This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 15
Cadeyrn's introspection has turned to anger. His fury will soon be unleashed - or will it?
Well, we've come to the end. The story has come full-circle. I thank each of you who have taken this journey with me. It's been an absolute pleasure and thrill to have you along. Of course, we know all things come to an end, and it's time for Cadeyrn to take his final bow. Thank you again for joining me as I followed Cadeyrn over the moors and mountains of beautiful fourth-century Ireland.
Closing Exceprt from Part 15
Once again, it turned to twilight. The night was falling fast upon us. We continued to trudge through the hill-country when one of the wee folk interrupted our travel. To some, the wee folk could not be discerned one from another, but I recognize him as one that led me through the deep wood to Cathail. He warned as did Brennus not to continue. I explained that we must, but he strongly advised against it. I confess. I did consider retreating and waiting for another day.
The wee folk attempted to persuade me to turn back not just because King Jesus dwelt there but because Cathail would die in the battle as well. I assured him my Druid priest gave the sign for advancement. Lugh was on our side. With his warning, "I shall see you no more," we continued until the cover of night fell.
I did not know precisely, but I thought we would arrive at the enemy's land in a day or two. The men were wild with anticipation, eager to claim another victory. I could taste it. Very soon the whole land would be mine. The years had indeed been good to me. It did not matter of Cathail's future. Jesus, he would be eliminated and I alone would rule the Celts this side of the sea.
My power and my possessions would surpass all that was known. I, Cadeyrn, had risen to power by my own ability. Nothing had stopped me. Nothing could stop me. Nothing will stop me.
My calculations were correct. Two full days of traversing the land brought us face to face with the north country. The gentle breeze we experienced on our travels was suddenly replaced with a whipping wind as the city came into view.
Perched high on a hill, the walled land stood proud. The thick wall was just one obstacle. The wild undergrowth on the hill allowed not for us to approach by chariot. It was obvious this final battle would be fought on horseback and on foot. The wind continued to rush furiously through the valley below. We pulled our cloaks closer.
We would not attack until tomorrow. We would camp tonight at the bottom of the mountain. This would allow time to send out spies. Their purpose would be to find the weaknesses of the king and his kingdom. The spies started out. We watched as they disappeared in the shadows of the forested mountain.
Not yet night, we kept hidden in the deep wood across the way. King Jesus would never know his kingdom would be the next - and last to fall. I could taste the victory. Within days, if not within hours, I would stand alone as the sole possessor of the land and its people. Anxiousness grew within me. I could not resist staring at the city knowing it would soon be mine.
Once again, surprise would be our winning tactic. We would ascend the hill by night and at first light, we would send a barrage of arrows over the wall. The arrows, carrying fire, would have the city in flames in short order. Others would scale the wall destroying all in their path as they descended into the heart of the city. My ten strongest men would unleash the battering ram against the gate, and we would flood the city on the ground, taking all captive. King Jesus would be duly tormented before meeting with a fitting execution.
The wind increased in intensity as we waited for the spies to return.
We waited - and we waited. The spies had not yet returned and the night would soon fall. We went about setting up camp for the night. We were not afforded the luxury of a fire for warmth. Fires would surely give notice of our location, and the fire could never stand in the face of the wind. We would, without doubt, be detected by the city high above us. We retreated to the deep wood to take cover. The trees and brush offered little protection from the fierce wind. Branches broke above us. Our tents would not stand. I took my complaint to Lugh and pleaded for his comfort.
My spies finally returned. They gave the strangest report. This Jesus had no throne but the hearts of the people. The wind howled as I asked, "Who then rules in the castle?" The answer was not clear for the castle had been barred and closed.
"Surely, Jesus leads from somewhere. How can we reach him?" I inquired further. I was not happy with the reply.
"The fortress of the north is built on love. The people that dwell within are strongly bound to each other and to their king with deep cords of love. They are peaceful. They offer no threat to you. Let us return."
"Surely you can not expect me to believe that there is no king present in the city. We must find him and eliminate him at all costs. We will hunt him down in the morning and place him in the trash heap outside the city wall."
Another spoke up. "My King, there is one Maewyn who also goes by the name of Padraig that teaches the people from a thick, black book. It is the writings of Jesus and his followers. Our own enemy, the Romans, crucified him nearly three-hundred years ago."
"So, the king is dead after all!"
"No. He is very much alive in the hearts of his followers. One of Padraig's followers, a man named Manchan, I heard him pray to this Jesus. He spoke to him as if he knew him intimately. He prayed as if he expected Jesus to act on his behalf - no, that he would act on his behalf. Jesus is a very personal God, unlike the impersonal Lugh. Unlike the impersonal gods of earth, wind, and fire. The followers of Jesus speak to him and he speaks to them through the message of the thick, black book."
"With the morning sun, we shall destroy all who dwell in the city. We shall eliminate all who follow such ridiculous thinking. Lugh has led us thus far. Tomorrow will be no different."
"She must be destroyed as well. I will own the north, even though I shall fight a king I can not see. If I can not see him, he does not exist. The victory will be quick and sure." The wind returned to a gentle breeze. I knew that the god of the wind gave his approval to move forward into battle.
