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Ciara looks exactly like Fiona, except for her hair, which is the same black as a raven's wing. Neither of the women really knows why they share a face. It could be Fiona's glamour, tied to the sacred trees of Faerie, or It could be the icy fogs and snowfalls of Faerie itself which has subtly changed and moulded Ciara overthe centuries, molding her into one of the Sidhe. It could be the fates, having woven the lives of the two women together when the Queen had stolen Ciara and left Fiona in the crib as a sickly fairy child.

"Mother sends her regards."

'Mother' doesn't come of course. Fiona hasn't seen her mother since the last Winter Solstice where they had shared polite greetings.

"Will she be attending Grianstad this year?" Fiona asks, removing a silver box from her backpack,"

"Of course. Will you be attending?"

Fiona gives a small shrug of her shoulder and a tight smile. It's always the same question and the same undercurrent curiosity. Just as Ciara is human turned Fay, there is wonder and question as to how Human Fiona has become.

"I will. I've paid an Owl for a key and the path"

She offers the silver box she's been holding to Ciara, who makes no gesture to take it but looks at Fiona curiously.

"It's a gift for the Queen." Fiona explains.

"I will deliver it to her."

Ciara takes the box and cracks the lid, breathing deep and then closing the lid. "How did you find a Necklace of Regrets?"

"I am very resourceful."

"You would have been the Princess. Resourceful is only fitting."

Fiona smiles and she is a bit smugly proud at having surprised her sister with a difficult to find relic and to gift it to her mother. Of course, next year will be more difficult, but to some extent, she welcomes the challenge. She had originally been planning to wear the necklace herself, but had decided to gift it, giving it to her mother and perhaps earning her favour.

Ciara tucks the box into her black feathered coat and gestures to the birch trees forest which line the border between the human realm and Faerie and the two women walk a while, talking until the the moon is low in the trees and they've drifted deep into the woodlands and there is a hint of dawn creeping into the sky.
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(Iníon rí) Fiona Nic'Geimhreadh

June 2016

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