Disclaimer: The characters of Nick and Nat are
not mine. They are property of
Sony, Jim Parriott, et all. I am just borrowing them for a while. However, the
character of Peter Abelard and Heloise are very real and their story is real.
SPOILER WARNING: This story takes place
right after the flashback events of
“Queen of Harps”. There are spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode.
“You have always had faith in me. You
believed in me when I didn’t
believe in myself. You saw the light in my eyes. Now I have that faith. I
have that belief. And I can see the light.”
Brabant, Flanders (ca. 1218-1220)
Nicolas de Brabant rode along
the path away from the beach. The ship from Wales
had moored at dawn and he had disembarked with a heavy heart. Logically, he knew he
should be happy - he was home and today he would be reunited with his mother and
younger sister. But this would not be a long reunion. That was why he was unhappy.
After his brief visit home, he would be off to join the crusade in Jerusalem.
According to Lord Carrig, whose attaché Nicolas had been while in Wales, this
was a reprieve. He was being sent to Jerusalem instead of being executed for the murder
of the local woman, Gwyneth. Even though he was innocent of the crime, he was being
sent away on a mission that might quite possibly end with his death. His only indiscretion
was caring for a woman whose beliefs were different from his own. Was love really worth
all of this pain?
It was mid-afternoon when he approached his home. As he rode up the long
familiar road, the walls of the main building rose up to meet him. He dismounted and
settled his horse in the stables before going to the main hall.
Upon entering the door he called out, his voice echoing in the seemingly empty
dwelling. “Fleur?....... Mother?”
Within moments two women were rushing into the hall, arms open wide to receive
“Oh, Nicolas!” the younger of the two women cried as she wrapped her arms
“I’ve missed you Fleur!” Nicolas gasped as he returned her embrace with just as
He then turned to the older woman who was gazing at him with misty eyes.
Releasing his sister, he reached out to embrace the other woman.
“Mother.” he uttered quietly.
Nicolas lay in his bed late
that night. The house was silent. His mother and sister
had fallen asleep hours ago. The evening had gone by so quickly. At dinner he had told
them of his time in Wales and of Gwyneth and her people. He had also told him about
Lord Carrig and the council’s decision to send him to Jerusalem. This caused Fleur to
excuse herself to tend to something in the kitchen. She returned moments later, her eyes
tainted with red but dry.
They had spent the rest of the evening talking of old times. No one broached the
subject of the crusade or spoke of any future plans beyond the morning. The evening had
Now, Nicolas was alone with thoughts. Although he would never admit it to Fleur
or his mother, he was deeply afraid. Of course, he was fearful of joining the crusade - of
fighting in the name of a god which he wasn’t sure he truly believed in anymore. But he
was also afraid of what was not spoken of all evening - the future. Would he even have
one? What of all the things he would miss - his home, his family. He may never have the
chance to fall in love, marry, or have a family of his own. Would he get the chance to
leave a bit of himself behind on this earth? Perhaps Gwyneth was his chance a true love
and happiness and now it was gone. Perhaps, also, she had seen the truth when she had
told him his future was dark. These dismal thoughts running through his mind, Nicolas fell
into a fitful sleep.
When he awoke, it was morning and the thin gray light of dawn was filtering
through the small window, falling across the bed onto the floor. He sat up slowly and
rubbed his eyes. The day’s journey would be long. He had been told of a convent where
he could stay the night before joining his company in Paris. Then it would be on to
Nicolas shook his head to rid himself of the thought. Best to focus on the present
and not on the inevitable future.
Getting up and dressing, he tool one last, lingering glance around the small room.
It had been a number of years since he had spent any length of time here, but it still held a
special place in his heart. Would these be the last moments he spent here? The last
moments of innocence, before the hell of war? Sighing, he gathered his belongings and
left the room.
In the main hall, Fleur had left a basin and a pitcher of water so he could wash. As
he was finishing, she came in from outside.
