Thinking about that dream gave Maddie an idea. Taking out a blank music sheet,
she began scribbling notes and key signatures, dynamic markings, filling in the
score while humming to herself. Now she really wished she had her cello, or at least
a piano, so she could do this composition proper. Just recalling that odd dream gave
Madeline pause. What did Anakin mean by, "Meet your family" and reincarnation?
Glancing out the window, in the darkness of the tunnel, Maddie equated that tunnel with the one in her dream, only there may not be a lushly green valley on the other end. Still writing out the composition, she began to feel there was something more to all these dreams and visitations. Come on, she thought, why else would Charlie hand over a train ticket without explaining the destination? Why did Lenore hand over those medallions? Why did Maddie feel a sudden vibe the moment she touched them?
"What is happening to me? Why won't anyone tell me what is really going on? I try to relax, think about this vacation, and all the fun things I'll do, but...Why can't I get it out of my head that I'm about to experience the inexplicable?"
Wait! Wasn't there another in Madeline's circle of classical musician colleagues who also experienced a past life? Yet, that woman claimed she was, in a past life, a dinosaur! Now, how about that? She even made a movie and composed the score inspired by those incredible visions. Nonsense! No one, even if one believed in reincarnation, had started life as an animal then been reborn as human. Then again, Maddie rebuffed the idea of herself having lived before, let alone a creature as ancient as a dinosaur.
With a shrug, she continued to work on the composition. Still humming to herself, she furiously scribbled more notes, changing key signatures and tempos at a whim. No, the mezzo-forte doesn't work here; try a gradual crescendo...Then change from major to minor key...Yeah, that sounds much better. I wish I had my instrument. Even a portable keyboard would be better than nothing...
"You do that amazingly well, Madeline, composing out of thin air, and without
aid of your instrument."
She looked up to see a good-looking man, not as young as Anakin Skywalker, approach. Without another word, he sat next to her. She studied this man, wondering how he got past the conductor, or if he just took a wrong turn back to his own compartment. Something was vaguely familiar about this man, with his tallish build, sandy hair and neatly trimmed beard. He appeared to be in his thirties, more close to Maddie's age. She still studied him then finally realized his identity.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi...I saw you, in that mirror Anakin gave me. You fought with him, then you took his children after Padmé died. But how did you know...Oh, my goodness, something is happening to me! Why am I experiencing visitations from people from a place so removed from my own world? First Anakin, then you. Just tell why?"
Obi-Wan said gently, "Because you still don't know the truth about your lineage."
"Charlie never explained your Jedi heritage, but your mother knew. All these
years she purposely kept the truth from you, partially out of fear that you wouldn't
Madeline sat mesmerized, taking in the Jedi's every word. So, her mother never told her everything about the mysterious Marbile Beauchamps; in fact, there was not much on Marbile other than a handful of letters saved for more than a century. All Maddie knew were the dates of Marbile's birth, marriage, when the four children were born, and her death.
Maddie admitted to Obi-Wan there was not much to go on, that records for Marbile began around 1824, the year she was born. The same held true for Jean-Paul Beauchamps, although both Maddie and Lavinia could trace his roots as far back as late 15th Century France.
"I tried to trace both through records," Maddie said, "but found nothing for Marbile before 1824. Surely she had a mother and father, so there has to be some record of them. As for Jean-Paul, I can't find anything on his family before 1462."
Obi-Wan asked, "When did Marbile die?"
"She lived to the ripe old age of ninety-nine, in 1923. My grandmother said Marbile was so happy to at last cast her first vote in 1920. It had been said Marbile often voiced her displeasure of these, and I quote what Tante Seraphine, 'Backward Earth folks'."
Obi-Wan Kenobi laughed then began to reveal to Madeline the lady's illustrious
ancestors. He told her of the Tasous – Ricar in particular.
