heading toward a small port. All around was pre-dawn light, a cold drift in the air, not unlike Sukkot. The children buzzed with a quiet excitement, walking, running and trying to look ahead. Eliza smiled as they came closer to the site, smelling the salty ocean waves spraying on the sand.
“Is that the ocean?” Hannah was holding her hand, looking somewhat afraid. “Yes dear.” Eliza picked her up, walking faster now.
“Come, come!” Jane had found the shore and was heading in that direction. The children bounced and started to shout as they came closer.
“What’s going on here?”
Eliza whipped around to the left, where three soldiers stood in front of Jane. She and most of the children were hidden behind the trees, but Jane, Rebekah and little Levi were unprotected.
“I am just going back to my home sir,” replied Jane calmly, her cloaked back rippling softly in the dawn air.
“In the middle of the night? With no men to protect you?” The tallest soldier looked suspicious, studying her expression.
“No sir. We have just come back from trading and the trek took longer than we expected.”
The soldiers exchanged glances, speaking silently with their eyes. The leader nodded and turned back to Jane, “Come with me ma’am, and bring your children.”
“Of course, sir.” Jane took Rebekah by the shoulder and gripped it, also taking Levi’s hand. She gave them a stern look and followed the soldiers as they walked away from the forest.
Eliza watched them walk away, her palms growing sweaty. What would she do? There were over 15 children to take care, not to mention 3 babies. Grimacing, she looked over her charges, scanning the faces.
“Lilly!” She whispered for the ten-year-old, who looked quickly at her, large eyes solemn. “Yes ma’am?”
“Take Jonathan and Ruth’s hands, and stand right there.” Eliza pointed to a large mossy tree just a few feet away, “Do not move from it.” The young girl nodded and took the little one’s hands, doing as she was told.
“Alright now, Ryan, your turn. Take Noah by the tree next to Lilly’s. Trevor, take Danielle. Katelyn—Hannah & Jacob, good girl. Olivia, baby Joselyn. Becky, you get Abby. Patrick, you take baby Eli. And I…” Eliza hoisted baby John onto her hip, “…will take Johnny & Asher.”
Standing at their respective places, she surveyed the children. “Alright now, no one make any noise.” Eliza crept among the tall fir trees, watching for the boat.
As she watched the ocean, a sudden feeling of dread came upon her. In the back of her mind, she wondered if the man who owned the boat betrayed them. Could it be? She narrowed her eyes and scanned the dusky waves, breaking with the first dawn of light.
A cool breeze was coming in, letting Eliza draw her shawl closer. She hadn’t been able to grab a warmer cloak, which she regretted as she saw dark storm clouds obscuring the sky. Groaning as she swiveled, crouched down on the sandy floor, she called to the children.
Lily walked slowly forward, looking the part of an angel with her wispy blonde hair and aquamarine eyes. Jonathan and Ruth grasped tightly onto her hands, stumbling a little over the uneven ground. The other children followed suit, unusually solemn.
“Over here,” Eliza whispered, leading them along a sheltered path. She spotted a medium sized, obsidian boat bobbing in the waves, a tall young man next to it.
She remembered that the boat owner was a older man, a simple farmer who lived in the country. “Now, nobody move,” Eliza whispered again, turning back around to the boat. “I’ll go see if it’s safe, then come back to you.”
Eliza gathered up her skirts and wrapped her cloak tighter. Walking closer to shore, she tried to stay as calm as possible, trying not to look nervous. The young man stood close to the boat, his curly brown hair flying slowly in the wind, a serious look on his face.
“Hello.” The graveness of his voice struck Eliza, making her feel unsafe. Was this man an enemy?
“Sir? Is this boat for sale?” She racked her brain, trying to think of a clever story. The young man looked at her, “No.”
How could she tell him who she was without endangering the children?
Eliza sighed, looking at the rope the young man held in his hands. Narrowing her eyes, she concluded that the man was probably sent by the elder owner of the boat. “Do you know John Winston?”
A light dawned in the young man’s eyes, “Yes, he is the owner of this boat. He asked me to watch over it.”
Grinning now, Eliza called for the children, who came scurrying out of the forest. “I thought for sure John would come himself. I was quite confused.”
The young man shook his head, “I’m his nephew, Sebastian. He had to go to town at the last minute because his wife was sick. By the way, weren’t there supposed to be three women with you?”
Eliza’s face became solemn, “Yes, one of our group went missing. Then another went after her. She said she would come here if she didn’t find her. Finally, our third member got taken, along with two children…” she leaned closer to him, “I need to find all of them.”
Sebastian stroked his chin in deep thought, “What are you saying?”
“Can I trust you to keep everything I say in confidence?” Eliza stared into his eyes, fixing him with an honest glare.
He leaned back a little, “Yes, I will.”
“Alright. I will come with you to the ship. However, once I entrust them in care of Rebecca Jonwill, I am going back to shore to find my friends. Nevertheless, they need to not know anything of this plan. Rebecca is a wonderful young lady, and I know she has friends who will protect these little ones.”
