A Wend Away
After a few days of unnoteworthy riding, the men found themselves at the edge of a huge clearing. Petyr and Myle’s hearts both missed a beat. It was the clearing they had seen in the pool. It had a large stone altar at about waist height, and on the other side was a small body of water, which, judging from the angle of it, was what they had seen through in the vision.
Myle and Petyr immediately told Sir Brychan and the others about this place, warning that they had better move on quickly to avoid more witchcraft.
They left the glade and after a short ride, came across a much smaller clearing spanning only a few metres across. Through the middle trickled a brook and sat beside it was the girl they had rescued. The men were astonished to run into the girl here of all places. Sir Brychan was not surprised however. He suspected that this was not a coincidence. Myle hailed the girl by dismounting and approaching her as if it were perfectly normal for her to have disappeared in the middle of the night and to bump into her in the middle of the forrest a week later. Noticing that the girl was nowhere near as panicked and scared as before, Sir Brychan ordered the men to start making camp while Myle calmed the girl down and asked her some questions that needed answering. Aedon, Issa and Bain decided to go hunting, or rather, Aedon was taken as far from the girl as possible while Issa and Bain went hunting. This left Daffid, Petyr, Rand and Sir Brychan as well as the rest of the men at arms to set up camp, including collecting firewood and preparing a firepit, cutting the vegetables they had chanced upon earlier in the day and laying sleeping mats in the least uncomfortable places they could find. As this happened around them, Myle asked the girl about herself.
Her name was Calire, a runaway of about sixteen or seventeen years. She did not know what her village was called, nor where it was from here; but it was easy to tell she did not want to return to it. She told Myle about how two women in robes had taken her one day when she was collecting wild mushrooms. They bound her and walked her for days, all the while rambling about ‘the flock’ and ‘replenishing’ it, whatever that word meant. Scared as she was the girl managed to escape one night only for things to go from bad to worse when she quite literally stumbled across an encampment of men in the forest. At first she thought they were hunters on an excursion, however she soon learned that they were outlaws. Thinking about this time made the girls face grow dark, Myle decided not to ask what happened in the bandit camp and quickly moved her along in her story, understanding now the state she was in when they first met. When she escaped the bandits, they gave much more of a chase than the two women and she had run until her legs could barely keep moving. This was at the point that she had first met the men at arms, and started their ill-fated series of events.
Myle did not dwell on her misfortunes, and instead asked how she was faring out here in the woods and if she had been here long. Calire looked about as if she had just noticed she was in a forest. Myle made light of it and changed the topic of the conversation. “Do you like to sing, Calire?” Myle asked. All around the camp fists clenched and faces winced. Myle had been singing every day since leaving the village & it had swiftly become irksome. He did not have any gift for singing whatsoever. After asking Myle to be silent had not availed, ‘accidental’ shoves and knocks had begun. After two days, Issa had straight up thumped him and was kicking him on the ground before Sir Brychan stated that he’d had enough. Since that, Myle had amassed a private collection of bruises from spear butts and fists. Yet still he kept singing.
This time, however, was different. “I haven’t sung in so long, I haven’t really had reason to,” Calire spoke sadly. Myle told her that singing was reason enough to sing, and asked her to sing him her favourite song, expecting her cheeks to flush bright red the way that girls often did when talking to him. Instead she began singing in a clear voice, untrained but with talent. When Myle recognised the old tune, he joined in and for once, his voice came true, mixing with hers to create a duet which stunned the other in the camp.
A wend away,
A wend away,
A wond’ring through the forest, stray
Not from the path of rain and snow
Which leads me back towards my home.
Tis There my lover waits for me
With a smile so wide and eyes so green
Tis there my child awaits the day,
To wonder through the forest stray,
Not from my side child, don’t go far,
Come reunite your ma and pa
A wend away,
A wend away,
You are the reason I will stray
Not from this path of rain and snow
Which leads me back
Towards my home.
When they had finished a still fell upon the forest, and for once it was not the anxious silence the ravens inspired, but rather a sigh as if the whole woodlands had stopped to listen to the tune.
Now Calire really was blushing and so was Myle. As the night wore on the two were inseperable and in high spirits, talking only to each other and often breaking out in peals of laughter. Even Aedon’s presence could not bring the girl out of her good mood. When Myle noted that she had no sleeping roll, and boldly offered for her to share his, she blushed even more furiously and nodded slightly, making Myle grin like a fool for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the other men were divided, with the hunters not believing the story of the others about the song, thinking it to be a hoax and the others doing their best to prove otherwise. Sir Brychan did not get involved in the debate, happy to just appreciate that, for once that they were all in high spirits, they had fresh venison in their bellies and that for once there was not a raven to be seen.
So with ‘A Wend Away’ running through his head he rolled up in his mattress and decided to get an early night.