Author's Notes: This was written in 2007 as an English assignment for school. Sadly, I have lost the corrected version so this is the original. Thus, I apologise for grammar errors and typos.
English is not my first language.
Furthermore, I think you should know this is mostly a story based on historical facts and my own speculations; it's not an adventurous fictional novel. Also, any names used are not of my own creation; I used old Irish names, and some Celtic.
The village in which this takes place was/is indeed called Skara Brae and is situated on the Orkney Islands. Any questions, send me a review, and I'll try and answer. I still have a few notes left from the research I conducted lying around somewhere.
The Beginning of a Journey
The cold winds were blowing hard, even for a place like this, and tasted of salt. They brought in waves that carried fish and other useful things from the sea, so violent and harsh; seeming never to calm down completely. The beach which connected the land with the angry waters was rarely occupied on days such as these, but a lone figure could be seen struggling against the strong head winds. It was a girl – a young woman – whose reddish blonde, long, tangled hair blew in front of her face; making it difficult for her to see.
Her clothes were thick, fit for the chilly weather, and in her hands she'd collect most of her skirt. Hard objects weighted down the fabric; dangling heavily before her legs as she walked onwards. She was panting; spitting out hair as she tried to consume as much air as possible. Normally, she wouldn't have left the shelter of the village to expose herself to this danger. It was foolish and she had chores that needed to be done, but it could wait for a little bit longer. She was, after all, leaving this place for ever soon.
Several moons and suns had passed since her father had told them they were leaving. She remembered how fear had gripped at her heart, how she'd been unable to breath for what seemed like ages. It was the thought of losing her safe home – where she'd lived for so long – that put such fright in her. She barely listened when her father explained why they were leaving everyone behind – all their friends and loved ones. But as she'd calmed down, she understood. It was dangerous here; it was time to move on and find something new. Her father believed that changes were good. Their family had lived here for generations, and people were already moving away. Old houses were being rebuilt, new ones grazed fresh land; large stones were being raised to honour the lives and spirits around them – the children of the sun and the moon. It was their time, her father had said, to seek out new places and let their family be reborn. Perhaps he was hoping that his next child would hold the soul of his oldest son, Archibald, who had died on a trip over the sea. She could still see his wide smile before her eyes; feel his large hand in hers. The last thing she had gotten from him before he died was a stone; the outwardly ordinary stone that held such beauty inside. Her brother had given her many things in the past – stones, sea stars, and shells – all of them beautiful. White and black, red, even blue ones and little grey with dots. These were the things she was carrying; copies of her gifts. She wanted to bury them somewhere, to leave something behind. What if her brother returned from the depth of the sea, finding their house occupied by someone else? To leave a gift behind was the least she could do.
Returning home, the girl quietly snuck through the passages leading to her house. She was short enough to walk almost upright. Flashing a smile to the occasional head peeping through the doors she passed, the girl held her skirt close to keep the stones and shells from moving around too much. Light and warmth caressed the little bare skin she had, relieving her from the cold. When she entered the slightly rounded room of her family's house, nothing but red cheeks and heavy breathing were left from the outside.
"Senga!" her mother's rich voice called. The girl stepped through the entrance, turning directly to the left. Fire crackled from the centre, giving the faces of her brothers and sisters an orange glow. They were sitting around the hearth, waiting for the fish to be done and the water to boil.
"Mother, I'm sorry I'm late," she began, but had to duck in order to avoid some of the blow directed at her. Wincing, Senga looked down on the floor and quietly made her way to her bed. The conversations that had died out at her appearance picked up again and she was left alone to place the still damp stones and shells on the little shelf in the wall over her bed. She returned to sit by her youngest sister and only nodded when she asked her if she was alright. Gone in her thoughts, Senga barely noted her father's entrance.
"Look what I got from Eachann, Caoimhe!" a strong male voice called, making Senga turn her head to see her father; big and with a wild, red beard framing his weather-beaten face. In his hand, he held a beautiful pot decorated with colours and patterns. Eachann was a very skilled craftsman, and he made the finest tools in the village. Her one brother worked under him and had done several of the poorly shaped pots their mother used as a container of bones and other leftovers from dinner. He said he was going to become as good as the older man, but he had a long way to go. Besides, Eachann was a very nice and friendly man, and her brother had more than just pot-making to learn from him.
"Caoimhe, isn't it wonderful? It will do great on our trip! He made sure to make the bottom extra thick and the size is just right; not too big, not too small." Her father was still just addressing their mother, who was now standing by his side and admiring the piece of work. Senga and her siblings watched as he put it on the large stone dresser, among the many other possessions of any special value. As her father often said; it was important to show each family's worth. For Senga it had always been beautiful to look at – all the different things being illuminated by the firelight – and not just a symbol of social standing.
Her father sat down beside his sons, and continued to discuss their upcoming trip while Caoimhe, their mother, served the food. Senga sat quietly through dinner, thinking of what they might find once they've left. Would the sun's glow lessen, and would the moon still shine? It was in a way exciting, almost thrilling, to fantasise of the world around her. She knew it was lager than her village – knew there was land beyond the sea – but she couldn't quite imagine it. As she went to bed later that night, the world that awaited her took the shape of a dream. It was warm and inviting; strange and new. And her brother was there – smiling – with a necklace made out of small stones in his hand.
End Note: I should probably add I claim nothing to be true. This is my first post of anything original in the form of an actual story, so I apologise for any mistakes. That aside, thank you for taking the time to read this! :)