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The Gem of Ireland's Crown

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November 11th, 1919

WWI had ended a year prior. A lot of damage had been done, some lives that were once fighting bravely, now lost. Lydia Frye was fortunate to have her husband, Sam Crowder, return to her after the war. And here they were, a year later, in Lydia’s grandfather’s and her grandaunt’s house. It was a decent-sized house, two stories tall and very well furnished. Every room in the house felt incredibly warm and inviting. Especially one special room that filled Lydia’s senses with such wonderment and curiosity.

The room in question was the backroom, located on the second floor. Lydia’s grandfather, Jacob, had made it in homage to the allies they had acquired over the years. Trinkets, weapons, and other sorts of memorabilia lined the walls of the room, but one item always caught Lydia’s eyes. It was a shillelagh, encrusted with a gold ring near the knob, and the damn thing was heavy. Lydia never asked before who it belonged to… until today.

Lydia was in the room, looking about the items strewn about and as her eyes laid upon the shillelagh, Jacob walked in, cane tapping on the wooden floor. The scar on his right brow and left jaw could almost not be seen by the dark grey beard growing there. His hazel eyes locked with the hazel eyes of his granddaughter and then fell upon the stick.

“Grandfather, I’ve meaning to ask you for some years now…” Lydia gingerly picked up the blackthorn stick and walked over to Jacob. “Who did this stick belong to? Every other item in this room has a name attached to it. Why not this one?”

Jacob walked over to Lydia slowly, a stern look upon his face. “This stick belonged to your grandmother. And the reason behind not having a name attached to it is something that only your grandmother, your great-aunt and I know and cannot share. There are a lot of memories forged in that shillelagh. It would be wise to leave it be.” During the conversation, Jacob’s twin sister, Evie, had come up and witness the conversation. She wanted to say more, but as her brother went to walk by, Lydia stepped forward.

“Tell me about her then, Grandfather!! You have spoken about how I remind you of her in so many ways, but yet, I know nothing of her. What was she like?” Lydia looked desperate that Evie held onto Jacob’s upper arm, and he heaved a sigh. He then turned around to look at Lydia and then cocked his head, motioning to the door.

“Come to the sitting room. I’ll tell you all about her there. And don’t forget that cane of hers.” With that, Jacob and Evie were the first to go down, going much slower in their old age, but still having fluid movements, as fluid as a 72 year old could be. Jacob sat in his large chair, Evie sat in the chair next to him, and the the rest of the family gathered around and waited as Lydia came in, clutching the shillelagh. She then sat down on an ottoman in front of her grandfather, and he leant forward and held out his hand, Lydia passed the shillelagh to her grandfather, who then examined it carefully. All the while, a devilish grin appeared on his face, growing wider as the memories filled his mind.

“Well then, family… let me tell you the tale of Rachael O’Sullivan…”