Chapter Eleven – They March to War (Lost Rainbows – Serial)
By Connie Cockrell
Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?
This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows
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They March to War
Shamus began with his examination of the treasury and ended with his return with the gold late last night. No one interrupted. Becca thought it was because he told the story as though it happened to someone else, long ago. She was captivated by the story, even though she was in part of it. He made it seem as though it were someone else.
When he finished, the King nodded. “A good tale, Shamus.” He looked at his counselors. “Any questions?” The three of them picked at Shamus’s story. Why he did one thing and not another. Soon the King interrupted. “It seems,” he said, giving the advisors a glance, “that aside from some very minor points, we accept your tale.” He sighed and looked directly at Becca. “That leaves us with your assessment of Miss Becca and, more importantly, what to do about her Uncle Bannon.”
“I’m sure, Sire, that he will be back. We didn’t destroy his mirror and he wants Becca to assist him in conquering our land.”
“The question is, how soon?” The King turned to his daughter. “You have the best knowledge of the Tuatha De Danann. Is it possible that the gods can return?”
Lyeen nodded. “It’s part of the lore that the Tuatha De Danann intermarried with the Formorians, the ancient race of giants that were the original inhabitants of this land. So, they may have intermarried with humans. Of course that would have diluted their blood line. It’s not inconceivable that within the families, they would have maintained records of their own kind and intermarried to bring the true line back. It would have taken hundreds of years, maybe thousands.”
The oldest advisor spoke up. “They’ve had the time. It’s been thousands of years since the Tuatha De Danann were led underground by their leader, Manannan mac Lir after their defeat by the Milesians.” He raised a bushy red eyebrow at Becca. “We’d like to test the girl, of course.”
The King scratched his beard. “I agree some testing should be done.” He turned to his daughter again. “Lyeen, you will accompany the girl and the advisors. She’s not to be hurt. If she is indeed the Tuatha De Danann returned to us, she needs to be kept safe and trained in whatever power she might possess or grow into.” He rose from his chair, and the others followed. “Shamus, with me. We need to plan for the return of her uncle.”
Shamus turned to Becca. “Go with the Princess and the advisors. They will not hurt you.” She nodded as the Princess joined the two.
“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Becca.” Lyeen held out her hand.
“Nice to meet you, Princess Lyeen.” Becca shook hands with the Princess and did a curtsy before they left side by side.
A month later Draum, son of Fitz, hurried into the King’s office. Draum had been assigned with three others to keep watch on the wizard’s mirror. “Sire,” he called out as he entered. “Mechanical beings are coming through the mirror.”
The King turned to the guard standing at his door–“Sound the alarm.”
The guard hurried off.
“Tell me what you saw,” the King told the young scout.
Draum caught his breath. “Machines, Sire, in the form of men, coming through the mirror, one after another. They were lining up on the field in front of the ruin when I left. It looks like an army.”
The King nodded. “Where are the others?”
“They stayed to spy, Majesty. Another will come to warn us when the machines are finished coming through.”
“Good. Arm yourself, Draum. I fear a battle is near. Send a courier to the others. Tell them to fall back to the next road gate. That’s where we’ll come out.”
Draum gave a brief bow and hurried from the room.
An hour later the King was in the courtyard, dressed in battle armor. The courtyard was a mass of confusion. The signal had gone to the outlying farms and holds and leprechaun families were flooding into the Keep. The King’s pages, too young to go to battle, were directing them to the rear of the sidhe, out of the way of the fighters.
The fighters, armored like the King, were milling around the courtyard checking each other’s gear and saying their goodbyes to family.
His advisors, all too old to fight, were with the King. He was giving directions to them for the defense of the sidhe. Princess Lyeen, also in armor, stood by her father, with Becca beside her. They’d found ancient armor for her in the small Tuatha De Danann memorial hall. It fit her perfectly.
Shamus strode up to the small group. “Sire, your commander is ready.”
“Thank you, Shamus.” The King turned to his advisors. “Princess Lyeen will remain. She and I have discussed what needs to be done.” The advisors glanced at Lyeen and gave a short bow. “Should things go ill, she is my heir. Follow her in all things as you would follow me.”
The advisors began to protest that nothing would go wrong. “Nonsense,” King Mac Shadenan, said. “It’s a battle. Things always go wrong.”
The advisors bowed and retreated to the steps of the Hall.
“Father.” Lyeen put a hand on her Father’s arm. “Take care.” She looked into his eyes. “It’s too soon for you to leave us.”
He nodded. “Take care of the Kingdom, Daughter.”
She bowed, turned and walked to the Hall steps to join the Advisors. Shamus stopped her half way. “Do you have everything you need, Princess?” he asked.
Lyeen smiled sadly. “Enough, Shamus. I fear for Father.” She looked into his eyes. “And for you.” She reached out and toyed with the scarf she’d given him on his search for the treasure. “You still wear it.”
“I do. It brings me luck.” He shuffled his feet. He wanted to kiss her goodbye, but knew that would be overstepping his bounds.
“Keep Father safe for me, Shamus,” the Princess said. Then she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.
He stood in shock, the kiss burning on his face. She turned and joined the advisors. The King called. Shamus took one more look at Lyeen on the steps. She smiled and gave him a nod. Then he turned and hurried to the King, heart still pounding. “Here, Majesty.”
“Stay close to Miss Becca. The Advisors tell me she has great potential but she’s still untrained. Protect her as you would me. I will not have the first Tuatha De Danann return to us only to lose her in a battle.”
“Let’s march!” the King called to the company of leprechauns dressed for battle. The gates opened and two by two they marched out of the sidhe, the Guard Commander in the lead, the King in the middle with Shamus and Becca right behind him.
To be continued…
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