Meara knew the couple must have continued to see each other or she wouldn’t be here. “Did they run away together?”
“I figured they must have. Since one day she was at home, the next day not. Over a year later, a letter came from Beacon, Wales. Sorcha told me how happy she was and that she was expecting a babe any day. My first impulse was to find a freighter heading that way, but I couldn’t leave.”
“Why?” The question popped out of her mouth before she fully thought it through. It was a habit she’d worked hard to correct without success. Especially since her saying, what she thought was a sign of uncontrolled spirit. Her shoulders hunched for the expected lash she’d receive, but it didn’t come, neither did the verbal reprimand.
“When Sorcha left, my da took to his bed. Some say it was his heart, which I know to be true because it was broken. My da lingered on death’s doorsteps for many years. In the intervening time, I met my wife, Erin. She helped care for Da and even urged me to seek out Sorcha, which is what I did.”
Meara squirmed in the hard chair wanting to ask what took him so long, but she’d already had one outburst. Instead, she asked with her eyes full of pleading for more details.
Angus answered, instead. He leaned forward, resting his large hands on his knees. “This isn’t Simon’s first trip. The first one took place about six years past after your grandda died. Went down to the Brecon area, but mouths were tight and none mentioned Sorcha by name.”
Simon shook his head. “If only I had taken more interest in Fulmen. I didn’t even know his last name. As extraordinary as the name sounds, there were more than handful of Fulmens in the place, but none were Sorcha’s Fulmen. Even offered to pay people for information. Even though they were Celts as much as I was, they told me nothing. Erin was expecting our own babe so returned back to Galway. Two years later, I made another trip with almost the same result. It felt as if Sorcha and Fulmen vanished from the earth. I made up cards with my name, contact information and passed them out. This year I received a letter for my efforts.”
“What did it say?” Meara pressed her hands together in a prayer like position against her heart, forgetting her vow to forgo any future outbursts.
“The sender refused to give his name because his own relatives took part in the dastardly act. Fulmen’s cousin died without any children and left prime farmland to Fulmen. It was a big holding sought after by many. Along with it, came the house and holdings. Some of the best in the area. A few offered to buy the land from Fulmen, but offered an insulting low bid. Fulmen intended to stay on the farm until Sorcha delivered, maybe indefinitely. The writer didn’t know. All he knew was that his da and uncle were worked up about it. Because the Druid squatter wasn’t welcome there. The writer claims he was only a child at the time and overheard talk when they thought he was asleep.”
As much as she wanted to hear about her parents, this tale was not going the way she wished. It didn’t seem like her parents had a fair life the short time they were together. Her mother abandoned her family for love and apparently stepped into a desperate mess in England.
Simon stopped talking and glance back at Angus, who cut his eyes in Meara’s direction. “Go on, I want to know,” she urged, knowing they had reached a difficult point in the retelling.
Her uncle cleared his throat. “To put it plainly, they meant only to scare Fulmen off the land, but he was determined to protect you and your mother. Your father’s death may have been accidental, but the results were the same. Your mother fled to the scene, apparently walking for days through the woods until she came across the convent where she had you.”
The brutal ending story didn’t surprise her, but it did push on her with great waves of sadness. She’d hoped her mother had lived a happy life until the time she died. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been the case, a desperate escape after witnessing her husband struck down. A sigh escaped her. “Poor Sorcha. Poor Fulmen. What happened to the farm?”
Angus raised his eyebrows. “Now, that sounds like something a Cleary might ask?” At Meara’s surprised look, he explained. “You’re a Cleary. It’s the family name of both Sorcha and Simon. It means clerk, which suits since the Clearys always know the bottom line.”