The lost boy thane (the story so far, parts 1 & 2 + some rambling)

I’ve been home the last couple of days with some flu/cold, and completely bored. I was going to have a go at a Free Write Friday from Kellie Elmore’s blog archive (went digging way back), one of early ones. Thought about the first one on childhood, but then I thought just grab one at random. But time has run out so below is an update on the rough of “The lost boy thane”. The lead in is a poem, which is sort of meant to be sung before the opening sequence. The story has sort of been loosely developed from the poem, which came into existence a couple of years back.

On another note, looking to develop Riggers and Brothers (A previous post from last Friday/Saturday for the first FWF I attempted) further, and set in South America or Africa somewhere, where development is undergoing rapid expansion. Earlier this week I found myself studying up on Peruvian Lilies, but that was for the splintered lands stories.

Just rambling now, so here’s the latest stitching together of “The lost boy thane” story so far.

Two ghosts, three goats and a thane.

Lost in waters so strange to each their terrain,
Till all cast to sea in a coracle,
Two ghosts, three goats and a thane.

For each a ghost held a chain,
That never the same wrapped around the impassable obstacle,
Lost in waters so strange to each their terrain,

With block and now tackle, the stress and the strain,
For this, it made such a laborious spectacle,
Two ghosts, three goats and a thane.

Thoughts stop for a moment with hope in all vain,
While the 3 goats, they dreamed of a miracle,
Lost in waters so strange to each their terrain.

For long be the journey, as sweet as the grain,
The sacks of which came from the oracle,
Two ghosts, three goats and a thane.

For above in the sky, dwell the clouds of hard rain,
Too soon, change the small boat to a single receptacle,
Lost in waters so strange to each their terrain.

Two ghosts, three goats and a thane.

(The singing fades.)

The lost boy thane

Running, running through the darkness, is that thing still following? Run the thoughts so fast through my head. No! Stumbling face first into the ground. The impact with a fallen tree, a spinning world soon finds me looking up so difficult, the hunting tip of an arrow pressed hard against my forehead. I can feel the blood trickling down my face as it mingles with streaming sweat from a chase that has stretched on for miles.
“Boy, what do you think you are doing in this wood?”
My vision somewhat blurry, and stinging with salt from the blood and sweat, all I can make out is long dark hair, and the voice, the voice just a slur in my pounding head.
“Did you not hear me boy? Who are you and what are you doing in this wood?”
Collapsing into the sodden earth, I pass out as the dull echo of the voice fades in my subdued mind. Then in what seems like only a moment, I’m drowning, the sensation of being thrust below the water. Suddenly the realisation hits, there’s no water, I open my eyes.

There’s three goats licking the blood and sweat from my face, and a dark haired girl, half eaten carrot in hand, with a longbow slung over her shoulder and quiver at her side. She is sitting on a tree stump, all but fifteen feet away, and is laughing almost uncontrollably as I struggle to free myself from the tree that I’ve been tied too.
“Careful boy, the more you struggle, the chances are one of our good ole Irish goats there, will mistake your head for one of theirs’ and crack that skull of yours a good one. So what brings you to our wood, boy?”
“If you get these goats off of me,… I might consider telling you.”
“Clearly boy, you don’t have a grasp of your situation. I‘m here, you’re there with the goats, I’m in no rush. Though I must warn you, our Irish goats have a taste for Welsh flesh, and you came along just in time,” giggles the girl, with a big grin.

“Okay, okay, I came across from Wales in a coracle to… to steal some food; we’re in famine over there.” The goats are making life difficult for the boy thane to articulate his responses without getting a mouthful of goat tongue.

“And you don’t think we are in famine here also?”

“No you’re not, a Frank trader, forgotten his name at the moment. He told us the people of this land be a flush with much stock, food, wine and beer.”

“A Frank told you this?” snapping to her feet, the girl draws a knife from her belt, heading straight towards the Welsh boy and the goats.

“Get out of  here you three, go find some clover. I must apologise, that Frank is a distant, and now disowned uncle of mine,” says the Irish girl as she sits right on the ground in front of the boy. Now you tell me the true reason why you’re here, before I decide to feed your tongue to the goats? Because, even I know, only a fool would attempt that crossing in a coracle.”

“This time, here is how I honestly came to be in this wood…..”

“Pausing for just a moment, contemplating what lyrical words to write next, the weather had previously turned sour, for all that I have, including me. All soaked by the means of some wretch, a wretch whom would have us starve. Hell no!

Having to be quick about it, to duck and then dive left, for if I had of failed to find my backside closer to the ground than usual, then the once flung wooden shield, surely might have put me on it.

The practicality of moving left, was no choice either, for my mother’s cousin sought to split my head in two, but for was it not for that moment when the heavy shield creased his forelocks, a third manoeuvre may have been fatal. That, of just previously falling over my own two feet.

“Boy thane, your father was a fool to of lead us on this ridiculous raid, we should never of believed the manipulative Frank. We are with famine in Wales, but what tempest breed of witch do the Irish possess, that they drive us back to these cursed rocks by way of a dark living sea, a sky of blackness with wings, and whirlwinds of water that tower into the sky.”

