Chapter 32: The Faerie and the Storm

Day 381, Cadal, Isle of Searbh (822 AD)

Kinvara had sat in her room and looked at the walls. The lone lantern light danced on the walls, the wind pushing the flame back and forth. She sat and thought about Vidar, her heart ached for his friendship. This was a new level of loneliness. Kinvara was glum, with no shoulder to lean on. Even though leaving Eamon behind in Galway had torn her in two, she had familiar faces around. Including Aoibheann, even if she was in a bad mood. Kinvara had retreated into herself but she could look around her and see her Mum and Da. But now she had to look at the pathetic O’Connor faces. She hated working alongside Fiachra, gathering firewood and tending the fishing nets. His solemn eyes looked like his whole family ditched him too. Kinvara thought he would be happy by now, Saoirse and Riagan had emerged from their hibernation. 

Hours after Brighid and Carrick left, the two came out. Saoirse was so pale, her skin looked like frost. Her eyes were caked in makeup left for days, her hair untamed in its frizzy braid. She stormed out and went to the sea. She had walked up and down the beach until she finally turned around and went to the fields to the garden. Kinvara had watched her from the shed where she went to fetch logs of peat. Saoirse had ripped out every weed insight and dug a whole new bed. By the time Kinvara came back to get water, Saoirse was covered in dirt and Riagan was carrying an axe and was covered in saw dust. Kinvara followed his path into the forest. She saw a large tree fallen in the center of the woods. Fiachra was at one end with a saw. Kinvara put down the water.

“What’s this for?” Kinvara asked.

“Da’s making a boat since your parents took ours.” Fiachra said.

“So did your brother and cousin.” Kinvara said.

“Biorn’s not my brother, not really.” Fiachra said. “He’s more a nuisance.”

“I’m not a fan.” Kinvara said.

“Well, I’m not a fan of you either.” Fiachra said, going back to his saw. Kinvara glared at him and walked away.

That had been her existence for six days. The O’Connors went to their tasks and Kinvara took care of the important things. She was desperate for her family to come back. And for Vidar. She read his note over and over, and hoped it would comfort her. All it did was make her farther from him. He wrote about some story from the legends, she wasn’t sure what. Valkyries. She put the note down and looked out the window at the sunset. There was a dark swirling cloud to the southwest where Innis Aran was supposed to be. It had been there for days. She picked at the skin around her thumb, the clouds filled her with dread.

“No ship of Tearlag will come into my harbor.” A voice whispered in her ear. Kinvara jumped and grabbed her knife.

“Stop doing that, and show me who you are! Are you the faerie from woods who is stalking me!” Kinvara growled. “Cause I am not in the mood to be messed with!”

Kinvara saw the shadow of antlers on the wall. “We told we need your help. Your family is in grave danger. They’ve come to the gates of our favorite Chieftain in the garb of evil, in the boat from a land we will destroy.”

“Don’t kill my family, you demon!” Kinvara stabbed the air around her room.

“You know I am just a messenger. We want your help, and we’re going to get it.” The faerie said, and more faeries laughed.

Kinvara grabbed the lantern and ran from the room. She went down to the Great Hall and let down a hammock. She would not go back up there! She sat and tried to occupy her mind, but she was too distracted to sleep. She went to the pantry and looked through the shelves and she got an idea. She grabbed honey biscuits and some berry ale. She carried them carefully up to Fiachra’s room. Quickly she knocked on the door. She knocked again.

“What!” Fiachra answered, angry. His hair was stuck up on one side, he looked furious to see her.

“Look, I’m sorry my family took the boat, but please, will you come down to the Great Hall with me. I don’t want to be alone.” Kinvara pleaded.

“Ha, no.” Fiachra started to close the door. Kinvara stopped him.

“Please, don’t. I’m desperate.” Kinvara said.

“And why is that my problem?” Fiachra said.

“Because, I’m sure you are lonely, just like I am.” Kinvara said.

“Of course I am, you occupy Vidar’s time. And your sister takes all of Biorn’s. My parents don’t realize they are parents and your parents are annoyingly happy with each other. Where do I fit in any of that?” Fiachra said.

“I don’t take all of Vidar’s time.” Kinvara said.

“Yes, you do. And your sister is a pathetic flirt.” Fiachra said.

“She led you on.” Kinvara said.

“No.” Fiachra said.

“Yes she did. Is that why you hate me too?” Kinvara asked.

“I hate you because you are a stuck up snob, too good to talk to anyone.” Fiachra said.

“No, I’m not. I’m sad. I don’t want to be here, and Aoibheann doesn’t want me around her. So, I stay away.” Kinvara said. “I’m not a snob. You’re the snob, you think the world owes you everything.”

“Because it does owe me! I was supposed to be a Chieftain, I was raised to be the heir to everything! Everything you can see Kinvara! The Bay, the islands, Galway, Limerick, Innis Aran. All of it was mine, and my Da pissed it away in one day. So I am angry, my future is gone, and I’m stuck here with you! Your family has destroyed it all now. My Da is building a boat to run away from all of it, not go to get help. He’s leaving everything for good. I’m going to have nothing, forever now. How am I supposed to get over that in a few days? It keeps getting worse and worse so I wish you would go away.” Fiachra said.

Kinvara threw a cookie and it hit off his chest. “Like you are the only one who has problems? You selfish arse. I had a life I left behind! I was going to be a Fili, I had started at the shrine. I had a love, who I was going to marry. And now all of that is gone. Eamon is gone. My chance is gone. Now, I’m losing my mind and faeries are stalking me and threatening me. I just want to be in the same room as someone. I don’t want to be your friend. Will you come downstairs with me?”

Fiachra looked at her stunned that she threw a cookie at him. “Will you tell me how to win Aoibheann back?”

Kinvara rolled her eyes. “Fine.”