— Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds —
In 11th century Ireland, Étaín must hide her pagan magic from her pious Christian priest husband, Airtre. She wants to escape his physical abuse, but she must stay to protect their grandson, Maelan. Over many lifetimes, she has learned how to endure her own pain, but Maelan is young and vulnerable.
When Airtre’s paranoia and jealousy spiral out of control, Étaín has no choice but to escape in the night with little more than the clothing on her back, leaving a trusted friend to protect Maelan.
This is not the first lifetime Étaín has fled, and she knows how to survive. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she must make decisions that may result in disaster for her, her grandson, and everyone she loves.
Étaín held Maelan’s hand and looked around. The abbot said their tutor would meet them here. One monk rose and shuffled toward them, his face hidden in a pale cowl. When approaching, he flipped the fabric back, revealing a young face with blond hair and high cheekbones. His tonsure looked freshly shaved from the shiny skin of his forehead. His solemn expression burst out with a cheery smile when he got close.
“You must be Maelan. I’m called Odhar. The abbot told me to meet my new student here, but I had no idea I’d have the pleasure of two, my lady…?”
Flustered, she stammered before she got control of her words. “No, no, I’m no student, Brother. I’m merely Maelan’s grandmother, Étaín. I’m escorting him into your charge, no more than that.”
“Ah, but I’d be delighted to teach two, and it offers many more opportunities than just one. Are you certain you wouldn’t like to stay for the lessons?”
Étaín truly wished to say yes, of course; she’d be thrilled to stay. She’d always been curious about the world, history, and the law, but as a woman, she’d never been granted the opportunity for formal schooling. She’d learned her letters only due to an indulgent, loving husband. Even if Airtre accepted Maelan’s schooling, he would never accept hers. The memory of his beating three winters ago made her flinch. Her life would be miserable if he ever discovered such a thing.
However, she had an idea. “Alas, I cannot, truly. Perhaps we can chat when I come to pick him up? Just for a little while.”
He took her hand in his with firm pressure. “I would be elated. Will you return at Sext? We can steal an hour before the lad must be off, certainly?”
It just might work. Maelan would be eager to escape to his sword practice, but she might slice a few minutes to discuss the lad’s education. Airtre would surely never argue against that.
Maelan looked apprehensively at his new tutor. “You look too young to teach. How old are you?”
Aghast, Étaín said, “Maelan! That’s not a polite statement, nor a proper question!”
Odhar laughed and patted Maelan’s shoulder. “Lad, I’ll never chastise you for a good question, and yours was indeed a good one. I have twenty-seven winters but have been studying in the monastery for twenty of those. Is that wise enough for you?”
A druid spent twenty winters in the oak groves, according to legend. Étaín held her breath, for fear Maelan would give another rude answer. Instead, her grandson acquitted himself admirably. “It sounds quite acceptable. I’m sure there’s much you can teach me.”
Odhar turned to her, a silly grin still on his face. “Never fear, good lady. I shall keep good care of your ward for the hours he’s in my care. Perhaps I might even teach him a few things. Now leave us to our lessons, and we shall see you again at Sext.”
Author Bio and Links:
Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, is an author, artist and accountant. After she failed to become an airline pilot, she quit her ceaseless pursuit of careers that begin with ‘A’, and decided to concentrate on her writing. Since she has Project Completion Disorder, she is one of the few authors she knows with NO unfinished novels.
Christy has her hands in many crafts, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she’s a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were.
She wants to expose the incredible beauty in this world, hidden beneath the everyday grime of familiarity and habit, and share it with others. She uses characters out of time and places infused with magic and myth.
Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.
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