Member Reading: Fiona ni’Giollarua – Chapter 5 of “The Fires of Bealteine”

Maeve erupted into her quarters, screeching, smashing, crashing through all that lay in her path—torn topsy-turvy, shattered and splintered—tossed and shredded, rent and gaping. She was Fury. She was Frenzy. She was Fatal. She sobbed and screamed and howled—a great outpouring of rage. Then, just as sudden as its onslaught, the storm inside her stopped; a frightening hush descended…the sound of Maeve plotting.

The gaze from her swollen eyes fell upon a non-descript palm-sized wooden casket. It lay partly hidden by the spilled contents of an overturned trunk. She stared at it for some time, numb; recognition crept in. She took it up, in disconnected wonderment, turning it this way and that, as she ran one finger along its well-worn edges.  How many other fingers had done the same?

She sniffed and wiped her snotty nose, then with her thumb, pushed the catch and flipped back the lid. There it was, nestled in the bottom, lightly resting. She lifted a tiny silken bag from the chest by a gossamer thin drawstring as fine as spider web and  let it dangle from her finger—twisting, untwisting,  with the sun, against the sun, deosil and tuathal

She gave it careful scrutiny. Good. There were no stains; she teased the string with small delicate movements. There was no need for hurry. That caused errors. She inhaled resolve.

Maeve exposed the fragile lid. Peering closely, the seal appeared patent. She held her breath, as she gingerly lifted the miniscule glass, holding it between forefinger and thumb. There was no residue on the outside. That was good too. The syrupy golden liquid flowed unspoiled, deceptive and languid. She exhaled cold calculation.

The small bottle may prove well worth the expense yet; the quality seemed to be as good as what had been promised. Simple, effective and deadly swift, it was the answer to her present difficulty. Now, the real question was which one? She paused, suspended in the still point as she tapped the glass lightly, ever so lightly, against her palm, rolling it back and forth, back and forth. Think. Her animal eyes glittered, red rimmed in the dark.

She smiled, a slow, death’s head smile of patient reward. Good things come in small packages; good things come to those who wait. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer. Revenge is best served cold. Platitudes swirled in her head. A thin hysterical giggle rose in her throat. She stifled it, covering her mouth with her free hand.

“Both”. She said with soft dispassion. She tucked the tiny promise into its bag, and gently closed the lid of the miniature chest. It clicked shut with the smallest of sound that barely rippled the fabric of this world, or the next. Silence cloaked her, and she sat there awhile, in the dim grey hovering between dark and dawn, in the land of shadows where she was well known and welcome.  

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