Clíodhna Nic Ardghail was born to Caoilfhionn and Ardghal, one of nine children. Sadb, Ailill, Clíodhna herself, Aoibheann, Lóegaire, Caoimhghín, Íde, Iarfhlaith, and Tadg.
Ailill and Clíodhna are less than a year apart in age, and once Clíodhna turned eight, the pair of them were sent to be fostered, by Cenél Dháithí.
In the new clan, there were many other youths who she and her brother were friends with. Their foster brother, his second cousins, another fostered ward, and a young aunt, closer to their age than to her own generation. They were a gang of friends, all the way through their adolescence. They grew up together, and her fondest memories are of the group of them.
And there was her foster mother Eithne — her mentor. She taught Clíodhna at least half of everything she knows. Clíodhna has great reverence for her, but not in the uptight way — Eithne was a mother to her.
Clíodhna and Ailill returned home to their own family just before Ailill's 17th birthday. Most of her other siblings were younger than her, and fostered out at the time. Sadb, Lóegaire, and Tadg were there, although Aoibheann came back the next year.
Before long, Ailill married a woman named Líle. With Líle came her mother and brother. Líle's father had been killed before her eyes when she was a child, by her uncle. And the three of them wanted to revenge. And Ailill's family, who they'd just married into, was big and strong.
Ardghal wasn't pleased. He'd had no idea the kind of feud his son has married himself into. Ardghal's eldest child, Sadb was pregnant. The baby would be his first grandchild, and he did not want her baby, or any of his later grandchildren, being born into this feud. So he turned to the dreaded uncle of his daughter-in-law, seeking out a truce. And they came to one. As Ailill would be the one Líle and her family would lean most heavily on, they needed a reason for him to be dead-set against it.
At 18, Clíodhna was married to Cináed, the son of Líle's loathed uncle. Ailill would never attack his beloved sister's family.
It was a small clan — Cináed, his father, stepmother, half-brother, Cináed's first wife, and her newborn son. At first Clíodhna hated it. It was too small, it was barely even a clan. And besides, her family clearly would be able to defeat these people if they chose. But Clíodhna soon bore her own firstborn, her daughter Brigid. And with Brigid in her arms, she began to understand wanting to keep the peace for the children's sake. She also came to know her new family better. Cináed's first wife, Enat, was lovely, and his brother Muiris was too.
The first three children — Cadeyrn, who was a newborn when Clíodhna joined the clan, her Brigid, and Enat's Caitríona — were born serially, one each year, back and forth between the wives, and then after a gap, Ríoghnach born, and then Fáelán, and he was the last. Clíodhna privately resented Teallach Eoghain for this for years. Infertility runs in their family — she was one of nine children, while Cináed was one of two. She resented Enat also — she had had one more, and Clíodhna was envious.
The bitterness faded with time. Enat's children were hers too, and while five was less than she'd hoped for, it was enough. They fostered none of them out, so she was able to keep them all. She knew she should've had Brigid fostered when she was young, but she was hers and she was so little — the idea of parting with her when she was so young had been too much to even bear.
When Cadeyrn turned 11, he was went to Hogwarts. Cináed and Muiris had both gone in their youth, and agreed that it was a good idea. At first Clíodhna thought it was ludicrous — she had been taught by her foster family which was a much better system — but none of their children had been fostered, and school was their only option now that they were this old. Clíodhna relented, and the next year, she went Brigid with Cadeyrn. Clíodhna had hoped they might keep a few, but Caitríona, Ríoghnach, and Fáelán followed suit as they got older.
Fáelán was the last to leave, and he left this year, and her resentment has come leaking back. Cadeyrn is 17 now, and he should be coming home next year, and the girls after him, but Eoghan has began talking about marrying them to the English. At first he said Brigid. Brigid, her daugher — only 16, and to the English! Since Clíodhna refused, now it's Cáit who they're marrying off. Cáit, who's even younger. But Enat agreed, so Clíodhna can't do anything about it: Cáit is Enat's daughter — Clíodhna nursed her too, but Enat gave birth to her.
Clíodhna's on the verge of divorce once again. She's been here before — once when she was first married, and a second time when she couldn't get pregnant with a third baby. Both times before she ultimately decided against it. Perhaps this time she'll follow through.