Here are the lyrics to the song referred to in the first paragraph - it's the first one of the two songs they play. Please don't be confused, the original lyrics are from the point of view of the woman while the band plays it from the POV of a man because, well, their singer is a man and they probably figured it'd make more sense that way.
Also, any Gaelic translations are directly included in the chapter later - so no need to pause and look them up. And now - please enjoy the last time we spend with the Westerners!
51 Years before, Beginning of Spring ~ 33 years before Penthesilea’s arrival
“How blithe each morn’ was I tae see my lad came o'er the hill...” The soft words were hearable only to Rósín herself as she clasped the stair-rail tightly.
For a moment, she hesitated. There was no one. Then, a figure detached from the shadows and her legs carried her down the stairs on their own.
“There you are.” Impatiently, Dystychon held out his hand, the one she was longing for so much to take - and hold on to it forever. “Come, sweetheart.”
Her heart began to pound within her chest, strong and fast, so alive and fragile at the same time that it amazed her each time anew.
“You don't now, and we never see us again,” he stated. “I go. Now.” Into the middle of the dreadful silence, her mind began to hum the merry tunes of the childhood song again as if to protect itself.
“Fain would I be in my own country herding his father's ewes...”
Light as a feather, her slender hand lowered onto his. A charming smile on his dark, handsome face - the handsomest she had ever seen - and he touched her cheek.
“Promise me,” she begged with breaking voice. “Promise me we will stay nearby so I can watch over my family and friends and see what will become of them.”
“Anything, sweetheart. Because you're mine now.”
“And you're mine,” she whispered with a slight sob which was soon chased away by a chaste kiss at her cheek. Whatever her noble father and his advisers said, Rósín could look beyond the foreigner's boastful demeanor and reputation as a ne'er-do-well. What he had revealed to her was a hard-working and caring but deeply desperate young man.
Desperate to lose what others didn't even grant him in the first place. Desperate in the face of an uncertain future in an unknown land.
She knew that feeling all too well.
And all along the way out of the village, the melody smoothly accompanied her steps. Guided her feet away from the hut she had used to think of as home. Into many lonely suns to come, toward her beloved and their late-born little son, the few people she would call hers from that moment on.
Gently, the bell-like sounds spread over the veil of night, covering the peaceful village and future that laid ahead of the two young people who left for love.
“Hard fate that I should banished be, gone way o'er hill and moor. Because I loved the fairest lad that ever yet was born...”
18 Years before, Age 22, Middle of Summer ~ A moon before Penthesilea’s arrival
The high-pitched, anguished scream from inside the forest startled Aéd. Who in the name of the gods was ranging the woods at such a time? As it was, only few people ever were to be seen at the path let alone in the forest itself.
Another scream caught his attention. Either the voice of a woman or child. He bit his lip. If he left to see if everything was in order, there was a chance the sheep would wander off and he'd have to track them down.
However... the temptation tugged at his nerves.
Gods, it seemed the yelling would never stop. It cracked, then was silent for a few moments until the air vibrated yet again. The sheep had stopped grazing. A few ewes were shoving their lambs into the middle of the herd while the rest clumped around anxiously at the frightening sounds.
Annoyed, Aéd leaned back against the stump and closed the eyes to suppress the urge to go and see for himself. But curiosity was a wicked thing, not caring for reason.
To the neverending pain of winter with it! He jumped up. Who cared for reason anyway?
“By the Great Mother, save your breath! I’m coming!”
The squaller was farther off the path than expected but kept screaming almost constantly without any sign of exhaustion.
“Gods, when I get to lay hands on you, I swear…!”
And yet, it was the thrill more than actual annoyance that led him through the thicket. Someone was in need, and he undoubtedly the only one around to help.
Finally reaching a little glade, he had climbed over thick bushes and wood. A small person sat at the ground, wrapped in a dress.
