The Bridefarer’s Choice – Part 1

Well, I’ve decided to try my hand at a serial once again. The genre is fantasy (a first for me – I’ve never tried this genre before). Episode 1 is complete and published below.  I know where the story is going, and I think it will take four episodes to complete it. I will publish successive episodes every Monday.

I very much hope you enjoy it!

The Bridefarer - Part 1 171127

The Bridefarer – Part 1

Diarmid was a big man. He stooped to enter my house, and his broad frame blocked the sunlight.

“Reverence, Oldest One.”

I inclined my head, acknowledging the respectful greeting.

“Enter, be seated and be welcome,” I responded, with the formal words of hospitality. “You come to tell me you go bridefaring?”

He grinned. “Not a difficult conundrum, Oldest.”

And, indeed, it was not. At nineteen, it was high time Diarmid was married and settled. Besides, he was dressed for travel and carried a sword. I pointed to it.

“Do not be too quick to draw your blade, Diarmid MacDiarmid. You go seeking favour, not conquest.”

“Blades tarnish if they are never drawn.” His voice and manner were light.

“Better a tarnished blade than a dead bearer.”

I busied myself brewing a herbal tea.

“Here, Diarmid MacDiarmid, drink this. Drink slowly, and leave the herbs in the bottom.”

He sniffed it, sipped it. It was a bitter brew. Little creases showed at the corners of his eyes, but he drained the cup. I took it from him and looked at the residue.

I felt the hairs on my neck prickle with anticipation. I have ‘the sight’. It’s often a blessing, when you can reassure someone that they will have a full life and die of old age. But sometimes it’s a curse.

“All I can tell you from this reading is that you will live out your fate. For some, the way is…malleable. Choices will make a difference for them. That is not so for you; your fate is fixed, as straight and cold and strong as the steel of your blade.”

I looked up at him.

“All men die,” he said; but his face was pale. “I do not fear death.”

“You must drink again before I can tell you how your bridefaring will prosper.”

In truth I knew already.

He grimaced but nodded assent, and slowly drank from a second cup. As he handed me the empty vessel, he looked me full in the eyes.

“Tell me the truth, now, whatever it is.”

“I would never do otherwise.”

I stared into the cup. The story was the same.

“Your bridefaring will be successful. In a town far from here you will win the heart of a beautiful young woman. Her hair is red-gold like the setting sun in October; her eyes are blue-grey like the ocean after a storm. She is a king’s daughter, but those among whom she dwells know this not.

You will wed her, and return to your home where she will bear you a son. But, Diarmid MacDiarmid, I say this to you. You need not fear blade or fire or hemp; but beware of water, beware of the sea.”

Diarmid laughed, colour restored to his cheeks. His dark eyes were smouldering at the thought of the beautiful woman who would share his bed.

“I am a fisherman, Oldest. I must always beware of the sea. I bid you farewell, with many thanks for the favourable reading.”

He fiddled in his purse, drawing out a gold coin.

“For your good words,” he said.

I took it silently, and he left.

When he had gone I sat many minutes, my mind wandering the paths of the future.

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