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Moirra

I was but six years old when a priest from the local temple of healing(Diancecht) found me in the woods, sobbing as I begged unseen ears to allow the dying rabbit in my arms to be well again. To his surprise and pleasure (not to mention my own shock), the rabbit soon wiggled from my grasp and hopped away.

This was the day I was taken from my family, but to go was a pleasure. My eldest brother was angered, for the rabbit had been caught in his trap. The meat was to be his supper; the fur was to be added to his cloak.

My mentor - nay, hero - was Pwyll, for he had saved me, had brought me to a life I loved instantly. He was unfailingly kind to me, but was possessed of a mighty temper that was frequently turned on those who loved nothing more than to maim and injure. Bullies and the like, mainly. And when the bully was not as cowardly as he seemed, well... Pwyll would brandish a truly wicked looking mace, and they would turn tail and run.

As the years passed and I learned to read, the priests in the great libraries learned to leave herbals and other books of naturalism within my reach, for I read them voraciously. Often, the only "payment" I would accept from the grateful was knowledge. Pwyll never chastised me for not taking coin for the temple coffers (used to buy food and medicines for the ill). I believe he understood that the knowledge would be used to better serve my God and his cause.

It was not until I reached my fifteenth year that I realised how truly aged my beloved friend was. It was that year that his body began to stop working properly. He became quite ill. I begged him once to allow me to heal him, but he refused. I never asked again. It was as though I suddenly understood - divine intervention, perhaps? - that it was his time, and he welcomed it.

After that, I never questioned the eventual loss of my friend and mentor. Each day, I did what I could to make his existence comfortable for him; each night, I lay on a pallet in his room, listening to his ragged breathing and quietly crying myself to sleep. A month before his final sleep, Pwyll sent a novice to bring me from my duties. I sat by his side, listening to the tales he told me of his childhood, of his life.

He gifted me then... into my hand, he pressed a silver ring that he had not worn for several months. I should wear it all the time, he said, never let it go until the time had come for it to leave me.

I was not with him when he died; I was out in service, as I should have been any other day at that time. It seemed almost fitting that I should return to the temple and find that Pwyll had died quietly. The priest who had been with him beckoned me to follow him to Pwyll's tiny room. I went to my mentor and sat beside him, praying for his soul to find the peace he deserved. When I finished, I kissed his forehead and turned to find that Willem had Pwyll's chest open. From it, he took that terrible mace, and held it out to me.

I was loathe to even look upon it, much less touch it. Willem seemed to understand, yet he held it steady, waiting for me to take it. Pwyll had wished to pass it to me, Willem said. It had been a family heirloom, passed from uncle to nephew, from aunt to niece. He had no family left, he had told Willem, except for his heart's daughter.

Except for me.

Loathe though I may be to harm another, Pwyll's Temper is ever at my side.