Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dusty & Drew

Dusty & Drew: Intro
'They' say it is better to have loved and lost than it is to have never loved at all. But what happens when your lost love returns to your life nine years after fate tore the two of you apart?

They' say it is better to have loved and lost than it is to have never loved at all. But what happens when your lost love returns to your life nine years after fate tore the two of you apart? This is just the situation that Andrew Carver has found himself in. He has returned to the last place that he can remember feeling truly happy, if only for a short time. He had just run away from an abusive relationship and possibly a murder charge. The whole incident was still blurry in his mind. People say that when something goes wrong they see it all happening in slow motion right before their eyes. But Andrew Carver, being born blind, could only remember standing there, the feeling of  the gun in his hand going off, followed by the sounds of breaking furniture. He knew he had to leave, had to go, somewhere... but where could he go?

Suddenly, shaken from his daze by a careless worker in a hurry, he remembered that he wasn't standing in that shattered apartment in Alexandria he was in Alabama, standing in the middle of the bread aisle of a supermarket that he remembered from his childhood. That got him thinking about when he was living in this town as a child, all the wonderful things that happened as well as a few not-so-wonderful things, such as his first 'boyfriend' Dusty Drake. It was about that time that he heard "'Drake, phone call. And make it quick, you already left early yesterday so unless the hospital is involved you need to make up for the time you lost."' called out, and he was almost knocked over by a large store-worker rushing to answer the boss that had pulled his attention away.

As the two bodies collided and fell to the floor the store worker caught the other man as he fell, and twisted so that he took the brunt of the fall, as they were laying there on the floor the store worker looked at the man laying on top of him. Suddenly recognition took the worker by surprise, so much so that he blurted out, "Drew?" before plunging headlong into a long suppressed memory from 15 years prior....
Dustin Drake was bored, well as bored as a nine year old can be when he has every game console on the market at his disposal, as well as most of the games that go to them. He and his family lived in Alberta, Alabama. Even with all that, he was bored. He was laying back on his bed when he noticed a flash go across the ceiling. Getting up and moving over to his window brought a moving truck into his view. Standing next to the moving truck was a boy about the same age as Dustin. His name was Andrew Carver and he would change Dustin's life forevermore with seven little letters.

Dusty & Drew: Chapter One: First Meeting

Andrew stood there with his hand on the door of the truck waiting for his mother to climb out and show him around their new home, the third one that he could remember. Andrew was upset with his parents for tearing him away from all he had gotten used to and dragging him here, hell he didn't even know where here was.

Andrew was getting even more irritated by the moment, standing there waiting on his parents to finish talking in the privacy of the truck. He wasn't really all that angry with his mother because she didn't have anymore choice in the move than Andrew did. His father worked for the Army as some type of administrative type paper-pusher, at least that is what Andrew thought he was. Little did he know that years in the future his life would be torn asunder once more, but we will come to that in due time.

So when his fathers bosses told him that they needed him in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in one weeks time, his father packed up the family, sold the house, and rented a U-Haul and started driving. So there Andrew stood in a place that he knew nothing about and where he knew absolutely no one. To say he was unhappy was like saying lava is warm. To top it all off he suddenly realized why the name 'Tuscaloosa' sounded familiar, it was home to the University of Alabama, but more importantly it was also the home of the Crimson Tide. Andrew was an Auburn fan so his discontent with the move redoubled upon itself due to having to deal with the 'enemy' on their own territory.

As he was waiting he heard the voice of another boy coming up behind him saying, "Y'all movin' into the ole' Baker place?" Andrew turned towards the sound of the young voice as it continued saying, "Momma told me the sheriff hauled all of 'em away after somethin' blowed up out'n that old shed, alls I know was they's was a big BOOM an' the whole neighborhood smelled like rottin' eggs fer a week." The young boy continued to ramble on, completely oblivious to the fact that his audience of one was clueless as to what he was being told, "An' I sure am glad the sheriffs done took them away, they was mean folk, didn't like kids I don't think.... OH shit, I forgot to tell you who I am. I am Dustin Micheal Drake, I live just over yonder 'cross the street." Dustin pointed off to the side towards his house then held out his hand to shake while he asked, "Why are you wearing those dark sunglasses? Don't you know it's almost nighttime an' you don't need 'em cause there ain't no sun at night?"

You see, this was another reason that Andrew was so angry with his parents, not only did they yank away everything that he was familiar with but, because he was born blind, he had no idea what was around him so he couldn't even walk over and wait by the door of the house. He was cautious person by nature, so he didn't want to move away from the truck for fear that he would stumble and hurt himself or get lost along the way.

Andrew looked towards the voice once more and stated in a matter of fact tone, "It wouldn't matter if it the sun was up, I still wouldn't be able to see anything. I'm blind, so it really doesn't matter if i take the sunglasses off or not."

Dustin cocked his head to the side for a moment then asked, "So you can't see anything? Why d'ya wear the sunglasses if they don't do nothin' to help you see?"

Andrew was starting to get exasperated with this boy Dustin, so he said, "I don't wear them to help me, I wear them because people say it is rude to stare and, since I can't see I don't know if I am staring at someone or not, so I have to wear these stupid things so people don't get pissed at me for staring."

Right at that moment Andrew's mother opened the truck door and heard him cuss. The next thing that Andrew heard was his mother yelling, "Andrew Micheal Carver the Third! I am going to wash your mouth out with soap if I ever hear one more swear word out of your mouth, and that buddy is a promise!"

After giving her son a stern look, that was totally wasted on him, Andrews mother asked, "And who is this young man? Aren't you going to introduce us, Andrew?"

Dustin grinned widely and said, "My name is Dustin Micheal Drake, I live just over there. I was jus' tellin' Andrew 'bout the people that done got hauled off by the sheriffs after the 'round back. They was mean people so I's glad they's gone."

To which Andrews mother responded, "Well then, I am glad to meet you Dustin, I am Honey Carver and my husband over there is Andrew Carver the Second, but everyone just calls him Junior. Do your parents know that you are over here, Dustin?"

Dustin replied, "Yes ma'am, my momma said that she would change clothes and be over here in a few minutes with Dad to help you get yer stuff in 'for it gets dark, an theys sayin' on the news that its gonna be rainin' tonight too." Dustin looked down the street and saw his parents headed that way so he turned back to Honey and Andrew to say, "There they is."

Honey looked up and saw a man walking towards them, as well as a woman that looked very familiar to her but she couldn't quite place where she could be familiar from. Then as the couple got closer Honey yelped in surprise, "Carolyn Lockheart! What are you doing here?"

The other woman got a perplexed look on her face, then with a dawning look of shock she said, "Honey Pannell! Oh My God, it IS you! What happened? The last I heard you were getting married to some guy in the military and ran away from town to get away from your family?  Not that I blame you, with the way they treated you. And I am soo sorry i couldn't make your wedding, I was busy giving birth to this ten pound monster child that day. And it's Drake now not Lockheart." she said with a laugh as she put her arms on Dustin's shoulders.

Honey responded by saying, yeah I did marry a military man and my last name is Carver now, Junior is over there at the back of the truck trying to find the linens for the bedrooms right now. We decided to just make pallets on the floor tonight and worry about moving things in tomorrow. By the way this is my son Andrew, unfortunately I wasn't able to talk Junior out of making our sons name a number three, but it was his fathers last wish that the name be continued. Hey Dustin, why don't you take these keys and go help Andrew find his way around the house while us 'fogies' start getting the basics out of the truck?"

Dustin thought about it for a moment then shrugged his shoulders and said, "OK." then grabbed Andrew's hand and lead him off towards the house completely forgetting about the adults.

When Andrew felt Dustin's hand close around his own, he felt a tingling charge, almost like electricity, race up his arm and into his body before settling around his heart. This was a new feeling for him but he quickly identified it, though it also mystified him, and although he welcomed it at first after a few moments he became uncomfortable with this new feeling.
Once the pair of young boys were inside the house Andrew yanked his hand away from Dustin and said, "I can walk on my own, I may be blind, but I am not a two year old that needs his hand held every second of the day.

Dustin muttered, "Fine, I was just trying to help." then walked off deeper into the house, leaving Andrew standing there by himself not knowing that he was standing in front of the closed door on one side and a set of stairs on the other, and his father on the other side of the door about to open it with his arms overflowing with blankets.
Just as Junior started opening the door Dustin returned and, placing his hand on Andrews shoulder and said,"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have left you standing there like that. Your dad is coming in with some blankets, and there are three small steps down right here " as he guided Andrew down the three steps away from the door.

Dustin stood there for a moment, looking around at the empty house, before saying, "Where would you like to go? We have the living room through a door off to the left about three steps ahead, also what looks like an old library is on the right directly across from the living room...." And so it went with Dustin's hand just barely touching his shoulder, like a whisper, as he gently guided Andrew along the corridors, pointing out where all the possible problem areas such as stairs were, with Andrew's hand brushing lightly against the wall as they progressed down the hall, into the kitchen, to the back door and then towards the bedrooms.

Once they had reached the smallest of the three rooms they found Andrew and Dustin's mothers cleaning and vacuuming, getting the room ready for Andrew to stay the night in, until they moved all of the furniture into the room.

Looking around Dustin asked the two women, "Can Andrew stay In my room till all of his stuff gets here?"

The two women looked at each other and made some motions with their hands, which confused Dustin, then Carolyn said, "I think you should ask Andrew if he wants to stay at our house first, also I think that all four of us parents should discuss it before anything is decided." seeing the despondent look on her sons face Carolyn continued, "I know, I know, you really want to have your new friend over, and I don't have a problem with it, but his parents may want him to stay here for the first night."

The boys went off to explore the yard around the house, Andrew was just interested in learning where everything was while Dustin wanted to see where the shed blew up and see if there was anything interesting left over. As he was exploring Dustin noticed that there was a metal box taped to the bottom of one of the half burnt and broken tables. Once he had retrieved the box he saw the lock on the front of it but, looking closer he saw that the metal tab that folded down was almost completely torn away from the box, so he went looking for something that he could use to tear the metal the rest of the way off.

On a peg board that was hanging onto the wall by one corner Dustin found an old rusty screwdriver. 'This will work!' he thought to himself, and so he removed the screwdriver and used it to pry the last of the metal tab off the box. When the metal finally released the screwdriver slipped across the metal box, and stabbed into his hand before he dropped it on the ground and continued to try to open the box but it was stuck. At first Dustin was so intrigued with what might be in the box and trying to force the lid up, that he didn't pay attention to the pain in his hand. When he went to readjust his grip he saw a smear of bright red liquid on the side of the box that hadn't been there a few moments before, so looking around he noticed that the bright red smear was blood, at this point he had the cut hand sitting on the corner of the box digging into the cut.

After dropping the box Dustin looked at the wound on his hand that was full of dirt and soot from the box, while leaking, what in his mind was a copious amount, blood. He started to slightly whimper at the pain that was now fully in his consciousness, as the whimpering got louder it caught Andrews attention. Being blind, the burnt out shed full of broken tables and other miscellaneous junk held little attraction for him, he had been busy thinking about that weird feeling that he got the first time Dustin grabbed his hand when they where standing in the driveway. After tuning out all the noise that Dustin was making it took a few moments to realize that the whimpers were actually coming from Dustin.

Once he realized where he sound was coming from he stumbled and dragged his feet towards the sound. Coming into contact with Dustin's shoe, Andrew realized that the boy was sitting on the floor, so he asked, "What is wrong, why are your crying?" Getting no response, Andrew carefully lowered himself to the floor and gently glided his hands along the other boy, trying to "see" what was wrong. Coming to the palm of the injured hand Andrew felt a significant amount of gritty viscous liquid escaping from a small cut on the other boys palm. Though it took a moment to understand what he was feeling, Andrew finally realized that it was blood.

Andrew tried to help the larger boy stand, up so they could go back to the house to let the adults fix whatever was wrong with Dustin's hand, but the boy wouldn't move so Andrew said, as he again tried to lift the boy, "Come on, sitting here won't fix your hand, so you need to help me get you back to the house. I can't do it on my own, I can't even see where the house is, so you need to be my eyes for this....COME ON, quit sitting there like a whiny baby!"

That statement was enough to finally draw Dustin's attention away from the wound long enough to say, "I am not a whiny baby!"

Andrews response was quick in coming, and just as sharp as it was quick, "Well then prove it. Help me get back to the house so we can at least wash the blood off of your cut so our parents can see how bad it is, and whether or not you need an ambulance to the hospital or not. Geez, you are stubborn and stupid!"

When Junior and Dustin's father, who Andrew would later learn was named Carl, saw the blood on Dustin's hand and arm they immediately reacted by demanding to know what happened, at the same time. Once Dustin was able to explain that he hurt himself with a rusty screwdriver Junior jumped into action saying, "Carl, get the wound cleaned up so we can see it and I will go grab my med kit from the front seat of the moving truck." Upon hearing this Carl took Dustin by the arm and almost dragged him over to the sink and proceeded to scrub off all the blood on his son, while Andrew stood there forgotten for the moment.

When he heard his father mention the med kit he instantly knew that either Dustin had a worse wound than what he thought or, he was going to be in for a bit of pain when Junior returned, Andrew knew that the med kit contained almost every kind of medical supply imaginable because of the times that it had been used on him. His dad was given the med kit by one of his friends at work, who was a semi-retired Medic in the Army, after Andrew had started getting hurt regularly due to walking into things and just random boyhood injuries

By the time Junior returned with the kit Carl had already cleaned up the wound as best he could with just water. Since there was no soap or disinfectant in the house yet, Junior dried off the wound, that was still slowly oozing blood, and doused it with Merthiolate to disinfect the interior of the hole, Junior then asked Carl to hold Dustin's hand still and to not let him jerk. Andrew then knew that his father was about to put stitches into Dustin's hand, and cringed in sympathetic pains for what Dustin was about to feel.

Once the stitches were done Junior asked Carl, "When was his last tetanus shot?" to which Carl answered, "Umm...probably about a year ago, I think, when he broke his wrist climbing in the tree behind our house."

Junior replied, "OK, that is recent enough, but you need to watch that so that it doesn't get infected, because a puncture from something rusty could get bad really quick. I think we got all the trash out of the hole but you can never be sure of it totally."

The boys went back to exploring the yard under strict admonishment to stay within sight and away from the shed. Later that evening, once the basic items had been brought inside, Carl and Carolyn invited the new family over to their house for dinner. It was towards the end of dinner that Dustin asked the question that had been burning him alive from the inside out, "So can Andrew stay here tonight?"

The parents all looked at each other for a few moments, with head movements from each of the other adults, Junior looked at Dustin and said, "Well, I think...."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

whole enchilada


"The Time will come when three children will be born into the World of Lost Ways
"The Child of Two Fates shall be the first discovered
"Unto him will be given the gifts of Magick and the Mind of Creation and Destruction, Keeper of the Lost and Ancient Knowledge of the World
"The Separated Twins shall be be found next
"They will be born of Mortal Flesh and Bone with Immortal Cores
"The Male twin, Lover of the Child of Magick, Shall Inherit the gift of the Warrior and stand as the Body of Truth
"The Female shall be the Tie That Binds and the Embodiment of the Pure Spirit, and shall Inherit the Gifts of the Goddess Brighid
"These Three shall be the Embodiment of the Triad of Divine Right: Mind, Body, Spirit
"If ever these three should be torn asunder by Evil, the Dark Reich will be unleashed to Rise and Reign over all of the Sacred Realms Forevermore"

"To the Pure Spirit:
"Though your strength through anger is great you have forgotten how to Love
"You must learn it once more through the Warrior and the Child of Magick
"Theirs is a love that is true and pure, once you have learned this truth
"You shall become the Tie That Binds, and the Embodiment of Spirit"

"To the Body of Truth:
"The Warrior shall have the greatest Challenge of all for he shall be the Sword and Shield of the Sacred Triad
"As such the Warrior is the strongest and most vulnerable member of the Triad
"He must in one hand hold the Heart of Magick while the other must contain the Sacred Spirit all while defending His Charges from all harm
"If ever His grip should slacken for even a moment the Heart will wither and Freeze while the Spirit shall be lost to the Ethers"

"To the Mind of Creation and Destruction:
"As one born of Divided Fates yours must be the struggle of Balance
"While you may have the Strength to Right the Wrongs you must learn to let what appear to be Great Wrongs pass unhindered so they may give Birth to Great Rights
"Do not allow the Darkness which dwells within your Heart to expand for to do so would assuredly bring forth not only your own Destruction but the Destruction of all your Warrior Love by your own Hand and you shall Be the Ultimate Portal of Darkness

"Heed well these Warnings Three: Learn to Love, Learn to Defend, and Learn to Balance, Less Evil Destroy All"

