This is the beginning of a new story I am trying to tell.
| Vierra stared at the old leather-bound book. It belonged to her husband Matthew, which was strange in itself. Matthew was all about the latest technology and gadgets, which made the book an anomaly. "The Teachings of Scathach" was embossed in gold lettering on the cover, in the most elegant script.
"Is Matthew in a cult?" she spoke these words aloud. If he was in a cult, then why hadn't he tried to get them brainwashed into it? Was Scathach a person or a god? Speculation was getting her nowhere.
She laid down on the bed, letting the soft blankets fold around her petite form. The book was odorless. Vierra found it strange as even the newest leather had an earthy smell to it. The vellum pages looked brand new, and the calligraphy wasn't faded.
Again Vierra found it hard to believe it belonged to Matthew. He failed history in high school. The closest he came to art appreciation was collecting comic books. "Why do you own this?"
It didn't take her long to find out why. A ghostly hand slowly rose from the book. Vierra's eyes filled with terror, and the book bounced off the mattress. She back away leaning against the headboard, frozen in fear. Soft hands covered Vierra's mouth to muffle the sounds of her labored breathing.
The spectral hand felt the area around the book for a half a minute. It rose from the foam mattress hanging above the tome, before slowly sinking back down into the beautifully rendered pages. Vierra let out an explosive breath.
Vierra's heartbeat slowed, and her pupils reverted to their original size. She stared at the book, wondering how such a thing had come into Matthews's possession. "I'm going to kill Matthew, and then divorce his ass." With the hand gone, she now had to close the book. She loathed the idea of touching the accursed thing tome again. She was grateful the kids were busy with friends.
Her feet tentatively touched the shaggy carpet in her bedroom. Vierra's blue eyes never left the book for a second. "How do I close the damn thing without touching it?" It was the question du jour. Her first thought was to burn the book. After all, the hand couldn't get her if it was ashes. It was a silly idea, quickly discarded.
She began looking around for something long and slender to close the book from a distance. Vierra was hesitant to leave the book alone in the room. If a hand had come out of it, what else could? She clung to the wall inching towards the closet. Vierra's goal was to retrieve the curtain rod Matthew had promised to install two weekends ago. She had just gotten to the footboard, with the closet being ten feet away.
"Okay, Vierra, all you have to do is sprint your way to victory," She took a deep breath and pumped her arms. "One, two, three..." She was still standing in the same spot. Vierra slapped herself a couple of times, "Come on, Vierra, you can do this." Pumping her arms once more, she placed one foot towards her goal.
It proved to be her undoing. Twelve spectral hands rose from the book, each one grabbing her by a different appendage, holding her still. Vierra started to scream only to have a final hand cover her mouth stifling her. The hands chilled her to the bone, causing her entire body to shiver. Vierra struggled against their iron grip, feeling her body lift off the ground and towards the book.
Facing the futility of her situation, she surrendered and accepted her fate, whatever it may be. Her eyes closed as she made peace with her maker ready to die. Vierra felt her body falling for an impossible length of time.
Her long wavy hair whipped around her face, yet the hands kept gripping her fiercely. Then nothing but warmth and a sweet wind brushing against her. Her feet felt lush grass beneath her feet.
"I must have gone to heaven," She said.
"This place is not heaven," A thick Irish accent said.
Vierra opened her eyes and saw a fair-skinned woman wearing a battle harness, holding a fierce-looking ax and a wicker shield. She walked with unearthly grace towards her. Vierra felt dwarfed and unattractive in her presence.
"Did you lose your voice, woman? Have you any questions?" The woman asked. Vierra withered under the fierce stare.
"Who are you to Matthew?"
"Matthew? Oh, you are the Wife. He talks endlessly about you. I am Scathach master warrior, trainer of great heroes. I will assume Matthew has not told you about me?"
Vierra felt relieved her husband wasn't cheating but had trouble understanding why he would come here, "I found this place by accident." She held out her hand, "I am Vierra Culchain, forgive me for my rude behavior."
Scathach gripped her by the forearm, squeezing it painfully, "Vierra Culchain, we are well met this day. Come to my home. I will explain what I can over tea."
Scathachs home was the furthest thing from modern. Her bed was laden with furs, a simple cooking pot, hung above the fire. Tanning racks with animal skins hung on the sides of the log home. Scathach urged her to sit in an uncomfortable wooden chair with uneven legs, at a cracked wooden table.
"Forgive my misshapen furniture. I am a warrior and teacher and the furthest thing away from a carpenter." She placed an oval mug in front of her, "nor am I a skilled potter." Scathach said, chuckling.
Vierra found herself liking this woman, and her insecurities slowly faded. "How did you meet Matthew? What does the book have to do with anything?"
Scathach held the mug in two hands, and she wasn't less intimidating without the ax and shield in her hand, "Matthew's family are descendants of Cú Chulainn, the Irish Wolfhound. I was his teacher. He was a tool when I first met him, but I molded him into the legend everyone knows."
"Are you Matthews's teacher as well?"
"Tell me about the book."
"The book is a portal to the Other Realm, Tir Na Nog. As we speak, you stand atop The Isle of Sky, the tallest mountain in the realm. Warriors come for miles in hopes of being taught." Scathach said without ego.
"I wasn't supposed to find out, was I?" Vierra asked.
Scathach put her hand on Vierras in a vain effort to comfort her. "No, I am afraid you weren't. Has Matthew revealed himself to you?" Her tone was severe, as was the look on her face.
"No. I suppose it has something to do with all the late-night shifts and missed dates?" Part of Vierra was relieved Matthew wasn't having an affair. The other part worried he was doing worse.
"Matthew is a good man. I promise you he isn't doing anything that would put any of you in danger, or at least not intentionally. I can't tell you what it is he does, just know his work benefits all."
Vierra rose from the table, as did Scathach, " Thank you for your time I will be heading back...How do I get back?"
Scathach crossed her arms and pushed Vierra back down into her seat. "We have some business to discuss before that happens."
"What do you mean?"
"You have a choice to make. One, you leave with your memory erased, but your insecurities about Matthew will be gone. I can do that much for you. You were not supposed to be here."
"What is my second choice?"
"You choose to be trained by me and discover your hidden potential. I cannot tell you more unless you choose this option. Take a moment to think it over your answer will have a profound impact on your life."
It was not an easy decision. Vierra liked Scathach, and learning some self-defense couldn't hurt. "I choose to train with you."
Scathach nodded, "To the training area, we begin at once."