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(Realm of Elysia)

Time feels so different in Elysia, no one ever seems hurried or worried about anything,” Bren thought to herself as she sampled different finger foods. The tea party was perfect, everything was just right.

Brenzel visited with Traveler and Libby mainly, learning what the Librarian did. Libby was a delight, nothing like she expected a bookkeeper to be. Traveler, normally straight, to the point, and on a schedule, seemed relaxed and jovial. Brenzel also found herself gravitating towards Cutie and Whaitiri, though she also liked Alethea’s easy going manner. About Thandeka, Bren thought to herself, She’s definitely someone you’d want on your side, not as an enemy.

Violet eyes

As Brenzel sat on the pink divan, listening to Thandeka recount a harrowing battle she fought against evil, her eyes met Guanyin’s. Stomach flip flopping, like the night she saw Charlie’s governess with the candles, she felt inexplicably drawn to her. Yet, unlike the animalistic energy of Amelia, the feeling Bren felt was more of a longing to be close, held, to feel loved.

Though part of Bren wanted to turn away, most of her simply wanted to keep eye contact with the violet-eyed Seraph. Finally, after what seemed too long, the black haired beauty turned to talk to someone else.

Dove, of course, felt the most comfortable of all. Bren had quite gotten used to her size and hardly noticed it any longer. Also, the bliss she felt for days after she arrived always returned in her presence. She was kind, thoughtful, and always seemed to be at peace. Bren thought, I just love her to pieces.

Thank you for everything

Bren said, from her heart, “Dove…”

“What is it, dear,” Dove replied.

“I just want to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I’ve never felt so welcomed and accepted like this before. I want you to know that I’m very grateful.”

Dove, touched by Bren’s sincerity, put down her plate and scooted closer to her friend.

The Elder Seraph always felt warm to Bren, the kind of warmth she felt when her mother was near or hugging her; a comfortable, safe feeling of total acceptance.

“You’re welcome my friend. Truly, I feel a lot of love for you too, and I desire to help in any way I can.”

“Dove, can I ask you a question?”


“Please don’t be angry with me, I just have to know. If the answer is yes, I’ll accept it.”

Puzzled, Dove asked, “What is it?

The question

Unexpectedly, Bren felt like crying, but fought back her tears not wanting to make a scene.

Trembling, Bren asked, “Am I really here?”

“Well, of course, where else would you be?”

“Dove, I have to know. Please tell me the truth. Am I REALLY here, or am I still standing at the gallows about to be hanged?”

Dove, suddenly realizing what Bren was asking, said, “Oh my, I’m so sorry, dear.” Taking her hands in hers, Dove said, “Yes, Brenzel, you are fully here. Traveler took you away from that awful place himself and carried you to Elysia that very day. You were in his arms when I first saw you. Bren, trust me, you are here here with us body, soul, and spirit.”

Brightening, feeling like a great weight lifted from her shoulders, some of the tension in Bren began to ease. For weeks, in the back of her mind she wondered, but had been afraid to ask. Everything was so perfect, everyone so loving, even if it were not real, she wanted it to last as long as possible.

Bren, relief setting in, asked further, “So, why did I return to the cell after I threw away the hat? Everything I experienced felt so real.”

All the time in the world

Considering her answer for a moment, Dove said, “It was all very real Bren, you were actually with Charlie, Hans, and Wichapi. However, what felt like months to you was actually only a very short time in the cell. Traveler simply added the extra time.

“How is that possible?”

“With YHWH all things are possible, dear. Time, where you come from, binds everything. It is, in fact, part of the curse of Eden. Here in Elysia, though, time is, shall we say, flexible. Joshua is the Timekeeper Extraordinaire; he has all the time in the world. When he needs time, he just makes more. It’s how it gets so much done.”


Seeing that her young friend felt overwhelmed by her explanation, Dove said, “Don’t bother yourself about it now, things will make more sense as you go on. But I assure you, Joshua saved you completely, and you are fully here in Elysia with us.”

Dove reached out, drawing the young hunter to her, and said, “Don’t worry Bren, you’re with us now, and we will never leave you.”

Brenzel sighed in her arms with relief, listening to her friend’s heart beat strong and true.

Esteemed Seraphs

The room fell silent as Dove stood and approach the center of the semi-circle. Placing the hat box with the golden B neatly on the small white table she said, “Esteemed Seraphs, thank you all for attending Brenzel’s Hatting. We are honored by your presence. As you know, my good friend Bren has joined us here from Eden. We are blessed by her presence and welcome her into our hearts and lives.”

Traveler then stood and took center stage with her. Smiling, he stretched forth his hand towards Bren, saying, “Brenzel, would you please come forward?”

Feeling small

Suddenly, Brenzel felt small and conspicuous. In a room full of angelic beings, surrounded by giant flowers, in opulence that would put the Vatican to shame, who was she to stand before such beings?

Bren, nervously, stood and approached Traveler and Dove, feeling the weight of all eyes upon her. Trying to calm herself, she focused on Traveler exclusively, pretending he was the only in the room.

