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The First Circlet: The Twining Of The Three - 3. Segment 3: Of Fire and of Water

She awoke to a soft moaning and to the wet cold aching into her bones.

Startled to find herself in the mud she sat up like a spring and managed to remember enough of the last few minutes to look before her and see the lump of a figure in dark cloth.
Fright gripped her again and she kicked away from the figure, gasping in a panic. The shape moved ever so slightly and uttered another gurgling moan that was as pathetic as a dying child’s. This composed Moira into another set of emotions and instincts…maternal ones. Stronger in her than was her fear were these feelings. They gave her mind sudden clarity and she remembered the strange words the boy said….”Yur saff….Moira Daaahter of Brien….” This after the unknowable horror had been taken away from her by his hand.
She veritably leapt to the boy’s side and touched the wet cloak. He was warm….too warm.
The figure at first tensed at the touch and whimpered…but as Moira smoothed the curdled cloth with her hand the tenseness seemed to ease a little. “Oh, lad, do not be frightened…I’ll get ye help. Such a brave lad!” Moira uttered rather mindlessly…rather more she let her feelings talk.
The boy relaxed completely at her words and went utterly limp into the ground. This made Moira very nervous. She hoped she had not just soothed this child’s way into heaven! “Lad! Laddie??” She shook him, but no further response did he make. A moment and she felt him breathe again which gave her some comfort, but she knew she had to get him inside from this dreadful storm…which, weirdly, seemed to be easing off as rapidly as it had come on. But, it was still wet and so cold and he with the fever!
Not knowing anything else she could do, she went to lift him and found she couldn’t…he was way too heavy! Her hands also touched what seemed to be, metal? No matter…she HAD to get him inside! She took him by the arms and dragged him in…it had been the only way and she prayed to Jesus that it would not be the end of him for having to do so. Only God knew what that….THING….had done to him!
By some might she did not know she had, she managed to lift the manly weight of the slight boy onto her bed and gently turn him over so he could breathe. She was quite exhausted from the effort, but there was no time to rest. She started a fire and quickly closed the door to staunch the draft forgetting that there was a gaping hole in her wall. She tried to light some lights but found that the power was out so she lit her candles she always had at the ready. She took one to her bedside so she could have a better look at the boy so as to report to the EMTs though they could not be here for several minutes or possibly an hour or more.
Her head was racing with all these considerations when the boy moaned again and seemed to want to utter a scream that strangled in his throat. This froze Moira for a second. When she thawed, her hands flew to him and her mouth uttered things of comfort and shushings.
The boy was panting now and his head seemed to be moving back and forth under his strange hood. He mumbled things that she thought might be Gaelic, but she could not make them out. She moved the candle near to him and pushed back the hood…what she saw completely astonished her.
The face looked like no other face she’d ever seen on man or boy, no matter how fair. She thought that this might be a girl at first, but the jaw was too strong. The features were similar to oriental ones, but he was not oriental in shade, and the closed eyes were too big. The eyes were the strangest part, and perhaps the most beautiful part about him. Long lashes and rimmed with natural shading. She wondered what they would be like when he opened them. They would be bigger than an ordinary boy’s. Moira was reminded, suddenly, of what he looked like to her. He almost looked like one of those Japanese anime characters come to life. She touched the face to stoke the high cheekbone…soft as a lily petal and just as pale.
Pale…! Oh Heavens! Her hands reached down to where she thought she saw that terrible whip strike the boy and was double astounded when she parted the cape-like cloak about his torso. It glimmered under the candlelight did the armor the boy wore! It glimmered in gold and green. It was patterned with intricate rings and countering, just like…just like a crop circle! It was jointed with intricate joins that allowed for the full expression of movement. Upon the breast was a great green sparkling relief that formed three great interlocking hoops that looked a little like a shamrock. It was perhaps the most beautiful garment she’d ever seen on anyone…including the ones King William V wore to his coronation a few years ago!
One word could not help but echo in her mind….."Leprechaun!"
The word was pushed back as she saw the sharp gash that took the length of his torso from his left breast to his right side….it had managed to rip right through the beautiful armor…now Moira was scared. This was a deadly wound! She went to touch where the slice had penetrated the armor but a delicately long white hand shot over it before she could touch. She looked up…the ‘boy’ was still asleep so she gently moved the hand aside; he did not struggle with her. He complained a bit as she searched for a way of undoing the armor. She found a crease in the side and at her touch something snapped. The ‘boy’ breathed a sigh of relief when she did this.
Her fingers found the edges of the crease and found that the armor wanted to come away from the boy’s chest. With the delicacy of the archaeologist she was, she removed the armor from the boy…thankfully the metal did not cling to his wound.
There was no shirt under the armor…just skin. The same delicate pale skin that was on the ‘boy’s’ face, only this white perfection was marred by a terrible ruby red gash that oozed and smoked? She brought the light closer. The wound was an even slice all the way through, but it did not bleed out. Looking more closely, she saw that the wound oozed inside, but that a red smoke was steaming out of the wound where the blood oozed. A sharp tang touched her nose, a smell like roast beef and copper.
