Chapter 2: Rehearsals
"All right, girls, we'll do it
one more time and you can go home! And Ayrien, do try better this time
Ayrien's good mood entirely vanished away, and the hot noon sun was shining on a
very sour face. Can't these foolish girls understand that she is saving her powers to the
evening? The great night to come was the important time to dance well, not this horrible
never-ending rehearsal! And besides, she needed no further rehearsals
another tiring foolish jumping-around in that boiling sun can do good to my dance?"
She groaned quietly toward Saoirse, the teacher. Saoirse, however - if she did hear the
whisper - chose to ignore it. "Come on, girls, to your places! And one, two,
Ayrien danced without any heart in.
Very suddenly her foot hit something - and she had found herself face of the floor. Hissed
laughs came from all around. "You see, that what I mean!" She heard Morena, her
step cousin, "whispering" loudly enough for everyone to hear. "If she
wasn't the daughter of the village's head, she would never have been chosen to lead the
dance!" In one angry jump Ayrien was on her feet again. "So that is your excuse
for not being chosen!" She replied, looking at Morena with all the contempt she could
put into her eyes. "Even you could come with something better then that crap!".
If eyes could fire lightening, a storm would have appeared between the two young women.
"Enough, girls, enough! Get back to your places, and lets start over
again". Saoirse' soothing voice forced the two back into dance position. Just to
angry Morena, Ayrien gave everything she got - which gained her best cheerful applause
from the villagers watching the rehearsal. Morena was so furious she almost fell down on
the dancer behind her.
"Very well girls, you are dismissed. Go get some rest before the great night!
Ayrien - very good! I knew you can do it! Morena - wait a minute, I want to get over some
steps with you
Ayrien smiled when she heard the last
sentence, but it was an unhappy, bitter smile. What if Morena DID have a point in that
ugly remark? Would Ayrien have been chosen if not for her father's position? The shy girl
deep inside her, far away from the others' eyes, was almost in tears - despite of the
smile presented on her face. Her walking was getting faster and faster. She did not want
to hear the villager's joking remarks, couldn't bear to see their knowing smiles and
winks. She wanted to get as far as she could from where she was humiliated so much
Suddenly, she could not bear even the sight of her little village. She wanted to
fly far, far away, to a completely different place, a place where girls can do whatever
they want, just like boys. Where she can learn, run, ride - even fight! - Without people
mumbling "it's not a thing a girl should do". A place where she will never hear
again sentences like the last one - "Don't fall like that in front of the Fianna, ah,
lassie?". Still deep in bitter thoughts, she finally reached her home and fell on her
bed, burying her face deep down in her pillow.
A short while after, Ayrien could
hear the footsteps of her father entering the house. Her eyes were closed, but she still
could "see" what he was doing: Now he is hanging his cloak on the peg
he is taking his boots off
Now he is getting up from the heavy chair he was sitting
Ayrien could hear him walking around, probably looking for her. His footsteps
entered her room, but she pretended to be asleep - she didn't felt at all like listening
to his cheering comments about the coming evening. He sat beside her, and she could feel
his hand petting her curly hair tenderly.
"Sleep, my child, sleep." His soft, low voice surrounded her, floating
around her head like a cool breeze in the hottest day. "The gods know you need it.
You have a big night tonight
and I know my little fairy will not disappoint her old
A single tear found its way to Ayrien's pillow, and she realized one thing - the
only thing that can keep her from flying away, if she had the chance, is her beloved
father. She can never leave him.
Not many miles away, a line of
magnificent horses was doing its way quietly but cheerfully toward the village of Taru.
Should anyone watch this line of riders, he would see a single horse breaking the
strict line again and again, getting back there only after the leader of the group would
order him to
The same thing just happened, and the silence was broken by the leader
"Get yourself back to yer place,
The young men to whom Finn was
referring to slowed his horse and took it into the line, peeping on the way back at his
master, in fear he had anger him. But Finn's good, familiar smile was still on his face -
and it seemed to Tune as if it was even wider then before. "I'm sorry, my lord
Finn" He smiled back when the leader's horse passed next to his. "Black-Star
just can't wait to rest in a stable again - and so does his master!"
"You'll fit well into a stable now, lad!" Came a comment from behind,
rising a short good-hearted laugh from the riding company.
"You'll fit there even better, Duive - Your face are brawnier then your
horse's behind!" Tune was very proud for his answer - joining with the Fianna not a
long time before, he had to get over years of admiration in order to say such a thing...
"Hear o hear, the boy opened his mouth! Lucky for you I'm too weary to teach
you some manners!"
"Too weary, Duive?" Finn decided to join into the cheerful conversation,
"Or maybe too afraid that the boy will decorate your delicate face just before the
women of the village can see'em?"
"The little fox IS quick with his sword
" Duive's semi-serious voice
released another rough laugh.
"Talking about women" another rider broke his silence, "Will I not
be right to guess that this is the reason for your rush, ah, Tune?"
"Hehe, save your breath, lad - your red face reveals it all!" Duive was
quicker to answer then the subject of the remark. "I can see right through you're
I'm a Fianna warrior now, the women will sure to be lookin' at me
differently!" Poor Tune, his face was redder then a tomato
"Don't worry, laddy. You can be sure 'bout that! And when the leader of the
Fianna tells you somethin' like that, you might wanna listen!"
The Fianna's laugh was heard long
and looking at them carefully when they proudly rode into the village, the
villagers was delighted to see them smiling from ear to ear.