I disappeared from there fast. No matter what he said or was about to say, I wasn’t listening. I was after getting some sleep without him next to me, without my brothers asking questions, without anyone around me.
I tried to cry, telling myself I was allowed now after I had yelled it to his face – to one face that had the least to do with it accept him being a Dane. Walking calmed me a little and gave time to think, let out all the anger that boiled in me. After I calmed, I always knew that blaming them wasn’t a solution. To hate them felt like cutting out part of my heart with it every time I let that thought run through my head. I loved them. I did not hate them. And that’s what I kept repeating until it gave me new wave of headaches.
At first I stopped near granary, pushing myself against the logs, trying to make my body stop shivering. It wasn’t from cold nor from fear and I hoped if I just stood there, in the middle of daisies and pasqueflowers that this awful feeling will pass. It did ease, leading my mind to the road of what if I had been too hasty and he did come to tell me he took me as a woman instead of…
Damn it, this was all so confusing! I had to stop tormenting myself this way – I had given him a choice and taken down my own bridges at the same time. Brothers would be angry at me for a while, also cutting me off from my dowry I suspected, but at this point it held little value in my eyes. I just knew I had dug myself a wolf trap and was deep enough to never see the daylight again. He had the right to make his decision and I had to accept it and go on.
I was suddenly clad I didn’t have the duty to protect my village against invaders – in my stupidity I’d play it right into their hands.
The only place that I felt could offer me such freedom of not being disturbed was forest and that’s where I headed. Not far, only a mile or so near the hillside, where the cows ate. I was sure Vikka wouldn’t mind if I sat with her through the night watching the cattle. That is, me sleeping, she talking with Alva and letting me sleep.
I was half way there, when I heard something move not farm from me in the bushes. At first I thought that Dalek was following me and prepared to yell at him not to frighten me like that again. I couldn’t see well though it was only mildly darker than at dawn, but I could tell this wasn’t man walking there, but something smaller and it was coming right on my way. I froze on the spot, eyes wide and stared at where the sniffing game.
“Please, don’t let it be wolf!” I whispered a pray towards the sky, before the fear stole my voice and kept staring. I managed to promise to be a very good in everything I’m taught, too, if it wasn’t the wolf – because beasts I feared – and was then suddenly face to face with a…
I let out a loud sigh and whispered few thanks towards the skies, continuing my road right after his grey stripes and white cheeks had enough of ogling me back, realizing soon, who I was and then disappearing back in the ferns. I hasted now, to get to the herders before anything else happened, but stopped only few steps later for new cracks reached my ears.
This time I didn’t stop to wait and continued my steady speed. Meaning, I virtually stood still. I wondered, what would benefit me more – if I kept my eyes shot or continued watching, who would now come out of the bushes. Brain had no understanding of the phrase “shut eyes” and I couldn’t do anything else but stare at the next thing that walked there.
Two footfalls, then one thug, two footfalls and again a thug. A shadow appeared then, only a figure, but steady enough to see it was an old man.
That was all I needed and I ran as fast as my feet would let me. Father of the forest was not who I wished to meet. They said he shall cast a spell on you if you see, what he looks like, so you can’t find the way back and tell the others and I wasn’t about to be one of those, who staid in this forest forever. And I wasn’t gonna go back home now either, being so far away from the village as I was and half way to the herder’s camp. I could see the light already.
I landed hard on the hay they had placed under themselves to keep the damp away. They screamed accordingly, seeing my light tunic next to themselves in such a short notice. I only laughed, too happy to see them.
“Laurien? Laurien, are you insane?!”
I let out a humble sigh. “Pretty much!” I reported happily, changing looks with both of them and curling up on the hays. “I just ran away from home, because Erika let Dalek in the hayloft and he wouldn’t let me sleep!” I explained fast and tucked myself in my scarf so it would provide me at least some protection against the bloodthirsty biting midgets.
“Erika let him in?” Alva asked her voice slightly husky. I didn’t know how she managed, but even if she was shocked or angry, her voice always sounded slow and calm as if listening spring water brush its way through the sand.
“Yes.” I replied, before realizing the only way she could ask it this way – leaving out the part of where young girls scream in shock that boys are actually sometimes allowed in the haylofts –was that she was already accustomed with our situation. “Wait!” I drawled. “Viika!”
“You told Alva about this?” Not that I feared anyone else would hear it from her, but still – this was our family’s problem, not something the whole village needed to know. Well, they did probably know the most of it already, but not that he visited us in the hayloft.
She shrugged and Alva came to rescue her friend. “She only explained me some things.”
My eyes widened. “Like what?”
“Oh,” her voice grew sturdier, “only this and that…”
I took the hint – unless I wished to explain my actions to ten year olds, it was better if I stopped asking attempting questions in the first place.
“I thought Erika didn’t like him there.” She asked, leading us back to the first topic.
“She didn’t, at least that’s the impression I got, I’m not so sure now.” I whispered, watching how the flames band together a row of images I didn’t understand. I felt two pairs of eyes settled on me and was forced to look up. “What?” I asked innocently.
“You just suggested Erika likes Dalek!” Viika landed a knee length closer to me.
“No I did not!” What an outrageous idea!
“Yes you did!”
“I did not! And stop it – it is not the time or place to fill up my head with stupid ideas!” I said it with anger, winding the idea out of my head as fast as I could. There was no place for jealously in the matters of marriage! Erika with Dalek? Was I blind or something? Erika had only eyes for Sören as far as I could tell and she was terrible at hiding anything from me. So I told them, too.
“Want my advice?” Alva asked, eyes clamped on the flames.
“Sure!” I snorted, everybody else were giving them.
“That’s it?” I asked sarcastically, but on a second thought gave her a recognizing smile.
Viika plinked few times and started ranting about Alva actually reading the flames and knowing this stuff, making both Alva and me feel very uncomfortable. I knew she had the powers, her grandmother had them too.
“He has come to a conclusion, hasn’t he?” she asked me, ignoring that ranting spirit between us.
“You’ll like what he has for you.” Her eyes smiled to me before her expression showed pure pain what listening Viika must have caused.
I stopped her ramping by placing my hand steadily on hers and gaining her attention.
“You can really be so annoying sometimes!” Alva burst out and turned her back on us, observing the quiet forest line while we were blessed with staring at her long chess nut colored hair.
My mind was still mostly occupied with what she said and so I didn’t notice how Viika made it all right and when they started talking to each other again. I soon bit them good night and turned in sleeping like a log.