“I will do everything in my power to make sure they are not betrayed and safe.”
“Can you row?”
“Good.” Sebastian pointed to the other set of oars, “Those are yours.”
She nodded, turning to the boat, “Alright children, you are going to America!”
“YAY!” The small group shouted and smiled at each other. “Shhhhh…” Sebastian quickly hushed the children. He instructed them to lay on the floor of the boat, which was covered in warm deerskin. This would lessen the chance of discovery, making it seem as if they were just taking blankets to be transported to America.
Sebastian and Eliza pushed the boat off, then jumped in to began rowing. The boat groaned underneath the weight of the children, but soon glided beautifully over the dawn ocean.
Eliza gripped the rough fir oars firmly, pushing the paddle smoothly into the water. Her hands were calloused from rowing her father’s boat, as he had no sons. All her life she had spent time in the ocean, rowing fish to and fro the shore. This was not much different, since her cargo was in much more danger if they fell.
Watching the sky as she rowed, Eliza basked in the beauty of the colors, even if they were grey, white and black. A hint of rain was in the air, smelling of freshwater and dewy grass. It was the calm before the storm.
So, yes, I do believe it has been a while since we posted a chapter but, what to say-we’re busy these days! Still, I hope you all like the new chapter and please forgive the lateness! 🙂
Putting her hand in her dress pocket, Eliza gripped the metal coolness of her knife. “Olivia!” she shouted, sweeping the area with her eyes. No answer came from the surroundings. “Olivia, don’t play with me. This isn’t time for jokes!” Still nothing was heard.
The air around her seemed to grow icy as she began to take in all of the abnormalities. A stick lay tossed to the ground, with smoke curling from its blackened end. Swallowing a lump in her throat, Eliza touched the oven, feeling its heat. Suddenly a flash of white caught her eye, and she saw a handkerchief on the dirt. It was crumpled and stained, obviously taken—or fallen off. Picking it up, she rubbed the soft fabric between her fingers, turning it around to inspect. On the corner she saw Olivia’s undeniable stitchery, Olivia Anne Shaw.
Her heart thumping loudly, Eliza tucked the kerchief into her pocket along with the knife. Clutching her torch tighter, horrible scenarios raced through her mind. Stooping, she picked up the messily wrapped pie and took one last look around. She quickly gathered her thoughts and began running back to the camp, breathing quickly and heavily.
“Jane! Lily!” She stumbled into the camp, having run nearly a half mile. Jane came out from behind a tree, yawning and hugging a brown shawl to herself, “What is it Liza?”
“Olivia’s gone! I came to the cooking area and nobody was there because the oven was dark and a torch was thrown on the ground and the pie was too and I found this!” Eliza held out the kerchief, pointing to the initials.
“Oh my!” Jane’s hand flew to her mouth, her eyes blinking in shock. “What’s wrong?” Lily hurried up to the scene, re-braiding her hair.
“Olivia’s disappeared! She was nowhere to be found when I went to check on her!” Eliza was scared, wondering what might have happened to her friend.
“Not Livy!” Lily looked distraught, “She has to be around here somewhere!”
Jane and Eliza shared a look, knowing they had a boat to catch at dawn. “What can we do?”
“What’s going on?” Rebekah had come up, arms hugging her body.
“Olivia’s gone, but right now you need to climb back in bed and protect your brothers and sisters.” Eliza stated firmly, choosing not to lie to the child.
“No! I’m going to find her!” she ran back into the sleeping area, promptly grabbing her cape and boots. “Rebekah stop!” Eliza placed the pie and kerchief down, then went speedily running after Rebekah. She reached out and grabbed her hand, “You are still too young to go off by yourself. You could just as easily get lost as Olivia has.”
She pursed her lips and angrily slid back into her bed, staring harshly into the night. Eliza sighed and made her voice a bit softer, “Why don’t you say a prayer for her, you know, to keep her safe?”
Rebekah said nothing as she swiftly turned over, eyes still wide open.
Eliza patted her back and came back to Jane and Lily, who seemed to be in an argument.
“You’re not going!” Jane was raising her voice, which was uncharacteristic for her. Eliza frowned and walked closer, watching Lily’s reaction.
“You can’t stop me.” She stuck her chin out defiantly, arms folded over her apron.
“What’s this about?” Eliza arrived into the conversation, looking between the two.
Jane turned toward her with an exasperated look on her face, “Lily thinks she’s just going to run off into the forest and fetch Olivia. Tell her she’s being ridiculous! We can’t take care of thirty children by ourselves!”
Eliza glanced expectantly at Lily, who stated she simply wanted to find her friend.
“Lily, may Yahweh protect you and guide you. You are old enough to make your own decisions and I cannot say whether you may leave or stay. Although I hope you will take into account your charges.”
“Wait. If I find Olivia by dawn, I will bring her to you. If I don’t…I’ll…come back.” Lily stood patiently for Eliza’s reply.
“Very well.” She turned toward Jane, “Why don’t we pray?”
Tucking a black wisp of hair behind her face, Jane nodded, taking both Eliza and Lily’s hands.
