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 http://authorchristophermoss.vlogspot.com
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Shannon's and Rory's Journey: Shannon and Heather Finally Meet in Lawrenciium, Part iI - The Road to Lawrencium
Shannon watched Rory as they walked along the familiar path south to Lawrencium. “Rory, old son, what be ye lookin’ for all along the way?”
They were in a forest now, with springs that came out of the chalky ground of northern Christenlande. Rory had been thinking he caught sight of a pale blue dress or a flaxen haired head most all the way down from the River Humber. “Och, ‘tis that girl I have been tellin’ ye about. I keep thinkin’ I am after seein’ her in these woods around.”
“The girl? The one we saw near Sherwood? But, man, we are nowhere near Sherwood here.” Shannon barely remembered even that encounter.
Rory flashed him a vexed smile. “Now Shan, I am that sure I told ye about the other times I saw her.. on the road to Darlington, in Darlington, at Sean’s and Emily’s and in Newcastle.”
Shannon thought, “But those were dreams, ye said.”
“Nay, Shan, ye were the one who said ‘twere dreams. I told ye I truly saw her and that she spoke to me.” Rory cast a look about again.
“Och, she must be some kind of spirit or ghost. How could she be where’er we were?” Shannon paused. “But if we were there, then she could be as well I suppose.”
Rory replied, “Aye, but I saw her vanish into the air two times. She be no mortal lass.” He continued to watch about him. Then he went on, distantly, “Sure and she said she needed me help, and that she would help me.”
Shannon looked over at him. “Help with what?”
Rory shook his head, “I dinnae know.”
When they came out of the forest where Heather had just a few days before, and saw Lawrencium and the castle above it, Shannon stopped. “Rory, me boy, I should be dashin’ down this road to me darlin’s arms.. but I… I feel a forbodin’. I know not what of.”
There were several children playing in the courtyard as Shannon and Rory, with smiling waves and greetings to and from the guards at the gates, came within. Shannon saw them first, thinking to find Peter with his mates, but instead he saw Tavish sticking close to the side of a taller and somewhat older boy. Shannon stopped in his tracks when he saw the boy, the mop of red hair, taller, more slender than he recalled. “Seamus?” he called.
The boy heard and spun. The likeness was unmistakable. The same coloring, the same eyes, the same nose, and of course the same hair. When the boy smiled his recognition, it was the same smile as well. “Shannon!” he shouted and ran to his father.
When Rory caught up to the two, Shannon had taken the boy by the shoulders and was beaming at him. “Seamus, me boy, ye are so tall! Sure and I hoped to find ye here. Where are ye’r mother and sister! Rory, look, it is Seamus!”
Rory smiled his hello and Seamus looked at him a moment, then grinned. “I remember ye, Rory. Mother and Deirdre are inside, Shannon.”
Shannon was a little surprised that his son called him by his name and not “da” but instead of commenting on that he said, “Saints, ye sound like a Scot!”
Rory interjected, “Well and the boy was after livin’ in Scotland most o’ his life.”
Shannon had not stopped smiling. Now he looked up at the keep. “Take me t’ye’r mother and sister, boyo.”
Seamus smiled as his father tousled his hair. He turned and led the way into the keep. Inside Rory said, “I shall let the King and Queen know we are here.. ye go find Heather and Deirdre.”
Shannon mounted the stairs with his son. “Shannon, what happened t’ye? What is wrong with ye’r nose and those scars?” Seamus was looking at him concerned.
“Och, ‘tis nothin’.. just a scrape I be after getting’ meself into .” He added “Seamus, will ye not call me Da? I am ye’r father.” He put his arm around the boy’s shoulders.
The boy did not reply but just felt the deep satisfaction of his father’s arm around him.
At their chamber door, which Shannon noted was the same one Juliana had occupied, he reached to knock, but Seamus just opened it and bounded in. “Mother, look, it’s Da!”
Heather was sitting on the edge of the bed that Shannon remembered Juliana had sat on during their many conversations. He stopped and just gazed. “Och, me darlin’, ye are as pretty as ever ye were.”
Seamus smiled, looking from man to woman. Shannon caught sight of the little girl, the daughter he had not seen since she was tiny. “Deirdre? Is that ye, me lass? What a beauty ye are! And so like ye’r mother!” He advanced but the little girl dashed to her mother and sat on the bed on the farther side of her, away from Shannon. “Och, and just as shy I be after seein’.” Shannon looked at Heather.
She looked back at him, grim faced. He asked, “What be the matter, me love? Is it the scars, the nose?”
Seamus jumped in helpfully, “He was in a scrape, Mother.”
Heather finally spoke. “One of many, and that I can believe. Not changed then, Shannon?”
He stared at his wife unsure how to respond, then said, “Much changed, Heather. Much changed.”
The woman stood up from the bed and walked over to him. She did not hide that she sniffed for the smell of ale. “Heather, I have not touched a drop since.. well, in weeks.”
“Ye expect me to believe that, Shannon?” She turned to the boy. “Seamus, take ye’r sister out and play. Ye’r father and I have to talk.”
Seamus reluctantly went and took Deirdre’s hand. He looked at his father, who winked and nodded, and left the chamber.
Heather finished what she was saying. “Ye are about as likely to give up the drink as ye are to give up the wenchin’.”
Shannon’s face was gray. “I have not touched a woman since before I got ye’r message that ye were comin’ down to see me.”
Heather stared back at him unbelieving. “Even if I believed ye, we two know how long that will last, O’Neill.”
Shannon gave her a long, measuring look. "Heather, I dinnae know what ye came here for. Sure and it's clear not for me."
She shifted uncomfortably. "Shannon," she began, "I want all ties between us severed. I came to tell ye that I have gotten a dissolution of our marriage vows."
Shannon stared at her, stricken. "Dissolution? How can ye get a dissolution? Do ye mean to tell me that the little girl who was just here ne'er have seen the light of day? We made her together, Heather, we made her in love."
She glared. "I am surprised ye think of the children at all. Ye have not seen them or me for a lang, lang time."
Shannon reached to take her shoulders in his hands. She jerked away. "Ye told me not to come. Ye told me ye wouldnae let me see them if I did. I respected ye'r wishes," he pleaded.
Heather sniffed contemptuously. "Well it is over all the same. Remember how drunk ye were at our wedding? And how ye got the priest drunk as well? I reminded him of that. I convinced the priest ye lied to me, that ye'r vows were made with ye'r fingers crossed. Also that he had been unfit to sanctify the marriage. He gave me an annulment. We are no longer wed and never were." She left him standing where he was.
"But… but.. can I not change ye'r mind? Can I not prove to ye I can be that true, if ye just stay with me and be my dearest one?" He moved towards her.
"Nay, " she snapped. "It is too late. Shannon, I am wed again."
He stopped with a jerk. "Wed? Wed? To who?"
"That does not concern ye. I made this long journey just to show ye the kindness of tellin’ ye myself and so ye could see ye'r children for the last time. I should think ye would show more gratitude." She moved to the door. "I want ye to leave. I will stay so ye can see the children and say goodbye. But I do not want ye coming to this room any more. It is not ye'r wife's room." She opened the door.
Without raising his head to look at her, he passed Heather and slumped through the doorway.
Next: Shannon and Heather Finally Meet in Lawrencium - Part III North Sea
Labels: Shannon and Heather series