“The Prince!” A shout range out from the throng. Heat constricted Fearchar and Seonaid’s throats. The world tumbled around them and slowly blacked out.
Waking from the inky blackness, exhaustion and pain drained his energy. He reached out to the beach that came into focus. The stakes smoldered, remains crumbling away. Blue and grey bodies washed up at the shore. Others bloated in the bay. “Those that burned…they have lost their souls to the flames. Daleroch burned the girls, Osla. They will never be able to join the circle in The Forest…” Eoin’s ragged thought flashed through them like the edge of a knife.
He struggled to look around, only to discover the arrow in his throat. He passed out once more. He came to late at night. Daleroch’s men were digging a pit on the beach’s edge. Grannd stood out at the perimeter between the sand and the stringy grass, directing the women to find as much dry shrub and driftwood as possible. Eoin found his feet, trying his best with the rushing blood in his ears, to be quiet. With effort, he stumbled away before anyone noticed him missing.
Drifting along the dark path, a new fear blossomed in his heart. He pulled his blood stained great kilt about his shoulders to stop his shaking. Wobbling down the path, he recited mantras in his head. Wardings, wailings, curses.
It took him hours of wandering and stopping for dizzy spells before he arrived at Widow Magaidh’s house. He stumbled into the warm room as the dawn broke along the shoreline.
“Eoin!” Widow Magaidh, screamed in surprise. He blacked out inside the door frame.
Eoin returned Fearchar and Seonaid to his little fire. “She was left alone. She didn’t know anything had happened. I can only thank the spirits that she did not have to witness the burnings, or be part of it,” he leaned back, looking up to the sparkling sky in the void. “The twins were safe,” relief washed over him.
Fearchar and Seonaid sat in horrified shock. Eoin released them back to their house: Eoin on the bed, Seonaid sitting next to him and Fearchar occupying the dining chair. The fire had dimmed. A howling wind and a scratching sound at the door signaled freezing sleet. Eoin buried his head in his hands as tears flowed freely.
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