Lys: Hear Me

Aithne heard the words, and a deadly calm came over her. Her hand stilled at its work. She stood, quietly pressing aside the Guttersnipe's hand. Her chin was high, her eyes flinty-cold. Fleetingly, she wished for a proper staff.

She stepped forward, challenging his gaze with her own. When she spoke, her voice was strong and level. The force of it carried into the room, beyond Cunorix's own ears.

"I would expect you to say that- you, who see only with your eyes and forget even that as soon as you turn away. If you considered what you saw, if you had wisdom in your heart, you would know that you do not see a slave, for no man here keeps slaves, but rather a Bard of Eire, whom you stole from her family, yea, from Eire herself.

"And that is not all you have done, Cunorix Mercenary. You have orchestrated the brutal death of another Bard of Eire, robbing her people of knowledge, her most precious possession. For your own amusement and convenience you pitted clan against clan, dividing my island against itself, shattering the blessed peace and creating many a widow and orphan among her people."

She raised her hand in declamation, every bit the bard, the satirist, the avenger of wrongs. "Hear me now, Cunorix of Gaul, for I speak on behalf of Eire and her children. The Holy Writ itself says, 'I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.'

"You have cursed us, therefore you have brought a holy curse upon yourself. Beware! I see your pride, your arrogance. You set yourself up as important among men, as though you were some sort of lesser god. Hear me! Pride is a harbinger of destruction. Watch your footing, O Cunorix, for your downfall is at hand, lest you repent and call on Christ."

She startled herself, though it did not show. Where had that last bit come from? Why did she suddenly feel the need to offer him the only rescue? He would not take it. That was certain. But she was a servant of the One God, and the One God had given her the words to speak.

She pressed on.

"I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. You, our enemy, will meet with darkness in the day time. You will grope in the noonday as in the night. Your hand will be weakend and unable to succeed.

"To God belongeth vengeance and recompence; your foot shall slide in due time. The day of your calamity is at hand! Repent of your sins, Cunorix, for if you do not, you will surely die, and after that comes the true suffering."

She stepped closer. She could almost see it. Her sight blurred, then focused sharply. Yes, she could see them. He had wrapped himself in the darkness of demons, and did not even know it. And they were crowing at his imminent demise...

Her voice lowered into a warning tone. "It is near already. You can hear it, breathing in your ear- a fearsome sound of death and pain, a twisted anticipation of your soul. It waits to devour you, O Cunorix of Gaul. My Lord Ambrosius may easily take your body, but this doom will devour your very soul, and that slowly. An eternity, in fact.

"Fear and tremble, Cunorix, for there is more in store for you than simple death on cold steel."

With that, she turned her back on him and walked away. Then, suddenly, she turned aside to Lord Ambrosius. Raising her hand once more, she hailed him. "My Lord Ambrosius, hear the Word of the Lord Over All: God shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. He shall redeem thee in war from the power of the sword. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good."

With that, she went to the door and out into the yard, leaving the combatants to themselves.

It was not until she was fully outside that her hands began to shake. Cu came up out of nowhere, shoving his head under her hand and whining. He always seemed to know when she wasn't completely well. She stroked his head and back, and presently she felt better. All her fears, all her anger... it was gone. She'd handed it over to God and was, finally, at peace.

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