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 14
Cadeyrn takes an introspective view of his life.
In the last episode, Cadeyrn was faced to look at who he really was. We closed with this.
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.
I called for my twelve most trusted men. "Men, follow Cathail, but be sure to follow from a distance. She must not know you are watching after her. Ensure she arrives safely at the moor. See to it that she is safe within the deep wood. I shall remain here planning the attack on the north.
"After you complete your task with Cathail, search out the kingdom of Jesus. Where does he reign? We shall conquer him immediately after we conquer the north. If he is so powerful, as Cathail says, we will add the fighting men from the north country to our ranks and defeat King Jesus. Now go. Hurry. She must not leave your sight."
The men were off and I returned to plan the battle. Whoever this King Jesus is, he must be done away with. I know of no other land that is not mine but that which lies to the north. Still, he must be sought out and done away with. I will not share my kingdom with anyone, no matter how powerful. But first things first. We must prepare to go north.
By my estimation, my twelve most trusted soldiers, those escorting Cathail from a distance, should arrive back at the palace within seven days. But that did not happen. We could not leave for the north until they returned.
Day eight turned to nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. Still no sign of their return. should I gather the soldiers that remained with me and leave without them? The twelve were the best any warrior ever had. I needed them desperately to lead the men. I would wait three more days.
Day thirteen . . . Day fourteen . . . Day fifteen . . . No sight of the men. I called for the remaining soldiers to prepare to leave at dawn. We would fight without the others. We settled in for a restful night of sleep before the journey began. My sleep was anything but restful. It was quite fitful, indeed.
Dreams peeked from under my pillow and entered my head. Horrible, nasty dreams. Dreams of this Jesus who calls himself king. He appeared a frightful figure, waging war with Lugh. Lugh was struck hard and the light of the sun was darkened. In the black, a small light began to grow larger and larger. It covered all there was to see. Then a voice spoke.
"You will soon hear from me. I am Jesus. I have a message for you, but it will be your choice to act upon it."
I tossed upon the bed. Then all was quiet. I tried to sleep knowing the taxing trip that lay before me, but could not. It would soon be dawn. I must prepare to leave.
From the north gate of the castle, I heard a commotion. I was informed that during the night, the men had returned from their duty of escorting Cathail. I called my chiefest soldier to inquire why they had tarried so long.
"Brennus, chief of my guard, what was your delay?" He seemed very anxious to answer, but I was getting impatient with his fumbling of words. At last, he spoke clearly.
"Oh, my King. Cathail did not go back to the moor, nor did she go to the deep wood. We stayed close but out of her sight. She went north - to the very land you plan to attack. We must not go there. We will be greatly defeated."
"Oh, my dear man of war, you shall not talk like that. The great Cadeyrn will most certainly take the land."
"Oh, my King. I plead with you to hear me. This is the land of Jesus. We will most certainly be defeated if we attack."
"That is foolish speaking, Brennus, for we will surely overcome. Jesus is a man like any other, and I have had the mastery over them all. Rest today. We shall wait one more day, and then we will be on our way."
Brennus continued. "Jesus is not just like any other man. They reverence him as God. His kingdom is not that of a land, but his is a kingdom of the heart. There is a man, Maewyn by name, that tells how the true God came to earth in human form and . . ."
"That is ridiculous. Lugh will overcome him and anyone else who tries to stop my progress."
"Oh, but King, Lugh has no power against Jesus. He is the God of Lugh. He is the God of gods. He is the King of kings."
"Brennus, you forget one thing. He is not my king. He is my enemy until he be subdued."
"They say that Jesus is a king of love, that he died that we might have free access to God, that all of our wrongs can be made right if we but allow him to be our king. You see, oh King, his death was not in vain for he rose from the dead three days later. If we put our faith in him, he will forgive our wickedness . . . "
"Wickedness? What wickedness are you accusing me of? I have given you everything you have need of. I have supplied all of your wants and desires. Have you chosen to follow him, too?"
The answer was clear on his face. I had but one choice to keep the soldiers moving on. I looked to the dungeon-keeper. "Away with Brennus. Keep him under lock and key until we return from the fight. I will deal with him then.
I called for my Druid priest. I would inquire of him if we should make the journey north. Just as I thought, he encouraged us to go. He granted us the victory in the name of Lugh. Our only need was to step out and take the land. We would certainly be blessed if were just obedient to the will of Lugh.
I called again for Brennus to be removed from the dungeon. "My chief warrior, we need you to go with us. You must lead the battle along my side. We shall be victorious, but you must not infect the men with your darkened thoughts. I will free you from the dungeon if you will go and lead us to victory. Do we have an understanding?"
"It is my duty to obey you, King. Whether in victory or in death, I will go."
"Good, my brave warrior. It is almost time. Rally the men."
We knew it would be a long journey. The hills and valleys lay ahead of us. Much of our trip would be traveling upward, harder for the horses and chariots, and just as hard for the footmen. Still, we moved steadily through the day. When we were within three days of our destination, Brennus asked leave of me. He would ride on ahead and search out the land. He would meet us further on the way with a report.
We followed to the place of our meeting. He was not there. I should have known he would ride off and warn King Jesus of our soon approach. We had no choice but to ride on. We were promised victory so it made the decision easy. I already knew that given the chance, Brennus would be the first one I look for. It would be my pleasure to run him through with my spear.
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.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Conclusion
Cadeyrn's last battle.
© 2019 William Kovacic