Then she realized it the blood was actually…evaporating!
”Leprechaun!!” the inner voice seemed to yell!
“Who on earth are you, laddie?” She shook off the perplexed look she had and went for some warm water to bathe the wound, antiseptic, and field dressings. She kept the medical kit with her for field trips. Being an archaeologist required one to be a medic more times than not. She probably had dressed more wounds than most RNs. This wound had to be stablised as soon as possible so the EMTs could transport. She also went for her cell phone, but realized how would an EMT be able to handle someone like…this?
She brought back the water, sterile dressings, gauzes, and the antiseptic. She kept the phone nearby, just in case.
“Ok, mon brave, this is just a bit of warm water. I’ve got to clean your wound or you’ll get very sick!” Her voice was suddenly very matronly.
Bright green eyes snapped open as the first trickle of water touched the wound…and started to sizzle!
“RRRRRRRRRAAAAARG!” the being cut loose with a scream like a damned soul. His hand struck out, heel first, in a deft move which knocked Moira ass over tea kettle. The candle that was now tumbling through the air redirected itself into his hand without snuffing out.
He applied the flame directly to the length of his wound. This…did not hurt him terribly! The wound sealed itself at the flame’s touch. The being let out a great sigh and fell back into repose while gently putting the candle on the bed stand next to him still quite lit.
Moira’s eyes were wide and she wondered when she was going to wake up from this nightmare!
The glittering green eyes looked out at her from the shadows cast by the candle next to the bed. They blinked now and again as they regarded her for a few long moments.
Moira’s dry mouth worked and when she found her voice what came out was rather comical considering the circumstance: “Why did you up and do that for!?”
“Wahter does not agree with my people overly much, Moira daaahter of Brien.” That same strange timbered voice answered her - cross between a woman and a man’s, yet more musical than either.
“I greatly apologize for the whacking you…it was totally reflexive on my part.” He said with true conviction.
“I, uh, no worries…er…lad. It just took me for a bit of a shock. I’ve been dealt worse.” She lied. She managed to stand, but did not approach the bed.
“Ah, Moira, do not fear so. As you may have noticed, heel punch aside, I mean you less than harm and more than help.” He gestured and a knocked over chair in the corner righted itself and gently dragged itself over to the bedside. Moira rang her eyes like a fool and looked again to make sure she saw what she just saw. She was sure she was nursing a concussion now. It was the only logical explanation.
“Hu..how did you do that?” Moira asked with quiet shock.
“Magic. Come sit, you must be tired from all this trouble.” She found that she didn’t want to resist the summons and did as told. He said the word ‘magic’ like it was nothing.
“How do you know my name?” she found herself suddenly lost in big eyes that slanted slightly and whose color brought to mind sunlight through elms or rain washed grass on a summer day. He blinked those lashes at her and the smile that had not left his face since her sitting by him seemed to grow in mirth.
“Ah…lass. I’ve always known YOUR name. I knew it the day you were given it by your mother Megan…not a minute after you were born into this world at St. Stephen’s Hospital.” He spoke with music of things only told her by her mother, God rest her soul. This brought an instant tear to her eye because she could suddenly see her mother’s face smiling from where the being sat.
“How did you know my mother? Who are you!? What are you?? What was that THING!? Why is this happening!!!?” Moira could no longer contain herself and was now sobbing openly.
Strong arms enveloped her and a scent filled her that was licorice and mint - his scent. Two of her most favorite and most soothing smells. She found herself sobbing into the shoulder of this being who reached to her with such love.
“Hush’new. It’s all over. Like I said…you are safe…and by my steaming blood you shall remain so.” He assured with utmost confidence. She could hear a heart in his chest and she felt that amazing warmth.
She looked up again into those timeless depths that were his eyes and found that they had traded places, as if by magic. She now lay upon the bed and he sat in the chair. “You have me at a disadvantage, Sir.” She said dreamily. “You know my name, but I know not yours.”
He sat back, the candlelight caught him a bit better so she could see him more clearly. The hood was off his head now. His strange, angular and soft visage turned well in the firelight catching his high cheekbones. His eyes still glowed huge in his head making his small narrow nose and slight rose lips seem to dwindle away into his face. His eyebrows were arched at the corner of his eyes, slightly thick over the eyes and tapering toward his temples, giving his delicate face a very masculine appearance. They were light in color. His hair hung in long locks about his face like a mane. It was hard to tell in the firelight but his hair seemed to be various shades of ash blond with platinum highlights. Part of his intricate hairstyle was tied up in the back in a large French braid with something that seemed to twinkle.
“My name is Ja’rraghaan’n…but you can call me Joraan, if you prefer.” He said simply and lit a small pipe he had been carrying in a glittering boot that Moira had failed to see before. A scent of wild jasmine and cherries filled the room as he puffed away.

Thank you for reading.

I always appreciate comments.

@Copyright 2010 Michael DuMonte; All Rights Reserved
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6 hours ago, damack1957 said:

Hi, just wanted to say that I am finding this story to be fascinating. Best wishes.

Thank you! It has taken me a while to get back around to it. It is one I've had bubbling in my mind for a long while now. 

I hope you enjoy the rest of it.

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