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bronze age

Cur Chapter 12 ‘The burning of the temple’

 
The smell of smoke, darkness, crawling, blackness, air.
 
Dian Cecht coughed and spluttered as he dragged himself crawling and blackened out of his escape tunnel. Gasping at the fresh air.
 
“Well it’s good to see you again, old friend” A mocking voice said above his head.
 
He turned over, scrambling in the ashes, stunned to hear the familiar voice, his face black with soot and his eyes wide and frightened. He waited on his knees in the dark for the shapes to emerge from the smoke laden sky.
 
“Y-you!” Dian Cecht mumbled grasping at a clump of black earth beneath him.
 
“Me” Bres smiled atop his horse, his men behind him, looking down at the great healer.
 
Dian Cecht lowered his head, his hands splayed out in front of him. “You’re too late, she’s already gone from here, a day’s ride ahead of you, you’ll never find her.”
 
“Of course I will, you’re going to help me” Bres laughed and crossed his hands over his saddle.
 
Dian Cecht put his hands on his thighs and looked at the dirt knowing that he was right. “I may be a coward, hiding in that place but you! You are cursed by all the gods for desecrating that holy site!”
 
“Desecrating? Me? The king of Inish Veil?” He laughed looking around at his men. “Surely you are mistaken, it was a mere accident. So many candles in Newgrange, this was bound to happen sooner or later. A little mouse must have knocked one over and set fire to some old dry parchment and woof! The whole temple up in flames” His men who chuckled, all but one. Ogma gritted his teeth holding his hand to his ear wishing that both his ears were cut off and his eyes gouged and his tongue pulled.
 
“You should kill me now” Dian Cecht said almost begging, his hands tightening above his knees.
 
“Why would I do that, we’re in need of a good healer, we have a wounded man after all, Ogma show him your ear” He said turning in his saddle. Waving Ogma to approach.
 
Ogma tried to smooth out his face. Remove any of the disdain he was feeling as he removed his hand from his head showing Dian Cecht the place where his ear ought to have been.
 
“I can’t grow back an ear, not without my lab that you just burnt to the ground” His tone suddenly changed from wounded animal to righteously indignant.
 
“Tsk tsk, these accusations are very dangerous, we all agree it was just a mouse, don’t we” He said to his men who nodded and laughed.
 
“That temple was-“
 
“That temple was here long before us. Some robed fools with long beards decide it has mystical significance, it means nothing to me – or the mice as it seems” He laughed.
 
“So what is to be? Will you come with us or return to your burning temple?” Bres asked, already knowing the answer but enjoying it all the same.
 
Dian Cecht face gave up an elasticity it once had and he slumped visibly. “I will”.
 
“Good, take him” Bres instructed one of his men turning his horse to ride on along the path.
 
“You didn’t have to do that” Ogma said through gritted teeth holding his ear once more, looking past the king.
 
“No maybe not but you’re yet to understand the stakes of this game, allow me your trust in this matter.” Bres said softly.
 
“You could have talked to him.” Ogma said through gritted teeth.
 
“I just did talk to him” Bres smiled “What’s one dusty old tomb?” Bres breathed in heavily looking out at the lush pastures, the sweetness of the dew mixing with the bitter scents of smoke and ash.
 
“It sits in the shade of the stone of destiny itself” He cursed.
 
“And yet the stone is untouched as it rests on the hill of Tarah, do you wish to make a pilgrimage to it brother?” Bres turned his head, his voice full of scourn and accusation and derision. His eyes scanning Ogma up and down as if it was the first time they’d met.
 
Ogma could say nothing, his tongue seized in his mouth. His anger simmering below the surface of his stony grey flesh.
 
“We don’t have time to sit around flapping our gums, the fate of Inish Veil is at stake.” Bres straightened in his saddle, pulling at the reins of his horse, looking over the horizon.
 
“How is that?” Ogma shrank from him, his face twisting.
 
“Your job is to follow my orders, not to question them, now ride on!” Bres said sternly.
 
Ogma grimaced, swallowing his pride. “Yes sire.”
 
 
“It was the Fomori.” Abhartach said, his eyes fixed and glassy as if he were manically reciting a nursery rhyme.
 
“That fairytale again” Birog scoffed.
 
“It won’t be like last time” Abhertach scolded, looking at Birog as if she had grown another head. “They have a new king. In the time of Nemed they used force, might was all they knew. They forced the people to submit, enslaved them. They put a tax on them; two thirds of their corn, two thirds of their milk. And two thirds of their-“ Abertach’s jaw grew tight and he swallowed, his throat clacking dry.
 
“-Children” Birog shuddered.
 
“You know the stories then? You know what happened. “His eyes lit up and the dwarf became enervated with wild hand gestures. “The people, our ancestors the children of Nemed rose up and killed one of their kings in his tower, Conand. But their other king Morc retaliated and decimated the people of Nemed with a great wave and a plague that came from the sea. A cataclyism that scattered our people and changed us forever.”
 
