First Page: Unpublished Manuscript
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Duncan Sinclair hadn’t come to the Haven for the fires, but they were on his mind as he beached his sea-kat in a small cove just beyond the port. They were on his mind as he breathed in the Mainland smell that rose to greet him from the autumn mulch underfoot. And they were on his mind as he listened to the slow drumbeat coming from a distant fire circle. Soon it overlapped with the rhythm coming from another and another until the music matched his steps and his heartbeat.
Trouble usually began in the Four Arcs amid the crush and slide of bodies dancing the New Moon fires, and Duncan had stayed out of trouble’s way for too damn long. He whistled, and then he whistled at the top of his lungs, and then he laughed out loud, which wasn’t something he’d done much of lately.
What he had done was sail his kat through some rough waters to get here in time for tomorrow’s skirmish. But he wasn’t tired. He was awake.
Taking a familiar route to the Haven, he crossed a pasture where years before he and Greta had practiced battle tactics before taking them to O’Brien for the captain’s approval. The heather snagged his boots, but his feet felt as light as his spirits.
He was ready to offer his services and his arm to the squad again, even if that meant fighting alongside his brother. He jogged past sheep, some wooly, all with black faces. He had played for a similar crowd on the Edge the previous night, with more sheep than people in attendance.
If he’d had his fiddle with him, he would have headed first to the bard’s pavilion to play for a more appreciate audience than sheep, but he wasn’t traveling as a bard this New Moon. His first order of business was to find Conall and tell him the news, but after that he would find Captain O’Brien, and after that, who knew?
Perhaps he’d dance the fires with an old partner and teammate. Or maybe he would find her singing in the pavilion. Either way, he could still taste her skin like honey against his lips.