Brynna (Stone Society) - Faith Gibson


Norway, 1889

“I’m bored,” Brynhild complained into the mirror.

“You are a princess. You are supposed to be bored,” Vanda, her handmaiden, responded to her reflection as she plaited Bryn’s long, blonde hair in an intricate design just so she could sit around their home looking pretty for the help.

“No, I am supposed to be mated to a handsome Gargoyle and have a life outside these four walls,” Bryn whined. She knew she was too old to be carrying on like a petulant child, but Bryn was beyond caring. Her father, Asmund Holgersen, King of the Norse Gargoyles, refused to allow Bryn to roam the village and meet possible suitors. She couldn’t find a mate if she was never around any of the males. Rarely did any of their Clan come calling. If they did, the King met with them in private. “It’s like Faðir doesn’t want any grandchildren.”

“That is exactly what he is trying to prevent,” Vanda muttered under her breath.

Being Gargoyle, Bryn heard her easily. “That’s not going to work for me much longer, Vanda. Faðir sent Banyan away to have adventures while I sit here and turn into an old maid.”

Vanda secured the last pin in place before setting her hands upon Bryn’s shoulders. The older woman sighed. “Your faðir sent your brother away to keep him safe. Banyan will come back when it is time to take his rightful place on the throne.”

Bryn stood and faced her best friend – her only true friend. “By the time that happens, too many years will have passed, and I will still be sitting here. I don’t even know what he looks like. I doubt he would even know me now.”

“Nonsense. You are the spitting image of Banyan, just in female form. There is no denying the two of you are brother and sister. You could easily pass for twins.”

Bryn narrowed her eyes at her handmaiden as an idea swirled in her brain. “You are the best,” Bryn said as she kissed Vanda on the cheek and rushed out of her room. Banyan had been sent away as a small boy, so she couldn’t scavenge his room for clothes. That didn’t mean there weren’t other males who lived on the estate.

Being left alone for hours on end had given Bryn too much time to get into trouble. To teach herself the art of sneaking around the large house, spying on others. Listening. Learning. She knew the schedules of every male and female. When they would be out of their rooms and for how long. Sneaking into one of the gardener’s rooms, Bryn dug through his clothing and grabbed what she needed. She didn’t take too many from him, lest he discover them missing. Instead, she took a few items from each of the males. Taking the pieces back to her room was too risky. Vanda was loyal to Bryn, but Bryn wouldn’t burden the female with keeping her secrets. So, she took the clothes to Banyan’s old room, which nobody entered. Ever. It was the same as it had been when he’d been sent away.

Bryn returned to her wing where she gathered the items she needed. It would take a while to bring her plan to fruition, but that was something she had plenty of. Every morning, she met her parents downstairs for breakfast, and after, she returned to her brother’s room where she altered the helps’ clothing to fit her smaller frame. After a couple weeks of sneaking around, Bryn was confident she could put her plan into motion.

Her parents kept to their wing of the monstrosity they called home, and Bryn was able to leave without either of them being the wiser. Getting past the help was another story, but after spending weeks watching and making note of everyone’s schedules, she managed to leave via a side door, disappearing behind the gardener’s shed. If only horses weren’t scared of Gargoyles. It would have been much easier to ride into town atop one of the beasts. Since her family owned none, Bryn took off on foot one early fall morning.

Autumn was Brynhild’s favorite time of year. Too bad she didn’t have anyone other than Vanda to share it with. The red moss drew Bryn’s eye to the ground as she made her way through the early morning fog. By the time she reached the middle of town, the fog had lifted, and Bryn was as giddy as a child on Christmas morn. At least how she assumed children would feel. Being