The Mountain's Heart

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: September 28, 2016

Reads: 186

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Submitted: September 28, 2016



Chapter 1—

The eastern horizon had only just begun to melt the fine frost that carpeted the ground at night, and now small droplets of dew sparkled in the rime’s place. Nocturnal beings were creeping back into their dens, and the breath of morning awakened the chirping animals of spring.


The sky’s golden fire hid behind the shadows of distant mountains, mountains that shielded land from sea, until finally, seemingly all at once, it rose in glorious splendor. And with its arrival, a small figure stepped out of her humble tent.


Eira, clad in a fur hunting cloak, made sure to shut the flaps of the warm, bearskin shelter for the sake of its still sleeping occupants, and she crept as quietly as possible away from the small community of tents identical to her own.


The seventeen year old had been up for an hour, eagerly awaiting dawn and the opportunity that it brought with it.


Her eyes found the nearby crag that was her destination, and, hiding her face with the hood of her warm cloak, began the short trek.


To avoid detection, Eira had to take the long way up to the precipice, employing every tactic of secrecy that her father had taught her as a girl: keep your head down, your steps light, and your hopes high. But it was not enough.


“What d’ you think you’re doing, Eira?” A familiar voice called out from behind her, with warmth seeping through the words that were meant to expose her.


Eira let out a small puff, unfazed by this confrontation and refusing to turn around to face the young man. She continued her climb up the rocky, sloping terrain. “I don’t believe that’s any of your business.”


“No… but it is your father’s.” A much deeper, more authoritative voice broke the silence, and, this time, Eira jumped, much to her embarrassment.


The blonde-headed girl turned guiltily toward the leader of her clan, and her father. His curly, untamed black hair danced wildly behind him, giving the large man a magnificent

mane fit for the best warrior in the clans-- at least in the eyes of his daughter.


“Good morning, Papa.” Eira kept her soft grey gaze on her father, and his identical eyes held her stare sternly. Both of Eira’s hands flew behind her back, concealing the long hunting knife she had stolen from her father’s tent last night.


The younger man that had spoken first began to approach the rosy cheeked girl with a grin playing on his lips.


Eira’s gaze turned to ice as she watched him approach, “Bran, you traitor.” She spoke with as much venom as she could muster, but her heart accelerated with every step he took toward her.


Her attempts to shield Bran’s gaze from the long knife behind her back failed, and the young man let out a loud, echoing laugh when he discovered it. “What did you plan to do

with that, little Eira?”


Suddenly, Eira swung the knife toward Bran, but the man was in no danger as easily stepped out of the way. “Call me little one more time,” she warned through gritted teeth.


The brown headed, boyishly handsome warrior grabbed Eira’s wielding wrist, quickly overpowering her with his superior size and strength, rendering the knife was useless in her hands. She let out a frustrated grunt and dropped the weapon in surrender.


But Bran was not yet satisfied and used his other hand to bind her free wrist, pulling her in to him for a moment with almost chastising brown eyes.


Had her father not been standing in the background, the two adolescents might have shared a small kiss. Their relationship was no secret to the clan, but it was not proper to publicly display their affections yet.


Bran had always had Eira’s attention, ever since the two were children and playing games with one another, but it was not until Eira turned fifteen that she had Bran’s attention as well. The awkward, unruly child had blossomed into an even more unruly young woman, but she had become a beauty to behold.


The women of the clan thanked the gods that Bran accepted Eira’s spirit, because no other man would have the patience and easy-temper to handle Eira as his wife. Of course, they were not married. Not yet.


Eira pulled stubbornly against Bran’s grasp, and he released her so that she could stoop down to pick up the perfectly carved knife and walk toward her father.


“I wanted to join the hunt.” Eira presented the beautiful weapon to her father.


“Women do not hunt, blomma,” the clan leader, Jarl Eirick, instructed gently as he took the blade from her small hands.


“I am no woman! Please Papa! The women hate me! I don’t know how to do any of their delicate practices… I-I only ruin their creations.” Eira was desperate, for she knew that, if given the chance, she could become one of the most accomplished warriors of the



Bran approached once more, his hands on his hips as he looked down at her, “Perhaps if you spent as much time practicing with them as you do with your little wooden sword, you would be more capable.”


“Wooden sword?” Her father questioned at this new information.


A lump formed in Eira’s throat as Bran betrayed her. She had practiced fighting with him in secret for years. He had been her teacher, her partner as they fought with the blunt swords she had fashioned herself.


She composed herself with a shaky breath, but her stinging eyes betrayed her. Of course Bran wanted to impress her father, but Eira had never felt more abandoned by the young man that promised that he loved her.


But the flame in her small body would not be dampened so easily. “When all of you men are dead, and our clan burnt, tell me how the ability to weave will save my life!”


“Eira,” her father warned quietly, for her words lacked respect toward the male warriors.


“You will not need to know how to wield a sword. I will protect you,” Bran said broadly, and, although Eira was refusing to look at him, she was sure that his chest was puffed out to prove his masculinity.


“I do not need a man for protection. I will not and I certainly never shall.” The seventeen year old’s words shook, but with strength and resilience instead of fear.


Her words silenced Bran, but her father’s gaze remained steady on her stormy grey eyes. “Bran, go join the hunt while I have a word with my daughter.”


The soft thump of Bran’s feet hitting the ground faded away as he silently obeyed his leader, leaving the large man alone with his child.


“I’m sorry, Pa…” Eira turned her eyes away from the noble figure before her, suddenly ashamed of her disrespect. “I feel there is something wrong with me! I am ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things.”


Tears began to sting her eyes, and the spirit that had just encompassed her now wilted like a flower, “I want to change and be more like Mother and Astrid, b-but… I can’t! And

I just know I will never fit in anywhere.”


As Eira rambled on, she dropped to the ground and hugged her knees into her chest, burying her head into the small hole created between the two so that her father would not see her cry.


Eirick let out a gruff grunt as he took a seat beside his daughter, one of his massive arms wrapping around her shoulders, enveloping her in warmth that could only be described as love. “My dear Eira…You have so many extraordinary gifts, how can you expect to lead an ordinary life?”


Quietly, Eira lifted her head as her father continued. “I would never ask you to change. My daughters are my life, and you are my greatest friend.” The clan leader ran his calloused hand through the mess that was Eira’s hair before pressing a kiss to her forehead.


There was a peaceful silence between the two as they sat on the damp ground, her head resting on his soft shoulder as they watched the rest of the world wake up to join them.


Finally, Eirick sighed in resignation, “I will teach you to hunt properly.”


His words hung in the air, and it took a moment for the girl to recognize the meaning of his words, but soon Eira jumped up, a smile of pure elation on her open mouth. She nearly tackled her father in a hug, and the two laughed.


“As long as you do not tell your mother, understand?” He said through his deep laughter, and Eira swore to him that she would not say a word to any person, especially not her mother.


The moment was pure bliss. The last moment that Eira shared with her father. A memory that she could keep forever. A memory that she would not allow herself to forget.




© Copyright 2018 Emily Pendragon. All rights reserved.


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