The Return Part IV
It was some time later when Eoghan came to his senses after having slept most of the day away in a near comatose state. Dimly he was aware of his surroundings enough to know he was no longer upon the cart that had carried him from Betholm to Xavax. After all the makeshift padding of a thin military blanket and straw did not make for the most comfortable of beds, even if it had been a marked improvement over the hard stone floors of the dungeon, but whatever he was laying upon was far more comfortable. Shifting a little as he stirred Eoghan was quickly greeted by an almost muted pang of pain that thrummed just beneath his skin. The sensation was certainly new in a good way, and yet odd at the same time. This had largely been in part to the almost acclimation of that pain Eoghan had gone through over the passed few days. The flairs caused by his own actions, and the exasperation of the wounds at the hands of his tormentors had been constant enough that he was somewhat used to the sensation as oddly put as that was. Still one shouldn't question such a gift, and Eoghan was hardly going to start now since the agony he felt had been diminished greatly. Rising further from his stupor Eoghan was quickly coming more into himself and with it he heard the soft lilting sounds of an all to familiar voice singing just a little ways away.
"Deireann lucht léinn
Gur cloíte an galar an grá
Char admhaigh mé é nó go raibh sé
'Ndiaidh mo chroí 'stigh a chrá
Aicíd ró-ghéar, faraor
Nár sheachnaigh mé í
Chuir sí arraing 's céad go géar
Fríd cheartlár mo chroí
Casadh bean sí domh thíos
Ag Lios Bhéal an Áth'
'S d'fhiafraigh mé díthe
An scaoilfeadh glais ar bith grá
'Sé dúirt sí os íseal
I mbriathra soineanta sámh
Nuair a théann sé fán chroí
Cha scaoiltear as é go brách"
Before his eyes even opened Eoghan found himself naturally reacting to the voice and drawing a gentle smile upon his lips. "Hello mother..." he managed with a shift of his form and the admittedly slow opening of an eye, "how long have I been out?" He continued as he rose up, pushing through the pulse that poured outward from his back and brought him to wince slightly.
"Roderic says they found you shortly after dark, so over half the day now." came Caera's reply as she watched her son struggle to rise. Her face, showing her age in the faded look and her laugh lines, remained calm and impassive for the time being. She did not move to assist him, for Eoghan did not ask for the assistance and it was not their way to aid in a personal struggle without the invitation.
"Ah, so much like when I was younger eh?" Eoghan offered with a grin and set his bluish-grey eyes fully upon his mother. "How often would you say it was hmm?" He added as he finally managed to sit up fully upon the bed he had been placed upon.
"Near every full moon in the summers. The little ones from the village, Caoimhín, and you would all go running about in the woods playing your games while the light was out. Then as you got older Caoimhín and you would drag Ruari out in the nights to hunt. It seems almost a lifetime ago now." Her voice fell slightly towards the end though through most of the recollection it had been warmer.
"Yeah...it does..." Eoghan replied in kind, his own tone matching his mother's as his mind flew to those halcyon days with his brothers and his friends. Fond memories marred by the fact that he had lead almost all of his friends to their deaths after the disastrous battle of Aeng in his first year of service to the Imperium. Almost idly Eoghan's hand drifted to his bandaged side to touch upon the scar hidden beneath his bandages where he had been run through by a cavalryman's spear in the bandit's charge. A miscommunication of the army's battle settings had left the archers exposed and they all paid the price for that mistake in the lives of friends and comrades, of Xavax blood. Of his Sparrows only Eoghan and Roderic had managed to walk from the field alive, and even then Eoghan had been seriously wounded and Roderic had been barely clinging to life. "Mother, you know I can't stay yeah?"
"I know son. I can see in your eyes that you would just fight us if we tried to keep you here to rest. It's your father's stubbornness." Caera stated with a glimpse of Eoghan's own smile forming along the corners of her lips.
"No, it's your stubbornness and we both know it." Eoghan shot back with a chuckle before working his way to his feet. A low grunt sounding from his lips as the movement sent another muted stab through his body and brought him to stumble. Within a breath Caera had risen up and moved to support her son until he proved steady once more and she could pull away.
"Eoghan, you know we can't let this pass. Give me the name and you and your people can be on your way. I will soothe things with your father so he doesn't try to keep you." This was the moment Eoghan had been hoping wouldn't come. Had it merely been him barring the grudge it would have ended simply with Archibald. But just as Caera knew the determination in her son so to did Eoghan know it in his mother and this meant it would go to the family.