Chapter One

Welcome children of the Lost Realm, I have carried many names and titles throughout the millennia I have guarded the gates of your realm. The first of these names and titles was merely 'Guard' which in time turned to 'Guardian' and then eventually, though there were several hundred more throughout this time, it became 'Drakeenus Watertrine Great Guardian of the Portals of Old....' and so on, some of the names used toward me were quite a bit less magnanimous, until slowly the gates, then the titles, and finally my very existence were forgotten by all but those few that still carry on their blasphemous attempts at the old ways trying to curry favor so that I would allow them to pass the gates.
You may call me simply "D.W." or for those that would rather scorn me, 'Asshole' works just as well. This is one of the many tales I have witnessed unfold throughout my stint as the Guardian of the Gate to the Lost Realm:
The first of the prophesied children born into the World of Lost Ways that you will meet is Brian Travis Milligan he is 19 years old, with dirty-reddish-blonde hair and mercurial blue eyes. He stands at 6'1 and weighs about 200 pounds of solid svelte, lean muscle due to his childhood as a linebacker in high school and student of Tai Chi from age twelve on. He is currently a freshman attending Boston University majoring in Ancient Civilizations, with a double minor in Celtic Archeology and Celtic History/Mythology. Even though it is his minor in school his true scholastic love is his Celtic History class. The reason for saying his true 'scholastic' love is Celtic History/Mythology is because it was here that he met the guy that he hoped would be his 'true' love. At the time of their first meeting he didn't realize that he wanted him to be his true love.
They first met in their Celtic History/Mythology class when the professor had them split into groups of five then started handing out group discussion topics with instructions to do a group report on their assigned topic. Of the five in this group with Brian there were two young women, Desiree and Sherry, and two other young men, named Dillon and Keiran.
The topic the professor handed to them was "Research, in your textbooks, and discuss a Hero or group of Heroes in the history or mythology of the Celtic people, then come up with a persuasive argument regarding the effect this Hero(es) had on the people of that time and what effect there has been on the current people."
Brian liked Kieran's suggestion for how to do the project, he suggested that they look into the Merlin/Taliesin [1] connection in regards to the past and present culture and the effect those stories have had on the culture, such as the debate as to whether or not the two were separate people as some believed or if they were the same person, even though he was not a 'warrior' hero. After the others in the group voted that idea down, Brian made his suggestion which was to explore Cuchulain,[2] the Hound of Cullen, seeing as he was considered the greatest warrior in all of the Celtic myths regardless of which region you looked at. But, unfortunately, the other three felt that both of those characters had already been done too many times and insisted they do it on the Red Branch warriors [3] as a whole. Since there were three votes for them and only Keiran agreed with Brian about Cuchulain the group researched the Red Branch.
Since this was an in-class oral assignment with a personal research and essay attached, Brian didn't get to see Keiran again, other than in class, until about a month later when some friends invited him to be their designated driver at a local bar on a Friday evening. When they arrived at the bar Brian saw Keiran working there. He was working shirtless as one of the bartenders catering to the massive crowds that were packed in for their evening drink. Though he tried several times that evening to get Kieran's attention, the bar was too busy and Keiran didn't have time to do more than hand Brian another beer then go on to the next person at the bar.
About two weeks later Brian was at a bachelor party for the frat-brother of his friend Matt. Brian found himself staying toward the back of the party hanging against a wall having no interest in the hired stripper, that he recognized from seeing her on campus, doing her thing entertaining most of the crowd and making some descent tips from the look of it. As he let his gaze roam around the party and who should he see, pretending to be a wallflower at the other side of the room, but Keiran, from his class standing there talking to the other guy from their group, ...Dillon that's right. As he walked toward them Brian managed to catch Kieran's eye and saw him motion towards him and say something to Dillon. As Brian drew closer he could hear Keiran reminding Dillon of the group in class.
Dillon had apparently figured out who he was because when Brian arrived next to them he said "Hey Brian, how did you get roped into this party?"
To which Brian replied, "The guest of honor and my friend Matt are frat-brothers. And if I may return the question to you two, how did you guys end up pasted to the wall in this party?"
Keiran answered for both of them saying, "Justin, the man of the hour over there, is Dillon's older brother and Dillon dragged me along so he would have someone to talk to about something, anything, besides the bimbo strippers."
Brian raised an eyebrow and asked, "Stripper-S as in more than one?"
With a laugh and an eye-roll Dillon said, "Yeah, this is only the first one, I think they have two or three more of them lined up for the night."
To which Brian replied, "Oh Geez, if that is the plan for the night I think it is time for me to leave, would you guys like to join me? I was thinking of heading over to the new mega-mall they just opened last weekend over in Old Towne. I haven't had a chance to get out there yet and I heard they have this awesome little pub and grill that was moved 'lock, stock, and barrel' from Ireland, and is run by the family that has owned it for something like the last seven generations. I think the family, and the bar, is named O'Maoileagain [4]. According to my dad they are another branch of my family that never immigrated over until now.
Dillon's answer was, "Much as I would love to leave, this is my brothers party so I really can't get away with copping out on him, unfortunately. You guys go ahead and go I think I see a guy from my Calculus class over there and I need as much help as I can get to pass that class, so I think I will go grab him and pick his brain before it gets pickled."
"Are you sure? Keiran asked.
"Yeah I'm sure, go have fun because it is obvious that neither one of you are enjoying the show here and if you can find something more interesting to do it's no skin off my nose. Go, go have fun."
With that Dillon walked off towards the guy he saw from his class. Keiran turned towards Brian and said "Looks like we have been cut loose. Do you want to say anything to your buddy Matt?"
"No, from the looks of him his brain is already too pickled to remember anything as it is. Besides maybe he will get lucky and quit whining about not getting laid for a few days."
"OK, well Dillon was my ride over here so if I go anywhere I will be walking or taking the bus since I didn't bring my car."
"That isn't a problem I have my car here and I haven't had anything to drink so lets go and I will give you a ride back to your place later or you can crash at my place, I live in at home in a semi-private add-on behind the house."
"Yeah, private in regards to having its own entrance, kitchen and bathroom. 'Semi' because my younger brother, Troy, likes to hide out from the 'rents back there when he is supposed to be doing chores." said with a chuckle.
"I appreciate the offer of a ride home as well as the offer of a place to crash, lets just see how the evening turns out and play it by ear."
With that they left the party saying good bye to the guest of honor and a few others they ran across on their way out. As they approached Brian's car he said, "Sorry for the mess in the front seat it's just my books and papers from my classes, I promise there is nothing in there that will try to eat you, just ignore the sticky spots. I won't mention where those came from." he said with a crooked leer and a wink.
"Sticky spots...OK... I don't want to know." he said with a laugh
Laughing Brian said, "Let me move these books and papers and you can hop in."
After Brian had moved everything into the back seat Keiran opened the passenger door and glared at the seat with a critical eye and sat down gingerly before buckling up and adjusting the seat to accommodate his height and jokingly said, "Well I don't feel any wet or sticky spots but if I have gum stuck to my ass when I get out I am going to be upset."
While driving the 20 minutes to Old Towne they shot the shit and got to know each other better. At one point Brian asked Keiran about his job at the bar. To which Keiran responded "I thought I saw you in there few weeks ago, but I wasn't sure because it was unusually busy that night because of the other bar, The Lot, down the road being closed for a few days while they took care of an infestation problem. They got popped by the Health Department, so all of their Friday regulars packed into our bar along side our own regulars. Let me tell you that place was hell to work in that weekend, fortunately The Lot opened back up on Monday so most of their regulars went back there, even though we picked up a few new regulars from it."
"How can you work those kind of hours in a bar and still go to school?"
"That is just my full-time evening job. I work in that big warehouse just off campus full-time during the day."
"With that I am even more amazed that you can manage to keep up and keep awake in your classes."
As they pulled into the parking lot of O'Maoileagain's, Keiran said, "That is because I only take two or three classes at a time. Yeah it will take me longer to get to graduation but, hey, I am only 21 I still have time to figure things out before I kick the bucket"
"Well at least you have a game plan for your life, all I have planned at this point is to get my degrees and hopefully move to Ireland so I can get involved in the explosion of archeology sites they are finding, and maybe I will be able to make some significant finds to help bring the Celtic peoples history into the light of the modern world for all to see."
They continued talking as they walked up to the entrance where Keiran held the door for Brian to enter first. Once inside they decided to sit on the pub side since the dinning room looked pretty busy and it would be difficult to speak comfortably or hear with all the noise going on in there. Surprisingly the pub side was nearly empty with only two older men sitting at the bar arguing quietly about whether or not the potato famine, and the resultant mass immigration to the U.S. had anything to do with the British attempt at mass genocide by way of starvation.
As they sat in a quiet booth on the other side of the bar they were approached by a beautiful young woman with long red hair, that rolled her eyes when the two men tried to get her involved with their discussion, and said in a lovely Irish brogue, "Welcome to O'Maoileagain Pub and Grill. What can I get you two young men tonight?"
Brian asked if they were able to order food from the restaurant side on this side. She replied, "Sure that is no problem, I can see why you wouldn't want to sit on that side, I think we are filled almost to capacity over there. Oh, I almost forgot, my name is Brigit. I normally don't work here but one of the waitresses called out at the last second so I got dragged away from my studies and told to help out down here till things slow down for the evening. Would you like some menus or do you have an idea what you would like to have, starting with drinks. Heehe"
Keiran responded by saying, "I don't know about my friend here but I think I will have an Irish coffee separated. As far as the meal I will leave that in your capable hands and inquire what you suggest."
"OK, my suggestion would be my adoptive mothers secret recipe Irish stew with a loaf of soda bread."
"That sounds good to me as well, with one exception, with the coffee do you happen to carry the non-alcoholic Baileys? If not then just a regular coffee with cream since I know how difficult it is to find the NA-Baileys."
"Actually the pub doesn't carry it but if you are willing to wait a few moments I have a personal stash of it upstairs. There is not much call for it around here so that is why we don't carry it on the shelf." Brigit said.
"That's no problem, but you don't have to use your personal stash on me. The only reason I know about the NA version is because I love the taste of it, but my uncle died the day I was born when a drunk driver hit him, so I don't drink alcohol at all."
"It's no problem for me to share it, if you become a regular then between the two of us we might be able to talk my adoptive father into keeping a bottle or two around for when you come in. I will deliver your orders to the kitchen and be right back with your drinks."
After she left Brian could see the gears turning in Keiran's head so he asked him, "What are you thinking about, I can see the smoke         billowing out of your ears telling me that your brain is running in high gear?"
As if coming out of a deep series of thought he looked up at Brian with a completely clueless expression on his face for a moment before saying, "Huh, oh it's nothing I was just thinking about when you were at the bar a couple weeks ago. I remember you coming up to the bar with your girlfriend several times and picking up beer and I think one of the times you took the shot of whiskey didn't you?" Brian nodded yes. "But you just told the waitress that you don't drink alcohol. That is kinda confusing to me that's all."
"You are correct I did help pick up the orders for several beers and a shot of whiskey at one point but those were for the group I was with. If you think about it, there was always a diet coke with the order each time. I was the designated driver that night like I always am when we all go to the bar."
"Okay, I feel like a fool then for doubting what you said, I thought the coke was for your girlfriend that was sitting next to you."
With a bewildered chuckle Brian said, "Felicia? No, she isn't my girlfriend, even though we hang all over each other, she is nothing but a really good friend. In fact I was also there on assignment, from her lover Mary, to make sure she didn't drink too much that night because they had to be at Mary's parents place by noon the next day in Vermont."
"Oh, OK then I feel twice the fool for assuming you were drinking and also for assuming you were straight."
"Haha, think nothing of it. You aren't the first nor are you likely the last to be the last to assume those things. On a different subject, can you get a better look at that family crest they have hanging over the bar and tell me what symbols are on it?"
"Sure, no problem. It looks like there are three red animals, I can't tell from here what they are, and two wavy blue bars. Why?"
"Well it looks like my dad might be right. That crest looks like it is extremely close to the Milligan crest for my family. I will have to ask Brigit when she gets back. Oh, here she comes right now."
"Here you guys go, one Irish coffee and if I may ask why separated?"
As Keiran poured half of the shot glass into the coffee he said, "Basically for the same reason you two said about the Baileys, I like the flavor but I don't particularly care for the alcohol and I haven't been able to find a decent NA whiskey that blends right."
After wiping the shocked look, which Keiran found hilarious, off his face Brian said, "O...K that was unexpected coming from a bartender, especially after your questions a few minutes ago." Once he was able to pull herself back together Brian asked Brigit "Is there any chance I could go behind the bar and get a better look at the family crest you have hanging there?"
"Actually I can do you one better...hold on just a second." she said then walked off towards the entrance of the restaurant and picked up something from the podium and returned handing me a Comments card with the design of their family crest emblazoned on it.
Taking the card and inspecting the crest Brian said, "This is almost scary. This crest is not just similar to my family crest it is identical." After saying this he pulled up his right sleeve to show them the tattoo of his family crest. The only thing different between the two crests was the name beneath it hers Brigit's said "O'Maoileagain" whereas Brian's said "Milligan."
To this Keiran added, "From what I remember discussing in one of my Celtic History classes, unless I am mistaken, heraldry was not all that common in the Irish society. Only the nobles and certain very prominent families had family crests."
"You know I think you need to talk with my adoptive dad about that he understands all of that heraldry and genealogy stuff. All I know is that I was born here in Boston then adopted at birth by Donald and Pansy O'Maoileagain because my father was killed by a drunk driver on his way to the hospital and my mother died due to complications with the birth. Let me go grab Don and maybe he can answer some of your questions cause I have no clue about this stuff. Be right back...oh, and your stew should be ready about now as well."
Keiran and Brian watched her walk over to the two men sitting at the bar, who were still bickering over frivolous moot points regarding the famine/genocide that happened over a hundred years ago, possibly in their grandfathers times, and lean over the shoulder of one of men and say something to him that we couldn't hear.
Suddenly they heard, "Well invite them over here to the bar you silly lass." Brigit turned back towards Brian and Keiran with an exasperated eye roll and dramatic sigh. She then came back to their table and extended the offer to join the men at the bar. Looking at each other both Keiran and Brian shrugged their shoulders like 'why not', gathered their drinks and approached the men at the bar. Suddenly the younger of the two, though by their looks he was only about ten years younger than the other man, turned around held out his giant hand towards them.
Brigit introduced the older of the two men as her great-uncle Angus and the younger as her adoptive father Donald.
Being able to see him better Brian guessed the rotund man to be in his mid to late forties. After the routine visual inspections were finished on all parts the man said, "My lass here tells me you was asking questions about my family and the crest that hangs over yonder"
To which Brian responded, "Yes, Sir, I was asking her about the crest due to what appeared to be similarities to my own family crest." Brian once again raised the shoulder of his shirt to show him the tattoo of the crest so he could see for himself that they were nigh on identical. When Donald had looked long and hard at the tattoo and looked at the crest hanging above the bar he said, with a scowl, "You wouldn't happen to be 'Brian Travis' Milligan would you? The adopted son of Randy and Sharon Milligan? Home phone number (873) 554-6666?"
Shocked Brian stuttered, " is my full name, Randy and Sharon are my parents and that is my phone number but I'm not adopted. How did you know those other things?" at this point Brian was starting to get upset and demanded, "Who the Hell are you to know these things? I have never met you in my entire life, and this is the first time in this restaurant. I know I haven't said any of that to my friend Keiran here since we walked in. So I want to know, now, HOW DO YOU KNOW THESE THINGS!?
Just then a frazzled matronly looking woman entered the pub area from a door behind the bar and demanded, "What in St. Brigit's name is going on in here? Young man why are you yelling at my husband?"
Donald then broke into her line of hostile questions by saying, "Pansy, call Randy and tell him it looks like our meeting cannot wait until morning, to go ahead and come on down, this, is Brian Milligan."
She replied, "Oh my, okay I will call him from the phone in the kitchen. Meanwhile would you lads please sit down and eat your supper before it gets cold."
With everything going on the two young men had not even seen Brigit set the bowls of stew and a loaf of homemade soda bread on the counter-top of the bar.
Looking up at Brigit, Donald said, "You had better go ahead and sit down with these lads here for a bit, while we wait for Randy to get here, this concerns you as well as young Brian here."
They all sat there in confused silence for what seemed like forever, but was really closer to ten or fifteen minutes, Keiran and Brian nibbled on the stew and bread while they all nervously waited to find out what would happen next. The food was actually extremely good with just the right balance of taste and substance without going overboard on either side.
At one point Donald got up from his bar-stool and headed to the front entrance and started talking to someone the others couldn't see. After a few minutes of discussion Donald walked back into the pub. Brian nearly fell off his stool when he saw who was behind him. It was his parents. He then demanded, "What is going on here? What the hell are you doing here?"
Randy walked over to Brian and laid a hand on his shoulder before he replied, "Son, the time has come for you to know the truth.....
D.W.: Unbeknownst to any, save one, in the little pub the final two of the prophesied children, Keiran and Brigit, had come together with Brian. Thus beginning their tale along the way to fulfilling their Destiny...

Chapter 2: Truths Revealed

What is going on here?” Brian demanded when he saw his mother and father enter the pub behind Donald.

His dad replied, “Son, the time has come for you to know the truth. Now remember, we never wanted to keep the truth from you, and we were planning on having the O'Maoileagain family over to supper tomorrow where we would have sat down afterward to tell you and Brigit all of this.”

Then as if just seeing him, Randy  looked over at Keiran sitting quietly on the other side of Brian and said, “Son I don't mean to be rude, but I don't know who you are, nor at this point do I really care, but this is a family discussion so I think you need to leave now.”

Keiran just nodded at him and had just started to get up to leave when Brian said, “No just stay there.” he then turned to his father and said, “This is my friend Keiran, from class, and I have already given him my word that I would be his ride back to town since I brought him out here so he can stay and I will fulfill my commitment.”

Randy, who was starting to get visibly upset now, said “This is a private family matter and we do not need others involved or listening in.”

Well I am not going to let him walk by himself 15 miles back to campus at nine o'clock at night when it is below freezing out there with a snow storm coming in tonight. That would not only be rude but callous, cruel, and inimical. Would you do that to one of your friends when they do not have a snow parka or proper snow boots on?” before his father could answer Brian said, “No, you would not, so do not even attempt to say you would. You would not and any other time if you heard something about me doing it you would tear my hide apart.”

Brian could tell by the look on his fathers face that, though he didn't like it, he knew Brian was right, even though he would not admit to being wrong. Randy said, “Fine.” Then while glaring at Keiran he said, “I would appreciate what is said here to go no further than this room.”

With everyone in agreement Pansy left the room briefly, most likely to let the other staff know not to disturb them unless it was an emergency. When she returned she hung a sign on the outside of the door leading to the pub side then came back over to our group.

Donald seemed to be silently elected the leader by the older group of adults so he started by saying, “First of all I apologize for being so blunt with you earlier, Brian. Secondly the 'old fart' over here beside me is my uncle, Angus, he already knows everything that will be said here so none of this will be new to him.” Then, as if gathering his strength and thoughts he looked at me and said, “Yes, Brian you are adopted, Randy here is your uncle not your father and the lovely lady next to him is your aunt.” I started to object that this couldn't be possible, but Donald raised his hand and said, “Just hear me out before you say anything and I will try my best to explain everything. Your mother was Randys sister, she died giving birth to twins, her name was Sara Brigit Milligan.”

Upon hearing this Brigit sat up and said, “How is that possible? You told me that Sara Brigit was my mother?”

Donald answered her saying, “The twins she died giving birth to were you and Brian here, we almost lost you, Brigit, to the void when you were born at the very moment your mother took her last breath.”

Everyone was quiet for a few moments until Brian said, “You said my mother died during childbirth, but what happened to my father... I mean our father?” Brian stuttered forgetting for a moment that his father was also Brigits father. “I dad....or my uncle....whatever the fuck you want to call him.... I was told that my uncle died on his way to see me born. Or is that all just another lie to add to the list?”

Randys face turned an ugly, blotchy, crimson red before he said“Boy, I may not be your sperm donor and my wife may not have given birth to you but we raised you as our own and you WILL be respectful to us.” then, with a growl in his voice Brian had never heard before, he said, “You had better wise up REAL quick before I knock you off that stool and across this bar into the next room! I did not raise you to be disrespectful or to swear at people! And on top of that we NEVER lied to you about any of this.” was Randys response to Brians question.

This is where Angus stepped between Randy and I, and said loudly, “Number one: if I am an 'old fart' what does that make you? You are only 15 years younger than me.” Everyone had a chuckle at this point and Donald gave his brother the finger with a grin and a wink. Brian was kind of glad for his attempt to bring some levity to the situation. “And number two: Randy the lad has a right to be upset about this, I remember us telling little Brigit here about being adopted when she was 15.” and turning towards me he said, “Don't think for a minute that lets you off the hook lad, even though you are, understandably, upset it does not give you a license to be disrespectful. Now I've said my piece so I am going back over here to my drink while you people sort this out.”

After several uncomfortable moments had passed in unbroken silence with everyone staring off in different directions Donald looked at Pansy and said, “Won't you be a Dear and go get my private stock? And Brigit would you be a good lass and get yourself and the other young ones something to drink as well, then go back over there to that booth in the corner? I think we all need to separate and we all need to get hold of our tongues before something gets said that we all will regret for a long time.”

Brian was still fuming about being lied to his whole life and wanted to demand more answers but both Keiran and Brigit gave him looks that told him unequivocally “just go with the flow for now” so they got up and moved over to the booth Keiran and Brian had originally occupied.

When Brigit had returned to the table with three coffees she said, “ I think we can all use something 'super-leaded' at this point so this is some special blend that I keep around for the late nights and early mornings.”

Keiran and Brian both took sips from their cups and nearly choked on it. Whereas Brigit just sat there grinning and sipping her cup. Once they had wiped the tears out of their eyes from choking so hard Brian asked Brigit, “What the hell is in this shit? I think I need some of this for finals week. And I am sure Keiran could use some of this every day for his jobs and classes.”

Keirans only response was, “No shit. This stuff is strong enough to power a nuclear reactor.”

While laughing she said, “It is my own mixture of black and green teas with Irish, Colombian, and Italian espressos. And yeah, it does have a 'bit' of a kick to it but the crash is not as bad as you would think.”

As they were joking about the coffee Brian could tell that all of them were not really as into the jokes as they were pretending, instead what they were doing was halfheartedly trying to avoid discussing the pink-and-purple-polka-dotted-elephant standing in the room between their group and the adoptive parents group.

Finally when they realized that it had to be brought up Brian said, “Well it looks like we can't ignore the issue any longer so, what should we do? I don't feel like I can even trust my Randy and Sharon any more. I feel like they have lied to me my whole life, but now that I stop to think about it, I kinda feel like I have always known. Obviously I didn't, but all of the odd glances, weird paper trails, and the fact that the strange... I guess, hole, is the term I am looking for... seems to be..gone.. ever since you walked over to our table and started babbling about not being a waitress. Huh, I hadn't even realized there was a hole there until I started thinking about it just now... now that's just..odd.”

All of a sudden Brigit looked like she had been zapped with a cattle-prod before saying, “You know I think you are right. Now that I look back at my life, even before I found out I was adopted, I have always felt like I something within me was missing and now.. that feeling is gone! Wow, this is amazing. I HAVE A TWIN! Hehee.”

The older adults were now looking at them strangely when they heard Donald say, “Oh no, she brought out her special blend again.” Angus and Pansy just rolled their eyes while Randy and Sharon looked at him oddly to which, from what Brian could hear, Pansy said something about, “...extremely” They then went back to speaking in undertones so that the younger group couldn't make out more than a few scattered words between the five of them.

Returning his attention to Brigit and Keiran, Brian asked, “What are we supposed to say to them? I mean this is totally out of left field for me. Brigit, what else do you know about our family and this whole adoption thing? I am asking because apparently you have known for what, about five years now?”

She nodded and said, “Yeah it was about five years ago, we had already decided to move over here and were still discussing the wheres, hows, whens, who’s, and what-fores of it all, so Donald had me going through the old file cabinets boxing up all the old paperwork that had to be sorted so they could decide what could be burned and what was needed still. In the back of one of the cabinets full of old receipts I found a file with the name Brigit Sara Milligan written on the tab so, being the nosy girl that I am, upon seeing 'Brigit Sara' my curiosity was aroused, since I was Brigit Sara O'Maoileagain or so I thought, I opened the file and found a Certificate of Live Birth with my birth-date on it along with an American Social Security card among other things all with the name Brigit Sara Milligan and my birth-date written on all of it. But what really shocked me was the Certificate of Adoption giving this girl, which at this point I had pretty much figured out that it was me, to Donald and Pansy O'Maoileagain.”

