The Art of Mirriam Neal

“She’s a piece of work.”

a111111Once again, it’s time to share le petite ecrits or, little snippets. Since Kenna has had my full attention the past two weeks, it won’t surprise you to learn they’re all from said story. I have no regrets.

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It was no small task to raise a human, let alone a girl-child. Einar had not expected it to be any sort of easy, but he had not expected the rest of the clan to decide that they, too, would like a hand in bringing up Kenna.

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Kenna!”

            She froze. He had never raised his voice to her, ever. She had never heard him raise his voice to anyone. Her name was like a slap, and it stung twice as hard. “I wanted to make s-something,” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper. “Why are you mad at me?” She reached for his rough cheek, willing him to soften, to be the Einar she was used to.

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So Kenna left girlhood behind and entered young womanhood without really noticing. She became beautiful somewhere between the two, and while Einar and the clan noticed, it was not a conscious thought. They simply saw her and knew that she was something to be protected, and so they taught her to protect herself when they could not and viewed it as something of a hobby.

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With no preamble, Ingimar said, “The girl says you’re taking her with you.”

            “I am.”

            “It will be dangerous for her.”

            “Not so dangerous we won’t survive it,” said Einar dryly. “At least I hope not.”

            Ingimar vented a faint sigh and folded his broad arms. It was impossible to read his face through the scars that cut through it, but his frustration was evident. “Perhaps you should disguise her as a boy.”

            Einar barked a short, dry laugh and fixed Ingimar with a hawkish gaze. “That would be difficult now, I think.”

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Quite a scene going on over there,” he said, gesturing toward the other side of the market. “Stannis is claiming an insane woman cut his hand open.”

            “Did she?” asked the seller, raising his own eyebrows.

            Farr shrugged his broad shoulders with a little interest. “I don’t know. His hand is bleeding.”

            “I did that,” said Kenna.

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Kenna could just make out the curvaceous woman in the blue dress, her hair ten shades of gold, yellow and brown. “I’d like to go see her,” she said, and looked at Einar. “Is it all right?”

            “Of course,” said Einar, smiling at her curiosity. “Go on. And please,” he added before she was gone, “do your best not to instigate another fight.”

            “I didn’t,” she began, and cut herself off with an impish smile. “I won’t,” she assured him, and crossed the busy street.

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She nodded, and pushed the scarf off her head so it hung around her neck and down her shoulders, leaving her hair free to play with the breeze. “That’s better.” She spread her arms and lifted her face toward the sun, like a cormorant letting its damp wings dry on a warm day.

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It’s all right, you know,” said the carver, changing the position of the king and prince figurines. “Who knows? It might be good for you.”

“I’m sure it will be,” said Kenna, “but that does not mean I’m going to enjoy it.”

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