Cover links to Amazon.com
Book 2 of the TIME Series - Sequel to 'Janelle's Time'
Written by Dayna Leigh Cheser
Genre: Historical Romance
So begins Moria’s Time—Book 2 of the TIME Series.
At six-years old, Moria starts to learn about her heritage. Like her mother, Moria is a MacKendall. The women of this Scots clan have many skills, including natural medicine—which is Moria’s gift.
At fourteen, Moria meets Elizabeth Blackwell who befriends and mentors her, guiding her toward her goal of becoming a doctor. Later, while visiting family in England, Moria meets Florence Nightingale. The family also meets Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Miss Nightingale summons Moria to London, where she works for a while at a charity hospital and meets Dr. Simon Hensley. Miss Nightingale takes 38 nurses, including Moria, to the Crimean War. Dr. Hensley, in love with Moria, follows her, much to her chagrin, and she rebuffs him. At home for a visit, Moria reconnects with her twin sister, Adelle, and Walter, who convinces Moria that Dr. Hensley isn’t the enemy. Moria and Dr. Hensley work things out.
Simon and Moria return to London after the war. At Devonwood, the Grayson family estate, Moria’s Grandmother convinces Moria she can marry Simon. He proposes; she accepts.
After the wedding, Simon and Moria visit medical schools for interviews. Moria is rejected, simply because she’s woman. Finally, a school in Pennsylvania accepts her.
Does Moria continue to impose her needs on Simon? How long will Simon put his life on hold? Do they really want to open a practice? There are too many questions, and too few answers.
Eastwell, on Devonwood, England— September 1833 I stood waiting. They were coming and would be here soon.
Looking around me, I saw what I’d seen every day for the past seventy years, the quaint village of Eastwell on the Devonwood estate in the English midlands. Just outside the village was a patchwork quilt of fields under cultivation or pastures for farm animals and, beyond the fields, a virgin forest topping low hills.
My mind wandered as it often did, these days.
Father and I came here after the big flood in Scotland’s Loyne Valley, where scores of the MacKendall clan died, including my mother and my siblings. He never recovered from the tragedy and died of a broken heart when I was still a child. With nowhere to go, I stayed in Eastwell and have been the village healer ever since.
Three years ago, I met Janelle Grayson when she and Richard visited the towns and villages on Devonwood while on their wedding trip. I invited them to visit me another day.
Before that visit, I had a vision. In it, I saw a young woman, whom I assumed to be Janelle. The woman was in charge of, or involved in, something important, but I couldn’t make sense of it. The vision still puzzles me, as I’ve had none since and still don’t understand what I saw.
It surprised me when I learned Janelle was a MacKendall—there are so few of us now. She hadn’t known it herself until after she and Richard found themselves at Devonwood Castle in the thirteen hundreds one afternoon not long after they’d met near Janelle’s home in America. Maura, Janelle’s companion, and a MacKendall herself, then tutored her in her family’s heritage. Almost all MacKendall women have skills as healers or herbalists, but some have other powers as well. Janelle, like her mother, Adrienne, and her grandmother, Moria, was able to time travel.
The Devonwood coach stopped in a cloud of dust in front of my cottage, bringing me back to the present. A footman jumped down and opened the door. Richard Grayson, the youngest brother of the Duke of Devonwood, Saint John—or Sinjin, for short—Grayson, emerged, carrying a young boy. Turning, he smiled as his beautiful American wife, Janelle, carrying a tiny baby, stepped down, followed by a woman I hadn’t seen before, holding another baby.
As they approached, I looked at the child in Janelle’s arms. Then the vision I’d had became clear. It hadn’t been about Janelle.
“What is it, Agnes? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Janelle said, smiling in greeting, but suddenly concerned.
“No, not ghosts, Janelle.” I stared at the child, who wasn’t more than a few months old, and whispered, “When you were here last, I told you I’d had a vision about you. I know now it wasn’t about you at all.” I touched the child’s tiny hand. “It was about her.”
