Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shannon and heather : Shannon's Requiem mass

Anglo Saxon cross

A sad procession came into the church, led by the King and Queen who flanked the minstrel Rory McGuinness. As the party of mourners from the castle took the only seats in the church, many servants and people from the town filled the cold stone floor behind them.

It was clear that the Irishman was struggling to stay calm. Both the King and Queen were solicitous and helped him pass through the doors and into the nave. The King supported him when he genuflected before the altar. They sat him between them. All eyes glanced to the man who had served his friend Shannon O'Neill so long and so well.

By all tradition this mass should not have taken place. Suicides were seen as beyond God's grace, but Lawrence, the King, had made it crystal clear to the Bishop that the O'Neill was a lost soul deserving of the Kyrie. There was no body, so hallowed ground would not be called upon to accept O'Neill's remains.

The Bishop and the priests served the mass behind the screen while the mourners listened, uninvolved in the activities of the mass.

Sung in plainsong, the requiem began,

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

(In English: Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may light eternal shine upon them. )

Somber faces cast down eyes in grief and prayer. The Queen was seen to move her lips with much passion when the Kyrie was sung:

Kyrie, eleison! Christe, eleison! Kyrie, eleison!

Lawrence, seeing Josephine's intense visage, thought, "Aye, Lord, have mercy on this good man who lost his way."

It was when the mass reached the Tract that Rory finally broke down and wept, having to be supported on either side by the King and Queen:

Absolve, Domine, animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omni vinculo delictorum. Et gratia tua illis succurrente mereantur evadere judicium ultionis. Et lucis aeternae beatitudine perfrui.

(In English: Absolve, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin. And by the help of Thy grace may they be enabled to escape the avenging judgement. And enjoy the happiness of everlasting life.

The final words of the Valedictio sung and the mass ended the Bishop came out to put his hamds on Rory and to bless him and promise to pray for Shannon and for the ease of grief for all.

As the mourning party came outside, they were surprised to see the crowd waiting. The sounds of keening rose all about. Josephine could no longer hold in tears and clung to both Rory and her husband. As best they could the party made its way through the throng and to the waterfront. There the princesses Caithness and Elaine threw armloads of flowers into the water. Rory broke away from the King and Queen and stepped off the beach into the shallow water and fell on his knees. He wept and cried out in Gaelic, lifting his hands to the sky and seeming to beg the Universe for some act of mercy. He reached into the water and brought up palms full of it and poured it on his head.

Lawrence and Lorin came forward into the water next to him after a feew moments and raised him to his feet. With grave faces, the mourners returned to the castle, with the calls of love and sympathy from the people who lined their path.

Requiescat in pace, Shannon O'Neill.

Next: Rory in Good Company

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .