I-6: Legend of the Mornellys- Chapter Eight
In which Sean is rescued- again- by the Mornellys
He couldn’t believe it. Oh, how could he have been so stupid? Then again, it wasn’t really his fault. Who would have known that Sheriff Ian McDonald and this highwayman were brothers? I could have at least taken a hint and noted they looked alike.
Sean sat in the cell and listened as the two brothers argued over his fate. Maine’s five other men waited around, some fiddling with their knives and others chewing on what he assumed to be tobacco. He realized that all of them looked very tired and quite beat up- a result no doubt of their encounter with the Mornelly boys. I’ve just about had it with brothers today.
First the Mornelly brothers, who sent him into a loop as he tried to figure out what on earth was going on, and now these McDonald brothers. Why couldn’t he just have a normal day?
It was hard for him to listen as Maine kept pitching different ways he could kill Sean. It was like listening to a story in a book- except he was the victim and he wasn’t sure he would be able to escape these villains. He found himself wishing Breandan would show up. Oh, if only they’d notice I’ve been gone too long! He thought miserably.
When he’d finally gotten brave enough to confront the Mornellys and demand how they knew him, Aichear gave him a blank stare and asked, “What are you talking about, boy?”
He’d been so embarrassed by his own bewilderment that he didn’t ask anything else. Now, as he sat in the jail cell and awaited his fate, he found himself wondering it again.
How could there be this many coincidences? How could this man, this Breandan Mornelly, have the same siblings with the same names, know everything about Sean, remember all of Sean’s secret hideouts and act the exact same as his childhood imaginary character? This isn’t making any sense. I just want to know if I’m crazy or not-
Suddenly it hit him. Before he realized what he was doing, he leapt to his feet and shouted, “Sheriff! Do ye have the book Irish Legends and Unexplained Happenings?”
Sheriff Ian and his outlaw brother started, whirling to face the fifteen-year-old. The other highwaymen stared at Sean, surprised at his sudden outburst.
“What of it, boy?” Sheriff Ian growled. “What does that matter to ye?”
“Because,” Sean said fiercely, “I think Maine is in trouble with the Guardians.”
Maine eyed him, first suspiciously and then in a somewhat doubtful way. His eyes showed recognition as something registered. He turned on his brother and demanded, “Do ye have that book?”
“Get it for me, now.”
Sheriff Ian shot his younger brother a confused look. Sean grinned, his heart rising for the first time that day as he began to piece things together.
“That’s right,” Sean announced loudly. “The Guardians don’t take thieves, outlaws, lawbreakers or liars of any kind lightly. Don’t ye think, Maine, that yer attackers looked an awful lot like the Guardians in the book?”
“Shut up, boy!” Maine snarled.
Guardians. How could I have been so stupid? The Irish legend- six siblings who showed up at different times throughout history, who helped those who were in need, fought the oppressive and were undefeatable. How could he have not seen this before? Their actions, their mannerisms, everything! These siblings, those Mornellys, his “imaginary” Breandan- they weren’t fake, they were the Guardians! They were immortals.
And they had come to his aid when he needed them the most. There was still the loose end as to why he’d seen Breandan most of his childhood years, but he would have to ask him that later.
At that moment, Sheriff Ian returned with the book in his hands and a puzzled look on his face. “Maine, I’m not sure what this has to do with-” he began, but Maine snatched the book out of his hands.
“The boy is right,” he muttered, flipping through the book. His group of outlaws crowded in around him, peering at the pages. “Those men, there was something familiar about them.”
“Maine. Ye don’t really believe-“
“If ye’d seen them, Ian, ye’d understand. These were not normal men. They attacked us with no weapons, no way to defend themselves- and they won. Five against six- how does that happen?”
Sean smirked. If there was one thing about the Irish he could always count on, they were very superstitious. It was working out to his favor, now. Perhaps they’d let him go out of fear.
