Dawnflight (Sonnet Books)

Dawnflight (Sonnet Books)

Bücher Details

  • Titel:Dawnflight (Sonnet Books)
  • Dateiname: dawnflight-sonnet-books.pdf
  • ISBN: 247281671020412
  • Datum des Hochladens: 2020-01-15
  • Anzahl der Seiten: 511 Seiten
  • Autor: Kim Headlee
  • Verlag: Kim Headlee


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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende Kim Headlee lives in northern Virginia with her husband and children. Details about forthcoming works can be viewed online at www.monumental.com/headlee and she welcomes readers' comments via e-mail headlee@monumental.com. Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten. From Chapter 1: The combatants circled warily in the churned mud of the practice field blind to the swelling audience and the chilling autumn rain. One a giant of a figure was the teacher. The student was neither as tall nor as well muscled but moved with the speed and agility of youth. The mud splattered on both bodies was mute evidence to the length of the session. 'Keep up your intensity!' Ogryvan swiped at his opponent's midsection. 'Always! Lose your battle-frenzy and you're dead!' Though neither was fighting in true battle-frenzy the younger warrior understood. Smiling grimly through the rivulets of sweat the student danced out of reach whirled and made a cut at Ogryvan's thigh. The blunted practice sword could not penetrate the hard leather leggings but was sure to leave a bruise. Precisely over the wound he had taken at Aber-Glein two months before. Although the swordmaster gritted his teeth against the pain his opponent sensed satisfaction in the accompanying nod. The reason for the sign of approval was clear: the student had made an excellent choice of moves. Exploitation of the enemy's weaknesses was a basic tenet of the warrior's art. Mastery of this principle would serve Ogryvan's pupil well in the years to come. 'Strive to outthink your foe. Stay one move ahead' he advised between feints. The clatter adopted a dancelike rhythm as the opposing blade deftly met each thrust. The onlookers shouted their approval. The youth answered with a powerful counterattack silent but for the creak of leather and the hollow thunks as sword met shield. The swordmaster staggered backward. His disciple quickened the attack. And grew careless. The shield sagged. Ogryvan landed a blow to the unguarded left shoulder. Startled the youth lost footing in the treacherous mud and fell. The laughter sparked by the mishap from teacher and audience alike was not unkind. Yet it did not comfort the mud-painted student. The Chieftainess of Clan Argyll hated to lose. And the reason rankled like that awful brew Cynda called spring tonic: she'd not done her best. She didn't need her father to tell her that carelessness had caused the fall. The loss. In battle such a mistake was often fatal. She began to pick herself up seething only to be unceremoniously shoved face-first into the mud again. Before she could twitch her father's foot pinned her down. His sword at the base of her neck chilled her to the core of her being. It was too easy to imagine what might happen next. Ogryvan whispered 'Pay attention now Gyan. This is my favorite part.' His rumbling voice poised on the brink of a chuckle. 'All hear and beware! The Ogre takes no prisoners!' Had this been actual combat her head would have become the newest addition to Ogryvan's private collection. Such was the Caledonian way. For in this manner not only was the foe defeated in death but to the victor went possession of the soul. Well honored was the warrior who boasted the largest array. Long years of training had hardened Gyan to this aspect of warfare. Yet the prospect of someday ending up on display in an enemy's feast-hall was grisly at best. By the shifting of his foot on her back she knew her father was posturing for the crowd. They rewarded his performance with gleeful claps and shouts. The official practice session was over of course. But Gyan wasn't quite finished. Her sword hilt nestled in the palm of her outflung hand. She carefully tightened her grip. In a burst of movement she writhed and scissored with her legs twisted free rolled to her feet and brought the sword up in both hands. Ogryvan toppled into the mud. The resounding wet thud of his landing was chorused by the guffaws of the audience. Gyan grinned holding the point of her sword to Ogryvan's throat. 'And neither does the Ogre's daughter!' No nectar was as sweet as the joy of winning. And winning before an audience of her clansmen tasted even sweeter. One day she would lead them into battle; events like today's added another brick onto the foundation of trust. Their heartfelt adoration warmed her like the summer sun. She sheathed the sword and offered a hand to her father. 'Even?' Her voice was huskier than usual from the exertion of the morning. Ogryvan took the proffered hand to regain his footing. 'Even.' Now that the match was over the crowd drifted back to their various duties around the settlement. One man remained at the edge of the field. Gyan strode toward him swatting mud from her thighs and chest. 'Well Per how did I look?' 'Like the baobhan-sith Cynda used to try to frighten us with.' Her half-brother reached for a glob of mud lodged in her braid. 'A fen-spirit? Ha!' Gyan playfully slapped his hand away. 'You know what I mean.' Peredur beamed at her. 'You did well Gyan. I don't think I could have fooled Father like that. Or held him off for so long.' She didn't believe him for an instant. They had sparred with each other often enough to know who was the better swordsman. But she rewarded his flattery with a brilliant smile and a challenge: 'Race you to the house!' Without waiting for his reply she launched herself down the path bruises forgotten in the autumn mist. The Chieftain of Clan Argyll stood alone on the practice field. Pride pulsed anew for the two promising young warriors now racing like colts toward the family's living compound. Per Ogryvan observed with critical interest was gaining. Arms pumping Per drew abreast. Too close: Gyan's scabbard bounced into Per's leg. His stride faltered. With a whoop of triumph startling a cloud of pigeons from their perches on the timbered roof Gyan flashed past him into the long low stone building. Ogryvan shook his head in amusement. She was so like her mother. Winning at any cost was one of his late wife's dearest passions. How often had Hymar played some mischief like that? When they galloped their horses beside summer-slim streams Hymar's favorite move had been to drive her mare at full speed into the shimmering water. He could still hear her bright laughter as he spluttered his protest at the unexpected dousing. Time had finally managed to ease the pain of his loss. Mercifully his most cherished memories remained intact. With a glance at the leaden skies he hoped Hymar was somehow watching. If so certainly she ought to be sharing his pride. He began shambling down the path after the youths when his boot crunched against something hard. All but invisible to the casual eye Gyan's rectangular oak shield nestled in a muddy bed. Stooping to retrieve it he resolved to chide her about neglecting her gear. Gyan ought to hearken well to his words if she had a mote of sense her father mused. Per too. They would be far beyond the reach of his guidance soon enough. The sorrow of this knowledge clutched his heart like a merlin's claw over a mouse. To honor the treaty made after the Battle of Aber-Glein with Arthur the Pendragon of Brydein Per and hundreds of other Caledonian warriors would be riding south after spring planting to join the Brytoni army at Caer Lugubalion. Gyan was finished with her basic martial training; the rest she would have to learn through constant practice and in battle. But she would not be joining her brother. Her part in fulfilling the treaty terms would take her elsewhere beginning with the Brytoni school on the Isle of Maun. The problem was she didn't know this yet. Telling her wasn't going to be easy Ogryvan realized as he resumed his course for the building. He had dodged the issue for two turnings of the...

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