“Dear heavenly Father, please guide our dear friend Olivia tonight. She is lost, somewhere. You know where. Please give her peace and let her be comforted. Father we also pray for the wonderful Lily, which you have given us for a friend. Give her strength and take her through these woods with your hand and your hand only. In the Messiah Yahshua’s name we pray this to you. Amein.”
Lily lifted her head first, her brunette hair shining in the light of the moon. “I love you, you are like my sisters.” She smiled at both Eliza and Jane.
“You too Lil,” Eliza wrapped her lightly in a hug and stared off into the shadows. As the oldest girl of the group, she had long established a protective role with the girls she had known since kindergarten.
“Bye.” Lily took up her shawl and slung it over her shoulder, looking very much the ragged traveler. Jane just watched her leave, watching the young girl they had grown up with. Her messy braid hung low to her back, swishing as she walked into the dark woods.
“She’s a young woman now Jane, we can’t control her.” Eliza looked pointedly at her.
“Seventeen is hardly a young woman.”
“She’s almost eighteen, only close to one year younger than you.” She looked wryly at Jane, who sighed. “I know, its…” she trailed off, staring into the forest.
“I understand.” Eliza placed her arm around Jane’s shoulder, “The Father gives us the freedom of choice, you know.”
A small smile played on Jane’s lips, as she had used that same phrase with Eliza.
Continuing, Eliza looked wistful as she stared upwards, “Marianna told me that when her father died, she would agonize over whether Leandra was in danger, hungry or hurting. Then, she realized that Leandra was in her care for sixteen years, capable of choosing the right path and all she could do was pray.”
“If anything, I hope she’s safe,” Jane hugged herself, blistering against the cold air. “I’m going back to sleep.”
Eliza felt restless; she didn’t feel at all like sleeping. “Father, please…” She whispered, feeling her legs growing weak. Letting herself obey her body’s wishes, Eliza sank to the ground, leaning against a tree, “What is all of this? Why are we in this situation? What are supposed to do?” She felt hot tears slipping down her cheeks.
I’m letting go. Eliza knew she needed to be strong but there were times when even the best people crumble sometimes. The Father was the one and only unmovable thing in this world. The pillar that the weak could lean on.
“I can’t take it, Father, it’s too much.”
In the back of her mind, Eliza remembered the verse she had so long pondered over when times were hard.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No trial has overtaken you except such as is common to man, and Elohim is trustworthy, who shall not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able, but with the trial shall also make the way of escape, enabling you to bear it.
“Thank you, Yahweh, thank you…” She whispered. He was still there; he never left, even when things were hopeless.
A stream of sunlight warmed Leandra’s back as she bent over the wooden box, intrigued. There were many papers filling the box but Leandra could feel something hard at the bottom, like a book. “What?” She whispered, pulling out a worn and faded bible from the bottom of the box.
“What’s this doing here?” Leandra wondered, running her hand over its tattered cover. Why would there be a bible in here? The king was hardly a follower of the Word. He was a man of scandals and executed anyone found practicing religion.
It was a wonder, really, why a bible would be unearthed in a place such as this prison, which didn’t even hardly posses enough windows for adequate light.
“You,” A voice jolted Leandra, her heart stopping for a second. “What are you doing?” The whisper came from the entrance of the attic. Her heart racing at the scare, Leandra spotted the girl who had sent her up there.
The young girl pulled herself into the attic and looked hurriedly behind her, “Quick, put that away, now, hurry!” She hissed.
“What is it?” Leandra asked. “No time for questions, put it away!” The girl glanced back yet again and gestured for Leandra to hurry.
Leandra covered the box once more and slid it back to its original hidden space. “This could get you into a lot of trouble, miss, don’t ever do that again,” The look on the face of the young prisoner was one of great fear, “You’ll risk getting the rest of us in trouble, too.”
Leandra stared at her for a second, trying to read her blue eyes, “You do realize there is a bible in there, right? Why? Were there once believers here?”
The prisoner gave her an incredulous look, saying nothing. She climbed quickly down the ladder and turned with a flourish, giving Leandra a parting glare. Leandra just sighed and followed the girl down the ladder.
Two weeks later…
“Prisoner 1642, you are called to report to the main headquarters.” With a firm voice, a short, golden-haired woman spoke to Leandra, staring her in the eye. Leandra was surprised by the volume of the woman’s voice, so harsh she might as well have barked the command. The entire hall was silent until the woman left, leaving Leandra to make it the office on her own.
“Take the hall to the right, it will be down at the end,” Whispered a red-haired lass, flashing an encouraging smile, her green eyes bright. “Um, thank you,” Leandra couldn’t have been happier to see a smiling face in this place, filled with sorrow and pain, so many frowning and stoic men and women.
“Um, sir, I’m looking for the main headquarters, could you help me find them?”
The young man turned around, his long black hair shielding a good part of his face, “That will be right down the hall, just go straight” He said solemnly, “And ma’am–I would hurry if I was you, they’re not patient.” Leandra was grateful for the tip.
“Thank you,” Leandra followed the directions that the man gave her and found the small office, seeing a few other people standing there.
