Roana watched her brother and friends playing in the trees. She wished she could go and play with them but her parents had told her she couldn't. It wasn't lady like to get dirty like the boys. She was only ten. Why she had to act like a lady at such a young age she didn't understand, but that was what her parents believed.
Simon and Melot waved at her as they went deeper into the trees. They knew how bad she wanted to play with them. But they had gotten into big trouble the last time they snuck her away. She was one girl they didn't mind having around. She didn't act like the other girls her age. She wasn't giggly and didn't mind getting a little dirty. But her parents refused to let her play with them none the less.
"Roana, why don't you go play with Arian? Or one of the other girls?" Her father asked as he sat down beside her. "There are plenty of girls your age to play with."
Roana shook her head sadly. "They don't like me. They say I smell like the boys."
Her father sighed and looked over his shoulder at his wife. They hated to see their daughter so alone and upset. His wife nodded and he turned his attention back to Roana. "If you promise to not ruin your clothes, you may go play with Simon and his friends. "
Roana gave her father a hug and got to her feet. Before her parents could head another warning about her clothes she was running towards the trees. Her father stood up and watched her happily run off.
"Do you think we have made the right decision?" His wife asked. "Will Roana be a prized wife some day?"
He took his wife's hand and lightly kissed it. "She will. She is a beauty already. The young men in this village would have to be blind not to notice."
"But no man will want a woman that doesn't know how to take care of him or a family." she said sadly as she walked back into her house.
"Roana!" Simon said shaking his sister awake. The moment her eyes opened he grabbed her hand and pulled her out of bed.
"Simon, what is the rush?" Roana asked angrily. She was not one to be woken so suddenly. "Simon tell me!"
Simon turned towards her with frightened eyes. "the Irish are here. They are burning the village."
"Mother and Father?" Roana said worriedly.
"They were visiting Edtyh. They will be safe." Simon said as he lead his sister into the trees. He sat her down in some brush and sat down next to her. "Now keep quiet Roana. We must keep quiet."
Roana hid her face in her brother's shirt and tried to ignore the horrific sounds coming from her village. The screams of woman and children and the sound of metal against metal. This was going to haunt her dreams for years to come.
"Simon?" a hushed voice called from farther in the trees. "Roana? Is that you?"
"Melot?" Roana asked. Melot walked up to them and took Roana's hand. "Come, both of you. It is safer back here."
Roana let Melot lead her farther into the trees as her brother followed not far behind.
"Why do they do this?" Roana asked as she tried to hold back tears. "Why must they hate us?"
Melot looked down at her sadly. "Because my Uncle and the rest of the Barrens are trying to sign a treaty tonight. To bring Britain together as one force. If the treaty happens, we out number the Irish greatly."
"Then I hope it happens." Roana demanded. "I hope Marke kills them all!"
Melot smirked down at her then brought her down into a thick brush. Simon sat close by. He could see the village go up in flames. He looked over at his friend and sister to watch Melot bring her face into his chest.
"Close your eyes Roana." Melot whispered to her. "Close your eyes from this horror. And know Simon and I shall keep you safe out here."
Roana did as Melot said. She knew he was telling the truth. He and Simon would protect her, no matter the cost. Slowly sleep took over her. When she woke Melot was gone and Simon had taken his place. He looked like he had been crying.
"Where's Melot?" Roana asked with a small yawn. It took a minute for her to recall the reasons she had been sleeping out side. She sat up at once and looked around.
"He's with his mother." Simon replied. "Come on. We need to find father."
Simon stood and took her hand in his. He slowly lead her to what used to be her home. But know it was nothing but a few chard boards that did not burn. Standing by the house was her father. His shoulders shook as he cried. Slowly he turned to his children and brought them into his arms.
"father? Why are you crying? Where's mother?" Roana asked. Her father looked sadly at his daughter.
"She's gone." He replied. "She had gone back to find you and got caught in the fire."
Roana looked back at the house then over at Simon. "We shouldn't have left Simon."
Her father shook his head. "If you hadn't, you would have suffered the same fate I am afraid."
He looked over his shoulder and sighed deeply. Marke and some of his men had just returned to see the ruins of the village. "Go find Melot. I need to talk to Marke."
Simon took Roana's hand and lead her away to find Melot playing with some of the other boys. When he saw them he motioned them over.
"They took my father as well." He said looking down at a crying Roana. "Marke will figure this out. Nothing stops my uncle."
"Melot! Melot!" from a distance they could hear Edyth calling for him. Melot hurried to see what his mother wanted as the others followed not far behind. He was like the leader of all the children. Being Marke's nephew every one wanted to be his friend. As his mother came into sight Melot froze. There standing next to her was a boy around his age.
"Melot, this is Tristan." She said as tears fell from her eyes. "He'll be staying with us."
Roana took a step towards the boy, but Melot quickly grabbed her arm. He gave her a stern look and she fell back next to her brother.
"Why don't you take Tristan with you." Edyth said as she lightly pushed Tristan towards her son. "He has lost much today."
Slowly Tristan walked up to Melot but neither boy talked. As they walked away Melot turned towards him.