"Archibald Von Lunkhofen." Eoghan spoke the name and grew still as he knew what was to follow.
"Fíoch bunaidh" Caera replied in kind, blood feud.The Return Part V
Caera had left the room with the promise to talk to his father about securing the passage and left Eoghan alone to gather himself and finish dressing. While he had no clothes within Adare Hall his brother had seen fit to offer up a tunic of his own. Caoimhín was a little taller and a little more built than Eoghan was, which meant the tunic hung on him slightly. But it was better by leaps and bounds when compared with the torn and ratty tunic he had been wearing upon his release. When his torc was set in place the Saoi drew his breath and made for the door and out onto the upper balcony overlooking Adare Hall's great hall. There was no music, no ambient clamor of the many voices that often filled the hall with life, and with the sole exception of the high hearth's crackling flame the only sound heard was the discussion between Art Ui Briuin, Caera, and their two sons. Although of the two it was largely Caoimhín who spoke up with Ruari interjecting to add a smart remark here and there. Yet even this would come to an abrupt stop when Caera and Ruari noticed Eoghan at the top of the stairs and fell silent, leading Art and Caoimhín to follow suit. They all watched as Eoghan began his descent, a little slow in his movement but that was to be expected considering his injuries. The silence that filled the hall was almost oppressive to the point that even the crackling of the flames could not abate the weighty hush. Still for his part Eoghan didn't seem to let it get to him as he continued down at his best pace. His focus drifting from his family to the salt and pepper hair of his trusted friend and companion Roderic. To the old badger Eoghan gave the briefest of nods which was returned in kind by the old man. As he reached the bottom step it was father who broke the silence first,
"You are being a damned fool for leaving now, you know that?" Art's voice rang out masterfully within the hall as he had spent most of his life ruling his small lands from within it. Yet in spite of his volume and demeanor there was no sign of anger or malice in his accusing question.
"Aye father, I know." Eoghan answered in the same subdued tone he had carried with his mother when the same point was made.
"Well if you are set on it than get to it, we won't stop you from being an idiot." Art replied though his voice softened some as he spoke.
"Art..." Caera interjected but Eoghan cut her off with a grin and a nod.
"Glad to hear it. I doubt any force in this world or the next could manage it anyway." and it seemed the reply hit home as Art's own features softened considerably.
"Right, well you will find we have provided you fresh horses. Your man Roderic saw fit to get a proper healer from the Capital and we've paid for her services for the next few months so you best heed her advice now." Art continued on with a nod or two upon finishing. Then with nothing else to add he set his grey gaze upon Eoghan and added a final, "You be sure to come by when your travels take you this way again."
"I will father." Eoghan gave his curt reply with a nod before glancing to his other family members.
"You better little brother," Caoimhín now pipped up with a wide grin, "You have to meet your nephew after all."
"Do well Eoghan, may the Paragons Guide you." Ruari quipped as well with a weaker smile when set beside his older brother.
"and may they Guide you all as well." Eoghan answered in kind before making his way out of Adare Hall and to the courtyard with Roderic at his side.
"M'Lord, I've had Leland riding back and forth to the Capitol t' collect any messages for you. It seems the army is t' be setting out for Abadan soon and the Knights of Steele are requesting you in Leibo. Also the Talon has commanded you to avoid disputed areas for the time being." Roderic mentioned as they made their way towards where the horses were waiting. There Eoghan could see his two attendants who had originally followed him from Leibo with Roderic, Pol and Leland, as well as a new face dressed all in white. "Right, this is Lenora she has been tending to your wounds while you...slept."
"Passed out Roderic, might as well call it what it was. Very well we set off to Leibo then." Eoghan answered before looking to the small group gathered, "Leland, Pol, we are heading home saddle up my own horse." Eoghan could practically feel Roderic's brow raise at his remark, and before the question was asked the Saoi cut him off. "I can't stay in the cart forever Roderic and we will travel faster without it. Besides what kind of Hero of the Imperium would I be if I came to meet soldiers going off to war laying face down in a cart?" With his piece said Roderic knew that Eoghan would be too stubborn to let up and so he let out an audible sigh and followed his Lord forward to the horses. The whole time the grizzled veteran of the Xavax Wars reflected on Eoghan's father's words and could have found them more apt. Especially as the lot of them took of to the sound of Eoghan's curses flying out at various points along their long ride northward.
((The song is called Tá mé 'mo shuí if you want to hear what it sounds like being song follow the link! https://youtu.be/_pUOPnPIqEc?t=3m13s