The Thinning Veil Series: Book One - The First Circlet: The Twinning Of The Three

Segment 4: Joraan's Lament

The Music of Joraan's Lament, The Memory Of Trees by Enya (the inspiration for this story)



Questions still whirled like wind through Moira’s mind as Joraan, the ‘Leprechaun’, sat in a chair by her bedside. He sat back in that chair with his head tilted up as he puffed a triple ring of smoke that somehow managed to link together forming a triune shape. The smoke was…purple?

Moira blinked herself out of the stupor in which she’d found herself and a look of consternation crossed her pretty face. He’d done this to her somehow? It was all some trick!

At once she sat up on the side of the bed and hunched over staring hard at this seeming character from a Luis Carroll storybook. A half smirk twitched at her lips and she composed a knowing expression which Joraan ignored totally as he looked at the ceiling admiring the cobwebs there.

At the last she caught Joraan’s gaze and fought hard the bewitching effect their beauty seemed to evoke. He saw the look and he maintained a wide eyed innocent look of a child at Christmas. His small mouth agape, he shrugged in a humorous look of ‘what’?

“Ya did this, didn’t ye? All of it! The moth ghost thing, the rain storm, the hole in my beautiful wall, the fake injury. Its all some game to ya!” Moira’s voice was sharp in the firelight.

Joraan’s face fell into a very hurt expression that seemed in no way a put on and for a moment Moira felt a pang of shame, but her Irish temper flared back. She stood abruptly.

She paced to the fireplace so she didn’t have to look at that face and fall for it again. She shook her head, remembering all the child’s tales of how Leprechauns were tricksters and liked to play jokes on unsuspecting victims. But of course, this was assuming that Joraan was real and not some brain disorder that Moira had picked up somewhere in Brazil.

She looked at the motionless blond hair sitting with its back to her now. Joraan hardly moved not even to smoke. His body seemed to wilt in front of her in a way that made one think of someone just realizing that someone they loved very much had just died.

Moira tried not to be taken in but…Joraan really seemed devastated by her unbelief.

His voice was a full octave lower than before and it had a deadness to it that spoke of a pain long held and infinitely deep.

“No….Moira. I wish this were all tricks and games. It’s true, my people are fond of such games, but we never would do a thing like THIS to someone.” He’d read her mind!

“So…you ARE a Leprechaun!” Moira said in astonishment and triumph, discordant emotions that rang hard against the sudden heaviness in the air.

Joraan seemed to wince noticeably at the term. He looked like someone who’d just heard nails on a chalkboard. This made him turn and glare at Moira.

“Sídhe if you please…I refuse to be a called a character on a box of breakfast cereal.” Joraan stated indignantly.

Moira couldn’t help but laugh and that brought a mischievous smile to Joraan’s face. The moment’s tension had broken, but the sorrow in Joraan remained all the same.

This brought Moira back to her bed to look at him. He looked like he was ready to cry!

“What is wrong Joraan? I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings by calling you a Leprechaun!” She said earnestly.

Joraan looked up at her and smiled wanefully, but his eyes held no mirth. There in his eyes she saw terrible sadness. A look of loss.

Moira instinctively reached and took Joraan by the hand and he did not resist her. “Tell me?”

Joraan’s head bent to his chest and he cleared his throat as if to choke back tears. He looked up finally, a look of resignation on his face.

“You must not tell what I will now say to anyone until the appointed time…” He said with the dire clarity of a barrister to his ward. Moira nodded vigorously.

“A terrible doom has fallen upon our world, Moira of Brien. The Fae have been released from the Veil.” Joraan said with portent.

“The…Fae? You mean like…Fairies?” Moira’s tone was incredulous.

Joraan looked at her crossly and even made a move to leave, but Moira stopped him.

“Oh…I’m sorry, Joraan. I don’t doubt you it’s just that…Fairies…its…” Joraan interrupted her.

“Are the Fae any harder to believe in than 'Leprechauns', Moira me dear? You are touching a child of the Sídhe even as we sit here and more to the point, you were nearly killed tonight by a ‘Fairy’ as you’d like to call her.” Joraan’s musical voice had lost all its music. He was speaking of things too terrible to find any humor in.

“THAT was a Fairy? I thought that….” Again Joraan interrupted.

“You thought all Fairies were Tinkerbell.” Joraan’s grasp of popular culture amazed Moira for some reason.
“Well, think of Tinkerbell for a moment.” Joraan released Moira’s hand and sat back feigning a thoughtful look with hand on chin.

“A small female creature that can fly, has immense magical powers and is jealous and vindictive to all except her beloved Elf friend, Peter Pan. Cute in a cartoon…but think what havoc such a being could bring to the real world.” Joraan conjectured with gestures to match.

“But Tinkerbell was also a hero and saved Peter Pan in the end!” Moira countered.

“Yes…quite extraordinary for a 'Fairy', I dare say.” Joraan huffed.

“Now, take away that love of Elves like Peter Pan and magnify that vindictive nature to something quite a bit more nasty, add several more feet to Tinkerbell’s stature and you have Queen Morgh Xanah!” Joraan was on the edge of his seat pointing at Moira now.

“Queen Morgana?! You mean from, like, the Arthurian Legend?” Moira was quite taken aback by what she was hearing.

Joraan scoffed, “Yeah, ‘Legend’. Try History darlin’. That was all as real as the day is long. I know….I remember it well!”

