Strangers

Breccan looked up from where he sat sharpening his sword and frowned. He could hear the voices of strangers over the normal sounds of the small village.
“-to march on Londinium.”
He cursed softly and stood, grabbing Octavia by the arm as he went.
“Get inside.” He whispered the words in Latin and she looked at him in surprise. They had largely switched to speaking his language as she’d been making progress on learning it.
“What’s going on?”
“There are strangers here from another clan. If they realize…”
“They’ll kill me.” She said it matter of fact and nodded. “What about my things? If they look inside…”
“I’ll make sure they don’t.”
“Breccan…”
“It will be fine, Octavia. Now please, just stay safe, alright?”
She nodded reluctantly and went into the house.

“Who was that woman?”
Breccan looked up from where he sat. The man speaking to him was a handspan taller than he stood and carried a spear in his hand.
“Woman?”
“The one you just hid. Don’t lie to me, boy, I saw you.”
“I am no boy,” Breccan growled. Then he processed the rest of what was said and sent a silent prayer to his mother. “And the woman you saw is my wife.” The words tumbled out naturally and he hoped and prayed his lie wouldn’t be caught. “She’s got some Roman blood and I didn’t want there to be a misunderstanding.”
No, there certainly weren’t any lies in the last part. Octavia definitely had at least some Roman blood.
The man with the spear scowled, but when Breccan stood and met him look for look, the man backed down. But Breccan’s nerves were still humming. Too close. They had come too close.

Breccan burst into the small house as soon as the strangers were gone.
“Octavia?”
She looked up, concern plain on her features.
“Are they gone?”
“They are.” He closed the distance between them. “Are you alright?”
Octavia nodded silently, trying to hide the fear that had left her shaking while he’d been outside.
“Breccan…I…thank you.”
He smiled slowly and drew her into a quick hug, just assuring himself that she was alright. Much to his surprise, her arms went around his neck and she returned the hug like someone who needed one desperately.

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