Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Character: Cecilia Brennan

Living two lives can be trying. I live one life in the limelight of culture... and the other in the shadows, among death and violence... and with a cause.

There's my public face, if you will. I inherited my musical talents from my mother. Evelyn Brennan was a cellist, well loved and respected. Her home was with the Ulster Orchestra, but she played to great acclaim across the world. London, Paris, New York, you name the city, and she played there to thunderous applause. She took me with her, showed me the world, taught me to love music. Not just classical, but so much more. In time, I took up the violin, went to conservatories, learned the art, and fell in love with performing as part of an orchestra.

I think she also took me with her to keep me away from the other side of my family, from the darkness that she saw there. My father was a man named Peter Reilly, a member of the Ulster Volunteers. It wasn't some sort of grand romance or anything. He and my mother were together briefly, and I was the result. Mom knew the sort of man he was... always looking at another woman on the one hand, and part of a militant group on the other. She wanted better for me, so she raised me herself. She didn't want me to get mixed up into the Troubles. So, I stayed away from the bombs and the unrest and the fighting... and I spent my childhood seeing the world.

My father was murdered by a group of IRA men one night fifteen years ago. I was a child, barely knew the man. Still, he did leave behind two sons, Cain and Eamon. My brothers. And over time, my mother softened, allowed me to get to know them both. They were older, both of them already hip deep in the cause, so to speak. And getting to know them, they loved me fiercely. And I loved them back. How could I not?

I was already performing in university. I went abroad to America, attending conservatories, making a life for myself, playing the violin. The music world was already seeing me as a worthy heir to my mother, to her talent. I was being lauded even before my studies were at an end.

And then it happened. Eamon was murdered a year and a half ago.

I came home. I had to. He was my brother, and I loved him. They gunned him down in his bed. It was an enforcer with the Real IRA. We buried him, laid him to rest...

Cain found out who did it, and had his revenge. The bastard didn't just get two bullets in his skull, like he'd done to Eamon. Cain made him suffer. He deserved to suffer. And then we went to work.

That's my second life. Out of the public eye, and in the shadows. Cain had broken with the Ulster Volunteers when they made peace. He made up his own group, the Ulster Brigade. He offered me a place, and I took it. I had lost one brother to those Fenian bastards. I took my place by Cain.

I've become his intelligence chief. I run a network of sources, contacts who feed me information. Some of them do so willingly, others have no idea they're even spilling vital information to a spy. It's all in how I approach them. Sometimes it's money. Other times it's sex. And other times, it's ideology... such as that is.

Now I've got a good prospect in one hell of a position in London. The sort of prospect I can use for a long time to come... with all sorts of access to information. Recruiting that prospect is another matter altogether... but I know I can do it.

I live in two worlds. My public life, my growing renown as a musician... is useful for my private life. I can use it to the greatest advantages, to mingle with the powerful, to find what I need. Still, it's my private life, my mission with my brother... That's what I've committed myself to. That's the path that defines who I am.

I could see either Rachel McAdams or Kate Mara playing the part....


  1. She's a fascinating character. I'm looking forward to learning more about her.

    Excellent character blog, William!

  2. Her double life couldn't be more polar opposites. She's a fascinating character.

  3. Once again, an awesome character! Rachel McAdams has my vote:).

    Thank you, William for the Making Smiles on Faces Award!

  4. Great character blog, William. I think I can see Kate Mara as Celcila.

  5. Cecilia sounds like a dangerous woman because she is ready for vengeance.

  6. The scorn of a woman. One should never piss us off.

  7. The irony is that she doesn't appear in Heaven & Hell... she is mentioned, however, but won't turn up for a couple of books.

  8. Kate Mara defiantly I could see in this role.


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