By Mel O’Riagain (edited by Arne Gustaf Swanberg, Mileth, Deoch 13).
['Editor’s Note: The following is taken from the diary of a councilor in the court of one King Cahal of Finach, written during the 2037th Year of Danaan, during the Eighth Aeon of Darkness. Some brief historical information must be summarized in order for a better understanding of what follows. At this point in history, known Temuair was divided into three kingdoms born after the fall of Hy-Brasyl: Sarnath (present-day Gear Inbhir), Niara, and the most prosperous, Finach, which grew into present-day Mileth as Niara fell to the armies of Dorch Tenes during the ironically named Aeon of Civilization. At the time when this document was written, these three kingdoms had been in existence for almost six centuries. The Great War had taken place some five or six decades earlier, and the god Sgrios made his appearance some years after that. Temuair was still recovering from the world-shattering Great War, and its disunity fueled the flames of further conflict. The three kingdoms vied for power as they had always done, and death and decay ruled earth and sea alike once more as each one struggled against its brothers. Innocent people died in a number of epic battles. The Darkness had made its undeniable footprint on the lands of Temuair, but one thing remained undone…
[Related works include "The League and its Pact of Anaman" by Rookerin Ileen and the Seanchas Temuair –S.]
When I was a young man, I asked my mother if she believed in destiny. She said to me, "I believe in destiny in times of misfortune. But when I am happy, I believe I am in control of my life." I didn’t understand what she meant, not for many years.
It is my job to know things and I do it well. Today I force myself to record something that all of history should know. History is a powerful force, more powerful perhaps than the destiny my mother sometimes did not believe in and sometimes did. We learn from it, and we remember the days of our mothers. These are bleak days we live in, and bleaker days still lie ahead, for what has been happening in the past eight years is history in the making. I can only cheapen the force of events with my meager skill in writing, but I will try to tell things like they happened. And I will hope that regardless of whether my words shine like the afternoon sun or fall flat like stones to the bottom of a well, someone will read them—and heed them.
The place is the court of King Cahal of Finach, here in the north of the Earth-Sea. The time is the 2029thYear of Danaan, eight years ago as of this writing in my journal.
First I will tell you of the Earth-Sea. It is a wasteland. Wars ravage it. Dubhaim walk on it. Plagues ravage it. Death walks on it. The three kingdoms don’t exactly hate each other, but want to see each other’s destruction. The kings prohibit the use of magic by the common man, and restrict its study only to the military and the court wizards. One spell can kill a lot more people than a sword, and so the earth is forever shaking and the noises of dark magic are forever rolling over the horizon. It is difficult to describe what it is like when the sound of screaming is so ubiquitous and unceasing that one cannot help but dismiss it and go on with the day’s work. The day’s work often involves declarations of war, followed by treaties several weeks later, followed by new declarations of war that must be looked over, discussed at hundreds of meetings of the King’s Council, and eventually handed over to the commanding officers of Finach’s men of action. Not to mention setting the executions of dozens of rebel leaders and challengers for the throne that pop up every once in a while. Then there are vigilantes that attempt to build their own armies and march into enemy lands, which almost always causes a fresh, long and deadly showdown. Men start crusades, men preach against the crusades, men desert from the palatial forces…peasants are drafted, killed. Everyone fights and no one survives. Everyone exists but no one lives, if you get my meaning. And meanwhile, gruesome abominations roam the bloodied hills and plains and forests, killing at random and laughing with joy and illimitable cruelty.
Next I will tell you of myself, Mel O’Riagain. I am a councilor in the king’s council of advisors, up-and-coming to the position of chief advisor. Few people know exactly what the council in a king’s court does, so I will explain it. We have a great deal of power limited only by the words that come from the mouth of the king himself, and our job usually involves taking those words and telling the king why they don’t make sense. He has the final say, of course, but he trusts us and listens to us because we want what is best for us, which is incidentally the same thing that is best for the king, which is incidentally oftentimes not the same thing that is best for the kingdom. I was born in Finach to the chief of the Riagain clan, a powerful clan with close ties to the royal family, and that is how I eventually became councilor. My education is impeccable and my keen sense of the social and political course of events is second to no one’s. My work ethic is top-notch. I love signing things (we get to do that a lot, you know, signing things). I have served the king for twenty-six terrible years.
