Sue is keeping up with the writing of this story very well. Another scene from current WIP for the #writephoto prompt.
As Raymond FitzGerald predicted, there has been no more fighting since the start of winter. Riseárd shares some of le Gros’ contempt for armies that go home once the weather turns and expect that their enemies do the same. She could have told him the reason if he’d asked, but not since the time of the Three Queens have men asked their womenfolk for advice about warfare, and they have never forgiven them for the peace they made.
The winter is hard. The beasts still have to be taken out to pasture whatever the weather, and the daily household tasks of milking, milling, carding, weaving are more difficult than in the summer. Just keeping warm is hard enough in some houses. How many men would willingly see their wives and children go cold and hungry? The Northmen don’t understand this because they have slaves to do the work and their unfree tenants whose lives are not their own.
She doesn’t complain that the tide of the war is at its lowest. She has Riseárd with her to watch her belly rounding and ripening. Together, from Dún Ailinne, they watch the outer walls rise around the hilltop, and within the walls, the keep where they will live, where, Aoife hopes, their first child will be born.
“This one will be a son,” Riseárd says. “I was promised I would marry a queen and she would give me sons.”
Aoife smiles. “And what else were you promised? That the entire herd of black cows would calf twice in the same year? A boat to fly across the waves to Tír na nÓg?”
He looks bemused. “Black cows have never been in my dreams, but I will have sons.” The frown smooths from his brow and he smiles. “And you, my fiery Eve, will give me them.”
She looks beyond him, through the narrow doorway at the falling snow. The baby will be born at the end of May. Riseárd will have gone back to his war before then, and their caiseal will be finished. Will that make her a queen? Not by her lights. Not while her king leaves her behind when he goes to war. Beyond the snow is the new year, a new life. She will show him what it means to be a queen.