DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Brave. AHHH FINAL CHAPTER. Thank you for reading, honest to goodness, I love you guys! :) God bless you!
The next morning was an almost leisurely affair. Breakfast was served in the Great Hall, and everyone was cheerful and ate lazily, the time of setting off to be at eleven, a long time away when ya wake up at seven in the morning. There was big platters of food eaten merrily and big tankards of mead and ale were drained.
After the big meal, while everyone still sat about, Merida took the boys on a horse ride to an old place she and her parents used to hang out. The tent was still up. Even the target was still up. It was the royal family's little valley place, the place where Merida had first seen Mor'du and where her father had lost his leg.
Of course, with Mor'du gone and dead, there was nary much to fear in the woods now. Besides, with her bow and arrows, Merida felt quite safe as she walked up the target, ready to demonstrate proper shooting.
"All right, now remember, ya 'ave to 'ave the proper stance," Merida said. Her left hand held the middle of the wooden bow; her right held back the string, an arrow in place, the feathers connected to the string. The lads, all bundled in furs, were in a line, wearing their quivers and holding their bows. Macintosh looked a bit unimpressed. MacGuffin looked quite interested while Dingwall strummed his string, glancing from it to Merida every few seconds.
Merida, with a toss of her head, threw the hood that was on top of wild hair off, leaving the mass free as she said, "Keep your eyes open" - she was standing so that her hip faced the target, and she shifted her feet - "focus, keep an eye on the target, and-" she let the arrow loose, and it flew through the chilly air and sank into the dirty canvas, right in the center.
The princess smiled, straightening as she turned to see the reactions of the lords' sons. They looked impressed, and Merida stepped back, snow crunching underneath her feet. "Go ahead."
And that was what they did. Macintosh rushed forward, and managed (after ten minutes) to hit the target, making him cheer and look very proud of himself. After five minutes, MacGuffin, concentrating, not saying a word, managed to hit the center of the target more than three times in a row. He looked to Merida, straightening, looking relieved, and Merida nodded, a smile of approval on her face.
Wee Dingwall was able to pick it up quickly enough, and time passed, the four of them shooting at the target simultaneously, until Merida, after shooting one, remembered that the clans were leaving, and turning so that she could see the harbor across the frost covered waves, she saw the that was a great many people on the wooden pier.
"Oh," she said, and turning, she said, "we best be gettin' goin' 'fore y'all get left 'ere."
They all looked to her, arrows in place in their bows, and they looked away. Three last arrows hit the target, and Macintosh, leaning on his new bow, nodded and said, "Lead the way, Princess."
Merida grinned, and she hurried to Angus. Within fifteen minutes, on top of their heavily breathing animals, the four young nobles had passed through the winding paths of the forest and at the harbor, skidded to a stop right by the start of the wooden planks. They dismounted, allowing servants to take the horses to their appropriate spots, and they hurried to the end of the harbor toward the large ships.
The three boys hurried forward, still holding their bows, Wee Dingwall nearly slipping on a patch of ice. Merida took a bit more time, her bow on her shoulder, looking around, almost spinning at a slow pace. She saw Maudie and the large, muscular man from the Dingwall clan holding onto each other, Maudie sobbing, and the princess also saw that at the end of the dock, there was the three lords and their sons. Along with them was her parents, who were both having a hard time restraining her three wee brothers. She let out a laugh as she ran to them. Her father had not been too amused at having to take a boat to get the boys back when the clans left last time.
"It's been lovely 'avin' you," Elinor said, both of her hands firmly on one of the triplets' shoulders.
The three lords were bowing. "And we 'ad a good time," Lord Macintosh said.
"But we 'ad a BETTER time," Lord MacGuffin said quickly, as he straightened.
"'Ey, but my clan 'ad the better time," Lord Dingwall said, pointing a thumb at his chest in protest.
"We're all so civil," Elinor whispered to Fergus.
"Aye! I know, right?" Fergus said cheerfully.
"At least this time there was no brawl," Elinor said, and as soon as she finished, all of the ships' horns blew, calling for everyone to hurry on. Elinor smiled at the lords and said, "We 'ope to see you all this comin' year."
"Let's 'ope so. My son still 'as your daughter's 'and to win," Macintosh said, hands on his hips.
Fergus let out a laugh as the lords, all arguing and pointing at each other, walked up the planks to their ships. Their sons turned to Merida and bowed, and Macintosh said, "They work well," nodding to the bows.
"Thank ya," Merida said. MacGuffin nodded, and so did Wee Dingwall, and the three of them went up their particular boat. The large, muscular man from the clan Dingwall rushed past the royals, stopping only to wave to Maudie, who was sniffling, wearing a small smile, and waving a handkerchief.
"Wut?" Elinor said, looking between the two as the ships set off.
"Probably shouldn't ask," Merida said cheerfully.
"Aye, aye," Elinor said, and she turned, and the six royals all waved to the swiftly moving ships. Members from each clan waved back at them, even the lords and their sons.
"You made those bows, Merida?" Elinor said, looking to her daughter, who was by her side.
"Aye, really, Merida? Those're brilliant!" Fergus said excitedly, draping an arm around his girls, the two triplets under his eye now on his bulky shoulders.
"'Ey, thanks, Dad," Merida said, leaning against him.
"Ya taught the boys 'ow to properly use 'em, then?" Elinor asked.
"Aye, I did," Merida said. She looked serious as she said, "I might make them into archers yet."
"We all know Merida likes that," Fergus said with a laugh.
"Dad!" Merida said, pushing at his arm.
"Wut!" Fergus said, still laughing.
Merida grinned at him and Elinor said, "Oh, you two."
Fergus said, "Oh, Elinor," and leaned down and kissed her cheek. She smiled, and the triplets, after looking properly disgusted, started to wave enthusiastically at the ships. Merida did the same, and she shouted, "'Appy 'Ogmanay!"
The rest of the family joined her in their calls of good cheer, and they all waved to the ships, their dogs leaping around them, waving goodbye to the rest of the clans and waving hello to the new year.
IT'S OVER. OGH. Thank you for reading! God bless you! Merry Christmas! :)