"Irene! Come back!"
Mother could shout all she wanted, Irene wasn't coming back. Her father had all but sworn he would sell her off to a neighbouring clan in trade for peace. How dare he! She was no object, no commodity. She ran to her hiding place.
The rocks were once an altar to a long forgotten God. She sent a prayer to him as she retrieved her bow, a long knife and small bundle of cloth. The fire of her hair was nothing to the heat in her blood, the need to kill something. Continuing to sprint, she ran until village, huts and even her rock cairn were far behind her. Once safely off the plain and in the shrubby trees on the edge of the forest, she strung her bow and tried to calm her breathing.
She needed to kill something and woe to the first animal that crossed her path. Knocking and arrow, she stood very still, waiting for the life around her to forget her presence. She wasn't a patient girl, but she knew that waiting was a large part of hunting.
A twig snapped to her left and she whirled, loosing the arrow as soon as spied the movement. She missed, the arrow rustling into the leaf litter before stopping.
Irene frowned, cocking another arrow and watching. She hadn't been able to make out her prey, but surely it would move again, startled by the attack.
An arrow zipped past her head, thunking into the tree behind her. She turned to look at it, feeling its fletchings against her cheek.
"Truce," a male voice called.
"Truce," she answered. "And my apologies. I was hunting game."
The pale shape that had been unclear before stepped forward, her arrow in his hand. He wore untanned leather on his back, the reason she had mistaken him for a deer. "I'd hoped you weren't trying to kill me," he said, a smile on his dark bearded face. He was even ruddier than her brother and he had gotten their mother's dark colouring. Irene and most of the others looked like their father, the clan chief, with red hair and freckled skin.
"I hope I didn't scare off all the prey," he added.
She slid the arrow back into her quiver and tried to pull his from the tree. It didn't budge and he reached over her shoulder to grip the shaft. It remained stuck until his other hand came on the other side of her head, allowing him to brace on the tree and trap her against its trunk.
Ducking and spinning, she slid out from him. He pulled the arrow free, smiling as he put it away. "I am Owen of McGonall."
"I-Irene." McGonall. That wasn't the clan her father had been threatening her with, but it was one of their rivals, a powerful ally. She knew what he would want her to do, but there was no way she bowing to this man. She would never be tamed.
When she didn't leave, he continued to examine her, making her very uncomfortable. "The village is that way." She pointed and strode off. The need to kill came back fiercely and she pulled her knife. The bow wasn't enough anymore. She needed to use her hands.
A twig snapped behind her and she turned her knife slamming into his ear. The edge was sharp, but the blade was angled. She broke the skin but primarily slapped him with the flat. Blood gushed from wound and his eyes rolled up in his head.
Cussing she knelt beside him and pulled her sash from her tunic to hold to the wound. "How am I going to carry him home?" she wondered.
Be sure to check out all the moments on the Blog.