“Number?” The woman at the desk didn’t even look up. “1642,” Leandra was glad to remember her number.
“New attire will be issued to each of you, follow the left hallway to the door marked 1024 and you will get the new clothing assignments.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Leandra paused before continuing down the hall. The walls echoed each step she took, magnifying each click of her shoes.
“1642.” She answered lowly. It was so strange to be a number. No longer a person with a name but instead just another number.
“1642, James, Leandra, stand forward.” Leandra stepped toward the tall, imposing soldier. His dark eyes looked her up and down with a frown and he nodded, “Women’s clothing, to the left. Men’s to the right.” With a parting glance, he left the room.
Whispers flowed over the crowd as soon as the officer left the room and women were hugging and crying as they greeted each other, old friends and family.
“Leandra, Leandra dearest, there you are,” The woman who greeted Leandra seemed only vaguely familiar to the girl but they embraced and the lady brushed tousled strands of hair out of the young woman’s eyes, giving her a mothering smile. All of the women of Leandra’s village had graciously provided mothering love to the children of the late William James and his wife, Emma. It was a miracle to live with so many good women of the faith for both Leandra and her sister, who were left to care for little Asher alone.
“Leandra,” Marianna appeared somewhere from out of the crowd and a smile covered her face as she hugged her sister, “There you are,” She sighed, “This is a desolate place isn’t it?”
Leandra nodded, “Yes, yes, it is. But are you okay?”
Marianna looked up, her eyes glossy, “I miss the children so much,” She whispered, “So very much. I worry about them every second of every day. Each night I pray for them and see their faces. Mark too, I worry for him, what has become of him I wonder. You know?”
Leandra sighed, staring down at her skirt, “I miss Asher.” She didn’t have it as bad as her sister. She was only eighteen and children and a husband had not yet crossed her mind but she cared for Asher like her own son.
“Yes, he is a sweet little boy isn’t he?” A teary smile graced Marianna’s face, lifting her scarlet lips into an upturned expression, brightening her eyes.
“Most certainly,” Leandra imagined her darling little brother, with raven-colored locks dark as the night sky and warm chocolate eyes, the thoughts glazing her own with tears.
“Sister, honey, don’t cry,” Marianna wrapped her arms around her sister in a loving gesture, “The Father will protect little Asher.” She comforted. “Yes,” Leandra dried her lower eyelids, nodding, “Yes, Mari, He will.”
Here it is Ladies and Gentlemen! The next chapter in the story-Fistful of Snow. Just thought we’d add some mystery and go to Leandra’s P.O.V. 😉 Can’t wait for Eliza’s? Neither can I :D. Well, kept you waiting long enough–enjoy!
Leandra stumbled into the damp, dark dungeon hall. “Women to the left, men to the right,” proclaimed a guard in a monotone voice, using his sword to demonstrate. Somehow Leandra found herself moving along with the silent crowd of prisoners massing into the passageway. “Ella!” Marianna pressed heavily on Leandra’s arm, squeezing her hand tightly. “Here, I have something for you,” she quickly placed a tiny burlap piece into her hands. “What is it?” Marianna looked confused, fingering the rough cloth.
“Just wait and see.” Ella quickly smiled before being forced into a cell. She turned around at the last moment to see her sister peering over her shoulder, large blue eyes wide. Opening her mouth, Marianna mouthed ‘bye’ as another guard dragged her away. “Bye…” whispered Leandra, entering into her own barracks.
A tall young man stood in front of her, a sheaf of paper balanced on a board in his hands. “Leandra Ella Marie Johnson.”
“Age and date of birth.”
“Eighteen years of age. October 1st, 1625.”
“Fine. You may leave, Bed 21. Last room, last bed on the right.”
Nodding politely, Leandra made her way down the straw-covered floor and surveyed the area. The cells were split into three rooms, separated only by a doorway. On the either side on the room were three rows of bunk beds, each with the ends facing each other. She seemed to be the first person here, as none of the other beds were full.
Sighing, Leandra sank down on her bed, staring across to the other side. Why am I here? She asked herself, mentally tracing the nails in the bed above. Feeling a bit silly about that question, Leandra shook her head, Because of my faith. Feeling weary all the sudden, she fell back and stared at the ceiling before drifting off into blissful sleep.
The command was firm yet quiet, and all the room shuffled, moved pillows and got ready to face the day. Blinking tiredness from her eyes, Leandra sat up wearily. Turning to her right, she soon saw that the other bunks were now occupied. There were eleven other young women rolling over and shifting their feet, some whom Leandra did not recognize.
“Prisoners complete daily tasks.” The young man from yesterday stepped into the room, his eyes sweeping the room. He examined the women and counted the heads, then turned to leave.
He stopped in his tracks and looked at her, “What do you need?”
“Well, I’m new…can you inform me on the daily tasks?” Leandra clutched her hands together nervously, pulling them behind her back.
“Ruth will inform you. New attire issued tomorrow for prisoners 1642-1643.”
