"Well I remember their mercy. It was only last night I watched my brothers in arms be executed. Their mercy towards me is not quickly forgotten, I assure you."
The sound of quick hoofbeats came up behind them just then, and Cathair turned to see, of all things, Aithne flying past on her pony. "What in the name of-?" Cathair turned back to the men. "Excuse me. It seems I have a hunt on my hands." With that short parting he turned and jogged down to the stable and his own pony. It was not long after that he was on his way back up the hill on Aithne's trail.
Aithne had seen Cathair speaking to the brothers, but it was something on the sidelines of her mind, held only for the time it took to observe. Also on the edge of her mind was the Guttersnipe's comment about the woods being dangerous, but she did not care. And if she did meet Gauls, she spoke the Gael, did not look like a Roman, and knew the names of their superiors. They may let her pass.
She thought she heard faint hoofbeats behind her. Was it Cathair, or someone else? Up ahead she saw the crest of the hill. She spurred Solas on, not willing to be stopped or dissuaded by the other rider.
She gained the crest and reined the pony in. From here she could see far- to the valley beyond their own, then the forest, and more land... She sat and looked, seeing and not seeing.
Cathair caught up with her at the crest, where she sat staring out at the world. He had no idea what she might be thinking, or why she'd come here, so he simply sat astride his pony, as silent as she, as the minutes went by...
"I want to go home, Cathair." The tone of her voice twisted his heart. "I thought the valley was my new home- I thought I could be happy here. I thought I was content with Eire having passed me by. But I'm not. I miss it. I thought maybe, if I could come up here, that I might be able to see it, at least. That I might have at least a glimpse... something to assure me it's there, even if I can't go to it." She turned her head to look at him, and there were tears in her eyes. "I knew I couldn't, but I hoped..."
Dismounting his horse, he pulled Aithne down and into his arms. "I know... I know..." he murmured. "It is hard. But we are here for a reason, Aithne. Like the story you liked so much- about the queen who saved her people..."
"Esther." she sniffed.
"Yes, Esther. We might not know it all, but we have to trust that the One God knows the way."
He could feel her smile, just a little, and she tightened her arms for a moment. "You sound like a bard, Cathair."
"Well, I've lived around them long enough. I think I have the right to." He held her awhile longer before asking, "Ready to go back yet?"
She shook her head no. "Not yet, please?"
He chuckled. "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm about ready to freeze in this wind. There are warmer places to hole up, if that's what you're after."
Pulling back, she wiped her eyes on her sleeve. "Oh, I'm sorry. Let's go, then." Cathair thought she looked somewhat hollow as she mounted Solas, but said nothing. The two made their way back down the hill, going slowly this time. He would have to talk to her before they returned to the villa, but for now they rode in silence.
- Lys: Banshee
- Jenny: Marigold
- Lys: A Miracle Granted
- Jenny: Broom In the Mist
- Lys: Sehnsucht
- Jenny: Changing Lead
- Lys: Offense
- Jenny: The Comic In White
- Lys: Difficulties
- Jenny: The Little Wooden Horse
- Lys: Seek And Ye Shall Find
- Jenny: The Man in the Land of Summer
- Lys: A Scrap In Her Teeth
- Jenny: Masks
- Lys: The Word Of The Lord
- ▼ February (15)