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Chapter Nine

“Deataigh! How did you get in here?” Alanna’s surprised exclamation had Liam looking up to stare at her.

The silver grey cat was winding his way through the chair legs where they sat at slanted tables gently lifting fragile pages bound in ancient leather covers. In the soft light of the archive gallery, his checkerboard coal grey spots gleamed like polished pewter.

You will find her here, my Muireanne. Well not mine, my ancestor’s. I am like you a direct descendant of her Deataigh. I am startled that you would pick the name her cat had, so many lifetimes ago.

“Did you hear that Liam?” Alanna knew her face must be a sight, as she snapped her jaws shut.

“What would I hear? He’s a silent wanderer, your cat. And he is yours, and big at that,” Liam responded.

“I swear this cat is talking to me. How?”

“Hmmpf,” Liam’s grunt was disgruntled, like he was talking to a dolt. “You’re a witch. A powerful one at that, if what you’ve told me about Fagan and Davis Hanson is true. You should have a familiar, right?”

“No one in our family has one.”

“No one in your family is here in Ireland where magic flows freely, and we still believe there are fairy hills in the oak groves.” Liam said it with a straight face, and not even the slights quirk of his lips.

“What? Fairy hills?” Alanna thought back her trip into a different dimension, a single night of adventure which changed her belief in time as a straight line.

“I’ll take you there someday soon,” Liam promised.

“Is it close enough we can walk?”

“It’s a fair hike, but I can take the delivery van, if we go on a Sunday after mass. We’ll take a picnic. It will have to be before the winter storms start though.”

“Before Samhain then.” Alanna said.

“That would be good.” Liam nodded his head at her plan.

Alanna turned another page in the huge church ledger which recorded births, marriages and deaths in Cork County during the reign of the MacCarthy.

“If I’m to believe my cat here, Deataigh tells me my ancestor was Muireanne. If he’s my familiar, you’re right, I should be able to hear him and what he has to say.”

The cat leapt from the floor to balance on the narrow top edge of the desk they were seated at. His mewling cry echoed from the granite stone walls.

Muireanne, and her knight, Sir Torin, the MacCarthy’s knight and leader of his Irish army. His keen ability kept the Norse from completely running us out of Ireland. He, and his fighting men, stopped the invasion here in the West.

“Ha! I saw it, the cat was talking to you again, right?” Liam pointed a finger at Deataigh.

“What gave it away? Because he told me to look for Sir Torin, a knight in the MacCarthy’s army.”

“His eyes go pure gold, and yours sparkle. The little gold flecks in them shimmer and then they turn back to your usual color. His too.” Liam sounded like he didn’t quite believe what he had seen.

“At least I’m not hallucinating.”

“Look, here,” Liam touched the bottom of his page.

Alanna read the line, “Muireanne, born June 16th, 1224. Died at the stake 1257.” Alanna’s voice quivered with shock as she read, shuddering at her ancestor’s horrifying demise.

“Well, we know she was here. I’m sorry she was put to death is such an awful way.” Liam comforted her with a half hug.

“Deataigh, you have to go. If Father Patrick catches you in here, he’ll have a fit.”

Then open the door, I will not be climbing through between the stones again. I promise I will be home with Cardamon when you get back.

His ragged scabbed up ear twitched as he landed on the floor padding his way to the closed glass door.

Hurry, I can hear the priest coming this way. You would do well to tell him of your need to search the journals of the Archbishop who ruled here when Muireanne was alive.

Alanna yanked the door open, and Deataigh disappeared into the dim shadows to the right as Father Patrick came striding down the hall from the left.

“I was just coming to get you. We found her!” Alanna’s excitement at her discover was genuine.

“I expected you would. Is there anything else you would like to research? I doubt you would be satisfied with finding her.”

“She died at the stake. I would like to find the records of her trial, if they exist.” Liam suggested.

“The Archbishop would be the one to read about. He ruled with an iron fist. No tolerance of anything that wasn’t a miracle of God’s making. Anything else?” The priest seemed to know they had more information to confirm.

“Sir Torin. Have you studied these records at all?” Alanna asked.

“Since I’ve been sent here, I’ve read those which were easily deciphered. Sir Torin? Hmphf. I’m not sure I’ve seen the name.”

“He’s got to be in here. I’ll be looking for a record of Muireanne’s daughter, born out of wedlock. We think her father was Sir Torin.” Alanna told him.

“You’ve been dreaming again, have you child?” The priest made the leap she was hoping for.

“Yes. More intensely than ever.” Alanna hoped her lie would never reach the confessional.

“You will have to come back next week. I’ve no time for you until then, and I will have to search out the journals for you. They are stored in a different section and haven’t seen the light of day for over a century according to our records.” Father Patrick closed the ledgers carefully. “I’ll keep these handy for next time as well.”

“It’s almost five o’clock,” Liam said as he glance at his IWatch.

“Time to go home. Thank you, father. Can we come back next week?” Alanna asked.

“Of course, after school for you Liam. Are you going to go to school too?” The priest’s eyes held Alanna’s as he asked his question.

“I have to check with the university which has accepted me, but probably. I’ll be joining his senior class as soon as I know if the courses will be accepted for my accelerated program.”

“Good, I’m sure it will keep your mind off your dreams.” The priest held the door open for them as they exited the archives.

Alanna bit her tongue on the retort she knew would only get her into hot water. Liam’s green eyes twinkled as they met hers, with his own silently mischievous thoughts.

They took the stairs down from the church doors quickly, moving at a swift pace until Alanna confirmed the priest had retreated and the oaken barriers were locked once more.

“I couldn’t very well tell him I’d been talking to the cat,” Alanna said with a giggle.

Liam chuckled in response, his chest heaving with merriment. “Let him assume you’re dreaming. By the way, have you had any the last few nights?”

“Not since Cardamon gave me some black tourmaline and amethyst crystals to put under my pillows.”

“I wish I knew more about crystal lore. Even if I haven’t got the faintest bit of ability, I would think I could use them to protect me and encourage some good to come into my life,” Liam said.

“Feng shui, according to Chen Chi. There is some science to placement of crystals, mirrors and plants within your dwelling or workplace according to the ancient Chinese.”

“So, more than one culture believes in the power of crystals to help in your life.”

“It’s complicated, but yes.” Alanna said. “You can find books about it in almost any library.”

“Or just google it.”

“That too. I kind of like reading in a real book though,” Alanna admitted.

“I’m home, take Cardamon to the school tomorrow, and your transcripts and questions for the headmaster.” Liam turned to open the door at his family’s store.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Alanna promised as she waved goodbye.

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