Saoirse pulled at the metal cuffs that bound her to her captor, Tadhg. She let out another groan, accompanied by another pull at the cuffs. Tadhg was almost jerked off of his saddle, and he shot her with a glare so intense Saoirse had to turn away. 'Sorry,' she muttered under her breath.
Surprisingly, Tadhg heard the apology, and gave her a wry smile. 'Look, Saoirse, I.......this is not what I had in mind when I joined your father's knights.'
She raised a delicate eyebrow. 'How did you meet him?' she asked, kicking Amergin's flanks, urging her horse forward so she was riding side by side Tadhg.
Tadhg shrugged. 'I met your father when I was in Opirlay. It's a town...well it's smaller than that, so I guess you could call it a settlement. Your father's men were stopping for the night, and I was passing by the settlement at the time. Bors and Gawain invited me to share their meal, ended up fighting both of them when they lost a bet, and I've been travelling with the knights since.' He flashed a mischievous grin.
Saoirse burst out laughing. There was nothing remotely amusing about his tale, but Tadhg was...different. It usually took Talwen, her best friend in the world, a lot of effort just to entice one wry chuckle out of her, but around Tadhg....it was just so easy to laugh with him, talk with him, even fall..
Fall in love with him?
Saoirse blinked. Where did that come from? She shook her head. After all these time, was it still possible? A sudden chuckle brought her back to reality, and she found herself looking at Tadhg, who had a soft grin on his face. 'Penny for your thoughts?'
'You looked so confused,' Tadhg explained. 'I thought you might have something heavy on your mind. Would you care to share? Sometimes it's much better when you let it out.'
Saoirse started to open her mouth, but closed it. 'You wouldn't understand it.'
'Then make me understand.'
She ran her fingers through her hair. Those four words were so simple, but she couldn't. How could she make Tadhg understand her loss of Aodhfin? Aodhfin, her childhood playmate. Her teacher. They were so close. For years he'd always been there. He'd even left her a small gift when he'd have to leave for home. His signet ring, a present from his brother. It was a small band of silver, with leaves of evergreen woven around it. He gave it to her, and she'd always worn it on a chain around her neck.
Without thinking, Saoirse's hand dipped into her shirt and took the ring out, toying with it as she rode on, remembering about their times together. Tadhg blinked when he saw the ring. Could it be? His eyes darted to Saoirse, who finally realized that she was been scrutinized. 'What?' she said, replacing the ring.
Tadhg struggled to find an answer, until he looked up. 'Well, we're here.' He looked up at the giant wall towering over him. Hadrian's Wall.