|Will Merydith @flickr|
Another boat appeared on the horizon, then another and another. Irene and her brothers had nearly emptied the first one to reach shore. Only two sailors scrambled out to be cut down by Brennan's sword. The next two boats, however, were better shielded, their arrows striking wood instead of flesh.
Irene held her string taut, watching carefully. They were so far away and bobbing slightly. Her brothers howled and roared around her, fueling themselves for the battle ahead. She remained calm, still. Once this had been difficult for her, being patient, but much had changed in only a few months. Owen had changed her. She was able to accept more, wait more, give more.
There. She loosed and her arrow slipped through a break in the shields to strike flesh. One shield shook and nearly came down, but the man holding it fought his pain to keep it in place. Irene took her next arrow and nocked it.
"You need to go, Irene," Sean insisted, jostling her elbow.
She twisted, dragging the arrow point along his cheek and opening a shallow scratch. "No," she said defiantly. "I will kill them all." She trained the arrow on the boat again, waiting for another breech.
Sean moved behind her and picked her up by the waist.
"Put me down!" She kicked and fought, earning him deeper scratches and bruises. "Put me down!" she insisted again.
He dropped her at the door to the hall, the meeting room where the entire village met to discuss the harvest, erecting new buildings, trade offers and the like. It was where all the women and children were hiding.
One of the women helped Irene to her feet. "Come in, girl," she insisted, tugging Irene's hand.
Irene yanked it back. "Stay inside. I'll guard the door." She wouldn't sit by and watch her village destroyed, her brothers killed one by one. She might not be able to fight on the shore, but by all the gods she knew and didn't, she wasn't going to stop fighting. She still had arrows, though several had fallen out of the quiver while she struggled. She put one to the string and watched the shore for the boats to arrive. The next man to set foot on their land had an arrow though his thigh. The third had one in his throat and the fourth took one in the side.