Follow up to a bit of practice writing last week, titled “boy thane lost”, of which this is some of the more serious part from the start of the tale that lead to his predicament of being tied to a tree. More light humour and adventure from this point on. That’s when some more time avails to explore the story. As this is a practice draft I’ve opted not to edit at this stage, hope it is readable. Will look at it again when my head feels less like a sledgehammer.
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.
“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?”
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 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.