For the next few days I'll be posting some excerpts from The Beltane Choice, so that you can get to know Nara and Lorcan. Today it's Nara's turn for the spotlight.
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The action heats up as Roman threat intensifies...
Lorcan? Nara’s heart was pounding from more than the fast gallop. “Lorcan? We seek Lorcan of Garrigill. Where is he?”
The boy pointed back the way he had come from. “Back in the hamlet of Skerne, at the far end of those woods.”
“He is wounded?” Cearnach asked.
“Aye, a chest wound, but he determines to get our chief’s son, Keiran, back to his family.”
“To Owton?” She was terrified, knowing the danger Lorcan was heading towards. “Even though he knows the Romans have landed?”
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“Nay, he goes not to Owton. Our chief has fled, too. Lorcan followed him.”
The boy’s words sent a rush of relief to her thumping heart.
Close to the village of Skerne a stripling rushed out to them, the lad distraught.
“I have tried to waken him…but I cannot manage it.” The crackling of his immature voice was wretched, matching his ghostly exhausted pallor. Having recently lived through a bloody battle, the boy’s collapse was imminent as he slumped against Cearnach’s horse. “I do not know what else to do.”
Nara slid from Eachna’s back to support the boy’s wilting, gangly frame. “Tell me slowly,” she soothed. “What is your name?”
“I am Egan…my cousin, Keiran of Owton, is dead.” The boy sobbed, no longer able to suppress his anguish. “We got him into the roundhouse, but he twitched and died.”
His wail of grief was heartbreaking. Nara’s sympathy soothed him as she stroked his back and encouraged him to give more details. She willed his strength to last, desperate to hear about Lorcan. “Lorcan of Garrigill? What of him?”
“Lorcan? I cannot get him to waken up. He is maybe dead, too. He lies in there.”
Nara took to her heels and fled in the direction pointed, her heart hammering, tears of relief flooding her eyes. The boy said he was asleep. She was not even going to think about his other words.