“From now you will say ‘yes sir’, understand?” His ice cold blue eyes seemed to penetrate her very being. Leandra bowed her head slightly, “Yes sir.” Nodding, he walked down the pathway and out of the cell.
A collective sigh of relief seemed to enter the room as the man disappeared out of sight. The women soon busied themselves tidying the room, while a thin young woman approached Leandra.
“I’m Ruth.” Her words seemed slightly sardonic as she tilted her head, “New?”
“Yes.” Leandra twisted her sweaty hands, watching Ruth’s narrowed eyes. “Come on then.” She walked briskly down the pathway, sending straw blowing in thin tuffs. As she came by, some girls gave her sidelong glares and tossed another handful of straw where they walked.
Feeling guilty, Leandra made sure to step carefully on the pathway, giving a smile to working girls. One older girl stared sullenly back, her face drawn into an unreadable expression.
“Don’t stand around,” Ruth snapped, never once looking at Leandra. “Yes ma’am.” She turned and followed her into a large walk-in closet. “Everything we use to operate this prison is here.”
The supplies were hung on the wall:several sets of worn blankets, some extra pillows, bales of straw, one broom shoved hastily in the corner. Several dust rags stood in a pitiful pile on the highest shelf, torn and dirtied with use.
“You can start by sweeping the entryway.” Ruth thrust the broom into Leandra’s hands and swept past her, “Don’t talk to anyone.”
“Alright…” mumbled Leandra, going over to what she supposed was the entryway. She began sweeping the threshold of the cell door. There was very little to sweep, and she soon began looking for something else to clean.
“Clean the attic.”
Leandra turned to see that same sullen girl slowly sweeping the floor, staring down. Glancing sideways at her, she turned around and began walking into the next room.
“Very well…” whispered Leandra, looking for a ladder to reach the attic.
The attic was musty and dark, a morbid feeling cursing through the chilly place. Leandra coughed, covering her mouth as she tried to see for the thick dust. Blinking rapidly, Ella stood shakily to her feet and walked slowly across the unstable floorboards.
There was next to nothing in the wide but low-roofed attic, save for a few scarce trunks and some boxes. Leandra swept harshly along the floor, sighing at the sentiment that she was getting just about nowhere with all the dust.
Finally the floor was mostly clean and Leandra straightened her back to take a long breath as she cleared her mind. Thinking of how long they might be stuck here with no escape frightened Ella to no end but she knew that faith was called for in times like this.
Sucking in a last inhale, Ella grabbed the broom handle once more and resumed cleaning, taking into account the rather large spider webs on the ceiling above her. She brushed the straw end of the broom along the corner of the roof, sweeping away the cotton-like material of the spiders’ homes. A lone brown spider fell to the floor and Leandra watched it scurry away. She knew what the little creature felt like, trying to make sense of a new place. Taken from it’s home.
Leandra was confused, her broom had gotten stuck in a loose board of some kind of ceiling above her. What was this? Ella pulled hard at the broom and it came loose from the nail. She frowned, a board had come loose above her.
Grabbing the ladder once more, Ella positioned it underneath the loose board and climbed upwards. Pushing at the wobbly piece of wood, Leandra tested the strength of the other boards. She was able to push aside the second wood piece and the space was large enough to fit through. Ella could see light emanating from the hole. What on earth? Leandra thought. She had never heard of a ceiling above an attic.
The little alcove was too short to stand in but wide enough for Leandra to crawl inside. The sunshine coming from outside illuminated the little area as she moved across the boards on all fours. A box was fitted tightly into one corner and would not have been visible if not for the sun shining just right on it. Leandra paused for a moment, considering whether or not to look inside. She knew that the Father must have planned for her to see it because if not than there would have no way she would have spotted it.
YAY! Another chapter! Now let me go start on chapter 3! Okay.
“Someday your faith will be tested, Ella, at that time, you will need to know when to speak. When to be silent. When to fight. When not to fight. When to stand. When to live. When to die.”
Eighteen-year-old Leandra is just apart of a small sect of believers in 17th century England. Opressed by King Leon III, they are soon rounded up and taken to prison. However, a designated group of women, including Leandra’s best friend Eliza and children escape to the woods, in order to leave for America. Along the way, kidnappings, encounters with soldiers and loss of faith threaten to discourage the two women, but they must remember to keep their faith.
Leandra held out her gloved hand to capture a fistful of pure white snow. Her mind wandered back to the words her father had spoken to her, what did they mean?
“Someday your faith will be tested, Ella, at that time, you will need to know when to speak. When to be silent. When to fight. When not to fight. When to stand. When to live. When to die.”
A single tear trickled down Leandra’s face, staining her perfect rosy complexion. An image crossed her mind, a man lying on his death bed, near the end of his life. Her father. Smiling into her eyes, her father took the girl’s hand, using his favorite name for her.
“Never lose faith, my Lea, never lose faith.”
Two years after
“They’re coming, they’re coming!”
