2075: Stormy Waters
R! - Cailin O'Connor
Age 12 Sex F Height 1.49m Build Thin
Nationality Tìr na nÓg
Description Young Awakened princess from Tìr na nÓg
|Allergy (Common, mild) (pollution)
|Mentor Spirit (Fire Bringer)
|SINner (Tìr na nÓg)
|Privileged family name
|+1 Dryad, +1 Inspired
|+2 Fire-Bringer, +1 Inspired
- Wood chisel made of silex
|Leftover from creation
|Filling out OP
|Artisan 2 to 4
|Arcana 0 to 2
|Transfer to Cynthia
Cailin is a very young elf. Even if it’s always difficult to judge with elves, she probably isn’t past twelve years old yet. As most girls of her kind, she’s tall for her age, though maybe a bit less than average. She’s quite thin however, just north of thirty kilos and is still very much a child: she has yet to exhibit the changes from puberty.
Her bright cornflower blue eyes and thin pink lips are a welcome touch of colour on a spotless ivory skin. Her silver silky hair, often tied in simple celtic knots, reach the small of her back.
Overall, words such as “pretty”, “beautilful” and so on fall far short of the mark when it comes time to describe Cailin. In fact, even the most cautious of writers may have no choice but to use one single word: perfect. Most probably, many are those waiting to see what she will become in a few years, once a woman and not a child anymore.
Most will tell you that life isn’t fair. Some people are born in hellholes with nothing, without access to good education – or education at all – physically marked by their condition. And there are those who seem to have everything. Cailin, without a doubt, falls in the last category: she’s beautilful and smart. Most of all, as the daughter of Niall O’Connor, she’s born as the very top of Tìr na nÓg society. For all intents and purposes, she’s a princess.
To most people, Awakening is a life-defining moment, probably the most moment in their life. Hers was…par for the course. Perfectly natural. Nobody expected anything less. And, of course, she got the best possible tutors. Of course, there’s much she cannot do and doesn’t know. But she’s twelve.
If we had to find something in her life, it would have been friends. Not because she cannot make friends of course: it seems like she doesn’t even have to try to make friends. Without a shadow of a doubt, everyone was always friendly with her. If not for her, for her family. Still, friends her age? For that, it would have been necessary to meet boys and girls her age, which didn’t happen a lot. Not going to school and getting private tutors doesn’t make wonders for social meetings.
So, instead of making friends and playing with them, she devoted her free time to arts in all their forms. She can play a bit of violin or piano, knows a dance or two but she most excells with a wood chisel and a piece of wood in her hands. She only knows the simplest of techniques, at most those of an apprentice. But she seems to have a Gift, giving birth to simple but expressive pieces of art.
From someone so privileged, one could expect a haughty demeanour, scornfully looking at anyone not from her social circle. It doesn’t seem to be the fact however, even when stepping outside her area of comfort she will have a kind smile to those who speak to her, never refusing pleas for help. She doesn’t seem to ignore, not completely at least, the harshness of the world but seems to choose to not let it faze her.
[Devin MacDough ; October 23rd, 2069 ; By Tara’s Hill, Meath, Tìr na nÓg]
Frag, coming here had been a mistake. He had known it when he gave in to his father’s wish. He had known it when time came to board the plane. No need to even talk about what he had been through since he touched down at Dublin. If the attitudes of the officials from the Office of Placements at the Tìr embassy in Seattle hadn’t made clear he wasn’t welcomed here, it had since been driven home.
They didn’t care that one of his ancestors, one Wyatt MacDough came to the – then – United States from Ireland and that this was his ancestor’s land. No, all they could see were his height, his rough skin and, god forbid, his horns. Here, he was less than drek. And it was made abundantly clear at every possible moment, lest he forget, that trolls had no business being in the Tìr. At least, not in public. He had stubbornly refused to give in, but he now only had one desire: get back home.
Drek, what had he done now? Why was everyone looking at him. Wait, no, not him, something behind? As he turned, he heard a little voice:
- Excuse me, Mister?
Devin looked around, not seing anything out of the ordinary. Was that some new kind of hazing? What did they… Devin felt something tug on his pants. What the!? Looking down, he met the eyes of a child, a young girl, probably no more than five, maybe six. Bright blue eyes, red hair, small pointy ears… She could have been some kind of fairy from this land, but she seemed to be a simple elven child. No, not simple… There was…something… It was not the clothes, nice as they were. Not even the golden torc symbol displayed above her heart. It reminded him of something, but he couldn’t quite grasp what it was right now. No, there was something more about this girl.
Realising that everyone in the vicinity was looking at him, and that the girl was waiting for him, he cleared his throat and answered in a deep rumble.
- Are you a troll?
That question unsettled him. Not really for the question itself. He hadn’t seen more than a handful of trolls in the week and a half since his arrival. No surprise then, that he was the first one that a child as young as this girl saw. But there was only curiosity and maybe a bit of fascination in her clear unblinking eyes, no animosity or caution at all.
- Huh… Yes?