She stopped her narrative at this point to take a drink of the cooling coffee and gather her thoughts before continuing, “So I sat there for what must have been hours staring at these documents until I heard Pansy call out to me from the top of the stairs to come up and have supper. At first I wanted to just put the file back in the cabinet and forget about them, but as I went to put them back a second thought hit me 'if I am adopted then maybe Donald and Pansy know who my real parents are and I can find them on the internet and maybe even arrange to meet them' so I took the file with me up the stairs, into the dinning room, laid them in front of Donald and sat down next to him to see what he would say. At first he just sat there staring at the file and going pale in the face, until Pansy walked in and saw the file, at which time he was startled back to reality by the sound of yell then the crashing of the large soup bowl that Pansy had been bringing to the table from the kitchen, shattering against the tile floor splashing stew across most of the room and all of its occupants.

I quickly stood up from my seat at the table and went to the kitchen to ask one of the servants to help with the mess while I went to retrieve a mop and bucket from the utility closet. What I found when I returned shocked me to my core. I saw the woman who had always been my mother sitting in the middle of the dining room, cooling stew splattered on and around her on the floor, in tears screaming at the man who I had always known as my father. I stepped back into the kitchen, out of sight of those in the dinning room, and listened. Even though I knew it was rude to eavesdrop on their conversation, I figured that since they were talking about the file it meant that, maybe, they would say something about my birth parents, which made it my business, that way I didn't feel that it was a big deal if I listened in.

'.....kept those blasted papers down there. I told you that it was asking for problems.'

Apparently my mother had been yelling since I left the room to retrieve the mop. At this point my father had heard enough and yelled back at her, “THAT IS ENOUGH! We both knew this day would come eventually, in fact I had expected it to come up sooner than this back when she had to start going for her monthly checkups and I, for one, am tired of walking this fine line of information. She already knows we have family over there she just doesn't know how closely she is connected to them. What did you think she would say if she met them and found out about the adoption from them?”

After saying this Donald went over to her and held her to his chest and said something in a voice so low that I couldn't hear more than a word or two. At the time I thought he said something like ' lover' but dismissed it as nothing important. Since it appeared that things had calmed down I reentered the room properly and 'accidentally' kicked the mop bucket I was pushing in front of me so that it would make a hollow thud sound and slosh around so they would hear me come in.”

Stopping once more to drink the rest of the, now tepid, coffee in her cup she said, “That evening, after cleaning up the mess in the dinning room and eating frozen pizza for dinner, we sat down in the library that Donald used for business meetings with the folder between us. I think all three of us were nervous about the conversation we were about to have, my mother was nervous because she didn't want to discuss the issue at all for reason, my father was nervous because he didn't feel like he had prepared himself for this enough, whereas I was nervous because I was going to be told the truth about who I was and I wasn't really sure I wanted to know.

After sitting, all staring at the folder without saying anything, I finally realized that they were waiting for me to start this, so that they could figure out what answers they could give me. So once I had realized where the situation stood I decided to open with the easiest question I could think of, “Is this file really about me?”

Donald grimaced as if in pain, then said, “Yes Brigit, this file is the records of your birth and adoption. You were born at midnight on February 29, Leap Day. Your mother, Sara Brigit Milligan, died giving birth to you. Your father was Travis Johnathan Bozeman, he also died the day you were born, he was hit by a drunk driver on his way to the hospital to see you be born. Your parents were never married because they were both only 17 years old and the laws would not allow it. They had planned on getting married in the spring after your father turned 18.”

My first thought was 'My parents are both dead' I sat there in shock for a few moments before asking the thing that had been troubling me since I first read the documents in the file, “How did I get adopted so quickly by you two? The papers say that it happened within a week and the only time I have heard of that happening is with in-family adoptions and as far as I can tell the Milligans and O'Maoileagains are not related, at least not by name that I can tell.”

We are in fact directly related to the Milligan family, that is why I brought us in here, so I can show you that we are related.” he turned to his computer and pulled up the family crest for the Milligan family and showed it to me, he then pointed behind his desk to the ancient looking tapestry that hung there, he then pointed to the top of it where there was an embroidered crest with the O'Maoileagain name beneath it. I looked back and forth between the tapestry and the computer screen several times before realizing that the only difference between them was the name written underneath.”

When Brigit stopped speaking again Keiran said, “Why don't we take a bit of a breather and stretch our legs for a few minutes while we get our heads together?” when they all nodded thier heads he continued, “ I don't know about you two but I could use another cup of that wonderful coffee and a bathroom break myself.”

Brigit said, “Sure I think I will just go ahead and bring the pot with me and I will show you guys the bathroom on the way.”

She got up and motioned for the guys to follow her towards the kitchen then pointed down the hallway off to the side and said, “Second door on the right.” as she continued into the kitchen, her copper-red hair waving behind her.

When they got into the bathroom Keiran asked, “How are you handling this so far? I know it has to be a lot for you to process all at once.”

Brian was slow to respond but finally said, “Yeah, it is a lot to handle but at the same time it's all starting to make sense to me. There are still a ton of questions that my...parents, for lack of a better term, will have to answer both to and for, but.... I... I don't know... I still feel as if there is more going on here than the obvious because of how shifty my and Donald are being. It feels as if they are hiding something important from us but I can't figure out what it could be.”

“ I guess you will just have to wait on them to explain things from there point of view. Then once you have their side of the story you can decide if things are still left just unexplained for one reason or another or if they are deliberately misleading you about things. Either way you still don't have all the pieces needed to see the whole picture so for the moment just go with the flow. Alright?”

Yeah, you're right I may be jumping at ghosts, something tells me I'm not but I will at least give them a chance to explain themselves, I owe them that much at least, even if it goes against my instincts. I'll be fine.”

While the boys were in the restroom and Brigit was in the kitchen the adoptive parents were discussing what to tell the twins about the truth and history of their family. During this time Angus just sat there listening to the others try to decide what they felt was important for them to know and what they could leave out and ignore hide from them.

When Donald suggested that the “kids” didn't need to know about Randy's father being a bastard child of their grandfather and one of the Lucht Siúil,[5] Angus felt he had been silent long enough. After clearing his throat and taking another drink he said, “Randy, you and I both know that your grandmother gave that talisman of hers to your sister, that is why your father disowned her when he found it. Yes I know about the talisman I was old enough to remember when she came 'round, and how my mother helped her give birth to your father before putting them on the first ship out of port to this country. Now I happen to know that even though, Donald here, tried to get Brigit to throw away her half of it, after he found it on her nightstand and broke the chain, she still has it. I still haven't figured out how she got it to begin with or why she only has half of it but, fact still remains she has her half and from what I have heard, your Brian has the other half of it as well.

Now what is going to happen when they figure out that they are really two parts of the same? Now neither one of those two are dim, so it won't take long for them to search out where it come from. Even I have searched and learned about it, when Brigit got the half of it she carries. It was said to be a token of the Goddess Brighid herself given to her warrior son for protection against dark magicks. The only reason Brigit doesn't know about it is because she doesn't know that it is only half, having never seen the whole thing like I have.

Randy, you said your boy was studying the old histories and myths, did you not? What makes you think that talisman won't show up in his studies one day?”

Randy spoke up at this point saying, “ I refuse to allow this pagan bullshit to be a part of mine or my families lives. That shit should have died with my grandmother but instead she passed it on to my sister and ended up getting her and that stupid boy of hers killed. As far as I am concerned it did die with my sister and I will not allow it to infect my son the way it did my sister.” then slamming his fist on the bar he said, “I REFUSE to allow it.”

Donald then added to Randys statement by saying, “Upon that we both agree, that will NOT be allowed in our homes. This line of discussion is over, and if they want answers out of us then they can live elsewhere before we discuss the topic again.” Saying that Donald and Randy walked over to where the three younger ones were laughing their heads off about something leaving the mothers and Angus at the bar.

The three older people left at the bar started talking about what had just been said and, Pansy and Sharon, seeing the looks on their husbands faces decided that, if things turned out the way they were expecting them to, they should gather up some money to make sure their kids could survive until things cooled down enough for everyone to get back together with out all the hysterics and anger involved.

All Sharon had with her was the $500 that was supposed to go towards Randys new truck so Pansy offered to give the twins the money from the front register in addition to the $500, that way they felt the two would be secure financially until this whole thing blew over.

Angus hearing the discussion the women were having grabbed a pad of paper and wrote a brief note saying 'If things don't settle down between you two and your fathers call me and I will give you the information you need. Angus (949) 682-9423' he then wrote his name on the outside and handed the note to Pansy to give to Brigit.
Once the guys had finished their business in the bathroom they walked back out, passing the 'parents' still talking in low tones and Donald and Randy looking almost fit to be tied. As they approached and sat down in the booth where Brigit was waiting they noticed the smirk on her face just before she said, “Took you two long enough. A little hanky-pankey in the pub bathroom? Hmm?” Keiran and Brian both lit up bright red before trying to say at the same time, “No..No nothing like that...we were just...talking....and...”

Brigit started busting up laughing tears streaming from her eyes as she tried to speak, “You...two....should....see...your....faces...” before dissolving into giggles again.

Keiran and Brian glanced at each other briefly before starting to chuckle under their breath, then started to laugh a little louder until when they looked at each other again they were almost falling out of the booth laughing so hard that their sides hurt and it was difficult to breathe. It took the trio nearly five minutes to stop laughing and catch their breath because every time they looked at one another the laughing fit stared again. At one point both Donald and Randy came over to find out what was so funny that it would have three twenty- something year-olds falling on the floor laughing. When they tried demanding to know what was so funny all they got back for answers was several laugh garbled disjointed words that made absolutely no sense at all.

Once she had dried her eyes and taken a sip of coffee Brigit said, “You two really should have seen your faces when I said that. Oh how I wish I had a camera, both of you lit up like a chrismas tree on a bonfire in June. Hehe. Wow, I hadn't realized how badly I needed that laugh. The last time I laughed that hard was when Suzie Swindle got her hair caught in the roller blinds at school, she had just had it cut dyed and permed the day before. She ended up with more curls than she ever wanted.”

The amount of maliciousness and vindictive scorn her voice was rather shocking to Brian and Keiran because thus far she had been, for the most part, fairly calm and easygoing, other than the comment about the bathroom. When she noticed our looks she said, “ I will explain later, after all this shit is dealt with.”

It was then that they noticed Donald and Randy still standing there looking upset. With his hands on his hips Donald said, “Alright, since you three can sit there cackling like a bunch of crazed geese, you can join the rest of us and get this sorted out once and for all.”

Brigit looked up at him and said, “ I still haven't finished explaining things to him, at least what, obviously, little I know since you never considered it important to mention that I had a twin brother. It makes me wonder what else you conveniently 'forgot' to inform me of.”

That just made Donald even angrier than he was earlier. He started speaking in a dangerously low growl saying, “I have my reasons for telling you what I told you, and I refuse to discuss my reasons with a spoiled little brat just because she thinks she knows better than I do what information is important and what is not.”

At this point the other older adults had also gathered around the booth we were sitting in. All of them except Randy stood behind Donald while he was speaking. Apparently Randy decided that he needed to put his two-cents in on the issue as well by turning to Brian and saying, “Don't even think about trying to demand answers from me, Boy. If you do decide that you are man enough to demand answers from me I can guarantee you that you will not walk away in one piece.”

After looking at Brigit and Keiran, Brian stated, “Well then since that is the attitude that both of you are going to take then it would seem that sitting here any longer will be a waste of everyones time, and anything that is said would count as nothing more than wasted breath.”

At this point Keiran spoke up, for the first time with the older adults around, looked at the other two he was sitting with and said, “Brigit, Brian, if you would like you can stay at my place for the night until cooler heads can prevail. I have a spare bedroom and a pull-out bed in the couch”

Donald and Randy looked at each other and nodded. Then Randy turned to the twins and said, “If you leave here now then you are no longer welcome in or around either of our homes, businesses or workplaces. You will leave all property keys on the table and you will not return again.” After he finished speaking both Donald and Randy turned around and left the room going upstairs to the residence part of the building.

Angus just stood there shaking his head muttering about hard headed Irishmen, while Sharon and Pansy looked at each other then looked at the stairs with looks of shock at their husbands actions. Finally Sharon was able to pull herself back together enough to tell the younger adults to go ahead and leave the keys on the table and she would try to talk to Randy once he calmed down and was sober enough to see reason, Pansy told Brigit that she will do the same thing with Donald.

As the twins were doing as they were told, taking the requisite keys off their rings and setting them on the table Pansy told them, “Brigit I will try to gather some of your things like your school stuff and some of your clothes while he is busy or gone tomorrow. Brian your mother will do the same thing for you and I will take Brigits things to your house so the two of you will be able to get your stuff at the same time while Randy is at work.”

Sharon just nodded before Angus suddenly spoke up and said, “If needs be I will knock some sense into both of them.” Brian and Brigit just nodded back at him still in shock from what had been said. As they walked toward the door Pansy rushed out of the room and Sharon went back to the bar leaving Angus still leaning against the side of the booth shaking his head and muttering to himself.

It wasn't until the twins and Keiran got to the parking-lot that the shock started to wear off of Brigit because she started sobbing into her hands and asked the only question that was in her mind at the moment, “What are we going to do?” then the questions started pouring out at an accelerated rate, “Where are we going to live? How can I keep going to school? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?” she finally yelled before collapsing into Brians arms in tears.

Both Sharon and Pansy came running out the door at this point and rushed up to the twins, their children whether by birth or not 12 years old or 50 they were still their children. They wrapped themselves around the twins until the tears started to subside before Pansy told Brigit, “This is the total from the front register for the night. I don't know how much it is but this was a busy night so use it wisely and make it last, your education is paid for under my name not his so he cannot cut you off that way. Take care of yourself and your brother.” She then handed Brigit a large stack of money wrapped in a rubber band with a note that said 'Angus' on the outside.

Sharon was also speaking to Brian at the same time telling him to bring Brigit by the next day while Randy was at work to pick up his stuff. She also handed him a stack of money but when Brian started to protest she told him that the money was supposed to go toward Randys new truck but after what happened she felt that he needed the money more than Randy needed the truck.

Sharon, hearing Randy yell from inside the pub, quickly gave Brian a peck on the cheek told him to take care of his sister before turning back towards the pub with Pansy hurrying behind her.

After the 'mothers' had gone back inside Keiran turned towards Brian and said, “Why don't you give me the car keys and let me drive us back to my apartment? Then we can move all of your papers and books out of the backseat and put them in the trunk for now, that way the two of you can sit back there and talk, hold each other,.....make out or whatever.”

That comment earned Keiran a sore shoulder on each side, but it also served to partially diffuse some of the remaining, and extremely high level, tension left over from the fight that happened inside. After hitting Keiran the twins looked at each other and started laughing like mad.

When the laughing finally finished they moved things around and got in the car and left heading for Keirans apartment. On the way there Brian spoke up from behind Keiran and said, “ I really am sorry about getting you dragged into this mess Keiran. The reason I asked you out was, I could tell you were having about as much fun at that party as I was and I wanted to get to know you better. I never expected that going out to a new restaurant would lead to so much drama.”

Keiran laughed and said, “Don't worry about it you didn't know what would happen when we got there. By the way was that your version of asking me out after the fact? Or were you going to wait a while before asking? I would have said yes if you asked at the party or in class. Okay, here we are but before we go to bed I think the best thing to do is sit down and figure out who we are in relation to each other and what we are going to do about putting the pieces of your family back together.”

When they got inside the apartment the twins both asked Keiran about his past and how he got to where he is today.

Well, I am 21 now, so I am a couple years older than you two, something that we have in common is that I have never met my parents either, I am also an orphan....

Chapter 3

Sat, 07/16/2011 - 18:15 |  Dragon Child
Keiran began his life story once they were all comfortable in the living room of his apartment, “There really isn't much to tell about my past. My full name is Keiran Lugh Taliesin Drake, I was born in '87 so I am a year older than you two, something that we have in common is that I have never met my parents either, I am also an orphan. I lived in an orphanage about three blocks from here until the 18th anniversary of the day that I was found there. I was awarded a partial scholarship to go to the University here, and I work two full time jobs. That's about it for my sob story.” he ended with a self depreciating laugh.

Curious Brian asked, “Why weren't you ever adopted if you were there for so long? I mean as good looking as you are now, you couldn't have been an ugly child.” Brian said the last of this with a lighthearted laugh, but had he glanced at Keiran when he said that he would have known he had hit a sore spot with his comment.

Brigit noticing Keiran's reaction, subtle though it was, asked, “Whats wrong Keiran? You seem to disagree with Brian, but I cannot see where there would possibly be any room for disagreement. Please tell us what is wrong.”

Keiran stood up and started pacing the floor trying to gather his thoughts before saying, “The reason I was not adopted like the other kids is because of my eyes, before you say anything like 'They look fine to me' or whatever, these are contacts. Let me go into the bathroom and take them out and you will see the reason for yourself why no one wants to be around me most of the time.”

Brian and Brigit looked at each other to see if one of them had noticed anything odd about his eyes that would cause him to act like that. The only thing they could see on each others faces was a mirror of their own confusion.

When Keiran returned he kept his head down and wouldn't look either of the twins in eye until after he sat down on the couch again. As he started to raise his head towards the twins he said in an extremely depressed tone, “If you want to leave and never see me again after this, I will understand and I wont hold it against you.” He then raised his head completely and looked towards the twins. The look on his face spoke volumes about expecting them to freak out and run as fast and far away from him as they could. Even though he was expecting them to flip out, the one thing he was not expecting to see was awe and amazement, this shocked him because everyone who had ever seen his eyes without the contacts had run in terror.

Brian and Brigit noticed that Kieran's bright, luminescent eyes were a striking green encircled by a silver ring. Even more unusual was the reptilian slit running down the center of each iris. Keirans long, jet-black hair and pale white skin just helped to set off his eyes and made them seem to glow with their own inner light.

All Brigit could say about Keiran's revelation was, “Wow, I am seriously jealous now. Those are gorgeous.” she then got up off the couch that she was sitting on walked over to Keiran looked at his eyes up close then hit him on the arm. When Keiran looked at her, shocked that she would hit him like that Brigit started laughing and said, “ I am the woman in the room it is supposed to be me that gets all the attention drawn towards my eyes and you just stole my thunder, asshole.” She then crossed her arms and plopped down on the other couch and pretended to pout.

Brian just sat there stunned and staring at the eyes to the point that Keiran started to get uncomfortable and upset. Just as Keiran was about to pass that, nigh on invisible, line dividing upset and outright anger Brigit reached over and slapped him upside the back of his head knocking him out of his shocked stupor and back into reality.

Still rubbing the back of his head Brian said, “They look almost Draconic, their beautiful. Why do you hide them behind contacts? They are too beautiful to hide like that.” Brian slowly walked toward Keiran, never breaking eye-contact, until he knelt down in front of him, leaned forward and kissed him.

Brian quickly moved away and started to apologize, “I'm sorry Keiran I shouldn't have done that..”

Keiran jumped up off the chair he was sitting in, grabbed Brian, holding him with his whole body, he turned Brian's face back towards him and kissed him deeply, before saying, “There is nothing to apologize about.” then kissed him again.

After a few minutes of being, basically, ignored by the two guys in the room she called out, “Hey you two, get a room before you give me issues.” Brian and Keiran looked at her, neither one breaking their embrace on the other, curiously. Brigit seeing that neither one of them understood a word she said, followed up by saying, “Well I guess this proves the old adage that says 'all good looking men are either taken or gay'. To think I was going to give both of you my number when you left the pub this evening.”

Keiran looked at Brigit, then Brian, then back at Brigit and said with a merciless tone and a twisted grin, “It is probably a good thing you didn't because then you might have been dating your twin.” Keiran then watched the faces of both Brian and Brigit go ashen pale then start turning slightly green before both of them started to shake their bodies violently while at the same time laughing with a mortified look on their faces.

Keiran released his hold on Brian turned back to his chair and sat down with his head in his hands and started sobbing. The twins looked at each other before kneeling down next to Keiran's chair and lay their hands on his back. Brian looked at Brigit, and receiving a nod, looked at Keiran and asked, “What's the matter, babe, what is wrong now?” Brian hadn't even realized that he had used the term of endearment, but when Keiran's arms wrapped around him once more Brian saw the last piece of the 'hole' in his soul filled.

Still sobbing Keiran said, “You two are the first people that have seen my eyes without contacts that haven't started claiming that I am daemon possessed or thought I was trying to pull some sick joke on them. You have no idea what that means to me to have someone who doesn't think I am a freak or worse.”

Brigit looked at Keiran with a wicked smile before saying, “Don't worry I still think your are a freak for lusting over my brother instead of me, but I wont hold it against you too much.” Brian and Keiran looked at each other then looked towards Brigit. As soon as the two guys saw the look on Brigit's face all three of them cracked up laughing again.

After they had settled down into their seats again, except for Keiran and Brigit who swapped seats so that Keiran and Brian could sit next to each other on the couch, Brigit asked Keiran, “So to reiterate what you have said so far, you still have no idea who your parents are or were right?” at Keiran's nod she continued, “Did they leave any clues at the orphanage that might lead to tracking them down?”

