Aithne saw the Guttersnipe leave, though the girl did not see her, crouched as she was in the shadows.
They will be coming out soon. She thought. It was time she found Cathair.
Getting up, she made her way to the circle of light, searching for him in the flickering shadows. There- just to the left, by a tree. Jason and the Guttersnipe were nearby, speaking quietly to one another.
She picked her way over to him, and he looked up as she came, coming to meet her as soon as he recognized her. There was an odd look on his face. "Aithne... you look... different."
"Do I?" She subconciously touched her face. "I suppose it makes sense that I would..." She looked up at his puzzled expression. "Cathair... remember how my father would sometimes become different- when he would proclaim blessings or judgements on clansmen?"
Cathair nodded, wondering where she was going with the question. "I remember being terrified of him, as a child." He smiled. "Kept me out of a few scrapes, it did."
Aithne fleetingly wondered how it was possible that a boy could get into more scrapes, but let it pass.
"I just did that."
Cathair's eyebrows rose. "You just...?"
She nodded. "I just cursed Cunorix. I didn't mean to... He recognized me, and I stood and suddenly there were words coming out of my mouth. I felt powerful, filled with... with a fire... I felt like I could snap him in two, Cathair! And then, when I had done with him, I turned to Lord Ambrosius and a benediction came out..."
Lowering her head, she shuddered. "But the worst part was when I saw. There were demons around Cunorix, Cathair. A whole swarm of demons just waiting to take his soul."
She recovered a bit and looked up again. "Why, Cathair? Why me? I am not a bard. I gave that up a long time ago. I shouldn't have seen that..."
Cathair considered it. "Maybe... maybe it's an... oh what did he call it?... an Anointing. Remember? Brother Parthalan taught us about the disciples on that one day, when the Holy Ghost came on them and they changed..."
The implications of the idea caused them both to step back, somewhat intimidated by it all.
"This is all out of the range of a warrior, Aithne. I don't meddle in the affairs of priests and bards. But I think this is pretty clear. Whether you like it or not, you're a true bard now."
Aithne was at a loss for words. Cathair smiled and pulled her under his arm. "Don't think about it now. You'll have plenty of time later."
Don't think about it? How can I? But she did her best. And just then, the door moved. All eyes turned to the villa, and there was but one thought among them. It is time.
- ▼ November (9)