Trouble in Mind
Two nights ago, in the Galwynn family’s apartment in the Basilica Lux, after Kevin and his wife, Elspeth, had put their children to bed and they had retired to the privacy of their bedchamber, Lady Galwynn confronted her husband and demanded that he tell her what was troubling him.
The Goodwitch Elspeth was among the most talented witches in any coven, and she had sensed, without effort or intention, the moment in the middle of the evening when her beloved’s mood abruptly changed from content to hopelessly morose. It was pointless for Kevin to deny it.
Elspeth was especially sensitive to the welfare of her loved ones, for their well-being was something she held dear. At first she thought Kevin’s change in mood might be because of the confidential work he was doing for the King, but she quickly dismissed that notion. Elspeth knew her beloved’s demeanor well. In general, he was good-natured and even-tempered, albeit a bit skeptical, which was in keeping with his craft. And during an inquiry he might be more anxious than usual until he found a solution. But even after his mysterious private audience with the King a few days ago, Kevin’s demeanor had only become more serious and intense.
However, this change in her husband’s behavior was different. He was not more grave or focused than before. He was simply more…sad. Elspeth could feel his feelings, but she didn’t know what those feelings meant—and that was driving her to distraction. In the privacy of their chamber, she implored him to tell her what was wrong.
Kevin wasn’t happy that his foibles were so apparent to his wife, but he knew what he was getting into when he married a Goodwitch. Kevin looked at the floor dejectedly and said that he suddenly became sure—in a way only a Master of Enlightenment can be “sure” of events yet to come—that the King would soon command him to go on a long journey to advise the Skyfolk.
“Long journeys are already arduous, drawn-out, and inevitably uncomfortable,” ruminated Kevin. “But long journeys, if they’re long enough, have a way of becoming adventures.—I hate adventures!—Adventures are likely to be perilous, nerve-wracking, and end in great pain and bodily harm. And as if that weren’t enough, this adventure—if my horoscope is to be believed—is likely to end with very little chance of success.” Kevin sighed, dejectedly. “And of course, I will miss you and the children.”
Elspeth listened to her husband without flinching or bemoaning his revelation. Instead, she thought for a second, then nodded her head slowly as if to confirm some unspoken decision, and then methodically set about selecting and packing such clothing and accessories she judged her husband would need on a journey to a place seldom visited by those who dwell on Land.
Of course, as a Goodwitch she had occasional dealings with her counterparts among the Skyfolk, and she had a clearer idea than most of what was needed for a visit to the Lower Reaches. “You’ll need a sturdy pair of boots, and some warm shirts (it gets so chilly up there among the clouds),” she said. Elspeth swooped her hands in tight circles, leaving sinuous trails of eldritch light in their wake. In response to her spell, the necessary clothing came flying out of their closets and drawers and storage boxes, and soared into Kevin’s old traveling trunk.
Elspeth’s sudden flurry of activity caught her husband by surprise. This was not at all her normal behavior.
“And you’ll also need a good riding cloak, and…”
With a burst of insight, Kevin knew what was wrong. He caught his wife’s hand and swung her around to face him. He held her in his arms and said lovingly, “Dear one, don’t worry. I promise to take care of myself, and Cosmos willing, I’ll come home safe and sound to you and the children.” Then he gave his wife a hug, and she meekly hugged him in return.
Elspeth felt sheepish as she snuggled in the warm hollow of her husband’s neck. In this incarnation of the Cosmos, a witch would not lose her powers if she fell in love with a mortal. “No matter how hard I try to hide my fears and worries,” she said ironically, and in a murmur, “you always seem to know what is truly in my heart.”
Kevin leaned back so he could look into his wife’s eyes, and forced a smile to disguise his own fears and worries. “Of course I know these things,” he said with mock bravado. “After all, dear wife, you knew I was a Master of Enlightenment when you married me.”
And with that, they laughed and embraced once more, but this time remembering that none of their fears were as great as their love.