Hope this next part brings a smile to your face. :)
PART FIVE: FRIDAY IN WHICH MY GUARDIAN AND I DISCUSS WRITING AND IMMORTALITY
I was at a loss about what to do with the Mornelly siblings. After an almost sleepless night, tossing and turning over what to do, I finally gave up and promised myself I would talk with Breandan the next morning and decide what to do with his help.
“Breandan,” I sighed, plopping myself down on the ground beside him helplessly. “I need your help.”
“It certainly looks like you do!” he answered, his eyes twinkling in good humor. “What do you need my help with?”
After breakfast the Mornelly’s had all dispersed to different parts of the property. Damhán and Ciarán decided to have a swordfight with my brothers and even Aichear and Bran had put up their books for the morning to join in the fun. Meanwhile, the rest of us were sitting around on the grass, enjoying the beautiful weather that had finally decided to show up after the previous days of rain. Thankfully, this weather gave me the much-needed extra time to figure out what to do with the Mornelly family next.
I leaned back in the grass, not really caring how wet it might make my clothes, and stared at the fluffy clouds above me that flitted across the sky. I couldn’t decide how to approach the problem in order to discuss it with him properly.
Breandan seemed to understand. That’s why I was so glad he was my guardian. He understood me. “Are you having trouble coming up with appropriate activities for us?” he asked finally, his eyes on the swordfight in front of him.
I nodded in relief, but then realizing he couldn’t see it replied, “yep.”
“How can I help?”
I sat up and crossed my legs. “Do you have anything you really want to do?”
The question seemed to take my guardian by surprise. There was a short silence before he answered slowly, “Well, you know I’ve read a few of your stories, and I’d love to eventually have you give me some of the background to them. You know, you could tell me how the original story idea came to you and why you decided to write a whole book about it.”
Now it was my turn to be surprised. “You’ve read my stories?” I asked in astonishment.
Breandan raised his eyebrow. “You didn’t know that?”
“No!” I said, and then smiled. “That’s cool though. Which story was your favorite?”
My guardian chuckled. “It’s hard for me to say…I like them all for different reasons.”
Which one did you like for the characters?” I asked in genuine interest, eager to hear his opinion.
“Probably your story Alice & Alyssa had my favorite characters in it.” He grinned. “Alyssa was my favorite of the twins…but I liked Raynold a lot.”
“Which one had your favorite plot?”
“I liked the plot you had in Thistle & Friends, but also I liked the plot of Alice & Alyssa.”
“What do you like about The Silver Flower?”
“The characters. But all your books have fun characters. It’s what you’re best at.”
I felt my face get red. “Thanks. I still feel that my characters aren’t as good as they could be though…I wish I was a better writer.”
“Good writing comes with practice,” Breandan assured me wisely. “The more you write, the better you get…but only if you take the criticism others give you and apply it.”
“I’ll remember that,” I said. After a thoughtful pause I added, “No wonder Emily is such a good writer!”
Breandan gave me a puzzled look. “Why do you say that?”
“She has all of her character’s advice!”
I sighed. “Sadly, no. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting my characters except in my mind. Things like that don’t happen to me. I’m too ordinary.”
“I bet if you really wanted, you could meet a few characters.”
I gave him a look of disbelief. “How would that happen?”
“The same way we Mornelly’s came into your life.”
I shook my head woefully. “But I don’t know how that happened.”
A sparkle appeared in my guardian’s eye. “Exactly.”
Just then, while I was still working this out in my mind, Damhán came up with a smirk on his face. “Do you think I’m a good swordsman Rebekah?” he asked.
Immediately I saw Breandan stiffen and was on my guard. “Why?” I asked carefully.
“Well, I just thought you might tell my older brothers what a good swordsman I am since they don’t seem to think much about my skills. You know how good I am. After all, you took some lessons from me, so you know some of the things I know now.”
“Just because she took lessons from you doesn’t mean you’re better than any of us,” Bran said, coming up behind him with a glower.
“She didn’t want to take lessons from you I noticed,” Damhán shot back.
“That’s because she was trying to be nice and let you teach her. She knows I could have taught her every bit as well as you. I was just busy with other things and she didn’t want to bother me.”
“Well, I beat you today in a duel…doesn’t that make me better?” The younger Mornelly demanded.
Bran’s eyes flashed. “Absolutely not. You cheated.”
“Using superior tactics is not cheating.”
Bran made a noise that was very similar to a snort. “It was cheating. Those ‘superior tactics’ are just another version of your ‘Damhán always wins’ game. There are no rules like the ones you were using.”
“Rebekah, was I cheating?”
The question startled me. “I-I wasn’t really paying attention…”I started.
“See? She knows I wasn’t cheating!” Damhán interrupted.
I rubbed my forehead, feeling a headache beginning to arrive. “Guys,” I began.
Bran and Damhán didn’t appear to hear me and continued their argument. I stood up and shook them by each of their nearest shoulders. “GUYS!” I yelled, leaving all quiet ladylikeness in the dust.
The two arguing brothers looked at me with wide eyes. “Guys,” I repeated more calmly. “Arguing isn’t going to solve any of your problems.”
“She’s right,” Breandan added, coming to my support. (Bless his heart!)
“You both should be ashamed of yourselves,” Ciarán put in with a grimace towards the arguing brothers.
“Yeah, like you never argue!” Bran retorted smugly.
A glower darkened the already darker face of Ciarán. “I’ll make you eat those words you-you…”
I gave each of the arguing ones another shove, a frown on my face now. “I said stop it,” I reminded sternly. “Now, Damhán let me answer that question of yours.” I waited until all the boys stopped glaring at each other and gave me their full attention. “I have no doubt that you are a very good swordsman, however,” I added seeing the youngest boy shoot his older brother a smug look, “I also know your tendency to brag and strut around like you’re the owner of the universe. To help you steer away from that fall that happens after pride, I’ll help you deflate that big head of yours: in a different setting or context, Bran could have won you easily.”
