Sample Pages 20-A Síochána Nua, A Ordú Nua

**Would you two stop? Eating processed meats like that are bad enough; talking about them is not helping me any** Odran sent. **This from the guy who eats pulverized garbanzos** Diarmuid sent. **They’re pureed, not pulverized** Russ sent out, adding **Speaking of pulverizing…we need a hand in here. Need some help with the mashing of potatoes.** **I’m on it** Diarmuid sent, and headed into the kitchen. Cat and Rónán were talking off in a corner; Mark could already see the very faint beginnings of a romance there but knew it would be a few years before anything really developed. “That’s good news for Steve and Angie. I wonder how their bodies are coping right now?” he thought absentmindedly. It was unspoken within the clan that they likely had needs that being daor amháin for decades were beginning to create issues with. It was also unspoken that if anyone caught them in anything other than safe banter to leave them alone as much as possible. Ryan and Adrienne-while not having said anything overtly-had delicately let everyone know they were aware of things-and there was little to do but wait. Like Diarmuid and Ciara, for Rónán and Cat it was not a matter of if but when they bonded.

———

Jillian looked at Mark, bemused. “So I can’t surrender my title to you, yet we have to settle this like adul…oh, no. You wouldn’t.” Mark advanced on her now, grinning evilly. Suddenly, two older adults were laughing hysterically, tickling each other in a sort of intimate challenge, while the others stood or sat there, very puzzled. Jillian got the upper hand finally, and said “I’ll stop if you give.” “Oh…okay! Okay! I give!” he wheezed, as he laughed. “Say it, älskare. Tell all of us you accept the title of Hövding av Ledare! Say it!” “I…I accept your terms. I accept the title of Hövding av Ledare! Now stop tickling me!” “Yes, min evigtkärlek Hövding.” Elina rose, as did the others. “Nåd till Hövding av ledare Marcus!” The call was repeated from both the computer-Annalie had watched the “battle”-as well as Jillian, her eyes shining. “What is your will, Hövding ár Mark?” she asked. He beckoned to her, kissed her and sent ++Easily done. Happy?++ ++Good lord, yes. Annalie was right last night. You just took ten years off both our frames; I feel that much younger-and you look it.++ “We eat in celebration-then we rest. I know what has to happen now-and even as I speak, it is happening.

———

Liam turned and glared openly at Suzette. “An’ you! Paradin’ around like y’ knew what you were doin’!” he all but spat at her. “It’s no wonder that things are th’ way they are! You and your recent convert! I don’t care if he is your Comh Ceannaire. I’ll show all o’ you how we do things here!” He jumped the table and headed for Suzette-but was intercepted by Russ Sullivan. Liam had never lost a battle in all his years as leader and in his anger took on Russ, figuring Russ was still essentially defenseless as Russ hadn’t had his cumais nearly as long as he had. Russ had never really fought psionic style, much less against one of the strongest of his own kind. However, he’d been trained for a fight like this by Mark, Ryan, Steve and a few others. In the last half-second as Liam’s hands raced for Russ’ temples, Suzette watched as the hands that could gently caress her were suddenly the hands of his father Pat. Large hands, hands that could fight and defend those he loved. She watched as those hands went for Liam’s temples; an angry red sciath dath formed around them as the room roared at each other. Suzette tried vainly to separate them, tried to telepathically reach Russ, and for her troubles found the Ai no yoroi kicking in, stopping her from moving yet allowing her to see the battle raging. Now the room stopped yelling and watched as the unthinkable began to happen: Liam was slowly being forced to his knees, while the sciath dath began to change color, deepening from red to a dark, dark green. In just under a minute, it was over. Russell Sullivan stood there and growled “You will apologize to ár Suzette.” “As you wish, Ceannaire na Ceannairí Sullivan. Suzette, I…I apologize. My behavior was rude and not befitting a leader such as yourself.” Russ looked at Liam and said “Wait a minute. What did you just call me?” Suzette’s eyes were large as dinner plates, and she knelt in front of him. In a whisper just loud enough to be heard, she asked “What is your will, my Ceannaire na Ceannairí?” Now Russ was puzzled. “What the hell is going on?” he asked. “Ionmhain…you just beat Liam in a fair battle. According to the Rialacha agus Deasghnátha na Cosantóiríyou’re the new Ceannaire na Ceannairí!”

———-

Russ sagged a moment. “So you’re telling me that it’s actually easier for you to keep the Treaty enforced than it is to create a new peace agreement?” Hubert seemed a little embarrassed. “Well…yes, if you want to put it that way.” Russ sighed and wanted to slap his head. “Okay…so let’s try this on for size. What if you all voted to do away with this Governance, and simply keep the Conservator as the new-and only-ruling body?” “We’ve considered that” Michael said, flatly. “However, some of the Lords have issue with the idea; they’d have greater power if the Governance were restored.” Russ turned to Mark. “And I thought my people were hidebound by rules and rituals. Deartháir, please tell me this isn’t going to fall apart because these esteemed leaders have their heads firmly up their….” “Maybe, min bror…and maybe not. Hubert, you mentioned that the ruling body has Cosantóirí, Rhai sydd â gallu, and a little Qui Praeliator, is that correct?” “No. I said there was some Qui Perdere.” Mark smiled, an almost wicked smile. “If that is true-and Michael, correct me if I’m wrong-the Cosantóirí have some sort of oversight of this body, am I correct?” “You are, Hövding Mark. But I’m not sure I quite understand….” “You will in a moment. Ár Russ, you head up the Cosantóirí, yes?” “I do. But I don’t understand….” “Patience, Sherlock. As leader of the band that’s supposed to ride shotgun over the Qui Perdere, what happened in North America upon the signing of the Peace Accord?” “Easy. The Qui Perdere ceased to exist, and resumed their original title of Qui Praeliator.” He paused, and it sank in. He said softly, “That means this body no longer has any official authority as there aren’t any more Qui Perdere.” Michael picked it up and ran with it. “Which means they have to resume the Governance-or change their rules, laws and rituals to become the new governing body.”

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