Master Of The Sidhe - The Sidhe Legends: Book Three
Click on image to enlarge.
by Kenneth C. Flint
Description: Now the final battle approaches. The races of Erin join to free their homeland from the foul Fomor and their nightmare engines. But the evil lord Balor plans a fearful vengeance, and captures the sea-god Manannan MacLir. On a deadly mission go the Champions of Eire: young Lugh, the Master of the Silver Warriors; his beloved Aine; the fearless Taillta; Morrigan, the Raven warrior-woman; Shaglan, the Pooka Shapeshifter; the mighty Dagda and his brave son Angus.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2011 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: October 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [421 KB]
Reading time: 260-365 min.
* * * *
A hundred torches and a large central fire filled the great hall of Tara with a ruddy glow. It fluttered nervously in the fretful gusts of autumn wind that batted at the fortress hill of kings.
The many wavering lights cast multiple shadows of the thick roof pillars against the outer walls of the immense, circular room. They created patterns that writhed and altered constantly in a grotesque dance whose music was the keening of the wind itself.
Not many days before, the hall had been the scene of a victory celebration, filled with the rejoicing people of the Tuatha de Danann. Now, no bards sang, no harps played, no ale was passed. The long tables ranged about the fire pit were empty. Tara's hall was deserted except for a single group of men gathered on the dais of the High-King.
Some fifty men were on this royal platform, seated or standing around the table where the High-King and his champions sat when feasting. They made a spot of brightness in the gloom of the cavernous space, a grand collection of colors and textures in the tunics and woolen cloaks, the finely wrought brooches and sword hilts of the chieftains, the multihued robes and golden torcs of the druids. All were intent upon the large chart of the island called Eire spread out upon the planks.
Nuada, High-King of the Tuatha de Danann clans, stood over it. The firelight painted the strong features of his long face in broad, emphatic strokes of light and dark. It turned his eyes to flames gleaming in the deep shadows behind his shaggy brows. He indicated locations upon the chart with the slender, glinting point of his own sword as he spoke, his voice booming hollowly in the vast space.
"Our rising against the Fomor has succeeded--so far. We've broken their companies at every place they've tried to stand." The sword tip touched lightly at several points across the upper third of the isle. "Now they seem to have given up resistance altogether and are all fleeing toward the north."
He lifted his gaze and cast it around at the circle of stolid faces. The gathered leaders were of a type with their king, long-featured, intense, tall and lean of body, golden-haired. And the eyes of all glowed alike with victory.
"But we mustn't be too ready to believe we've won yet!" he cautioned them sharply. "Until the Fomor are defeated totally, their last warrior driven from Eire, we'll not be done with them or properly revenged for the years we lived as their slaves!"
There were murmurs and nods of agreement at that. All there had felt the cruelty of the Fomor, and none underestimated the brutal power of that enemy.
"Our scouts have told us that right now they are gathering," he continued. His sword point stabbed down into the chart, impaling a spot on the northern coast. "Here. Their last and largest city in Eire."
He looked to the others again, his voice taking on a grim intensity. "I don't have to tell you that if they choose to stand against us there, the battle will be a long and bloody one. There'll be no making peace. The Fomor will have their backs to the sea and they'll fight with the savageness of the beasts they are."
One of the warriors exchanged looks with his fellow chieftains, then spoke in reply.
"My King, our people are ready. They are armed and trained and their full strength is restored to them. They want nothing more but to finish this war and have Eire at last!"
The High-King nodded. He had expected nothing else.
"Very well. Then be prepared to march. We have had word from the Fomor that they will accept a truce and discuss terms of surrender. Lugh Lamfada and our other comrades have agreed to go to their city and meet with them. But if they refuse to make terms, we will have to fight."
"I hope our friends survive," said a cunning-looking little druid who sat beside the king. "The Fomor are treacherous."
Nuada's expression gave way to a grin at that.
"Findgoll," he replied, "knowing Lugh and his company as we do, I think it's the survival of the Fomor we should be wondering about."