Monday's child

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay. . .

A: D!

D: What?

A: Guess what?!

D: You’re going to write in a tale about my romance with Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, who rebelled against Rome and ruled over Egypt and Anatolia for a time? Her son was technically the one in charge, but Zenobia really called the shots. Tough lady, but lovely.

A: . . . That’s not . . . wait, your what?! D!

D: You left it pretty open, A.

A: I don’t even want to tell you, now.

D: Don’t pout, A.

A: Fine. I was going to say that you were born on a Monday, under the full moon.

D: So, I’m fair of face and long-lived. I could have told you that, A.

A: . . .

D: Wait, are you sure you did that right? I was born during the Julian calendar, A, not the Georgian. Don’t tell me that after all these years I’m really—

A: I did it right, D. I found a website  that produces calendars for 500-4000 AD with the Julian vs Georgian calendar issue factored in.

D: I’m astounded, A. Flabbergasted, really. Pray tell, why?

A: Research, D – and thanks for the sarcasm. I had to make sure I was referencing the moon correctly. It wouldn’t do to say “meet us at the rising of the moon,” when the moon set 2 hours prior, would it? I lost an hour of my life on this site.

D: An hour? Aren’t you being a little stingy with the truth, A?

A: Okay, three hours, but it was worth it. Now I know I’m referencing the moon accurately and you know your day of birth and the moon phase.

D: . . .

A: It’s important, D.

D: I have no words.

A: My work here is done.

. . . As they crested the hill, the newly risen moon came out from behind low clouds. Its light threw into stark relief the young oaks, circling the low stone building and straining towards the sky. . .

. . . The moon was nothing but a sliver again, and its silvery glow barely illuminated the outer room, let alone Maureen’s prison. The candle was a warm and welcome friend. . .

. . . Liam turned to his youngest brother. “Owen, you must take a horse and our provisions and wait for us on the route to Bray. If you do not see us by the setting of the moon, make your way to Bray as fast as you can and board the Éadaí Baintrí. . .”

Once more into the breach

D: A, you know, you really ought not to dance.

A: I know. Two very confused left feet – I can’t help it, D. I’m excited!

D: I can see that. You’re looking for me to ask why, I take it?

A: It would help. I’d stop dancing if you did.

D: Fair enough – why are you so excited, A?

A: I’m excited to write Part 2, D! Actually excited.

D: I’m feeling like this should offend me, somehow.

A: Everything offends you, D. Let me explain. I was happy to start this project – surprised actually, since I could finally see you and understand your story. I was satisfied with my writing, and I was giddy when we started this project on the interwebs. I was pleased when I completed Part 1 and edited it enough that it wasn’t too cringe-worthy for my dear friends/editors/readers who are kind enough to tear it apart for the greater good.

That was yesterday morning, D. And then I went out into my sleeping garden and proceeded to get my first sunburn of the year (yay sun!). And all day, Part 2 threaded itself through my mind. And I was excited – so excited that I stayed up until 1 am writing an outline that I’ll rip to shreds today, but has good bones.

I’m excited, D. I want to write this story. It’s been a really long tme.

D: Congratulations, A. I still feel as though I ought to be offended, but I’m also proud of you.

A: Is it wrong that I’m worried now?

D: (Sigh) I’m proud of you because I know how you feel about the 1916 storyline. You were a callous young woman with no knowledge of the world beyond books when you first wrote it. I like that you’re looking at it again, as a mother, as someone who’s lived a little bit more, and changing it. I’m far more comfortable being a part of it; I feel like I am finally part of the story.

A: I’m looking for the compliment in that, and I think I found it. . . so, thank you?

D: You’re welcome, A. . . By the way, are we going to have more introspective forays like this?

A: Oh, hell no! Don’t worry, D. I can’t do this every day. . . remember, deep as a puddle. I promise to keep it to a minimum, so long as you keep up your end of the bargain.

D: And that is?

