He immediately grabbed me in a massive hug and I have to admit it was a bit of a comfort. He told me his name was Colby Fortin with a lovely French lilt and he said he’d been waiting for me for a long time.
We walked together, out of the museum, toward a park that looked onto the river. He told me he was a firefighter and his wife was from the West Indies, and while she loved Montreal, she had family she missed further up north but he couldn’t leave until he’d fulfilled his promise to my dad. I had a thousand questions but felt I was about to get answers I couldn’t even imagine the questions to, and I didn’t want to do anything that would ruin the anticipation, what felt like a profound moment. We walked together, close. He smelled like herbs and grass and maybe even flowers. There was a chill in the air that day but it felt warm near him.
We sat on a bench in the lush park and he asked if he could see my dad’s journal. I handed it to him and he held it between his hands. He warned me that he was about to perform magic. I asked if he was worried about the other people in the park but he told me that all that’s possible in this world is “mundane magic.” Magic that must be spoken, plotted, often performed in groups, which barely registered on the visual spectrum, and regular people seldom noticed that sort of magic.
He said he was about to perform a kind of communion magic mixed with a modified version of tome kindling. He began to recite a spell, in French, interjecting every now and again to explain something to me in English. He said all the nonsense writing in the journal was actually a hidden story that could only be heard by someone whose mind and heart were bound to it. He told me “Sully” had given him permission to hear it as well. Colby was going to “ignite” the book, experience the story firsthand, and then share it with me, acting as a buffer for the power. I was shivering I was so nervous and excited.
After a few moments he laid the journal on the bench and offered his hands to me. I put mine in his, they were extraordinarily warm, almost fevered. And I was suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of… knowing. That’s the only way to describe it. As if memories filled in all sorts of empty places in my mind. As if someone told me a story years ago and I was just remembering parts of it.
Colby started to speak, saying what he’d just remembered and without realising, I started responding, filling in places he couldn’t recall. Together we had learned the truth.
My father was already aware of, or at least believed in magic when the printing house burned down in 1979. He saw something in that fire, almost died in it actually. I’m not sure if what he saw was a realisation or an actual thing, but it was the inspiration he needed to pursue the truth about the world.
On his journeys (I could only “remember” moments from it) he found a sort of coven, a group of six friends who’d been performing magic in secret. Colby was one, and Ishi, who turned out to be the curator who kicked me out of her house in Tel Aviv, was another. They taught him what they knew, but he couldn’t stay with them. He wanted more. And he’d become fascinated by the lost history of the old houses of wool and silver that had originated in Anne of Brittany’s court. He felt there was a hidden connection pulling him to that story.
He spent years hunting down works of art, following the path of wool, while learning more and more about magic and collecting magical artefacts. He’d come to learn that he was sensitive to ‘wells.’ Places (and sometimes people) in this world that still held objects and scraps of power from the old world, hidden from the magic that wiped away all magic.
And at a crossroads on his path he met my mum.
She was also looking for the end of the roads. She had followed the path of silver around the world. They continued on the path together, and fell deeply in love.
Whatever was supposed to be waiting at the end of the roads had disappeared a long time ago. But where they crossed, my parents had found each other. Because of that crossroads, I was born.