Rhionan (A Gurruffallo Accessory)Sandra Gough / Fantasy
A Gurruffallo Accessory
Copyright © 2017 by Sandra Gough
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
I am dedicating this story in honor of the
endless patience, support, and teasing
I have endured at the hands of my children!
I love you boys!
Table of Contents
This is my story. The story I have guarded for half a millennium.
Few know what happened.
None speak of it.
This is who I was. Where I'm from. How I became immortal.
Shawn always broke the silence, of the woods around us, with me favorite compliment, “I couldna look into any other eyes but yer soft, green ones for the rest of me life, Rhionan.” He's been telling me this since we were wee ones playing with me older brother and sister.
“Ye get too,” I always replied, soft and simple as he kissed me forehead. A smile spread across me face as me cheeks warmed to the familiar sweetness Shawny wrapped me in.
Absorbing the warmth of the day, the beauty of spring's first signs glistening around us. A grassy, green blanket covered the ground. A forest canopy, slightly darker than the grass, stretched over our heads. I leaned against Shawny, who leaned against our tree, the one he carved S + R inside of a heart. Running his hand through me thick, red hair he twisted it around his long fingers. Looking into his steel-gray eyes – I luv his eyes – we sat like that, lost in our own eternity.
Shawny and me spend day-after-day planning our future together, just as our parents have done since we were wee. We talk about the home we'll make and how many wee ones we'll have, even their names. We sneak away from the Clan often, a big NONO! but we canna help it. Curled up in each other's arms, at the base of our big tree, on the edge of the woods that surround the clearing we live in, frees us.
He makes me comfortable.
With Shawny, I can conquer the World.
As part of a small fishing Clan, the Sturgeon Clan, we reside in Ireland where the World doesna seem too big. In 1516, I, the youngest of three children born a poor peasant, to poor peasants, am complete in the lifestyle we've been given. Me Mum and Da are good people who taught us to tend to ourselves and look out for one another.
Me brother Cain and sister Catriona are older than I, by near two years, but we're verra close. Me Clansmen are fishermen, mostly for sturgeon, hence our Clan name. We use sturgeons for everything from fishing to eating to trading. Me Da turns the remains of the fish – after meals – into manure to help our crops grow.
Our home's a small dugout in the ground. We've four beds made from hay and animal skins lining the walls. A giant tree stump takes up the middle of the room. It serves as our table. Our parent's bed is backed into a wall, almost a room of its own, with a thin veil between their bed and the rest of our dugout. We hold no real possessions other than the clothes on our backs and an extra set. Regardless of the way we live, our parents have always made sure we're provided for.
Life is easy, I canna imagine living any other way. Me best friend, apart from me sister, is a boy, Shawn, the same age as Cain and Catriona. From a young age, our parents noticed a strong bond growing between us and plans for our future began. When I reach the age of seventeen we'll marry. That'll be next spring!
Typically the oldest child marries first, by our traditions, but none has satisfied me fickle sister's heart. She and Cain are twins, so close she canna imagine another man in his place. As stubborn as Catriona is, nobody argues with her. She sets her pouty lips in the straightest line she can manage, causing her dark, green eyes to stand out sharply from her pale skin and coppery hair. She looks as though she could send the Gods down on us, stubborn as she is, she might be able to. Usually, we drop the pressing subject and try talking 'bout something else.
In a year, Cain'll marry Chloe, a pretty, little yellow-haired lass with big, brown eyes and a sheepish grin. She's from the other side of the Clan. Cain looks just like Catriona, but he stands nearly twice her height. He and Chloe are complete opposites, but together they match.
After Shawn's sweet compliment, that makes me stomach flip-flop, 'tis time to return to the Clan. We canna stay away verra long should our Clansmen notice and ask questions. Since we havena taken any vows, we're supposed to have a chaperon at all times unless we're surrounded by other Clansmen. Come the time they start questioning our whereabouts, the questions get harder to answer and feel more like accusations.
Aye, sometimes I feel guilty but Shawn and me never do nothing inappropriate.
As Shawny took me hands and pulled me to me feet a rustling sound came from the brush behind us. Spinning to face the creature, a chill run down me spine radiating through every part of me body.
Something far worse than any creature approached us.
A British guard.
“A little far from the Clan, are ye not?” the guard confronted. Neither Shawny or me answered. “I do not believe I have had the pleasure,” he stepped in front of me, sizing me up and down as if I were a sturgeon – the fish!
Every muscle in Shawn's body tensed next to me. He said nothing. The British guards harass Clansmen often, but no usually to this extent. At least not that we heard of. Our whole lives the guards have been here. The British throne holds a small piece of Ireland and we're on it. Rumors spread, they'll soon have all Ireland.
The guard reached for me hand. A shiver ran through me at the rustle of his thick chainmail. I pulled away from him hiding behind Shawn. “That wasn't very friendly, little one,” he said in a flat tone as he tried pushing passed Shawn.
Shawny didna budge.
“Ye have no rights to her,” Shawny growled. I never heard him talk that way before. He sounded possessive and arrogant. Shawn's hands clenched into fists at his sides while he worked to control his haughty temper during the situation. “We'll be goin' now”
Looking passed Shawny to me, the guard smirked, “I think I do have rights to her. The British bed Irish women first. Are ye aware of the laws, boy?” His degrading tone touched Shawn's nerves.
The guard tried stepping around him again. Shawn were faster, blocking him, “On the ceremonial night and no a day before.” As Shawn became angrier, the sternness in his voice bellowed through the forest.
“I think–” the guard were abruptly cut off.
“It doesna matter what ye think.” Shawn spat at the guard as he closed the distance between them making it harder for the guard to get to me. The guard stumbled backward, then straightened himself, squinting through his evil, black eyes, down his smug, crooked nose. “We've done nothin' wrong. I wouldna ruin her that way. We'll be leavin' now.”
Shawny grabbed me hand, pulling me against him. The sound of the guard's sword leaving its scabbard, belted at his waist, stopped the blood in our bodies. The wicked smirk returned to the guard's face. Placing the tip of his sword at the nape of Shawn's neck, the guard grabbed me free hand and jerked me to his side. Shawny stood motionless, helplessly staring at me. Silent tears stained me cheeks as realization dawned. Shawny couldna stop the guard. He couldna help me. We were at a standoff, and if we both wished to keep our heads, I were to leave with the guard.
Shawny has to let me.
“Nobody speaks to a British Guard that way, boy!” His voice inflated. “Now we'll be seein' if she returns to ye after I've had me fill.” The guard winked at Shawn as he laughed, while slowly backing away and dragging me with him. His fingers wrapped around me wrist, tight enough me hand ought might fall off.
Another rustle in the woods, from the direction the guard came, made us jump. Scared another guard might join us, I closed me eyes saying a silent prayer, no just for meself, but Shawny as well. When I opened me eyes and struggled to see Shawny over me shoulder, he were reciting the same prayer we learned as children.