Short Story- Oath of Blood and Iron
The story opens with Angharad crouching in the scrub bushes above her homestead, from which she can see her father lying dead in the farmyard from a Fae arrow. In the distance, the Wild Hunt gallops away further down the evening. Angharad stays here for several hours before daring to venture down into the yard. There, she takes the old iron sword from her father, sacrilegiously leaving his body unburied, seeks out the Wild Hunt, tracking them further down the valley. At first, she thinks that she is consumed by revenge, and that is her initial goal, but as she approaches the next raided village, she is forced to reconsider.
The gist of this story idea came to me when I was about 17 as a way of subverting the trope of an orphan picking up their parent's sword/lightsaber/invisibility cloak and using it as a weapon. In most cases, it is a weapon to bring about justice through violence, but I wanted something different with this. I wanted them to do the opposite and work instead on reconciliation and restoration as a means of healing. I wasn't able to fully explore this in the short story as I could tell quite clearly where the story ended and it was before the foundation of essentially an orphanage. That I plan to explore or at least illustrate in later stories.
The story takes place in one of the high farming valleys of Ynys Gwyddard, on the edge of the Acholt, but not quite into the forested moorland itself. The main location is the farm that Angharad was raised on and uses the burnt ruins to form the foundation of the home that she later built for other children who had been orphaned by violence such as herself.