Niamh Interlude: Birthday Reflections
2 Lightening, 960 RM, pre-dawn, Derry Dale
Niamh rolled over in bed and stretched, ready to start her day, until she realized it was not even dawn yet. “Why am I awake already?” She asked herself. “Because it’s your birthday and you always rise before dawn to reflect on the past year.” Sighing, she pulled herself out of bed and went into the kitchen. She coaxed the embers in the fireplace into a blaze and put the kettle on so she could have some tea.
When had she started this tradition, she wondered. “On your seventeenth birthday.” She reminded herself. Seventeen. When she had turned sixteen, she had left her mother and joined the Draconians in Tallhill. She hadn’t told her mother what she had done until Arwyn had been ready to move on. Her mother was disappointed that she would not be joining her, but had wished her well in her new pursuit. The Draconians had never had a witch join the force before, so they were at a lost as to where to put her. She obviously did not belong in the Theologic Corp as she was not a priestess, so they put in the Thaumaturgic Corp.
She had struggled there; she just could not wrap her mind around how to do the spells as they were being taught. Then Thomas offered to tutor her. Thomas, her first lover. He was a few years older than she was, with curly black hair, sky blue eyes, sly smile, and surprisingly strong hands for a wizard. She still remembered those hands working out the knots in her shoulders whenever she got frustrated. He taught her a great deal, not all about magic. She had felt as if a knife had been thrust into her heart when she had caught him with Mary and learned the only reason he had offered to tutor her was to try to bed her. “List that one under young inexperience.”
A few years later she was stationed in Alphabet City in Drache. She had finally found a place in the Epoptic Corp and was working her way not only to Foxton, but the rank of Sargent. While investigating a series of burglaries, she met a locksmith named Stephen. Stephen was tall and thin with long, almost elven fingers. He had short brown hair and dark eyes. It was his sharp wit that had attracted her. That relationship had ended when she arrested him for the burglaries she had been investigating. She had learned that he was using his locksmithing business to make extra keys and then helping himself to homeowner’s valuables when they were not home. He had almost killed her in the fight, but she did make Sargent for her efforts. “Why couldn’t I have inherited mom’s knack of finding good companions? What about Anthony then?”
Six years ago she had been assigned to Warford. There she had met a young printer named Anthony. He had blonde hair, green eyes, and an easy smile. He was intelligent and romantic. She had never felt so at easy with anyone. She could talk to him about anything and she would have done anything to make him happy. They had been considering getting married. Then Niamh received word that Arwyn was ill and left to go take care of her mother. She had arrived too late though. She returned to Warford depressed and angry at herself.
To try to cope with her loss, she had thrown herself into her work leaving little time for anything else. In Anthony’s defense he was very patient and understanding and tried very hard to comfort Niamh. When she was promoted to Lieutenant, and finally given her transfer to Foxton, that’s when everything came to a head. Anthony refused to leave his business and Niamh refused to give up her new assignment. She still regretted their last argument. “You have no one to blame but yourself for that one.” She chided herself. She sighed as she sipped her tea, “I know. So what has the past year brought you?”
She had continued focusing on her job until she had been suspended. The time off had forced her to reflect and rethink her position. She had been assigned as liaison to Baron du Clef. She had met and became friends with Lady Hawthorne, Wythri, and Quion; the first people she had allowed herself to get close to for many years. Then just last month she had been infected with the werewolf curse. She shuddered remembering the ritual to remove the curse. “But it wasn’t all bad, what about Benedikt?” What about Benedikt. What was that relationship? Was there even a relationship? She just didn’t know how she felt about him anymore.