Screams could be heard throughout the village as the eighteen year-old stood up from her washing. “Lea, Lea!” She bent down to pick up little Asher and faced the commotion, shielding her eyes with one hand, “Come here, my boy, I’ve got you.” Her dear brother, just past his second year, had faced more than his share of troubles. When their father died, the poor boy had just been one year of age. His mother had already passed away two months after giving birth. Leandra’s heart went out to the little one, and she kissed his head.
“Leandra, come quick!”
She turned to see Eliza rushing toward her, skirts billowing around her ankles, “Leandra! Come here!” Ella walked slowly, she could already see the smoke billowing in the distance and pursed her lips, “Eliza, what is happening?” Trying to make her voice heard over the noise of confusion and horror, the young woman walked as though dazed, staring until her eyes grew bleary.
“They say it is the King’s army, oh dear Ella, be careful, you must hide!”
Leandra did not need to hear the urgency in Eliza’s voice to understand the distress. She ran back to her own house, hurriedly bundling the two of them up to keep warm in the frigid fall weather. A second later, she turned to not see the young child standing near her, “Asher!” Her heart racing from the scare of not finding him, she was exceedingly relieved to see him standing near the window, watching the men of her village come home to help their wives. Now was a time Leandra wished for her father, but she was a strong girl, taught well by her old man. “Come here, Asher.” Her voice was firm, and the little boy ran to her, his black hair slightly in the wind. “You, little man, listen to me. You must do exactly what I say, understand?” Asher nodded innocently, his eyes questioning. Ella needed to be confident that her little boy would make it out alive.
The barn was old and musty, but it served well as a hiding place. “Quiet, now, Asher. You must not make a sound until I tell you. Sit tight, I will be back.” Leandra dashed toward the house of her sister, married with five children. “Marianna, it’s Ella!” The door opened, and her sister breathed a sigh of desperate relief, she grabbed Ella’s hand, “Leandra, I need your help, the little ones, I must hide them!”
The people of the village knew for a long time that this day would come. Since the day they left the king’s power to start a community of believers, their former master, King Leon lll, had his eye on taking them out. They were Separatists of sorts, furious with King’s rules, they had left his kingdom to live on their own, able to worship the Father as they believed.
Ella gathered the children, guiding them toward their mother. “Come here, John, let’s get you warm.” Marianna wrapped the youngest in warm clothing and kissed his cheeks, handing him to his aunt. The older children followed Ella toward the large barn behind the Elder’s house, Abraham James’ land. The Elder himself was helping the men organize an army to fight the army of King Leon’s men.
“Asher, my baby, where are you?”
The two-year-old peeked out from behind the straw, “Momma!” She smiled, rushing toward, “I’m so glad you’re safe,” she hugged him tight and sat him with her sister’s young ones.
Once the children of the village had been safely hidden, mothers of babies with them, the other women and teens began to care for the wounded men who were diligently fighting the king’s men. Ella was tending to an older man’s wounds when she heard the king’s booming voice, “My people, why do you fight? Surrender and be safe under my care, again!” She looked toward the window, seeing the king climbing off his horse. She saw at once that her village had been defeated. The soldiers of King Leon raced through the village, taking prisoner every single person in sight.
Leandra watched solemnly. She felt a hand grab her wrist and suddenly she was being herded toward a large wagon. Surrounded by the others of her village, Ella wanted desperately to hug Asher, but she knew he would be safe with the other children, they would all escape to freedom. A strange sense of calm flooded Ella’s being.
The dusty streets threw their dirt in the faces of everyone riding in the uncovered wagon. Coughing spread through the crowd as the wagon pulled to a jolting stop. “Everyone out!” The command was quickly obeyed. A tumult of men, women, and youth alike tumbled out. “Hurry up!”
The prisoners were forcefully directed onto a waiting ferry, being herded like common livestock. However, only a select few seemed to be in any mood of distress, with the others quietly comforting one another. Leandra herself was silent, resting on a hard wooden bench. The smell of something putrid filled her nostrils, someone pushed a small, rickety cart near the prisoners.
Leandra was handed a piece of stale, cold, bread and a cup of thin, watery broth. Her hands grasped the cold, tin cup as thoughts filled the young woman’s head. What would happen to them? Blowing out a breath of crisp air, she tugged her woolen shawl tighter around herself. Lifting her head, she observed Marianna, who sat rocking with a package to her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Oh why?”
Tears pricked at Leandra’s eyes, although they did not come. Feeling compassion for her sister, she pulled a thread from her pocket and began to stitch buttons onto a spare kerchief.
As she sewed, Leandra thought of Jane, Lily, Olivia and Eliza, who had been designated to keep the children safe in the barn. The plan was for the women to take them into the woods until the soldiers passed by, and then take a boat to America. If the prisoners ever got out—Leandra doubted that—they would join the children. For now, they must endure until the end. Grimacing, Ella lifted her head and looked to the sky, which was aflame with a red sunset. She knew strength and patience was called, but somehow there seemed to be no way out.
Eliza grunted as she grinded a jar of cornmeal for the children’s dinner, watching little Asher play in the dirt. Long after the sun had gone down, the soldiers had left, but Eliza had overheard one of them promising to return. Glad for the unintended warning, she and the other women were making the arrangements to leave for America.
