In the Fatherland (A Cold North Wind - Bk 2)
Click on image to enlarge.
by Brenda Roberts
Description: A Priestess of the Mother Goddess is abducted by barbarians and taken to the Fatherland. There the young priestess finds a home. But when her female warriors from the Motherland move to rescue her, will she loose everything the Mother Goddess told her she'd find with the barbarians, including the chance to be a healer and a mother in her own right?
Touted as "Xena meets Clan of the Cave Bear", this book covers it all: abduction, clashing cultures, primitive settings and romance.
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, 2012 SynergEbooks
eBookwise Release Date: April 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [132 KB]
Reading time: 79-111 min.
In the Fatherland by Brenda Roberts is a short but smooth and graceful story. It is appropriate for preteen ages on up, and particularly for women. The reader comes away with lessons to be helpful now and later, or as reminders of lessons forgotten in the hustle of living.
The story takes its turns and no spoilers will come from here. It occurs to the reader that the story reflects experiences many of us have in life, both men and women.
The book does remind us though to find the riches and rewards of life, our destiny and purpose, where we are, and life can often still be good.
~ Susan Laufer Ph. D.
* * * *
Again the pounding sounded as if someone were trying to break down a door. Areesa awoke, disoriented, wondering how she had come to be riding slung over the saddle of a moving beast.
Now that she was awake, she realized the pounding was the sound of a very nasty storm, which was nearing them rapidly. The foreign voices around her shouted back and forth over the rising wind. Suddenly she was being bounced like her ribs were going to snap in two. The horses were heading up the slopes of the mountain range for the mouths of caves just barely visible before them. There was a sudden pelting of stinging ice and rain hitting on her unprotected head and arms. How did she, a Priestess, come to be in this situation?
Inside the cave, she was dumped unceremoniously on the floor and left tied. All around her women rushed to start fires, erect some sleeping areas and start some food to cooking while the men corralled their mounts farther back in the cave. Taking furs, they began wiping down their soaked horses. Some of the men were starting a fire to dry out the saddle blankets and other gear.
Lord Carlin left his mount to one of the younger men and stomped back to the mouth of the cave, where he stood looking out at the sleet that was changing to hail. He looked across at the higher peaks of the mountain's pass where they were headed; it was snowing.
Huge gray clouds seemed intent on obscuring the pass. If that happened, they would be stuck here in these caves indefinitely. They didn't have enough food to outlast a long storm.
He turned and called to a couple of his best hunters. "Go scout the nearby caves for some food. Stay as close as you can. Return before the snow hits whether you have found anything or not. We have enough for a few days; hopefully by then this storm will have passed and we can get home.
"Yes, my lord!" Ronin replied.
He and Topkin picked up their bows and arrows and wrapped heavy fur cloaks around their shoulders, quickly pulling on their hats and tying them under their chins. They went to the opening of the cave and stood there a moment in order to find the path that led to the caves just to the side and below of the large one they were in. They could barely make it out between the flashes of lightning. Chances of finding food was very slim in this weather but if the Lord said to go, then go they must.
A few measly rabbits, a frozen yearling buck, some berries poking through the snow on the way back to the shelter were all that Ronin and Topkin brought back. The blizzard had made finding their way back up to the sheltering caves almost impossible. They staggered in against the force of the wind not long after they had left.
The guards caught them as they nearly fell and helped them to cross the threshold into the warmer area of the cave. Truth be told, thought Ronin, even if there were no fire, the absence of the stinging icy winds would have made this place feel as if it were summer in the Fatherlands.
Topkin took the wealth over to the women tending the cooking fire and collapsed on a pile of furs. He laughed at something the women said and began to shrug out of his wet clothing, at least three layers of it. He started with the leather moccasin-type boots he wore. The lacings were so wet that they had to be tugged with knife point to get them started to untie. He stretched and wiggled very red toes before the fire.
From the far side of the cave, Areesa watched through partially closed lashes. She was still confined to the supervision of a couple of the young women and a male guard who stood nearby. "Like," she thought, "I am dumb enough to run out into that weather to escape."
She settled down and reached out with her mind to see if she could sense any of her people. Their flavor was far away. Too far for her to reach them even though she was now fully awake.
A young woman with the palest blue eyes and hair almost as blonde as her own brought her a fur and wrapped it thoughtfully around her. "Mother Goddess' Blessings on you for your kindness." Areesa spoke formally in her mother-tongue to her.
A startled look lit the young woman's face. After glancing around to make sure that she wasn't observed, she replied softly, "May we all be Blessed," in Areesa's language. She smiled shyly and hurried away before Areesa could say anything else.
Soon the warmth and the low murmur of voices and gentle laughter lulled Areesa back to sleep. She snuggled down in her borrowed fur and dreamed.
"Young daughter, young daughter, awaken." came the voice as familiar as her own lost mother's.
"Mother?" she murmured still fast asleep.
"Daughter, awaken, I must give you your instructions. You have been chosen. For this your birth cost your own mother's life. For this you have been destined from your first breath.
Areesa opened eyes to look at the radiant glow of the Mother Goddess. She knew instantly who was speaking to her. Never before had she received a visitation, but other priestesses before her had told of their own calling
"Mother? What is it that I must do?" Her voice was stronger, more alert now
The Goddess continued to speak to her, outlining the path that she would be required to walk. One of which was to suffer marriage and the birthing of an heir into the lost country now called the Fatherland, though the Father of them all no longer watched over them, being too involved in warring with others
As Areesa accepted the challenge set before her, she was awakened by the sharp tones of a language she neither understood nor wanted to. Only two things made her leave her eyes open; her stomach grumbling loud as the thunder had earlier and the smell of food hovering over her head. She sat up and seeing that it was yet another woman, she simply nodded regally and took the offered plate of food. A stew of some kind she thought as she looked at the mess of vegetables, fruits, grains and the strings of skinny rabbit.
"Thanks be to you," Areesa spoke to the woman. The woman shrugged her lack of understanding and shouted something at her while motioning to eat. I am not unhearing, Areesa thought, grumbling even as she dipped her fingers into the gruel. For such a strange combination of foods, in her hunger, it seemed the best meal ever served.
After the meal, she was taken to the silken tent of the War Lord -- Carlin, she had heard others call him. She knew now, after her visit with the Goddess in dreamtime, what would happen but it still did not prepare her; nor did it make her want to do what she knew she must.
She sat, finger combing her blonde hair, removing the bits of rubble from the rough ride over on the beast and the dirty floor of the caves. She did not know of the rescue attempt being so cruelly defeated below, only that the men had suddenly gone to the front of the cave and she could hear the sounds of an avalanche of snow tumbling down. Soon, it was darker in the caves with only firelight sifting through the tent sides.