Here’s a new excerpt from Sons of Alba, book 3: Son of Courage. Uilleam and his mother Ealasaid have embarked on a journey to discover his past and his future.
It rained until they reached Cill Linnhe, an abandoned monastery that huddled grey and forlorn on a cliff top at the head of a firth. The church roof had caved in, as had the buildings Mamaidh pointed out as the refectory and the scriptorium, but the little stone beehive-shaped huts were still largely intact.
They took refuge in one of these, and Uilleam set a fire. They took off their sodden brats and let them hang, steaming, near the flames. Mamaidh plundered an old iron pot from the kitchen and they cooked a stew with a brace of rabbits Uilleam had caught that morning on the way.
Uilleam longed to know more of the monastery – who had lived here and what life had been like, and what had happened on that dreadful day when the Lachlannaich had attacked. But since reaching the old abbey, Mamaidh had descended into a pensive silence into which he was not invited. Not yet. He had no doubt she would share her confidence, when she was ready.
So Uilleam took advantage of the warm and dry quiet to keep his own thoughts, like a cloak, around him.
So many questions. So many answers he had barely enough patience to wait for. He knew he was on the cusp of a frightening and wonderful adventure, his foot hovering over the first breaching step.
The dazzling images he’d seen with his new-found fiosachd gave him no clue, other than the incipient need to leave home. He played through them in his mind, flickering like light through leafy branches in a breeze – the vision of himself in an alien landscape, the houses part of the very ground, others like him, all golden-headed and tall, worshiping the Criosd in a church, gravestones carved with crosses and Lachlannach runes, and a girl.
She captured his attention like no other – which was odd for him. He’d only just begun to notice the girls around Dun na Cloich Leith, but none of them had the power to fascinate like this girl. She was a Lachlannach maid, to judge by her fine fair hair – almost as white-gold as flax – her sharp, high cheekbones, and her narrow, slanting blue eyes. In his vision she was crying – crying and smiling. That was the thing that fascinated him the most. Why did she weep? Why did she smile?
He knew he would meet this girl. The only question was when. Perhaps she lived among his father’s people in Thorsbjorg. It was the likeliest place for him to meet a Lachlannach girl. It was probably the place in his vision.
With his belly full of rabbit stew and his mind full of images of his birthplace and the girl who might live there, he drifted to sleep.
As always, please feel free to comment and critique! 🙂