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Last Tales of Mercia 3:

Elwyna the Exile

Jayden Woods

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 Jayden Woods

Edited by Malcolm Pierce

Cover design based on the Bayeux Tapestry


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The ten Last Tales of Mercia are stand-alone stories featuring real historical figures and characters from the Sons of Mercia series. You may read them independently as quick glimpses into an ancient world or as an introduction to the novel, Edric the Wild. For more news and updates on the Sons of Mercia series, visit www.jaydenwoods.com.



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SHROPSHIRE

1052 A.D.



Life tingled back into Elwyna’s limbs as she chewed on the freshly-cooked venison. The first swallow of meat flowed down her throat, filled up her chest, and then crushed the ache in her stomach until it dissolved completely. Despite herself, a little groan of pleasure escaped her throat. She looked with embarrassment at Dumbun, whose grin sent her into a fit of laughter.

She could not remember the last time she had laughed so gleefully. Dumbun often tried to make her smile, but lately, anxiety and fear smothered any fleeting mirth. For the last few months now she hadn’t known whether she and Dumbun would have enough food to last through the winter. When she awoke at dawn today, she could not will herself to crawl out of bed until mid-morning. Even then her limbs were stiff with cold, her stomach gnawed on itself, and she felt as if heavy weights dragged upon her chilled bones. A week ago, she had sold one of the few items of leisure remaining from her days as the wife of Thegn Godric: a large, woolen blanket. Her primary source of nightly warmth purchased her and Dumbun enough food to last a fortnight, if strictly rationed.

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