Rialtas stood over Éireann. A tattoo of a harp on his body, a three-leafed shamrock on hers. Two starcrossed lovers, their fates forever intertwined, twisting and dancing around each other’s histories like crawling ivy.
He wore his tattoo proudly, almost patronizingly so. The harp, drawn in long curved lines, reached all the way down his chest, almost to his navel. It was undeniably beautiful, and elegant. A long-standing symbol, a historic sigul. And yet, for all its outward beauty, to her it seemed to be imbued with veiled treachery. The lines within that harp concealed the riddle of a darker truth.
Éireann had been around. She knew of those who had been there before him. She knew of their self-indulgence, their petulancy, and ignorance of the greater good. She knew of their reckless excesses, of their vicious profligacy, of their selfish disdain, all the while encouraging her to tighten her belt. The lies, and the deceit. Obstinate, cruel, and rancid deceit.
Still, for all her sins, she had decided to give this Rialtas a chance. She had submitted. She had forsaken her long, deeply rooted fear of double-talk, of blatant spin. Of treason. Thus, she had given into a game of dominance. Éireann dressed up in the colours of the Republic, the colours which pleased him, Rialtas, and let him have his wicked way with her at the polls.
The stakes were huge in this power play, this she knew full well. Éireann was no fool. After all, she had gone through a long roster of others like him, and even stood up against some, and won. Her submission was hard-earned, and Rialtas would need to prove himself worthy of it, before she handed herself over completely.
Rialtas believed he had complete and utter dominance over her. His conviction was so great that the need for introductions seemed moot. The legacy left to him was one of scorched earth, a cheap show played by failed puppets that had jumped ship like rats in a storm. The trail of desolation carved upon Eireann’s back was enough to show Rialtas, or at least make him believe so, that she belonged on her knees, bowed before him, like a mere instrument of play.
Rialtas knew no better than any other before him, however, and the rancidity of a languishing pot’o’gold soon became apparent. Rialtas’ silver forked tongue talked the talk, and sought so hard to soothe Éireann’s wishful desire for real change. The lustful intensity of a fleeting love affair built on lies corroded her trust, and one by one all those promises faded like snowdrift on a wet road.
Éireann was blindfolded by a shroud of immorality, a cloak of deception, and became embittered by the gross misrepresentation of facts uttered like the half truths of a drunken harlot. A castle made of sand. A House full of those very same snakes St. Brendan had fought so hard to forever banish from the land. And sure enough, this Rialtas soon flashed its true colors. A cabal thriving on hyperbolic subterfuges, a scheming cadre of full time traitors, licking the hand of adventitious puppet masters while condemning their own to generational decay.
Éireann’s lust for Rialtas faded. The excitement of something new was quickly replaced by the boredom and commonality of the same that had been imposed on her by others. Rialtas’ scandalous pandering to his European mistress finally broke her bond of trust.
Éireann stood up, shaking off the crumbs of a wasted love affair. She rose from a genuflect position into a proud and defiant upright stance.
She looked at Rialtas square in the eyes. The shades of treason, all 50 of them, glowed crimson with undisguised contempt within those eyes. Éireann paused from a moment, and then spoke softly.
‘Le cúnamh agus neart muintir an náisiúin, seasfaidh mé bródúil agus saor arís.’
Éireann dropped her blindfold at Rialtas’ feet, turned, and walked away.