16 years ago...
“Ah ah, don’t pick him up too fast. He’s very fragile. Saoirse, put him down.”
“Please dad, can I just say something to him?”
“Ok, but make it quick, he needs to get to sleep soon.”
Arthur leaves the cavern and goes out to pick up a delivery of presents from the people of nearby Docgaford.
“Ríona, take good care of her!” He shouts back.
“Hello little brother.” Says the 8-year-old Saoirse with a gleaming smile on her face. “I can’t wait for you to speak... I’ve never had a brother before... I think you’re gonna have a lot of fun in this life... And I know you can’t understand this, but I love you very, very much!” She laughs. The baby giggles back and Ríona comes over, laughing with them...
Saoirse starts to run towards the palace. She feels as though she’s running in slow motion, but this is neither romantic nor hopeful. The grey, overcast sky says it all. She spots a gathering of mourners draped in black crowding around the Cieleardan flag, flying at half mast over the palace...
10 years ago...
“I’m... gonna... GET YOU!” Shouts Saoirse as she chases the giggling Miles through the corn fields of Docgaford. Ríona jumps out of the corn, blocking his path, and they both jump at him, tickling him.
“N... no... no!” He laughs as they tickle their now 6-year-old brother.
“I’m gonna eat you!”
“No... ha... no... please... ha ha!”
Saoirse runs for the courtyard overlooked by Miles’ room. She doesn’t know why she wanted to go there, it was just instinct, she presumes. Then heart skips a beat as she makes a dead stop in front of her brother’s window...
2 year ago...
“Where’s mum?” Miles says, walking into their new flat and putting down his schoolbag.
“She’s gone out to get candles. How was your first day at school?”
“It was alright... a bit daunting...”
Saoirse smiles and hugs him.
“I think this is going to be really, really fun.”
“It’s scary.” He replies, still in the embrace.
“It’s an adventure.” Saoirse says back. Ríona rolls her eyes and gets up to hug them both.
“You know I can’t stand being left out of hugs.” She says, wrapping her arms around them.
“I love you.” Says Miles.
“I love you to.” Says Ríona.
“I love you all.” Says Saoirse.
There is complete silence as Saoirse sees the black drape hanging out of Miles’ window, signifying the death of a royal, and collapses to the ground, screaming in pain. Tears stream down her face as she beats the ground in anger and cradles her head, neither knowing nor caring that Dircya is behind her.
“N... no... no... please... no...”