"What have you lost?" he asked eyeing him.
"My parents." Tristan replied quietly.
"I lost my mother." Roana said taking the boys hand.
"Roana, don't you have something else to do?" Melot asked grabbing her arm and pulling her away from Tristan. Roana looked up at Melot shocked. He had never treated her that way before. She took her arm away from him and walked away. She didn't understand why Melot had acted like that and he never did it again till she was much older.
Nine Years Later
"Simon, have you seen Roana?" Edyth asked annoyed with her hands on her hips and a stern look on her face.
"No, I haven't seen her all day. I thought she had gone to work." Simon said with a roll of his eyes. He should have known she wouldn't be at the castle. Marke had offered Simon and Roana a job working for him after their father had died the year before. Simon was always there, but Roana on the other hand only showed up when she felt like it.
"I swear if she is off with Melot or Tristan..." Edyth trailed off. She was tired of hunting the girl down every day. She had better things to do with her time.
"She's not with Melot. I just saw him go into the castle." Simon said with a sigh. "I'll go find her."
Simon sighed as he walked towards the river. There were only a few places Roana ran off to. The river, and a clearing in the trees. He walked to the river and groaned when she saw his sister sitting next to it with Tristan. They were throwing stones into the water in silence.
"Edyth has been looking for you." Simon said causing his sister to jump. She turned to him and threw a rock at him. He glared down at her. "You should be thanking her for talking Marke into giving you a job. He didn't want to you know."
"Its true." Tristan said with a slight smirk. "Not to many men want a girl like you around. You cause to much trouble."
Roana glared over at him and got to her feet. "That is not my fault."
Simon rolled his eyes. "Get back to the castle Roana."
She sighed heavily and walked away. The moment she was out of ear shot Simon turned to his friend.
"You are the reason men think she is trouble." Simon said sitting down next to Tristan. "You and Melot. People are starting to think you are both courting her."
Tristan smirked. "She was the first nice child I met when I came here. Remember."
Simon sighed. "She has always run around with the boys. But know that she is older, its not highly thought of. By this rate, she will never marry."
Tristan looked over his shoulder in the direction Roana had gone. "She will marry. She is a beautiful girl. Many men think so. Just give it time Simon."
Simon shook his head. "No man will ask for her hand with you and Melot around."
"Maybe Melot will ask." Tristan said with a shrug. He then chuckled a bit. "He has always been protective of her."
He stood up and looked down at his friend. "Don't worry so much Simon. You are starting to sound like your father."
Simon stood and wiped the dirt from his pants. "I'm the only family she has left. It's my job to worry about her now."
Roana rushed up the steps of the castle but before she could reach the door Melot came out and grabbed her hand. "Mother is in a mood. I wouldn't go in there just yet."
"Melot, I'm the reason she's in a mood." Roana replied pulling her hand away from him. He stopped and took her hand once again.
"Melot!" Some one called from the casle. At once Melot started to run off, pulling Roana along with him. His mother stood in the door way calling for them to come back, but Melot kept running. He knew he'd get an ear full later, but at the moment he didn't care.
"Melot, your going to get me into trouble!" Roana demanded.
"You're always in trouble with my mother." Melot said with a smirk. Roana took her hand back and stopped running. "Not just with your mother! I'm talking about Marke and Simon."
Melot rolled his eyed and walked up to her. "You're always in trouble with them as well."
Roana turned her back on him. "Because of you or Tristan."
Melot groaned. "Must we talk about him."
Roana looked at him over his shoulder. "I thought you two were close friends."
Melot crossed his arms. He was starting to realize Roana was messing with him. "We are. But he always gets what I want. He always has."
Roana rolled her eyes at him and turned to look up at him. "What doesn't he have that every man in this village wants?"
Melot shrugged. "He doesn't have you."
Roana smacked his arm. "I should have known you'd say something like that! You are playing with my head."
Roana then took off back towards the castle. When she reached the stairs once again Melot grabbed. Her but this time around the waist. She let out a small surprised yelp as he picked her up and placed her on his shoulder.
"Uncle, I have found her." Melot demanded as he walked in. "She's trouble, this one."
Edyth placed her hands on her hips and looked sternly over at her son. "Roana is not a young girl any more Melot. She's a young woman, and you need to teach her as such."
Melot sighed heavily and set Roana down. He winked at her and walked out. Roana turned to Edyth and opened her mouth to say something.
"I know, you have nothing to do with being late again." Edyth said angrily. "It was Tristan and Melot keeping you from your duty here."
Roana bit her lower lip. "Well actually no, I went to the river alone. Tristan found me there. Neither of them was to blame today."
"You don't have to protect them." Marke said with a slight laugh. He then looked at Edyth. "Don't be so hard on her, sister. Those boys are lucky to have such a good friend in her. Later when they take a bride, they will know how to treat a woman right. That's why I'm such a gentalman. I had you as a sister."
Edyth rolled her eyes. "Don't try to butter me up. The girl is still in trouble."
Marke shrugged over at Roana. "Sorry Roana, you're on your own."