Night 381, Cadal, Isle of Searbh (822 AD)
Kinvara laid in a hammock beside Fiachra and they both looked at the fire. “I already told you she was different, can’t we talk about something else?”
“But that’s all you told me. I want to know her better, know her more than Biorn so maybe she’ll realize how shallow he is.” Fiachra said.
Kinvara thought, “She was serious. Focused. She spent everyday training with my mum, learning how to be a warrior. She had promise to be a great archer. It’s amazing you never saw her around the fortress. Aoibheann was often there with my parents, in the armory. She’s known who you Biorn were for years.” Kinvara said.
“I don’t think I ever saw her. I would remember.” Fiachra said,
“No, you wouldn’t.” Kinvara said.
“Yes, I would! You think I’m proud and self-absorbed, but I’m not. I would have noticed both of you if you came around. I never met Brighid or Carrick before, my Da never introduced us. I never knew Saoirse and Brighid were friends. This is all new to me.” Fiachra answered. “Is that why you hate me? Do you think I snubbed you?”
Kinvara kept silent. “Aoibheann was excited when she heard we were leaving until we got on the boat to escape. Then she realized what this trip meant. That she was never going to be a warrior or an archer. She was going to waste away like the rest of us, until we died, I guess. Or someone took pity on us. She changed when she came here, she stopped shooting, stopped training and became a silly girl that likes to flirt. She stopped wanting me to come around, she insults me and then expects me to let my little sister use me as a joke to gain credit with you all. We used to get along, quite well, actually.” Kinvara said.
“Hm.” Fiachra said, “I can’t see you two getting along.”
“And I can’t see you as a Chieftain either.” Kinvara said and Fiachra scowled.
“Well, I’m not going to be a Chieftain anymore.” Fiachra said.
“What were you like before you came here?” Kinvara asked, feeling guilty for her dig.
“I spent most days with my grandparents. My parents were never present, always distracted. I would sit in the Library with GrandDa Conn and read books and scrolls. I would sit in on meetings with GrandMum Tearlag and would stand in the gallery of the Court. Everyday I was filled with dreams of what it could be like to be important. To run a kingdom. It was exciting. I had the spot that Biorn wanted, I would even be more important than Vidar. I can’t accept that it’s gone. And GrandDa Conn is dead, and GrandMum Tearlag has thrown me out of her house, out of her life. I hate my parents for it, they did something to turn everything.”
“Do you have any idea what it was?” Kinvara asked.
“It had something to do with Biorn, I think.” Fiachra said.
Kinvara was silent again, she had a burning question, uncertain if she should let it fly from her lips. “Why does Biorn live with you if you aren’t his brother?”
“Because Tearlag said so.” Fiachra answered.
“Oh.” Kinvara said.
“Who were you before you came to Searbh?” Fiachra asked, tentatively.
Kinvara pondered this, trying to determine what she wanted to share. What was wise? “I, I was training to be a Druid priest with my friend Aoife. We began studying at the shrine before we left. I was happy to escape the agricultural life. I’m not much good at it, except I can weave beautiful fabrics on the loom,” Kinvara paused. “Anyways, I was going to be a Druid priest, and I was going to get married. But not now.” Kinvara’s lip quivered a little.
“Who was your fella?” Fiachra asked.
“Eamon. He’s a servant in your castle.” Kinvara said.
“I don’t remember an Eamon.” Fiachra said.
“Of course you don’t.” Kinvara said. Fiachra gave her a grumpy look again. Kinvara laughed. “Will you help me find a book?”
“Why?” Fiachra asked.
“Because Vidar asked me to find to it and I don’t feel comfortable going into your Da’s study myself. He’s rather a jerk.” Kinvara said.
“Yes. Yes, he is.” Fiachra answered. “Much like Biorn is. He feels like his shadow.”
“We pick up the behavior of those around us.” Kinvara said. “He’s still young, he can change with the right influence.”
“I’d rather him stay a jerk and drive Aoibheann from his arms and right into mine.” Fiachra said. “Maybe you can help me.”
“We’ll see.” Kinvara answered. She sat up from the hammock and tended to the fire.
“Why did you say the faeries are stalking you?” Fiachra asked.
“Oh, nothing, it was a bad dream. I was talking nonsense.” Kinvara covered. She may hate him less, but only Vidar could know about this. She still did not trust Fiachra. He felt like a wild creature, ready to snap at her if she made a false move.
“If the faeries are talking to you, you should listen. Chieftain Conn always told me that. He believed the Gods were everywhere like the legends say. If they are speaking, it’s real, even in nightmares.” Fiachra said.
Kinvara said nothing but nodded and laid back down in her hammock.