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Fierceness of a Storm

   Connor Murphy was his father's first son. But his brother Sean would lead the clan after their father's death. It wasn't that Connor didn't want to lead, or that no one would follow him. Quit the opposite on both counts. His brother would lead because Connor would be exiled and disowned. This is the tale of why; it is a story every O'Connor knows by heart.

   Connor left his clan after sixteen summers to find a wife. She would be the new matron of the clan when Connor became patriarch, so he had to find a worthy woman. He left when the clan's roaming brought him far to the South of Baergan Dohl, but a terrible storm came one night, shifting his landmarks and leaving a thick fog. He could barely see an arm's length in any direction for three days. The light of the sun was obscured to an even glow all about him by the fog and the clouds high above. He wandered blindly, trying to at least keep his direction constant.
   The fog finally lifted and he found himself outside a village. This particular village lay a day's walk past the former Gordainne border. The storm had got him so turned around, Connor was heading South when he meant to be heading North, but after three days of walking, the half-starved man had little use for direction save that provided by his nose. He followed the wafting scent of a roasting pig and baking bread to the inn. In a daze, he bartered for a room and a meal with the innkeeper. Connor's auburn hair marked him as aKheld, one of the innkeeper's favorite people; the Kheld travelers always brought something new to the town.
   Connor was greeted warmly by the keeper, but that alone was not enough to stay him more than a night from his quest. It was the keeper's daughter, Maria, that held Connor at the inn for more than a fortnight while he courted her. She only gave a token resistance. It would seem love-at-first-sight was not only found in legends and fairy tales.
   After a month, he asked her father for her hand. The two of them made their way back to the rest of the Murphy Clan, now farther West in theDhol, tracking the migration of the elk. The weather was kind to the travelers and they rejoined the clan in a matter of days.
   Maria was met with open hostility; her dark hair marked her as anything but a Kheld, an outrage to those of the clan who expected the patriarch's lineage to be pure. Connor and his father fought bitterly, first in armed combat, then in verbal sparring as their muscles grew tired. Finally, his father lie beaten and Connor stood over him, broadsword raised. He looked in his father's eyes, and dropped hissword to the ground, turning to walk away. He stopped when his father spoke.
   "To run, it takes courage."
   "Thank you, fath--"
   "The courage of a lamb!" His father's interruption elicited raucous laughter from the assembled warriors. Their energy gave their patriarch the strength to stand once more.
   "To love," Connor kept his back to his father, "it takes the fierceness of a storm. I love my wife, Father. What do you love?" Connor left without hearing his father's reply, and a handful of the clan followed him. They comprised a new clan of Khelds: the clan O'Connor.