As for the king…he used to be a powerful man with a fine mane of blood-red hair, but now he has shriveled into a sallow coat-rack of a monarch, his health deteriorating with every passing day. He used to be kindly and just, but now is a hate-filled sociopath forever plotting the demise of his enemies and the expansion of his dominion. Little does he realize that the expansion of his dominion was more likely long ago when he was still serviceable. There is not a moment’s rest for the king given the conditions of the present day, which were even worse eight years ago. Over the years I have noticed his moral fiber and his mind degrading along with his physique—his scepter, for instance, its tip once graced with a pair of wings, is now fashioned into the likeness of a man hanging upside down from the branch of a tree. At nights, he paces around the castle’s drafty hallways with blank, glaring eyes, never sitting down, sometimes taking his ghastly scepter and rapping it at random on the door to someone’s quarters. One time, I was awakened by such a rapping, opened the door, and saw the king standing in full royal regalia, yelling, "Come to the meeting, Mel, we’re at war!" I followed him and he led me into an empty kitchen and walked off, seeming to forget I was there. King Cahal loved his wife.
The queen was known by a number of names, among them Aoibh, Ailbhe, and Bronagh. Her vanity was so great that she could not settle on one name for herself—it was this same vanity that started the horror I will soon describe. Her vanity aside, the Queen was a noble, level-headed woman who was deeply troubled by the state of the world she was living in. She had been a little girl during the Great War, and her parents had both been outstanding commanders of the armies of Danaan, and had both been killed in the deciding battle between Light and Darkness, a battle that took place on the sea and that folk legend says caused a rip in time and space, a gaping hole into which the sea and everything on it whirled hopelessly and disappeared (obviously this is not true, but the queen liked to believe it was). She often found herself burdened with the task of guiding Cahal’s hand in certain affairs, as his slow madness manifested itself more and more in his decision-making. Aoibh (I will settle on this, her birth name) did this well and was often the sole reason for the aversion of a battle between Finach and Sarnath or Niala.
And so, back to the time of the year 2029. King Cahal and Queen Aoibh had been making plans for conquering several key places on the sea coast to the north of Finach as well as driving back the armies of dubhaimid horrors that were marching on Finach from the mountainous area to the south. This second was top priority, because the dubhaimid killed indiscriminately and brought with them ill luck and disease. Finach wanted an alliance with Sarnath at that point against the dubhaimid, but the influence of the Darkness were remarkable considering it had been defeated in the Great War; instead of an alliance, Finach and Sarnath went to war (one among many—the term "war" has never been so trivialized in history) over the ports they wanted to build on the north ocean.
King Adhamhán of Sarnath came to Cahal of Finach to personally declare war, and that meant business, we all knew, even during a time when a fresh war was no more of a surprise than a cloud in the sky. Finach was no more ready for war than it was ready for its own destruction, and so the court was thrown into a panic. Aoibh tried negotiation, but that only lasted for a single day, and its failure was sealed when Adhamhán announced that the armies of Sarnath had managed to tame several dubhaimid species and use them in battle. Instead of a replenished desire to make the negotiations work after such an announcement, Cahal was enraged and war officially began with the signing of yet another parchment. The queen was not terribly disturbed by this—she had a plan.
Aoibh and her vanity inspired her to spring into action. Cahal was not enough for her, and she was sure that her beauty and wit could lure a second king to lie with her—and, what an added bonus it would be if the king was an enemy one, at that! She lured Abhamhán into a secluded part of the castle, and made him this proposition: if she slept with him, he would withdraw his declaration of war and agree to have talks.
Lo and behold, Abhamhán agreed.
Aoibh told none of this to Cahal, of course—he didn’t need to know how she was planning to convince the king of Sarnath to withdraw his war declaration. But…Cahal found out. And so did I.
It was a wintry, drafty night, and the screams I heard that day were louder than ever. The king was pacing the halls again, with those blank, glaring eyes I told you of, and his scepter with the man hanging upside down from a tree branch. His vermilion uniform enfolded his thinning frame and I heard him pass my door, stalking like a harpy. I got up and listened through the door to my chamber, because I could not sleep, and thought about the king and what was wrong with him. I remember leaning back against that door and hearing a rapping coming from down the hall, and suddenly, for no clear reason, I felt my gorge rise and became extremely frightened.