Reluctantly, Keiran pulled two necklaces out from under his shirt. One of them looked like a black talon from a creature with a very large claw, it hung from a piece of leather that appeared to have a scale pattern on one side. The other was attached to a thick braided silver chain, it looked like an intricately woven knot basket of made of silver that, from the looks of it, was about the right size to hold the talon, as if it was made to hold the talon.

When Brian asked if he could examine the necklaces Keiran handed it over saying, “Both of these where found in the blankets I was wrapped in when the nuns at the church found me. According to Sister Mary Patricia, there was no one around and the carrier that I was in was not there when she walked into the front garden to choose a rose for the vase she kept in her chambers. She said she had only been out there for a few minutes and would have seen if anyone had passed by her to put the carrier on the step then turn around and leave. The only other thing that was in the carrier with me besides those necklaces was a note with my name written on it and a plea for the church to find a good place to raise me. It was signed MT and PD.”

Brian, who had been listening to Keiran while he was examining the two necklaces, asked, “Have you ever had these looked at by a professional? Because I think this silver basket is actually quite old, like a hand made heirloom type of old. And on the side of both of them there are scratches that look like a variation of the old Celtic Ogham script, I would have to look it up in one of the books I have in my car but I am pretty sure that's what it is.”

Keiran got a thoughtful look on his face and said, “ I took it to the university one time to see if they could find anything out about it and was told that they were dollar store junk. The guy barely looked at them, now that I think about it, but I was 14 years old and thought since he was at the university then he must know what he was talking about. I have examined every surface on there and I don't recall seeing any scratches.”

Brian looked up from the basket necklace at Keiran and said, “If you have a magnifying glass handy I can show you. The marks are right here on the side. Actually I have a really good one in the car let me go get it and the book and we might be able to figure out what it says on them. While I am gone could you start a pot of water boiling? It looks like there is a thick layer of wax on here and it makes it hard to see the marks.”

After Brian left to go retrieve the book and magnifying glass from his car while Keiran was putting a pot pot of water on the stove Brigit asked Keiran, “You said your name was 'Keiran Lugh' right?” Keiran just nodded so Brigit continued, “Has anyone ever told you what it means?” Keiran glances up thoughtfully and shook his head 'No' so Brigit told him, “Keiran means 'little dark one' but what is odd is your middle name is Lugh which means 'one of light' so your name means 'Little dark one of Light' so you are a walking contradiction in the flesh, so to speak. You then add Taliesin, who was a great bard and druid in ancient times but, who is more commonly known as Merlin. And if we continue in that vein of thought your last name, Drake, is another name for a dragon.”

At this point Brian returned with several books and a fabric case that was rolled up under his arm. Keiran noticed the pot of water had started to boil lightly and Brigit was raiding his cupboard looking for something. She turned around and asked Keiran where he kept his coffee at he just pointed at the freezer.

By now Brian had unrolled his case on the kitchen table and turned on the hanging light above it, once he had things set up the way he wanted them he asked, “Keiran is the water at a good boil yet? Yeah, good Brigit do you have any powder makeup with you? Go get it would you?”

As Brigit was getting the makeup she gave Keiran a confused look to which he just shrugged his shoulders. Brian brought the talon necklace over to the pot of boiling water and set it inside still holding on to the leather cord. After a few moments in the boiling water small blobs started beading up and floating up to the surface and off the talon. When the blobs stopped rising off the talon Brian swirled it around in the water and pulled it out onto a hand towel that Keiran had set there, he then repeated this with the silver basket. Once they were dry and cool enough to handle Brian walked over to the table with them and held them under the light turning them this way and that trying to descry what the marks might mean.

Brian looked up at Brigit as she walked back in from digging in the bottomless pit that women call purses, at one point it had looked as if she had been swallowed from the shoulders up looking for her makeup mirror with the powder in it, and asked her, “Did you get lost in that thing? I thought we were going to have to send in a rescue party soon.” which earned him a punch on the shoulder as she shot a murderous look at Keiran, who was laughing and shaking his head in agreement.

Brigits only response was to shake her head in frustration while muttering “guys” to amusement of Keiran and Brian. She then said, “My purse isn't that bad, I just cleaned it out about a week ago...or was that the other one? Anyways here is the powder makeup you asked for, but if you want my opinion this is definitely the wrong color for you.” she then pointed the case at Keiran saying, “it might work on you though.”

Keiran starts laughing and backs away from Brigit waving his hands and shaking his head, trying to avoid the threat inherent in Brigits actions. Brian reached out and took the makeup out of her hand, opened it and used a soft brush from inside the case he had spread on the table which contained a myriad of brushes, small shovels, and scrapers along with several magnifying glasses and other tools of an unknown purpose, some even looked to be hand made.

With the soft brush loaded with powder he carefully brushed the edges so that the, thus far unidentified, marks filled with powder and stood out from the surrounding materials. After once again observing the scratches at different angles in the light Brian said, “ I really cannot make heads or tails of these marks, they look to be either completely garbled, random letters, or... wait a second what if I...” he started to mumble under his breath, talking to himself as he held both items up to the light. He then said, “Yeah, I think that is it...” after which he slid the talon inside the woven basket and said, “Voila, the message is complete, which tells me that they were held together like this when the message was scratched on them.” he then looked up at Keiran and asked, “Have you ever tried to find out what these are made of? The reason I ask is because this talon looks and feels a lot denser and harder that any I have ever seen.”

Keiran started thinking about all the different things he had used to try to figure out what the talon was made of, because he had researched what animal it could have come from and had come up with zilch. After a few seconds thought he scratched his forehead as he said, “A while back I tried going to the museum in their natural history section, as well as surfing the net looking for some clue as to what kind of creature that talon could have come from and came up empty every time. I then tried several different things, from a utility knife to an ice pick but nothing I did even left a scratch on it except when the diamond fell out of my coworkers ring, I asked her if I could borrow the stone for a second while she looked for a coin baggie to put the ring in until the next day when she could get to the jewelers. She said 'Go ahead just don't lose it'.

I took it into my managers office because he had one of those flexible lamps with the LED bulbs in it. I then took the talon off and used some pliers to hold the diamond while I scratched at back of the talon on the desk, it actually worked because I saw a small curl of the talon come loose. But the odd thing is that when I ran my thumb over the scratch it almost felt like it wasn't there. So long story short the only thing that I have found that will do any damage, however minimal, to it is a diamond. The other necklace is the same way nothing will even scratch it except a diamond and once again that was minimal. Hell I think I did more damage to the diamond than I did to either of those. I say that because I looked at the tip of the diamond after I finished trying to scratch both of those and instead of the sharp point that was on it beforehand the tip was rounded. That's the last time I even bothered trying to find something to scratch them.”

Brian raised an eyebrow when Keiran said me managed to scratch both pieces on the back. He then took the pieces back apart and showed them to Keiran while saying, “ I think you only scratched whatever that waxy coating was because there are no scratches on these other than the marks on the side. It is interesting that it took a diamond to scratch the coating but yet the coating came off in boiling water, also interesting is the fact that apparently this is harder than the densest material know to man. I am not doubting your word but, maybe your coworkers ring was a fake diamond that would explain why it rounded the point without doing more than superficial damage to the necklaces.”

Suddenly, Brigit jump up and ran over to her bottomless purse with a giggle of extreme glee. “ I have just what we need right here.” she giggled, sounding like a little schoolgirl that got her birthday wish granted by a fairy-godmother. Seemingly only seconds later she came skipping back to the table with something held tightly in her left hand. “I told Donald I would find a use for this. Here.” She opened her hand to show them a necklace with a broken clasp. Looking closer the both Keiran and Brian noticed that the odd shaped crystal pendant hanging from it was welded on so the chain couldn't be removed.

Brian stared at her in shock for a moment before reaching into his shirt and pulling out a pendant that looked almost identical to Brigits and said, “This arrived on my sixteenth birthday in a box addressed to me with no return address on it anywhere. Inside the box I found this and a note that said 'With all my love until you are united once more' and signed S.B.M., where did you get yours?”

Brigit was shocked speechless, her mouth worked open and closed like a fish but no sounds came out. After a few false starts her voice finally came back to her. Still startled she said, “ I got mine the same way except it didn't come in the post, I found it sitting on table by the my bedroom door with my name on it but no one knew who put it there or who delivered it. As far as anyone knew it just appeared there. And the note inside was identical.”

Keiran,who had been standing there listening to the twins talk, took the pendant from Brigits hand and picked up the pendant hanging around Brians neck, then looked between two pendants for a moment before bringing them together in a V. When he had straightened the pendants out the twins noticed instead of there being two separate pendants in his hand there was only one in the shape of a thirteen pointed star.

Once the three had finished examining the pendant, Brian started to say something to Keiran but stopped when he saw the look of concentrated thought on his face. After a few minutes of just watching Keiran, Brian asked, “What are you thinking about and how did you know that the two pendants went together like that?”

With a snort Keiran said, “And I thought two heads where supposed to be better than one. Think about it for a moment that guy at the pub, Donald, said your mothers name was Sara Brigit Milligan, right?” the twins both nodded, “S.B.M. would logically be Sara Brigit Milligan. And the notes said 'Until you are united once more' correct? Now, follow my logic for just a moment, what if the that phrase wasn't just referring to the two of you? When I was looking at the pendants, I noticed that they were almost identical but not quite, like the two of you, so if the notes were referring to the pendants as well as the two of you then that must mean that the pendants are two parts of a whole as well.”

While the twins were still stunned Keiran said, “ I think it is time to get some rest and continue discussions of the past tomorrow morning or,” glancing at his watch, “rather later this morning seeing as it is 2am already. Brigit, give me a few minutes to change the sheets and you can take my room. Brian, since I don't normally bring my dates, and their sister, back to my apartment on the first date, you get the spare room just move the papers, books and stuff over to the desk,... and watch out for any sticky spots that might still be wet.”

Having said his peace Keiran left to go into one of the rooms, leaving the twins time to speak privately for a few moments. Brian was still grinning over the fact that Keiran had managed to get him back when Brigit asked, “Do you want to explain about the 'sticky spots'....never mind I don't want to know, that is just wrong on so many levels. But this is the second time you two have mentioned tonight being some kind of date and I guess what I am trying to ask is.... are you gay?”

Brian was slightly dumbfounded at how bluntly Brigit had asked the question. When he got his faculties back in order he said, “Yes tonight was an unofficial date for Keiran and I. The comment about sticky spots was to get back at me for teasing him when he got into my car since I had all my books and a soda bottle sitting on the seat. So that proves that you have a dirty mind, and yes I am gay. Is that going to be a problem for you.. I mean.. I know we just met and...”

Brigit noticed how upset and defensive Brian was getting while he was speaking so she cut him off saying, “ I don't care if you are gay but, if I catch you trying on my dresses and heels we are going to have a war on our hands. I don't think my size six stilettos can handle your size twelve water-skis.”

Before Brian could even think about what had been said he popped off with, “My feet are only size ten. They are not water-skis,” then the rest of what she had said caught up to his brain so he said, “besides the only reason you don't want me wearing your dresses and shoes is you know I will look better in them than you do.”

Keiran walked back into the room with his arms full of bed linens just as Brian made his statement. Stopping in his tracks he looked between Brigit and Brian, shook his head and said, “You two haven't even known each other for twelve hours and you are already bickering about who looks better in the others clothes. That is truly sad, but it does fit. They say twins like to swap clothes with each other. I just figured that ended after a certain age and I never expected it to be cross-gender swapping” With another shake of his head Keiran tossed the bed linens into the spare room and went back into the main bedroom to get a blanket to put on the couch for himself.

The twins followed Keirans movements with their eyes before looking at each other and making a few hand gestures to each other. As soon as Keiran finished opening the couch into a bed the twins grabbed him from behind, laughing like a pair of hyenas, threw him onto the couch bed sideways and started to close the bed back into a couch with Keiran still inside of it still laughing the whole time.

Keiran was stunned when they tossed him, bodily, onto the bed. Once his senses started working again he saw the bed closing on him, and heard the other two laughing like crazy. When he realized what they were going to do he, laughing, cried out, “Mercy, mercy, I promise I won't call either one of you a cross-dresser again. Just let me out and I will behave,” at this the siblings started to pull the bed back away from him, that is until they heard, “you can swap clothes all you want, I won't say anything about it.” When they heard him say that, they looked at each other and said, at the same time, “Swirly Bird? Swirly Bird.”

They then proceeded to unfold the couch again and each one of them grabbed an arm and a leg to carry him to the bathroom and dunk his head in the toilet. Brian held Keiran by his legs suspended a few inches above the water while Brigit reached around to hit the flush handle. Before she pushed the handle down she looked at Keiran, hanging there upside down then up to Brian and said, “Ready? Set? DUNK!” Just before she said 'DUNK' she flushed the toilet catching the end of Keirans ponytail in the spin of the water. To Keirans horror Brian, being the devious person he is, dipped his head closer to the water, soaking even more of his hair in the process, before pulling him back away from the toilet and lay him on the floor.

As Keiran lay there on the floor, Brian and Brigit were giving each other high-fives before walking out of the room and into their designated bedrooms for the night. Still laying on the floor Keiran started laughing until he was curled into a fetal ball and it hurt to breathe. Once he calmed down to just chuckles he got up off the floor and grabbed a towel off the rack so he could dry his wet hair, then went to bed himself.

The next morning when Keiran woke up he saw the twins already in the kitchen. Brigit was making scrambled eggs and the apartment smelled like coffee. It took Keiran a minute to halfway organize his fuzzy thoughts before he realized, 'Wait, I ran out of eggs three days ago and that doesn't smell like my Folgers Extra: Morning Blend...' Getting up he pushed the bed back into the couch with the thought 'I will fix it later.'

Walking into the kitchen, Brigit handed him a cup full of strong black coffee. With his head still full of spiderwebs he murmured, “Thanks” just before he took a sip of the steaming hot, life giving, black liquid. After a few sips his head started to clear and he asked, “ How long have you two been up? It's only 7 o'clock in the morning and we didn't get into bed till about three last night. Oh, and while I am asking questions where did this great coffee, the eggs and now that I look, bacon, come from? This isn't my regular coffee and I have been out of eggs for almost a week and haven't been to the store?”

Brian glanced up from the crystal pendant he had in his hand long enough to say, “ I always get up at about five o'clock every morning no matter what time I get into bed. I saw that you were out of breakfast fixings so I went over to the Whole Foods I saw down the road, as I was about to leave Brigit came out of the bedroom and decided to go with me so she could pick up the ingredients for her coffee. She wouldn't even let me, her twin, know what went into her blend, she made me go to the other side of the store while she added various things to the grinder. Even though I know I saw her use chicory I still can't figure out what is in this 'witches brew' and I am afraid to try recreating it, it would probably explode in my face.” before turning his full attention back towards the pendant.

Brigit just laughed at him saying, “No, it wouldn't blow up in your face, but it might put you in the bathroom for the next three days if you added the wrong amount of some of the ingredients.” Looking back at Keiran, seeing the look of worry on his face, she said, “Don't worry this blend has been perfected for a while, it was given to me by one of the mid-wives years ago back in Ireland. She said she used it for when she had to deal with a difficult birth, 'Be it human or animal birth, this mixture will get you through the night without keeping you from sleep when it is needed' she said, and I have to say I have used it to get through some of the worst tests the schools have been able to throw at me and still been able to lay down and go to sleep when I was ready to.”

Keiran let a look of relief flood his face before becoming serious once more and saying, “You two don't have to pay your way here. I understand what you are going through with your families, I have seen it happen with other families, and I have helped my friends out then just the same as I am with the two of you now.” When he had finished speaking he noticed that Brigit was furious then stomped off to the bedroom. She came back a moment later with her purse and backpack, which had been brought up last night from the car.

Seeing the bewildered and clueless look on Keirans face she walked up to him and slapped him before saying, “ I don't know who you think you are to give hand outs but I will NOT be a charity case. I refuse to allow someone to treat me like an invalid or throw a pity party for me just because I have a little hardship in my life. I have been through much worse than this and made it through. What the hell gives you the right to treat me like another 'poor pathetic me' case?”

At this point Brian stepped up beside Brigit and hugged her saying softly, talking to both her and Keiran, “Brigit, even though I agree with you that Keiran went about this the wrong way, we cannot stay here for free, but what do you mean 'throwing a pity party because of a little hardship' and 'poor pathetic me case'? Keiran never said anything like that he was just saying that he didn't want us to use our money to buy specialties for him and go out of our way to buy or do things for him, at least that is what I understood from what he was saying, even if I don't agree, but that is beside the point. So tell me honestly what is going on in that head of yours that would make you think that is what he was doing?”

Brigits strong and defiant facade suddenly crumbled, leaving her a bawling and blubbering mess in her brothers arms. Brian slowly and carefully moved her over to the couch and sat down with her holding on to her tightly the whole time. Brian looked up to Keiran and asked, “Do you have some Kleenex, and could you bring a glass of water here for her and my cup of coffee I have the feeling that this is something she has been holding in for quite a while and something you said must have opened the torrent.”

After Keiran had retrieved the requested items he sat in the chair across from the twins, reached out towards Brigit and said, “ I am sorry for anything I said that could have hurt you, that was not my intention. The reason I said what I did was because last night the two of you did more for me than you can ever imagine, just by not thinking I was some kind of freak with weird eyes you, literally, renewed my faith in people. Yeah there will always be assholes out there that will call me a daemon and worse but I know that the two of you never will.”

Brigit wiped her eyes on a Kleenex then said, “Brian is right. This is something I should have dealt with years ago, but didn't. My adopted father, Donald, doesn't even know about this. I think Angus might know about it, if he does he never said anything directly, so as far as I know the only person that knows about it is Pansy.” She stopped to take a drink from the glass of water before saying, “Once I start to tell this I don't want to stop, so get comfortable and don't interrupt me. If I stop I know I won't have the strength to pick back up and finish it.”

When I was 15, just before my 16th birthday, I was raped and got pregnant....

D.W.: We will now follow Brigit as she tells her tale of woe and how it made her stronger so she would be able to shoulder her burden of prophecy when her time comes

This is something I should have dealt with years ago, but didn't. My adopted father, Donald, doesn't even know about this. I think Angus might know about it, if he does he never said anything directly, so as far as I know the only person that knows about it is Pansy.” She stopped to take a drink from the glass of water before saying, “Once I start to tell this I don't want to stop, so get comfortable and don't interrupt me. If I stop I know I won't have the strength to pick back up and finish it.”

When I was 15, just before my 16th birthday, I was raped and got pregnant. I was out on a date with my boyfriend. After we had gone to dinner and saw a movie, we went over to a party at a friend of a friends house. When we arrived we were told that the guys parents were away on holiday on the countryside so we there were no adults there to keep an eye on us.

I have to admit, after finding out that Donald and Pansy weren't my real parents, but instead some kind of distant cousins, I went off the deep end in regards to defiance, I mean I turned into the epitome of the rebellious daughter. So when I found out there were no adults around I grabbed the first cup of alcohol that came into reach and every other cup and shot glass I could get my hands on. Apparently somebody, I still don't know who, slipped something into one of my drinks. I hadn't noticed at the time but, my boyfriend was over on another couch snogging some girl that I had never met before, when I did notice it grabbed the nearest guy and started grinding into him right in front of my boyfriend and the girl on the couch. I remember someone handing me another cup of beer,I noticed it tasted a little funny but didn't care, so I drained it all in one go. That is the last thing I remember is being half carried up the stairs into a bedroom.

That is where I woke up the next day, there were several other people still laying around the room passed out and most of them were either naked or at least partially naked. I looked around as quietly as I could, trying to find my clothes, I don't even know how I got undressed much less where my clothes were. The only thing I knew at that point is I had a hangover to beat all and that I was extremely sore.... down there.... and when I found my dress, and one shoe, I went into the bathroom and that is when I noticed the blood on the insides of legs so I cleaned myself up and ran out of the house, almost tripping over my other shoe on my way down the stairs. I looked around but couldn't find my boyfriend and his car wasn't there either.

Looking around I realized where I was, I was in the next division over from where I lived, so I caught the trolley that was going by and took it all the way over to the street next to Donald's pub. As I was trying to sneak in the back door of the house I heard Pansy suddenly speak up from the next room and say, 'You can give up on trying to sneak in, your father is already at the pub doing inventory and I know you are standing there with your shoes in hand, so why don't you turn around and come in here with me, have a cup of coffee, and tell me where you have been all night.'

“ I slowly walked into the room, felt like I was walking towards my death, head down and dropped into the chair on the opposite side of the table. Pansy slid a cup of coffee over to me then just sat there watching me over the rim of her cup. She was still in her favorite powder blue robe, the one I gave to her for her birthday several years before, her silken blonde hair was uncombed and just piled onto her head in the loose bun that she wore to bed every night, her eyes, had I been paying any attention to them rather than focusing on my hands in my lap, held signs of warmth, love, frustration and worry all at the same time.