“Bryn is right, your father, the thane of our people lost his life in believing the Frank jester, he spun us a tale of great wealth and food for the taking from the Irish, but three times darkness confronted our ships. Till now all we have left, is one holed long ship from your father’s Dane friend, and a coracle, which leaks faster than one can bail almost.”

“Einion, you waste your words on this boy thane, whom be but a shadow of what his father had become, but even the best of us had been tricked by the Frank fiend. Perhaps if we all had sort council from, Renfrew, the old river chieftain, we may not of succumbed to such a letting of our own blood kins’ lives to this devastating fate at the calls of the tempest half beast.”

“It is still clear in my head.”

Some forty-three plus ships and boats of varying sizes, set out into the sea of the west to raid the land of the tribes of Eriu. In their number of some six hundred, are starving thanes, chieftains, warriors, archers, foresters, and rangers of the Welsh wild lands of the south.

Amongst their number be father and son, Wyn, a well loved thane of his people and key planner of raid across the west sea, and Bedwyn, whom for the last five years, now sixteen, has been learning the ways of forestry in the border lands to the east.

The mass of wooden vessels, some not so suited for such an extended journey across water, are spread wide, and some a little too far. When from on the horizon to the west, the sea before them begins to advance with a darkness that is rising like waves in a storm with the spray, still some distance away making flight on a wind.

Closer the riving darkness catapults at speed upon then as they realise they have been set upon by swarming eels. Millions of their eel heads, and elongated bodies, so many launching high into the air above the water, like one long dark impenetrable, squirming black liquid goo.

Sweeping through the raiders fleet, many have seen their cloth sails torn to shreds, others capsized and became beaten badly, or were thrust deep beneath the sea to sleep for eternity. Some stood their metal upon the wood of their decks, and cut deep into the wall of eel goo as it engulfed around them.

Around a third of the welsh raiding party had been demolished, or broken up, whether it was in the form of wood splintered in a million different ways, or the bodies of warriors now scattered wide upon the water.

The remaining two thirds collected those of the wounded and survivors, of whom no longer had a means to stay afloat, or required plucking from the now rancid water. But what to do now, for the raiders are to far from home now, and the coast of Eriu is but a few miles. Plus, many of the now ramshackle looking fleet are in dire need of repairs in one way or another. Laughter began to echo out across the water as the raiders’ fleet regrouped.

There stood, Wyn, on the prow of the Danes longship yelling, “Come now, be that the best you can do, tempest half breed!” Gradually the laughter turns into a roar, as more of the welsh raiders join in the challenging of their fear of what befell their kinsmen as they drink from large jugs of beer.

“Here we come, tribes and kin of Eriu!” shouts Einion, as the fleet is once again making for cloud above land on the west horizon.

Before too long the sky begins to grow dark in the distance, a storm, no, these are not clouds, for they move too fast, and the mass billows like a sail on high winds. Faster the black sail fills the sky more and more, till a night is upon the raiders from sea to sun.

The sounds driving wings force a foul wind upon the fleet as millions of bats sweep across the fleet reeking havoc on sail and raider alike. Some falling to an ill sleep and drowning beneath the waters, others fleeing in terror forgetting the sea lacks any solid substance and sinking to the depths. Still many others cut deep through the black sail of darkness, till once again light pitched hard upon the new mirth across the sea.

Once again, Welsh raiders gather up those of their kin that are living, and assemble the remaining seaworthy and those that are almost. For now but only a third of the fleet, and men remain capable of making landfall.

Wyn stands at the mast of the Dane’s longship, challenging the queen of the tempest once again, “What’s this, first you throw a wall of black goo at us, and now you think a billowing black sail of darkness can halt us from landing upon your lands of Eriu and taking what we want?” More beer is consumed at an even faster rate.

The laughter begins to rise again in the gathered remainder of the fleet, as once again they push fast to make landfall while their spirits are high on beer and not failing.

Soon the fleet is inside a mile and a half of the coastal beaches of Eriu, many of the raiders can make out thousands of human figures along the shoreline, as a sound of clashing swords and shields starts to roll out across the water. High on a headland, a dark cloud erupts above two shadowy figures, the queen of tempests and her daughter, as they call upon the storms of their ancestors.

Lightning fills the sky, as thunder erupts across the top of the sounds of the clashing swords and shields at a deafening rate. Whirlwinds begin to form on the water in front of the Welsh raiders’ fleet, lifting the sea into spirals of devastation, as one after the other cuts radical paths of chaos through the remaining third of the Welsh. Some picking up whole ships and casting then like a shower of splinters a mile back out to sea, across an ancient formation of rocks.

Wyn stands on the prow of the Dane, as he too is drawn up into the chaotic twisting water, vanishing from sight, as do many of the raiders with him.

The waterspouts of the tempest queen and her daughter show no mercy towards raider, nor their vessel, as the carnage continues until the fleet lays waste upon the surface of the water…

Or so it seems.”

“So you see, if it was not for some Irish, wretch, witch, banshee, whatever she is, and her half breed daughter, we might of made it to shore and negotiated for food rather than fighting.”

“Watch that tongue of yours, little boy thane. The woman you call a wretch, is our chieftain in this part of the land of Eriu. Be careful too as to whom you call a half breed, you look a little on the runt side yourself.”

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