My name is Meredith McCann. I’m but nineteen years of age, yet I’ve lived countless lifetimes. I’ve been sentenced to spend my existence seeking out the Heartmark women, descendents of my brother Colin and his wife Aleena. Why? There is one reason and one reason only. To destroy their chances of finding, and holding onto, true love.
I am forbidden to harm the women – or the men they love — physically. So for each lifetime where I find the Heartmark woman I must use whatever means may be at my disposal.
Shifted against my will from one Time to another in search of my nieces, I’ve seen things, done things, which would see me condemned to death if those in my era were to learn of them.
You must be wondering why I must spend lifetime after lifetime searching for these Heartmark women?
I’ll tell you.
As punishment for a crime I committed. Aye, I admit to my crime, having drawn blood from my very own brother with my jealous sword– but I did so in a moment of fear, insecurity and loneliness.
Colin was all the family I had left, you see. My brother was the only one in my heart, and the one I’ll likely never see again. Not that he would wish to lay eyes upon me even if it were possible.
And why would he? After all I’ve done.
I was so afraid the love he held in his heart for Aleena would crowd out any affection he may have held for me, the sister he’d raised since I was five and he seven and our parents slain before our very eyes by an enemy chieftain.
He and I against the world, that’s how it had always been… until Aleena came into his life.
Colin’s heart, his time, his world, shifted from me, his own flesh and blood, to her. Leaving me lonely, so very lonely.
I tried to tell him, I really did. But he brushed off my words, my tears. He ignored my pleadings that he should cast her aside so we could go back to how we were before she came along.
Now, countless lifetimes later, I understand I did not truly have anything to fear from his new marriage. Now, countless lifetimes later, I understand that a man’s heart, a woman’s heart, can hold many different kinds of love in them, for countless people.
If only I’d known then what I know now….
Yet I didn’t know then and now, well, now I’m so tired. Exhausted really, and do you know what? I’m just as afraid, insecure, and lonely as I was that fateful day in Colin’s chambers, where I struck out at my beloved brother and set into motion this wretched life I now live.
I’ve destroyed countless Heartmark women’s loves. I always leave those times feeling almost as empty as the nieces I left behind.
Regret scorches my heart, but what am I to do? My whole purpose in being in their lifetime is to see them fail.
There have been even more Heartmark women and the men who loved them who stood strong against me, halting my efforts to destroy them at every turn. And once they utter the words I fear I myself will never be allowed to utter, the words ‘I do’, I am swept away, to another day and time, to begin my search for the Heartmark woman all over again.Those times when I leave, emptiness again fills my heart, but it is compounded a hundredfold by sadness and bitter regret.For I’ll never have the chance to find my own true love. How can I when I have no control over where or when I will be whisked away?
But just in case I’m wrong, just in case I may someday be able to seek penitence for my crimes against my brother and his wife, I have fiercely held on to my innocence.
Oh, in many of the Times I’ve lived there were those who would swear that innocence was far from me, a thing long past.
They’d have been wrong.
Just in case — just in case pity should ever be shown to me, and I can stop my relentless pursuit of the Heartmark women–at last leave them in peace, then, aye, then I can find the person who fills my heart the way Aleena fills Colin’s.
I vow I will go to my new husband pure– in mind and body, and I will belong to him and him alone forever more…
If, that is, pity should ever be shown to me.
Coming December, 2015