The smell of frying meat reached Eliza’s nostrils, making her stomach growl with hunger. Dumping the ground cornmeal into another bowl, she added water and eggs. Next, she poured the batter into a sizzling skillet that was hung over a fire.
“What’cha makin’?” little Levi was standing in front of the fire, peering into the pan. “I’m making your dinner, honey.” Eliza poked the hot flames, making sure the fire was burning well. “Where are my parents?” his solemn face stared up at her, smudged with soot.
“Well. They’ll be here on the good Father’s timing.” She leaned over, flipping the corncakes in succession. Levi threw a twig into the fire, “How long will that take?” Seeing the little boy’s dejected face, Eliza rose and put her arms around him. “It might take a long time Levi, but they need you to watch out for your little sister and keep her safe.”
“Okay.” Levi wandered off to find his little sister, a young five-year-old named Hanna. Eliza smiled after him, piling up a plate of steaming corncakes. “Dinner’s ready!” called Jane, one of the young women chosen to take care of the children. Eliza brought her plate and placed it on the makeshift table her colleagues had set up, which was a cloth stretched over six logs.
There was plenty for everyone to eat, considering none of them were extremely hungry or picky. Salt beef, corncakes and dried apples adorned every plate, and soon they had all eaten their fill. Once the women had cleaned up, they laid out an area for the children to sleep and tucked them in. Eliza placed Asher carefully in his spot, smoothing down a stray lock of raven hair. “Goodnight little one.”
She then turned to Marianna’s children, all under ten. Marianna’s eldest, Rebekah, was quite impertinent. Staring into Eliza’s eyes reproachfully she demanded, “Where are my Mama and Papa?” Quietly, Eliza put Rebekah’s siblings to sleep, “On a boat, going to prison.” Glaring, Rebekah folded her arms, “I don’t like you.”
Smiling faintly, Eliza turned to her, “Well you don’t have to like me, but you do have to love me.” Rebekah scowled, “Who says that?”
“Well, that’s what Yahshua told us. In John, it says: This is my command, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Rebekah stared contemptuously, “And what if I don’t love ya’?” Her red wisps matched her temper, jutting wildly about her pale freckled face.
“It will take time.” Eliza said simply, not wanting to argue. She lifted up Rebekah’s burlap blanket, “Climb in.” Huffing, she did as she was told and snatched the covers away from Eliza. Giving the young girl a stern look Eliza reprimanded her, “Don’t pull things away from people, Rebekah. Anger makes you feel like you really don’t want to obey, but don’t let it take over you.” She stood up and Rebekah mumbled a reply, pulling the covers over her head.
“What was that?”
“Yes ma’am.” She whispered, a bit more audibly. “Alright then.” Eliza made sure all of the other children were sleeping peacefully. Wiping her hands on her pinafore, she walked over to the other women. “…the woods makes me wish we were back in London, sitting next to Aunt Martha and Uncle Draywood, watching my cousins roast apples in the fireplace.” Jane was saying, picking at dirt in her fingernails.
“Aye, me mama let us roast a batch ‘o nuts back in Scotland. It was comfortin’ to watch me mum and father laugh while we bairns read near the fire.” Olivia spoke in thick Scottish brogue, her green eyes smiling and merry at the memories.
“Oh how wonderful Livy! I would have done that when I was younger, but we lived in the city. Our heat came from a woodstove, and Papa never let us get too close.” Lily, the youngest of the women, looked wistful as she tucked a brown tendril behind her ear.
“Indeed.” Jane sighed, tossing a piece of bark into the fire. “Land sakes, I’ve left me pie in the oven!” Olivia suddenly remembered, rushing off into the night to the clay oven.
The women looked at one another and burst out laughing, for Olivia was usually forgetting she had food in one place or another. “Oh Olivia!” sighed Eliza laughingly, watching her scurry off into the darkness. “She almost blackened the beef, if not for me seeing it sizzling and checking it!” giggled Jane, “She’s such a darling though.”
“Oh yes!” agreed Lily, smiling widely. She had taken to her quite well, thinking of Olivia as an older sister. Raised in the swaying fields of rural Scotland, the spunky lass was a mothering figure who knew a good lot about herbs, cooking and childcare.
“My how time has flown!” cried Jane, seeing the sky had darkened to a midnight black. “We must get to bed then,” sighed Lily, standing to go, “…as we are waking up before dawn.” She picked up her soiled apron, “Goodnight ladies.”
“Goodnight, dear Lils!” called Jane and Eliza, observing her as she walked over to her sleeping spot. “I suppose I must get some sleep as well,” stated Jane, turning to Eliza. She smiled, “Then I’ll go find Olivia. She’s probably cleaning the oven.”
“Take a torch with you, and…” Jane quietly pressed a switchblade into Eliza’s hand. “Take this.”
“Thank you.” She nodded and took a sturdy looking branch. Carefully, she lit one end and began to walk into the deep woods.
