ExcerptTerrwyn lay on the flat of her back looking up at the glowing full moon that had risen high in the night sky. Her breath rasped in and out in foggy bursts as the icy salt water lapped at her boot covered feet. She knew she needed to move and make her way inland to build a fire. But she couldn’t.
Not yet, she thought. Just let me lie here a moment longer.
She had spent more than two days rowing and drifting in the waters between her homeland and where she lay now. Her eyes were gritty and her lids heavy from lack of sleep. Her stomach felt hollow from having to ration the little food she carried and the drinking water she had brought had been washed into the sea the first day. Terrwyn sucked the insides of her cheeks in an attempt to generate enough saliva to help ease the dryness of her throat. The chill wetness of her journey hung about her so tightly, that it was hard to move. She flexed her fingers and dug into the cold sand under her palms as she forced her breathing to slow and her thoughts to steady.
Ireland, she thought wistfully, letting the wet grains squish through her fingers. Ireland... the land across the water, and the home of Brighid.
She smiled as she thought of the Goddess. The image of the auburn-haired deity gave her a spark of energy, and she pushed herself into a sitting position. Squinting to see into the moon splashed waves, Terrwyn watched as her small boat drifted back out into the currents.
I won’t be needing it anyway, she thought without regret.
There was no way that she would be going back home. With the help of the moon, stars, and currents, she had made it across the water to Ireland. Terrwyn had arrived in the place to which her father had vehemently refused to send her. He had bellowed and turned red when Terrwyn first told him about the dreams. He refused to believe the Brighid of old was speaking to her, calling her to come and be one of the Guardians of her Flame. He swore the Goddess no longer existed and her Flame now belonged to a Christian Saint. He insisted Terrwyn was being selfish and lying in order to avoid what was planned for her… shirking her duties and responsibilities as a daughter of his house. With the approach of her twentieth birthday, she was to be married to whoever would take her. After all, it wasn’t right for a girl her age to be unmarried. A good Welsh woman should have had at least two children running about her ankles by her twentieth birthday.
“Who’ll be marrying old Master Bowen now, father?” She laughed into the moonlit filled sky. “Not I… not this girl!”
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