| The small, but growing band of gypsies recollected from Clan Saiorse stood in a huddle before Braseal Tiarna's old wagon. Since his death, and the fall of their clan, they would take a quadrennial trip from where ever they had landed, and meet at this very spot in Teamhair to grieve, not to celebrate. They prayed to themselves that this day would be different.
Inside the wagon, Braseal's daughter, Rionnach, had just accepted her new post as Chieftain. It was the first time in anyone's knowledge that a woman had become Chieftain of any clan, and they knew it would raise eyebrows and ruffle feathers. The temerity of the Saiorse to reband with a woman - a young woman - in charge would quite possibly put them further into exile from the other clans. For Rionnach and her right hand, Anrai Athas, it did not matter. The Saiorse were always pariahs amongst the other clans, but, they believed in their name - saiorse, after all, is the Irish for liberty.
As the clansmen and two women waited on pins and needles for word of their future, they stared at the shamble where Braseal and his young daughter once lived. In his day, it had been a great steam wagon, Robin's Egg blue and gold, adorned with the three-wing badge of the Saiorse clan by the great oak door on one side. The paint had faded and the wheels sunk down into the ground, covered with grass and vines. It had been picked and pilfered of its lovely brass fittings - lanterns and handles and hinges, even bits of the steam engine. What was left of the engine was weather-worn and useless. If one knew what they were looking for, they could see damage left in the woof by the men who killed Braseal and tried to murder Anrai so many years before. Somehow, even the sadness of this great wagon was not enough to mollify their hope.
Alastar Laoch, who had found Rionnach just weeks before, walked away from his clansmen and up to the great steam wagon. He lifted his good arm and put his hand against the faded badge painted by the door, fighting his emotion. It was a weather-worn effigy to the Saiorse, representing their strength and free will (or as some from other clans would call, stubborn nature), even when the chips were down. It was their proclivity to be a bit different and stray from the "rules" created by other clans, no matter the cost. Alastar began praying, begging God to help Rionnach remember that and see that she could be Chieftain... she should be Chieftain! He lifted the clockwork arm on his left and gently laid it on the painted three wing badge next to his right, holding his breath, waiting for word from Anrai and Rionnach.
His mind began swirling and remembering, wondering if she would acquiesce, or if her very defiant, Saiorse nature would keep her from accepting the post. It was maddening, not knowing what Rionnach and Anrai were discussing. As the young man named Alastar neared tears, the clouds above began to slowly break, sending sunlight streaming down, glistening off his fire-red hair and sparkling from the brass and copper clockwork arm made for him by a blacksmith in a town called Yesterday. The desire to be a clan once more was insatiable; from the very moment he saw that freckle faced girl at the saloon in Yesterday, he knew he wanted the Saiorse to be together once more. They may have been outcasts from the other clans, but they were never meant to be insular people. Even Anrai, who had been adopted by the Saiorse, had crumbled when his clan parted ways. He became a drunken hermit and lost himself.
A split second before the tears finally rolled from Alastar's eyes, the door swung open, Anrai and Rionnach standing side by side. Alastar collected himself, taking his hands slowly from the faded, old badge painted on the side of the Chieftain's steam wagon, and turned to look up at the two. Rionnach glanced down at him with an easy smile, the soft spring breeze picking up locks of her curly, red-blond hair. Anrai lifted the brass shillelagh once carried by Braseal Tiarna and held it to the sun.
"Today is a good day, lads... and lasses," he said with a smile to the two women in the crowd. "The Saiorse are whole again. I wasn't born of your clan, but have the same inexorable desire to be in this clan. Rionnach Tiarna, daughter of our beloved Chieftain, my brother, Braseal, has agreed to take the place of her father. She has accepted the post of Chieftain."
A bewildered hush came over the Saiorse, something that was uncommon in that clan, and finally a great cheer. Anrai hugged the young woman around her shoulders and kissed her lightly on the forehead. She looked down once more to Alastar, who had made the possibility of the Saiorse a reality again, and quietly whispered "thank you". He smiled back, never taking his eyes from the angel before him as he bowed slightly to her. His heart swelled, then pounded. As Rionnach and Anrai descended the stairs, he approached her, taking her hand in his right hand, holding it gently.
"Anything you need of me, just ask, m'lady."
With a brighter smile and a chuckle, Rionnach responded, "the only thing I need is to be treated like the rest of you. I'm no queen, just a wee Chieftain. Be strong with me."
"That, I'll do," smiled Alastar.