"Boys you may be excused" My mother turned to face my three younger brothers, who then all in unison, turned and jumped from their seats and scurried away out of the door into the pantry, their tiny legs fleeting quickly.
My eyes flicked to my mother, it was clear to see the confusion that settled in my face.
"You see Merida…there's something yer father and I need to talk to yer about" I recognised the scene all too well
"Aw mum! No' this again!" I moaned.
I knew her tone, her stance and her actions all too well.
The suitor talk.
"Please Merida see sense, this is important! Don't yer go jump'an to all conclusions!"
"Mum! Im no' getting married! I dinnae wan' to!"
"Merida, yer need to hear yer mum out this time sweetie, we need yer help" My dad placed his hand over mine, making mine look so small compared to his own. He looked to me with sad eyes; I'd never seen him so sincere.
" Il hear yer out" I sighed and turned to my mother.
"Well yer see, There has been some recent…troubles happening in and around our island Merida, forces that we ne'er heard of before, turning up on our door step trying to invade our clans, we need to unite a'r people, we need a stable community" My mothers eye turned to pleading.
"But we already have one mother! We made an agreement the last time this happened! Remember! We need to write our own stories!"
"I understand Merida, I do just trust me, we have outcasts turning up willy nilly all over the place, it's no safe here, we need help! we need more allies and yer know how that is ter end" My eyes started to tear up.
"Merida, were not saying that yer'e getting married in a month or even a year! We as a collected force are going to find you a suitor, someone who will take care of yer and in return you'll rule the land with safety and security, you're doing this for the good of the kingdom"
"And a' SUPPOSE I don't get a choice in who I be with! No mum, I Cannae do it! NOT THIS TIME, NO WAY! Please! See sense!"
"Merida! We are! We Cannae keep you safe forever! We're getting older and so are you! Yer responsibilities are goin' to be put to the test in a few weeks! Yer about to turn 18! It's the age of marriage and babies Merida no to mention if yer gonnea take the thrown in a few years, yer need a suitor!
"MARRIAGE?! BABIES?!" My heart was going a thousand miles an hour, So I was to wed and have a child. And rule the kingdom.
If I could pull out my red hair I would of done, My mood shifted from panic, to exhaustion to stress all at once. Glancing backwards and forwards between my mother and father, both of them shared the same concerning look.
"Mum, Dad please see where I'm coming from!"
"We are child, jus think of it this way, If we don't find you a suitor among the Vikings then we come home and yer marry one of the clans further down south " Hang on did he just say..
"VIKINGS!" I shrieked, my eyes now wide with fear and shock.
The Scots and the Vikings?
"Mum…noo… I'm... I'm no marrying some savage beast of er man!"
"Aw sweetea, don't judge a book by its cover! You never know they might be well civilised people. And Chief Stoic has known yer father fer a long time, His men are well prepared to welcome us with open arms"
I sat back in my seat staring at the stone ceiling trying to count each slate to calm me down. I couldn't fight it, since the years of having freedom and fun I had matured, gained a sense of stability.
Even if at times I acted like a small child.
I put my head in my hands and sighed, my dad patted my back.
"Okay" I said totally regretting it once it slipped out. Both my parents froze.
"Really, no fighting?" my dad said stunned
"Do yer want me ter change me mind! Im no happy about this, but there's no escaping it I suppose, and as long as I have the choice of when a wannea marry them! Then I could probably get ma head around the idea"
"Oh sweetea!" my mother hugged my shoulders grinning as she did so before kissing me all over my face
"yer dinnae know how proud ye've made me!" My mother gushed on for a few minutes about dresses and looking ma best and talking through the games that were going to be organised.
"May a' be excused?" I asked when she finished
"Of course, go get a good night's sleep dearie, we leave a' dawn!"
I half ran half walked out of the room the tears in my eyes dripping over before I hit the exit. Once it was shut tightly behind me I ran as fast as I could to the stables, in desperate need of comfort and affection from the only friend I had.
"Oh Angus!" I sobbed into his neck, the horse ninnied and whined his eyes seeming to understand the pain.
"It's happening again! What am a' gonnea do!"
Angus nudged his nose into my side and huffed. I continued to stroke him while lost in my own thoughts, trying to calm the sadness with some sort of rational thinking.
They could be just lovely…
I might like being there…
Itl give me a chance to explore new sites...
See new cultures...
I might even fall in love…
The last thought I pondered over for a long time; yes while I enjoyed my independence there was a sad longing in me, something that I felt was missing. I had no idea why but imagining spending my life with someone else wouldn't be so bad. I put it all down to hormones.
It would please my mother, my father and my kingdom.
This was a decision that I couldn't just make for myself. Agreeing to this treaty offered me an easier start when running the kingdom, plus it would be half the work to allow someone else to do it. Maybe the suitor would understand, maybe they would feel the same way as me.
"Oh gods, give me a sign, is this the right thin' that am doin?"
Just as I spoke the sentence out loud, I heard a loud whooshing sound followed by a fast swooping. I looked up into the night's sky; the navy blue colour seemed to deepen around the shining light starts that glittered above.
And there somewhere between the mountains and the forest-line, a dark winged figure shot across the silhouette.
Curiosity got the better of me again, as without thinking about it; I pulled on my dark green cloak shoving the hood up and diving onto Angus before kicking my heels into his sides, sending him into a fast gallop.
"Head for the edge of the forest Angus" I whispered to the horse,
My mum would kill me if she knew what I was up too…
Within 5 minutes we had galloped our way into an open clearing where no trees could stop our view.
Silence filled the air as I pulled out my bow and arrow watching the skyline carefully, my breathing slowed as my eyes narrowed and fell upon an opening in the area the sound filled my ears again and all to suddenly a black shadow flew past the skyline making me jump.
Instinctively I let go of the bow shooting it towards the bird looking creature.
Seeing it up close however, it was way too obvious that this creature wasn't a bird. In fact, it was like nothing I've seen in my whole life! Larger than anything I had ever seen before in my life.
The creature seemed to make a noise but kept flying.
That's strange I thought to myself with worry. I never miss…
I looked around for the arrow I just shot, feeling unsteady and a bit frail for once. I asked the gods for a sign and they send me a monstrous creature.
To say I felt confused wouldn't even cover it.
"Och! Where is this damn Arrow!" I bellowed. Angus whinnied and kicked a little, obviously a little nervous
"Its okay boy calm down!" I hushed him. His unexpected behaviour worried me; I turned to face him before an all too familiar sound seemed a little too close.
My whole body froze. Loud smooth flapping filled my ears as stiffly I turned my head to look above the tree line.
There in front of me a large black scaled beast hovered his eyes big and glowing, they sat in slits in the centre of each eye. Locked down on me.
I backed up slightly till Angus was in reach. The Beast seemed to stare into my eyes, right into my soul. I could feel my own light blue eyes gleaming with terror, and some how. I was in awe too
Terrified. Completely and utterly terrified and yet…
The beast was beautiful! Unlike anything I have ever seen before. His body work seemed so detailed, his ears pricked and pinned back like a warrior. And those eyes!
Eyes which bored into my soul.
Then all too soon the beast rumbled a loud growl and before breathing in and releasing what looked to be an electric charge on the ground where I stood.
With a gasp I hauled myself up onto Angus and took off far into the forest back to the kingdom.
Adrenaline pulsed through me as all my senses seemed to be on fire. I was terrified, but who wouldn't be, yet there was something deeper that stirred in me when that beast stared into my eyes, something which told me in an absolutely insane way, that this was right.
My decision to help the kingdom.
Would lead me to my fate.