This chapter as you can probably tell is me trying to subtly ease you into a massive exposition dump haha. Something I pride myself on, I am the ultimate luber of exposition dumps haha. I will make you swallow that big pill of information with a spoonful of sugar. No seriously though I think that is one of my strengths, exposition is one of those things you can’t get around sometimes and I see it done so badly in a lot of stuff even in Conan there are big exposition dumps that are really out of place and pointless. I try my best to see them and break them up and deliver them in a way that doesn’t feel like a slog. So I hope you get that and it doesn’t seem to heavy, trying to show not tell but it’s really hard to avoid that sometimes.
Don’t have much to go off today but here’s the latest chapter, it’s slow going honestly, I’m not as focused as I was before. I dunno I think my writing at one point was getting better but now I sort of think it’s getting worse haha. Not worse, just lazier I guess.
I was reading Conan last night and the story was sort of garbage, Conan goes to steal a thing finds ancient aliens and then the tower falls down the end but it had a lot of flair and it was fun and the description isn’t over the top a lot of it just plot but you get a good feel like you’re really there seeing what he’s seeing and I’m not sure you get that from what I’m writing.
But you know, I hope it’s fun at least, there’s some action in this chapter, after the sort of slow start, this new character who I sort of borrowed from Arthurian legend is a lot of fun, I just had to steal him. He’s one of these characters like Cur that takes on several mantles because in these mythological stories there’s a limit to how much stuff a certain character can do. This wasn’t marvel where you have a billion writers taking one character and stretching them across a million books of total nonsense where they fight alongside the jackson five or whatever. Total bullshit where comics are basically fanfiction where spiderman is a transgender midget polynesian hemophiliac diaper fur with glocoma.
They’re more like real life where a person does one awesome thing their whole life and maybe not even that. So I sort of had to take Cur and make a plot by combining him with a few different characters because otherwise his story would have ended after the first battle. And I sort of created my own meta universe where he was supposed to die but he didn’t creating a new time line.
Anyway, that’s enough nonsense ranting, I promised myself I would try to find a new job today. I keep thinking about starting up a youtube channel but I just couldn’t do that, my autism wouldn’t allow it. I just don’t think it would do well and I want a real job where I can be around people a couple of hours a day. I know I hate people and my autism makes me want to lock myself away infinitely but I think I need to be around people every now and then just so I don’t forget how to talk haha.
South of Meenlaragh in Corveen bog the ruins of a small castle lay overgrown by the marsh. Creeping vines covered it like a fur coat as it seemed to sink into the murk.
The sun was slowly sinking into the bog, the light bluing with the strange mists that hovered over the peat and muck. The sounds of birds in the trees were thick and deafening in their splendour. But deep in the hold of the castle there was a stolen warmth and a cloaked merriment.
In the keep a small group of strangely dressed brigands sat around a broken feast table strewn with unappetizing foreign dishes. Fish heads in sea brine, boiled toad, all manner of eels and snakes from the bog writhed in states of death and half-life, insects too seemed to be on the menu.
The feast hall was small and decrepit and dark, only a few sconces were lit, others seemed to be long burnt out or ripped from the walls. All decorations and finery the castle once had were undoubtedly pilfered long ago. All that remained were tattered moth eaten tapestries and a few decorative weapons caked in decades of rust. All but one item seemed unloved and aged. On the wall behind the head of the table hung a decorative harp made of finely hewn wood and encrusted with beautiful shining gems. The carvings on the harp were intricate and spiralled all around the finely crafted instrument. Images engraven were that of various animals and a horned man sitting amongst them.
The brigands feasted under black hoods and armoured cloaks. Their hands were more clawlike than human shining dimly with what seemed like scales and other malformed oddities. Their mouths clacking as they ate as some lacked teeth while others had sharp thin shark teeth shining like daggers in the dim fire light.
Suddenly an odd noise tickled them as if it had been there all along under the sounds of their merriment but only now had they noticed it. A strange whistling like that of many birds singing together but not coming from outside.
The head of the table flipped his cloak and stretched out a scaled humanoid arm. At the end of it were fat toadlike fingers forming something almost like a fin, he held it up to silence the others at the table.
