Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 2
day was a rainy cold one when Eion next picked up his journal. He
had been on the field most of the day, and had come in soaked, freezing
and hungry. After a hot bath and a good meal, the rest of the day
was his. The rain had turned to sleet so he decided to remain
where he was for the remainder of it. He knew Gran would
fuss if he came in soaked and cold, certain he was still prone to
becoming sick. The training he did nearly ever day had
strengthened him but she wouldn't be convinced. He smiled as he
thought of her as he returned to his room later that evening. The
late afternoon had been spent talking to the other trainees, and playing
cards with the older ones but now it was time for himself.
He picked up his journal again and went to the desk but didn't start
writing. Instead he watched as the sleet fell and began to mix
with snow. From his window, he could see the castle and only those
on duty were venturing outside. Finally, he closed the curtains,
lit the small hurricane lamp he kept at the desk and began to write.
It seems that most of the troubles in my life came from females in some
form or other and that's including the mischief my sisters have caused.
There's been more than once I took punishment so they would not but
being the oldest, I felt I should protect them. There's a ten year
difference between myself and Concessa and how could I let that adorable
minx get in trouble for wandering off when she was told not to go
anywhere or sneaking out to see the newest litter of kittens.
But that's the kind of trouble one expects from their sisters. As
for the rest, well, these are the ones that stand out in me mind.
The first time I got into a fight was when I was only eight. There
was a pretty little lass named
Mary Margaret O' Riley and I had a terrible crush on her. All I
remember now is red hair in pigtails, big green eyes and freckles but I
thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen at the time.
Her brothers happened to hate me though and when they found a note Mary
Margaret had written to me, well, that set them off. Tom O' Riley
was eleven and I guess he thought I'd be easily cowed by him. I was a
big lad for my age and matched him hit for hit. It wasn't until
Kevin O' Riley jumped in that they got the better of me. By then,
Sister Patrice had come into the school yard and we were all three
hauled off for a whipping with a hickory stick. Wasn't the
first time for me, nor would it be the last but it was the first time
over a girl.
There were a few other girls after that but the next I remember most was
a near miss. This time she was lass with hair the color of ripe
chestnuts and eyes as blue as the summer sky. Her name was Brigid
though everyone called her Birdie. Her Da raised sheep and one
night, I took one of their missing ewes home. Brigid
had me wait in the barn after she took the sheep back to the herd.
What we did that night I'll leave to the imagination. As
dawn rose, she and I sat, fully dressed in the hay and talked about
their horse who had gone lame. Her Da walked in on the
conversation, and when Birdie told him that I had returned their missing
ewe and was explaining what to do about their horse, he just grunted and
went about his work. I think that was the first time I realized
how lies came so easily to sweet lips and how quickly we believed them.
Still, I never thought they could like to me without my knowing.
The third time was when a lass whose name I can't remember, kissed me in
front of the boy who had claimed her. I was all of fifteen
then and had won a spar against him. She planted a kiss on me that
left me grinning and her beau scowling. Later that night, while
our friends watched, we fought. That was when me nose was
broken for the first time. After that, we became good friends.
I think he married the lass after I left Ireland. Those were
the times in my younger days that should have had warned me to steer
clear but I had a dangerous look I was told and that attracted the
lasses. Most of the time they were quick bed and tumbles, one
night of fun, sometimes leaving on the run, pulling on me shirt while an
angry father or husband yelled obscenities at me. Other times,
there was a pretty farewell and a small scene while I marched off again
to some other place where my sword had been hired.
Then there was a woman I didn't even know. I had been fighting for
a Duke in Germany when apparently a few of the ten men under my command
accosted an elderly Rom woman. She was furious and yelled out in a
language I didn't understand. Later one of my men said she had
cursed us and laughed it off. The youngest of the group
clarified. She had wished for death for us in the coming days and
for those who survived, various curses of madness, sterility, and
a half a dozen other things. Half of my men died the next day in a
bloody battle but the deaths on both sides were the worse I had ever
seen. The lad survived and he felt a great remorse and went
on to find another to removed the curse. I could blame my present
course on her, but the truth is, I didn't believe it then and still
don't. I'm not even sure why I bring it up except perhaps that it
wasn't long after that I moved on. And there the worse of my tales
By the time I reached England, I had four close friends I fought beside.
Henry Darrow was my closest friend of the six. The others
were Rob Davidson, Brian O'Connell, and Craig McPhee. The
five of us together were a force to be reckoned with. Henry left
us for a short time while we stayed in France, fighting at the side of
some perfumed dandy of a noble. He wrote as we finished our time
there and we decided to join him and his bride in England to serve under
one Lord Jared Bennett. I was reluctant, knowing how the English
felt about the Irish but Lord Bennett seemed different and so we agreed
to serve under him. How wrong I was.
Henry wasn't there when we arrived in Colchester on a cold, spring day.
Amazing how the weather there suits a good portion of the English.