Intense, yet compassionate eyes looked directly into hers, making her feel like he saw absolutely everything. To her surprise, she didn’t shy away, but looked as deeply into his too.

He said, “Brenzel, I know that I didn’t have time to properly hat you when we first met, but I’m so happy to do it properly now. It blesses me to know you have found your way to us.”

Bren, feeling that her heart was about to burst, beamed.

“Please turn and face your sisters.”

Bren turned, seeing the looks of approval and support on the faces of all those present.


Stooping, unlocking the box monogrammed with a golden B, Traveler lifted the hat.

Dark brown in color, made of bands of tooled lychee leather gathered from deep within the ancient forests of Hala, the topper’s mechanisms gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. First, nestled into it’s top side, a pocket watch, similar to Traveler’s but it’s female equivalent, ticked away. On top, another clockwork device with three hands; one for time, one for place, and one for the seven realms inlay like a golden compass. On the front, pointing ahead perhaps an inch, protruded three intricate concentric mechanisms. Exquisite stitching and golden rivets held everything together. Likewise, a braided golden rope, ending in two tassels, circled the entire hat where the top and brim met.

The tight fitting eyeglasses with side shields, for seeing in the Spirit, also golden, gleamed, reflecting objects near. With tinted blue and violet lenses, two other monocles, one red and one green, were affixed in such a way they could be lowered into place when needed. Symbols and lettering, in a language Bren couldn’t read, rounded out the impressive bonnet.

Bren, feeling flush, stood as still as possible, trying to remember to breathe.

Brenzel of Eden

Lifting the hat up, a slight gasp went through the room, for none had seen that hat since it was taken from Beauty. Traveler, holding up the bonnet and looking around, said, “Brenzel, I now hat you with this symbol of both your submission and power. From now on, you will be known to all as ‘Brenzel of Eden.'”

As she felt the slight weight of the top hat, Brenzel heard everyone clap and welcome her into their ranks. Dove beamed as Thandeka wiped away a tear of happiness. The Librarian simply whistled as Cutie jumped up and down for joy. Bren, overcome with the moment, laughed with joy as tears began to stream down her cheeks, too.


Thinking back to the first time she wore such a hat, Brenzel marveled at how everything in her life had changed for the better. From a filthy cell waiting to die, to being among such good friends in a palatial setting, it seemed a fairy tale. Looking lovingly at Joshua smiling, Bren thought, And its all because of you.

Each of the Seraphs came forward and embraced her, pledging their love and protection, saying how proud they were to see her hatted.

Traveler, smiling, kissed Bren and then stepped back, saying, “If you wish, you can say a few words.”

Bren, say a few words

Bren, reaching up to feel the brim of her new hat, looked around at everyone as they fell silent. Feelings of gratitude, acceptance, and a desire to be worthy of their love flooded her entire being.

“Thank you all so much for inviting me into your hearts and giving me an opportunity to know you. My heart is so full of love and gratitude towards everyone, it is hard to find words to express myself.”

Then looking at Traveler, Bren said,

“Joshua, when I knew I was about about die at the gallows, the only thing I could think of was how sorry I was for disappointing you and throwing away the hat you gave me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not abandoning me and for giving me this second chance. My heart, will, and desire is to never disappoint you again…ever. Whatever I can do to defeat evil with you I will do. Whatever you ask me to do, I will do.”

Traveler, visibly moved, simply nodded as he hugged her. As they embraced, the musicians began to play a rousing melody and everyone began to talk and make merry.

I knew you would come

(Vatican City, 1689)

Spooning some steaming broth to her lips, a little sip at a time, Tim couldn’t believe what she had said. Haggard as she was, she still looked like an angel to him, his world now complete and an enormous stone rolled away from his heart and soul.

The cardinal swung into action. Sending the older lad to fetch his house maid, he stayed by Fiammetta’s side as she slept. When Maria arrived, she put down a bag of food and blankets he’d requested. Coming to her bedside, she felt her warm, sweaty head, saying, “I think her fever has broken, but she’s still very sick. She needs care.”

Asking Maria to step away from the bed, Tim followed her, saying, “Maria, you have been with me for over 20 years now.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Do you trust me?”

“Of course, my lord.”

“I have reason to trust in you, too. I have something very important for you to do for me. If you serve me well in this thing, neither you nor you family shall ever lack in this life.”

Looking around the bare room, seeing the young boys and the woman in the bed, Maria nodded, “I understand.”

I will return

“Stay with this family until I return tomorrow at evening. ” Placing florins in her palm, he said, “buy whatever foods, medicine, or else they need. Care for them and clean this place as you would for me. I will return tomorrow at this time. Do you understand?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Do you understand what I really mean?” he said slowly.

“Of course Cardinal, no one will know of this.”

“Good.” Returning to Fiammetta, kneeling down, Tim stroked her golden hair as she slept, saying, “My love, everything will be okay, I am with you now.