They froze and turned to a darkened corner which seemed to be the source of the strange bird noise. Then came the sound of clinking metal and shaking of chain.
Out of the darkness emerged a huge humanoid figure dressed in a green armour. He had a distinctive covered helmet of which large antlers that looked like tree branches grew out of the top. On his belt hung an ornate axe. It’s handle appeared to be simply a strong birch branch holding a piece of silvery metal which had raw edges. It shone like that of a stone that fell from the sky glinting like a diamond or a quartz in the sconce light. In his hand the knight carried a bow of holly and he whistled as he walked creating an unnerving sound as if thousands of birds filled the room.
“Who goes there?” The head of the table called out. A slender dark figure with a sly hushed voice.
“Fear not, child of the dark depths, I mean you no harm”
The head of the table was confused but sneered when he heard what the stranger called him. “How do you come to know us?” He questioned.
The knight bowed humbly “Forgive me sir, for I have watched you and your countenance speaks to foreign blood, not of this soil.”
“Our blood is older than this soil.” The host spat.
“That too I am aware of, therefore we are the same sir.” The strange green knight bowed again crossing the holly in front of his plated chest.
The head of the table was an alien figure, with bulbous black fishy eyes and glinting scaled skin and a wide mouth full of sharp tiny teeth. “Well then, come sit with us and tell us why you have come visitor.” The man grinned and then scowled at his underling who sat at his side. The underling was a squat creature with huge whiskered lips and wide slanted slits for eyes. He looked up at his master startled and then quickly vacated his seat and pulled it out for the knight.
The knight rose from his bow “Most hospitable of you.” The knight said as he slowly walked around the table. Passing the other inhuman malformed creatures that sat staring up at the stranger with their wide fish eyes.
The knight sat upon the chair and waited for his host to speak. Closer to the light of the table the knight’s armor was more apparent. An unusual set that shone an emerald green with gold inlays and patterns that seemed to replicate trees and roots forming spiral symbols.
“So what is it you seek stranger?”
“I would that you would know me that I would not be a considered a stranger. My name Bertilak de Hautdesert but you may know me as ‘Bredbeddle’ if you so wish.”
The host breathed heavily and spoke through his teeth “Goodly Bredbeddle, wouldst that you would tell me why you’ve come, that I would know you!”
“I find it odd you don’t remember me.” The knight chuckled “For am I not memorable?”
“Should I remember you, have we met before?” The strange head of the table asked.
“I am certain sir, we have met before, in this very room no less.” The knight gestured as he spoke, his armor clinking but displaying no weight as he moved. “Are you not the one they call Forgal the wily?”
“You must be mistaken, I’ve never heard that name before” The host said as he turned to one of his men and signalled for him to bring them more wine.
“One year ago today, we met in this room and struck a bargain.”
“I recall no such bargain, what does this pertain to?” The host asked.
“But you will admit that you are Forgal the wily?” The knight turned his head up and pointed over his hosts head without raising his elbow. “For you have the harp he took from me”.
“Are you calling me a thief?”
“Nay sir, I am calling you the possessor of my harp and one year ago today we struck a bargain.”
“What of this nonsense, what bargain?”
“The bargain made here that I would let you strike me and one year after I would return the strike and reclaim the harp.”
“I tire of this foolishness” The host waved his hand and instantly out of the dark came a curved long blade and cut the knights head from his shoulders.
The helmet with the head fell on the table and knocked over a bowl of live crickets.
The group of brigands erupted into triumphant laughter, all conspiring in whispers as to whom would claim his armor and weapon.
“Fool!” The host spat. “Forgal the wily recognises no bargains made with the tuatha.”
“There is no need for name calling sir” A disembodied voice said.
The brigands instantly stopped their cavorting as the voice seemed to come from all around them. It seemed animal in aspect, as if the birds in the trees were forming words of their own.
The body of the knight had not fallen, still it sat upright in it’s seat and then without pretence it reached for it’s detached head. “I see that you have no desire to honour our agreement” The knight said as he stood and tucked his own head under his arm. “I bid you good day sir.” He said bowing with his head under the crook of his arm as he left the keep.
