Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chapter 7

Chapter 7.
Fiacha Labhrainne was the High King of Ireland. He had amassed a fortune with his long trail of herds which occupied the green meadows and made him the chief of all Ireland. His soveignty lasted 24 years during which his tribe warred with Heber Fionn. Both chieftains were descendants of Heber. Now the High King led his defeated army across the Irish plain of terraced green meadows through the valley of purple mountains to the village of Bealgadain, his home. The exhausted warriors ran through the meadow to reach Bealgadain before dark. Heber Fionn's wolf hounds were snipping at their heels. Fionn's one thought was to catch the king and decapitate him, then and crown himself. His pursuit was as deadly and unrelenting as the venom of a snake. He would have his prize. The warriors had to pass through a herd of fat healthy sheep before reaching Fiacha's lodge. The lodge was a rectangular wooden structure built with logs surrounded on all sides with a rock wall and a grassy path leading to the front door. The solar had open ceilings and a dirt floor which accommodated the washing and skinning of game before cooking it over an open pit in the center of the room. The room was lit with alabaster lamps filled with oil from the olive trees growing along the terraces. A queue of weary clansmen trailed behind the king as he entered the room. A heavy sword hung loosely from a rope tie around his waist sometimes tipping the heavy leather boots wrapping the muscled calves of his legs. He was a large swarthy figure of a man with wide shoulders and a thick waist and when he walked his boots made a heavy jolting sound. He had dark eyes and black curly brows which creased into the thick folds of his skin. His voice was gruff and over-powering. He slung his blood-stained sword onto a large table. A scowl occupied his face. "Woe unto us!" he said disgusted. The young Fiacha walked slowly almost timidly towards the table and taking his father's blade in
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hand examined the dried blood still on it. Another stronghold was lost. The village of Claire was captured by Heber Fionn. "How much time do we have before he passes through the valley of the purple mountains?" "Fionn will noot come again til his warriors catch the rear." Then, pouring ale into a cup, raised it high in the air and said: "May Heber Fionn never eat bread nor drink ale!" "Aye! Aye!" The anger inside of Fiacha Labhrainne could not be contained. Sadly, they were outnumbered. He drank the ale in one hearty gulp and refilled his cup. The anger inside of Fiacha Labhrainne did not dispel itself for several days. Meanwhile, he was a force to be reckoned with. He insisted that all the young men practice their sword battling every morning and then the bow in the evening until all of the arrows went bulls eye. The older generation sat around recounting their victories and remembering the long line of ancestors who'd kept the land before them. Since the first Heber many of that name came after him. They had many cousins still in Scythia, but the pride off this tribe came from Heber and Heremon who conquered Ireland and whose children spoke the thick gaelic tongue. Fiacha Labhrainne gulped down a large tankard of ale then fell into a drunken stupor. His snoring was heard by the young men in the court yard and they came inside to watch Fiacha Labhrainne's body slump to the floor. "There is Fiacha Labhrainne on the floor again," they said laughing. "Someone needs to sit the watch else his throat be slit during the night." Fiacha blew out the lamp and made a bed for himself nearby. "I will watch." "Eyre ye dagger be sharp?" "No one will pass." Warning: US and International Copyright Restrictions Apply.

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