“ I sat there growing more and more uncomfortable until I finally started to speak, 'I'm sorry I was...' that is all I was able to say before Pansy interrupted me by calmly saying 'Just drink your coffee for now, we will discuss this afterward. I am not going to yell at you, so you can relax about that, I just want to discuss what happened. So just drink up an calm down.' I looked up at her shocked that she was being so calm about this, had Donald caught me coming in at this hour after being gone all night I would be lucky to even be able to exit the house without him ever again, much less be able to speak. Not that Donald is an unreasonable ogre or anything, contrary to the way it appeared last night, I have never seen him act like he did last night. I don't know why he acted that way, but that is beside the point right now.”

Taking a drink of the water on the table in front of her she said, “Thank you for the water by the way. As I was saying she was calm about the whole thing and just wanted to talk, it was at this point that I started to realize she was trying to treat me as an adult rather than a child to be scolded and reprimanded. After we had both finished our cups of coffee Pansy reached across the table, refilled my cup and said, 'Do you want to tell me what happened last night and why you didn't come home like you were supposed to?' I just looked up at her and started crying because I felt like I deserved to be yelled at and she wasn't doing it. She just sat there until I got control of myself and started telling her what I could remember of the previous night. I told her the truth, what I could remember that is, I told her, 'Johnny and I went to dinner and a movie like I said we would, then after the movie let out there was still time before we had to be home so we went over to the house of this guy that one of Johnny's friend knew. When we arrived we found out that the guys parents were on holiday and the guy decided to throw a party.

“ The party was going fine I had only had a few drinks when I noticed Johnny on a couch with another girl grabbing him all over and kissing him. I got angry and started drinking more and I think someone put something in my drink when I wasn't looking because the last thing I remember was being held up by some guy that I didn't know and being helped up the stairs to a bedroom and put on the bed.

That is the last thing I remember until I woke up this morning. When I woke up I noticed I was naked and there were several people passed out around the room either half or completely naked. When I got off the bed, I noticed I was very sore, I went around and found my dress and took it into the bathroom across the hall to get dressed. As I was getting dressed I saw blood on my legs, I don't know how it got there so I grabbed a rag from under the sink and used some water to wipe off as much of it as I could get. Then I found my shoes discovered Johnny had apparently left me there so I caught the trolley home.'

I looked up at Pansy again and noticed her hand was shaking and she was very pale. That is when I saw that she was soundlessly repeating the word 'No' over and over then she said 'No, not again, it can't happen again....' and just started rambling on and on about something not happening again. I had no idea what she was talking about, I had never had anything like this happen to me before so I couldn't figure what she meant.

“ I jumped up and ran over to her, as soon as I laid my hand on her shoulder she let out a blood-curdling scream before collapsing into her chair, completely unconscious, she then fell to the side into my arms. I knelt there holding her for several minutes calling out to her saying 'Mom... mother.... Mom wake up...Mom' until she started to come around again looking around herself with confusion showing clearly in her eyes.

'What happened, why am I sitting like this, and how did you get over here you where just sitting in the chair across the table from me? I don't understand.' I looked at her and started to tell her what happened, 'Mom, you passed out. I was telling you about last night and this morning and you started saying 'No' over and over and things like 'It can't be happening again' then when I got up, came around the table and set my hand on your shoulder, you screamed like a banshee and passed out.'

Pansy sat there for several minutes before saying, 'Brigit, dear, I am going to tell you something that I have never told another soul in my life, when I was about your age, maybe a little older, I went to a party at the Uni and I was raped by several of the rugby players while they were drunk. Somehow during that time I got pregnant, too this day I don't know who the father was because I have managed to block most of the memory out of my mind. Well there was no way my parents would understand so I talked to a friend who said they knew of someone who could get rid of the baby for some money and no one would ever know that I had been pregnant. I still regret that to this day and I will carry that sin to my grave, that is why I could never give birth to a child.

Your father believes that I am just barren, and even though he would love to have a child of his own, we both love you just as much as if I had given birth to you. Now, I think it is time for you to go up and take hot soak in the bath, I will send the maid Molly up to help you out, I will call the doctor and set up an appointment for you to see the doc later today to make sure there are no problems, you said the insides of your legs were sore and there was blood on them correct?' All I could do at that point is nod my head in answer so she continued, ' How are....things... feeling now? Are you still sore?' Again I seemed not to be able to speak so I just nodded my head once more before turning around and walking out of the room and made my way slowly towards the stairs.

As I started walking up the stairs I thought about what my mother had just told me and started to connect it to what had happened to me the night before. At first I didn't want to believe it, 'Mom is just over reacting that is all,' is what I thought, 'I mean there has to be some other plausible explanation to what happened.' That mindset got me up the stairs and into the bathroom where the maid was with a warm bath waiting

While she was helping me take off my dress Molly, the maid, said, 'You have known me your whole life and what I am about to say is mot definitely outside of how a maid should speak to the family she works for, but I am going to say it anyway. As you know my family has worked for your mothers family for several generations, just so you understand I grew up with your mother, and I also overheard the conversation you just had with her in the breakfast parlor. The friend your mother referred to, the one that took her to have the abortion that wrecked her insides, was me. That is another thing your father can never know about, as you can understand.

What you described in there as happening to you was almost word for word what happened to her all those years ago. I still carry the guilt, for my part, all these years later. I was also the one that talked her into sneaking out of the house with me to go to that party that night. I sometimes wish that it had been me that got raped that night and got pregnant, at least then the child would have been able to live, even if I had to give it up for adoption. The greatest part of the guilt that I carry is, that your mother can never have another child and the blood of that unborn child is on my hands...'

Pansy walked into the room while Molly was telling me all of this. She stood there with her arms pulled around her as though to ward off a blow. She interrupted Molly saying, 'There is no blood on your hands Molly, I only let you think you were talking me into going that night. The truth of the matter is that I had planned on going either with or without you, so what happened was an inevitability that had no bearing on your presence, or lack there of, at the party that night. I have been telling you for nigh on twenty years that it was not your guilt to carry. I am the one that made the decisions, on whether or not to continue, at each step of the way in regards to what happened all those years ago, as such the only person with the blood of an innocent child on their hands is me. That is the last we will speak of what happened, as you know so well yourself Molly these walls most definitely do have ears and they also have tongues that like to wag. It is better to let the cards fall where they may because the only ones that can alter them, no matter how hard we try, are the Fates of old, and they are no longer here so we must use the cards we are dealt then move on.'

She then turned to me and says, 'As for you, the doctor will arrive in about an hour to check you over, make sure there is no lasting damage and give you something for the pain, as well as a sedative for you to get some rest and peace of mind.' with that Pansy turned and walked away arms still clasped around herself tightly.”

Brigit stopped her narrative there and said, “ I need to go into bathroom for a few minutes and gather myself for the next part of what happened. As I said before, this is the first time I have talked about all of this to anyone so bear with me.” then with a small sad smile she said, “That was the easy part of this pathetic tale so I will return in a few moments and continue with the rest.”

Brigit got up, and taking her purse with her, walked out of the room leaving the two guys sitting there in silent shock at what she had already said. As she walked towards the bathroom inside the bedroom she reached into a concealed pocket inside her purse and retrieved a piece of paper that had been folded so many times that the folds were starting to spit and fray at the edges.

Unfolding the page once more, she read the words printed there, even though she already knew them by heart. After shedding a few more tears, she splashed her face with water from the sink, dried off and went back into the living room. The only movement that the two guys had made was to refill the three coffee cups now sitting on the table. As she went to sit on the couch once more she reluctantly handed the paper to Brian.

Sitting back down Brigit looked at Brian and started to speak once more, “The paper that you hold in your hand is the Certificate of Stillbirth for my son. As I was saying before I left, Pansy had left me, with Molly, in the bathroom. I was still perfectly calm and in total denial about the rape until I stepped into the tub and sat down. As I took the soapy sponge Molly handed me, before she went to set out my nightgown and turn down the bedding, I started to wash myself normally but noticed that my eyes were tearing up, I ignored the tears. Then as I continued to wash I found myself starting to sob, then using the sponge I started to scrub my skin harder and harder until it started to leave bright red welts on my skin, but that wasn't enough so I grabbed the pumice stone that I kept in the bathroom for my feet. I then started to use the pumice stone on my skin until I started to bleed but it still was not enough to scrub out the feelings of filth that I had. I felt like I had been rolled in the mud for hours then dipped into tar and left to dry, the filth just would not come off of me. I started to screech and used my nails trying to dig the filth out by any means possible.

Molly had heard me screech from the other room and rushed in to see what the problem was. Upon seeing me with blood everywhere and the furrows I had dug into my skin she ran over to me, grabbed my wrists, and physically pulled me out of the tub and carried me, screaming, to the bed and forcing me to stay there while she used the intercom on my nightstand to call another maid to bring the first aid supplies and to get Pansy up to my room immediately.

A few minutes later the other maid ran into the room carrying the medical kit that was kept in the kitchen and handed it to Molly. The other maid said something like, “The Mistress will be here shortly, she said she had to wait for somebody to arrive. I didn't recognize the name, but it was a man's name, she said and I know it wasn't the Master. Who could she be waiting on that was more important than her daughter?”

Molly got upset at the insinuation in the other maids tone and said, “Number One: help me with bandaging up this girl. Number Two: keep your snakes tongue in your mouth while you help me.”
That was as far as she went for the moment until she had the worst of my cuts bandaged and the blood wiped up. Once that was all done, just as Pansy and an older gentleman carrying a bag stepped into the room, Molly concluded her earlier statement by saying, “ And, Number Three: gather your things and await me in the parlor you no longer work in this house.”

The other maid stomped off in a rage muttering obscenities under her breath as she left. The one thing that I did hear her say clearly, as she passed by Pansy and what turned out to be her private doctor, was the now former maid say quite loudly, “SLATTERN!”

Pansy grabbed her by the arm and backhanded the woman across the face and said, “You will now wait on this very spot until the constabulary arrives to escort you off the property.” While the woman was still in shock from the strike across her face Pansy pulled her mobile phone out of her pocket and proceeded to call the constable.

To be honest as far as I can remember that is the only time I have ever seen Pansy that angry and the closest I had ever seen her come to hitting anyone was when I was younger and she would pop my mouth for cursing within her hearing.

After Pansy had finished with her call the woman started up her mouth again saying, “I know all about the various men you have traipsing through this house while your husband is away. You and that harlot of a devils spawn over there.” pointing at me. She then continued making vile accusations about seeing me out on the steps in the red-light district every night, taking in, whoring with, and robbing every man that I could grab hold of for more than thirty seconds.

When the constable arrived she gave her vilest accusation yet, she said, “I also know all about the black magic potions you have been brewing in the locked shed at the back of the compound, using the fetal umbilical cords and placentas that you rip out of the women that come to you from the other whore houses down the road. And the infant sacrifices to the Devil that you carry out on every full moon in that bonfire you build. You thought that no one would find out about that one didn't you? Well I swear before God Himself that you will not get away with this for another moment.”

At this point the fact that Pansy had had enough of this show of dramatics was written on her face. She looked at the constable and said, in a cold but respectful tone, “Kind sir, would you please remove this vile piece of filth from my presence and property and hold her until I can file formal charges later this afternoon.”

The officer who had been watching the whole scene could tell by the looks of shock and outrage on every face in the room, except the former maids, that every word that had been spoken by this... woman, because he could not even bring himself to think of her with the term 'lady', had been nothing more than malicious lies to try to defame the honorable people in the room. He pulled his radio from its holster on his hip and called in to request that another officer and a car be sent to take the former maid into custody. Once he was told that a car was in route to his position he turned the woman around and placed the handcuffs on her tightly enough that she couldn't get out of them but not so tight that they interfered with the blood flow to her hands. He then led her out of the room saying, “I will return shortly to get statements from everyone here.”

As he said the officer returned rather quickly while the doctor was looking at the furrows that I had dug into my flesh, trying to decide whether any of them needed stitching or not. When he re-entered the room the officer told Pansy, “Even though I believe all that she said was hogwash, those were some serious accusations she was making and, you understand, I am bound by law to investigate her claims. So if you would, please explain to me what you believe she was referring to then accompany me to this shed that she spoke of we can clear this up in just a few moments without any undue stress.”

Molly spoke up then and said, “I believe I can elaborate and clarify what she was referring to with the fires. You see, my husband Tom is an unbelievably superstitious man. He is the grounds keeper and every month on the full moon he gathers all the clippings and trimmings that have accumulated throughout the month and burns them. I do not know where he gets this notion that the only time you burn the clippings is at the full moon but his father, who was the grounds keeper before my husband took over the job, is the one that started it and that is the way he taught his son to do the job. He then takes all of the ashes from the fire and mixes it in with the fertilizer and fertilizes the plants on the new moon every month. As for the rest of what she said the shed back there is only used to store some of the gardening tools. And on occasion broken furniture gets put in there until there is enough to either take to the landfill or be burned.”

The officer thought that was all reasonable explanations but he still needed to see the evidence for himself. Still thinking on what had been said by the former maid and the one he was speaking with he said, “Your husband isn't the only one that only burns on the full moon, my does the same thing. Would your husband happen to have the keys to this shed that is in question?”

Molly replied, “Tom is at the farmers market over in the next county today, trying to find some good seeds for my herb garden. You know what they say 'parsley, sage, rosemary, and time heal all wounds', but he leaves that key ring on the rack by the door when he is not using them. I will go with you and get the keys so we can have a look see at the old shed. Then we can come back up and you can have a chat with the Mistress. Today is not really a good day for all this because her daughter is having some problems as you can tell. That is why the good doctor is here.”

With that Molly left the room with the officer and the doctor started asking personal questions such as, how many men I had sex with in the last year, did your use protection...and other questions of a similar nature. I told him that as far as I knew I had never had sex with anyone before the previous night and I didn't even know if I had sex then or not because of whatever they had slipped into my drink.

He pulled down the sheets that were covering me and started to examine between my legs. After he pulled the sheets back up over me he said, “Well you clearly had sex with someone so if you were raped..”

I never said I was raped!” I yelled at him.

To which he responded, “Well if you weren't raped then you have lied to your mother and I. Now I have known your mother since she was about your age and I know that the things that woman said about her are complete fallacy. You, on the other hand, I have never met but I highly doubt that your mother would allow any of the things that were said to happen. But if you are lying to us now, we need to know.”

I told him, “I never said I was raped, but I didn't lie to you. I told you that as far as I know I have never had sex with anyone. I don't remember what happened last night.”

The doctor sat down on the edge of the bed and turned towards my mother with a contemplative look on his face. After a few minutes he tapped his finger on his chin a few times before saying, “Well it appears that what Brigit says is true. I can tell by the tearing of her internal lining and the bruising on the inside of her legs that she was indeed raped by at least one person and they were very rough and aggressive while they were at it. As far as what they put into your drink, I can take a few samples of blood and have them tested to see if there is anything left in your system but chances are whatever they gave you has already left system so there will not be enough left for us to trace effectively. I'm sorry.”

Looking at my mother once more, he got up off the bed and left the room.

When Molly returned alone my mother asked her where the officer was to which Molly responded, “Oh, he was satisfied with what I showed him and said that once he had confirmed that her intentions were nothing more than to cause problems he left. Come to find out Toms father and his grandfather were brothers so that explains how they both had that silly superstition.”

Patsy looked relieved that the claims were proved fallacious, as we already knew they were. After a moment Pansy looked up at Molly and asked, “By the way who was that maid I don't recognize her like I do most of the others?”

Molly explained, “She was a new hire and has only been here for about a month, but I have kept her mostly in the kitchen until I decided I could trust her out of my sight for more than a few minutes. From what I can remember when I interviewed her, she had just moved over here from the Americas and this was her first job. I think her name was Mildred Bozeman she was 30 years old and had worked in several hotels over in the States, um, Boston.. I think is where she said she was from. Beyond that I really hadn't gotten to know her very well, she was a very private person and didn't really say much outside of direct comments about her duties.”

Pansy just nodded and dismissed Molly with a wave of her hand. Molly left us alone and Patsy sat down on the bed with her head in her hands. For a while it seemed to me that there was something she wanted to say, but finally she just said, “Go to sleep, you need to rest and recuperate from...what happened.” After that she got up, straightened her dress, and walked out of the room.

It was about two months later and I was starting to get myself together and get back to normal when I started to get really sick of a morning and even though it eased up after a while it never went away totally. I just figured I had a virus and it would go away, but it didn't. I had been sick for about two weeks when I woke up in the middle of the night cramping and hurting. I felt like I was dying from the inside out. I managed to reach over to the intercom and hit the button to call Molly before I blacked out from the pain that I was in. When I came to Molly and my mother were there trying to get my nightgown off of me, that is when I noticed that the gown was soaked and had blood on it.

I must have blacked out again with the next set of cramps because the next thing I knew I was wrapped in a blanket and in the car almost at the hospital emergency room. From that point on I really can't remember much but Pansy told me they took me right in and gave me a shot to knock me out after she explained to them what was happening.

When the sedatives wore off the next morning I could tell that something was wrong. I felt like a part of me was missing... it's.. it's hard to describe. It was almost as if they had taken away my arms or legs...except.. the feeling was inside me not external like it would be if I lost an arm or leg.

The doctor walked in with a bland look on his face, handed me that paper and left after giving me a scowl of disgust while Pansy wasn't looking at him. Right then and there I made a vow to myself, one that I have held onto and reminded myself of everyday since, that I would never, never, accept pity or charity from anyone, no matter what happens or how tough my life may be, I would be strong and would not let anyone make me feel weak again.

That was the day that I decided to change my life and become as strong as I could possibly be. Afterward I did just that, I started to study harder than I ever had in my classes and managed to finish six months earlier than the rest of my age-peers, I started studying martial arts in several various forms until I knew that I could take care of myself physically in most any fight, I also started doing research on psychology and am now attending classes at the Uni for a psychology major with a minor in ancient civilizations specifically Celtic.

Before you ask, the reason that I haven't been in your class is I am taking that one online.

By the way Brian it is almost 11:30 and we are supposed to go retrieve our stuff from our adoptive mothers at noon so we need to pull ourselves together at least I do. Damn men, all you have to do is make sure you have those damn wallets you carry and your keys then you are ready to go.” she said with a false scowl and a laugh.

Once everyone was ready to go all three of them got into Keiran's SUV and went to Brian's home. As they pulled up into the driveway both Randy and Donald stepped out onto the porch...

D.W.: Is blood really thicker than water as you humans like to say? In all my eons watching your realm I have seen that argument both validated and invalidated so many times that I cannot honestly say whether it is true or not. Is the family that disowns one of their children, and condemns them to the darkest pits of Hell, for being attracted to another person of their same gender the ones in the right? Or is it the stranger that comes out of the darkness and rescues that same disowned and condemned child from being beat to death regardless of who the person is or what the person has done in life?

As the trio arrived at Brian’s house they were met by their adoptive fathers standing on the front porch blocking the entrance to the house with their wives standing behind them with strained and worried expressions on their faces.

Brian walked up onto the porch and just stared at at Randy with a blank and emotionless mask on his face. Unlike her twin Brigit was not able to keep the anger and hurt that she felt off of her face. Not wanting to get involved in a family dispute, Keiran stood and the back of the group trying his best to be ignored by Randy and Donald.

After the two groups had been standing there for several minutes Sharon had finally had enough an pushed her way between her husband and his cousin, directly behind Sharon came Pansy, until they stood between the children they had raised since birth and the men they had married and loved. Looking at her son and husband Sharon made her declaration.

"There will be peace in this house today! There will not be any yelling. There will not be any arguments, you will discuss civilly otherwise the argument will end with at least one person leaving." Turning to her husband Sharon continued in a tone that would freeze an avalanche in its tracks and force it to retreat, "And I will guarantee that the person or persons leaving will not be the children." To which Pansy added while looking at her own husband, "If it comes down to it Randy will not be leaving by himself, and that you can take to the bank Donald Aodhon O'Maoileagain."

For the first time one of the parents noticed Keiran standing behind the twins trying to blend in with the shrubbery. Seeing him standing there, Sharon being the mothering person that she is, walked over to him and said "It is good to see you again, I know we were never properly introduced with everything that was going on last night. I am Sharon, Brian’s adoptive mother. And the one over there, with a hangover, glaring this way is Brian’s adoptive father and maternal uncle Randy."

Embarrassed Keiran extended his hand towards Sharon only to have it ignored and be embraced in a tight hug that almost broke the emotional dam that held him together and allowed him to function day to day. Looking up towards Brian and his adopted father he stiffened as he saw Randy glaring at him with a look of disgust, fear and loathing written across his face. It wasn't until just then that Keiran realized he was not wearing his contacts since he felt comfortable enough around the twins that he didn't feel like he needed to wear them.

Sharon feeling the young man in her arms grow rigid looked up and upon seeing the look on her husbands face she became even more angry than she was beforehand.

Sensing the anger and hostility in the air, Brian looked between Randy and his new boyfriend. Seeing a way to make striking a blow towards the man that, until recently, he had always known and loved as his father, while at the same time offering comfort to Keiran, Brian walked off the porch and pulled Keiran out of his mothers fierce grip and into his own.

