I watch as all around me dark waves surge and muster, striking causeway, frothing white and then falling back again, only to resume their eager timeless dance — a ceaseless rhythm of water on stone. Wind tosses my hair disheveled and mocks my ears with laughing voices. Gulls swoop and circle above, their shrill cries joining the wind.’Fool,’ it whispers, ‘Dreamer!’ the birds mewl. I ignore them every one, what care I for their assumptions?

Clouds scurry ahead, remote heedless giants changing shape as they pursue each other far out across the ocean. I pay them no heed, nor do I feel the sudden wet kiss of drizzly brine stinging my face. Winter in Barola Province means nothing to me. My gaze is frozen, my posture rigid yet trembling, and my furious salt-washed eyes locked only on her willowy form, the two armored guards flanking her lovely shoulders, as they escort her back inside the castle walls. Lissane!

They’ve taken her from me. My darling girl, the baron’s men come to bring his daughter back. Lissane warned me of this but I listened not. She told how her father, Eon Barola, (or worse, her twisted brothers) would deal with the lowborn blacksmith’s brat, Erun Cade, should they discover her with him. Fire and iron, knife and tongs were but a part of it.

But I heeded not her warning. I didn’t care and I still bloody don’t. Let them do as they will! Try to stop me as I follow Lissane inside the baron’s castle and take her far from this terrible place. She deserves to be free of them, not trapped as her poor mother had been. Everyone knows how the baron’s wife cast herself from his granite walls to escape him. Leanna Barola was a kindly soul.

The gulls are laughing now, they know the folly of my thoughts. It’s too late, I’ve failed her yet again. Already the waves muster for renewed attack, rising higher, washing weed and soaking my feet. Twenty minutes and the causeway will be overrun and castle and village lost to each other for long lonely hours.

And my beloved Lissane? Her father will have it out with her, grill her proud lovely features. She’s strong but he’ll break her, the bastard, and then bid his three sons seek me out in village and beyond. ‘Flee, my love, while still there’s time!’ Her kiss was fleeting as the guards urged her leave me, their hard faces hinting at my fate. And she is right! I should take horse out of here, ride anywhere and fast as can before the baron’s hounds fall upon me. But I am Erun Cade, by some called a fool. And that may well prove true. But I am no craven and I will not desert her. Somehow Erun Cade will find a way. This much I swear!

Later. Evening shrouds cottage, stream and forge.Wind and showers have departed with a fleeting sunset. It’s very quiet now. I’m alone at the smithy lost to my thoughts — each one a hammer assaulting my mind. Father’s away to drink, steeping his gloom in muddy ale. It’s how he takes his leisure these days. He has no time for me, and what with mother dead…

I dally, fret and bugger about. Time moves on. Owls watch me from branches above. Beyond the village the first causeway stones break free of water and glisten like serpent’s eyes beneath a silvered moon. Three miles inland, darkness settles silent at the edge of the wood where I stand amidst my quandary. I should tarry here no longer, but rather withdraw to the hills and gather my wits. Yet still I linger uncertain and alone. I cannot leave her. Lissane, how fares she inside that keep?

Then I hear it — a harp, soft and  haunting. It’s melancholy notes drifting through the trees, surrounding me and filling my mind with wonder. Do I dream? perhaps…but then what is dreaming and what is waking? I see a shadow beneath the trees, a tall figure watching me with ancient wisdom. A fleeting moment, I feel His gaze then He is gone. The harp notes dance urgent around my head as the shadowy figure fades deeper into woods and night. They follow him there and silence resumes. A warning? Time to go! But again it’s too late. I hear harsh laughter as the baron’s sons range noisy into sight, breaking the silence like hammer through ice. ‘Lissane, my love — forget me not!  http://smarturl.it/golt