In this last excerpt from Sons of Alba, book 3: Son of Courage, Uilleam baptizes Kara.
Will’s eyes were on her, flooding her with strength, as she shed her cloak and dipped a toe into the cold water. It lapped around her bare foot, then her ankle, then the other. Then her dress dragged into the water, soaking it up, becoming heavy. She kept her eyes on Will as she felt her way over the mossy rocks and mud with her feet.
He held out a hand for her as she drew near and she grasped it with white knuckles. Her dress was unbearably heavy now – if he let go, if she slipped, the weighted folds would drag her deeper until she drowned like the sacrificed man. The thought of his bones, of centuries of bones in the depths of the pool almost broke her resolve.
But Will smiled at her and courage bloomed in her heart.
“Kara,” he said, his voice warm, “The first to follow Kristr from among your people, may God bless you for your courage. I baptize you today in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
He questioned her silently with his eyes and she gave a little nod. Then his hands were on her shoulders, strong and cool, and with one deft movement, he tipped her. For a moment her body fought to resist him, but she forced it to relax as she lost her footing and lay back in the water. The cold shock touched the back of her head, raced up the sides like a thin crown, and closed again over her face.
Beneath the murky depths, she opened her eyes, held her breath. It was only a moment, she knew, but it felt like eternity, floating there, suspended between heaven and earth. She thought of all she had been before – of the old gods, of their grisly sacrifices, of her selfishness and her lonely, aching longing for something more. Once, for all, she cast it away from her, into the depths with the bones, and at that moment, under the water of the sacred pool, Kara Einarsdoter died.
Then Will’s hands pulled at her, plunging her back into life. She sucked air into her lungs – had it ever tasted so sweet? Water ran down her face, pulled her hair back, drained away from her with a rushing splash. She looked into Will’s face triumphantly.
Feel free to comment as you like. And keep an eye on this site, as I’ll be announcing the release of book 3 soon. 🙂