That earned a blink. The girl tilted her head. Surprised, she asked:
- Why are you not sure? Are you like…
She interrupted herself, hands suddenly pressed on her mouth in a cute gesture to prevent her words to slip from her lips. A deep chuckle escaped him, and he shook his head.
- No, no, I’m a troll.
- Oh… With a fascinated whisper, the girl followed his horns with her eyes. After a moment of hesitation, unsure of herself, she asked: May… May I touch them?
Not even thinking about the mud on the ground, Devin put his knees on the ground.
Gingerly, the girl reached up to touch gently his left horn, wonder in her eyes, for a few seconds. Then she stepped back with a smile.
- Thanks! I’m Cailin.
Before he could answer, Devin heard a woman’s voice calling that name from somewhere in the crowd. With a start, the girl waved bye-byes to him, and bolted in the direction of the call, her hair floating behind her. After a few seconds, he heard the same voice.
- Mom, mom! I saw a troll! Yes! He was tall like…like…like the big oak in the garden!
Faintly he heard a woman’s laugh, full of love, but soon couldn’t hear mother and daughter anymore.
The crowd, unusually silent up to know, exploded in comments, looking at him with some kind of horrified wonder. Still kneeling, he managed to catch the eye of an elf to ask him who the girl was. Now unsure of what to do with the troll, the elf answered with a pensive tone.
- Cailin. Cailin O’Connor.
No wonder the golden torc was familiar. An O’Connor!? Drek!
[Devin MacDough ; October 27rd, 2069 ; Meath, Tìr na nÓg]
It had been four days since this encounter. Four days during which Devin had stayed near Tara, hoping to catch a glimpse of the small O’Connor girl. His schedule abandoned, he would have big problems with the TRC if they found him. No, not if… When. No use pretending otherwise, there was no way he could avoid them for long.
But he wanted to talk again to this girl. Cailin. Something about her had struck him. Maybe the innocence of a child? Her clear eyes full of curiosity or her gentleness? He had tried for four days to put his feelings in words, to no avail. Fortunately, even if he hadn’t had much success there, he had a bit more when he tried to find her. Kind of.
Finding the domicile of an O’Connor was nothing too difficult. Even for a troll, it was possible to learn this from the disdainful locals. But he couldn’t really knock on the front door now, could he? But as far as he could tell, in the last two days the girl hadn’t left the house. Well, house… More a manor than a house… Maybe even a small castle.
It had been two rainy days however. Today, the sky was clear and the temperature wasn’t too low for the season. Maybe he would get lucky. He spent the first few hours of the day at the edge of the forest from where he could see the garden. He didn’t even know what he would do if the girl went out: they were discreet, but Devin had seen some guards patrolling the ground. There was no way they would allow him in. More probably, they would shoot first and ask questions later. If there were question at all. He was a troll after all.
His musings about those arrogant dandelion-eaters almost made him miss the girl. Wrapped up in probably more than her own weight of clothes, she was riding the biggest red Irish wolfhound he had ever seen. Sure, he hadn’t seen many, but this one was huge for a dog. Judging by the giggling the wind carried to him, this didn’t seem to bother the girl though.
Wait, was she? Yes, maybe his lucky star hadn’t abandoned him after all: it looked like she was going into the forest. Happily talking to her dog by the looks of it. She wasn’t going near him, but then, he could walk quickly.
Well, turned out, he couldn’t walk that quickly. At least not in a forest. Give him the concrete and steel of Seattle, and sure. But here… Swearing under his breath all the way, it took him more than an hour to hear the girl again. She wasn’t alone however. And it didn’t seem that all was well.
Creeping toward the noise, he finally saw what was happening. The girl, hand on the head of the hound, seated next to her, was back to a…dolmen? Menhir? Some kind of big fragging stone. In front of her, were three young elves, a few years older than her. Of course, they were speaking Sperethiel, so Devin understood frag all. But from the gestures, her face and the growls of the dog, they didn’t seem to be friends.
In fact, based on his experience in this kind of situation, it was pretty clear that they were accusing her of something, using their number and the age difference to oppress her. Maybe trying to ignite a brawl. Probably stupid of them given the hound though. That said, even looking ready to cry, she didn’t seem ready to sic the animal on the boys.
When she sniffed miserably, it was too much for Devin. He rushed into the clearing, growling, charging the boys. And then stopped. Had it gone differently, he didn’t know what he would have done from there. Fortunately, while surprised, the girl seemed to have recognized him, and kept the dog under control. As for the boys, two of them fled as fast as possible. As for the third one, he was only delayed by his fall, ass first, on the ground.
A moment of silence followed. Stunned, the girl watched the boys flee. Then looked at him. And it was as if a dam had suddenly ruptured, sobs racking her. Absent-mindedly, Devin noticed that even then, she was cute. Hesitant, he went on his knees, and put his hand on one of the tiny girl’s shoulders. She didn’t need more, and took refuge in his arms.
