Excerpt: Lady of the Lake by Jennifer Wherrett

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As with the Unicorn, Heaven and Earth have no separation within me. I am the One. The once-mighty Roman Empire is crumbling, and the empire has been pulling its legions from the farthest outposts of its vast territory. The withdrawal of Rome’s legions has left the island of the Britons in a state of uncertainty, vulnerable to attack and invasion from all sides. Niniane, a novice priestess, is largely unaffected by the events troubling her land. But she confronts troubles of her own as facets of her emerging nature bring her into conflict with the rules governing temple existence. Only when she emerges from the temple does she come face to face with her destiny – a destiny entwined with those of a Roman commander and his men – a destiny that reveals the truth of who she really is. Although Niniane’s true identity was lost, long ago, in the mists of time, an echo of her story remains in the mystical legends of the Lady of the Lake, who appears, often unexpectedly and always indefinably, in the stories that comprise the Arthurian legends. Niniane’s real story, though, is a journey of inner transformation and self-realisation. As her story unfolds, and she rediscovers the truth, she becomes a message and an example, the potential of which has the power to transform all of humanity.

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Featured in Dec/Jan 2016 Issue: 2015 Indie Best Award Winners

“You see destiny as a place of arrival, Niniane.”

She closed her mouth, all thought of chastisement forgotten. One simple statement and, in typical Merlin fashion, he had her full attention.

“But,” he continued, “you are forgetting that destiny is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Without the journey, there is, in fact, no destination. So stop seeing destiny as something up ahead, in the future—as something you are working towards or moving towards. See it, instead, as something you are living right here, right now. Do not be impatient to arrive, Niniane. Instead, realise that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”

Merlin paused, allowing his words to impact her, and then, he continued, “In this place, the temple, I mean, you are not allowed to express who you are, but that does not stop you being who you are. The temple does not, and cannot, contain you, nor does it dictate who you are, nor does it define who you are.”

“Ah,” she breathed. “You are right. That is my fear, and in fearing, I have made it so.”

Leaning forward in his chair, he put his hand on her hair and said quietly, “This time, when I leave here, I would take you with me, if you will come. Will you come with me, Niniane?”

“Yes,” she whispered urgently and without hesitation. “I will come.”

“Good,” he said as he sat back, drew on his pipe, and closed his eyes. A good day’s work, he thought with satisfaction. How he’d waited for this time, patiently preparing the way and watching over her, and now his wait was nearly at an end.

“Why now?” she asked hoarsely. “For so many years I’ve wanted you to take me with you. But you always left me here. Why now?”

“Because, my beautiful girl,” he said without opening his eyes, “it is time. You are ready. And a good thing it is too because you are needed, more than you can possibly know.”

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