The breath of the northlands, as they stepped off the ramp of the small, hardy vessel, savagely raked its icy daggers, swishing its attack all around them, in an attempt it seemed, not only to petrify their physical beings, but also to stab their heart of any perseverance or hope of a future. However, the young warrior queen and her friend had grown up in these harsh hemispheres. It soon became evident to her through the treatment of those ahead of her that they all were to become slaves for the current population on these new shores. Unwisely, she struggled, but perhaps without blame in a frantic attempt to outrun these evil men.


Her captors were stronger though. The man who came to look her over had the same cruel glint in his eyes as the head priest at Stonehenge when he had killed her dear father and all her brothers in the massacre she had escaped from. She stared at the sky colored eyes and deftly swept upward with her chained hands, striking him full on the jaw, as his hands had wandered to check her body. She cried out in pain as the ship master’s rope studded with metal tips cut the flesh of her back, not even minding her clothing, searing that as well. Suddenly her silent friend took his arms which were also chained and wrapped the flying studded rope round them, drawing it taught.


Tiennrod was his name. She heard their horned, brutish captors call him. She was still wincing from the blow from the whip, but she looked up at his kind, roundish face. She had not been able to see much below ships.She found herself looking into kind, yet sharp, intelligent blue eyes of the tall, sturdy guardian. He had short hair of flame and pale skin.He must be from the isle across the watery pass from her own home. He turned from her, saying something in a language she didn’t understand.The man who had offered the trader money shouted something angrily and slapped the guardian in the face. Wide eyed and scared, she watched silently as the trader and his workers drew their swords. Another man stepped up to make an offer. An ancient man with a long thick white-braided beard and good natured green eyes. He said something, then both she and the flame-haired stranger were shown to some horses.


Bor had had too much to drink. He had stumbled onto Verimer’s land near dawn. Unfortunately he was the type of man to grow violent with alcohol. Tristinia woke to a commotion outside the stable. Tiennrod was strong and large, but had taken several blows from his hefty opponent’s fists. She came out just in time to see Bor grab Sean’s dirk. Sean was doubled over. Swiftly She drew her own dirk out of her boot, racing forward. Leaping over Sean, she spread her arms, the dirk in her right hand, startling Bor as she leapt in front of him just as he was bringing down his blow. Ksh! The sound of metal meeting metal showered a small rain of sparks upon impact. She advanced aggressively, defeat not known to her royal blood, making Bor laugh and turn to mocking her.


Tristinia shoved her furry boot hard against Bor’s big belly, driving him backwards, off balance several steps. Recovering from the surprise of her attack, he laughed inebriated.


“You want to fight, you little wench?” he said over confident, eyebrows raised, pausing.


She yelled her challenge at him, her usually beautiful eyes glinting dangerously.


Unpredictably, Bor bellowed and swung several times, but she expertly ducked.


Several times their weapons met. Having the quicker judgement, she struck him several times but did not stab him. As she got close to him, Bor had an uncomfortable advantage and struck her full in her side with his blade at the same moment she drove her own into his shoulder.


Tiennrod had recovered and had began running toward them in the quick fight. “Triste!” he yelled as she looked beyond her attacker with the dirk missing going all the way in. Bor fell backwards with no one to catch him. Tristinia stood for a moment in shock, her face draining, and fell forward into Tiennrod’s arms as he gathered her to him, running toward the crowd of villagers who had come out, hearing the commotion as well. Warm red spreading from her blouse to his sleeves , the villagers hurried them to the physician.

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