Recap: The Connarii find themselves suddenly transported to a land of featureless mist in the middle of the night. King Toryn and daughters Edana and Aislynn need to come up with a plan of action quick. Edana, always spoiling for a fight and eager for recognition, wants to turn around and engage the enemy... a poor plan, since they have no idea how to go back to their old home, but one that ambitious Connariian Camlin, seeking a path to greater influence, tries to get in on nonetheless. Aislynn, though the younger of the two princesses, provides better counsel, advising Toryn to unite the people around a common goal and seek out new lands. But then Aislynn is gripped by a vision and prophecies danger and a challenge for the tribe's future, shocking her father and sister...
Aislynn gasped, and slumped to the ground as the light from the jewel on her diadem flickered and dimmed to its usual steady glow.
"Aislynn? Aislynn! What on earth?" Toryn rolled his youngest daughter over and brushed the long black strands from her face. Her skin was even paler than usual, and beads of sweat stood out on her forehead, but her face was utterly still. Then the long eyelashes quivered, and she opened her eyes, blinking dazedly.
"Father? Edana?" Aislynn sat up and gazed around at the mists blankly for a moment before seeming to regain focus. "We should get moving."
"Well, yes, but... what was that?" Toryn flapped a hand, wordlessly encompassing Aislynn's bizarre behavior over the last few minutes. Edana snorted, though it wasn't clear if she was expressing scorn at her sister's display or her father's helplessness.
"The beginning." Aislynn responded, and stood up, rearranging the weighty folds of her cloak and brushing back her unbound hair. She looked up at her father. "Only the beginning."
"Outstanding." Edana said. Then, brightly, "I'll just gather the men, then, shall I?"
"Whatever are you talking about?" Her father looked blank, then suspicious.
"Battle, yes? I heard her. "Take up your arms..." right? Father, let me lead them! You know I can. I'm perfectly capable. I'll have them all suited up and ready to go in no time."
"Out of the question." Toryn frowned at Edana. "Put it out of your head."
"This is not the time, Edana. Right now, our priority is to comfort and direct our people. I think we've kept them waiting long enough. You'll never make any kind of leader, dragging the tribe into battle before they even know what's happening. Aislynn, anything else to add before I brief the tribe?"
"Hey – if I'm the one who needs to learn leadership, why are you only talking to her?"
Toryn rolled his eyes at Edana and transferred his gaze to Aislynn.
"There will be time later. Right now, if we can just get everyone moving in the same direction. Like I said-"
"Yeah. We know. "Only the beginning." We heard you." Edana fiddled crossly with the long dagger at her hip.
"I need your support, now, Edana." Toryn warned her. "The people look to us for guidance, and as my eldest, you need to..."
"Yeah, I got it. Stand straight, smile pretty, and shut up, right?" Edana gave her father a wolfish grin. "I'll play along for now, but we'll talk later about the battle, ok?"
"You know that's not what I meant..."
"Forget it." Edana spun on her heel and led the way back into the mass of villagers.
YOU ARE READING
Flame of the Connarii: Book One of the Legends of the ConnariiFantasy
ON HIATUS When a combative Celtic princess and a feral boy raised by wild cats in the ruined jungles of a lost world join forces, neither tribal power struggles nor the attacks of jungle beasts can separate them. But will they be able to survive the...