Sorcha looked up at the sky as they pulled her towards the pile of wood. Why had she refused Red's offer? She probably would be safe now if she had just married him.
I don't love him. She reminded herself. But still…
He had provided to her every need while she was there, and they were great friends, but nothing more. She bent her head again, clutching her bag to her. This would be their last chance.
They pulled her up onto the pile, and one of the men handed her bag over when she pleaded for it with her hands. The torches were thrown onto the wood. She watched the flames creep nearer for a while, then looked back towards the sky. She thought she could see her brothers through the smoke.
Six white swans swooped down towards her. Sorcha had opened her bag just in case, and when she recognized them, she began pulling out shirts and placing them on her brothers, watching joyfully as they turned back into men.
Even as she did so, she heard the noise and saw the crowd parting. Suddenly, a familiar voice broke through her dream-like haze.
"Out of the way!" Snapped a voice that could only be one man. She turned to look at him, and realized that an archer was about to shoot him. She snatched out the last shirt, threw it onto her brother without looking, and cried out to him, hoping to save all of the men she loved.
"Simon!" Her voice carried across to him. His head swung up; he swerved his horse. The arrow crashed into his arm, but he simply yanked it out and rode over to her. He leaped his horse over the flames and hopped off, pulling her into an embrace.
"Sorcha." He whispered into her hair. Slowly, he moved out of their loving hug and looked at her brothers, nodding to each one in turn, but smiling only at Finbar, who, Sorcha now realized, still had a wing for an arm on one side. Picking her up like a bride, he jumped back onto his horse and took her back down into the whispering crowd, which was being condemned by the priests. She snuggled into him, unconcerned.
Red and his men watched in shock and disbelief as they rode past. They all probably thought that she and Simon had never met before and that she had bewitched him. She really didn't care. With Simon, she could face anything.