Cold air suddenly became apparent to Eliza as she stepped out of the warmth of the campfire. The trees quivered silently, waving in the slight wind. Everywhere around her showed signs of winter, with the icy frost lightly crystallizing leaves. Wrapping her woolen shawl tighter around her shoulders and blowing into her muffler, Eliza was suddenly grateful there hadn’t been any snow lately. Not that it wouldn’t come, as Abraham James had said it was expected next week. Still, it was chilly, enough for Eliza to wish she had brought her mittens.
Wandering closer to where the oven was, Eliza noticed something was wrong. The oven was dark and smoking in small clouds, which meant Olivia had probably taken out her pie. But she would’ve lit a branch so she could see to clean out the ashes. Instead, the cooking area was deserted and there was no sign of life.
Worry creeping into her heart, Eliza examined the site closer. Then she realized with a start that Olivia’s apple pie was fallen sideways on a rock, wrapped messily with a white linen cloth.
Whew! Sorry to leave you with that cliffhanger 😉 But still, hope you enjoyed reading that and if you spot any historical inaccuracies or grammar/spelling mistakes, please point them out. Thanks!
Luk 8:25 And He said to them, “Where is your belief?” And they were afraid, and marvelled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He even commands the winds and water, and they obey Him?”
I meant to post right after Sukkot, really, I did. I even had two paragraphs all ready to go. Hardly a blog post worth noting , but, I am a well-meaning person. Then I read Jenna C.’s blog about going to the Philippines for Sukkot; read here: http://thenarrowpassage.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/sukkot-2013-part-1/?relatedposts_exclude=3611
(By the way, there are five parts to her Sukkot posts)
and got even more motivated. However, extreme motivation + much procrastination = no blog post. 😦
Anyways, we had a really blessed FOT. Of course no words, at least that I know in English, can adequately describe how I felt about everything that happened and you just know Yahweh had to be orchestrating it all.
Here what I mean: Before we had even left, Yahweh had placed it in Dad’s mind to do Hebrew dancing at Shalom Assembly’s FOT 2013. We got there and Dad was asked to do his presentation on dancing; you can see it here:
As it so happened, there was another family there who had experience in Hebraic dancing, so Dad got in touch with them and they agreed to do the presentation with us. They knew more than we did about the specifics so that was a blessing in itself. What was really cool is that the brethren there that night felt the calling to start dancing as was shown in the Scriptures. Each morning after that and several times besides, there was a group dancing up in front during worship. It was SO COOL!
So, yeah, that was my FOT. I have to say it was a blessing to me personally because I have never been really comfortable dancing in public. I just felt kind of awkward, especially because I didn’t (and still don’t) know a whole lot about Hebraic dancing. It was really a special experience to know the dances, to practice them and then do it with others.
Well, for all this talking about the Feast, I should give you some links…
Here are the picture albums, we didn’t get as much as I would have liked, but that’s ok:
I hope you all had awesome Feast Of Tabernacles also. I’ll just say I missed a certain someone living in Oregon during FOT this year and someone else living in South Carolina 🙂
Since FOT, I have passed a few milestones in a teenagers life. I got my intermediate driver’s license, so I can now drive by myself -look out Missourians! Also I graduated high school, which was quite an accomplishment for me, not being the greatest student ever. I have started my audio schooling, and I am just so blessed because as I go through it, I just get the feeling that I am fulfilling part of Yahweh’s will for my life. I know I still have so much more to do and goals to make, but to know you chose the right foundation for your “career” is a pretty good feeling, especially considering how versatile my schooling is – audio and recording engineering. Maybe, if it’s Yahweh’s will, I will become an owner of my own studio with my husband someday, producing up-and-coming Sacred Name/Messianic bands. :]
Yeah, that’s a while from now, but it’s fun to think about my future. Every day I find myself rejecting my feelings and misgivings of yesteryear. These morals and ideals I have conflict with my way of thinking just a little bit ago, but in a good way. I am, how do I say, “proud” of the fact that I am analyzing the standards I set for myself and how I lead my siblings in our music. I constantly want to be better than what I think we could be, to set a higher bar than some would say we should set for ourselves. The problem that I find when I do that is sometimes I’ll let it keep me from working up to it, like with writing music. I’ll try to start a song, but the fact that my style of writing isn’t what I would want to hear from myself discourages me, and I stop because I don’t think I can further Yahweh’s will. I have to remind myself that what if Paul hadn’t wrote his letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians because he believed he couldn’t express what Yahweh wanted him to say properly? Or perhaps, he might have thought that his letters would bring so much strife as to cause a rift in the new assemblies. Would he have accomplished his Father’s will in doing that? Would we glean as much from Yahshua’s teachings alone, without understanding sometimes the reasons behind them? I personally don’t think so.
Anyways, some new things will be happening on this blog…yes, I know. You’re just waiting on the edge of your seats for this announcement! 😉
My sisters, Sarah and Hannah, both teenagers now, will be writing and posting stories on this blog. Hopefully that will boost the youth traffic here since I don’t really update that much. Hey, what can I say, the PFY band has written three songs since FOT. Somebody’s got to record them…
I pray you all have a great week.
Shalom from Micaela Rae