The chariot rolled down the meadow at breakneck speed, threatening to fall apart in pieces with every rock, hole and bump it hit, yet never straying from the imaginary path it was following toward the fort. The charioteer’s arms, thick tree-trunks covered in sinews and swirling blue tattoos, held the reins deftly, guiding the two wild horses as they gave their all at his behest. His face was deep set in concentration, scanning the ground ahead for obstacles to avoid, oblivious to all but the single act of driving the chariot to its destination. Next to him, strapped to his right leg, was the leather-wrapped bundle that absolutely had to be delivered, no matter the cost.
On and on did Cormac ride, pushing the horses to their very limits, ready to jump off and run should the beasts falter and fall. But they did not falter, nor did they fall, and at last, with the last rays of the setting sun shinning behind him, the walls of the dun appeared in the horizon. With no recollection of how he made it into the dun, aware only of the bundle now in his hand, Cormac the Swift (as he was called by those that saw his approach), stumbled into the the thick of people, one word on his parched, dry, cracked lips: Amergin.
The name spread like flames on dry twigs: Amergin, Amergin, Amergin, until it reached the ears of he to whom the name belonged. He jumped to his feet and briskly made his way to the panting charioteer. People moved out of the way as he walked; hushed murmurs followed, marking where he’d been. Trepidation increased as the leather-wrapped bundle was placed on Amergin’s hand by Cormac. “I have done my part,” the charioteer said and then collapsed.
Amergin opened the bundle; took a look inside; closed it – it was all one motion. His heart sank, for he knew what it meant.
“I am Amergin O’Mill, Ard Fili of Ierne, and the same mouth that once calmed the fury of the nature’s wrath when the Milesians arrived at these shores now tells you to summon your fury and courage, to call up your friends and brothers, to take spear and sword and be ready to follow me.” He lifted the bundle high and let it unroll so all could see the severed grotesque finger the size of a grown man’s arm within.
“The Fomori are coming.”
I’ve been in the process of writing this for about three days. It first sprung into my mind on Sunday, and while I wanted to sit down and write it yesterday, it wasn’t until today that the final shape emerged, the words falling into place, the scene becoming clear enough to be more than just a frozen snapshot, a tease.
Don’t ask me what it is beyond what you see before you: a short narrative establishing a situation set in a Celtic/Irish-like place called Ierne.
No, I lie. Don’t ask me what it is beyond what you see before you, because I have an idea of what it could also be but it isn’t the time to reveal it yet. There are Aspects of it that need to solidify more in my head.
The tale of Ierne will continue.
Photo CC Licensed by Joe Forjette.