[Muirghein's arms: Vert, three piles inverted in point throughout argent between in chief two oak leaves Or]

A Biography of Muirghein Dhaire an Fhaoilciarach

Muirghein was born to Dathal MacFaoilcheire and his Irish bride, Caitilin, in 1288. Caitilin chose the name Muirghein as much for her fondness for the sea as for the fact Muirghein had been conceived on the voyage to Scotland. Muirghein spent much of her early childhood in the company of her cousin Louisa, and the two became fast friends. Louisa's father left his daughter in Caitilin's care when she was born, though he came to visit her often. Muirghein was eight when Dubhgaill took Louisa on a ride to see Hadrian's Wall, and after that Louisa stayed with him.

Once while Muirghein (who was about 13 at the time) was staying at Louisa's home, William Wallace came to visit. Louisa's father was a comrade in arms of Wallace. Louisa and Muirghein vied for his attention, and he played along with the young girls, smiling and winking. They both developed terrible pre-adolescent crushes on the man, and even into adulthood occasionally argued over who he paid more attention to.

In 1302 Dathal was killed and Caitilin took Muirghein and moved back to her family in Ireland. Caitilin's father Uilliam was something of a "wise man" for his village, serving as a keeper of the stories, arbiter of disputes (by virtue of his knowledge of the laws and customs), healer, and various related functions. When he noticed Muirghein's aptitude and interest in these areas, as well as her disinterest in domesticity, he took his young granddaughter under his wing. Eventually Muirghein came to be known by his by-name, Dhaire, "of the oak grove". He took her on many journeys to England, and a few to the continent, and Muirghein soon became familiar with English, Welsh, a little French (she'd also learned some French from Louisa), and bits of the Viking languages. She visited the courts of the High Kings in Ireland and England, and learned to be as comfortable in gentle company as in simple. During these years she kept in touch with her MacFaoilcheire kin, and made occasional visits.

Muirghein's skills as a healer gained her quite a reputation with some. A young man she cared for after he was injured in a tavern fire, for example, became quite enamored of her. The boy was nine years her junior, so Muirghein kindly discouraged the lad. Rodhlann didn't have much chance to change her mind, though, for she left Ireland soon after.

In her 25th year, two events happened that had a great impact on Muirghein. First her beloved Grandpa Uilliam crossed over, and the village selected his grandson, Muirghein's cousin and fellow apprentice, to take his place. A few months later she got word that her uncle, who had been managing Wolfestead since Dathal's death, had been killed in one of the frequent clan skirmishes. Despite her happy years in Erin, these events combined to help Muirghein realize that it was the Highlands that her heart truly called home. She bade goodbye to her friends and family in Ireland and returned to the MacFaoilcheire lands.

There was among the Fhaoilciarach one who served many of the same functions for the clan as Muirghein's grandfather had for his people: a wise old woman who carried the title of "Seanachaidh"; story-teller, keeper of the Clan law and history. On her return to Scotland Muirghein went to Heather (for that was the Seanachaidh's name) to continue her education, and became her assistant. She added midwifery to her arsenal of skills, and learned many of the clan's customs that had come down since ancient times.

After Bannockburn Louisa and Muirghein picked up their friendship. Muirghein also became good friends with Seosaidh, and spent much time with him and the members of his household.

Muirghein occasionally visits her family in Ireland, and it was not long after one such visit that it became obvious that she was with child. This was something of a surprise to many people, since she had reached the age of thirty with no signs of motherhood. In 1319 she gave birth to a beautiful, golden haired boy, and named him Dylan. No one is quite sure who Dylan's father was, and Muirghein's only response to questions is a mysterious smile.

In the winter of 1323, the Seanachaidh became ill. Despite Muirghein's best efforts, Heather declared that her time had come. She called together Muirghein, Seosaidh (by then Chief), and his wife, told them that she had been blessed with a long and full life, and was glad to be able to cross in peace with the knowledge that the clan would be in good hands. The next morning she was gone, and Muirghein is now the Seanachaidh of the Fhaoilciarach.

In 1325 Rodhlann, the young man from her home in Ireland, came to deliver some letters from her mother. Rodhlann had never forgotten the lady who had, in his opinion, saved his life, and the difference between his and Muirghein's ages mattered less now than it had when he was 16. The two fell in love in short order, and were wed on the feast of Saint Valentine in 1326.

Muirghein and Rodhlann are living happily ever after, tending to Wolfestead and to Dylan. Muirghein tells stories to the children to entertain and educate them, and provides medical, emotional and sometimes spiritual support to her kin.

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