Here’s an extended snippet from my Rainbow of yesterday–from Ninian’s memory palace–this is medieval Ireland, and certain sexual practices were, shall we say, not looked upon kindly–Ninian’s so-called friends have just finished cutting his hair and his beard to punish and shame him.
“I reckon that’s good enough for the likes of ya.” Rónán wipes off his knife on the side of his trews, then gestures to Cathal and Bran, who come up on either side of me and roughly jerk me up so I’m on my feet. He takes his ham-handed fist and grabs me by my collar, yanking my léine right down the middle, then doing the same to my trews. He strips me of my brat, my first large one.
I’d only earned it yesterday.
Rónán throws it over his head and shoulders like a shawl, prancing around playing a maiden trying to catch a young man’s eye, and the others can’t help but laugh.
“Oh look at me, I’m a lady I am, care to take me behind the bushes?” he minces, pitching his voice like a shrew. He thinks he’s funny, but I merely stand with my newly shorn head bowed, my eyes lowered as I try to hold my tattered garments together. Revenge will come in its own time.
They all approach me and start pushing, shoving, making me stumble as we all near the edge of the clearing. With one last giant push, Rónán sends me to my knees in the darkness outside the circle of trees.
“Go on now, get yer buggered ass gone,” he yells. “If we see ya again, we’ll kill ya, and your Ruathal won’t be able to save ya, ‘cause we’ll kill him too!”
Laughing, they leave the clearing on the opposite side.
When I’m alone for certain, I pick myself up, rubbing my hands over my head and face, then stumble down the path in the general direction of Ruathal’s cottage—
–finally letting the tears come.
Read more snippets here on your Sunday :