"Ricar was as fine a Jedi Knight I have known, outside Mace Windu and Yoda. Yet, and though he was thoroughly devoted to the Order, he left us to marry."
He recounted more of the Tasou family, most notably of Ricar's Jedi Apprentice days and the two mysterious visits to an as yet unknown planet in an uncharted star system. Obi-Wan couldn't – wouldn't – elaborate about those visits as Ricar himself made Obi-Wan keep the details secret.
"Ricar told me in utmost confidence of those visits," the Jedi explained to Madeline. "What he related to me was so astounding, and I nearly persuaded him to reveal the precise location of that time slip. Alas, I had just lost my Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, thus taking on the responsibility of training a young Anakin Skywalker. Then the wars came and all the complications that ensued. How much I wanted to explore the time slip and discover the secrets it held. But it was not to be. Already I had lost Anakin to the dark side; his son I took to Tatooine, watched over him until he became of age to train in ways of the Force."
Madeline still didn't quite understand why the mention of a mysterious time slip had any bearing on her ancestors. However, if Marbe Tasou managed to come to Earth to live, then maybe she used that slip. So Maddie asked, "You mentioned a time slip, and that Ricar Tasou passed through it twice. That he visited an unknown planet in a faraway galaxy. Did he come to Earth? I have to know as I'm guessing Marbe did the same thing."
To this Obi-Wan could only reply, "When you reach your destination, both Charlie and your cousin James will be there. Ask them, as they can answer your questions far better than I. This 'vacation' is just that: A time to relax and refresh, but it will also serve as a life-changing experience for you. What Ricar found during his two visits to this planet, and what his children encountered many generations later, will have much bearing on your salvation from the dark side."
"Next stop: Gotoma Junction!"
The booming sound of the conductor's voice announcing the upcoming stop jolted
Madeline to attention. She looked around and could find no Obi-Wan sitting next to
her. No one else was in that compartment other than herself. Did she drift off to
sleep, dreaming that the famed Jedi Knight spoke to her? Why did she get this sick
feeling that what he told her may have profound repercussions? And what did he mean
by, "What Ricar found...what his children encountered..."
Hastily putting away the half-written composition and gathering her carry-on bags, Madeline pondered Marbile Beauchamps' strange journey from a distant planet to 19th Century America. So, that's why there are no records on Marbile – AKA Marbe Tasou – prior to 1824; in reality, Marbile didn't exist at all until Charlie and another magical man brought her to 1848 New Orleans. And what of Jean-Paul Beauchamps, and that his own forebears mysteriously popped up in 15th Century France with nothing of record prior to 1462?
"Amiel Beauchamps arrived in a village, near Paris, in 1462, married Liliane DeVernay and had four children. Three daughters and a son. According to the records Mom found, the wife and two daughters were accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. The surviving son and daughter fled to Lyon, but what happened to Amiel? All Mom could find was he gave something of value to another person before vanishing. No one knew where he went...Then there were reports that Amiel kept something on his property, something that aroused his neighbors' suspicions, hence the charges of witchcraft."
Pushing those thoughts from her mind, Madeline looked out the window, sighing with relief that the long journey through the tunnel was coming to an end. At last, bright sunshine flooded the compartment, and Maddie gasped at the sheer beauty of the countryside. How long did this trip take, and why did the landscape so suddenly change from barren fields to springtime greenery? Indeed, the sight of green hills and trees, wildflowers and everything that suggested spring instead of mid-winter pleased Maddie. Yet, this is still late February, isn't it? What did it matter? For once, Madeline felt at peace, but why, in the back of her mind, suggested anything but peace and quiet?
"Come on, Maddie," she muttered, "get it together. You're here to have fun, so stop thinking something will go wrong."
The train slowed as it approached the depot. Looking out the window, she could
see numerous people gathered on the platform; some waiting to board, others waiting
to greet disembarking passengers. Odd assortment of folks with their strange, almost
fairytale dress. Did I see a boy dressed all in blue, with a bell-trimmed hat?