Forgal looking after him with his wide fishy mouth hanging open.
The brigands sat for a moment befuddled as if they’d been visited by a spirit or fallen to some drink that had given them all the same strange dreams.
Twilight was upon the bog and the world was still and grey.
The knight of green replaced his detached head on his shoulders and sighed.
“Come Daurdabla, apple-sweet murmurer!
Come, Coir-cethair-chuir, four-angled frame of harmony,
Come summer, come winter,
Out of the mouths of harps and bags and pipes!”
If you want to see what happens next, head on over to inkitt by clicking this link In the pines.
You think I feel bad about that? Not really, it was probably ripped off of Conan first, I just haven’t read that far. But I am reading it and it’s way more interesting than the Shadow even though the stories are so much more simple and really the whole thing is plot. You just get a story and it’s like ‘Conan wants to steal thing’ so he does that and even though it’s just that simple it really works because it’s just well written and fun and you want to see what happens and how does it.
Here I go again recycling material. Well hey there, that wont be too long because I just finished furiously beating out the plan for Cur 2 and it turned out pretty nice and easy.
Although my plan to turn it into a five part series was sort of torpedoed because I basically decided that the structured would be better if I mashed two of my book ideas together. Otherwise I’d have had to come up with a bunch of filler to water down each concept and I didn’t want to make this middling story full of filler unconnected to the lore and plot.
Also laziness, pulling unconnected story out of your ass is hard and all I’m really doing with this is taking the actual mythology and give it connective tissue so it seems like a story and not just a bunch of stuff happening. So it’s not just X god did this, you understand their motivations, you know why they did it and how they feel about it.
So I’m just reciting mythology, I’m giving it life and taking a hell of a lot of liberties to do it. So I could insert huge swaths of unrelated story from different sources for instance some of what I added was from Arthurian legend and I added a tiny bit of Lovecraft because that’s just fun and forgive me for thinking a race of evil fish people should be a little lovecraftian haha.
But I didn’t want to take away from the plot and just have this little padded book, I want to write something I would read, I want adventure, I want a journey. I don’t want my characters to go to one place and be there the whole time, I want them to feel like I’ve gone with them. So to give it more scope I scraped two books and made one cohesive story.
It’s set to be a trilogy and I might just write them concurrently with clown shit in between haha. I basically don’t want to drip feed people this story or try and stretch it out like this is just a middle book, I want it to stand on it’s own and surpass the first which this definitely will. This book will make the first look a tiny in comparison by it’s scope. And then by the third book it will make the leap to epic fantasy, this second book is like the bridge from tight sword and sorcery pulp fantasy to epic sprawling huge battles fantasy.
Yeah so probably gonna start that next week but I feel like I should finish Loverman first just for the sake of my sanity. I’m imagining one person out there just ripping their hair out longing for a conclusion lurking just around the corner. Of course this person doesn’t exist or is more or less me. I’m just sort of feeling fantasy right now, sword and sorcery, also want to finish this boring red scare Shadow book so I can get back into Conan, which I’ve been really looking forward to.
Anyway that’s about all, just gonna be looking into more places I can send Cur to, maybe try and get more feedback on it because I think it sags a little towards the end. I dunno, I’ll wait for some objective opinions.
Locking doors was obviously for poor people who weren’t literally encircled by a small army of trigger happy ex-cops. Because Wendy was out prepping for the prom, it was certain she wouldn’t be here. I knew she had a brother but he was rarely home in the day, myths of an expensive heroin habit abounded. He’d probably stumble home much later, if at all.
The house should be empty but for an annoying little yappy dog she was banned from taking into school in her purse. Hopefully since the prom wasn’t at school, she’d probably have the annoying little rat with her, and I wouldn’t be tempted to pulp its head into an eight hundred dollar Persian rug.
I loved animals, but not that particular one.
I took a quick precautionary glance across the street, but thankfully aside from a team of illegals gardening two houses over, they were quiet. I guessed everyone was out living the good life, lounging around a golf course or a yacht or something. Aside from one guy eating noodles in his underwear and crying in a house he soon wouldn’t be able to afford.
