Celtic Knot

Rifiuto: Non Miriena

Summary: Fi returns to Ireland for her grandfather's funeral, and finds herself wrapped up in a mystery concerning the O'Shannon family. Set two years after Banshee.

"This is what decides who's time it is to die."

"I won. Please! I want my grandfather to live!"

"The wishes of martaels 'ave nah power 'ere."

"But we love him! I. Love. Him!"

"There is a balance. Some die, others live."

"A balance? What balance? You took my father when I was three! How fair is that?!"

"It was not we who took him."

"What do you mean? Tell me!"

**

The leaves crunched beneath my feet, as I wandered through the woods near my grandparents' home. It was seven, four hours since my grandfather's funeral, and I had to get out of the house. As I wandered, the moon followed, watching from a safe distance. After dinner, I'd slipped off to be alone, to mourn my grandfather in private. After going to the cemetery, I set out in search of the thing that had taken my grandfather. Finally, to exhausted to continue, I curled up on the ground and wept. Slowly, my fingers reached up, to finger the Celtic knot hanging around my neck. Grandfather had given it to me two years earlier, for Christmas, a symbol for strength. I've never taken it off, and I never will.

Sometime after I'd laid down, a scream pierced the air. I sat up, knowing what the sound meant: a banshee's scream, fortelling death, exactly what I was looking for. Slowly, I looked around, searching for the source of the sound. No such luck. Climbing to my feet, I gripped the necklace, and moved further into the woods, only to stop and come face to face with what I'd been seeking.

The same banshee I'd confronted two years prior.

Wrapped in flowing white, she floated above me, her long hair blown back from her face. She had most likely been very beautiful in real life, yet to have become a banshee, would have warranted a tragic, even violent death. I didn't move, barely breathed. Slowly, she floated closer, until she was inches from my face. Staring intently into my eyes, she parted her lips to speak, and I felt my breath catch in fear.

"The balance was tipped, your grandfather's time was up."

When I was able to catch my breath and speak, I felt my anger come rushing back in force.

"What are you doing here?" I cried. She backed up slightly.

"It was his time."

"No! It wasn't! I asked, two years ago, if for you to spare him and take me! And you took neither! Why now? Why two years later? And who are you coming for now? You took my grandfather! Who are you stealing from me now?"

"We tell none of who we come to take."

"Fine. Then show me." I whispered, reaching up to feel the tears on my cheeks. She examined me for a moment, before turning.

"Very well. Come."

I waited, before getting up the courage and following her. We moved through the woods, her leading me like she had that night two years prior. As I pushed the branches out of my way, I felt my anger slowly begin to drain, replaced with curiousity. The moon followed, casting her light among the branches and alighting the forest with a weak torch. Twists and turns soon trapped me in a maze of fog and darkness, with only the weak moonlight and the banshee to guide me. When finally we stopped, I realized we were at the same shrine we'd come to two years earlier.

"No. I won't." She looked at me.

"You asked to be taken where we take them."

I shook my head.

"No. You're lying. I asked-"

"To be taken where we take them. Where it decides. This is what you asked."

"But-"

"Martaels don' say who an' when can be taken. This decides."

I mustered my courage, and followed her through the shrine, passing evidence of my family history. I knew what awaited me at the end- Death. What decided who lived and died. The light hurt, and faintly, I could hear the cries of those trapped within once I reached the double doors. Slowly, I felt my feet leave the ground, and I remembered the same experience from long ago. As the wind whipped my hair behind me, I felt my heart begin to speed up.

"Who are you stealing from me? You took my grandfather! Who are you taking next? My brother? My mother? My grandmother? Who!"

She slowly turned her head to look at me.

"I canna tell. Martaels are not to know."

"I don't care! I want to know! I want you to tell me who you've come to take! I want you to tell me!" She turned away from me. "Tell me!"

"The wishes of martaels 'ave nah power 'ere."

She'd spoken those words to me before, and I took a deep breath, anger and fear mixing in my blood. I felt my heart pound harder, felt the light slowly start to curl around me, caressing my face in a tender touch. I internally squirmed to be caressed by Death. Finally, I turned to her, locking eyes.

"It's me, isn't it? You've come for me."

She broke contact, before turning back to me.

"I canna tell. This decides who will breathe their last breath."

I shook my head.

"It's me. You want me. Well go ahead! I'm here!" I cried, spreading my arms for it to embrace me. "You took my father and my grandfather! Take me too! I'm the one you've come for! So go ahead! Take me!"