Maine stopped turning the pages and scanned over one. “This is it. He’s right, look at them, Ian.” He shoved the book into his brother’s hands and pointed at the picture. “Exactly the same. Every detail.” He glanced at his men, and for the first time Sean saw fear in his eyes. “Those were the Guardians. They’ve come to settle a score.”
“Why would the Guardians come after us?” one of his men grunted. “What do they know of what we’ve done?”
“They know everythin’,” Maine replied absentmindedly. “They see things, they know things, they’re unstoppable. They must know about what we’ve done in Dublin. They’re out to get justice.”
Ian snapped the book shut and glared at his brother. “Shut up, Maine. You’re panickin’.”
“We’ve brought the wrath of the Guardians upon ourselves,” Maine shot back. “Of course I’m panickin’.”
“They say there are six siblings,” Ian argued. “Ye only saw five men. The sixth one is a child, a girl. Did ye see her?”
“Of course not! Why would they let their little sister fight us?”
“Why does everyone think I can’t fight?”
Eight heads turned towards the door. Eight pairs of eyes stared at the voice behind them. Seven figures stepped back. Only Sean stood his ground.
There at the door stood all six Mornellys, armed with swords that Sean realized they must have pulled off of Maine and his men's horses. The grim faces on the boys was enough to tell anyone they meant business. Aileen, on the other hand, mostly looked indignant.
“I can fight too, you know,” she stated.
“But we prefer she doesn’t, because she fights like a girl,” Damhán added.
“I do not!”
The oldest brother, Aichear, put his hand up to silence them. Breandan caught Sean’s eye and winked. Aichear glanced over at the silent, dumbfounded outlaws.
“Release the boy,” he said shortly. “Or we’ll be forced to extract him from you.”
Maine stepped back. “As you wish, Sir,” he managed to say. “Please accept my humblest apologies. If I had known who ye were-“
Aichear raised an eyebrow, his hawk-like gaze boring into Maine. “What do you refer to?”
“Oh for cryin’ out loud, these men aren’t the Guardians!” Sheriff Ian exploded. He whipped out a pistol and aimed it at Aichear. “The Guardians aren’t real. Let’s see how immortal this man is when I kill him.”
Sean wasn’t sure what happened. It happened so fast. One moment the Sheriff was about to shoot the oldest Mornelly, the next instant he was on the ground, Aichear standing over him with the gun in his hand.
“Oh, so that’s what this is about!” Breandan exclaimed. “That explains a lot.”
“Gotta love Legend books,” Bran snickered.
Aichear opened up the pistol and dumped the bullet out. He dropped the gun on the floor next to the Sheriff and turned to Maine. “Get the keys and let the boy out.”
Maine wasted no time in doing what he said. He grabbed the keys off of a desk and fumbled with the lock. Sean noted his hands were shaking.
With a loud click! The lock sprung. Maine swung it open and stepped back, not even looking Sean in the eye. Sean couldn’t believe his luck! He strode out of the cell, past the Sheriff and the highwaymen with his head held high.
“You okay, Sean?” Breandan asked.
“I’m fine,” he replied.
Aichear surveyed the outlaws. The Sheriff slowly got up from the floor, his face red. He remained silent, though.
“You have forty-five minutes to leave this village or we’ll be forced to deal with you.” Aichear adjusted his glasses. Sean could have sworn he could burn a hole through the men with the way he gazed at them. “That goes for you as well, Sheriff. Rest assured any misguided deeds will be found out and we won’t be so merciful next time.”
“Like, ever…” Ciarán mumbled.
“And we just love extracting justice, don’t we, boys?” Damhán fingered the sword in his hand and grinned.
“Go.” Aichear motioned to the back door.
Maine and his men stumbled out the back door within seconds. Sheriff Ian took his time to back up, glaring at each of the boys.
“I don’t believe any of this,” he spat. “Mark my words, men, I’ll find a way to deal with ye all. Yer little sister, too.”
“Don’t be so sure on that,” Breandan countered. “We’re kind of hard to find when we’re back in our own dimension.”