I stepped outside of my quarters and into the hall, and saw the king with his ear pressed up against a door down at the end of it. I lit a candle and rushed to his side and saw that his eyes were wide and his lower lip trembling. Putting my hand on his shoulder, I wanted to lead him off to his own bedroom and began consoling him, when he whirled on me, pointed at the door, and shouted, "Listen!"
I complied and through the planks of that door I heard the queen’s voice and she was making love.
I turned to the king not knowing what to say, and he raised his terrible scepter overhead and roared with fury. Again and again, he smote the knob of the door with that awful staff, his eyes blazing with the light of madness. When he had broken it off, he stalked across the hallway, turned around, and ran forward, crashing into the door with his shoulder, summoning all the strength he had wielded in years past. The door shattered, and the king stormed inside, myself behind him, my nerves taut like lute-strings about to break.
Sure enough, Queen Aoibh and King Abhamhán were inside, naked as the day they were born, and on the floor—these were servants’ quarters and the bed was less comfortable than the ground itself. The King screamed again and again, an inarticulate noise produced from the innermost depths of his bitter throat. The queen and the king of Sarnath had covered themselves in sheets and were cowering against the far wall.
Abhamhán turned in rage on Aoibh and shouted that the deal was off now that they had been discovered, wench! Aoibh sobbed, but only until Abhamhán stalked out of the room, at which point she magically stopped, methodically put her clothes back on as both myself and the king watched, and said in her even, musical and cultured voice, "I was only sleeping with him to end the war, darling. He doesn’t even know what to do with himself—as much of it as there is, anyway."
Then Cahal reacted in a way I would not have expected in a thousand years, but obviously I knew less than I thought about the relationship between the king and his wife at that point. The pain in his eyes fell away, a smile broke across his agonized face, and, tossing his scepter into a corner, his chest began to heave with silent laughter. He clutched his stomach and doubled over on the floor, his laughter becoming audible, and hollered himself silly with mirth. Aoibh joined him, albeit a little nervously at first. When he was at last himself again, his walking interrupted by occasional peals of fresh guffawing, whereupon he had to stop and clutch at a wall, the first thing he said was: "My wife is a very clever woman, don’t you think, Mel?" and slapped me on the chest, grinning.
Aoibh then broke into a run towards the castle entrance, and told me to call on the guards. I understood why. Her plan had failed, and the war still had to be foiled, but Abhamhán was surely in the process of leaving the castle, if he had not left already. She was no longer afraid of the king’s reaction to her idea, and he was on her side. She planned to convince Abhamhán to return to the castle.
Indeed, they caught up with Abhamhán outside, in the pelting rain in the middle of the night, mounting his horse and about to ride away. Cahal stayed inside and let the queen take care of things.
"Your Majesty!" Aoibh shouted. "One night is enough for you?!" I remember that clearly.
Abhamhán froze in the process of saddling his mount.
And so Aoibh convinced the king of Sarnath that Cahal was too inept to do anything about his own queen having an affair right under his nose (this was probably true, in the actual occurrence of such a situation; furthermore, I have always believed that the queen’s affair with Abhamhán was the high point of her courtly life). Abhamhán stayed several nights at the castle—several nights that allowed Cahal’s Council to come up with a plan to avert the war for which Finach was desperately unprepared.
It was at the next meeting of Cahal’s Council that I suggested a plan to the king that was met with hearty approval. The queen would invite Abhamhán to dine along with her and the king, allowing me to put poison in Abhamhán’s drink. He would be killed almost immediately, and when the kingdom of Sarnath inquired about him, we would tell them he was seized and killed by Niara on his way to declare war, hopefully starting tensions between Sarnath and Niara.
It all went terribly wrong with one small slip. Aoibh and Abhamhán sat next to each other. In the wine chalice held by the latter, I had placed a deadly poison shortly beforehand, the same recipe that is used by the marauding tribes of hobgoblins dwelling in the East Woodland of Finach, meant to bring about death within a matter of a single minute. Abhamhán would imbibe his liquor and Finach would be spared a conflict that would wipe it from the face of the Earth-Sea. But, as they drank, Aoibh and Abhamhán crossed arms and drank from each other’s glasses.
