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Disclaimer: A work of fiction; the recognizable people in the story belong to themselves and have never performed the actions portrayed here. I do not know the actors nor am I associated with them in any way. If you are underage, please do not read this story. I am not making any profit from these stories, nor do I mean any harm.

Maraon-verse
This is set while William is away from the village and introduces two new characters, Aidan and his son Niall.

Parts: 1 2 3 Maraon-verse: There had been no warning


Moira wraps her plaid tightly around her shoulders, trying to block the chilling wind. Her eyes sting, and her fingers are red and raw, but she has no desire to go back to her fire. She had stood in this same spot with William some weeks ago, singing a traditional song of partings and safe returns as she watched him disappear past the edge of the woods, his strong voice answering back. Now Aidan, along with his son, Niall, are leaving as well.

She’s never grown used to this. The loneliness, the fear that she will never again see the ones she loves the most. She’s been tempted, more than once, to leave first. To not be the one left behind but something—someone—has always held her. Watching Niall inspect his own small pack again, she wonders who she has left.

“Moira?”

She turns, smiles at Aidan, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. Aidan looks away, looks down the path he will take, his blue eyes distant. Moira offers her hand to Niall who instead wraps his thin arms around her waist. Her hands flutter to his sandy hair, caressing. She looks to Aidan, would shed tears if she had any left.

“We have a long journey.” But even as he says the words, Aidan shrugs his heavy pack from his shoulders, sets it by his feet. “We’ll be back before Samhain. I promise.”

“Don’t make promises, Aidan.” Moira’s voice is flat, emotionless.

“We will come back soon and we’ll bring William back with us. You know him, he’s probably just stopped to help in another village. He’ll wonder that we’ve worried at all.”

Moira doesn’t answer, but stares off down the path, willing William to appear, to not make Aidan feel he has to go as well. Looking down at the boy leaning against her, she feathers her fingers through his hair again. He tips his face up to hers, smiling, excited to be allowed on this trip with his father. She wants to ask that he stay but bites the request back, unable to break Niall’s heart.

Aidan sees, steps close to embrace them both. She feels his warmth, lets herself relax into the embrace for just a moment before straightening back up, pressing a kiss to Niall’s cheek then pushes him towards his father.

Moira wraps her arms back around her body, looking away. She can’t watch as Aidan picks up his pack, leads Niall away from her. He’s kind enough not to say anything as they start down the path that also carried William away from her.

“Be safe,” she whispers before raising her voice in a song she does not feel in her heart. It’s not William who answers her this time, but Niall’s high, clear voice, carrying on the wind long after they’ve disappeared over the crest.
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