Part II of "The Desert's Heir"

Moytura - moytoor/a

Nuaden - noo/a/en

Eithlinn - eth/leen

Laoghaire - lair/eh

Wythe - wi/eth (long i, short e)

Aurora - a/roar/a

Cian - keen/an

Boc - boc (short o)

Zeek - zeek (long e)

Eithlinn lay on her stomach by the stream, tossing rocks into the water, receiving a slight satisfaction over hearing the plops interrupt the faint conversation of Moytura and Aurora. But, it did not satisfy enough. Grunting, she hoisted herself and tore a hand full of the green stalks - grass is what Aurora called them - and ripped each one in half. Sighing, she lay back down, watching the limp pieces float in-between the rocks and onwards towards the end of the forest.

She tried to listen to the, birds, singing a strange song above her head, but still could not. So, she glanced over at Zeek, who was feeding bits of food to a small chittering creature with a bushy tall. Behind him, Boc leaned against an old gnarled tree, laughing and egging him on. Moytura and Aurora stilled talked. Everyone seemed content and happy except her. And how could she? She saw the way Aurora smiled at Moytura, -her- Moytura, and how she lightly placed her hand on his arm and let it rest there. But, that was not what concerned her. She cared not whether Aurora loved -her- Moytura or not.

Instead, she saw the way Moytura smiled back at Aurora, how he allowed her to keep her hand on his arm, how he enjoyed her attention.

She sighed, sniffing a little, and turning away from them to play with a floating leaf.

"Yes, it's my own fault," she thought. "If I had acted as if I loved him. If I had tried harder. If I had resisted Lagohaire..." A laugh, a soft deep laugh caused her to whirl around and see Moytura, who had never laughed with her, laughing with Aurora.

First, tears pricked her eyelids, stinging with deep sorrow and jealously. Then, unspeakable rage. How dare Aurora steal what was hers! Eithlinn did not care if she had saved them. She would rather die with Moytura as hers, than live and see him with another. And, how dare Moytura, who spoke of his love for Eithlinn, so casually laugh and flirt with one he just met, and in front of Eithlinn.

She sputtered inaudible words, words that should not be heard anyway. Still muttering curses, she stumbled, tripping over roots and rocks, dead leaves and dirt still ground into her dress. But, she did not brush the mess off. She continued tripping over roots and quickly fading into the never-ending trees. If she had turned, she would have seen Moytura start, and his face fall with concern. Aurora tightened her hold on his arm, muttering that he would loose himself in the trees if he went, and why did he not let one who knew the forest to go and follow Eithlinn? He sighed in exasperation as she signaled a young male archer to follow her. Then she faced Moytura at her, away from his retreating Eithlinn.

The young man followed Eithlinn slowly, her purple dress easy to spot among the green and brown. Finally she threw herself on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably, but fighting hard to the fits quiet. The archer hid a respectful distance away as she cried as she had not cried since her agonizing nights with Lagohaire. Even a slight remembrance of the horrors of her life caused her to cry even harder. So she just stopped trying to stifle her tears, and sobbed. Her tears pricked the young man's heart, and he could not stand her pitiful wails anymore, and he rushed to Eithlinn's side, caressing her back and silently shushing her. At his touch, she threw herself on him, clinching him to her as she soaked his leather tunic. At first, he recoiled from her forwardness, then gently relaxed, and continued stroking her back. Gradually she quieted, and she rested her head on his shoulder. Sighing, she backed away and stared into his light green eyes. "What is your name?" she whispered.

"Wythe."

"Thank you, Wythe." She smiled at him, and little shaky. He smiled at her puzzled, then stood up, helping her also to stand.

"And, what your name?" She smiled, more sure and wide this time.

"Eithlinn." He grinned, his dusted freckles across his cheeks and nose stood out, and his dark red hair hanging low. He tried to push the strand back. She laughed, all her tears gone, and she tucked the strand behind his ear. "She me the forest," she whispered. They gripped hands and lightly ran through the trees, skimming over the leaves and their laughter ringing through the leaves.

(***)

Moytura paced back and forth in his tent, mumbling and ever so often glancing at the opening of his tent, but seeing no one entering he continued pacing. A flap caused him to spin around to see a smiling Aurora carrying a tray of food, filled with strips of meat and flat bread with herbs. At seeing his scowling face, Aurora lowered her eyes and set the tray down by his forsaken bed. Holding a cup of water to him, she said, "You must eat. Eithlinn safe. Nothing in our woods harm her."

"Why is she not back!" His booming voice caused Aurora to cringe and withdraw slightly. "It's been hours, Aurora. It is night!"

"Yes, yes," she replied, soothing. "But worrying not help. Please, eat."

"Not worry? I should have gone after her myself."

"Not worry. Wythe take care of Lady." At Wythe's name, Moytura growled, and pushed past Aurora and out his tent.

Once in the cool night air, he let his held breath out, then breathed deeply. A tiny peal of laughter sought his ears. Peering into the darkness, he saw two figures in the moonlight, the significantly female figure leaning against the taller one.

"Eithlinn," he whispered, then repeated her name, but louder.

The woman's head lifted then slowly turned around and faced him for several moments. Her eyes glittered as she turned to her partner and whispered a few words to him. They both rushed off.

A cough from behind kept him from chasing after them. He glanced impatient over his should to see Aurora, still smiling at him. "Come, eat."

*Yes, I thought ya'll'd like to know just HOW to pronounce the names your reading. By the way, do ya'll remember Cian? Oh well...I know the chapter's short, but it's the best I could do at the moment. I haven't had much time for writing to your actually pretty lucky to get it this soon. Okay, actually it's been a LONG time, and I apologize...really. Just thought you'd like to know, all the names I've used so far except for Aurora's and Wythe's and Boc's and Zeek's (those last two I made up) are all Irish. If you want to know where they came from, say so in a review. Thanks to whoever reviewed. I know I usually answer them, but I can't right now. I DO know Kentes reviewed. Man, why haven't you updated? And WHY did you take EVERYTHING off? It's really upsetting. I have read all the other reviews, it's just Kentes is the only one I remember. A special thanks to everyone else. @:)