Hilda Greenhill's Diary, 3rd entry

Continued from the last entry.

It had been impossible for me to get any sleep that night. Finding the dead sheep, imagined scenes of my parents' and brothers' bodies kept chasing themselves around in my head and gave me no peace at all. The thought of not seeing any of them again was like a knife wound to my chest. Of course, I had Trotter and I was glad that our horse, Crowberry had survived, but that would never compensate for the loss of my family. It would only be much later that the impact of the loss of the farm would come to me. For that night, I could only think about my parents, my brothers and the sheep (the sheep, I couldn't let go because of the sight of them dead). My grief was like a heavy weight on my chest. Kili must have heard my sobbing because he came into my room sometime in the night. He did not say anything as he sat beside me and put an arm around my shoulders.

When I stopped sobbing, which seemed like an age, he said very quietly "I know something which might take your mind of things for a while."

"All right," I said.

"I'll be back in a minute," he went out of the room. While he was gone, Trotter poked his head around the door and walked in. He lay down on the floor next to my bed. He shouldn't really be in there, but I didn't have the heart to shoo him out.

When Kili returned, he was carrying a lighted lamp, and a well-worn leather bag. He set the lamp down.

"Ever played Hnefetafl before?" he asked as he emptied the bag. Inside was a board made of wood with a thirteen by thirteen grid pattern and twenty four stones carved out of amethyst, twelve stones carved out of bleujenn and a king piece carved out of rock quartz.

"I know how to play," I said, trying to keep my voice level, but failing. "My brothers and I played it often."

"That's good," he said. "I don't need to explain the rules."

We played the game a few times, each of us taking on the role of attacker and defender at least once. I did enjoy the games, but that dreadful feeling of loss and dread did not leave me entirely. After the third game, we decided it was time to call it a night. I did sleep after he left, but not well.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5