Blood Of The Lion

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October, 1299

King Aedh Conchobair

Winter was fast approaching and with it, the last chance to gain some sort of advantage over the English. They had fought two main battles so far, winning one and losing one, but they were going to advance through the winter snows and the desert spring that was to come. Aedh could feel it, the people of Ireland were behind him, his marriage to Princess Margaret bringing the Scots and the Norse behind them as well. He could see the English lines from where he was, hidden behind the bush, hidden and preparing for the fight that was to come. It would be a defining battle that much he was sure of, there was not much more that could be done to prevent such a thing from happening. There was no point trying to stop it now, not with so much expected. He presses the horn to his lips and dances forward, his axe in his hands singing as they move down the hill, the English knights seem to be dwarfed by the power of the Irish coming down toward them.

He crashes into a mix of armour and horse, and cuts and hacks, slashing doing what he can to bring them down. He swings his axe with delight, singing the praises of the lord as he does so. There is nothing better than this, the feeling of a man’s blood on his hands as he brings them to meet their maker, or in the case of the English, the devil. He cuts and swings, breaking through the throes of pain to do so. This is what he was made for, this is what he was meant to do. To break them and reduce them down to nothingness. He swings and swings, more and more men fall before him, reduced into nothingness, eventually, they fall and break. And as they fall and break the English commanders seem to lose their nerve, they slowly begin moving backwards, fleeing. He watches as they flee, but his blood lust is not sated, he orders his men after them and they move through it all. Bodies, rot and gore, toward the enemy before them/.

They hunt the English down, some primal urging, pushing them on, Aedh’s axe bloodied and singing for more. They hack their way through the throes of pain and unnecessary mercy, through the ideas the English would try and push onto them, they move through it all, and break through it all. He laughs as another Englishman falls down to his axe, and then another. Eventually, the fighting stops, and when it does, he looks around seeing the bloodied and dead Englishmen, he and his men drink and feast that night, celebrating a hard fought victory. It tastes sweet, and he knows as he does, that this is one of many. Winter comes the next day and they sing and dance, the English starving in the hinterland.

November, 1299

Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Leicester

“Tell me again. How is it that they were able to ambush our men and lead us into destruction?” Edmund barks, his anger growing, he can tell his sons Thomas and Henry are not looking forward to being left in the firing line later.

The messenger looks abashed. “Sir Roger did not think they would come from where they did. He did not post the necessary sentries my Lord.”

“Sir Roger is a fool who does not serve the accolades being given to him.” Edmund snarls. “Tell me, where are the Irish now.”

“They are some three hundred miles from here Sire. Though Earl Richard and King Domnall are coming closer.” The messenger responds.

“Very well.” Edmund says dismissing the man, he turns to his sons and commanders and says. “We make for them.” They no better than to protest this.

January, 1300

King David II Dunkeld

The new year welcomes in battle and gore. Somewhere they are in Ireland, and his blood is up, the chance for revenge against the English, the thing he has hungered for, for so long is now within sight. He swings his sword, cutting down another boy, laughing as he does so, it feels good to be alive, to be able to produce such a thing as this. To be able to reduce the English to quivering messes. As far as he knows they are losing manpower and support, fighting in the winter has traditionally been avoided, but if the English are not going to respect the rules then they shall suffer for it. David swings his sword again and again, as more lines of Englishmen and traitorous Irishmen advance forward, like lambs to the slaughter all is alive and well, but there is nothing quite like this. This feeling of being completely in control, of being able to exact exactly what he wants from them, his body not giving way yet, not to the pains that sometimes engulf him, he keeps going, moving forward, swinging his sword hacking and slashing.

They move onto the next foe, swinging their swords, blazing through the life they were given as if it is nothing more than a fleeting second. Snow crunches underneath him, driving him to distraction, but he does not mind, not anymore. He keeps going, his sword singing as the more and more men fall to his blows and to his wisdom. He keeps going, striking through them as though they are nothing. He hacks and slashes, cutting them down deep, cutting them below their ankles and above their faces, he sees them crumple to the floor. A sense of achievement runs through him at that. He sees them all fall and he knows that they are close, so very close to victory. Another push and another, and more and more men fall to his sword, they are breaking, the English are breaking into halves here. He sees his uncle’s banner and he attacks the guards, sending them sprawling, then he comes face to face with his uncle. Their duel is over within moments. The Irish surrender shortly afterwards, the English are massacred.

April, 1300

Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Leicester

Being forced to negotiate terms with the man who had killed his father was an infuriating thing, and not something he wanted to do, but it was necessary, word had come from London, they were to stop fighting in Ireland at once. They had lost something one by Henry FitzEmpress many years ago, and were to be punished for it. He speaks the words that bring bitterness to his mouth. “By order of King Edward, second of that name since the conquest, we do formally recognise the independence of Ireland under King Aedh, and recognise too that they are a free people, free to practise their forms and laws under their own pretence. Any English settlers who do not wish to abide by this are allowed to return to England and make their way as they are Englishmen.”

His cousin nods, as does King Aedh. “Very well, then it is settled. We are friends now, let us end this enmity.” His uncle says, extending a hand, reluctantly, Thomas shakes the man’s hand, and then he turns and leaves, his heart breaking as he does so, his father’s body in a casket on the way home.

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