The sun set as Toran and Tàvae worked. They had made good progress transcribing the smuggled text, for though it appeared thick, its heavily decorated borders meant each page contained only a few hundred words.
And its words were fascinating. Entitled Origins, the book documented the discovery and evolution of energy weaving. Its first uses were in the domestic realm and were thought to have been stumbled upon by the women who ground grain. It began as a subtle art, accessible only to the sensitive and patient, and yielded little for many turns of the wheel. Weaving energy became a tool, still limited for use by a select few, to ease the backbreaking work agriculture demanded of its dependants. Yet though it served a purpose, the human spirit is creative in nature, and they began to play with the possibilities weaving offered.
__Before Toran could learn more, however, Tàvae became impatient with him. ‘You can make sense of it later.’ She was holding several already-deciphered pages upright in order to read subsequent sections. ‘Simply reproduce it. Quickly.’
__Disappointment visited Toran’s face. His Gaeilge was good, but he could not transcribe and translate at the same time. To keep pace with Tàvae he would have to blindly duplicate.
__And so he did, well into the night, through chapter after chapter of history he knew was hidden to most—including him.
Tàvae paused. ‘Ilchruthach?’
__Toran rubbed his eyes. It was almost five in the morning; a faint light coloured the landscape outside. They were in the final chapter of the book. He assumed Tàvae need help to translate; he looked over at her page. ‘I have not seen that word before, sorry.’
__‘Something about…’ she frowned, shaking her head at the apparent nonsense before her. ‘Manipulation. Changing faces.’
__Toran sighed. ‘It is terribly late. As you said, we will make sense of it later. We are almost done.’
__Tàvae translated: ‘“…but the wind came into her heart; the woman forgot herself, and remained a wren…”’
__Toran shrugged, returning to his sentence.
__Tàvae read on, muttering occasionally. Then she wrenched the book from the desk, one hand crushed against her cheek as the other held it open.
__‘Toran,’ she commanded, in a distant, desperate voice, ‘You must never speak of this book. Not what it looks like, not what it contains, nothing. Be cautious of even mentioning my name.’ She turned around suddenly, sharply—frightening him—to stare at the forest beyond her rear doors. For half a moment, she thought she—but no—or could it—and she grew terribly pale, green, and fell heavily on her chair.
__‘I should not have brought you here. Foolish woman!’ She struck herself in the forehead with her palm. ‘I should have listened to him—Toran!’ Her large eyes found his, and filled them with alarm. ‘Go. Go to Alendae, today, and never come to my house again.’
Kesia was deeply unnerved by Toran’s report, although he did not disclose the work which spurred his departure. He simply related that their work had turned dangerous. And clearly he intended to heed Tàvae’s warning—a horse awaited him at her gate.
__‘I’m sure she was scouring for Seathedai, Kesia.’
__Her heart froze at his words.
__‘Promise you will not go to their house unless Kengar assures you it is safe?’
__The pallor of her expression assured him; she walked him to the gate, having given him the key to her rooms in the city, and watched him depart. The sun had not yet pierced the horizon, and the forest beyond the town was dark; she shivered and hastened indoors.