Looking up into Keiran's beautiful eyes he wrapped his arms securely around him and pulled Keiran into a deep kiss that was passionate enough to make Brigit blush standing five feet away from them.

After the kiss finally ended Brian said, loud enough for Randy to hear it on the porch, "Do you feel better now, babe?" All Keiran could do was nod his head, such was the power Brian had put into the kiss. Then just to piss Randy off a little more Brian said, "I love how your eyes look without those contacts that make them look normal."

Hearing what Brian had said coupled with the fact that she saw what her son was doing, and out of general curiosity, Sharon asked, "So you were wearing contacts last night?" seeing Keiran's nod she asked, "So this is your natural eye color? I think they are stunning. I have to agree with Brian there, you shouldn't hide such beautiful eyes behind an illusion just so you can fit into what others think.

Now highly embarrassed and blushing Keiran said, "Thank you Mrs. Milligan," only to be cut off by Sharon saying, "There will be none of that 'Mrs. Milligan' in this house young man. Either call me by my name or, even better I would prefer, you can call me Mom, and that is final." Seeing the look of shock on Keiran's face Sharon continued by saying, "Well you are dating my son aren't you? That makes us like family and we don't stand on formalities with family."

Suddenly Randy started yelling at the top of his lungs, " I WILL NOT HAVE THAT FAGOT FREAK IN MY HOUSE OR AROUND MY FAMILY. THAT SATAN SPAWN MUST LEAVE NOW." then, muttering to himself, Randy said, " ...must contact..Phelps....blessing....Westboro Baptist...straight camp..yeah..yeah...that will protect my family."

At this Sharon's head snapped up towards her husband and, in a tone that made her previous statement to him seem as warm as a summers day, she said, "You need to leave right now and MAYBE I will calm down enough to speak to you again, otherwise prepare to receive divorce papers."

Pansy turned to her husband and said to him, "Will you be joining your cousin on his way out or are you going to behave and remain civil?"

Donald looked at Keiran, still wrapped in Brian’s embrace, and looked into those strange eyes before mumbling under his breath, "I always thought the old stories about realm hoppers was just that, stories. But now, as I live and breathe, there is a {6}Síofra... a changeling standing before me." Then realising what he had been asked he said, "No, I will not be joining my cousin. The old stories spoke of what happens to those that would turn their backs on a changeling. I'll not be bringing that kind of [7]ainsén...ill luck down upon our heads. The old stories said that seeing a changeling is a sign of troubled times be coming soon."

Seeing his entire family  had turned against him Randy declared, "You are all going to HELL for consorting with demons and fagots! Go ahead and fill their heads with all of that Satanic witchcraft shit, I don't care!" After which he went to his truck and pulled out a shotgun, but before he could even cock the gun Keiran was on him and had ripped the gun from his hands and threw it across the yard, well out of reach of anyone.

He then pressed his face close to Randy's and said, in a voice that was closer to a growl than actual speech, "I think you need to leave right now and if I ever see you again you will not even have a chance to go for a gun because you will already be dead."

What the family could not see from their vantage point is the way that Keiran's eyes shifted to solid black to the point that he even lacked the part of his eye that should have been white. All the family saw was Randy suddenly loose all control of his bladder and, from the smell of it, his bowels before he jumped into the truck, started it up and drove off almost hitting the fence and light pole. Once he made it to the street he almost T-boned another vehicle that was driving down the road. Fortunately for the people in the other vehicle they were going slow enough that they were able to slam on the brakes in time to avoid being hit.
After Randy left Keiran continued to stand there glaring in the direction that Randy had left. A few minutes later, after calming himself down to a level where he could contain himself, Keiran returned to Brian's arms and turned to face the rest of his family. He started by saying, "I apologize for that. It was not my place to do that... but I just couldn't let him attempt to hurt Brian or anyone else for that matter."

Looking around at the others Sharon gathered Keiran into her arms and held him tight while saying, "Don't worry about it, I don't think any of us could have gotten over there or stopped him in time. I have never seen him act that way. I mean I know he started going to that new church in town a few months ago but I didn't think anything about it."
Brian looked at her and said, "Mom i don't think you can blame all this on a church because those feelings had to be there beforehand in order to surface that violently." then looking at Keiran he said, "By the way, Babe, just out of curiosity, how did you get from here over to where he was standing so quickly? When he first pulled out the gun you were still standing here, but in the time it took me to blink you had thrown the gun away and had him pinned against the truck. And what did you do to him to make him so scared that he shit and pissed himself?"

With a shocked expression on his face Keiran said, "I really don't know, all I knew was that you and your family was in danger and I felt like I had to stop him. I don't even remember leaving your arms, it's like I saw the gun and then I was over there and had him pinned. I don't even remember what I said to him, and as far as I know I didn't do anything to him he just started pissing himself and then the smell hit me. After that he jumped into the truck and sped off." then starting to sob he said, "I'm sorry I have caused so many problems for you. I will wait out in the car till you are done here and give you a ride back to your car, then you won't have to see me again."

Suddenly Brian slapped Keiran across his face and said, "Don't you ever speak like that around me again! You did not cause this to happen, this was obviously going to happen eventually anyways. Besides you can't leave me because even though we said we were going to take things slow I already feel like I have found my One True Love, Lover, Life Partner, or whatever term you want to use. And I will be damned if I let you get away from me now that I have found you. I don't expect you to be able to respond to that right now but I just wanted to place all my cards on the table and let the rest fall where they may."

Then looking around at his family Brian declared, “I do believe this family has some unfinished bussiness to discuss, and I believe Angus needs to be here as well since he is older and would probably know more about what happened that caused our families to split.”

Across town Randy was speaking loudly into a pay phone saying, “...eyes turned black as coal and it felt like he was trying to steal my soul from my body.....Yes.......I can do that.....Ok I will see you in a week.....thank you Reverend I look forward to it. May Gods Light shine upon you. Good-bye.
Once everyone was comfortable inside the house Sharon looked around nervously at the group that was gathered in her living room. Everyone was still a bit shook up after what Randy had almost done, then, on top of that, Keiran's actions really set everyone on edge.

Seeing no one was going to start the conversation Keiran sat forward and said, “I know that I am an outsider here and, other than getting to know the twins over the last 12 or so hours, I don't know anything about your family. But for the most part, it seems to me, neither of the twins really know all that much about their family histories either. Obviously there was some kind of family strife that divided the two branches, almost irreparably so.”

Brian now sat forward and said, “The first question I feel, and I am sure Brigit also wants this as badly as I do, should be answered is, why were the two of us split up and raised in separate countries never knowing that the other existed? I can understand that neither one of you, most likely, could afford to raise the both of us so early in each of your lives and relationships. But at the same time that does not explain the secrecy involved.”

The three parents looked at each other briefly before Sharon and Pansy nodded towards Donald. Clearing his throat Donald started by saying, “You are correct that neither couple would have been able to raise both of you, Pansy and I had only been married about a year, I was barely 20 years old and Pansy was only18 at the time. As far as what young Keiran asked about the only one that I know of that can answer that with any certainty is my uncle Angus, because he was your grandfathers half brother. Since my father passed away five years ago from cancer, which is something that both of you need to be aware of for health reasons, and neither you nor Brigit ever met your grandfather before his death ten years ago, the Angus is the only one left alive from that generation. Let me give him a call and ask him to come over here, I also need to let him know about the way Randy is acting so that if he sees him he knows how to handle things.”

Donald pulled out his cell phone and started dialing as he walked outside to the porch.

Now it was just the mothers left to answer questions that, for the most part they had no answers to but they felt that they should at least try to answer as much as they could. Once more the mothers looked at each other until Sharon said, “Even though Pansy and I don't have many answers one that I think we can give you the basics of is the question of why you were never told about each other. We felt that if you knew then you would want to meet each other, and with the division in your family we couldn't bring the two of you together until after the last of that generation had passed on so as not to cause you undue hardship by involving you in all of those problems.

Also there is the fact that Randy is the bastard son of a bastard son. Your grandfather never claimed him as his own like he did your mother. To be honest no one really knows whether Randy is his biological son or not. Now I know that Randy's father was a bastard child born out of wedlock. From what I gathered from the discussion last night between Randy Donald and Angus, your great-grandmother was, supposedly, an Irish Gypsy, but those are questions best left to Angus when he arrives.

I do know that I never met Randy's father before he died, because he was not at our wedding and from what I understand Randy hadn't seen or spoken to him since he was 16 and moved out on his own. I almost feel like I am betraying Randy's confidence with what I am about to say but, at the same time I feel like you need to know this because it will help you understand some of the reason he acted the way he did towards you earlier.

The only reason I know about this, and I don't think Randy even remembers telling me about it, is because he was drunker than I had ever seen him get. Brian, it was the night when you were sixteen that you came out to us and told us you were gay, that this happened, so again I can understand why he went on such a binge that night.

You see, not only did Randy's father never claim him as his son but also from the time Randy was about seven years old, until he moved out at sixteen, his father was raping him and then beating him nightly. Randy was not allowed to have friends stay the night at his house, nor was he allowed to spend the night at anyone’s house, because if he somehow managed to avoid his fathers nightly rape then the following night would be ten times worse. Brian, do you remember the time you saw your father without his shirt on and asked where all of those scars came from?”

Brian’s heated response was, “That man is not my father! And yes, I do remember asking him about the scars, he said they were what happens to little boys who don't do as they are told. Wait... Your saying that all those scars are from beatings his father gave him? I always thought it was some kind of camping accident or something like that. Wow, okay, I can see how you would draw that conclusion. I am just glad that he never carried on that little family tradition”

At this point Troy, Brian’s sixteen year old younger brother, entered the room saying, “That is where you are wrong Brian, he did continue that tradition. That is why I stay locked away in your room so often.”

Looking at his mother then turning away, he slowly and painfully removed his shirt. As he did a matrix of welted, partially scabbed, and scarred flesh was revieled, Troy then continued, “Every since that night, at least three to four times a week he has me meet him at the barn near the back fence next to the chicken coop. By the time he arrives I am supposed to be completely naked, no matter what time of year it is, bent over a hay bale with an old power cord from a toaster or something, sitting on the bale next to me. Once he gets there he starts talking about how he was going to prevent me from turning out like that stupid orphan fagot cousin of mine. He then fucks me in the ass using the handle of a broken horse whip while he lashes me with the cord. Once I get to the point that I almost pass out he quits using the whip handle and fucks me himself. When he finishes he yells at me saying that I got what I deserved for the moment then he leaves.”

The entire time Troy was describing what had been happening to him at the hands of his father the rest of the family watched Sharon's face go from ashen to death white and then to blistering crimson by the end of the tale. Seeing that their mother could not even speak Brian asked the question on everyone’s mind, “Why didn't you tell someone that this was happening? We would have done something... I don't know what we would have done... but something...”

Troy turned around and, with a bitter laugh that sounded more cynical than the gouchiest old man ever met, said, “There was nothing that could be done. Old Mrs. Lockheart saw it happening one time and tried to pull him off of me but he just punched her in the face before shoving her away and telling her that if she ever spoke a word about it to anyone that she was signing her own death warrant and he would be the collector. Every since then she has been the one to take care of cleaning up the mess on my back every time that it happens. There have even been some of them that she's had to stitch shut because he flayed them open so badly.”

After this the whole family was too shocked to say anything. Donald, having come in near the beginning and standing out of sight next to the door, stepped into the room and declared, “Your father will not see the end of the year come 'round. Even if I have to put him in the ground myself, by all that is Holy and all that I hold dear to my heart, you have my word on it. May the Scald Crow take him before I find him, but either way I won't regret the spilling of his blood upon my hands.”

Brigit slowly got up out of the chair she was sitting in and wrapped her arms around Troy and started softly chanting, almost singing, in Gaelic that was as old as the hills, “Mo pháiste óg agus neamhchiontach teacht chun Máthair Bríd, a éisteacht leis na focail agus lig an tús leighis.” Suddenly, as Brigit rubbed the sobbing teens back, the open and seeping wounds began to knit themselves back together, then the scabbed welts healed and the scars started to fade leaving the flesh beneath as smooth and flawless as a newborn child. Then, just as suddenly, she squeezed Troy tightly to her and slumped. If not for the fact that Troy was holding her, almost as tightly as she had been holding him, she would have crashed to the floor and possibly harmed herself greatly.

Brian and Donald rushed over to help catch the falling young woman. As soon as Donald's hand touched her,Brigit's eyes opened and glowed a green so deep as to remind one of the first leaves of Spring. She then started to speak in a strange multi-tone voice, with an Irish brogue thicker than her grandfathers grandfather, saying, “Worry not about your vow Keeper. The Dragons Child, Who is also a Prince of Old, shall take vengeance upon the one who would harm his own flesh and blood.” then looking at Keiran she said, “Listen well Young Dragon Prince, as the wheel of fate turns and you meet your first foe, remember, The Debt of Life is the Debt of Death and all Debts must be paid in Full.”

Brigit's body then slumped once more and the glow left her eyes and she seemed only to be sleeping.

Brian looked up at the adults in the room and demanded, “What the Hell was all that about? How did the marks on my brothers back disappear? Why is my sister passed out on the floor? And what the fuck happened with that strange voice?”

Surprisingly, it was Pansy that answered saying, “I always thought my grandmother was crazy when she said that the old Gods and Goddesses were real but, I think.... No, it can't be... but I just saw it...what she said was, I think, 'My...something...innocent Mother Brigid, hear ...something...let the healing begin.' and if my grandmother was right then that was the Goddess speaking to us! As for why she passed out that would be because of the strain it puts on the bodies of mortals to be possessed by divinity. She should be fine in a few minutes, but she is going to have a massive headache if the rest of what my grandmother said is true."

"Alright," Brian, getting more upset by the moment, said, "what about all of that stuff she said to Keiran about dragons and princes? Can you explain all that away with your superstitions and old wives tales?

Donald set his hand on Brian's shoulder heavily before saying, "That be my wife you're speaking to like that. I'd suggest you mind your manners and have a seat over there next to your anam cara until you can control yourself a bit better. Your questions will be answered, as best we can, once you have calmed down and can once more think clearly."

At some point during Donald's short speech, Brigit had become conscious enough to understand what was being said. She half scared the rest of the occupants in the room when she said, "Geez Da, you haven't even known my brother a full day and you are already putting him in time-out corner? What the hell happened to me? The last thing I remember is giving Troy a hug.... and then waking up on this couch."

To which Donald responded, "I think some of those questions are better left until Angus arrives, he was around during the times of our grandmothers so he would know all the old tales that tell of such things. I didn't grow up hearing the old tales because my mother, God rest her, was a good Christian woman who banished all talk of the Old Ways to the outhouse never to be discussed in any form in her presence. But, if the few things I did hear in the homes of my mates have any truth in them then what my lovely wife said earlier may well be correct. Again though I think we should wait until my uncle gets here. He knows all about the stories told in the olden times."

Keiran then spoke up saying, "I'm sorry to have to intrude on this time dealing with family matters but I have a few questions of my own about some of the things you have said today." after stopping to compose his thoughts Keiran asked, "Earlier, when you told Brian to sit down here next to me, you said a couple words that I assume were in Irish, it sounded like you said "enema cars" which makes no sense to me, and I was wondering what they mean."

At this all of the older family members cracked up laughing leaving the younger ones upset and annoyed at not being taken seriously but before anyone could explain they heard a deep and wheezy laugh come from behind them towards the door. Turning they saw Angus standing in the doorway chuckling.

Angus said, "Young Síofra, aye I know what you are, they are laughing about the way you said anam cara, they are not laughing at you personally. As far as what it means, when you can get on the internet you can look it up." Angus then wrote down the words on a piece of paper and handed it to Keiran. "The easy way to explain it is to say 'soul friend' but it means a lot more than that, it is a way of living... a philosophy of life so to speak.

"As far as your other questions that is going to take some time to explain what I know and work on what I don't know I still have a few contacts that still practice the Old Ways. So why don't you and your partner there go out to the truck and bring in the food I brought with me for lunch. We can discuss all of your questions after we eat, by the way did you bring that talisman with you?"

Brian answered, "Yes I left them in the car because we were going to stop by the university library and do some research on them."

At the word 'them' Angus looked up and said, "Them? I thought there was only one and that was the pendants the two of you had."

Keiran answered, that question by saying, "Yeah, we also have the two pendants that were found with me when I was a baby."

Looking grave Angus asked, "You said two pendants. Are they a woven silver basket looking thing and what looks to be a talon that you can't identify?"
Brigit sat up and asked, "How do you know what Keiran's pendants look like? He didn't have them showing last night. At least I don't remember seeing them before we got to his apartment last night when he pulled them out."

Angus fell into the overstuffed chair behind him and put his face in his hands, suddenly looking as if a millenia was writen across his face, for a few moments before saying, "Because if they are the ones I think they are it means that the prophecy has begun....."

Angus fell into the overstuffed chair behind him and put his face in his hands for a few moments before saying, "Because if they are the ones I think they are it means that the prophecy has begun. Go get the food and bring it in while I think about all of this and try to figure out what is happening."

When Brian and Keiran had returned with the food and gotten settled on the couch once more, Angus said, "One thing you must understand about prophecies is that they are All connected somehow, it is a pattern of circles within circles. Now before we get involved in the headache that is required in order to understand prophecies, would someone like to tell me what happened here, because Don was only able to give me the basics about what threw Randy off his rocker?"

And so the family recounted all that had happened since the arrival of the young ones earlier that morning. When Angus heard about what had happened to Troy he was visibly livid, that is until he heard what happened when Brigit started hugging him. When he was told what happened afterward his color went from a healthy robust pink to an ashen gray pallor reminiscent of death.

After sitting there stupefied for several minutes, Angus started to speak slowly saying, "The Great Mother has returned, She didn't abandon us after all." He then slipped out of the chair and almost crawled over to where Brigit had been sitting silently all this time, having no memory of anything between the time that she hugged Troy and waking up with a headache on the couch. Angus looked up at Brigit, from his kneeling position, with a look of reverence before saying, "You are the first person that the Great Mother has spoken through in almost one hundred years. You have most definitely have been given the Mothers blessing, just be warned that there will be some who are jealous of that blessing and it may soon seem more like a curse."

"What are you talking about, Uncle, none of this makes any sense?" Brigit asked. Then looking at her adoptive parents and Sharon she asked, "Any chance one of you have something to help with this headache? I feel like one of Jay Gordon's obscure demons is stomping around in my head, it's making it hard to concentrate on anything much less be able to make sense of all this crazy stuff."

While Donald poured Brigit a small measure of whiskey and Pansy handed her some aspirin, Angus returned to his seat and waited for everyone to get comfortable once more.
After he had sat down next to his wife Donald looked over at Angus and asked, "If that was the Goddess why did she refer to me as Keeper, like it was a title or something important?"
Angus gathered his thoughts once more before saying, "That is because it is a title. That title was bestowed on our line centuries ago by The Mother Herself. In the old days it meant a lot more than it does now. At one time our clan were the Mothers warriors, we were tasked with keeping Her children safe. This leads back to one of the things I said earlier, about the Prophecy beginning. Another one of the duties of our clan, as Keepers, was to make sure that a certain prophecy was always carried forward with the line until such time as it should come to pass, or at least the first couple of lines of it. Let me see if I can recall all of it....ah yes... I remember now:

The Time will come when three Children will be born into the World of Lost Ways
The Great Mothers Voice will hearken the Beginning of the End
These Three shall be the Embodiment of the Triad of Divine Right: Mind, Body, Spirit
Three parts of the Amulet Old shall they carry, Two shall be One and One shall be Two
If ever these three should be torn asunder by Evil, the Dark Reich will be unleashed,
to Rise and Reign over all of the Sacred Realms Forevermore”

After waiting a few moments Angus continued, "The last time that prophecy was repeated aloud was on my grandfathers death bed, and was spoken with his final breath. Had my death come before this time, or had this been the wrong generation, then I would have called Brian and passed the prophecy to him as the youngest of the line at this time."
The family sat in stunned silence for several minutes before Brian said, "Angus, lets leave the fantasy stuff about prophecies and goddesses alone for a bit, you mentioned talismans, do you mean these?" then reaching into the pocket of his shirt Brian pulled out the three necklaces he had been examining earlier that morning.

Taking the necklaces from Brian, Angus said, "So you managed to get the two pieces to go back together, huh? I shouldn't be surprised that you figured out that they make a whole."
"Would you mind explaining why there was a blue flash when the two pieces touched and fused." Brian asked. "You might also explain where the amulet came from while you are at it.

According to Brigit we both found the pieces on our sixteenth birthday, when we woke up they were sitting there next to us. Along with a letter that had been signed Sara, which we now know was our mothers name. Now tell me how a woman can deliver two pieces of a whole talisman to two places with an ocean between them, get into two homes, into two bedrooms silently, all before either of us woke up, with only three hours time difference? How can someone do all this on the sixteen years after her death?"