A: Snarky comments, never-ending second guessing and a ruthless honesty that keeps me on my toes.

D: Almost sounds as though you like me, A.

A: Don’t let it go to your head, Druid. We still have 2.75 books left – a lot can happen!

D: I have been warned. . . but you do like me.

A: D. . .

D: You admitted it – you like me!

A: Seriously, D – how old are you?

D: 1300 years old and male. You like me. Ha.

A: I give up.

October the Ninth, Year of Our Lord 1584

Sean and Maureen:

By now, you may know who I am. It is yet only the beginning of the tale, and believe me when I say that it is a tale to be told. But I’ll not commit it to paper – not yet, not when the end has yet to be written.

You will have questions, and one day I will do what I can to see that they are answered. I said I would do what I could to see you both safe, and despite that she’s a pirate, and now consummate enemy of Sir Richard Bingham, Grania Uaile is as safe as you could hope to be – for now. . .

A traitor's fate

. . . Galen had not accompanied Liam and Dubhal, and Sean wasn’t sure he wanted to know what had happened to the traitorous weasel. Liam would only say that the lad had served his purpose. . .  

D: Did we kill him?

A: What?! Who?

D: Galen, the traitorous weasel (As an aside, do you really think that Sean would think that way?).

A: (He’s been around you lot for a month; he’s absorbing the vernacular.)

D: (Oh, I see. Makes sense. Continue.)

A: No, but I didn’t want him around anymore. He was a mean, cruel young man and he was giving me the creeps.

D: Oh.

A: You sound disappointed.

D: Well . . .

A: If it’s any consolation, you and Liam gave him to the O’Flaherty’s.  They will deal with him appropriately.

D: So maybe they off him?

A: Off him? God, what have you been watching? Do I get cable up here or something?

D: (Shrug)

A: Does it matter? You have smoke bombs.

D: Yes. Yes, I do.

A: (Face palm)

Previously. . .  

. . . Sean grinned. Galen’s expression was shifting from one of pride to bitterness.

“I think, Master Galen, that you had outlived your usefulness. I think, as you sit here bandying your fancy words, that you may have outlived your usefulness to us. What is to stop me from telling the lads here that we ought to do what your benefactor nearly did, and drown you in the sea?”

Galen twitched at this, but rallied. “Nothing, except the lass,” he said quietly, glaring at Sean and daring him to contradict.

“Aye, the lass, Maureen,” Sean said, putting emphasis on her name. He let it hang there in the silence of the hold, waiting. He felt Liam and the others tensing. Grasp of English or no, the mention of Maureen’s name let them know he’d come to the information the boy – and the boy’s handlers – wanted them to discover.

“She wasn’t part of the plan, was she,” Sean mused, watching Galen betray himself. A dark grin spread on Sean’s face. Maureen had been Galen’s last hope at life; saying her name was merely a test to determine how dear Maureen was to them.

Sean dropped down to one knee, close to Galen. He gestured silently, staying the others. He could feel their intense watchfulness. At the periphery of his vision, Sean watched Phalen and Dubhal put their hands on the hilts of the closest sheathed weapon in their personal arsenals. Galen was watching him closely. . .

Lost in translation

A: I’ve thought of another one! Flibbertigibbet!

D: Pardon?

A: Words, D – inspiring words.

D: Oh, I thought you were describing yourself again. . .

A: Nice–

D: Speaking of words, what does “Éadaí Baintrí” mean?

A: You don’t know?

D: I’ve been in your head for over 13 years; I’m rusty. Humor me.

A: “Widow’s clothing.” You know, Widow’s Weeds?

D: . . . Seriously? . . .

A: What? Grace O’Malley buried one husband and divorced the other – and she outlived that one, too! I like to think she had a sense of humor about the whole thing. She was a pirate after all – I don’t think you succeed at that without having a little sass.

D: . . .

A: It’s funny.

D: (Shakes head) Poor taste.

A: It’s freakin’ hilarious, if you’re me.

D: Precisely.