"What is this place?," she thought to herself. "Why would Charlie have me come here?"
Again, shrugging off any negative thoughts and that nagging apprehensive feeling, Madeline prepared to disembark. Once the train came to a complete stop, the conductor, making his final rounds, knocked at the compartment door, saying, "Miss Tasou, this is your stop. Mr. Boatwright is here with the car to take you to Lindens End."
"Thank you," Maddie replied politely, not knowing who this Mr. Boatwright was on what Lindens End meant. Perhaps Charlie hired a chauffeur, and Lindens End is the house where she'll stay.
"Hmm...Lindens End. Sounds so romantic, so Edwardian English, like Howards End..."
With bag and purse in hand, Madeline made her way down the corridor to the
door. Once outside, she tried to spot the car and chauffeur but without success.
Walking a few feet, she asked an elderly man, "Excuse me, I'm trying to find a Mr.
Boatwright. He's to take me to Lindens End."
The man, a cheery, chubby sort with twinkling blue eyes and full gray beard, smiled, replying, "Why, you must be Miss Tasou. We've been expecting you. I live not far from Lindens End, a few miles up the road in fact. Own a general store and diner there. Stop by any time for a downhome supper and a friendly game of checkers. Here, I'll see if I can find Giles Boatwright. He fetches all the visitors from the depot and takes 'em wherever they want to go. You wait right here."
Madeline returned the smile then watched the friendly, bearded man make his way through the crowded depot. My goodness, so many coming and going here, but where is here? No one told me a thing about this place...
"Miss Tasou! Madeline Tasou!," called out a feminine voice.
Turning around, Maddie caught sight of a woman, perhaps one of the most beautiful she'd ever seen. Momentarily stepping out of the shadows, the woman approached Madeline, stretching out her hand. In the full sun, Maddie finally got a good look at the lady's face. Oh wow, is she a knockout or what? The greenest eyes I've ever seen...Loads of thick black hair, a dusky complexion...But her clothes...So colorful and bright, and much gold jewelry, but only one earring...Isn't that a goat with her?
The woman smiled, saying, "I don't have long, and I promised Charlie I'd give this to you."
Into Maddie's hand she pressed a curious item: A band woven from leather strips and embellished with odd symbols made from semi-precious stones.
"What is this?," Madeline asked.
The very pretty lady replied, "I can't explain all now. The only thing I can tell you is this: With this woven band, you hold your future – and your past – in your hand."
Madeline studied the piece, wondering if all this was a joke, but right then
she got a jolt, a sense of deja vu. Looking up, she asked, "But what is it? What
does it do?"
The woman and her goat were gone, as if both vanished into thin air. Now that was weird, and I still have no idea why she gave this thing to me...
"Miss Tasou," said the dark-haired gentlemen in chauffeur's livery, after getting Madeline's attention. "I'm Boatwright, and Mr. Lavigne sent me to fetch you. I understand you're to go to Lindens End. Mr. Fairburn is there now, so if you will..."
He ushered Madeline to the waiting car, and even that floored her. This was no
ordinary car; it was a 1910 Rolls Royce, very decidedly antique but luxurious.
Maddie had never before seen such a beautiful vehicle; and, despite its age, the car
was wonderfully appointed from the genuine leather seats to the silk curtains in the
windows. There was even a bouquet of fresh roses in the vase.
Holding the door open for her, Boatwright said, "Don't worry about the luggage, miss, or your delicate instruments. Everything's already gone to the house, and I took utmost care in loading them in the brake."
As the car made its way through the lovely countryside, it happened again. Taking in every sight, scent, and sound, Madeline began to feel strange. Why did that verdant valley they passed give her the feeling as if she's seen it before? Once the car passed over the stone bridge then turned up the long road lined with fragrant linden trees, Maddie could not shake the sense that her life was about to take a dramatic turn.
Copyright©2007 by PRP