A WOMAN OF COURAGE
Fianna Byrne scrambled up the steep embankment that circled the hillfort of Duncarraig. Scratches streaked her legs, her body ached, and no matter how much she tried to prevent it, blood seeped into her mouth from a gash at her temple. But these wounds were inconsequential compared to her grief. Her home was gone, destroyed by an attack that began at sundown and ended with the destruction of everything she loved.
She hammered on the wide wooden gates of the fort. Would she be welcomed or turned away? Were old feuds still guiding their decisions? Muffled voices floated down from the rampart, and footfalls echoed on the wooden palisade. They were aware of her presence. She almost prayed they would kill her where she stood. It was what she deserved. As the leader of Clan Byrne, she had failed to protect her people.
She turned to see the sun rising over the eastern horizon. Orange and gold rays danced over the fields, welcoming the dawn. It would be a glorious summer day. On any other morning she would have watched the sunrise, and prepared for the long working day that characterized the season. But all that was gone, obliterated in one hellish night.