The Brehon of the Eóghanacht of Cashel sighed. He made little effort to conceal his irritation at the young womanís contradiction.
"Nevertheless, Sister, the evidence is plain. The man Fergal was found in his bothan, the cabin he had rebuilt, on the slopes of Cnocgorm. He was asleep. By his side was the body of the girl, Barrdub. She had been stabbed to death. There was blood on Fergalís hands and on his robes. When he was awakened, he claimed that he had no knowledge of anything. That is a weak defense."
Sister Fidelma bowed her head, as if acknowledging the logic of the Brehonís statement.
"What were the circumstances of the finding of the body of the girl Barrdub?"
"Barrdubís brother, Congal, had been worried. The girl, it seems, had been smitten with a passion for this Brother Fergal. He is a handsome young man, it must be admitted. That night, according to Congal, his sister went out and did not return. Early in the morning, Congal came to me and asked me to accompany him to Fergalís bothan to confront them. Barrdub is not yet at the age of choice, you understand, and Congal stands as her guardian in law for they have no other relatives living. Together we found Fergal and the body of Barrdub as I have described."
Sister Fidelma compressed her lips. The evidence was, indeed, damning.
"The hearing will be at noon tomorrow," the Brehon went on. "Brother Fergal must give account to the law for no one can stand above the jurisdiction of the Brehons, either priest or druid."
Sister Fidelma smiled thinly.
"Thanks be to the holy Patrick that it is two centuries since the druids of Ireland accepted the teachings of the Savior of this world."
The Brehon returned her smile.