He set the bird on its perch. It had a leather hood on its head. "Now stand over here, lass."
Brigit had not noticed the bloody hare on the ground but there it was.
Conall picked it up, lobbed off two chunks of flesh and fed one to the bird. Then he took out a wad of leather strips from his purse. He separated the strips, selecting a long thin one and dropping the rest by his feet. He picked up the second bit of flesh and wrapped the line around the meat, compressing it into one snug lump. Then he attached it to a long thick strip.
"Now watch," Conall instructed. He stretched the line across the wet sand, holding firmly to one end as his feet moved in a tight circle. Faster and faster he moved, his arm outstretched until finally the line became airborne. It flew high over his head. After several minutes, he stopped and the line fell to the ground. "Now you," he said, handing Brigit the rope.
Brigit took up the line and repeated what he'd shown her. She found she had to move faster than was comfortable to get it off the ground. Looking up made her disoriented but she managed to complete the action and soon the line whipped effortlessly through the air with a whirring zinging sound.
Conall took off the bird's hood and it hopped onto his gloved arm. "Keep turning," he yelled.
The ocean was in the trees and soon all she could see was a blurred large shape. Fuzzy and thick. The rope whirled overhead.
"Quicker. You must move quicker!"
Encouraged, she hastened her steps, ignoring the feeling of balancing on a breaker. She stared up but she couldn't see the line any longer but there was something else. The tip of a dark wing. Iridescent bubbles burst in the sky.
"Good, good. Now drop it," Conall shouted. "Brigit drop it!"
She fell over, dizzy. Line and lure lay limp at her feet.
The bird was perched on its prize, shrieking in triumph. Brigit rolled over, breathless and laughing.
She looked at the bird. "I've been beaten," she announced between breaths. "You are the champion my fine feathered friend." She stood up, a bit wobbly, and brushed off her shirt. She glanced back at Conall. "That was fun. Did I do right?"
"Aye, just like your mother."
"My mother could train falcons?"
"Aye. Now one more thing I'll show you."
He bent before the bird and it hopped on his gloved arm.
"Can I feed him?" she asked.
He nodded and carved up another piece of the hare. He placed it in her open palm. The falcon quickly snatched it up in its sharp beak.
She gasped. "I didn't even feel it!"
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