The Viking (Chapter V, page 1 of 6)

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It was not unlike many of the villages in Scotland, with a two-story keep made of stone where their laird and his family lived. In front of the keep was a large courtyard with a short wall around most of it. The stables were just beyond the wall at one end, and the clan used the other end of the courtyard as a market place. Surrounding the keep and courtyard were cottages of various sizes, some new and some seemingly very old, but in good repair. With the hill behind the village, trees everywhere, the ocean in the front and the mouth of the river emptying into the sea to the south, Clan Macoran was a desirable place to live indeed.

For most of the farmers on the plots of land granted them by their laird, the harvest had been plentiful. Selling their food at this time of year, when most had eaten there winter stores, was the most profitable. After all, not all were farmers. There were candle makers, weavers, cobblers, tanners, the laird and his family, builders, warriors and the priests, all of whom came to the market to barter for food on a regular basis.

Jirvel kept one back and used the other coin to afford vegetables, fruit, wheat and precious life giving seeds of various kinds they would need for the planting. The fresh salmon was tempting, but she reminded herself they now had a boy who could fish for them.

The market was alive with buyers and sellers all touting their remarkable victory over the Vikings the day before. Only three dead Scots and twenty six Vikings killed. "They won't be coming back here again anytime soon," they all agreed.

Kannak and Jirvel listened to all the gossip and nodded when appropriate. Then their laird arrived and Kannak held her breath. Everything that happened in the clan was Laird Macoran's business, whether her mother liked it or not. They had to tell him about Stefan and her mother was not an accomplished liar. Even so, Kannak knew enough to remain silent and let her mother do the talking.

"Good day to ye, Jirvel," Laird Macoran said. He waited for them to curtsy and then smiled his approval. He was a tall man with a dimple in his chin normally covered by his beard. His thick hair was a dark shade of red, as was his facial hair, and his eyes were green. He was a fair minded man who smiled often and nearly everyone loved him. Macoran was dressed in a skirt made of a dark green and white plaid with shoes that laced up his bare legs to just below his knees. It was a new form of dress which seemed to be sweeping across all of Scotland, or so the gossip reported. Nevertheless, some of the men found the new dress unfamiliar and still wore their baggy long pants.

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