September 21, 2010

A Sketch.

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:08 am by Alix

When the hard-faced emissaries of the mainland Queen reached the outer isles and asked about sunken boats and drowned children and were any rescued by chance, they said, no no, nothing like that here. Nothing but cold sea and gulls, and seals and fish, and bitter wind on the barren rocks. And the men left, and one of theirs tugged the tattered blanket off the head of the red-haired infant sleeping at her breast.

In later years, folks over from the mainland often remarked on the redheaded child scuttling among the seaside hollows, but they just shut down conversation until the visitors shut up, and got very adept at steering curious folk away.

And when he went away into fosterage to a noble who actually had some sense, they listened, and in the long years of his absence they took note of his exploits, and they’d sit around the fire at one or another’s house and say, that’s our boy. no matter what them others say.

And when at long last he came back, battle-weary but wearing their marks with quiet pride, they took him back and tucked him in and sat around the floor of his house saying, that’s our boy.

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A note: the “mainland Queen” is Morgause. Mainland is actually the name of the largest of the Orkneys, which always amuses me.