“She’s right,” Breandan said again with a nod of his head.
“How does she know the difference between a bad and good swordsman?” Damhán grumbled.
I smiled. “Let’s just say I’ve done some research.”
Breandan perked up. “For a book of yours?” he asked.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
The argument was forgotten. Immediately, the Mornelly boys began asking me questions about my book.
“What’s the title?”
“What’s it about?”
“Do you have it with you?”
“Can we read it?”
“How long is it?”
I laughed and held out a hand to stop their waterfall of questions. “I can only answer one of these questions at a time!” I exclaimed. “First, I’ll answer Breandan’s question: it’s called The Princess & I.”
Damhán and Ciarán both gave me looks of disgust. “A girl story?” The youngest Mornelly asked; his voice was filled with repulsion.
I chuckled. “I wouldn’t call it that.”
“How come the title then? The Princess & I sure sounds like a girl story to me,” Ciarán said.
“I’ll help out your confusion by telling you a little bit more about it and answer…I think it was Bran’s question: It’s narrated by the main character, a girl named Megan,” I began.
“I thought she said it wasn’t a girl story!” Damhán exclaimed, interrupting me.
“Just be quiet and listen,” Aichear ordered, speaking for the first time since Damhán and Bran’s upset.
I cleared my throat after giving the oldest Mornelly a grateful look. “It’s narrated by the main character who is a girl named Megan,” I repeated. “She lives with her brother, Malcolm, in a cottage by themselves. Their father, who was a noble, and their mother, who was the daughter of a noble, both bought the land and cottage because they preferred to live simply…but they died of a disease they got while travelling. Thankfully, Megan and Malcolm were busy at the time and therefore escaped the trip and the fatal disease.
“After their parents death, Malcolm is promoted to the role of advisor in King Frederick’s court because the king and his father had been good friends and because Malcolm had proven himself a few times in the battlefield as a knight.
“Megan gets a job as a lady-in-waiting to the princess, but she manages to convince her brother to let her get lessons in swordsmanship from a retired peddler. I can’t say much more without giving too many plot-spoilers…but, long-story-short, there’s a war, and Megan has her hands full protecting the princess while the king and her brother are away fighting because all sorts of things happen to them while they’re away.” I stopped abruptly and took a deep breath.
“How does it end?” Bran asked. “Or should I ask?”
I grinned. “I’m not going to tell you how it ends because that would give every thing away. See, now you’re curious and you’ll read it. If I had told you EVERYTHING about my book you wouldn’t.”
Breandan laughed. “She has us there.”
Turning to my guardian, I asked a question that had been nagging at the back of my mind. “How can you read my stories in the fourth dimension?”
He winked. “It’s a bit hard to explain, so I’ll leave it a mystery. Revenge for not getting to hear how your book ends.”
I laughed. “Alright, fine. Have it your own way.”
Damhán was sitting with a frown on his face. “So, this book of yours has sword fighting in it?” he finally asked.
I nodded. “Lots.” Then, after a pause I added, “mostly because I have always loved watching sword fights in movies…I always thought it would be cool to learn how to do it…so I figured the next best thing would be if I wrote a book about a girl who learned how to fight with a sword.”
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to use a sword,” Aileen piped up, appearing next to Aichear suddenly, “but my brothers won’t let me. They say I’m too little.” She frowned at them and crossed her arms over her chest. “It’s not fair.”
“Life’s not fair little sis,” Damhán said airily.
“Especially not if you are banished into a dimension where you can’t age,” Breandan added. “So many people wish they could be immortal…few realize how little fun it is to be immortal.”
I shuddered. “I can only imagine. I know I’m thankful to be a mortal and that’s for sure!”
“If you could do one out-of-the-ordinary thing in your life before dying, what would it be?” my guardian asked. At my confused look, he smiled. “I know that’s sort of a random question, but us talking about our immortality made me think of it. I am curious what your answer is.”
I took a few moments to consider his question. “Well…” I began slowly. “It would be cool to see your house…to go where you and your siblings make your home. I’d love to go into the fourth dimension, though only for a short time, and see what it’s like.”
The Mornelly’s looked at me in a strange way.
I shifted uncomfortably on my feet. “What?” I asked finally.
“That’s really your answer?” Breandan said.
“Yes,” I replied. “Is something wrong with that answer?”
“No…” my guardian answered with a smile. “Actually, I was just going to say how nice it was to hear somebody say that.”
My mouth dropped open. “No one has said that to you?” I squeaked out in disbelief. “I don’t think you’ve been reading enough comments on your author’s blog! I bet a bunch of others would love to see a glimpse of how you live with their own eyes.”
I got a dubious look from Ciarán. “You mean to say that people are interested in our life?”
“Um, absolutely! I could spend all day reading about you guys. And I know I’m not alone in that.”
“Told you our fighting was entertaining,” Damhán said with a wink.
I pursed my lips. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say your fighting is entertaining…but the way you interact with one another certainly is. You’re not always fighting.”
“I hate to interrupt this deeply interesting conversation, but is any one else hungry?” Bran said suddenly. “Or is it just me?”
I grinned. “You’re not the only one. Let’s go cook something up for lunch.”
After a lunch of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, we played some games, read, and talked for the remainder of the afternoon and early evening. Breandan convinced my mom to let him cook dinner and made up a favorite Mornelly family dish that was quite tasty and filling.
Everyone went to bed early with a full stomach, and I fell asleep right away…a rare occurrence indeed since most nights were spent trying to think about what to do next. I figured, as I nodded off, that tomorrow would bring something for us to do. Why worry about it, right?