Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 8
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 Seven
Cadeyrn's turn of events leads toa turn of events.
The last time we checked in on Cadeyrn, he had taken Cormac's city. One problem still existed. His queen could not be found. Here's the excerpt.
Lugh appeared to me in a night vision. He spoke the battle plan, and it required we leave immediately. The battle plan he whispered but in clear words. "You must leave now. Gather the men and race across the moor leading to the hill country. You will overtake the men of Cormac, but you must hurry. Your whole army will destroy the half of Cormac. Follow on to the city gate. Your whole army shall destroy the other half of Cormac's men. Both times you will advantageously outnumber the enemy troops. They shall be as refuse for the pile. But you must hurry. You must overtake them on the moor."
I called for my men and we were off. We knew we were not far behind the smaller army of Cormac. We hurried on. In the distance, we sighted the enemy. We charged them full-speed and subdued them rather quickly. We rested the night and in the morning, we would continue our way through the hill country to Cormac's castle.
Some of the details are too bloody to say. Others, not important. But what is important is that Cormac could not escape the second time. We easily overthrew his depleted army and took the castle. Cormac was run through with a sword, and I sat on his throne - a clear message to his people I was now their ruler. They would obey me. I sent for Cathail to join me on my throne.
After many days, Caiside returned with the news. Cathail could not be located. She was not at the castle. Neither could he find any news of her from the few that survived Cormac's attack on my village. I had taken village after village, and now the city of the great Cormac. I would rule as king, but where was my queen?
There was much to do. This was a much bigger win for us. Cormac's land was greater than all the small villages of the foothills and moors that I had conquered. Ruling this great city would take much of my time. I needed to assure the safety of my people.
Surely others would make an effort to take the land from me. For this cause, I needed to strengthen my army. I needed to surround myself with the best scientists, intellects, and philosophers. I would need to claim my own Druid priest for spiritual instruction. Plans needed to be made to fortify the castle. I was indeed overwhelmed by my new responsibilities.
Caiside appeared at the entrance to the throne room. I called for him to approach the throne. "What is it, Caiside, my finest warrior?"
"My lord, we must find Cathail."
"Yes. Yes, we do, Caiside. When I complete the plans to fortify my castle, we will leave."
"And when will that be, my lord?"
"I shall be done before the new moon."
"My king, my friend, that will be too late. We must find her before harm comes to her if it hasn't already. If it please you, my lord, send with me twenty of your choicest warriors. You shall remain here. We will look from the lowest moor to the highest hill. We will search the deep wood and trace a line to the cliffs. We will find her and bring her to sit upon her new throne. Please."
"Take the men. Bring her safely to my side."
I retired to my bedchamber to rest hoping my mind would clear. Sadly, it did not. My planning came to an abrupt halt. I could not sleep. I could not rest. My mind turned over and over with this thought and then that thought. I came to realize building my kingdom would not be an easy task, nor would it happen quickly. I must learn patience as I put into place my new plans.
Several weeks passed, and I came to see that Caiside had not returned with my Cathail. I sent out another twenty men in search of Caiside and the others. I continued to plan and implement, implement and plan. Finally, the kingdom was secure. We settled into a new way of life. It was time to plan the next battle. More land to take. More spoil to claim.
In the passing of time, I forgot my forty men and Caiside. When I came to the realization they had not returned nor brought my Cathail to me, I decided I must take leave and retrieve my forty men. They were necessary for battle. As I was considering my journey, a runner appeared at the city gate. He asked for an audience with me. I granted him his desire.
He shared the news he came to deliver. "My lord the king, your men lie in the dust of the hill country just west of here. They are all slain, but I do not know from whose hands their blood drips."
I was curious. I did not want to be led into a trap a second time. I prepared to take my leave. If evil was to find me, it would be easier for me to escape if i were the lone rider. Of course, it was more dangerous. The thought passed my mind, should I remain at the castle and send another to retrieve the forty? Still, I chose to be the man. After all, they were my men. I would prove loyal to them as they proved loyal to me.
I was not long on my journey when I met one of the wee folk. He warned me not to drink of the stream running down from the hill country. Upstream a cow lay bloated in the water. The water downstream was polluted and filled with a deadly disease. I asked him if he had seen my men traveling through the land. He answered in the affirmative but added they took water from the stream. To a man, they were dead.
"Not to worry," he spoke. "We carefully buried the bodies on yonder hill and gave them a fit ceremony. We knew they were honorable men."
I asked if he had seen a woman crossing the land. To that, he simply said, "No." I thanked him for his courtesy to those who were now hopefully, enjoying the paradise of Mag Mell.
This I knew, Cathail was not with the men who passed on. No doubt, she was frolicking in the deep wood dreaming of the day we would take up residence by our own stream, amongst the rich, green undergrowth of the wood.
I had no time for dreaming. There was a war to plan. It would be especially hard without my trusted warrior and friend, Caiside, but I knew victory was ours for the taking. With the castle secured, we would indeed leave before the new moon. Still, I knew the days were fading fast.
I heard reports from our spies how at the very mention of the name, Cadeyrn, the villagers shuttered. I decided long ago, I would take whatever I wanted. I would let nothing stand in my way. If I sent fear among the towns, so be it. It would be that much easier for the towns to fall into surrender. Another day had ended. Soon another would begin. I was safe and comfortable in my newly acquired kingdom.
I took the time to think back over the years and decided I was quite pleased with myself. From the sheepcotes to the kingdom I now ruled. Yes, I was quite pleased.
Secret on the Moors: David Arkenstone
© 2019 William Kovacic