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Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #2287086
Festival Gift to a Warrior
Quill Nominee Signature 2022
Festival Gift to a Warrior 380 words

Nostalgia threatened to eat up her day. Cold wind seeped around the window pane next to where she sipped morning coffee, wishing she was in a pub singing battle songs with her strong brothers. But Joy wasn’t in Ireland anymore. A spear of bright, dawn sun teased her eyes with promise, as if her brothers were taunting her to stop feeling sorry for herself. They would not tolerate her whining. Even when she was a tyke, they demanded her best, pushed her to her limits and forced her to be a tenacious Irish lass. She took action. Tossing a heavy wool scarf around her neck, she laced heavy boots and snatched a stout coat from its hook.

Returning home with frost-bitten toes and fingers, and a winter rabbit for the stew pot, she fumbled with the clunky iron latch. Cigar smoke immediately filled her senses, the lingering smell of an intruder. There were also more biscuit scraps on the table than she had left. Whoever had been here, didn’t mind helping themselves. She pulled out the knife she kept in a scabbard under her skirt and advanced further into the hut. She searched the area where she slept and the pantry. No one.

Returning to the kitchen she discovered a package, wrapped in burlap and tied with twine. That package had not been there when she entered. She spun frantically around the room, dagger held high, her heart beating frantically. Where was he hiding? She held a fighting position until her thighs and ankles began to burn and her arm slowly began to sink from fatigue. There was no one to attack.

Cautiously she approached the package. She sliced the twine with a flick of her wrist and a ring tumbled from the bundle. Her father’s ring. But he had fallen in battle over two years ago. When his remains had been found, everything of value had been stripped from the body.

She ran to the window and looked through the dense forest of Scotland that lay outside her hut. A man dressed in winter festival robes with a wreath on his head stared at her from atop a white stallion that was almost invisible against the snow. The Scottish Chieftain. The clan that had taken her father’s life.
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