I slipped into the house and closed the door firmly behind me. As I stood in the cool, sweet-smelling foyer, I felt okay. I was just a pretty rich girl coming home from yogalates, walking into her own home—no big deal. Nobody could call the cops over that. It wasn’t like I’d used a grappling hook and scaled the wall garden.
The interior was fresh and clean, cream interior walls with off-white, eggshell tiles on the floor. A staircase, carpeted in a darker cream snaked off from the oddly angled front door up to the bedrooms on the right. A big curtain-less window at the turn of the stairs let in lots of light.
I stopped in the hall and listened to the steady creak of silence. This confirmed the house was empty, so I let go of my breath and padded the tiles and dust off this new set of leathery predator wings.
The entryway opened up into a huge but very minimalist carpeted living room, it seemed to take up a whole corner of the house. It was very eighties deco, devoid of color, with a high ceiling that spanned both floors cut off by a balcony onto the second floor. There was a door off to the left, leading into a relatively small galley kitchen which was nevertheless very nice.
I wasn’t there for the tour, so it wasn’t like it mattered. I doubled back to the front door and started a slow ascent up the stairs. Looked outside the huge window at the turn, hoping not to see some nosey old woman staring at me and memorizing my face for a sketch artist to reproduce.
I figured if I was going to find any evidence at all of Wendy’s guilt, it wouldn’t be lying between the pages of a copy of Teen Vogue on the coffee table.
“Hey remember when I poisoned my dad and framed my mom for the money? Lol smiley face smile face xoxox.”
It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, but seemed unlikely. But who knew. She wasn’t like me, not the same kind of monster; a normal killer for a normal reason, a sane reason to do something insane, money was the root of all this.
So there was a chance Wendy wasn’t like me at all; there was a chance she had emotions. One of those possibly being guilt, and if that was true, she’d leave some trace of it behind.
My best bet was finding her computer and working a little slack hack magic on it, basically shake it and see what fell out.
I turned the corner, checking the window, but it was just the bare windowless face of the neighboring house staring back at me. I continued on up the second flight, noting an open bathroom off the stairs—seemed an odd place to put a bathroom.
The second floor split off in two directions, leading to the bedrooms. As far as I could remember, Wendy’s bedroom was off to the left, and her parent’s en suite was off to the right. Considering her parents weren’t in the picture anymore, it made little sense to not occupy the empty en suite.
It’s what I’d do, would have to be crazy to let all that closet space go to waste because of what? Sentimentality? Ghosts maybe?
I padded the carpeted floor delicately, hoping my light frame wouldn’t leave any telling footprints. Thankfully I’d remembered to not wear heels, and had opted for a set of flat treadless pumps.
I took the right, peering over the second floor balcony down at the living room and the large windows. It seemed like an average sleepy day in the neighborhood, not a curious dog walker in sight. Just sun shining and birds chirping.
Oh how I longed for the huge savage moon, and that black canvas of night to paint red. ‘Soon,’ it hissed, and I knew it was right.
Soon I’d have my starry night and my bloody moon.
There was no rush; I’d started as early as I could. They’d be at the preparations until late into the afternoon. Factoring in Frappuccino and pastelito breaks, maybe some California tuna rolls. Skipping breakfast had been a mistake.
New rule; never break and enter on an empty stomach.
The hallway got a little narrower, I passed an airing cupboard and I could smell signs of a lived-in nature. More specifically, Wendy’s perfume; it seemed my estimation of her and our shared desire for closet space was on-point.
I entered, and was sort of surprised that the room was so small. Then I turned my head. I’d stepped into her closet.
I opened the door to her actual room and was instantly taken aback.
It was so… so…
If you want to read more of this lovely book I’m probably going to be giving it away to people on my mailing list by the end of the year so join that and hold on to your butts. If you can’t wait that long just head on over to my inkitt page and read the raw version. It’s not all prim and proper but you’ll get the thrust.
Yep this is the final chapter.
I kinda spaced, I forgot this was the final chapter, I thought there was one more and I was like “Oh that’s it” haha.
