Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chapter 28

The next step was the order, to awaken Heber. It was my turn to carve on the prisoner, cut out his eyes. My soul was wracked with pain. To preserve my own life, I had done Heber’s bidding and helped to kill many villagers that he might conquer Ireland. Like Emus, I had been the consummate warrior, strong, skilled, and willing. The sins of my past gathered inside my head
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like a threatening storm. A stabbing pain shot in my gut. . "I cannot cut out his eyes." I whispered. “It is too much to ask. If anyone is to take revenge, it is Heber. As for me, I do not have it in my heart. I have killed too many, already.” Emus' eyes widened in disbelief. "What then?" "How much agony is required to die? The man will die by himself in a few hours." "If he does, Heber will know that we disobeyed and punish us. We have to awaken Heber." "Would you go to his tent now and let him continue this torture. Can you live with this nightmare?" Emus considered the proposition carefully. "Heber should revenge the death of his own son, but to torture a person unto death .... My innards tell me to leave him be. We must run." My reality was the same as his. We were expendable. "Then so be it. We will find a better life somewhere else." "I do not know anything better." "We should go to Scotland," I said remembering the way to Nel's future village. "What is Scotland?" "The near island across from our landing." Emus worked his way around the camp stealing clothes and trinkets and rolling them into a
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blanket while I cut loose two mares out of the herd. A good choice; the mares flew like the wind. Even if we aroused the camp, no one could catch us. We reached the place where King Milesius left his fleet of ships. A detail of guards were ashore, camped around a bristling fire and imbibing from a keg of ale. "They are careless," I whispered. "We can swim to the far vessel and cut it loose from the others." Emus glared at me. "I will drown!" "You cannot swim?" "No." "If ever we are to be safe from Heber, we must leave this country. Scotland is only a short distance across the sea." "You go," he said stubbornly. "Heremon, will rule the north country. We can make our way west to one of those villages." "How do you know this?" "I heard Melesius say." The next morning Laboi deposited a clump of raw meat in our camp and the hungry Emus thinking nothing of it gulped it down. "The lion had his teeth and vomit in this. We should always roast the wild game over a fire," I told him, digging a pit. Emus stuffed himself and rubbing his aching belly, said: "My belly has never been tight."

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