Looking pensive Angus said, "I can answer parts of some of those questions but not all of them. As for where it came from all I can tell you is that your great-grandmother had it when she was pregnant with your grandfather before the two of them went to America and that is the last I ever saw of it before Brigit showed me her half. Once I saw that half I went to the internet and started to do some research on it, and was shocked at some of the things that came up.

"According to what I was able to find about it there are several very old legends that describe an amulet like that, now I don't know if that is the same one or if there is any truth in those old legends. One thing that all the legends had in common was the fact that the amulet originally belonged to the Great Mother Brigid. Beyond that the legends argue on how the amulet passed into the human world and the hands of mortals. The most credible says that it was brought over by one of her children, though it doesn't say which one. Another version, although less credible, says it was given to the Gypsies to guard until such time that its powers were needed once more, this is the one that rings truest to me at its root even with all the embellishments that were added to it over the ages.

"Now you mentioned a blue flash when the pieces touched each other," receiving nods from the young trio, Angus continued, "you didn't happen to look at the clock when this happened did you?"

Keiran stared up at the clock on the mantle for a moment before saying, "I would say it was round about 12:30 or so, because we all turned in for the night about an hour later."
Angus looked shocked for a second then said, "Why am I not surprised that you would join the pieces during the witching hour. The answer to your question about the blue flash is.. complicated. The amulet was never supposed to be broken to begin with, but I think what happened is, when you put it back together it reset itself in the magick field and that was what your saw."

Brigit looked at Angus curiously then asked, "Reset itself, what do you mean?"

"It's like when you hit the reset on your computer screen, the screen flashes for a moment then goes back to how it should be, this is the same basic thing." Angus replied. "As for how the two pieces got to you on opposite sides of the ocean I have no clue."

Brian became angry thinking that Angus and the other adults were trying to hide things from them. "I thought you said that the whole purpose for this get-together was to get all the secrets out on the table. And now it seems as if you are doing your damndest to hide things."

Sharon looked at Brian and said, "We are not trying to hide anything from you. All of us have discussed this several times over the years since the pieces showed up and none of us have any clue as to where they may have come from or who put them into your rooms for you to find."

Brigit noticed that Angus was looking hesitant, as if there was something that he wanted to say but at the same time he didn't want to say it, so she said "Uncle Angus, you seem to have something to say so why don't you just say it."

Angus looked up at Brigit and said, "You always were too perceptive for your own good. Now that you are back together with your brother there is a way that we can get some of those answers for you. I am just not sure that it is the proper way to go about all this."

Donald finally spoke up saying, "Just spit it out, you daft old man, if it is important enough to debate it and it will answer questions that have been lingering around for too many bloody years, then just say it and be done with it."

Looking resigned to his fate Angus finally said, "On the day that the twins each received their letters and piece of the amulet, there was another letter and package that was found. I was at home and had just awoken, so I was making some of Brigit's coffee, and noticed a bright blue flash out the corner of my eye. When i turned to look there was a large package sitting there with the twins names on it and a letter addressed to me. Somehow the package and letter, which were still in my safe the last time I opened it, were sitting on the counter in the pub this morning when Donald called. The letter that was there instructed me to keep the package safe and never open it until the two of you had been reunited. It also said that the contents of the package were only to be used when questions arose that could not be answered by normal means. It was signed The Vessel, Sara. What it means by 'The Vessel' I haven't a clue."

For the first time Brian looked hopeful when he said, "You brought the package with you, right, and the letter? I want to compare the writing to the letter that I got."

"It's in the back seat, you can get it while you get that letter of yours." Angus said to Brian as he left the room.

While Brian was out of the room Sharon took the opportunity to get to know Keiran better.

"So tell me about yourself Keiran. Where did you and Brian meet?"

Keiran looked up at Sharon and answered, "We met in our class when we were put together in a group for a short in-class research project then we crossed paths several times after that, but we were always preoccupied those times, we didn't really meet again till last night at the party on campus."

Sharon was briefly taken aback and said, "Well the way the two of you were acting I had thought you guys had been dating for a little while and last night was supposed to be a date, and I apologize for how everything turned out last night."

Keiran chuckled a bit as he said, "No, last night was an unofficial first date, and don't apologize for what happened, there was no way that anyone could have known that the twins would meet that night or that things would have gotten out of hand the way they did."

Sharon looked down at the floor and said, "Part of the reason that things went the way they did, and this is not an excuse but, the situation that happened was partially because Randy was already drunk when the call came in. he was already upset and nervous about meeting Donald and his family for the first time, as well as introducing the twins to each other. He was also dreading the confrontation that we all knew would happen when we told Brian the truth about his parents and being adopted."

Brian walked back in as Sharon was saying this and responded, "Those are very weak reasons for the way he acted last night no matter what the situation. He was being blatantly rude and confrontational. He came in and acted like I should be thanking him because he kept my true identity, and the fact that I had a twin sister, secret from me my whole life. Well fuck that. And him being drunk is absolutely no excuse for the attitude problem he was popping off with at, and in front of, what were essentially total strangers, even if most of them are distant family."

Brian sat the box on the coffee table and sat back down next to Keiran before saying, "So, Angus, what do you think is in the box? I saw the two letters taped to the side, so I am assuming that it is the one that you mentioned was for Brigit and I."

"There was no letter taped on there this morning, and while you were out there getting the box I realized that I had forgotten to pick the letters up off the counter." Angus said as he picked up the box and saw, sure enough just as Brian had said, two letters taped to the back side of the parcel. Looking closely he saw that one of them was opened and the other one was not. He pulled the opened letter off the box and looked it over, it was the one that was addressed to him. He then carefully removed the second letter and handed it to Brigit to open.

At first Brigit was quiet while she read the letter to herself, then she started reading aloud:

My Dearest Son & Daughter,
It would seem that at least some of the Prophecies my grandmother told me have started to come to pass.
When I was young she told me that I would give birth to The Spirit and The Warrior,
she also said I would never know my children, which saddened me to no end.

I assume you are wondering how you both got the pieces of the amulet, right?
Also you are wondering what is in the box that was left with Angus.

Well the answer to both of those questions is the same, Cearúilín. She was my grandmothers guardian
spirit, when my grandmother passed through the veil I inherited her guardian, and when I passed the pair
of you inherited her as well. She was the one that left the amulet pieces for you to find as well as the one who
left this box and letter with The last Keeper, Angus. I can only give you so many answers in this letter. Use the
contents of this box it will call me back to your realm for a short time so I can explain everything to you.

Besides I want to see how my babies grew up.

Your Eternally Loving Mother,
Sara Brigit Milligan

By the end both twins were misty eyed while they opened the box to see what was inside. They were surprised at how little was in there, only a few candles, a couple sticks of incense, a note, a small packet of powder, and a beautiful knife with a solid pearl handle embossed with vines of, what looked to be, jasmine made out of gold. When Brian picked up the knife he noticed that there was what at first glance looked to be rust on the tip of the blade, but when he looked closer he could tell that it wasn't rust but instead it was blood.
Brigit removed the note and started reading it aloud as she had the last one.

This is the Ritual of Calling, but first I have to tell you DO NOT WASH THE KNIFE. I prepared this blade
the day that I found out I was pregnant with twins. One of the requirements for the ritual is, the blood of the
deceased, in other words my blood. You will both be required to prick your fingers and put a drop of blood on
the blade as well. Now with the warnings out of the way you can get started with the ritual. You will need to set the
five candles in a circle then add just a little bit of the powder to the wicks of each candle. Just rub it onto the wicks.

Then light each of the incense sticks with the candles, and prick your fingers, put the blood in the flame of one of the
candles. Now say the following words exactly:

Up to this point Brian had been following the directions as they were read off. Brigit moved over to where Brian was standing so that they could read the invocation together. Seeing this, Angus, reached over the candles and set the amulet in the center of the circle of candles.

"We call your name into the night
Oh Ancient One
Oh Mother Brighid
Thee we invoke by the moonlit sea
By the standing stone and the twisted tree
Thee we invoke where gather our own
We ask that you pardon Sara Brigit Milligan
From your Presence
We call her this day
So that she may lead us to our Destiny"

Suddenly there was a blindingly bright blue flash and standing there before the members of family was a woman that had died almost 20 years before that day. She stood there wearing a dress of the deepest bottle green and though she looked like Brigit her hair was the same color as Brian's and she looked the same age as the twins.

The woman looked at the twins and said, "Hello my children.....
After waiting a few seconds for their sight to return, because the bright flash nearly blinded them, Angus, Keiran, and the twins looked up to see a young woman standing in front of them. She stood there wearing a dress of the deepest bottle green and though she looked like Brigit her hair was the same color as Brian's and she looked the same age as the twins.

The woman looked at the twins and said, "Hello my children, I have waited a long time to meet you in the flesh, er.. so to speak. Hello Angus, I see the Mothers faith in you was not misplaced, and you, my young one, must be Keiran."

Everyone just stood there slack-jawed staring at this woman who had been dead for almost 20 years, but yet looked as if she were alive and perfectly healthy. suddenly Angus and the twins started speaking at the same time saying, "Sara,...Mom,...Mother!"

When Sara started laughing at the looks and reactions of her family, it sounded like a warm summers breeze  blowing through a forest, rustling the leaves of every tree along the way.

Suddenly Brian started speaking in an acerbic tone saying, "What is the meaning of all this? First, somehow, you leave notes and a piece of an amulet for Brigit and I, then you have us read off this pagan chant and then you show up looking and acting like this is all commonplace. I mean, what gives you the right to turn our lives upside down by showing up nineteen and a half years after you gave birth to us and died? Or is this all some sort of sham designed to put us in a nuthouse?"

Sara replied by saying, "My dear quick tempered Warrior son, I was not allowed to interact with you until the Mother allowed me to. I am one of Her servants, and vacation time is not included in the job benefits package."

Brigit, being the more rational of the pair, asked, "But how can you be here if you are dead? And what about our father, where is he?"

Sara frowned and said, "I honestly don't know, I have searched this realm from one end to the other and used up several favors to search other realms, know one has seen him cross over. "

Angus looked up quickly and said, "Wait, if he isn't in one of the spirit realms where could he be? The only ways that that is possible is if he is either still alive or he had his spirit unmade, but there are records of that so you would know if that happened."

Sara replied, "That was one of the first places I looked when my mother crossed over and told me that he was supposed to be dead. There was no mention of it in the records. But, be that as it may, that is not why you summoned me. The reason that The Mother allowed me to return is to help guide you on your journey and help you fulfill the prophecy that was written about you three long before any of us, except Angus, was born."

Angus looked up at her shocked and said, "What do you mean by except me? I know that that prophecy is centuries older than I am."

Sara looked bashful as she said, "Oh yeah, I was supposed to mention that to you. The Mother said to tell you that your time as a mortal is finished, it is time for you to take back your true form."

Sara started looking through the pouches hanging from her belt muttering to herself as she did. then she said, "Ah, there it is" then pulled out a glowing ball the size of a Super Bounce ball, then threw it at Angus.

The ball hit Angus in the chest, making him crumple over and curl into a ball on the ground. He then started to glow, faintly at first but as the glow got brighter his body lifted up off the ground to hover in the air. The twins and Keiran heard what sounded like chanting for an instant, then Angus lowered to the ground and out of the bright light stepped a man that looked to be no older than 30, carrying a staff that was carved on every surface and looked to have passed through the ages since time was first created. It was polished a deep mahogany brown, but seemed to shift colors as it passed through the light and shade.

The top of the staff he held appeared to be branches of a tree that were braided together enclosing a fist-sized gem that looked like a pearl but sparkled and shone with an unearthly light. Suddenly, as the group watched in awe, the gem burst into prismatic flames that displayed every imaginable color in Creation. After the flames had settled down they left behind a flickering ball of pure white flame.

As the ball flickered, Keiran noticed that although they could feel the heat from the flames there was no scent of smoke nor sign of the wood burning.

When he pointed this out to the others, Angus said, “This 'gem', as you call it is a phoenix egg, it is the last female of her kind left in this realm. Her name is Sharnella. The Mother requested that she return to her egg form until such time as she would be needed to help the Chosen Ones from the prophesy. Her only condition was that the spirit of her mate be allowed to return with her when the time came. The Mother agreed to this then cut Herself and formed an amulet from the blood, in which She then encased the spirit of Sharnella's mate, Ereseaus. The Mother declared that the amulet would belong to the female twin of the prophesy. That amulet is the one that now lays in the center of this calling circle, and belongs to Brigit.”

Sara then tilted her head as if listening to something that none of the others could hear. After a moment she looked at the group that was standing in front of her and said, “The Mother is saying that my time here is almost up, however, I have one more gift to give before I return to Her side.” Sara then looked away from the group and called, “Adam, it is time to meet your mother.”

Suddenly, standing behind Sara there was a young boy hiding and holding onto her dress, while peeking out at the group of people assembled before them. Seeing Brigit, the young boy quickly released his hold on Sara's dress so that he could run forward and jump into Brigit's arms, all the while screaming, “MOMMY!!!!”

The boy started talking 90 miles a minute trying to tell Brigit all about what kinds of fun he gets to have and how sad he is that he can't stay here with her.

After, a few minutes of this, just when everyone thought the boy would pass out from lack of oxygen, Sara said, “It's time to say goodbye to Mommy, you will see her again. We need to go The Mother is calling us home now.”

Adam didn't want to go and tried to stall for as long as he could but finally, when Sara said, “Adam Tyler Milligan, you get your butt over here right this second!” he let go and kissed Brigit on the cheek before walking back to where Sara was standing.

Seeing the tears in Brigit's eyes, Adam said, “Don't be sad Mommy, I will be back again soon. Not too soon but you will see me again.”

Then with a swirl of lights they were both gone, leaving the group on to make their way inside and try to figure out what had just happened. Once they had explained what happened outside to the older people that had stayed inside, it was decided that, due to the time, everyone should go their separate ways and try to assimilate what had happened.

The twins decided to take Keiran up on his offer to continue staying with him at his apartment. So they all left on better terms than they had arrived on.
The next day Brigit decided that, since Brian would be in class with Keiran most of the day, and Keiran had to work for a few hours to cover someone who called out, and all her classes were online, she would take the day and go to a street faire that she had heard was in town.

She walked around most of the day just enjoying the faire and thinking about all that had happened the previous day. She was shocked out of her thoughts by her cell phone ringing in her pocket. As she was fumbling with it trying to get it out of her tight pants before it stopped ringing, she stepped into a hole in the street, twisting her ankle, and sending the phone flying. She had just enough time to glance at it and see that it was her boyfriend, Jayden, calling before it on the street, directly under where a horse was about to step.

She was flailing her arms around trying to catch her balance when an old woman grabbed hold of her arm, stopping the fall. Looking up at her rescuer she saw that the woman was dressed as a gypsy, and was in a clearing that she didn't recognize, surrounded by, what appeared to be a gypsy caravan.

The woman helped Brigit out of the hole as she said, “There, there, Darlin'. Lets get you over to my cart and have a look at this ankle.” Brigit looked into the woman's eyes and lost all thoughts of resisting as she gazed into those verdant green eyes.

The old woman walked Brigit over to a carriage in the middle of the clearing, and helped her up the stairs, inside and onto a very comfortable bed. The woman then puttered around the cart picking up bottles and jars, full of herbs and liquids, as she muttered to herself. Placing all the gathered items on the table she started to pour different things into a wooden bowl and mixing them together as she went. Finally soaking a small towel in the mixture the woman asked Brigit to remove her shoe and sock so that she could see the ankle better.

Clucking her tongue at the swelling and redness the woman wrapped the towel around the ankle, bringing almost immediate relief to the inflamed joint.

Brigit looked up in amazement at the gypsy and said, “Wow, the pain is already gone, thank you. What do I owe you for doing this? I don't have much but you are welcome to what money I have.”

The old woman waved the money away saying, “Your money is worthless here, Young Vessel, payment shall be exacted when the time is right, through your deeds. Now, that towel needs to stay on there for at least ten minutes.” then with a twinkle in her eyes the gypsy said, “So while we wait, how 'bout a tarot reading, see what the fates hold in store for you, eh?”

Though she was uncomfortable with the idea of tarot cards, Brigit didn't see a way that she could turn the offer down without causing offense so she said, “Sure, it can't hurt just to see what the cards say.”

The woman reached into her billowing sleeves and pulled out a stack of cards that looked old enough to crumble into dust if you even breathed on them heavily.

She then started to lay the cards out in a sideways figure-8 pattern, muttering in another language the entire time. After a few minutes studying the cards the woman's eyes started to glow and her voice changed to one that made shivers run down Brigit's spine.

The woman said,

Though your strength through anger is great you have forgotten how to Love
You must learn it once more through the Warrior and the Child of Magick
Theirs is a love that is true and pure, once you have learned this truth
You shall become the Tie That Binds, and the Embodiment of Spirit”

The woman then suddenly collapsed.

Brigit was scared so she grabbed her shoe and sock then ran out the door of the carriage only to find herself standing in the middle of an empty field and only about a block away from the apartment.
When she arrived back at Keiran's apartment she was surprised to see both Brian and Keiran already there, so she said, “Keiran, I thought you had to work this evening, and I thought
Brian was going to go down there and wait for you. What happened?”

Keiran answered saying, “I was at work, like I planned, and Brian was there with me He had just arrived and was sipping on a soda waiting for me to get a chance to talk to him. About five minutes later I was serving this older, rather distinguished looking, man who had just handed me an envelope with my name on it, and told me that the whole universe is depending on me. When I looked down at the note that was inside the envelope the man walked away from the bar and up to this old woman wearing, of all things, a gypsy outfit. The two of them started yelling at each other and fighting, to the point that another one of the patrons called the police. By the time they got there the man and woman had disappeared somehow and were no where to be found, I even searched both bathrooms but nobody was in them. Anyways, long story short, the police shut the bar down for the night and sent everyone home.”

Brigit sat there looking stunned so Brian asked, “Did you even get a chance to read the note that was in the envelope?”

Keiran looked at Brian curiously for a moment before saying, “No, as a matter of fact I forgot about it in all the mess with the police, let me check my work pants and see if I brought it home with me.”

Keiran walked into the bathroom and started digging in the laundry hamper for a moment before returning with the letter in his hand. Sitting back down he said, “Lets see what the old man wrote.”

He then started reading the note aloud,

To the Mind of Creation and Destruction:
As one born of Divided Fates yours must be the struggle of Balance
While you may have the Strength to Right the Wrongs you must learn to let what appear to be Great Wrongs pass unhindered so they may give Birth to Great Rights
Do not allow the Darkness which lives within your Heart to expand for to do so would assuredly bring forth not only your own Destruction but the Destruction of your Warrior Love by your own Hand and you shall then Become the Ultimate Portal of Darkness

Brian sat silently for a few moments before saying, “OK, that sounds crazy to me.” then, looking at Brigit, he asked, “What happened to you, you look like you just saw a ghost?”

Brigit shook herself before gathering her wits and relating what had happened at the street faire, and the oddities therein.

“So you are saying that the woman at the bar, and the gypsy woman at the street faire, are the same person? That doesn't make any sense, how can she be in two places at once? And how did you end up in the clearing up the street when you had to take the bus to the other side of town to get to the faire?” Keiran asked.

Brian then spoke up saying, “I think we need to call Angus because this is way over our heads. Maybe he can figure this out.”

They all agreed that that would be the best course of action at this point. So Brigit used Brian's cell phone and called. When she was off the phone she told the guys that Angus was on his way and would stop to pick up dinner along the way.

When Angus arrived they started to explain all that had happened that day. He became very quiet for a few minutes then when he looked up at the three younger ones his eyes were a swirling pool of brown and green, looking like an old tree in the forest. He started to speak in a deep voice that was not his own saying,

To the Body of Truth:
The Warrior shall have the greatest Challenge of all for he shall be the Sword and Shield of the Sacred Triad
As such the Warrior is the strongest and most vulnerable member of the Triad
He must in one hand hold the Heart of Magick while the other must contain the Sacred Spirit all while defending His Charges from all harm
If ever His grip should slacken for even a moment the Heart will wither and Freeze while the Spirit shall be lost to the Ethers”

Then suddenly Angus slumped in his chair and would not wake. Keiran walked over to the window while they waited for Angus to wake up.

Looking out the window Keiran saw a man standing at the edge of the clearing in the distance. Looking harder he was certain, this was the same man from the bar, the one that was gave him the note and was arguing with the gypsy woman. Turning towards the twins he told them what he just saw and said that he was going to go find the man and get some answers from him about what was going on.

Keiran ran down the stairs and down the block, to where the clearing was, and saw the man standing just barely inside the tree line. He started to yell for the man to wait for him saying he needed answers for what was going on, when the man took a few steps back and suddenly disappeared.