I called for the men to meet before we began our move up the mountain. The day was just beginning to break. Time was short. As I started to address the men, the earth began to move under our feet. The force grew, and a great quaking brought us facedown on the forest floor.
I looked around and tried to quickly evaluate the situation. I could not because the earth continued to reel under my body. I was able to see a glimpse of the city atop the mountain. Neither the city nor the mountain was shaken by the quake.
The quaking stopped as hurriedly as it began. I stood with my men and to my fright, I saw a deep, terrible gap in the earth where just seconds earlier we had stood.
Although shaken a bit, I realized the gods of the earth protected us. The city on the hill was spared from the destruction of the quake so that I might claim the victory. The gods of the earth placed their approval upon us just as did the gods of the winds. I called on the gods of fire to grant us the final blessing.
Two of the spies approached me. "We have also found the city knows your plan to attack. We must wait until the next day to fight. They have set that day aside for prayer. They will not be ready to fight on that day."
I sought the blessing of Lugh as the day continued on. With each passing hour, I grew more assured. I also grew more anxious as the time approached.
And so it was. We would wait one more day. Until then, we would remain in the deep wood.
Secrets of the Deep Wood
The day wore on slowly. The sun warmed the land. We knew the night would be quite different. The cold would once again set in making the night slow passing also. But until then, we would enjoy the blessing of Lugh. I continued to plan the details of the battle.
But something within me was changing. A little at a time, the assurance I felt earlier was slipping away. At times a strange fear came over me. I stood and shook myself back to my warrior mentality, for that truly was who I was. Unknown to my mother at the time, she rightfully named me - Cadeyrn, the battle king. The battle would be the crowning victory to a life of faithfulness to my chosen god, Lugh. My mother would be quite proud of me. I was the greatest in the land.
My thought was interrupted by one of the spies. "Oh, King, please know also that Jesus claims to be the one and only true god. His followers believe there are no other gods. This very Jesus is very God in the form of human flesh and there is none else beside him.
"In this odd religion, you will not be fighting men but God himself. Still, these are peaceful people. They will not raise a spear against you. The victory is indeed yours."
I spoke from anger. "If we will not be fighting men, we will fight God himself." Of course, I did not believe that. I knew the many gods of the Celts would see us through.
The evening was fast approaching. The men were fed and I sent them to their tents for a time of relaxation and a night of restful sleep. The battle would begin soon.
The sun began to sink below the horizon and the sturdy oaks of the forest would be our guard through the night. I peered from behind one of them and gazed at the beautiful sunset down by the stream. The gods were good to prepare such a sight on this very special night. I shall always remember it.
I retired to my sleeping quarters but found the sleep had gone from me. My men rested peacefully, but I was filled with much agitation. I did not know why. I quietly removed myself from my tent and walked out into the darkness. The blaze of torches within the walls cast a dim light on the city on the hill. Tomorrow it will be the final jewel in my kingly crown.
I wanted to hold this moment close forever. I took account of my life and found myself very pleased. Something underneath those thoughts of pleasure continually tried to surface. Unrest, if you will, coupled with the confidence of victory.
The air is different tonight. A strange scent wafts on the breeze - not the smell of victory, nor the smell of defeat. Tomorrow we will set the battle in array. The city will be mine, just like the many others I have taken. Yet there is a loneliness that rides on the breeze gently stirring the ash trees on the hill.
I thought of Cathail. Her smile brought a tear to my eye.
But there were wars to win - battles to be fought. I was and am invincible. The shouts of victory and the praise of my people pushed me on. I was taken by own fame. What mattered most was the shed blood of the enemy. Tomorrow I would relish in yet another victory.
I heard a rumbling on the mountain. Thinking it was the enemy approaching, I ran to wake my men but stopped short. It was thunder. The starlit sky was now covered with thick clouds. Slowly, drops of rain began to fall. I looked to the heavens, allowing my face to be washed with the waters of the gods. Lightning flashed in the distance as the storm grew closer. The gods of fire were quite active as the trails of light zigzagged through the forest . . . .
I believe Cadeyrn would want me to finish his story since he can not. My name is Brennus. I fought in Cadeyrn's army, but I found the truth in the walled city of the north.
We were a peaceful group and simply trusted in the name of Jesus as Padraig and Manchan taught us. On the eve of Cadeyrn's death, we were at prayer. We knew the next day he was planning to attack our city. The dawn came, but Cadeyrn did not, nor did his men. He was later found struck by the fire-arrow of lightning, and his men fled. The gods of earth, wind, and fire were no match for Jesus. He rewarded our night of prayer.
Saddened by the event, we took up Cadeyrn's body and gave him a proper burial outside of the city walls. Still, his memory lives on. His last battle was lost without lifting a spear thanks to King Jesus.
Just a man in my prime
Love was there
But I had no time
I was cheered and adored
And I thought fame
Was all the world
Battles won and victory cheers
Were the sounds
I'd heard for years
But the women I really loved
Was losing me
To all this blood
I only knew I had to win
And build a world
Where I was king
But leaders come and leaders go
And that's the truth
I came to know
Love or war I couldn't choose
And so both
I had to lose
- David Byron
© 2019 William Kovacic