Thursday, September 11, 2014

MacGoulan Arrives

   More of the Chaos in Progress, this scene is the morning after the attack on Annag's wedding feast. Pt 1 The Wedding Feast  Pt 2 Unexpected Guests

 The morning sun slid hesitantly through the broken doorway. Flies began to gather around pools of blood and stray limbs. The lazy buzzing a sharp contrast to the panicked screams and roars of rage that filled the house hours earlier.

The small party from clan MacGoulan approached the doorway with blades drawn. Nerves were on edge since entering the cluster of stone huts and encountering unnatural silence. The bodies of the clan hounds, ripped apart, littered the tracks between homes. Their calls of greeting had gone unanswered at the nearest huts.

Sionn reluctantly peered through the doorway of the clan chief's home, then stumbled back, his breakfast returning to his throat.

"They're dead! All dead!", he cried. "Killed same as the hounds, torn..."

Another man had braved a bit farther into the carnage. "Sionn, there's not just the clan dead here. There's animal...I think." He looked around, trying to understand the bodies. The clans people were badly mutilated, the bodies violently torn and shredded. The other dead were more simply slain. By sword or club.

Those dead were not of the clan. Sionn reentered the house. "What kind of men were these?", he muttered as he took in the misshapen faces. More of a muzzle than nose or jaw. Hands that ended in razor sharp claws. ‘Wulver, men that became beasts,” he thought. Nightmares made more chilling by the light of day.

Sean gasped behind him. "Sionn! There are children dead here as well! And this child, this one has no head. Sionn what..." A small moan from the back wall interrupted his morbid inventory.

Sionn drew his broadsword and made his way toward the sound. There he found the woman, her clothing ripped and bloody. A dirk still gripped in trembling hands, her red hair a wild flame about her head.

As Sionn reached for her she scrambled closer to the wall, trying to lift the blade against him.

"Hush girl. I'm Sionn MacGoulan. Are you of MacClarren? Can you say what happened?"

She tried to focus on him, his resemblance to her betrothed returned her voice to her. "Taog? Where is Taog! Where is my mother? Father!" She struggled to stand. As her eyes took in the scene around her, she fell back.

This must be Annag, betrothed of his brother. Sionn threw his arm around her, when he touched her back she screamed in agony. He turned her gently to see what caused the pain. Three deep slashes crossed her back. Blood still seeping weakly from wounds that were an angry red.

Sionn let her fall to the floor. She'd been clawed by the beasts. The old stories made it clear what to do. What had to be done. The wounds were a death sentence. MacGoulan would not abide her, betrothed of Taog or not. She was cursed and they wouldn't suffer her to live, within or without the clan. Though it grieved him, Sionn drew his sword. Grabbing a fistful of the girl’s red hair, he pulled her head back, baring her throat.


The voice rang through the silence. Startled Sionn turned to the shattered doorway. A figure in long dress holding a crooked staff stood silhouetted by the sun. As she stepped into the room, he could see the wrinkled face of an elderly woman. He shook his head dismissively.

“She is tainted, old woman. And mostly dead anyway,” Sionn said. “She cannot be saved. Besides, you’ve no voice here.” He began to lift his blade again.

“Oh, but I do, boy. I so do.” She tapped her staff on the ground. A vibration began at her feet and traveled swiftly to Sionn. His arm numbed and the blade fell to the floor.

The other men backed warily away. “Don’t run off, now, children. I’ve more work for you.” Shedchuckled as the group looked nervously at each other, waiting for Sionn to tell them what to do.

It was the woman that spoke to them. “ First, bring that girl out of this filth.” When there was no immediately movement, she lifted her staff. Three men hurried to Annag’s side, lifted her roughly and scurried for the door.

“Carefully, children! Let’s not make her wounds any worse! And find a litter, you’ll move her to my home.” She turned to the other men standing amid the carnage. “The rest of you, gather what fuel you can. This must be burned. All of it. Burn the dead hounds as well.”

Sionn spoke finally, “Why not leave the girl to burn, also? She’s cursed. Whatever they were, she carries that taint now. I grew up hearing stories, I’d not believed them before, but, now…I say again, she cannot be saved.”

“I say she will be saved.” The woman’s eyes flashed at Sionn.

He snapped back, “And who are you to say this?”

“Me?” The old woman grinned unpleasantly. “Why, I am Lillian”



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