Highlander Unchained (Highlander Trilogy 1)(3)

By: Donna Fletcher

“What are you standing there for?” Flanna shouted.

Dawn got busy in the kitchen, though not out of fear of Flanna. She was quick to punish many of the workers with a whack of her spoon across a hand or back of a head when angered by their laziness or lack of sense, but never once had she ever raised it against Dawn. She had threatened with a shake of the spoon in Dawn’s face, but had gone no further.

Dawn wondered if it was her height that put Flanna off, her head barely reaching Dawn’s chest. Then she thought that perhaps Flanna empathized with her. While not alike in height and weight, she short and skinny and Dawn tall and while certainly not thick in weight, not slim either. Alike though they were, for they both possessed plain features, not faces that turned men’s heads, indeed not memorable. And their hair was similar in color, dark red, like that of dried blood and straight without a wave or curl, though gray strands ran through Flanna’s, she being nearer to thirty years while Dawn had barely turned ten and nine.

And worse there was not a man ready to love them. Lay with either of them for sure, but love them, make a home with them, have babes with them, none wanted the two women for that. Dawn believed Flanna had accepted her lot and lay with men of her choosing, but Dawn could not do the same. She had been lucky that no man had ever forced himself on her, though some of the young women, who lay freely with men, laughed when they didn’t think she heard. Dawn knew they believed her commonly features was not the only thing that stopped a man from taking her and spilling his seed.

After all who wanted a woman who had no voice?

Chapter Two

“Dawn! You may not be able to speak, but I know you are not deaf,” Flanna shouted.

Then why did she yell? Dawn turned to face her. Most believed her deaf. After all she was struck dumb, so it would only follow that she could not hear as well, but she heard fine, better than most.

“The wild onions need replenishing. Go collect more and be quick about it.”

Dawn grabbed a basket from the many piled by the door and hurried out passed the cook’s garden and to the field beyond. She wasted not a moment yanking out bunches, the pungent scent rushing up to sting her nostrils.

She could smell well enough, see even better, but she had been born without a voice. Her mother had told her that she made no sound when entering the world. She had wondered over why it was so. Why had she been born with no voice? She could not make a sound at all, no grunt, no moan, nothing.

She could not cry out for help. No sobs were heard when she shed tears. Her laughter was forever silent and she could not cry out in the throes of pleasure, the reason the other young women so often laughed at her.

“What man wants to rut with a silent woman?” She had heard Dorrie, certainly no friend, remark and those with her had laughed as well. Of course Dorrie had continued, encouraged by the agreeable responses of her cohorts.

Dawn could have turned away and heard no more of her hurtful remarks but she had been curious. Dorrie had spoken with such confidence that it was obvious she had experience coupling. While Dawn was not ignorant of the act itself, she had no firsthand knowledge of it, and wanted to know more.

“Men want women who moan, cry out and pant with pleasure, for it gives them just as much pleasure. A silent woman cannot even grow a man hard. A needy man would never force himself on such a woman. There is no excitement in it, for she cannot even scream when she explodes with pleasure.”

Dawn’s heart had hurt then, for she had wondered the same herself. Hearing it only confirmed what she had suspected... no man would ever want her.

A smile tempted her lips, recalling how Lila, her closest friend since her arrival at the village ten years ago had put a quick end to the insults. She had rounded the cottage unexpectedly and assaulted Dorrie with a stream of verbal arrows that hit well their mark. Dorrie had run off in tears, no one following her.

Lila had told Dawn not to worry that someday a man would love her, for he would see how very special she was. Dawn wanted to believe her, though recently turning ten and nine years without a single man having ever shown any interest in her, had her believing that her life was destined to be a solitary one. Fate had declared it so.

Lila was two years younger than her, ten and seven years and already round with child. Paul, Lila’s husband, two years older than her, had loved Lila as long as Dawn could remember. Paul, Lila, and she had fast become friends upon her arrival. They had liked the pictures she would draw in the dirt or on the sand along the shoreline. And it hadn’t taken Lila long to understand her hand gestures.

When Dawn’s mother died two years ago Paul made it known that he would look after her and that she would be no burden to the village. She had worried when Colum and his men had arrived a year later. She had thought for sure that the warriors would have their way with her. But as soon as Colum had discovered that she could not speak, he kept his men clear of her, declaring that none of his warriors would seed idiots.