Keiran ran to where the man had been standing and looked around, thinking that the man had walked farther into the tree line he followed. That was the last thing he remembered until he woke up with the sun shining directly into his eyes through the trees.

His first thought was 'Why is the sun shining so brightly this morning?' that is when he noticed that he was laying, naked, in the middle of a forest. The only thing around him was a wallet and all it contained, besides an ID and a five dollar bill, was a picture of him standing with his arm around the waist of a very attractive guy, that looked a little bit younger than him, with blonde hair and electric blue eyes. For some reason when he looked at the other guys face he thought, “I know his name is Brian Milligan. How I know this I have no clue, especially since I don't even know my own name.” Then his thoughts started racing, “Where I am from? What I am doing here? Hell I don't even know where here is much less how I got here in the first place.” The only thing he knew for certain is that no matter what happened he had to get back to Brian before something awful happened to him.

Chapter 8

D.W.: Now we will follow Keiran as he learns Who and What he is, and discovers truths about himself that have long gone unnoticed

I think my name is Keiran Lugh Taliesin, but that is not what the Massachusetts state drivers license in the wallet I found laying next to me says, Keiran Eugene Taliesin and the other says Keiran Patrick Drake. I am about 25 years old with dark red, almost auburn, hair. I stand about 5' 11" and weight right around 185 pounds. The only thing odd about my appearance is my eyes, they are a bright green with a thick band around the edges that is the color of quicksilver.

I woke up with the sun was shining directly into my eyes through the trees. My first thought was 'Why is the sun shining so brightly this morning?' That is when I noticed that I was laying, naked, in the middle of a forest. The only thing around me was a wallet, and all it contained, besides the IDs and a five dollar bill, was a picture of me standing with my arm around the waist of a very attractive guy about my age with blonde hair and electric blue eyes. For some reason when I looked at the guys face I knew that his name was Brian Milligan. How I know this about him I have no clue, especially since I don't even know my own name, where I am from, what I am doing here, hell I don't even know where here is much less how I got here in the first place. The only thing I knew for certain is that no matter what happened I had to get back to Brian before something awful happened to him.

That mystery will have to wait for another time, I need to pay more attention to figuring out where I am, how to find some clothing, and how to get back to civilization so I can hopefully find out who I am.

After looking through the wallet one more time, and finding nothing else that gave me any insight into my identity, I set off heading West into the forest hoping to stumble into a road that would possibly lead to some semblance of modern society. I had been walking for about two or three hours and was starting to feel dehydrated when I noticed that as I walked along there was a gradual clearing of the trees as if the tree line had been thinned out and trimmed back away from something at one time.

I kept walking and started to make out, what looked to be, an old fashioned well with a bucket and a hand crank. Once I realized that that is exactly what it was I rushed forward, tossed the bucket down into the well until I heard a hollow splash sound echo up from deep down, as I started turning the crank on the side to raise the rope and bucket back up I saw what appeared to be an old cabin that was sagging as if it was just waiting for a good strong wind to knock it over. Off to the side of the cabin almost leaning against it there was a small “hut”, for lack of a better way of describing it, with what looked to be an old dirty sheet covering the door. But that was not what caught my attention, what caught my eye was the old bent crone, dressed in ragged gypsy garb, standing there in front of the hut stirring a gigantic cast iron pot with a piece of wood that was broken off of the cabin.

I continued to crank the bucket up to the top of the well while watching this old woman stir her pot as if she didn't even see me standing there 50 feet away from her. When the bucket reached the top of the well I unhooked it and took a long drink of the sweet cool well water until I had finally quenched my thirst.

Then, without looking up from her stirring, I heard the crone speak with a voice that scrapped against my ears like a hundred year old hing that hadn't been oiled since the day it was installed say "Are you going to just stand there like a boil on a cats ass, or are you going to bring some of that water over here?"

Startled I almost dropped the bucket in my hands. So I said the only thing I could think of "OK." Yes, I know that is lame, but all I could think about was that this woman wants me to bring her the bucket of water and I am standing here as naked as the day I was born.

All of a sudden the woman yelled "Hurry up and bring that water here, you stupid, club-footed, lazy, sack of shit!"

So I did the only thing I could do and brought the bucket of water to her. It was only when I had placed the bucket of water into her grasping hands that I noticed that there was no color to her eyes, she was blind. After taking a small sip of the water from the bucket she dumped the rest into what now appeared to be a cauldron. She then said "Over on that stump over yonder you will find a pair of coveralls, put them on, they were left here by the last idiot that tried to come in this clearing and tell me what to do." Then with an evil cackle that sent chills down my spine she said "Just ignore the stains on the front of 'em it's only a little blood from the chicken I threw at 'im when 'e wouldn't leave me alone when I told 'im to."

Gratefully I picked up the coveralls and started to put them on glad to at least be properly covered once again. After I was finished zipping up the coveralls the crone said "I know why you are here Dragon Child."

Hearing those words made all the muscles in my body instantly freeze. Hesitantly I asked her "Why do you call me Dragon Child? What does it mean?"

Her response was even more chilling than previously "Draic Crislach" she said. At these words I fell to the ground completely unable to move even to save my own life, "That is what you are. There is no fighting or denying it. Your aura screams it so brightly that even I, a blind woman, can see it."

As I lay there in the dirt and mud unable to move a muscle the crone hobbled over to me and whispered, "De cruim fo giotán aí buicinn frithissi."

That is when i passed out with those strange words echoing in my head along with their translation "The Wyrm has bit His tail once more."

The next thing I knew, as I came to, was that I was laying on an old cot inside the hut with a splitting headache. As I looked around my gaze fell upon the old crone sitting on a stool that looked as old as she did knitting together two pieces of an old blanket that had been torn asunder in some bygone era.

When she felt my gaze land upon her she cackled and said "It is about blasted time you woke your lazy ass up. The nerve of you young people making an old woman sleep sitting up on an old stool while you sleep away the year on her bed. Achk!"

Hearing her words but not making any sense of them I sat up and asked her "Who are you, where am I, and how did I get here?"

After giving a loud "harrumph" sound she answered "I have been called many different things over many different times. They have called me everything from witch, to hag, to a Satan worshiper, I was even called Satan's personal whore once or twice. But you will call me Cerridwyn."

She then sat there quietly for a time before saying “As for who you are that is a question that even the gods above cannot answer. You are a unique anomaly in this world your father was Prince of the Dragons of Darkness, whereas your mother, who was also a princess – though not The Princess, was of the great Cymriclan of Druids. So, you see, you are a being that cannot survive in either of your progenitors realms so you are forced to remain in this realm.”

“What about my name, do you at least know that? I have two different picture ID cards, with my picture on them, but one of them says Keiran Eugene Taliesin and the other says Keiran Patrick Drake. Which one is correct or are they both fake?”

“That is valid question. The answer is, they are both correct.”

“What do you mean 'they are both correct' they are completely different names?”

“Your full name is, Keiran Lugh Taliesin Drake. Your parents agreed on that name so they could both keep track of you. Your parents are both Realm Steppers, which means they can both enter this realm and others without using a way-point. A way-point is a place that is similar in several realms, this clearing with the cabin is a way-point, that is why you woke up where you did. When someone that does not have clearance to use the way-points enters one it sends them off course up to ten miles from the nearest way-point.

“Their names when they come into this realm are Morgain Taliesin, your mother, and Patrick Drake, your father.”

We sat in relative silence for several minutes while I tried to make sense of what I had been told. As I replayed all that the crone had said in my mind, even though most of it made absolutely no sense at all to me, I kept coming back to one simple question, 'Why can't I remember anything about myself or anyone else other than Brian Milligan?' So instead of fighting it I asked the crone “What happened to my memory? Why can't I remember anything that has happened in my life? One of drivers license in the wallet says I am 21 years old but, I can't remember any of it. Which leads me to another question, why did I wake up naked with nothing but this wallet beside me?

“That is one of the mysteries of the way-points they decide what to take and what to leave behind at random, consider yourself lucky that they didn't remove a few gender defining attributes, then you would be in a really interesting situation. Hehehe.”


“Hehehe. As far as your memory that should wear off eventually, maybe. That is another defense for the way-points to make sure you never find your way back into the other realms.”

“Why is all this crazy shit happening to me? What did I do to deserve this shit? What the hell are you and how do you know all of this?”

“Ah, there is one of the questions I have been waiting for. The answer on the other hand has to do with a Prophesy that has been handed down since before The Memory, but I will get to that shortly. As far as who and what I am, I am one of the Old Ones, one of the deities that have been lost and forgotten through time."

"At one time i was sought after for my elixir of wisdom but that bastard child Gwion Bach ruined it and after leading me on a merry chase he turned himself into a kernel of corn trying to hide from me so I ate him and as a result gave birth to your ancestor Taliesin, or as the mortals now call him Merlin.

"So you see I have been watching your family for a little while."

Once she felt there had been enough time for all of this to settle in my mind she continued.

“As far as your questions the Prophesy it starts by referring to a child born of two worlds but forbidden to ever enter them.”

And that is when things started to get really weird, her eyes turned from white to solid molten quicksilver, then she spoke in a voice that was as old, cracked, and as powerful as time itself.

The voice started speaking so quickly, and so loudly, in some kind of unknown, powerful, ancient language, that I was forced off of the cot and onto the dirt floor of the crones hut, covering my ears and cowering into a ball in the corner trying to protect my ears and what little sanity I had left at this point, which was a very scarce commodity at this moment in my life, due to waking up with no memory, all the things the crone had said, and no this.

The voice seemingly without warning started speaking English and said, “Who dares wake the Sleeping Prophet?”

“I...I..sup..pose it w..would”

Quit cowering in the corner like spineless worm. Who do you think you are you to awaken me and demand answers? Think quickly and carefully about your next words for they may very well be your last.”

So thinking quickly I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind, “Great Sleeping Prophet it was not me that awakened you it was the crone, Cerridwyn, whose body you are currently...using... that called you. She was about to tell me of a prophecy that was written about me.”

And who are you to have a prophecy written about you? You look to be nothing more than a mortal child.”

The crone said that I was the child of the Prince of the Dragons of Darkness, and a princess of the greatCymri clan of Druids..”


Suddenly out of nowhere a great white gout of flame appeared between me and Cerridwyn/The Sleeping Prophet. Out of the flame steps a tall man in flowing ornate robes of cerulean, with long snow white hair and a white beard that obscured most of his face, carrying a long intricately carved red staff capped on both ends with a metallic looking diamond.


The old man interrupted and said “Oh, I dare a lot.” with a mischievous glint in his sea-foam green eyes.

You have no business getting involved in this, you know the laws, this abomination cannot be allowed to live!”

Yes, I know the laws quite well having written a few hundred thousand of them just in the last three or four thousand or so years.”

Then you know that this THING must be destroyed for the sake of all realms.” the Sleeping Prophet replied with a smug look on the crones face.

Ah, but that is where you are wrong. You never were too good at reading the fine print on the laws, which is the reason you have been called before the Disciplinary Council so often.

The law regarding half-breeds, or to use your term “abominations”, has a clearly defined amendment written under it stating 'If the half-breed in question has been foreseen by one of the Great Prophets or Seers to be a source of Great Change and/or Balance within the context of The Great Destiny then said half-breed must be allowed to fulfill said Great Change and/or Balance at which time the said half-breed will be interviewed by the Great Council of Elders to decide whether or not extermination is merited'.”

What has that to do with this piece of disgusting trash?”

This young man is the reason that particular amendment was written.”

What does this filth have to do with the decrees laid down by Our Ancient Council?”

Why everything! He has is the half-breed that will bring about the Great Change that leads to the True Balance! Perhaps you have forgotten the words to the Great Prophecy....”

I have forgotten NOTHING, much less the Great Prophecy which was transcribed during the forecasting of MY Sleeping Sight!”

Then perhaps you can elucidate for us what the words of the Great Prophecy were. Or are you not as confident in your memory as you claim to be?”

The Time will come when three children will be born into the World of Lost Ways
The Child of Two Fates shall be the first discovered
Unto him will be given the gifts of Magick and the Mind of Creation and Destruction, Keeper of the Lost and Ancient Knowledge of the World
The Separated Twins shall be be found next
They will be born of Mortal Flesh and Bone with Immortal Cores
The Male twin, Lover of the Child of Magick, Shall Inherit the gift of the Warrior and stand as the Body of Truth
The Female shall be the Tie That Binds and the Embodiment of the Pure Spirit, and shall Inherit the Gifts of the Goddess Brighid
These Three shall be the Embodiment of the Triad of Divine Right: Mind, Body, Spirit
If ever these three should be torn asunder by Evil, the Dark Reich will be unleashed to Rise and Reign over all of the Sacred Realms Forevermore”

To the Mind of Creation and Destruction:
As one born of Divided Fates yours must be the struggle of Balance
While you may have the Strength to Right the Wrongs you must learn to let what appear to be Great Wrongs pass unhindered so they may give Birth to Great Rights
Do not allow the Darkness which lives within your Heart to expand for to do so would assuredly bring forth not only your own Destruction but the Destruction of your Warrior Love by your own Hand and you shall Be the Ultimate Portal of Darkness

Heed well these Warnings Three: Learn to Love, Learn to Defend, and Learn to Balance, Less Evil Destroy All”

Is that the whole Prophecy?” Merlin asked “I thought there were two more sections to it.”

You are correct there are two more parts to the Prophecy, but those are neither mine to speak and the Time is not right for those things to be shown the Light of Day. Those parts of the Prophecy are to be given to their bearers only, just as this part was to be given here and now to this One. It is my time to leave, I am tired, it's time to go back to sleep.” then with a loud, long yawn the Sleeping Prophet departed leaving Cerridwyn back in control of her body.

As the crone awoke laying on the floor in the dirt she stood up and shook herself off and started grumbling under her breath “Stupid.....Damn.....Whores' Son....Idiot....Prophet...leave my body laying in the dirt.....” Then as if just realizing that there was still someone in the hut with her she turned towards Merlin and demanded, “ 'ho the 'ell are you? What are you doin' 'ere? Tryin' to rob a poor old crone I suppose, well I ain't got nothin' to steal.”

With a scathing, acidic tone Merlin replied, “You can give up crone disguise, Mother, we already know who and what you are.” The way he said 'Mother' contained so much hate and animosity that it chilled me to the core.

Suddenly the crone stood up straight and as if walking through a waterfall the aged crone changed into a woman appearing no more that 40 years old, her ragged dirty dress washed away leaving an elegantly cut robe of silk decorated with embroidered plants and animals.

Is this more to your liking, Son?” she asked with a light and airy tone of complete innocence. Continuing in the same tone she asked, “Dear, why do I never see you any more? Why the last time I saw you was when you were enthralled with that mortal girl. What was her name?”

Her name was Elizabeth Blount.”

Oh yes, the one that I introduced to be the whore for King Henry... number eight, wasn't it? Oh well, no matter she was only a mortal anyways most definitely not near good enough for my son Taliesin.”

At that point Merlin had had enough and started yelling, “Number one, she was not just a mortal she was my true love. I was going to give up my immortality to be with her. Number two, my name is Merlin. Ever since you shoved me into a leather satchel and tossed me off a cliff into the ocean, you loss all rights to call me Son.”

Oh, you are not still mad about that worthless mortal are you? That was what three hundred years ago? Pshaw! And as far as throwing you off the cliff that has been thousands of years ago and I already told you that if I could do it over I would have filled the satchel with rocks to make sure you wouldn't float. Here you go again every time I see you you start dragging up ancient history. I'm certain that the next thing you'll bring up is........”


The two of them started screaming and hollering at each other to the point that both of their voices were rising with each word in order to be heard over the others yells. Finally, when I had had enough of the yelling and arguing, I yelled “BOTH OF YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

Apparently they had both forgotten that I even existed much less was standing in the same enclosed space as they were. When they were both silent for a few seconds I said, “I thought you two were supposed to be helping me figure out who and what I am so I can fulfill this stupid ass prophecy, that no one ever asked me if I wanted to be involved with, so I can get my memory back and get back to my own normal life that doesn't include goddesses and supposedly long dead magicians.”

Merlin agreed with me saying, “You are correct and if you are going to have any hope of succeeding we need to leave now and start your training.” Once he had finished speaking he conjured a black pillar of flame, grabbed my arm and pulled me into the dark fire leaving a still steaming Cerridwyn standing there yelling expletives into the air to no effect.

D.W.: While Keiran is learning of his past and future at the hands of Merlin, the newly reunited twins are still waiting for Angus to awaken and explain what all of the craziness that has started around them.

Brian watched as Keiran ran out of the apartment leaving he and his sister even more confused than they already were. He walked over to the window to see what Keiran was talking about and saw nothing but Keiran running towards the tree line as if the hounds of the Morrigan were chasing him.

Turning back to Brigit, and seeing Angus still unconscious in the chair that he had been sitting in, Brian said, “What the hell is going on here? We meet then suddenly I learn that I am adopted, that we are twins, then I get thrown out of my home, my father tries to shoot my new boyfriend and starts talking crazy, muttering about that nutcase Fred Phelps. Then I find out that my father has been beating and raping my brother, whom I learn is actually my cousin. Then, as if everything else was a negligible happening, I find out that my dead mother can come back to life, and is the spokesperson for a Goddess that hasn’t been worshiped in a couple hundred years. The icing on the cake is that I am part of some kind of ancient prophecy that has been around since before time began, or some shit like that.” his voice getting louder until he shouted, “WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!”

Brigit just stood there till her brothers’ tirade seemed to end before saying, “Are you quite finished? How do you think I feel, not only have I been through all of that, I have also somehow been possessed by that Goddess today, met and held the child that I miscarried four years ago! Do you think that this isn’t just as hard, if not harder, on me as it is on you?”

Angus, who had awoken during Brians rant, suddenly spoke up saying, "If the two of you are finished bitching at each other, we have a lot to discuss. Where is that young Síofra boyfriend of yours, I would prefer to only explain this once?"

Brian glanced back out the window to where he had seen Keiran run to, and was shocked to find that he was nowhere in sight, though he doubted that Keiran would go into the woods at night. Looking back at Angus he said, "Keiran said that he saw the man from the bar, the one that gave him that prophecy note, standing outside looking up at the apartment, so he took off running after him trying to find out what the note meant. I looked out there after he left and all I saw was him running towards the edge of the woods. I didn't see anyone else out there, and when I looked again just now Keiran was nowhere in sight."

Angus looked perplexed for a moment before saying, "Well it would seem that he is off to begin his training, so I suppose that They will explain things to him and I am left to explain it to you two."

For the first time since Angus woke up Brigit spoke up saying, "So what is going on. Because this has been a crazy few days, and I don't know how much more I can handle before I lose my mind and sense of reality."

Angus looked down at his folded hands and said, "I can fully understand that, this isn't exactly easy for me either. But, all that aside, I still have a job to do so it would be best if you got some drinks now, because this is going to take a while."


While his adopted son is trying to understand the workings of the Cosmic Fates, Randy is driving towards Topeka Kansas, to meet with the great reverend Fred Phelps with the hopes of destroying his sons "Demon Lover" and save Brians' soul by way of a force if need be.

He had driven straight through the night in order to make the 8:00am meeting at the church. So, tired, dirty and still half drunk, he walked into the church office at 7:58am.

He was kept waiting for almost an hour before being lead into the back of the office complex, to a door that was enameled in gold and silver symbols, chased with embedded platinum tracery. Once through the door he was faced with a large carved mahogany, ebony, and rosewood desk sitting in front of a large high-backed chair that was turned away from the door.

Randy stood there for several uncomfortable minutes before a deep voice spoke from the depths of the chair saying, "What brings you into my presence?"

Randy stuttered, "Well I... I came here for.... My son is..."

The voice interrupted him saying, "I know WHY you are here, I want to know why you came HERE."

Randy was shocked at the scorn and callous tone contained within the voice. Finally when he was able to get his thoughts partially together he said, "My adopted son and his twin sister, along with my faggot sons Demon Lover, are supposed to be part of some ancient pagan prophecy that will bring down the Armageddon upon our heads and you are the only one righteous enough to stop it from happening.

After several minutes of silence the voice said, "And you expect me do save the world from your homosexual son and what you describe as his 'Demon' lover? Why should I believe that the boy is a demon?"

Randy was taken aback that the man didn't call him crazy at the mention of a demon. "Well his eyes are reptilian and glow a sickening green color. What else could it be but a demon?"

The man, after considering his options for several minutes, said, "I know of your situation because I already have agents in place to stop this 'prophecy' from occurring." The way the man said "prophecy" made Randy's skin crawl.

After standing there in silence for several more minutes Randy realized he had been dismissed without a promise of resolution. So he left with his head down and headed back to his truck to find his own way to take care of that faggot on his own.


Back at Keirans apartment Angus and the twins were sitting down to discuss what was going to happen and why.

Angus began by telling the twins that he had confirmed that their father had never died, "Where he went nobody knows, but the one thing that has been confirmed is that the body buried under his name is not him. As for the rest......