Killing another man is never easy.
It gets harder every time, because now, Arthur understands that for every man slain, there’s a mother, distraught; a brother, bereft; a son or daughter, orphaned.
But that first time he drew his sword, and stained it red, he felt – for one brief, shining, terrifying moment – that he was born for this: to fight and kill.
Llud hadn’t wanted him to fight so soon, but Arthur had persuaded Kai to take him along with Neb and the others, on a hunting trip.
He’d felt so grown-up as they’d clattered through the gate, and pounded down the causeway, wide-eyed, whooping, urging their horses faster still.
He’d looked across at Kai, and their eyes met; Kai grinned that grin of his, that seems to steal the warmth from the sun, and claim it for its own – and off they went!
But game proved hard to find – harder to catch. Chasing deer, they strayed far from the woods of home, and as they crashed into a clearing, Saxons came upon them from all sides.
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