“Remember….you….were there?” Moira didn’t think she could be any more bewildered.

“Yes I was and it was not nearly as pretty a picture as the human legend finally made it. The war between Lord Arthur and Mordred, The Half-Fae, was terrible beyond words. Men nearly went extinct during that conflict.” Joraan reverted to that withered sulk he had from before. It was like someone had let the air out of a balloon.

“Was that Queen Morgana out there tonight?” Moira wanted to know.

“Oh, Heaven’s no, child. Thank The Maker for that! We’d both be quite dead now if it had been. It was one of her servants.” Joraan said with a little exasperation.

“Well, where did they go? The Fairies, I mean. What happened to them? Why have they not killed mankind off by now?” Moira found that she now had even more questions than she started out with. She was quite lost!

Joraan’s answer was a glance at something hanging over Moira’s bed; a traditional Celtic crucifix. Moira turned to look at it.

“Oh! You mean that people’s beliefs in the old ways were driven out by the New Religion and that is why the Fairies went?” Moira’s answer didn’t make any sense to her either after it came out of her mouth. She was just spouting what she had learned in her Anglo-Celtic Anthropology classes many moons ago.

“No. They stopped attacking because He put them behind the Veil…otherwise there would be no more men.” Joraan answered point blank.

Moira’s eyes widened. She was a good Professor of modern science and found religion to be an anachronism from another time and that God was just…another fairytale?

Joraan caught this thought and stared blankly at her.

“You…believe in God?” Moira blurted.

“Well of COURSE I do, you daft tart!” Moira winced at Joraan’s sudden use of rough language. Joraan was as surprised as Moira was but for opposite reasons.

“Ach…no wonder the Veil thins with this kind of faithless gibberish. No God, indeed! The very idea…” Joraan huffed and began puffing rapidly on his pipe staring daggers at Moira.

Moira shook her head. This was just too much at once. Her whole conception of the world and her own belief systems were now completely shattered. She always thought she had a pretty good bede on things. But, now she understood that all to be a lie.

Moira decided to change the subject to something more pertinent and concrete.

“Why do the Fae hate us so much that they would want to kill us all?” Moira asked simply and clearly.

This brought the look of melancholy back on Joraan and he extinguished his pipe on his boot reluctantly.

“Ah…that’s a bit of a mystery to me as well. It probably has a lot to do with jealousy. But, mostly because of what they see men doing to the land. They greatly disapprove and frankly, at one time many of the Sídhe felt similarly.” Joraan said sadly.

“Jealous of what? Men having the need of the land as well? Of their sharing the world? Of God…?” Moira conjectured.

Joraan sat back and looked at Moira for long moments. Something in his eyes opened something up in Moira to feelings. Joraan was more affected by all this than he had been letting on. Moira could feel this now.

“I have a way of telling you better than just description, if you will allow me.” Joraan said leaning forward, holding Moira’s gaze.

Moira acknowledged with a ‘go ahead’ gesture eager to understand.

From somewhere, Moira could not fathom where, Joraan produced a lyre. It was beautifully adorned with every jewel and precious metal ever conceived by God. Moira gasped despite herself as the instrument twinkled before her.

Joraan plucked a few golden strands of the lyre and the room was suddenly filled with a beautiful if melancholy music. Then Joraan’s voice rose and filled the room with a tenor unlike any other Moira had ever heard. The words were sung in a languid language that Moira had no knowledge of, but the words changed in her head and became English to her ears.

Joraan sang his Lament:

‘There lives still in my mind
a green kingdom of life
A land filled with my kind
All struck down in our strife

Warm light sifts through the leaves
In my memory of trees

From the North to the South
From the East To the West
From Shae'non to Du'blon
Was the Forest Av'lon

Birds sang of life by the day
Elves sang of love by the night

In my memory of trees
In my mind there yet lives
This world lost to my eyes
Through my tears I still see

Emerald light shines down so true
On my lost love that was once you

Golden leaves fall down around you
My lost love who has gone now

Forever

From the North to the South
From the East to the West
Verdant life burgeoned forth
This green land of the blessed

Ice winds fell from the sky
Mortal men begged to die

From the North to the South
From the East to the West
Our trees fell to our blades
Keeping men from their test

Smoke rose up to the gloom
Av'lon fell to her doom

Surrendered

There lives still in my mind
A long memory of trees
My deathless eyes can still see
What was swept by the tide

From the North to the South
From the East to the West
My eyes see without aid
Things that live on no more

I still see them. I can see them...’

The last chords of the song held in the air and an extraordinary quiet seemed to rest on the cottage and the land about almost as if the land itself had been listening and remembering.

Moira brushed at tears on her face that she did not know that she’d accumulated. She had seen the vaulted woods set like emerald cathedrals. She had smelled the herbal harmony of forests long gone. A place gone from this Ireland that once existed eons ago, but was no more and could never be again. At once Moira felt a grief as deep as any she’d ever known and at the same time a dreadful hideous anger at her own kind and it was then that she understood the Fae and their hate. She also felt the terrible loss under which Joraan pined. But there was a grief there in Joraan deeper even than this dreadfully immortal grief at the loss of his beloved world.

Joraan himself sat as still as death. His eyes were no longer seeing the living world as it was, but as it once was.

When Moira finally found her voice, she asked in a husky whisper: “What was her name, Joraan?”

“Mayra” his voice whispered almost soundlessly. His own eyes had welled…and his fair cheeks too glistened with golden tears.