Witch Crag

Witch Crag by Kate Cann Read Free Book Online

Book: Witch Crag by Kate Cann Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Cann
she tucked it away to examine later. “Everyone was talking tonight,” she went on. “Everyone was saying what a risk you took.”
    â€œI was ready to take it,” he said. Then he unfolded his arms, and stopped leaning against the wooden post, which made Kita want to take a step back, away from him, but she stopped herself.
    â€œWhy?” she asked.
    â€œInstinct. Like when a dog knows to attack. Maybe she did have power, but I knew it wasn’t dangerous to me, right there and then. Or to the tribe. The headman bottled it. He threw away our chance to find out more.”
    â€œHow d’you think they bewitched the horsemen brides?”
    Arc laughed. “Maybe they didn’t. Maybe the brides just didn’t want to be married to old men.”
    â€œAre you serious ?”
    â€œMaybe. What about you, Kita? Where does your taste lie?”
    She stared at him, stunned, and he said, “Spring’s nearly here. I can fight and you can climb like a tree rat – we’d make a good baby. And I don’t think the real reason you came to talk to me was because you wanted to hear about a dead witch.”
    Then, fast, sure of himself, he was right in front of her, his arms around her. His mouth went down on hers. She jerked her head backwards, wriggled furiously, and ducked down out of his grip.
    His laughter followed her as she raced for the sleeping huts.

    â€œNice walk?” mumbled Quainy, sleepily, holding out the sheepskin cover for Kita to get under.
    â€œNo,” wailed Kita, heart still pounding. “I saw Arc and asked about the witch, and now he thinks I want to breed with him.”
    â€œOh, Kita . Of course he does if you went to talk to him.”
    â€œ What? Oh, lord – I didn’t think of that.”
    â€œOh, Kita – you know what the footsoldiers are like. They all think they’re prizes for the girls to fight over. And Arc likes you – I’ve seen him watching you.”
    â€œThat’s insane!”
    â€œIt’s true . I’d’ve told you before but I knew you’d react like this. Why shouldn’t he like you? You’ve got more life in you than most of the girls here put together.”
    â€œI’m going to be sick.”
    â€œNo, you’re not. You’re flattered. I can see it in your face.” For answer, Kita pulled the sheepskin right over her head, making Quainy laugh. “He’s young and strong,” Quainy teased, “and good looking. Even if he is a thug – and let’s face it, footsoldiers are trained to be thugs.”
    â€œMmmmph,” groaned Kita.
    â€œLots of girls would jump at the chance of sleeping with him this spring. I’d say yes if I were you.”
    There was a long pause. Then Kita reappeared solemnly from under the sheepskin and said, “Quainy, don’t say that. Don’t be like the others. I don’t want to just – get pregnant . I don’t want to be a sheep, making babies. I want more than that.”
    â€œSorry,” murmured Quainy. “It’s just – Arc, for all his arrogance, he’s . . . he’s a better choice than what I’ve got to go to.”
    â€œI know, dearling,” said Kita, sorrowfully, snuggling closer. “Oh, lord, Quainy, there has to be a better way than the sheepmen or the horsemen. There has to be something more. Something with order, respect . . . and dancing.”
    â€œThere isn’t,” muttered Quainy. “Go to sleep.”
    But Kita lay awake for a long time that night, staring at the low black ceiling of the sleeping hut. First, she admitted to herself that Quainy was sort of right. Part of her was flattered, stirred, that Arc seemed to like her. She hadn’t been as appalled as she should have been when he’d grabbed hold of her. His kiss hadn’t been . . . it hadn’t been vile.
    But that was irrelevant. There, she’d admitted what she felt

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