There was a knock on the door, I look up thinking,

‘Who the hell is that.. at this hour?’

I get up from my desk and walks over to the front door. The vision that graces my eye through the peep-hole of the door makes me back away from the door. A warrior woman is standing on my door step. Golden blonde hair braided down her back. Clear grey eyes stare at the door as if willing it to open. I back away slightly and take a deep breath. Once I am collected I open the door and smile at Oein, Sword Mistress.

She looks at me for a few moments, till I reliased I needed to invite her in.

“Sorry Oein, would you like to come in?”

Oein sighs and nods, I unlock the screen door and let the warrior in. As she walks past me, her sword hilt brushes against my leg and it was heavy.

“Is the Magi here?”

I knew she was referring to Taliesin.

“No sorry, she isn’t. Taliesin was here yesterday, dropped some scraps of paper off then left just as quick.”

Oein cursed softly,

“That Magi is incredible, never around when you need her and always there when you don’t.”

The warrior pulled a small red journal out of her pocket and told me,

“Anyway here are the notes of the beginning of my story. It is not for the faint hearted – some terrible things happened to my town when the raiders struck.”

I took the small journal, I couldn’t wait to read it – to see how I can combine these two powerful women’s stories together.

“I have to go, Deva is waiting for me. Tell the Magi we expect to see her for Brumalia.”

I nod and smile at the warrior – who graces me with a rare smile that lights up her face. Then she is gone and I am alone with her journal. Quickly I sit back at my desk and open the first page.

Armanion – Year of the Lady 2010
OEIN
Chapter One
The blonde teen sat in front of the fireplace listening to her mother sing, as she mended the
clothes for her two surviving children. The girl loved to hear her mother sing because that was when
she saw her smile. Her mother did not smile much any more since her papa went away, with her
three brothers. The girl was fourteen years old and missed her papa and brothers immensely. She
idly played with the ashes that were cool and asked her mother something that had been bothering
her,
“Mama, is Papa and everyone dead?”
Her mother, once a happy bright woman with long brown curly hair, now worn down with
sadness looked up sharply and stared at her daughter. Tears started to gather in her hazel eyes and
she moved out of her seat to gather her daughter up in her arms,
“Oein, you should not be thinking such things. As soon as the war is over, I am sure that
your Papa and brothers will come in the door and want a hug.” She grasped her daughter tight and
rocked back and forth and Oein wondered who her mother was trying to convince. After a while her
mother let her go and bade her to go to bed. There Oein picked up the one storybook she had, that
her papa read to her from; it was about Sword Maidens and adventures. Oein read until she fell
asleep dreaming of swords.
The next day dawned bright and yet the sky was grey, Oein and her mother lugged the
laundry to the fountain; where all the woman gathered in their cleaning dresses and did the laundry.
Oein was in charge of watching her little baby brother Mikel while her mother washed the clothes.
Mikel was only a toddler and did not really do much, but play in the dirt so it was a relatively easy
job. As she watched her brother, she listen to the older women talk,
“Did you hear about the news Yolandre?” One woman in a red faded dress said to her
mother. Oein’s mother Yolandre shook her head as she dipped the dress she was holding in the
fountain,
“No, what news Listelle?”
The woman put down the item of clothing she was washing and leaned forward and told the
group,
“I heard from Kelven that the war is going to end soon, and all the menfolk are coming
home.” There were a few gasps from the women around the fountain, Oein watched as her mother
grasped her pendant she wore around her neck and slowly sat down of the fountain edge.
The dress forgotten; floating on the top of the water.
Yolandre looked up at Listelle and asked her,
“How do you know all this?”
Listelle blushed and played with the hem of her faded white apron and said,
“Well Kelven likes to talk in bed, and he told me last night that the war will be ending soon
because the King of Armanion and the Queen of Kalitha are signing a peace treaty. All that will be
left for the army to do is go after a few raiders from the army that deserted then they will be coming
home.”
“How did Kelven find out about this?” Yolandre asked her friend curiously,
Listelle sorted through her dirty washing,
“He goes into the tavern twice a week and listens to the talk of passerbys. There was a
messenger there last night and he hinted at the treaty.”
A collective sigh sounded through the women.
“ Listelle! What about Jordayn? When he comes home and finds you with another man he
will kill you.” One woman demanded, her eyes condemning her. Listelle turned around and snarled,
“ Jordayn is dead! I have accepted that and I have moved on. I loved my husband but he
isn’t here. I need Kelven, he makes me happy. He has promised to protect me and asked me to
marry him. Why can’t you be happy for me Melle?”
Melle sniff contemptuously at her,
“ Listelle, you don’t know that he is dead.” A woman in a blue dress said gently. Listelle’s
eyes reddened and tears formed which she dashed away angrily.
“ Yes I do, I felt him die and my heart broke. You don’t think I wouldn’t know when the
Heart Mate bond has been broken. I have been like a ghost for moons and it has taken Kelvan to fix
that.”
Listelle gathered her clothes unwashed and stormed away.
As they watched Listelle walk away, the woman with in the blue dress snapped at Melle who had
condemned Listelle.
“ You had to go and say that you harpy, didn’t you? You can never be happy that someone
has found a little happiness where she can. The news alone that she told us should have kept your
mouth shut.”
Melle’s face grew pinched and she said,
“ Well I am so insulted; I have never been spoken to in such a fashion. I said those things
because a woman should not behave as she does.”
Melle pointed a finger at the remaining women,
“You’ll all see I am right about this. Her husband will come back and there will be a
bloodbath.”
This said Melle turned her back to them and continued her washing. As the women spoke
the skies had gotten worse, now a thin drizzle has started to fall. Everyone was use to this though
and continued on with their chores.
Oein who had watched all this with wide eyes, went to her mother, and hugged her. Yolandre
sat there staring into space and when she felt Oein put her arms around her, she whispered to her
daughter,
“Your Papa’s coming home sweetie, your brothers too. I hope they are all alive and okay.
They should never have been sent to war, imagine a scribe and his sons being sent to fight.”
Yolandre turned around and looked at her daughter,
“ Where’s your brother,”
Just then the warning horns started blowing and everyone jumped up in alarm.

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