“. . . Aye, well, the Venture has her orders to remain just a bit out of reach in open water. At midday, provided she has not been engaged, she will begin the trip to Galway.”

“And if she’s engaged?” Sean asked.

“She’ll still make her way to Galway, lad. She’s a ship worthy to be Grania’s flagship, were Herself not so fond of the Éadaí Baintrí, of course.”

“And speaking of the Éadaí Baintrí…?”

“She is in Bray, in a safe harbor,” Grania answered. “I don’t have many allegiances this side of the Pale, but there are a few, so long as I am discrete.”

“And speaking of discretion, my lady Grania.”

“No, Liam. Whatever it is, no.”

“But how—”

“Whenever you start something with such deference, I know I’m not going to like it. I’ve known you since you were in skirts, Liam O’Neil, and have had the honor of your allegiance for these last ten years. Deference does not suit you. Speak plainly. . .”

Inspire me

D: A, what exactly are you doing?
A: Thinking of words I enjoy . . . like pfeffernusse and penguin.
D: You are a woman of odd affections, A. Penguin?
A: I like how it sounds.
D: . . .
A: I’m editing this week; I need to do something inspiring – something that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.
D: I think that’s cut your heart, A.
A: I’m not quoting movies, D, I’m stating fact. Although Alan Rickman is probably the best part of that movie, I’m not bastardizing his quote.
D: So you need motivation, is that it? Am I not enough for you anymore, A?
A: D, it took me 13 years just to get this far – do you really need to ask that? I think I should give myself a writing challenge – write riffs on words that inspire.
D: That’s a little bit like a tongue twister, A.
A: Even better! It’s weird. I like it. . . Come on, Druid, inspire me!
D: . . .
A: I’ve got it! I could do a riff on one who is perturbed, or disgruntled, given that look. Maybe even supercilious or domineering.
D: . . . I think you should do one on addlepated.
A: Oooh! I like it!
D: I give up.

. . . Grania barked a laugh, “That is quite the plan. Were the man not so hell-bent on destroying our way of life, Bingham might have been someone I’d want to know. As it is, he can rot in Dublin before I’ll allow myself to be drawn into his schemes.”

“But–”

“I spent nearly two years in a Limerick cell, lad – I’d not be so stupid as to put myself in that position again, nor risk those that follow me. Without guaranteed protections from Her Majesty herself, I will not follow that madman into a trap. It’s unthinkable. I’m a pirate, not a champion. Maureen knew that, and so do you.”

Sean knew this is what she would say, even without knowing Grania had been a prisoner once before. She was right, it would be a reckless and thoughtless gamble to risk the lives of these men in something so foolhardy, and yet. . .

“I do understand that, my lady, and I mean no disrespect,” he began, fighting the numb weightlessness that grabbed at his belly and threatened to snake down his legs. He grabbed the edge of the table and sighed deeply.

“You are a pirate you say, and yet you fight for your native way of life. You are a pirate who commands the respect not only of her followers, but also of her clan and many of her neighbors. You are a pirate who strikes such fear into the hearts of men like Bingham that, in their fear they hatch a plot – worthy of a monster, aye – to snare you.”

Sean shook his head and pushed away from the table. He commanded the room’s attention.

 “You are not a pirate, my lady Grania, you are an inspiration; you are that which embodies the spirit of this land, of a people proud, oppressed and rebellious, now and in the centuries to come. Not only that, you are that young woman’s kinswoman, whether by blood or the tenacity and spirit that marks you both – and you know it, I know you do,” Sean gave Grania a piercing look; she did not deny his accusation and he nodded. “I know, because I am her only companion and now it falls to me to be her protector too – she, who always shielded me, needs me.

“It would be unthinkable for me to not ask your help, and furthermore, unthinkable for me not to follow her captors, regardless of your answer. You owe me nothing, and your refusal will not be looked upon as poor hospitality, but I will ask you none-the-less. Help me get Maureen back. . .”