S (Part 3, page 1 of 16)

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Part 3

6 months later…

Saorla glanced up at the darkening sky. Evening was fast approaching and it looked like yet another spring storm was rolling in. Just what she needed after spending the entire afternoon pulling sheep out of endless pits of mud—more rain. It had made for an exhausting day, one that had her and her farmhand scrambling up and down the hills in search of the bleating creatures. Their grey and black bodies were easy enough to spot, but not so easy to free from the sticky traps. As far she could tell, they must have escaped from their barn during the night, which was not entirely surprising as the dilapidated structure was old and lopsided with whole planks of rotted wood barely clinging on.

She had just secured what she hoped to be the last of the sheep back into their rickety enclosure and latched the door shut. Undulating cries echoed loudly within, as if they were personally affronted by her rescue attempt.

“Yeah, yeah, yer ungrateful little...” she muttered, leaning back against the decaying structure and wiping the sweat from her forehead with her already soiled sleeve. She glanced down at her dirt caked hands. In vain she tried to brush off the crud with her skirt, but succeeded only in spreading the mess all over her dress. It mattered little, really, for what she wore was not much more than an overly patched conglomerate of fabrics that had been accumulated over time. Frayed cloth stuck out here and there where she had torn it, most likely from brushing up against a prickly shrub or snaring it on a sharp twig while she hunted in the woods behind their house, and the seams had been sewn together so many times the skirt no longer laid evenly. She was in desperate need of a new gown but the linens she needed were expensive and the little amount of silver her and her father did have technically belonged to the king. In a month or two they would shear the sheep and she could spin the wool into usable pieces. Until then perhaps she could take out another stitch or two. She would make do, she always had.

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