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I met William when I was still Rihanon (half-French, half-Scottish). I didn't have to go under the name Morran, meaning “great one.” I always got a sense that I wanted to be there for him. He was wild-eyed and wild-haired. He seemed to need someone to calm him down from this warlike wild zeal he’d get in his eyes, like he was daring danger to take him further. He wanted to test his danger limits. I think he wondered if he had any.
At first, Maman and Da and I lived in France at the house he helped build for her. Then, they started arguing. Da had to go back to Scotland to live in that great crevasse, disturbingly close to the Connollys. The cousins from the Isles rarely visited. When they did, even though they’d help in the fights with the Connollys, they’d begin to stink as guests. They’d get drunk, sleep where they fell and vomit there too. They’d also flirt like mad with their own cousins, with no shame in it.
The mainlanders weren’t much better. They were overly conservative. They felt that one had to get married to another mainlander, and it had to be to a lowlander ‘cause everyone new highlanders couldn’t be trusted to stay through a fight. They were good for one thing: running.
The only one Da could really stand from among them was his sister, Rowena. She had that sense of humor that just made him laugh even when he didn’t want to. He supported himself by selling the wares he’d smithed in town. He lived in his mum’s old house. If he’d dared, he would’ve sent money or goods to Maman, but she was so mad at him he didn’t.
Back at home, before I left to find Da, Maman and I lived with this dog that had sort of found us. I was happy there, but Maman knew that I had to find Da. I wasn’t only her daughter. So I left her with “that miserable little dog” as she called him, and I promised I’d come back someday.
That day never came, as Maman later came to find me and Da, to patch things up. That didn’t happen right away. She’d heard from some townsfolk that Da had been seen walking with this other woman. She didn’t know Rowena was his sister. Even at home, he’d never physically described her to Maman, so she didn’t know who she was when she met her. After an argument, they sorted it out, though they weren’t as close as they’d been when Da was still at home.
In town, he had this new blacksmith’s assistant that seemed to make more of a nuisance of himself than a help, from what Da told us. He was this awkward-looking blond. He had a big nose that would make the rest of his face seem smaller if it weren’t so big itself. He had practically no neck and bunched himself up like Da did, but without knowing why he did it. It was to square his body in preparation for his smithing work.
I didn’t figure out until later that I was the Morrigan in her own body. I didn’t even believe it myself until people around me starting pointing it out with such conviction that I had to wonder if it was true. A friend of Maman’s who lived in town told me, then some friends of hers she knew from The Council said it too. I didn’t look like Morri fully, but just enough to allude to her presence within me. They knew I was the one destined for her to manifest within me. They made it sound like she was separate from me, that I’d be taken over completely and replaced by her presence. Maman and her friend explained that wasn’t the case. They said that I really was her and I’d slowly evolve to being her the more I explored it.
At Council meetings and especially afterward, I’d talk with or overhear the others in attendance. They mostly sat along the wall since they weren’t allowed at the main table. There were two kinds of beings there: Ravens and Crows. There were very few Crows and many Ravens. Crows were able to bring themselves back from death as themselves, meaning they weren’t possessed by someone else. Ravens could only hope to be able to Crow themselves one day. A Grand Witch could Crow herself. There were no Grand Warlocks there. There were both Wiccans and Pagans there.
The only proof that made any sense to me was when I instinctively knew which were the main three aspects of the Morrigan. I answered Badb, Anand, Macha. It seemed to come from my gut as an answer I’d always known within myself. Rowena would clap her hands or clasp them, Maman’s friend would beam at me, and Maman would cry happy tears. Da wasn’t allowed at Council, but he’d get a report afterwards—well, what they could tell him.
I was happiest watching Da work, especially when Maman was visiting. She would sometimes hand him things he needed, sometimes sleep. Other times, she’d talk out of the door to her friend.
Funny how the names Wallace and Wallachia are so much alike.