Black Betrayal - an excerpt from Chapter 4...

Kate Lander is a superb dramatist, poet and writer who has worked with this site's owner on many projects via other writers communities and social networking sites and the very early days of the original Sensitize © that used to be on the MSN network. Kate's material is often themed around domestic situations and relationships but her work knows no limits...

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Kate Lander
dramatist, poet & writer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:06 am

Black Betrayal - an excerpt from Chapter 4...

Postby Kate Lander » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:58 pm

Mogh Ruith the High Priest walked sedately behind humming an almost inaudible incantation. As the younger Druids left the cauldron to the more capable hands of their elder, Goll Mac Morna shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

There were but two tests left for Conaire to pass in order for his inauguration to be final; The Dagda’s cauldron and Conchobar’s chariot which awaited him in the square. Any hope then of Mac Morna himself being chosen instead would be lost, it agitated him, had the title of High King not been taken from a King of Leinster by force? Was it not his by right?
He thought Conaire was indeed impressive, but did he have the forbearance and level headedness required for such prominence? His train of thought was broken abruptly by Mogh Ruith who was now bashing the side of the cauldron with a heavy dagger causing a metallic ring to resonate throughout the Hall.

“Dagda…Dagda…Dagda…Dagda…” Mogh Ruith continued to chant the good Gods name over and over and his chants were soon rejoined by his acolytes, and they too had their voices joined by Druids from other orders whose own Gods had some connection to the Dagda.
These included the sisters of Brigit. Brigit was the daughter of the Dagda, one of his many children along with Ogma and Bodb the Red. Soon the entire Hall was chanting the name of the Dagda, the unanimous feeling of expectation giving the place an electrifying atmosphere.
A loud crack erupted from the centre of the cauldron hushing all the arrayed Druids except for Mogh Ruith who didn’t pause for a second in his incanting.
“Dagda…Dagda…Dagda…Dagda…Here, come here my Lord…” he gestured to Conaire to join him beside the cauldron and Conaire did not hesitate. Mogh Ruith took the new King’s hand and pushed it forcefully into the mouth of the black pot.
“Say it..Say the Dagda’s name…” he commanded gently.
“Dagda…Dagda…” he continued and Conaire’s voice joined him, quietly at first but at the old Druids instruction he grew louder and louder until he was shouting and again there was a second loud crack.
Conaire grinned and turned towards the expectant assembly, he withdrew his arm from the cauldron and thrust his hand into the air, in his palm he held a solitary red apple. Mac Morna let out a guffaw of laughter and Mogh Ruith shot a disapproving look at him and motioned that he should be silent.
“Stand back my Lord King,” gently Mogh Ruith ushered Conaire back and he fell to his knees.
“Behold!” he yelled.
“The Dagda deems that Conaire Mac Lamha is indeed worthy!”
At this the cauldron started to shake, first gently then it paused, then it shook so violently that it seemed it would tip, it’s three iron feet ringing loudly as they repeatedly banged on the slate floor.
Another apple dropped out at Conaire’s feet, then another, then a carrot, a turnip, the cauldron positively erupted with food. A flood of foodstuffs came pouring from it’s mouth, causing a ripple of excitement and laughter within the Hall until finally it stopped shaking and the flow of fruit, vegetables and grains ceased. Conaire grinned and juggled his apple from one hand to the other before singling out a young boy in the midst of the sisters of Brigit and tossing the fruit to him.

(c) K J Lander 2009 all rights reserved

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Kate Lander
dramatist, poet & writer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:06 am

Re: Black Betrayal - an excerpt from Chapter 4...

Postby Kate Lander » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:26 pm

Crimmal watched the apple come flying towards him only to stop in mid-air two feet above and in front of him. He seized his chance, leaping upwards and onwards turning a full somersault. He grabbed the suspended fruit before he landed squarely on his feet next to Airmid, High Priestess of Brigit. She smiled indulgently at him and pushed him back towards his mother, but not before Trenmor of the Fianna had grinned at the boy and shown he was suitably impressed.
“Nice move son” Bodbamil inclined her head towards the boys crotch, “let us hope Trenmor did not notice that aspiring Fianna are not in control of their bladders.”
Crimmal became aware that he no longer needed to pee and he flushed as he looked at the large dark stain which had spread around his lap.
“I’m sorry Mother” he said quietly.
“Do not apologise my love, just hope the damp patch has gone by the time these festivities are over and you are introduced. Now, sshhh…” Bodbamil drew an end to the matter and motioned towards Conaire.
“Distribute this food amongst my people,” he turned to the acolytes of Caillech, Goddess of disease and plague.
“Will you take it for the sick?”
The veiled form of the High Priestess nodded silently within her black garments and she ushered the other Druids of her order towards the Dagda’s cauldron. They hurriedly tossed apples, turnips, onions and wheat into rough sacks and once all the food had been collected the Druids shuffled back towards their appointed places to await the next trial.

The enormous Conchobar of Ulaidh rose from his dais, drawing gasps from the assembly. He was a modern day myth, a warrior whose name already featured in the poetry of the bards and for no small reason. He stood a head above every other man in the Hall including the strongest of the Fianna, his chest was as broad as a war horse and each leg seemed the width of an oak. Above his head he swirled a whip of leather, cracking it loudly at intervals, making the crowd jump. Conchobar turned to Conaire and inclined his head respectfully,
“My Lord, the Chariot awaits…” he motioned towards the doors at the end of the Hall and proceeded to march through the crowd, still twisting the whip over his head, he laughed heartily as a wizened old crone from the order of Danu tripped as she hurriedly made way for him and he stepped over her as though she were no larger than a pebble.
Conaire followed the King of Ulaidh silently until he reached the prone form of the old Priestess, he bent down and as if lifting no more than a leaf from the ground, he pulled her to her feet. Embarrassed, she would not look up at her King, but he seemed not to mind and continued towards the next test which awaited him outside the Keep. After Conaire followed the other Monarchs of Eire and after them the Fianna, finally the whole of the Hall emptied. The people were keen to see if this new King was as impressive a horseman as he was at every other trial that had been given him this day.

Morann and two of his druidic brothers remained in the Hall; together they pulled on the gigantic cauldron of the Dagda, slowly dragging it along the floor until they felt the warmth of the waning sun upon their backs.
As they entered the courtyard three more of their order stood waiting including Mogh Ruith. The elderly Druid bent over the cauldron and looked for an age into the empty depths muttering silent words of power under his breath. When finally he fell silent he told his five acolytes to take the cauldron back to their camp.
“Morann, you will stay with the Dagda’s vessel.” He said quietly.
“But Master Ruith, I should like to see the rest of the ceremony…and did I not tell you that I have pressing matters of which I need to speak…”
“Aye, indeed you did lad, and you shall. These festivities are long and arduous and I am old. My attention is easily drawn from the here and now to what is yet to be and it tires me. This old Priest will join you shortly, but until then you should have patience. There will be much entertainment and rejoice this evening Morann and I am sure that a soul as young as yourself will find revelry in places long forgotten by myself.” He chuckled then, as if remembering some long repressed memory.
“Well, perhaps not completely forgotten. Go on now…”
Mogh Ruith turned and in his old man’s gait staggered towards the now much enlarged crowd awaiting the new King’s next trial. Morann sloped after his fellow brothers of the Dagda, who had now lifted the cauldron above their heads, its weight removed by Mogh Ruith’s incantation.

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