“You expect us to believe all this?” Birog tutted.
Behold the rest of the chapter over on initt, huzzah! The burning of the temple

Cur Chapter 6 ‘Hammer to fall’

Good morrow gentle folk,
Gonna keep this super short and sweet because I sort of lost yesterday in the best way possible so had to cram everything I had to do then into today so lots of editing spamming, procrastinating, all packed into today haha.
So yeah that’s it, see really short right haha? But that haiku yesterday was cool right? Right?

See you…
*spoilers*
This chapter is really spicy haha.
 
A crow perched atop the highest stone structure of Tallaght. It watched as Birog of the Tuatha De’ descended her horse and cautiously entered the walls of the cursed city.
 
She stopped in the entryway and seemed to sniff the air taken by a familiar scent. She dropped to one knee taking off one of her gloves and touched the ground with her bare hands.
 
She rubbed some sort of substance between her fingers before cautiously putting it in her mouth to taste it. She instantly spat it out and said “Sea salt, how odd.”
 
She rose from the ground and put her glove back and mused to herself “All their salt is surely mined, why would sea water be here, inland of all places? When a fresh water river runs but a stones throw.”
 
She stopped and straightened rigidly as she craned her neck trying to listen for people or animals but not even the crow cawed. Just dead silence and the calm creaking of the empty houses echoing the empty streets.
 
“The village is abandoned, but I was sure they were here, perhaps they camped here and then moved on, maybe I can find something in one of these houses”
 
She tied her horse up at the gates. Briefly she glanced at the standing stone with alien symbols not of her people, she assumed it must have been left from the Firbolg.
 
She entered the small round house tucked closely by the outer fence which was a stone layered daub and thatch wall. Similar to most perimeter construction in villages at the time.
 
On the surface the house was fairly unremarkable. A simple stone and clay hut with the standard spiral thicket inlays and a thatched conical roof. The village had seemed strange to her but she had assumed the village had been abandoned but the inside of the hut seemed to tell a different story.
 
One where food was left to spoil in the pot and a table was lain ready for it to be served. A number of sets of simple hide and leather shoes left untouched and clothes slowly being devoured by all manner of insects.
 
Conclusion could only be that they fled in a hurry or they hadn’t fled at all.
 
The same strange smell of sea spray and the salt hanging in the air, so odd for it to be here as well. The building was a very simple dwelling with the fire pit in the centre and the beds on one side and a simple table for eating on the other. The beds looked slept in but untouched, a thick layer of dust covering them. One adult sized and two small wooden frame bed with hide and fur bedding drawn up.
 
A strange feeling gripped her and she took to looking at the ceiling and the inner thatch working. Staring at the elaborate patterns of cobwebs that had collected there.
 
She paused breathing in through her nostrils and closing her eyes. Then swallowing her fear and trepidation she marched over to the adult bed and drew back the covers swiftly.
 
As she feared underneath the remains of a couple clinging to each other, their expressions of horrifying finality. They had no eyes or tongues or lips but there was something there, something that struck a terrible enervation in them. Skin, what little was left was drawn and yellow and putrified. The smell of the sea salt must have masked it or else there was nothing left to rot. The beetles taking all the flesh for their own and leaving naught but cold off white bone.
 
“They must have been preparing food and then hid here” She remarked to herself. “What could have scared them so?”
 
She shuddered and covered them up again and looked over at the children’s beds.
 
“Oh goddess no”
 
She slowly walked around the adult bed and approached the children’s small simple beds. She took another deep inhale of salty air and turned over their covers.
 
She sighed in relief to see them empty.
 
“Empty?” she ground her teeth “Where are the children?”
 
A noise outside, the clopping of an unfamiliar horse on hard stone, a heavy harsh whinnying that sounded like a howl of a man pained.
 
She took to the small shuttered windows. She got low and peeped out at the cluttered claustrophobic streets seeing nothing. Only hearing the distant closing sound of devil hooves.
 
Then suddenly a black horse’s head appeared close to the window too close, the sound of the hooves completely divorced from its distance. She shrunk back into the hut stupidly trying to avoid the gaze of a dumb horse and reaching for a sword that wasn’t there. Terrifying as it was looming over her.
 
The horse passed by the window and she caught a glimpse of the rider. He was enormous, much larger than any tuatha she’d ever seen. Black armor that looked like bones and a skull death mask with gleaming red jeweled eyes. The black rider silently seemed to throb with breath. His armor rising and falling heavily, making a terrible noise like ribs being scraped with a knife. The plates rattling and shifting as the horse jossled.
 
The mysterious knight scanned the area, what was he looking for? Why here? Why now?
 
After a moment, he whipped the reigns as if angry at the air, spurred the horse and disappeared from the frame of the window.
 
She left it a moment, holding her breathe as she listened to the horses hooves get further away and it’s terrible cries cease.
 
Cautiously she approached the entrance to the round house, taking careful quiet steps on the earthen floor covered in loose straw.
 
She swallowed and listened and when she was satisfied stepped out of the small building and looked around. Without warning a tight gripping sensation around her heart told there was strong magic trained on her. She froze looking at the ground and a huge shadow growing at her feet.
 
She turned and saw the black knight on horseback standing on the thatched roof of the hut looking down at her. The horse scrapping at the straw and snorting breathing heavily.
 
“Hello girl, I’ve been looking for you!”
 
 
Head on over to inkitt to get the rest of the chapter right here.

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