“Nicolas, you’re awake.” she said with a smile. Her cheerful voice betrayed none
of the sadness and worry he saw in her eyes. “You must be hungry.”
He returned her cheerful smile. “Yes, very.”
Together they went into the kitchen and Fleur sat watching silently as Nicolas
devoured a delicious breakfast of bread and warm milk.
After taking as much time as he dared, Nicolas put the last bite of bread into his
mouth and took a final swallow of milk. He stood and moved toward the door as Fleur
followed. They stepped out into the brightening chill of the morning. His mother was there
watching as a young stable boy saddled his horse.
“I pray there was a way you would not have to go.” she said quietly still watching
the boy. “But since I know there is not, I pray now that you will come back to us.” She
smiled at him.
Nicolas nodded, afraid that if he tried to speak he would not be able to. He picked
up his things - sword, bed roll, and a small satchel - and took the parcel of food Fleur had
brought out from the house.
Once more he hugged them both, not wanting to let go. Then he stepped to his
waiting horse. The two women stood back and watched as Nicolas mounted his horse and
turned away from his home.
He stared straight ahead as the horse galloped down the road. He dared not look
back for fear that he may lose what little control he had over himself. All he wanted was to
turn his horse around and go once more into the arms of his mother and sister. Why was
everything he dared to love being taken away from him? Was love worth all of this pain
and suffering? He asked himself many such questions - but gained no answers as his
mount took him farther and farther from his home.
The sun was close to
setting when Nicolas arrived at the convent at Paraclette
outside Paris. Here he would spend his last night before joining the crusade. He
dismounted and led his horse to the stable. A young boy was cleaning the stable and took
his horse with a smile. As he turned away from the boy, he saw a young novitiate standing
at the path leading to the main building.
The girl smiled and beckoned to him. “Good evening, monsieur. The evening
meal is being prepared.” Then seeing his sword and his tunic her face saddened, “You are
going to Paris to join the others.”
Nicolas nodded and followed her to the main building, his eyes on the ground. He
did not want to speak. They entered through an oaken side door and through a short
corridor into the dining hall. The girl led him to an empty seat, smiled, then disappeared
amongst the other women.
When all the sisters were seated, the abbess bowed her head and the others
followed suit. She spoke with a soft gentle voice, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts,
which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
She paused, then continued, looking at Nicolas, “Oh heavenly father, we ask you
to watch over the man who now sits among us. We ask that you guide him on his journey
and protect him from evil. Amen.”
After the meal, Nicolas was shown to a small room by the girl who had greeted
him earlier. It was an empty cell, sparsely furnished with only a bed, table and a small
crucifix hanging on the wall. When the girl had left, he knelt before the cross and prayed
“Dearest God, please help me to find my way. You know in my heart that I do not believe
in this crusade. I go because I must. I need to know that this will not be my final journey
- that I will find love and happiness once more. Please tell me I am not lost to the light of
love. I pray, do not abandon me.”
When he stood and turned to prepare for bed, he noticed the abbess standing in the
doorway watching him.
“I beg your forgiveness, mother,” he said bowing his head. “I bid you good
evening. May I be of any service to you?”
“You seem to be troubled, my child. You do not desire to fight in the name of our
“This crusade is not a fight for the Lord. It is a fight for politics and land waged
by kings and princes.”
She smiled gently, “So you do not want to fight at all.”
“No, not when I do not believe in the cause.” he answered more directly than he
had intended. She smiled again and motioned him to join her. He gathered his cloak and
followed her into the hallway.
Nicolas walked beside the abbess to the chapel as they talked of the crusade. She
did not pass judgment on his condemnation of the crusades. She only listened as he spoke
of the many things he had kept to himself for the past several weeks.
As they entered the chapel, she stopped him. “There is something more that is
troubling you, a sadness.”
Nicolas nodded and sighed. They sat down inside the chapel and he told her the
story of Gwyneth and Lord DeLaBarre. He also told her of his fear that the violence and
carnage he would most definitely find in the holy land would curse him from finding and
holding onto true love.