It’s fine, it’s all fine, this is only the first book, I’ve already got plans on the next, I actually might go straight into the next one because it’s shorter than another Diana book and all these rejections have made me a little gunshy. I’m not sure I could make the next one as good as the first, you know the one that is already getting shat on by every cat lady literary agent and her fucking cats!
I already have the ending of the fifth book in this series planned haha. Is that normal? I hope not. I think I need to set some time aside to plan out the next book and see if I get a jolt on it. I have a rough idea of how I want to start it, the other parts just haven’t fallen into place. The stuff, the rudimentary plot, the journey, the middle bit.
People always the most important parts of anything is the beginning and the end and I think that’s true but I’ve noticed this recent trend in movies and books to just have really middling middle bits. And it really hurts pacing because it makes a film feel shorter than it is. You need that journey to feel substantial and satisfying so if nothing really happens in the middle the whole thing collapses in on itself. it’s why you get that feeling when you watch a movie like you haven’t even really watched a movie, you just looked at some footage rolling over your eyes for a couple of hours. It’s because it’s not paced like the movies you actually like. Which is why Aquaman which I saw the other day did so well because it had unlike most comic book movies a decent middle with an idiana jonesie adventure and romance so the film felt like an adventure.
I’m not saying it was good, I’m saying the bar has been lowered so far that this crap passes for good, it’s the best most sparkly tinfoil covered turd in the punchbowl. The main villain didn’t appear at the start and disappear through most of the movie but still get praised as the best villain ever just cos like in Black Panther. You follow both villains through the whole movie cutting back and forth between the heroes and villains in a way that felt satisfying and bolstered the movie.
So yeah I enjoyed it like a person enjoying the interior decoration of a sinking ship.
In a good mood today which is weird because I’m actually in shitloads of pain because I pulled a muscle in my back on a chest fly. I had a really nice dream about the only person in the world that really matters. For reasons I can’t disclose, mainly pure evil; I can’t see that person but the dream let me know that one day I would. I really need to be someone they can be proud to know exists. I just need something, a clear path to being a real person.
Fuck me, why is this ‘life’ thing so hard?
Anyway, I promised I would plan something today, my next book possibly or some other hair brained scheme perhaps.
Gonna try and get some feedback on the completed book and maybe make some changes to it, there’s a lot about it that still feels unfinished.
“So you’ve finally arrived” Bres smirked as he bit the head off a pear. “Would you sit? Your ward is readying himself, my men and I rode all night to be here, we’re very tired.” He said staring at her as he chewed. His champion Ogma at his side, face bandaged like a mummified corpse, shrouded in a grim countenance. He looked as stiff as a tailors dummy sitting completely erect in his armor. Dian Cecht sat on the end, silent as the grave with his head hanging low trying not to be seen.
“I-I-“ The druiddess stammered.
“Sit down” Bres said firmly but softly.
Birog sat awkwardly on an ornate oak chair with a floral pattern on the green seat cushion. She almost missed the chair as she couldn’t take her eyes off the man that had been chasing her doggedly. Unable to get anything close to comfortable as her mind reeled and her fingers tightened around the box.
“I shouldn’t want to spoil the surprise but I can’t imagine what’s inside that box will save you.” Bres sighed.
“No, he told us where you were going but I pressed no further about the contents of that box” Bres smirked wickedly “I do so like surprises.”
“I won’t kill you in his presence out of respect, but mark my words, this doesn’t end well for you little druid”.
Ogma narrowed his eyes making a face as if it pained him to do so, looking at his king. His king who’s face was beginning to turn an odd shade of purple with red blotches surfacing. “Look at her, she’s beaten, she knows it, we have no need to kill her my lord” He said. “She can still be of use.” He added looking at her, as if it was a question.
“Who is it that tells the king of Inish Veil what he must do?” Bres said without looking at him.
“He must kill me, don’t you see, I know too much” Birog said looking down talking into the box clutched to her chest. Then casting an erstwhile glance at Ogma.
Bres said nothing but tensed his jaw and started to grind his teeth as his face got more colourful.
Just as Ogma was about to get curious the page came back with cold meats and wine.
“You’re just as handsome as I remember you, Bres the beautiful” an unseen woman said.
Bres looked around for the woman.
