Clan MacConnich sat a top a great plunging coastline, steep cliffs on all sides. Their great hall, home to their laird chieftain was the first thing to the crest jutting sea-cliff, as if ready to pierce the sky. The homes of all other kin and workers embraced it on the other side, till the land suddenly swept out into vast fields, moors and rolling hills. One could ride for miles and still only see the vast sea of green, before getting to the dense forest. It was beautiful land for farming and flocking.
The great serpent ship had been spotted through the morning sea mist, and people were chattering with excitement and fear. Only tales of the great invaders at reached Clan MacConnich, luckily never invaders themselves. Till today that was. The rail-thin Christian father who usually invited clan kinsmen into the small chapel, now shut up his windows and doors. He fell to his knees before a wooden crucifix to mumble furiously prayers and other such nonsense as warriors demanded him to take up sword and follow them.
Even the widow baker was taking up arms to defend their clan, though all women, children and sickly were insisted to stay in their homes or gather in the Great Hall for fortification. Just in case things got too dicey and the wolves of the sea couldn't be persuaded to leave in peace. It could be hours before the ship's sailors touched land, but the chieftain had heard enough tales to not want to take chances. In fact he was to lead all armed men out to surround the cape, just in case the sea-wolves decided they could try to take on the entire clan of farming warriors. And inside the chieftain's home another self-proclaimed warrior wish to fall to her clan's aid. Just is case, of course, just in case.
Aibhilin was just leaving her exasperated father's study when she came across quite a sight wait for her in the corridor. It had taken her hours to convince her father to let her go with him and his warriors to greet rather unwelcome guests in a dragon-like ship that rested in the sea's arms at their coast. So really she should of been expecting this. But in truth the sight itself caught her by surprise.
Her three younger sister, all standing in a neat row in the hallway, all with crossed arms. All glaring at her. Brae, who was eight-and-ten years had her brown hair all pinned up and back, looked the fiercest. The eldest of the three younger girl, she was mature but had a sharp tongue and an even sharper temper. Just their mother. Dolina, six-and-ten years with her black hair in one thick braid, looked cold and calm however. She wasn't one for showing much strong emotion, but when she did it was like a tempest at sea. And the youngest at only three-and-ten years of age, Muira, with her wild fair hair stuck with rosemary, just looked like she was sulking. To Aibhilin, they were all sulking children usually, but today they looked mature. And scared.
"What's wrong wit' you lot then?" the eldest red-haired daughter put a hand on her hip and raised a brow. It wasn't like her sisters to leave their self-claimed posts around the household. This was certainly a special occasion. Even if the fear in each one of their eyes unnerved her.
"Yer goin' off wit' Father, aren't ye Aibhi?" Brae fumed with her round face flushed, "It's too dangerous to be goin' to see to sea-wolves and you know it!"
"Will no' see you gettin' yerself hurt," Dolina said cooly, her deep green eyes betraying her concern for their eldest sister, "It's no place fer a woman to be at a meetin' with warriors. Especially with those kinds of warriors."
"They're Vikings!" Muira squealed at her older sisters, before turning to Aibhilin, "They take food, livestock, women, make people their slaves-! They're worse than wolves! They're nigh bit closer to monsters!"
Aibhilin's face softened at the youngest and most dramatic sister of hers. Putting a hand on the fair head, she combed its feather-fine tresses with her fingers, which made the youngling relax a bit. Looking up at Brae and Dolina, she could see their features soften just a bit. Their mother had once combed their hair like that when they had been but wee things at the knee. Gathering together the three younger sisters hugged Aibhilin, who in turn petted each one on the head.
"Father and his warriors will be all tha' the sea-wolves shall see," her voice was soft as she tried to ease their concerns, "And if they are drunk-with-seawater mad enough to try anythin', our steel is all they shall feast on tonight." Her sisters didn't look as quite as convinced as she would of liked, but she gave them one last warm grin. "I'm bringin' my bow," she gave them a confident huff, "I'll be fine! Now go help get the Great Hall fortified. They'll need you three and all yer creative talents to keep that place warm, clean and well-fed." Her sisters were hesitant so she gave them a bit of a push. "Off wit' ye! Everythin' has ta be ready before the ship lands!"
Aibhilin watched her sisters dart off. At least that would keep them busy and their minds off of worse case scenario. Touching the pendant around her neck, she closed her eyes and took a long deep breath in. "Oh, Scathach, Goddess of women warriors, watch over me," she whispered from behind the pendant, "Camalus, Great Sword of the Sky, God Who Sees All, lets us all be safe..." Closing her eyes, she let the last of her trembling leave her. Looking up with fierce green eyes, she straightened her back and held her head high, marching off to fetch her bow and horse. Her father and her kinsmen were daft if they thought they were going to the cape without her.
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