This might be it for a little while. I'm knee-deep in revisions to 'Christopher's Medal' and I want to get that 'out there' in Queryland soon. Plus, I wrote a little scene for an exercise and now those characters are nagging me to tell their story. Should be interesting, given that the scene was written in first person POV, a male character. Go figure.
The fun never stops.
Tomorrow, I'm LA-bound for a couple of days. I suspect my liver may never be the same.
Something inside her lifted at the sound of returning horses. She walked to the door to greet her husband and paused. Something wasn’t right. Elfled rode the pony and led Fin’s mare. It was hard to see in the dusk, the last of the daylight slid over the fence, casting long shadows across the yard. Coppery light shone on the mare’s black coat and glistened on the blood there. Angharad tried to make sense of what she was seeing. Fin should’ve been sitting upright in the saddle. Instead, he was draped, face down across it, his hands dangled limply below the mare’s bloodied stomach. Everything inside her, slid to her feet, weighing her to the ground. She bit her knuckle and stared at the mess. The world was suddenly a lot darker than the twilight.
“What happened?” She didn’t recognize her own voice. “Dear God, Elfled, what happened?”
The shepherd pulled the pony to a halt. Angharad forced herself forward, afraid of what she would find.
“He’s still alive, mistress. Don’t worry. It was the boar. The master’s horse slipped in the mud and he came off, just when the boar charged him. He couldn’t get out of the way quick enough.” Elfled’s face was streaked with mud and blood. “He was hurt bad, mind.”
Angharad brushed Fin’s hair from his cheek and felt his skin. In spite of the chill of the evening, it was warm. His breath was faint against her hand. “Help me get him to our room.” She drew herself together, gathering up all the scattered thoughts and fears. “Hilde, I need water and bandages. Quick as you can.” She helped Elfled ease Fin from the mare’s back and they carried him across the hall to the chamber.
The new stone wall made the chamber warmer and darker. Hilde lit lamps and placed them around the room while Angharad took Fin’s knife and cut his bloodied clothes away. She needed to see where he was hurt but dreaded seeing the damage. Hilde returned with hot water and linen. Angharad eased the torn clothes off and bit her lip. She took a deep breath and tried to assess the damage with a calm head. Her hand shook when she leaned close to look at the wound on his side, almost a mirror image to the wound Athelwulf had given him. It wasn’t as deep, but the edges were ragged and raw. Blood oozed from it, thick and black in the uncertain light. The wound on his thigh was deeper, surrounded by dried blood. Below it, another smaller wound.
“What a mess.” Angharad wanted to weep. She looked at Fin’s face, pale and still beneath the mud.
“Will he be all right, mistress?” Hilde hovered behind her, holding the basin of water.
“I hope so.” She couldn’t imagine him not getting better. She needed him. Angharad cleaned the wounds and poulticed them all, scared that Fin hadn’t stirred. When she bandaged the wounds she took his hand and sat beside him on the bed. Only the steady rise and fall of his chest told her that he was all right.
“Don’t you dare leave me,” she whispered, choking back tears. “Not now. Please, Fin, stay with me.” Angharad stroked his face.