All of the Prelude Season is a forward series to the life of Elly Kedward, exploring her heritage and circumstances of her birth.
In this first prelude to the life of Elly Kedward, we begin with her parents, her heritage and birthplace; Glengarriff, Ireland in 1729, in which Deiniol Aodhan and Aedammair McAthain are expecting their first child. Unfortunately it will be their only child, one they refer to as their "flower" until they know if it's a son or daughter.
We learned how, tragically, they would never know their flower, and how she in turn would never know her own parents. Her father, Deiniol, suffering from smallpox, was no longer able to sufficiently provide for and aid his wife Aedammair and their unborn child. Despite their challenges, the love between them both ran deep and the foreshadow met in Deiniol's illness only compounded that love.
As he struggled his final breaths, Aedammair laid down beside him, reaching her arms around his shoulders, professing her love for what would be her last opportunity. Within moments Deiniol Kedward succumbed to his illness.
It was not but days before Aedammair's water would break as she went into labor.
This is where Eilis's (Gaelic for "Elly") story begins.
In Prelude Two, we gain a flashback glimpse into the profound love Deiniol and Aedammair had for each other. We literally witness the conception of Eilis, remarkably on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 1729. We learn of their playful nicknames for each other, she called him "Denny," he called her "Addy."
Together they called the unborn child their "Flower."
Eilis could very well have had a good, comfortable, normal life. If so, ironically we would never have known who she was, as her name became infamous and the cause and blame for historic horror and tragedy for centuries.
But she indeed did have a troubled start from the very beginning. Her father passed away literally 2 days before her birth, at the young age of 28, just days shy of his 29th birthday. Aedammair, distraught and abandoned at the verity of his death, grieved in silence and despair. Deiniol would never know their child. Their child would never know the father. Emotionally lost, distraught and physically isolated in despair, Aedammair feared she could not possibly continue without him. She was prepared to take her own life in absence of her own faculties, and actually came close to doing so, but she knew their child could not survive without a mother.
It was also at that moment she broke water and went into labour, and was forced, amazingly, to deliver her own child.
...and she does.
Aedammair Kedward gives birth to healthy, beautiful infant daughter.
With that, Aedammair is able to clean, wrap, and gently stroke her newborn daughter's forehead as she lies beside her in the same bed she delivered her in. Her love surpasses her what otherwise would have been an inconsolable mourning and will to live. Aedammair places her own cross, that she had worn nearly all her life, gently around her daughter, now to be hers, for the remainder of her life.
Within minutes, Aedammair discovers she is bleeding still from the labour and delivery. She won't be able to control the loss of blood, and soon becomes lethargic and weak. She knows she is going to die.
Remarkably, the fear of dying was not of her own concern, rather the concern of her newborn child, and is terrifying. She is all alone, she and her husband Deiniol lived in a very low populated area of Glengarriff, in the neighboring hills to be exact. That particular October experienced an unusually early snow fall. No one was aware of her giving birth, no one was around to call upon her, and she was far to weak to set out for help.
Aedammair was dying, she knew this, and there was nothing she could do to prevent it.
There was nothing left other than hope, desperation and most of all - prayer. As a result, she gathered just enough strength to gather a scrap paper and charcoal and write down a few words, and with that, folded the paper and placed it in the child's bib.
Aedammair then put her head to the pillow and within moments, expired.
The child was now completely orphaned within only an hour of her birth. She was likely to die within hours herself without nourishment, if not beforehand in freezing from a fading fire that could no longer be fed.
What has occurred in Prelude's One and Two has been quite revealing of her heritage, and for all intent and purposes - displays Elly should have died within hours of her birth.
What happens next is nothing less than extraordinary and profoundly fortunate for the infant. Whether by prayers answered of her dying mother or by massive coincidence, within a short time a homeless drifter happens upon the Kedward homestead. He enters the house, his sole motivation for warmth and any food he can steal. Upon entering he sees a mother and child in bed. The child is crying, the mother appears to be asleep. Though upon second glance, once he focuses his eyes, he then realizes she is in fact deceased.
He wanders to a small table that has bread, cheese and some apples in a bowl. He takes advantage of the situation and bags as much food into his rucksack as he can fit. He then begins to make his leave, being irritated by the crying infant.
He doesn't make it but 20 feet when the fading cries of the child affect him and suddenly feels a sense of compassion and empathy. How that is so is not known, perhaps echoes of an unfortunate past? In that his present is too unfortunate, or possibly still unfortunate after all these years?
None-the-less, despite his initial motivations to enter the house on his own accord and doing, he turns and once again enters the homestead. The drifter sees a small basket in the corner of the room, then brings it to the bedside and gently lifts the infant and places her in the basket, wrapping her tight in blankets he pulls from the bed.
He then crosses his chest as he takes one last look at the deceased mother, mutters "God bless," and leaves the house with the child in the basket.
What he does next will save the child's life.