Frag, what was he supposed to do now? The hound didn’t seem likely to attack him but still… Maybe wait a little? The cries didn’t seem ready to stop any time soon though… Maybe he could bring her home? Surely once the situation was explained, he wouldn’t be in any trouble? At least, not until the TRC heard about it that is.
Getting on his feet, Devin followed the path, hoping to get back to her home. On the way, the cries had stopped but the girl didn’t seem eager to get down. He supposed it would be better than to get there with a crying girl in his arm, but he would by far have preferred letting her ride her dog.
And of course, when he reached the manor, saying that the guard that saw him first was less than thrilled would be an understatement. He demanded that he gave the girl to him. Rather forcefully. The dog didn’t seem to want anything of the sort to happen, and made sure that the guard kept his distance. But with the arrival of more guards, the situation was rapidly taking a turn for the worse.
Until the harsh voice of a woman ordered the guards to stand down. With a few more choice words apparently, he didn’t need to know Sperethiel to understand that… The guards cowed, the woman approached, and with the apparent benediction of the dog, took the girl from him. With a smile, she wiped the tears and invited Devin to follow her inside. There, she guided him through a multitude of rooms, before asking him to wait in a boudoir, while she put her daughter in her bed for a much needed nap. A couple of minutes later, she came back, had two Guiness served and sat down.
- So, I think I can guess what happened, but can you tell it to me please?
Brushing over his reasons for being in the region in the first place, Devin told what he saw of the encounter. With a sad sigh, Cailin’s mother sank into her armchair, taking a big mouthful of her beer, imitated by Devin. And what a beer…a…a Guinness. Simply… Divine. If there is a god, he probably drinks only Guinness. Wait, wait, she’s talking, listen you big oaf!
- Huh… I’m sorry, I… Devin lifted his beer as an explanation.
Laughing, Cailin’s mother, repeated what she had just said.
- I was asking what you knew about our situation. But I suppose I can answer my own question, since it’s not something anyone wants known. Given the amount of troubles you’ve just landed into though, I owe you this much. I’m Ciara by the way.
- Devin. Devin MacDough.
After a nod and a new sip from her beer, she resumed.
- My husband, Cailin’s father is Niall O’Connor. There are many problems in the country, a lot of them coming from this sense of superiority a lot of us have. You saw some of the effects, as all non elves do. Even humans, if in a lesser measure than others.
She sighs, shaking her head.
- But those are only the visible parts of the iceberg. The roots of the problem are insidious and well buried. And since the leaders of our society are of course all elves, it won’t change anytime soon. Some are revolting any way they can, and sadly the only way they think they can is by acts of terror.
She stays silent for a while, visibly saddened by what she just said. With a shake, she continues.
- There are some however that try a more…vocal…and less destructive way. One of the most visible among them is Niall. Maybe the most visible, since he can afford it. To most in the establishment, he is an embarrassment, someone they would love to silence. Especially fifteen years ago, when he publicly released some informations our leaders would have preferred not seeing the light of day.
She smiles ruefully, lost in memory.
- His name carries a lot of weight however, and protects him a fair bit. And some who share his views wouldn’t if he had any other name. That, and he’s a very powerful mage. But it doesn’t make life easy of course. While he can visit from time to time, it’s never for long. Our guards are as much for our protection as to make sure we toe the line, as it were. When you add all this with the rivalry between O’Connors and O’Kennedys…
She shakes her head.
- I’m pretty sure the kids you chased away were O’Kennedys. And I thank you for that, but you’re now in mortal danger. They can’t do much to us, except being nuisances, and trying to make sure that Cailin doesn’t espouse her father’s ideas. But if they can get to us through you, they wouldn’t hesitate. Hell, given what I suspect those brats will have reported, they probably don’t even need to take us into account.
Stunned, Devin could only nod at all that. Looks like a princess life is not that cushy after all… With a start, he noticed that Ciara was talking again.
- Of course I’ll help you. But you will have to leave the country tonight. And probably never come back.
- Of course, thank you.
- No, thank you. I know we will not be able to protect her forever, and sooner or later she will have to suffer from all this but…
- I understand. I was only staying because… I don’t know, she…
Unable, once again, to put his thoughts in words, he could only wave his hand helplessly. Ciara seemed to have understood though, and asked with a bright smile.
- Ha. Something drew you to her, something you could not explain, right? That’s because she’s not really an elf. She’s a dryad. They tend to have this kind of effect on people. And this young…when she smiles at you… Let’s say it can be…devastating. Niall and I are perfectly normal elves as far as we can tell, so we can’t explain it but…
With a shrug, she finished her beer, and frowned.
- I count on you to never speak about that though.
Ha… A dryad. A simple word to put on something he couldn’t explain. Not that it told him much, of course. But he had an explanation. And with luck, he would have time to find out more.
The rest of the day went in a blurr. He went from handler to handler, until as the sun was setting, he was aboard a boat bound to England. He looked west, to the land of his ancestor. It hadn’t gone as planed. This land wasn’t what he had hoped. In fact, it was worst than he had feared. But…maybe… maybe there was hope.