Chapter 1

My father was not a forgiving man. His eyes told of sheer rage. I have seen many an utter rage in men throughout my long life, but never so vivid as my father's rage that night.

Tearing my gaze away from the burning village I dared to look into my father's eyes. The flames reflection danced tauntingly in his eyes. His hands were clenched so tightly over his axe his knuckles went white. The fire glowed so brightly in the night as embers rose and fell around us. Finally he called over his retinue of bodyguards from behind him without turning." Guards!" .The soldiers were respectively silent at the lords loss and until now had not spoken. One of them swallowed hard and spoke," what is it you wish chief?"

When my father turned to face them his face was set with an eerie grimace." let us set about our bloody task. Let these invaders taste the wretched power of a blade, filled with inconceivable rage. Let them wish they had never landed on these sacred shores." With that he spun on his heel and set off walking purposefully, followed closely by his guards. I took one last look at what was once my father's home when he was a child. The beauty of the fire sent a shiver down my spine. Glancing at the group disappearing in the distance I chased after them. As I ran I found myself on the verge of tears. Angry I brushed my face and continued on after my father.

In the morning I awoke to the familiar sounds of our village. Cattle bellowing and traders haggling, the blacksmith hammered out his sheets of metal and the ordinary folk laughed and bantered. The sound of the village surprisingly, disturbed me. Did they not yet realise the true extent of the invasion? Did they simply think this village would not be affected?

Before I could get nauseous with the amount of thoughts running through my head I heard a knock on the wooden door of my bed chamber.I called for whoever it was to come inside. "Aoife" I said cheerfully,forgetting my grim thoughts I was having.Aoife smiled "glad too see your finally up Connor.you truly are lazy you know" she chuckled.Aoife was the one girl I felt true love for my entire life.I had dreamed of her nearly every night.when I told my fathers druid about those dreams he smiled. "It is a sign from the gods that you too are soul mates". I longed to tell her my feelings but my courage lacked.I was in awe of her beauty. She had long red hair and fine dresses.the daughter of a wealthy alchemist and she spent much of her time helping the elderly.I admired her for it.She seemed perfect in every way.I reddened as I realised I wasn't dressed and pulled the sheet up to my chest,she chuckled "Ive seen you half naked before you know,when we swam in the lough remember?" I sat up on the bed and she sat beside me.My heart hammered and I felt lighter.I hoped she would stay by my side for as long as possible..She drew closer and brushed the fringe of my hair with her hand. " That hair should be washed and brushed by now connor" she mused. When your ready come out to the market,me and mac donagh have made some breakfast for the villiage,you should join us,we had fun last time." I nodded and smiled "I would be honoured". Aoife chukled and raised a brow "Aren't we supposed to be honoured in the presence of you?" and she laughed. I shrugged "were all equals deep down im hardly a god" and I lauged too.Her laugh was infectious and I marvelled at it.Then she rose and opened the door " don't be long now" she called as the door closed behind her.

I stepped out of the bedchamber and into the main meeting hall. My father and his too closest advisers looked up at me and acknowledged me. They were obviously discussing grim matters from the expressions I'd witnessed but my father forced a smile. "Did you sleep well my son? I hope our night ride was not too tiring" he mused. I shook my head and smiled trying to keep the charade of happiness going. I longed for the old times when my father and I could laugh and joke, but I knew also the invasion was all too real. Still, I hoped this peace would last; however I doubted it.

My father gave another faint smile and held my shoulders firmly. "My son, you are 16. You are a man now. I will not chide you with lies and falsehoods any longer. I know you fear the invasion, as do I, but together we will overcome them. Will you join me in battle?"

I knew this day would come. When I would join my father in battle. I wanted nothing more than to do so. Ever since I was able to hold a sword and string a bow I had wanted too but was playfully laughed at by the war chiefs. They would ruffle my hair and say "go home boy,you are as foolish as you are brave".I was always fond of my fathers companions but they angered me when they would say I was too young.Too weak.. Now I was too be treated as the son of the High-Chief of Arador, as a warrior. I would finally fight to protect our tribe and our province. Apprehension griped me. Perhaps I was not ready? I had never even seen the invader,let alone been in real combat. all I knew was that the invaders came from the east, clad in menacing plate armour. They came to conquer all the 4 provinces of the island .Arador was of only two left still unconquered. Would I have the skill and cunning to fight these barbarians? Would my careless leadership throw men's lives away? Then I saw the rage and now, as I looked back on it, sadness in my fathers eyes. It pained me; so much my heart had thudded painfully against my chest. I would do anything to rid my father of his anguish.

"Of coarse" I nodded.and smiled " lets give them something to worry about"

My father let out a rauchous laugh and clapped me on the shoulder "then we have not a moment to lose.you have trained all your life.Tommorow we strike back at the enemy.a defencive action is not to my preference " he winked and returned to his advisors who spoke earnestly with him.

I stood dazed.excited and ancious.this was it.I would see the invader tommorow.I would fight for my life,for my homeland.Before fear could grip me I focused my mind at the task at hand.pulling my cloak tightly around my shoulders I grabed my swords hilt tightly.