The rest will remain history forever. Aoibh stiffened like wood, her pupils shrank to minuscule pin-points, and she did begin to shake and gave utterance to an unearthly howl of excruciating bodily agony. A thousand liquids burst forth from all her orifices and showered the royal splendor of the dining room in a grotesque array of humors and wine. She clawed at herself madly, and tumbled to the floor, rolling around in a desperate effort to alleviate her pain. A violent seizure took Aoibh in its grasp and pounded her once and again upon the stone floor until she died. Let me make note here that this was not the fate I intended, not even for Abhamhán, not even for my own worst enemy.
Several weeks later came the queen’s funeral. It was a grand procession, but not as grand as it could have been, with the king’s deteriorating supply of funds. The king refused to levy heavier taxes on the populace at that point. He wasn’t quite a tyrant—yet. As Aoibh was being put in the ground, I turned my gaze to the king’s face, and saw rivulets of tears running down his sagging complexion. Then I looked again, and noticed they weren’t tears—the king was staring far into the distance with a blank gaze, and the water running down his face were the first drops of rain that came that spring of the funeral.
Then suddenly, out of that horizon where the king was looking so intently, there came three men swathed in black cloth riding on steeds bellowing blue fire from their nostrils and clad in black, spiked armor. One carried a halberd, the second a staff that looked much like a legendary Magus Diana, and the third a head which was almost a skull, holding it by peeling strands of soaked hair. They were worshippers of Sgrios, of course, a horrid breed of men that had sprung into existence some five decades before. They rode toward us, and toward the knights of the royal guard that were carrying Aoibh’s coffin. They were silent and fast. The first took position in front of the knight at the very front of the funeral procession, and drove them off with his halberd with incredible skill. The second raised his staff into the air and shouted the words of a spell that shook the earth and opened faults along its surface into which servants and soldiers tumbled as everyone else fell to their feet and looked around in uncomprehending horror. The third held up the head and it opened its eyes, sending forth paralyzing beams of white-hot fire that stopped all who dared come near dead in their tracks. Their steeds fell into line and they shifted the queen’s corpse up onto their shoulders, all without saying a word and without paying any heed to the pandemonium around them. Then they rode off.
If every man has allotted to him a certain amount of misfortune at birth, Cahal had had enough misfortune to go around. It was the last straw and he took ill, a brain fever that changed him when he at last recovered into a man who had frequent bouts of rage, no concern for the people he governed, and an array of even more disturbing habits than he had possessed before. He would comb his hair for hours at a time, cringe and moan at the sound of ringing bells, fall asleep with no prior warning, and refuse to pray to Danaan as he had done every day of his life.
What happened several months after the queen was buried I will describe to you as I saw it while scrying in the Luathic oracle waters in the palace courtyard. The king was sleeping in his chamber—if you will remember what I mentioned previously, this was a rare occurrence—when he was awakened by a scratching sound from the ceiling above him. He gazed at it for a long time, and every time he was again about to drift off to sleep, the scratching sound would awaken him once more. Towards midnight, the stone of the ceiling began to crumble and rain tiny puffs of dust. An hour passed, then two, then three, and the dust crumbling away the stone increased, and suddenly culminated in a hammering that seemed to be very close. The boulders broke and the king saw what looked like a claw—something was digging through the stones. Something had dug through a vast thickness of solid granite rock impenetrable by any weapon known to man, just above the king’s bedchamber. And then the king saw what was attached to that inhuman claw. It was a beautiful woman wearing leather, with eyes that were as purple as the finest noble raiment, and skin the pale color of smooth, polished marble. On her back were two gigantic bat wings that flapped slowly and lazily, up and down, as her clawed hands and the vulture-like yellow talons that were her feet worked at digging away the stone, enlarging the opening in the ceiling. The wind and rain howled through that opening and the king shrank into his covers, staring with wide-eyed terror which was shortly followed by the realization that the face of the monster above him was his wife’s.
And so it was that Aoibh, the slain Queen of Finach, returned to Cahal, the mad King of Finach, as a succubus.
When at last she could fit through the gap in the ceiling, she bore down upon the king and committed unspeakable carnal acts unto him, interrupted only by foul, hate-filled accusations that he had allowed her to die. When at last her hunger was satiated, she lay down next to the king and spoke in a voice that was like gravel and silk at the same time. She told him of what the Sgrios worshippers had done to her and the things they had shown her, the worlds they had opened her eyes to.
That was the first time that Aoibh used the name Dubhreal.