Not all. Some were good folks but most were a dour bunch.
Considering their way of life, it was no wonder. We settled into
service easily enough with little comment from the other men-at-arms.
Lord Bennett was in charge of the protection of the lands around
Colchester and it just took a few fist fights to win the respect of most
of his men. The officers were different of course, but we didn't really
mix with them. Lord Bennett had a son, David, who took an instant
dislike to me but after a few months, he and his friends went to the
Holy Lands. By then, I didn't much care because I had met
How can I describe Jane Darrow? She was Henry's bride and he had known
her since they were children. It was my understanding that their
marriage was arranged by their parents. I'm still not sure of
that. Henry had returned and though he joined us each day at the
barracks, he returned to the home given to them each night. The
first time I saw her, I thought one of the Sidhe had walked into
the room. All the cliches fit her. She glowed with what
could only be described as an unnatural light. Her hair was
like spun gold, her eyes were blue sapphires, her lips were delicate
petals of pink, and her figure would make an angel jealous. And
when she smiled, I swear I heard music. I was polite, almost
cool, but my heart beat so loudly in my chest I didn't understand how
the others couldn't hear it. Her smile was perfect and she
smelled of wildflowers. I nearly fled that night when we left
their home, knowing I had fallen in love with a married woman and one
that belonged to my best friend. I did everything I could to avoid
her, and spent my free time with other women, or playing cards but Henry
would have none of it. He invited me to meals, and one night,
asked me to escort her to the theater while he was on patrol.
On that night my fate was sealed. She confessed to me that she
didn't love Henry and that she had fallen in love with me.
I wish I could say I regretted the times we stole away, the nights where
we lay among silken sheets, and she slept in my arms. But I
didn't. They were the only times I was happy. What a fool I
was to have believed she really loved me. Even when I was
arrested, and in the greatest irony, by Brian and Craig, I believed she
loved me. When I heard the charges, I knew someone had set
me up and being that David Bennett had returned, I believe it was him.
I couldn't compromise Jane, wouldn't hurt Henry and so I denied the
charges but refused to say where I had been. St. Osyth fortress
was were I was sent but my only regret was that the stone walls kept me
from my beautiful Jane.
It was a letter from Rob Davidson that opened my eyes. He, Brian
and Craig had known what I was doing, even though I thought I was
fooling them. I still don't know why they didn't tell Henry. Perhaps
they had hoped I'd come to my senses. After my arrest, they worked
hard to learn where I was but it took several months and by then, Henry
was dead. He had been sent on a patrol, without the others,
without me. And he was killed. There were
whispers that it was David Bennett who had killed him, and not an enemy
but no one proved anything. I was numb when I read the
letter and I remembered I howled like an animal in pain. Maybe by
then, that's all I was. And then I read the rest. I
felt my heart crumble into a thousand pieces. "Not
even a decent amount of time had passed for mourning when Jane Darrow
married the elder Bennett and is now Lady Jane Bennett. David has
once again left home and its whispered that he fears for his own life.
I am sorry, Eion, but you were used as a pawn in a terrible game."
I had been used to cause the death of my friend, so that his whore of a
wife could marry a man old enough to be her father. I hated her. I
hated the English and I made the first of my attempts to escape. I
don't remember much for several days but that I was in pain, not only
physically but also mentally. I had been such a fool.
When a month had passed, I no longer was lost in that abyss of self-pity
but I knew then I would never trust another woman save for those in my
family. The blood of Henry Darrow has stained my soul and it will
never be cleansed. That is my cross to bear and until I'm
dead and this journal given over to my family, they'll not know the
whole truth of what happened. I am determined to speak to no one
else of it though I did tell Dolly. It will be up to my
brothers to produce heirs since Uncle Brady has only girls. And
yet, the thought chills me to the very core of my being. I
cannot write any more tonight except to say I have come to trust a few
others, though not with my heart. Perhaps it is their innocence
that I have come to look upon them as sisters, or in the case of Dolly,
that she is as she is and expects nothing. That she works for the
Crown is an addition, and I admire her bravery. I appreciate the
times we've just sit and talked, or she's managed to lighten me pockets
when we play cards.
The other night was a revelation for both of us. Doll told me much
about her life and I learned that I have been the first man she's been
with since she was young. I was astounded at what she's been
through and yet, she hold no bitterness. I'm comfortable
with her in ways I'm not with others. Her acceptance of me has
done more to ease the blackness of my soul than anything that has
happened for some time. But it is still a tenuous thread.
And I fear my fondness for her will interfere with the few goals I've
set for myself. Only time will tell however, as I'm not sure
I'm even worthy of those goals I set.
Have I damned myself forever? Or will it take only forgiving
myself? If I attempt to push myself, will I destroy
what I've gained? Those are only two of too many questions and
it grows late and I will be expected on the field no matter the weather.
So I end this page and will write another day when the muse takes hold.