“This is Taman,” announced Simon Brach, as he, Eochy, and Eny jumped ashore and dragged their little boat up the beach. “A headland of the promontory we call Mag Adair. Thus far the Stone has led us. We’ll stay until it moves on.”
No one felt inclined to argue. Least of all Morgan, whose arms were aching with the strain of incessant paddling and whose quivering heart was ready to leap from his chest after the fear, excitement, and uncertainty of their escape from the tower and precarious passage of the strait.
They gathered wood, built a fire, and shared a scant meal out of the meager rations of the Fir Bolg and the few provisions left in Eny’s bag. Then, as the twilight deepened and the stars glimmered overhead, they reclined on the grass in twos and threes and began to talk over their adventures. Baxter sidled up to John Izaak and had soon engaged him in deep and earnest conversation. Morgan, meanwhile, left his father’s side to join Eny on a green knoll above the water.
“Didn’t I tell you it would turn out this way?” he said, sitting down beside her.
She turned and looked at him, her blue eye glinting strangely in the fading light. “I don’t remember. What did you say?”
Morgan laughed. “You know! I’ve found my dad! We got the Stone of Destiny back! We beat the Morrigu! And now—” he glanced away for a moment before continuing “—now we can all go home.” Hesitantly, he reached out and touched her hand. “Together.”
She seemed oddly apprehensive. “Can we?” she said, withdrawing her hand. “Do we control that?”
“Why not? What else would we do?”
Eny didn’t answer. Instead, she reached into her bolg, took out a sling-stone, and shot it far out across the inlet. It fell into the dark green water with a tiny splash.
“You say we got the Stone back,” she said after a silence. “So what do you think happens now?”
“I told you! We’re finished here. We go home.”
“That’s not what I mean. What happens to the Stone? Do you think we just take it back to St. Halistan’s?”
“I don’t know. I guess not. The tower’s gone.”
“Exactly!” She pursed her lips, whirled the sling over her head, and sent another stone whistling out over the water.
Sheepishly Morgan reached for her hand again. “I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, Eny. But—well, you’ve been my friend all my life. You’re my sister and my … well, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want that to change. Not ever.”
Eny smiled sadly. “You’re sweet,” she said.
There was another long pause. Then Morgan said, “I have something for you.” Reaching into his own bolg, he drew out the Feth Fiada. “See? I found it on the floor of the Morrigu’s Hall. With this we can go home any time we want! At least that’s what she said.”
She took his hand in hers and pressed it. “You keep it, Morgan,” she said. “I already told you. It’s not about you and me going home whenever we want. It’s bigger than that.” Releasing his hand, she flopped down on her back. “We’d better get some sleep,” she said, gazing up at the stars. “There’s no telling what’s going to happen next. Or when it’s going to happen.”
Morgan’s heart was fluttering. “Guess you’re right,” he said. Then he too lay down.
After a few moments he turned his face toward her. She didn’t look back. Instead, keeping her eyes fixed immovably on the stars, she opened her bolg, pulled out the broken sword, and laid it between them in the grass. Then she rolled over on her side and fell asleep.
The sun was already high when they woke. There were voices and the sounds of hurrying feet on every side. Morgan sat up to find out what was going on and saw the other members of the party loading the last of their gear into the currachs and dragging them down to the water’s edge. Then he turned and saw the Stone Lia Fail floating away over the shining bosom of the jade-green inlet.
Simon Brach, who was standing on the strand directing the others, caught sight of them and waved.
“Missy!” he shouted. “Young Mr. Izaak! Lia Fail is on the move again! Back to the boats and follow the Stone!”
Without a word to one another they got up and ran down to the shore.