She said unto Cahal what she wanted him to do. She told him that it was imperative that an heir to the throne of Finach was produced before the next conflict wiped it out. She told him that that heir was now within her. A king and his queen having an heir together would be perfectly well and good, she bantered to Cahal, flapping her wings, but an heir produced between a king and his dead wife that had been reanimated as a succubus might cause a small problem with the rest of the court, not to mention the kingdom. Then she changed her shape, shifting from the form of a succubus into the shape of Aoibh.
She instructed Cahal to go into the town and seek a bride for himself. Considering no village girl in her right mind would want to marry the decaying lunatic Cahal had become, Dubhreal reasoned, he would probably have to force someone to be his bride. It didn’t matter who it was, but the point was that Cahal and this unfortunate girl would pretend to have a child together while Dubhreal bore the heir with whom she had been impregnated just moments before.
Cahal’s refusal of this sordid offer was perhaps the last sane thing he ever did. Upon his refusal, Dubhreal changed once again into the form of a succubus and brought forth a terrible lightning bolt that lanced from the sky straight through the opening in the ceiling, blackening the entire right half of the king’s chamber and reducing the furnishings to ashes. Her eyes blazed with Ch-d-l’s flame. Her wings beat at the air. She said she no longer loved Cahal, and that her love of all mankind, in fact, had ceased when she imbibed the deadly poison that had been her doom. Having lived in this aeon of darkness, she had lost her faith in the good and the true. She believed Sgrios had given her some measure of life again so she could carry out his bidding, and if Cahal got in her way, the name Finach would never again be heard in this or any other world. Those were the words she spoke.
Dubhreal leapt into the air and told Cahal that nine months after he had found his new bride, she would return and bear the child they had conceived between them. Then she flew off into the thunderheads.
So it was that Cahal found himself a new bride and she was made the queen of Finach for nine months. As much as I struggle to purge from my memory the name of that unfortunate, ill-fated girl, I can no more forget Caiside than I can forget the day I spoke of destiny with my mother. Most of all, I cannot forget the day I was told to explain to this trembling child the events in which she was an unwilling pawn. Events which could have all been averted if only I had come up with a different plan… if only darkness had not had such a hold on us all…
Nine months later, Dubhreal returned and she was pleased.
The first thing Dubhreal did upon her return was slay Caiside—her vanity had not left her even in the state of undeath, and she wanted no one else sitting in her throne as queen, especially an insignificant, unheard-of peasant girl from town. She slew her in secret, and I know not how, but the official word I produced to the court and the kingdom was that Caiside had died in childbirth.
Dubhreal then gave birth to King Cahal’s child. It was a boy, and he was named Darragh, Oak, after the noble tree that was the king of the East Woodland. Dubhreal flew off and was never seen again. Her last words to Cahal were, "Bless you and keep you, Your Majesty. The aeons are long indeed."
Now, I will tell you of the boy, whose seventh birthday, the age when his training as a prince will step up to the next stage, is fast approaching as I write this. Darragh had inherited the demon-blood of his mother and was an unusual and frightening child. His complexion was the color of ash, gray and sick-looking. I viewed in the misty oracle waters how he emerged from the black, wilted womb of his succubus mother. She ripped him forth and held him up to the heavens, and he breathed but did not cry.
His eyes were always strange. As a babe, they were black as night, but as he grew and learned to walk, I could have sworn they sometimes flashed red, like blood.
The horror surrounding Darragh began when he reached the age of four or five. There was something wrong with his skin—awful, thick, gray scales formed on it in places. He was extremely sickly and his back became crooked, so he could only walk around hunched or twisted grotesquely to the side. Such things on a child of so few years were chilling indeed. Later, his body produced unsightly tentacular growths which no priest or healer could explain. At age six, not long ago, he was having a music lesson with his tutor, when the tutor said his name, Darragh, and Darragh said, in a voice that was not the voice of a child but that of a grown man that his name was not Darragh but Anaman. When later that chamber was entered by a servant, she found the tutor with his head slumped forward so his chin touched his chest, pale and dead.
