Kara sang them back to the Here and Now. They once again stood on the hill, Ada’s army gathered behind them. Kara exchanged a grim look with Ada.
Mona came up the hill, her bodhran in hand. Ada nodded to her then looked out across the field. One rider carrying a battle flag approached them. “There. The banner of the Jormuna. Shall we greet them?”
The rider stopped a short distance from Ada and said, “I wish to speak with you, Dreezian.”
Ada gave a slight nod. “Speak then.”
She dismounted. “Thank you.” Looking past her to Mona, “Greetings, little sister.”
Mona raised her chin slightly. “You are no sister to me.”
“I’ll admit we had a bad start. We should not have tried to take you by force. But blood is blood. Please forgive and just talk with us.”
Mona raised her drum. “Oh, I have words for you…”
Ada put out an arm between them. “Not yet. The battle horn has not sounded.”
Kara offered, “I could remedy that.” She started to raise her horn to her lips. She stopped as Ada gave her a warning look. Raising her eyebrows questioningly, she asked, “What?”
“Lady Dian, as I explained to your brother, the girl wishes to stay with us. We are the only family she’s ever known.”
Dian inclined her head, “I’m sure, with time, she’ll come around. She should be with her own.”
Mona spat, “With my own? Your brother dared to arrange a marriage for me! Without my consent!”
“It would help you adjust to our way of life and would allow your foster parents to save face. This war is not necessary.”
“You would send me across the desert, far from my clan!”
“We would visit often. I am willing to go stay with you for a year or two while you settle in.”
“You are not my clan.” Mona glared at her then turned away. “I have nothing more to say to her.”
Ada bowed slightly to Dian. “You could withdraw from the field. Let this matter drop.”
“That is not an option.” Dian mounted her horse. “The girl is definitely Jormuna; stubborn as the day is long.” She pulled at the reins and rode back to her own camp.
Mona said grimly, “They may claim to be my kin but they surely have no interest in who I am.”
Ada put a hand on Mona’s shoulder. “Then we will show them.”
Kara blew the battle horn.
copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved