Inanna awoke suddenly, her mother and sisters all shaking her excitedly – today was the big day.

She had dreaded it since she was introduced to Beircheart.

Her mother had laid out her own wedding dress on the bed for Inanna to wear.

Millicent and Frances had been out early that morning foraging for flowers. They had gathered two baskets full and were so pleased with their efforts.

The girls were in charge of the wedding bouquet.

Inanna wanted nothing structured and neat, preferring natural and informal.

She didn’t like fuss and she didn’t like bother and on this particular day did not care to be the centre of attention either.

She wanted to get this over with as soon as possible.

Freedom and Eamon awaited and she was not going to let a little thing like marriage or a big thug like Beircheart stand in her way.

For the first time in what seemed like an eternity Inanna felt strangely excited.

She was absolutely sure she could pull this off.

He was big and cumbersome, she was lithe and lean – surely she could outrun this big lug of a man. She could get under and over the bracken in the forest and make her way to the neighbouring village in no time. The medicine woman would take her in and cover for her until they could search no longer.

She knew that forest like the back of her hand.

Once that ceremony was over and they were in the carriage she would wait only a moment before making her escape. This will surprise him as he wouldn’t be expecting it.

There was no way in the world Inanna would be sharing a bed with that man tonight.

The ceremony came and went with minimal fuss.

Inanna being pleasant but not overly so.

There was a little celebration to follow and then many tears as she prepared to leave, mainly her mother’s and Millie’s.

There was not a tear to be seen in her father’s eyes, quite the contrary. He looked positively radiant, exultant even.

Finally this recalcitrant young lady would be out of his hands and he could concentrate on the two more obliging sisters.

As Beircheart grabbed her hand she flinched, a chill ran down her spine.

She read people’s energy very well and felt it even more strongly.