Janelle’s eyes widened. “Moria? We knew she was special when she was born. And, she looks so much like my grandmother.”
“It’s not her looks; it’s what she’ll do. Come inside. We’ll talk.” We went inside my cottage, a one-room dwelling now crowded with visitors. My bed, in the far corner, takes up much of the space, but there are chairs and stools near the fireplace.
Janelle introduced her family. “Agnes, this is Moria Eibhlin, named for my grandmother. Richard has our firstborn, Damian Gerard. The other baby is Adelle Sarah, the elder of the twins. Rhona, holding Adelle, is now my companion since Maura retired.”
After greeting everyone, I explained to Rhona, “Janelle and I are related through her mother. We both have MacKendall powers, though mine are limited to healing and an occasional vision. In one such vision, I saw a young woman I thought was Janelle. She was involved in something important but it didn’t make sense. Now, although I don’t doubt your life is exciting, Janelle, seeing this child, I know my vision was about her as a young woman, not you.”
I took Moria into my arms. Closing my eyes, I sat motionless. After some time, I heard myself say, in a voice I didn’t recognize, “This child will one day travel far from home, following her MacKendall heritage, helping people in need. It will be a dangerous place, dangerous not only to her, but to everyone around her, but she’ll be fearless and strong, like her mother, and she’ll…” The voice trailed off as though I’d lost my train of thought.
Janelle, apparently thinking I’d dozed off, reached to retrieve her daughter; but I refused to relinquish her. “No, dear, I must hold her.” I waited but, for what, I didn’t know.
It came to me. I smiled. “Yes. I see it now. Moria will save many lives even as she’s surrounded by danger.”
Richard, looking perplexed, said, “What will she be doing?”
I opened my eyes and blinked in the dimness. My voice sounded normal as I continued, “It wasn’t in my vision, Richard. I don’t know what she’ll be doing.”
Richard rose from his chair and knelt before me. His eyes showed his great concern. “What about the danger? When will this happen? Will she be hurt? Will she survive?”
“I’ve told you all I know.”
He started to say something, but… sighed, an expression of futility on his face.
Janelle reached over, took Richard’s hand, and encouraged him to sit. She then produced a velvet pouch from her skirt pocket.
“Agnes, have you ever seen a ring like this one?” Janelle held it out for me to see.
Memories swept through my mind. “Aye, I saw many as a child, before the flood. Years ago, all MacKendall women had one. I have one myself. Like the pendant, the rings are powerful protection. Was this your gram’s?”
“Maura told me she thought Gram might have had one, but no, this one wasn’t Gram’s. This was given to me by the then Lord Damian when Richard and I went back in time.”
“Where’d he get it?”
“He said it was from a raid on a castle in southern Scotland. Whether he took it himself, or acquired it second or third hand, I don’t know; nor do I know the name of the castle.”
“Too many of these rings have been taken in this manner. It’s a pretty ring to most folks but, to a pure MacKendall woman, it’s so much more.”
“Only pure MacKendall women?”
“Aye. Why do you ask?”
Janelle slipped the ring onto her finger. It crackled, glimmering with azure light.
“Och.” I gasped, as Janelle removed the ring. “How can this be? You’re not pure MacKendall. Please.” I reached for the ring, which I then held close to the sleeping child. It reacted the same way. Janelle and I looked at each other in surprise. The baby, without question, had MacKendall powers.
I handed her the ring. “It’s not yours, Janelle. It’s Moria’s. She’ll need its powerful protection. Keep it safe for her, and keep it near her. Tell her about her heritage as soon as she can handle the responsibility, maybe a little at a time. Don’t wait too long.”
Janelle put the ring in the velvet bag, then tucked it into her pocket.
I turned my attention back to Moria. When I stroked her soft cheek, she awakened, and wrapped her tiny hand around my finger.
Janelle watched, entranced, as Moria and I gazed at each other, motionless, until the baby sighed and drifted back to sleep, still holding my finger.
Tears in my eyes, I whispered, “Sleep now, my child. Your life will be an inspiration to many. You’ll be an amazing woman.”