“We hope you haven’t forgotten us.” Another said.
“How could he do a thing like that?” A third added.
Bres turned his head and appeared a beautiful woman with blonde hair in a white dress. And then one behind him leaning over his shoulder in a black dress with dark hair and then on his lap was a woman in a red dress with red hair.
“How could I forget such enchanting enchantresses” Bres smirked.
“Oh you are a flirt”
“But how rarely you pay us a visit”
Bres smiled “Kings seldom have free time for such things”.
“You came to see the old man not us” The girl in white pouted.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth, I came to see the lovely three Moriggu, if I were to check up on the old man it would be a matter of course, that’s all. How is he, may I ask?”
“Same as usual”
“Away with the spirits” They giggled.
“Who’s this?” The one in red said sneeringly pointing at Birog.
“A pilgrim I met along the road perchance, she’s come a long way to see him”
“She has? Whatever for?” The one in black wrinkled her nose.
“She has a gift for him” Bres smirked.
“A gift?” The one in white said excitedly, her eyes widening like a child’s.
“You can see him, if you promise you’ll visit us again soon” The one in red said.
Bres took her hand and kissed it “Anything for you Babd”.
The other two looked on with cloistered dismay and disdain.
In an instant they transfigured themselves into fireflies of their respective colour. They flitted through an opening in the main room of the anti-chamber.
Birog entered the main chamber behind Bres who pushed the doors open wide, followed up by Ogma who looked on stonily.
The main chamber in contrast to the rest of the fortress was the definition of opulence. Every wall covered in red and purple and white silk. The furnishings were made of the finest materials, gold and silver leaf traced every nook of the room.
It wasn’t just a main chamber or a bed chamber. It was an exquisite throne room with extravagant chandeliers. A banquet table sat in the centre piled high with the grandest smelling food one could imagine.
At the far end of the room a set of stairs carpeted in a deep red velvet, leading to the throne and on it sat the once and former king Nuada Airgetlám.
“I bid you welcome Bres and guests.” He said softly.
“Hail ‘king’ Nuada” Bres said with a mocking smirk.
Check out the rest of the final chapter of the first book in this hopefully epic saga here on inkitt. Gimme the prize
Oh but then of course she made it up to me by giving me another bug that was going around which was ten times worse than the bug I previously had in the space of a month.
Read the rest of the chapter on inkitt Love thine enemy
Yeah so I spent way too long proofreading this and procrastinating to have anything interesting to say above hello and goodbye.
No seriously, really happy with Cur, could be better, I think it needs another going through before an edit. Gonna rope in Chrissy again for that when it’s good and ready. The story is reaching the apex, it’s about to get really good. I was considering putting this next bit earlier on but my good buddy that got me into the witcher which I know hate (the witcher not my polish pal) convinced me to put it later on for more of a reveal.
I didn’t really want an ‘epic reveal’ because I wanted the story to sort of stand on it’s own. I’m still not 100% I’ll need to come back to and decide, I’ll have some other people read it and give me a general feel. I just need to set aside some time to really do a deep dive on it and get some feedback from everyday plebs haha.
But I like what’s there, I think it’s solid, it’s got a good foundation. I loved writing it, I loved getting into celtic folklore, it was really like a journey for me. I loved every minute of it, I literally have like 80+ pages of notes I took from all over the place, no not just from wikipedia.
So yeah, Diana aside this one caught me off guard and is probably the most ambition and most exhilarating project I’ve done and I can’t wait to keep it going. I’m predicting like five books but we’ll see, there may be more because there are massive gaps in the actual folk lore. It doesn’t really have an ending so that’s going to be the big thing for me. Finding a place to end is hard because the folklore is written like real history and history has no end.
But that’s about it, didn’t get a lot of Diana editing done because of irl shit and I’m staring down the barrel of a lot of day job drudgery leading up to christmas, so that should be fun. Unironically of course.
So yeah now I want to make sweet french toast that I saw on a facebook ad, bye now!
They fled Slaghtaverty before daybreak, taking a steep path out of the valley. Cur walked silent and solemn in front of the cart with Tuan at his heels in the form of a dog once again. Birog trailed behind on the cart her side lighter without the sword but her heart heavy. She looked back at Slaghtaverty and over the other side she saw smoke coming from Newgrange.
