She awoke from her dream surrounded by the bodies of three guardsmen and the screams of a fourth. Confused, she looked in the direction of the screams and found the horse she had set free earlier, trampling the nearly dead guardsman. There were no arrows in the dead guards, and Conor was nowhere to be found. She approached the horse who stopped trampling as she neared. She drew her sword and put it to the guardsman’s throat.
“What happened here? To your fellow scum?” she demanded.
“Please do not do to me what you did to them!” the guardsman cried.
She was confused. She had no idea what she did. She didn’t want to let him know that, so she acted as though she had asked the question rhetorically.
“That’s right,” she smirked, “I shall spare your pathetic existence, if you leave your weapons and tell Lorcan I am free in Galicia, and the same fate shall meet him if he pursues me or harms my daughter!”
“M’lady, I can’t walk!” the guardsman replied as she disarmed him.
“Then I suggest you crawl!” she shot back with disdain.
As she crossed the river, she realized that Conor had never been there, and she had bested the guardsmen on her own (and possible with some help from her equine friend) before blacking out. She felt her head for lumps, but felt none, and was not sure what happened. She was not certain how she would survive, but began to awaken to the sense that she could.
It was close to five years later when Conor returned to Galicia in victory over the campaigns against the raiders from across the sea. Her dream had been prophetic, he was a key warrior from Galicia, and because of this victory was being made Lord and High Protector. She was in the crowd at the ceremony, and just as he was kneeling to receive his medal, he felt her presence. He lifted his head, sending gasps through the crowd, and caught her eye. As soon as the medal was around his neck, he stood up, bolted off the platform, and ran to embrace her.
They kissed passionately to cheers and applause, and he lifted her into his arms.
“I thought I would never see you again,” he told her once he could stop kissing her.
“I had to run, it wasn’t you,” she replied.
“You had to run?” he asked. “Do you still not see what is in you?”
“Come home with me,” she said, before kissing him again.
He stopped kissing her and replied, “I’ll take you home with me. To my estate. They treat their warriors pretty well here,” he laughed.
He carried her home and they made love by candle light. Her soft skin glowing against his hard body. They were both very powerful, and there seemed to be a give and take between them and an unresolved power dynamic that left them both hungry for more, but too exhausted to continue until another time. They collapsed into each other’s arms in exhaustion and ecstasy.
For the next year, Conor taught her the art of war and defense, in case she was attacked again while he was away. He would never forgive himself for leaving her vulnerable the first time, even if she knew he was not at fault. When he saw how much of a natural she was, and how he knew there was still more she wasn’t showing, he began to encourage her to confront Lorcan, and rescue her daughter. He built her up, and addressed all her fears of Lorcan’s posititon with the guardsmen.
Finally, they headed out.
Lauryn knew that her daughter would try to rescue Clar from Lorcan, and so she planned to ambush her as she did so, attempting to end once and for all the threat her daughter presented to her dark ambitions.
They came unobstructed right to Lorcan’s unprotected house, and were surprised when he opened the door as they approached.
“Come to take this bitch off my hands?” he asked her.
Conor drew his claymore and put it to Lorcan’s throat. “Respect!” he shouted through gritted teeth.
Conor’s reputation as a fierce warrior was well-known, and even Lorcan was not about to challenge him.
“My apologies,” Lorcan said, and added, “She is a handful, I am not equipped as a parent. I am actually glad you are here.”
It was then that Conor felt a sharp pain in his side and went down.
She turned around to see what happened, finding Lauryn, holding a now bloody blade at Clar’s throat. Then she saw the guardsmen emerge from the woods to surround them.
She knew Lorcan would not physically harm Clar, but Lauryn had no such limits. She began to feel terrible fear.
She felt a tug at her leg. Conor had reached up from the ground, and grabbed a hold of her dress. She looked down to see him wink and smile.
Suddenly, a blade rose from Conor’s hand and plunged itself into Lorcan’s chest, killing him instantly.
“You can do this! Awaken and show us all!” Conor shouted.
Her eyes rolled back in her head, as if she was about to have a seizure. But then they began to glow a brilliant white. She spoke some words of an unknown language before a beam of light shot from her eyes, eviscerating the encircled guardsmen.
Then she turned to face Lauryn, who stood trembling, still holding the blade to Clar’s throat.
“Go ahead. Kill me!” she shouted, “But I’m taking your precious spawn with me!”
Conor rose and readied his claymore.
“NO!” she shouted at both of them.
Then turning to Lauryn, she said, “I will not grant you the luxury of death. My awakening was not the only one here today. I grant you your own. You shall awaken to the empathy you could never feel. You shall feel the pain your lust for power caused others back upon you three-fold. You shall awaken to the knowledge of your own insignificance, crone. You shall live out your days haunted by your wasted life. So. Mote. It. Be!”
Lauryn, suddenly felt it all, for the first time. Her mind could not handle the sudden onslaught of grief and pain, and she dropped the blade. Then she fell to the ground, curled up in a ball, and wailed helplessly, unable to see anything but the darkness she attempted to use against others.
The new family embraced and then left toward home, awake to the power of love.