Daughter of the Windswept Hills
Part Six – I Will Prove My Honour
It took the better part of two weeks for the word to go out and the clans to assemble, coming in from all along the hills that made up the Aedring lands. With dozens of clans in attendance, carrying many more feuds and disputes than that between them, the air around the gathering hung charged with potential and possibility. Through hard work, perseverance and even a few threats, Hraega kept it all together, for, despite their differences, the Aedring brooked no interference in their lands or ways by lowlanders. An attack on one, even a despised foe, was an attack on all.
It did not prevent arguments or disagreements though, and Fianna found herself at the heart of them. By the traditions of their ways, Hraega, as chief of the wronged party, would lead the retaliatory attack, yet there were always those who would seek to take over that position, looking out for any means by which to do it. And in Fianna, some think they had found it.
One short brawny chief approached Hraega early on as the gathering started, Rafgar of the Caedran, chief of the clan with whom Hraega’s were feuding.
“I have come as expected and required, Hraega,” Rafgar announced, “But there are matters to discuss. You are not worthy to lead this raid.”
Hraega folded his broad arms across his chest. “And what makes you think that, Rafgar?”
The man jabbed an arm towards Fianna. “Her. She failed her initiation. All know of it. She should not be here, and yet she is. If you can not exile one of your own as I have had to, then you are not worthy to lead this raid.”
“You let me worry about my own, Rafgar, and you worry about yours. Her exile has already been announced, but she is still Aedring and will take part in the raid, with pride of place.”
“And yet she still lives among you. You are going soft, and a soft man can not lead.”
Hraega’s face grew harder yet, his eyes like frozen daggers. “Are you challenging my authority to lead, Rafgar?”
“I am, Hraega,” Rafgar confirmed, a grim smile touching his face. “I, at least, hold to the ways of the Aedring, and by those traditions I call you out to prove your worth.”
“We have enemies enough to deal with without the need for this too, Rafgar.”
“Are you that far gone to honour that you will not take up the challenge?”
Hraega’s eyes narrowed and then he gave a brief nod. “I will meet you, Rafgar, and I will prove my honour for all to see.”
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