“I had a dream, “ he told her as he looked up at the altar surrounded by the tiny
flickering lights of devotional candles. “I was surrounded by a deep, cold darkness that
was overpowering me. Then far away, I saw a small light. I could feel the warmth
coming from the light as it grew brighter. It was fighting the darkness that covered me.”
She smiled warmly, putting her old hand lightly over his. “The light was love.”
He turned his eyes away from the candles and looked at her. “Love is the light that can
overcome all darkness and deliver you to God’s glory.”
She met his gaze and smiled again. “You don’t believe me. You wonder how an
old woman who has given herself to God could know about love. What I say is not purely
rhetoric from the Bible. It is truth.”
“What do you mean ‘truth’?” he asked.
“I will tell you the story of a man and a woman. This story was told to me by the
woman, herself, when I was a young girl. Heloise was the first abbess of this abbey and
the man she loved, Peter Abelard, built this convent for her when the community moved
here to Paraclette.”
Nicolas didn’t answer for a moment. He then whispered disbelieving, “How do
you know it was not only a story to amuse a silly child.”
Again she smiled at his response. “Because it is a story about truth and love no
matter the cost. When she passed on, she gave me the letters he wrote to her over the
many years they were apart.” She paused. “Their story begins many years before the
When Heloise was a young
woman, only about sixteen, she lived with her uncle,
Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame in Paris. She had a great hunger for knowledge, so her
uncle acquired a tutor for her - Peter Abelard, one of the greatest scholars in France.
Although Abelard was near forty, it wasn’t too long before their attentions turned from
their books to each other. They were not only physically attracted to each other, but they
each craved the other’s knowledge. They were mental equals.
When Canon Fulbert discovered their relationship, he demanded they marry.
Knowing marriage could cost Abelard his reputation as a scholar, Heloise refused despite
the fact that she was pregnant. The child, a boy, was born and given to the care of a
Eventually, to please the Canon, the couple was married in a small ceremony with
only Fulbert and a few friends to witness the union. They continued to live apart which
angered Fulbert and he accused Abelard of lechery and ordered him castrated as an act of
revenge. Following this horrible act, Abelard ordered Heloise to enter the convent of
Argenteuil to protect her from her uncle. Soon after, he joined the monastery at St. Denis.
But this separation and promise to the Lord was not the end of their love. They
wrote each other letters and Abelard came to speak to Heloise’s community several times.
Not long before he died, Abelard founded this convent for Heloise and her sisters so that
they might be closer to one another. When he passed, she had his body buried here so she
could watch over him. And when the Lord called her many years later, she was laid to
rest next to him so that they may be eternally side by side in the light of God’s love.”
The old Abbess’ story
ended and she turned to Nicolas once more. His gaze was
transfixed on her face. “So you see, my child,” she said softly, taking his hand. “Their
love for each other endured through all the darkness and despair of this life and into the
light of hope and happiness.”
The first light of morning was glowing on the horizon as they left the chapel. “You
must rest before your journey,” she said quietly as they reached the main hall. “I will have
some food sent to you later.” Nicolas nodded, then bowed before turning to retire to his
A short time later, he lay on the bed. He had eaten the breakfast a novitiate had
brought in. He watched through the window as the dawn broke and the beautiful sun
began to ascend into the clear blue sky. Finally he closed his eyes and dreamt of a future
where he would find the light of true love.
Metro police detective
Nick Knight stood at the window of his loft. His eyes were
closed as if remembering a pleasant long ago dream. Hearing the elevator grind to life, he
opened his eyes slowly and gazed upon the still glittering skyline of downtown Toronto in
the slowly brightening pre dawn sky.
Turning from the window, he walked across the room towards the metal door of
the elevator. He smiled - only one person other than himself knew the alarm code.
Natalie Lambert was his light. She was working to cure him - to destroy the
darkness that now enveloped him. For all the years he had known her, she never wavered
in her drive, her compassion, and...... her love.