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 13
Cadeyrn is deadset on bringing back the queen - deadset/
From Part 13
We left Cadeyrn in a bit of trouble. Let's back up a little before we continue our journey.
Perhaps two hours passed when the forest opened into that same beautiful meadow where I first saw Cathail. Just as I knew, she was there, singing and dancing her way across the field so handily decorated with more of those beautiful wildflowers She bent to pick one. I watched as she placed it in her hair above her right ear. That's when I approached her with the men.
"Cathail, you must return to the castle with me. The kingdom is in upheaval since you left. The women adore you. They so look up to you. The men need you as well. Please, my love. You must return to your home."
From behind her and all sides, men appeared from the surrounding woodland. My best estimation was that there were as many as three hundred men. I and my twelve were encircled. Every man with his spear pointed directly at me. They approached closer. With each step, the circle grew tighter.
If I must, for Cathail, I would die. I drew my sword. The tips of the many spears were within inches of my being. Cathail spoke up, "Let us pass. I will return with the king."
Surprised, the group of angry soldiers stood still in their tracks. If anyone was surprised more, it was me. If anyone was more grateful, it was me. The men parted a path to the north. Cathail, my twelve warriors, and I cautiously exited the circle and began the long trip back to the castle.
For many hours, not a word was spoken between Cathail and myself. I broke the silence as I looked deep into Cathail's eyes. "I love you, my love. I am so glad you have chosen to return with me. We shall continue our happy lives together in the kingdom."
Her eyes could not have been sadder. I realized it was only me who was full of happiness. I was not sure of her motive, for it was clear she was much happier on the moor. So why did she return if she did not care for me? I may never know. For her own personal reason, she spared my life at the hands of the warriors. She spared me, but I brought her to misery.
In time, we arrived at the castle. That did not even bring happiness to her. My heart was saddened for her. I tried to make amends for my past actions but to no avail. Her sadness grew heavier from day to day as did mine.
As was her custom, she would retreat to the castle gardens each night. I could see as she breathed in the fresh air filled with the aroma of many flowers. She would look to the sky, and with arms outstretched, mumble words to the stars. I did not know what she was doing nor why. After all, who spoke to the heavens? Who would hear?
Each night she would perform the same act. That was until . . .
From within the thick castle walls, I heard her scream. I ran to the garden. She was gone. I listened carefully to the quiet, A light whisper floated to me on a breeze. "Cathail, it is me, Manus. Keep silence. We must remove you before dawn for it is at that time we shall rain fire on the castle."
"Manus, you saved me once from the tower, and now again - but I cannot go with you. I must remain here at the castle. It is what I must do. Thank you for your kind acts, but I must remain here as queen. It brings shame to my husband, the king."
"Is it not true, oh queen, that he has shamed you by his cruel and wicked actions all the more? You must free yourself to live as yourself, not as a puppet to a blood-hungry tyrant."
"Cathail, do you love him?"
"No. He has robbed me of such feelings. I do not love him, but neither can I desert him."
"Cathail, I respect your choice. The men will escort you back to the garden. From there, you are on your own, but should you ever need us, just signal from the tower. We will be right here."
I quickly made my way back to the throne room. A short time later, Cathail entered. I found both fear and anger welling up inside of my being, but I knew what needed to be done. I could never be happy on the moor. Cathail could never be happy at the castle. We were two people brought together not by love but by the choice of another - Fergus. But buried deep within the recesses of my heart, I knew I had come to love her.
It's nothing a small lie could not fix. "Cathail, my wife, my queen. My men will take you back to the deep wood, to our stream, to the place we shall retire. Go with them and make ready our home. I shall follow in three days. We shall explore every hill and valley. We shall investigate every corner of the flats and hill-country. We shall be at rest. Now, go. Make ready."
The smile returned to her face. She could not be happier. My heart sank. I knew I would never see her again. Deep inside, she too, knew we would never meet again. She would live out her days happy in the fields, and I - I would live out my days as the greatest king this green land has ever known. Years from now, I will be remembered. Years from now, my fame will live on.
My mind went back to a time, a year, a much happier day. On the day we wedded, we could not have been happier. Smiles abounded and tears of joy exploded from our eyes. Our future seemed so bright then, but now . . .
Time has changed all of that. I have given in to blood rather than love. I have been stripped of all that love brings. My sheep - I would wish to send them to the slaughter now, just as I have many a man. Both carry the same weight. None is more important than the other. A man's life is worth that but a sheep. Life is life, and all life will end at a time.
But what? I look deep within my soul and find myself to be a very loathsome creature. There is no good found in me. Still, I will carry on to the bitter end. I will fight that day with a vengeance that has yet to be seen in me.
Cadeyrn, the battle king, I was so named. The name is not fitting, for now, I have grown weary of life. But I shall never quit. I will overcome all that seek to stop me. When death seeks me, I will stand proud and stare it in the face. I will laugh at it. I will curse it, but it shall not have me easily.
Fergus trusted me to bring happiness to his daughter. I thought about the first time we saw the deep wood and planned our future by that stream of crystal clear water. The fish jumping. A puff of splendid white clouds slowly drifting to the cliffs and out to sea.
I had to admit, there was a sense of peace then that I know nothing of now. Those were good days, unlike today. I'm forced to look at myself. I see what I've become. I don't like it, but neither can I change it. I am who I am. I am who I will always be. I am the great Cadeyrn.
There were battles to fight and wars to be won. The north had yet to be conquered, but soon it would be my possession. First, I must find the kingdom where this King Jesus reigns. He must be destroyed along with his followers. We shall meet face to face and I will ruthlessly devour him. He shall be mine.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 15
Cadeyrn's introspection has turned to anger. His fury will soon be unleashed - or will it?
© 2019 William Kovacic