Last week, Airmid was abruptly sent home from the battlefield…
Back home in their fort, Airmid tried to busy herself with several small tasks, waiting for the return of the men. Finally, as the sun was setting, Dian Cecht strode in.
“Daughter,” he barked. “I have been asked to attend a king in Lochlann. Pray look after my patients in my absense.”
Airmid raised her eyebrows. “I will do so, as I would anyway, father.” Should she ask after Miach? Yes, as her father was just about to go away for quite a long time.
“Where did you leave Miach, father?”
Dian Cecht laughed, a harsh, eerie laugh that Airmid had never heard before. “Why, down by the brook, daughter.”
Airmid stared. What had happened?
Forgetting everything else, she rushed out of the house and followed the track down into the shallow valley.
She slowed as she neared the stream, “Miach, Miach.”
No sound but the tweeting of birds in the trees.
Her heart pounded in her stomach as she hastened towards the brook. “Miach!”
As the stream bed came into view, she stopped dead. There Miach lay, all at disjointed angles in the water, with his head so split open that not even all her magic could heal him.
Airmid froze, her face chalk white.
At that moment, cottagers all around covered their ears in shock. From a distant valley rose a piercing scream.