“Hello there?,” he shouted carefully so she would be warned of his sudden appearance. Immediately, the crying stopped. When she turned with tears flooding her cheeks, he caught a glimpse of auburn eyes and tan skin. The very image of a stranger in these lands although the girl wore a Western dress.
A situation that appeared familiar.
“Don’t be afraid,” he encouraged her softly while kneeling down. “Why are you screaming? Are you hurt?” She sure didn't look that way. Maybe she'd just got lost.
But instead of an answer, the girl kept staring at him with huge, scared eyes.
“What’s the matter with you? Don’t you understand?” He repeated the question in his father’s tongue and sudden understanding lit her face up.
“So, are you hur-” The last part of the word was swallowed up entirely by an unexpected pain bursting in his head. His upper body was catapulted forward. In the last moment, he managed to break the fall with the hands only for them to be pulled back by two pairs of arms the blink of an eye later.
They were folded and tied behind his back, meanwhile his head pressed down.
He tried to fight the two pairs of hands but the pain still claimed most of his strength in order to maintain consciousness.
Damain. “Shit, shit, shit...”
Finally they dragged him to the feet. Swaying, he threw himself against one of them without causing much harm. Instead, a punch found his face in return.
Skin burst open, a warm trickle ran over his cheek.
No chance afterward. Two held his arms in a firm grip, a third and fourth man now looked him over. One of the black haired’s corners of the mouth was lifted into a derisive half-grin.
“Is that him?,” he was asked by the other one.
“The description fits - in his early twenties, red hair, blue eyes and speaks two languages fluently. The latter can’t be common in these uncivilized lands.” He spit out, then narrowed his eyes as if thinking very hard. “Well, I can imagine why our client would rather see him gone. Remembering two daughters on the cusp of womanhood.”
“Let go of me!,” Aéd hissed, trying to break away from his guards but still not with the usual temper. “They’ll come after me soon, you’d be well advised not to press your luck!”
“Do you hear that?,” someone behind his back jeered and the entire group burst out into laughter. Everyone but the man with the contemptuous grin.
“I would be ashamed to live beyond a chief who turns his own people in.”
As his mind still tried to process what they were actually trying to tell him, the leader reached out behind him. A small figure scurried forward to grab his hand.
“Well done, dear,” he tousled her hair, “you’ve earned yourself another day on the cart instead of walking.”
Realization poured into Aéd’s mind and the pain left it for a moment. “She’s- that-” An angry growl was everything he got out in the end.
“Ha, well that’s a fast one,” the slave trader cackled as the redhead’s wrathful gaze wandered toward the auburn-haired girl to tear her limb from limb.
She stuck out her tongue and hid behind the man’s back.
“My precious,” the latter said almost proudly, “not only beautiful but smart as well. She will earn me a fortune one day.” Then, the tone of his voice changed all of a sudden addressing his henchmen. “You better silence him, we will try to avoid any attention from the village transporting him away. One can never know how many or few know about their fine chief's schemes.”
“The chief! A damainte siùrs-”
They knew their craft well. Even before Aéd could react properly, the world lost its well-defined shape, melted, turned black.
In the darkness, the last thing breaking through the wall of looming unconsciousness was a hand fumbling his hurt cheek.
“Lads, I know a good name for this one: Haimon, bloody.”
At present, Age 40 ~ 18 moons after Penthesilea’s arrival
...cuir anam do phàisde gu cadal...
...an gàirdeanan nan craobhan...
...doras chun an t-saoghail eile...
...Thoir cadal sìtheil dha gus...
...an dùisg Nighean na h-Earrach spioradan neo-chiontach le a làmhan...”
...bed your child’s soul down in Your arms, in the embrace of the trees, door to the otherworld...
...Grant him a still sleep until Old Winter will lose her power...
...until Daughter Spring will re-awaken the spirits of the innocents with her gentle touch...
...to bestow life upon us once more.”
Poses by josiesimblr, karzalee, SakuraLeon, rbarkah, MrsRacooney, beverlyallitsims (here and here), Atashi77, neutralsupply, Natalia Auditore and Rinvalee