Anaman displayed strange powers that were beyond our comprehension. No necromancer, no wizard, no mystic, no scholar or student of the Aosda could explain them. No one dared come near him. Even though he was but a child, he seemed to have no problem taking care of himself, and did what he pleased. Seven people in the king’s court died under mysterious circumstances while around Anaman. His current appearance is frightful to behold. He is like death incarna
I AM LIKE DEATH INCARNATE
Anaman became suddenly furious when I told him to put his toys away after playing with
WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT? THE COUNCILMAN WRITES WHAT DOES THE COUNCILMAN WRITE OH IT’S ABOUT ME
And suddenly Oh Danu! Help us! I am frantic I must finish what I have to say he is taking me taking me over what I lost the reason I lost the reason where the doors close on darkness and open on hy-brasyl I am become deathandindeathihaveknownthetruthohmothermymotherwhereareyoutoday
indepthlesshellsbeneaththestoneilieforgottenandaloneBEHOLD THE AWESOME POWER OF CH-D-Lyou have shown me the future and that is your mistake! My hand is possessedbyHerpoweranditwillshowthem myhand will show them look!!! a glow stood about him in battle and a woe befell his adversaries
Dreamwhatyoucan’tbelieveAisling Jean is thedaemon, dubhrealisthedaemon anamanisthedaemon woe to the earthsea Woe to the darkness it will takeyou o those infinite twisting spiresthedarkrocksfallinanavalancheandconsume! Everylightcastsashadowdoyoulightalightatall drainyouofyoursanityfacethethingthatshouldnotbe the PACT will come many times they still LIVE THEY STILL LIVE
[Editor’s Note: In The League and its Pact of Anaman by Rookerin Ileen, the following is said of the daemon Anaman: "…what is known of him is secret and legend speaks of the death of any who speak of its being." The culmination of Mel O’Riagain’s descent into madness as he spoke of Anaman, and his final testament to this world can be found on the last parchment, upon which is written, over and over, one phrase: "In the kingdom of Finach was born Anaman." Records of the Mileth Library indicate that Mel O’Riagain’s mutilated corpse was found shortly after the writing of the above.
We are left with infinite questions, most of them raised near the last incomprehensible portions of O’Riagain’s writings. But, before even that, the fact remains that this is one of the only documents that speaks of the time when Temuair was three kingdoms, of the Aeon of Darkness and the time of troubles after the Great War. We don’t know what ever happened to King Cahal, and what happened to Anaman between his childhood as described here and the time when he showed himself again to Lord Tenes and his men and forged the Pact of Anaman, bartering near-immortality for their souls. We also don’t know what happened to Adhamhán of Sarnath, but it is said in the parchments of the Mileth Library that he "gibbered with madness and retreated into the shadows of his homeland upon the death of the Queen of Finach."
Next, there is the issue of the Lady Dubhreal. The exploits of this Lady Dubhreal can be found in Chloe Ta’Null’s The Blood of the Forgotten Empire. The notable fact about this, however, is that all that is told of her takes place much later in history. Either it is a different woman with demon-blood calling herself Dubhreal or it is the same Dubhreal that came to Cahal and conceived Anaman. My personal opinion leans toward the latter—truly, what are the odds of two women with so much in common? Both possessed strange powers, lots of charisma, and the ability to make puppets of those they associated with. If this Lady Dubhreal could survive so long, what are the chances that she is still living? Even further into the matter, what are the chances that the Lady Dubhreal plays a role in our government today?
Only now do we arrive at the mysteries of O’Riagain’s final sentences in his journal. Most of it is incomprehensible—snatches of verse, bits of words that could have only made sense to the frantic hand that wrote them. But several things stand out. Firstly, it seems as if Anaman actually possessed O’Riagain as he was writing, and wrote through him, and the councilman seems to have been struggling against him. Then there are these strange mentions of current names and events. Could it be that Mel O’Riagain, councilor for a long-dead king in an ancient kingdom, saw as far as 1200 years into the future as a result of the madness that overtook him as he wrote about Anaman? If so, what has Jean, the current councilor of Loures, have to do with anything? In fact, what possible part could Loures play in any of it? And what of the mention of "dark rocks" (Conix stones?) and the final words that the Pact still lives? Judging by the fact that I am actually still alive, the old saw about discussing Anaman being deadly can’t be true. But, then, how didO’Riagain die? And why was it so similar to the death of Cyril, the councilor before Jean not long ago?
I can’t claim to have any answers. No one can. But there is a connection here. Where? I don’t know and the room for speculation is too immense. As poor old Mel said, it’s his job to know things, and I think I understand. I’ve been a follower of Luathas all my life and it’s my job to know things too. I like to think that I do it well. But there are some things, just a few…that I don’t want to know –S.]