Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 3
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 2
Cadeyrn takes vengeance on Cynbel for his cruel tactics.
From Part 2
Cadeyrn rids the country of the powerful Cynbel, not by strength, but by trickery and stealth. He frees the families taken by Cynbel and his fame spreads. Cadeyrn's life was changing quickly. He wasn't sure how to respond.
The plan worked perfectly. As my men followed me to the village gate, Cynbel sent out his warriors. They chased hard after us. The other two bands entered the unarmed town and took back our families. They quickly set fire to the castle and to the rest of the village.
Cynbel's fighters were surprised and confused. After the burning, the ambushment charged back toward Cynbel's army. I turned my men around and charged hard at them. We were in front and behind and in no time, the enemy was surrounded. The last thing Cynbel's men saw was the smoke of the burning village. What we saw was the blood flow from the enemy's veins.
I, Cadeyrn have rid the country of Cynbel who terrorized the villages and treated them savagely. I was cheered and adored among my equals. I was now recognized as a great warrior. Even the Druid priests were in awe of me, The Great Cadeyrn. I could do no wrong in their sight.
We returned to the village with our families, every one of them. And I, to my Cathail. But somehow things were changing. How or why I knew not.
My beloved Cathail turned away at the news, but there was no choice. We would leave tomorrow to defend ourselves against the neighboring village. I should think they would be pleased for Cynbel had been eliminated, but spies were reported during our absence. We could not wait for them to make the first move. We must, and we shall attack them at once before they have time to plan their nasty scheme. Cathail would have to wait. I assured her my love for her only grew stronger with each passing day I was away. She hugged me and sadly walked away.
The moon was full over the land as we made our plans for battle. I must admit, the sound of chariot wheels approaching took me by surprise. The battle would be fought under the light of that same moon. I ordered the charioteers to their chariots and the footmen to prepare for the fight. They would lead us into the forthcoming battle.
From a distance, we could see the moonlight bounce from shield to shield to spear to rolling chariot. We readied quickly and were on the move. We would not sit back and wait. We would prove to be a worthy opponent.
A wind was beginning to stir the night air as our armies stood face to face, yet with much distance between. My captain gave report of a horse and rider passing to the right near the hill country. I immediately told him to keep his eyes in front for that is where the battle would take place. We could afford to allow one man to escape. We would deal with him later. What we could not afford was to be distracted. This was an old tactic. I would not fall for it.
At the north side of the moor stood the enemy. We waited at the south end - but only for a moment. It was I who chose to set the battle in array. We would meet on my terms.
I gave the battle cry and the war was set in motion. Our chariots rattled forth in the night toward our opponent. Our footmen shared the chariots until we would be within reach of the enemy. The noise of the opposing chariots made a terrible noise in the otherwise peaceful and quiet of the night. Above the clatter, one could hear the neighing of the horses.
As the two opposing groups came closer, it seemed as if the riders and charioteers moved in slow-motion. The sound of a great wind rustled through the tops of the willows. A crushing sound it was. Confusion set in. I couldn't believe what I saw.
It wasn't me or my men, but the wind that drew our opponent in. The thunderous roar confused the enemy as they viciously attacked each other. They were mighty and strong, and I was glad we did not need to meet them in battle.
Daybreak was nearing. We began to gather the spoils of war. I came upon a beautiful sword, one decked with all sorts of precious stones and jewels. Surely it belonged to the king. I reached down to claim it. I picked it up. Blood dripped from my hand. The soldier by my feet moaned. I took the sword and with all my might pierced him through. The sword exited his body and entered the bloody ground pinning him to the deep green of the moor. There he died. With the opposing army completely destroyed, we allowed the villagers to remain and start anew. They were no threat to us without a king.
We continued to gather the spoil. After loading the chariots with as much as we possibly could, we returned home. Cheers were lifted as we entered through the gate. Husbands were reunited with happy wives and family. I was off to the castle and my Cathail. One of the wee folk met me.
"Ah, my lord the king - there is bad news at the castle," he said. I pleaded with him to tell me more but to no avail. What could have happened in such a short time? On down the road, a druid priest came to me.
He likewise warned me. His words were, "Be prepared to accept defeat." No other words would he speak. I quickened my steps to the castle, but the hill was proving too much for haste. If I were to arrive at all, I must slow my pace. Still, the urgency of the messages and I must admit, curiosity spurred me on. What sort of bad news awaited me? What did the old priest mean by being prepared to accept defeat? Surely he knew I would never accept defeat.
What I found shook me to the core of my very being. I was both angered and saddened at the same time. I had been played. The lone rider near the hill country was not the distraction. He was the war. The group of defeated warriors was the distraction. I climbed the steep steps leading to the castle. I cautiously approached the heavy gate that was carelessly left open and walked to the entrance. I read the note attached to the castle door with a dart.
I have your Cathail. She will remain with me until you offer your surrender. Present yourself at the village gate by sundown or suffer the consequences. The war is not over as you might suspect. Learn a lesson although it is too late. You can never afford to let one rider escape. I have rallied the people you have spared. We will fight to the death, your death, if you do not surrender.
The note was sealed with the signet of King Aedan. The sword I found was indeed the King's. Yet he had escaped.
My mind was spinning. How could this be? There was no need to worry. It was a simple matter. We had already taken the better part of Munster, thanks to Lugh. Because it was necessary, Aedan's kingdom would be next. It would be easy enough to trick him into defeat.
While he held Cathail captive, I knew that his troops had been destroyed by the wind in the willows, He had no army, and the few that remained within the walls of the town were older than we. Yes, perhaps more experienced because of their age, but also much slower to react.
I gathered the men. "This is what we will do," I said. "Remember what we did to King Brendan's village? We will divide into two groups. I will lead one group toward the south gate. When we approach, I will go on ahead leaving the others behind. Aedan will believe I have come to surrender - and indeed I will. He and his few men will come to meet me at the gate and take me in.
"You men in the second group, you will approach from the north and attack the wall while I make my ascent up the hill from the south to meet a distracted King Aedan. Once inside the walls, you will free Queen Cathail and you, Caiside and Aonghus, will lead the queen to safety by taking her home to her own castle.
When the Queen Cathail has safely been removed, you will give the battle cry, Caiside. The men in the city will shortly be joined by those from the south. Aedan and his people shall be destroyed, every one of them. Not a living soul shall be left. Now, we must hurry. Time is running out."
My army did its job skillfully and confidently. Cathail was safe and the town destroyed. But one problem lingered.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 4
The good fortune of Cadeyrn is running out. With nowhere to turn, what will his end be?
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© 2019 William Kovacic