“Like, no one can find us.” Damhán laughed. “Because we don’t exist.”
Thoroughly confused and obviously driven to the point of insanity by bewilderment, the Sheriff disappeared out the back door. Within moments the sound of galloping horses could be heard, the hoofbeats fading fast.
Damhán let out a whoop, which startled Sean. “Dang! Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?”
“I love it when a plan comes together,” Breandan agreed, mimicking something. He stuck a piece of jerky in his mouth, causing Aileen, Damhán and Bran to laugh.
Sean suddenly found himself quite intimidated. It was one thing to believe your imaginary characters had come to life and were haunting you, quite another to realize that they were old legends. “Thank ye for rescuin’ me,” he managed.
Aichear nodded, tossing the sword onto the ground. “You are welcome, Sean.”
“We’re just glad you’re safe, little buddy.” Breandan ruffled his hair. “Wish we’d figure out the Sheriff was Maine’s brother sooner. Hope you weren’t too roughed up.”
“I’m fine,” Sean said. He wasn’t sure what else to say.
“Well, I’m starving, and since we got our dinner interrupted let’s go eat and then find someone else to beat up.” Damhán turned to the door and stomped out.
“Leave the sword, Damhán,” Aichear called behind him.
“Aww, come on! It’s cool!”
“It does not belong to us,” the oldest Mornelly replied firmly.
With groans and hisses, the boys dropped their swords on the ground.
Aileen sighed heavily, nothing in her hands to put down. “Why can’t you guys let me have a weapon?” she mumbled. “Everyone thinks that I can’t do anything. Even the stories they tell about us, they say I have no purpose.”
Sean smiled a bit, reminded of his own little sister at home. Breandan scooped up Aileen and chuckled.
“You’re important, Aileen. What would we do without you?”
“Then you can give me a sword, right?”
“No swords for you yet,” Aichear responded. “I’m not ready to trust you with a weapon you very well could impale yourself on.”
Breandan glanced at Sean. “You coming with us?”
“Sure, I guess.” He shrugged, at a loss for words.
“Hey, so how did that whole legend thing with Maine get started, anyways?” Bran asked as they strode down the street. “That really worked to our favor.”
“I, well, I realized I saw you all in the Legend book,” Sean offered. “Maine saw you, too. I’m sorry about my outburst, earlier. I hadn’t realized you were the Guardians.”
Breandan stopped in his tracks and set Aileen down. Aichear turned back to Sean, a frown on his face. Bran glanced at both of them. Aileen bit her lip and gazed at him thoughtfully. Damhán and Ciarán were already halfway to the tavern, unaware of the conversation taking place.
Sean glanced from one Mornelly to the other, his heart beating against his chest. Had he made them angry? What did they do when they were annoyed with someone? Oh, this whole Guardian thing was intimidating! These siblings were legends, they did what they pleased. They were immortal, too, they had been around forever.
“Sean, we’re not Guardians,” Breandan said at last.
“What do you mean? You’re in the book-” Sean began, but Breandan held his hand up.
“Aichear, I think I need to straighten a couple things out with Sean before we join you.” He turned to his oldest brother. “Is that alright?”
Aichear nodded. “Join us when you are ready.”
“Can I stay with you, Breandan?” Aileen asked.
Aichear glanced at his little sister, then looked at Breandan questioningly.
“Sure. That’s fine.” Breandan smiled at her. “I think we just need to talk to Sean about a couple of things.”
Sean shuffled his feet. Well, this is awkward.
Aichear and Bran continued on, leaving Breandan, Aileen and Sean alone.
“Let’s go to the hill overlooking the village,” Breandan suggested. “We used to go there a lot. Do you remember that?”
Sean nodded. He kind of remembered.
“I think we have some things we need to discuss, Sean. I don’t want to leave you with an illusion of what we are without telling you the truth of who we really are. Let’s go.”
To read more click here>>> PART NINE