22,000 readers - Special Story

In honour of the Haanta Series reaching 22,000 readers, here is a small piece from a future novel. I won't tell you which one. You'll have to read along to find out. 


                The requisite yawns accompanied the decision to rest for the evening. Although Sheamas was hesitant to be disturbed from the slump of his favourite chair, he was forced on exertion to stand and chase after his son, who was scampering after Soledhan’s cat as it trotted through the kitchen and into the main hall. Soledhan followed with calls to his cousin to slow their ascent to the commons, and once Rautu could be persuaded to have his midnight meal after the children should fall asleep, he was pried from his place in the larder by his mate and Hathanta.
                The small party entered the main room of the commons in a burst of commotion: the cat had descried a small fly in the room the instant the door was opened and was after it in a blur of alacrity, taking Little Jaicobh and Soledhan along for the chase. The cat at last succeeded, leaping into the air and swallowing the fly, and was reward with generous caresses from her newest friend. She was attacked with an encompassing and congratulatory embrace about the neck, one that drew her onto her hind legs and compelled her to wilt in his arms for comfort. Soledhan soon joined them, completing the circle on the other side, full of approbation and praise for his pet.
                The commander remarked the scene from her place beside her brother near the door of the commons. She simpered and shook her head to see the cat assailed with such a fervent embrace, but even more concerning was how the two children were growing more accustomed to one another’s natures now that Little Jaicobh must be everywhere Soledhan was. “They are becoming rather inseparable,” she said to Sheamas, gazing wistfully at the two children.
                “Aye, kin,” said Sheamas. “That poor cat, though.”
                “I have no doubt that khaasta quite adores the attention.”
                “You sure you don’t mind lettin’ him keep her? I don’t want to take her from her home and all.”
                The commander raised a brow. “Soledhan has many a companions to occupy him, I assure you. If he does not bring a caterpillar from the courtyard he would claim needed a friend, then it is a turtle from the pond or a bird from the yard. While that cat was a gift from Leraa, I’m certain everyone is in agreement that she must go home with you. Besides having a playmate who can be as rough with her as she should like, she shall have all the added joys of raiding your shoppe.” She smirked and spied Sheamas with an arch look. “You shall have to take care of your smoke rack in the mornings. I know you’re a MacDaede and therefore must feed every animal that begs at your table, but I warn you, Sheamas: once you begin to feed her from your hand, she shall have it no other way.”
                “Aye, but you know I can’t be heartless, kin.”
                “I daresay you cannot. The Donnegal in you won’t allow for it.”
                They exchanged an amicable smile, each knowing that the other could never abide such cruelty as to refuse so endearing a creature food when it should ask.
                “Even my mate cannot refuse her,” the commander laughed. “He shouts at her to leave him to his meal and points at her nose to frighten her, but she ignores him and breaks his resolve by licking his hand and widening her eyes.”
                “Aye,” Sheamas chuckled. “I think all the animals in the barn use the same tactic on Aiden and Adaoire.”
                “Your darling brothers will feed any creature merely to quiet it. I assume that is how your sister became as round as she is.”
                Sheamas laughed into his hand for fear of being too mirthful at such a disparaging statement, but could not deny that the commander’s supposition may be true. “She still isn’t quiet though,” he added.
                “Certainly not. If she were, I daresay my mate might consider entering the kitchen oftener than is advisable.”
                She glanced at the Den Asaan, who was within hearing, and though he pretended not to listen, his scout’s ear twitched when she had mentioned him, betraying his attention to their conversation. She smirked at him, catching his eyes wander toward her while he spoke with Hathanta, and she could not help but retain the notion the fading feud between the cook and her mate was near its end.