The streets of Slaghtaverty were bare and made a hollow ringing sound as the horses hooves struck the cobbles.
“Where is everyone?”
It was midday now and the streets were barren and silent as the grave. The only sound heard was the occasional shutter slamming as presumably a dweller locked their house up tighter than before.
“Some kind of peasant holiday perhaps” Bres joked atop his elegant horse. His men laughing nervously as their eyes darted here and there.
“I smell magic in the air” Dian said led along as their prisoner on the back of Ogma’s horse.
Ogma himself had a bandage over his ear that Dian Cecht saw fit to administer with a sly grin at the corner of his mouth.
Their procession continued through the empty streets slowly. Cautiously looking at every window and door frame until they came upon a stream that flowed adjacent the outer wall.
At that stream was an old washer woman on her knees furiously scrubbing something in the water.
Their processions stopped with a clattering of hooves and chainmail hauberks. Bres motioned to one of his men to approach the hag by the stream.
He did so with an air of caution which seemed puzzling even to him. Everyone felt it, a sense of distinct and terrible foreboding, they could smell it.
The old woman began to hum over the sound of her thrashing the clothes in the water.
Bres and his men approached her but she didn’t seem to notice, continuing to wash her clothes in the stream unburdened by their presence.
The soldier approached close enough almost to touch her rags and then he saw the water, red and thick with blood. “Hag, who’s clothes do you wash?”
Her humming sank low and then stopped. “I wash the clothes of those fallen in battle.” She muttered flatly.
“What battle? Who’s clothes?” The soldier craned his neck to try and see the clothes and stood stunned and frozen at the sight of the crest emblazoned on them. For it was their own.
“I wash your clothes sir knight” She said. “The one you seek, the broken king, he waits for you in the glade- blood and bone and death he wears as his mantle.”
The hag turned, her face hideous, ravaged by age and twisted by evil. She let out an ear piercing shriek which made all clutch their ears in pain.
Ogma acting quickly covered his remaining ear and with his free hand clubbed the hag from his saddle. With a sickly thudding crunching sound felled her in one blow.
The soldier fell back gripped by fear “It’s an evil spirit, a tide of ill omen sire! We must abandon this quest!” He screamed. “We shouldn’t have burned the newgrange! We’re damned!”
“Silence, superstitious nonsense, some mad old woman means nothing of our luck, now away with you!” Bres realigned himself in his saddle and spoke softly “We’ll find somewhere to recoup, a bit of rest will do us all good.” His words felt practised and empty, his eyes fearing to rest on any of his men.
Despite the initial summation, the town was not empty but sealed and covetous. Bres and his men stole away to an inn of which they made up the majority patron.
The inn was dark and cold and squalid and smelled of ash and dried blood. The barkeep a skinny potmarked man with a round gut greeted them sheepishly. His hands shaking and his skin ashen.
“We seek food and drink for me and my men” Bres stated.
“Oh” He said shakily. “And how will sire be paying may I ask?”
“You speak to the king of Inish veil, that is payment enough.” Bres bellowed.
“You’re pulling my leg, Bres, the king of inish veil would never set foot in-.” The man took aside the events of the past evening and gazed at their crest and at the visage of Bres the beautiful himself. “R-right away my lord, forgive me my king, I should’ve known by the crest, by your face, your noble voice alone! It’s just we’ve had somewhat of an upset here-“ The barkeep as if forgetting something paused and darted into the back to prepare viddels for the troop.
He returned shortly with a caske of ale, some bread and cheese and dried meats of which the men took of without hesitation.
Bres approached the cleanest looking bench and prepared to sit when a strange man slipped into his path.
“Good day sire” The man said calmly.
“Good day” Bres said with a puzzled indifference.
The stranger was slight and had a flowery way about him with brightly coloured clothes, wearing a goose feather cap.
“It is I Coirpre, I was on my way to Dun Bresse but as you yourself reside here, noble King Bres. I see no point in making the journey, I ask only the price of an ale and a good meal”
Read the rest on inkitt Dyed in the wool