Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 12
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 11
Cadeyrn finds Cathail - or does he?
Previously, Cadeyrn and Cathail parted ways. It's what seemed best at the time.
"So, tell me, Cathail, Who is this king and where does he reign?"
Her eyes immediately twinkled, and I could tell she was deep in thought. Her eyes sparkled as she thought of her king. Somehow I knew she would be well cared for. And I, at last, knew she would be happier without me. Her allegiance was to another. I desired her happiness, even if it was to be without me.
I turned to make my way back through the wood from which I came. She called after me. "Cadeyrn, His name is Jesus and his kingdom is in my heart."
I did not understand her speech but continued on my way. She called again. "Cadeyrn, I have two horses tied to the ash tree over against the way you came. It is a long journey. Please take one. Cadeyrn, know too, I will never forget you, and I will always love you."
"Then come ride with me. We will be company for each other."
"Even if I would like, Cadeyrn - I can not. Go. Ride on."
I could not take her horse. I knew of her great love for animals. Her heart would be broken twice. Instead, I chose to head to the river. I built a small raft and set sail - away from my Cathail.
The journey was much more difficult going home, but I was still the victor. My wealth far surpassed anyone else on the isle. My fame - there was not a soul who had not heard of the great and powerful Cadeyrn. I would console myself with what I had accomplished. Still, her voice kept coming back, reminding me that I was just a shepherd at heart. I realized my heart had been twisted and molded into a perverted instrument that only served one purpose - me.
I longed for the simpler days, I longed for the sheepfold. My mind went back to the day the fox took after the sheep scattering them in all directions until I caught him by the tail and flung him hard to the ground. There was no life left in him and I presented him to Mama for supper. I loved those helpless sheep. I would do whatever I had to, to protect them. That is what King Fergus saw in me.
Oh, Mama, if you could only be here now to tell me what to do. Papa, if you were still with us, what wisdom would you share with your son? How might you ease the pain? The pain of a life out of control. The pain of a life of bad and wrong choices. The pain of who I've become.
I remember the sheepfold, but all I know is war. All I know is blood and taking by force that which is not mine. These thoughts haunted me on my journey back to the castle.
The journey was difficult, the weather bad, and the nights cold. Still, I knew I must carry on. There was one more piece of land to take. We would head to the northernmost point on the island, conquer it, and it would all be mine. Thoughts of Cathail would not leave.
I returned to the castle where I was joyfully received by my men. They asked of Cathail and I regretfully told them she would not be coming back. My advisors called for a meeting. My chief advisor, Báetán, had no good words for me.
"My good king, you must insist the queen return to you. If the queen is not made to obey her husband, the hearts of all the women will be turned from their husbands. We must have the women in obedience. Cathail simply must return."
I pondered the wise words of Báetán. Cathail must be brought to the castle at once. I called once again for my three most trusted men. "Men, you are sent on a journey to bring back the queen. She must return at all cost lest her husband the king fail to set a proper example for the ladies of the kingdom. You must use force, if necessary.
"You will travel south to where the river meets the divide. Follow the river until you meet a path that leads to the deep wood. From there, take the path until the wood opens to a most lovely moor. There you shall find her in the early morn. Now, go quickly."
I would await their return with the bride of my youth. Hopefully, it would be no more than six or seven days. For now, I would retire to the bedchamber. The morning would bring another day of planning to conquer the northland.
The day I waited for arrived, but it did not happen the way I envisioned. I heard a commotion in the courtyard. Voices were raised and a scene made. I peered from the throne room window. It was my men and Cathail. She was not pleased.
I was not pleased. Many of the fine folk in the street were becoming aware of a problem between me, the king, and Cathail, the queen. The men were angry over the rebellious queen. The ladies were admiring her. Trouble was brewing. I was sure of it.
I told the men to place her in the tower. Perhaps a time of solitude would ease her temper. That did not work. She continually shouted through the barred windows the supposed cruelties of the king. The more she shouted, the larger the crowd grew in the streets. She very quickly became the darling of the ladies. I suppose she spoke not only what was in her heart but also that which was in the hearts of the other ladies.
I knew something needed to be done, but I could not blame the queen for she spoke the truth. I could see for the first time in years what I had become.
I gathered with my men to find a reasonable solution to the ongoing noise and confusion in the street. What I feared was this might turn into a rebellion of the women against their husbands. That would certainly bring the husbands to rebellion against me. We needed to act and to act fast.
Lugh surely saw the situation and came to our rescue for just as we were seated, all became calm. The ruckus in the streets stopped. Cathail no longer cried out for justice. In case of an uprising later, I and the men continued to discuss the matter for several hours. The darkening night had arrived.
From my bedchamber window, I could see storm clouds rolling in. I called for Báetán to bring Cathail to me. She was gone!
We frantically searched the castle, but could not find her anywhere. We did find a wee folk hiding in the corner. My rage put him there. I calmed myself and asked him, "Do you know where is the queen?"
"Why, yes, of course."
I waited for the answer. There was none. I repeated my question. "Do you know where is the queen?" Still, no reply.
"My little friend, let me ask it another way. Will you tell me where she is?
"Oh, most certainly, noble king. There was an uprising in the town today. I know not why nor do I care. It really had nothing to do with my affairs. The men of this wonderful place saved her from her captivity in the tower.
"The brave men of this city used great ladders to scale the tower wall and tore out the bars with great pieces of rope - one end tied to the bars, the other, men held on the ground. With a concerted effort, they pulled the bars from the tower window and the queen was ushered to safety."
I inquired of the wee one once again. "And where did she go?"
"She was carried away by men on horseback to be taken to a safe place. She fears the one who locked her in the tower. You will be glad to know, oh king, that the men will take good care of her, and they will seek revenge on the evil one who locked her away. Your entire city is behind you. You have nothing to worry, oh king."
I shuddered. I knew who was responsible for her imprisonment. Again, I saw the ugliness of my life. It was Báetán who first placed the idea in my head. Perhaps I should have him removed. Perhaps I could have the whole happening placed on him. The townsfolk might take him instead of me. Yes, that is what I shall do.
I will plan that later. At the present, I must find Cathail. The storm is coming quickly.
The wee one spoke. "Oh, king, do not concern yourself. She is safe with the men. They vowed against their own life to keep her safe and rid the kingdom of the evildoer who is responsible."
"Again, I shuttered."
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 13
Cadeyrn is deadset on bringing back the queen - deadset/
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