“Move a fraction and you die.” The voice said.
My stomach lurched; my mouth dried. I closed my eyes for a moment waiting for the end, until I heard him chuckling.
“You didn’t really think I’d hurt you, did you?” He let his arm fall to his side and tapped my shoulder with his free hand.
I spun about to see a grin almost the width of his face. “Morven! You kyjyan arse! Don’t scare me like that.” I punched him as hard as I could, incensed with his stupidity. He staggered backwards, holding his shoulder and laughing. I was not amused. “It’s not funny. What if one of your tribe had investigated my signal in your place? I took a great risk in coming here.”
He wasn’t listening to me. As quick as lightning Morven was all over me, kissing my neck and grappling whatever parts he could get at between my flailing arms.
“There’s no time for that. Get off. I came to warn you about the ship wreck. My brother and his men are on their way there as we speak.” The more frantic my plea, the more insistent he was on kissing me. “Morven, please!” Pushing him away, I saw his expression fall into a serious frown.
“I already know about the ship wreck.” I must have looked surprised. His eyes widened and he jutted his head towards me. “What? You think your fellow Dumnonii are the only organised tribe in the whole world? We have scouts keeping watch too. By the time your brother gets there, our men will have taken all the living slaves and stripped the wreckage of all treasures and cargo.”
I thought about his statement and estimated the time it would have taken Cador and his warriors to take the wagons along the coastal path to the beaches. “How can you be sure? My brother set off early this morning. It’s likely they’ll be arriving at any time.”
“Are you deliberately trying to vex me? There will be a huge fight, people will die.”
Morven shrugged. “Who cares? Let them kill each other. Maybe we’ll be the only ones left and together we can unite our tribes and have more tin, copper and gold than we’d know what to do with.” This was a side of Morven I’d never encountered before. Being the second son of the Durotriges Chieftain, I’d assumed he would not have entertained such high ambitions. His older brother was a seasoned warrior and would assume the title the moment their father was taken to the Summerlands to sit with their ancestors and the gods. Was this what he truly wanted all along?
I stepped back, startled by his admission. “If you won’t warn your kin off the treasures, then I must go to my brother instead. It’s doubtful he’ll listen to me, but I have to try. They are riding into a battle they can’t win.”
Before I could mount my horse, our attention was drawn to the thicket of shrubs behind us. Twigs snapped beneath footfalls. Someone was watching us.