Standing there at the door, Aithne heard voices from the Atrium.
"And so there was peace in Lugh's realm. The foe had been vanquished, the king made whole, and the king's brother's behavior greatly steadied by the fact that he could now only gesture with one hand.
So ends the tale of Lugh Thunderfist. Make of it what you will."
Lugh Thunderfist? Just what on earth was Cathair speaking of? Leaving the girl and the bird to themselves, she slowly made her way down the hall, listening as Lord Artos tore whatever story it was to shreds.
Cathair burst into laughter. "All due respect, Lord Artos, but I would've thought a man such as yourself would've recognized such a story as one fabricated on the spot."
Aithne thought now might be a good time to enter, before Cathair lost the "due respect" in his laughter. She came in and sat beside him on the bench, a smile on her face. "And what is this, now? Have you been making badly-spun stories again? You will have them thinking all Irishmen are practiced liars." Truth be told, what she heard of the goings-on was amusing, at least. "Please forgive his sense of humor, my lord. He will never be broken of it." She gave Cathair an impudent look before sobering.
"But I must say that the law of a whole king goes beyond physical prowess, and the wholeness extends to the mind as well. I have no idea what Cathair said on the matter, but there is more to it than whether a man has all his limbs. The king and the land are all but one, in our culture. If the king is impaired, the land is as well, as are all the people under his care. It is not who can throw the farthest or who can lift the most weight, or even who can outwit the others." she looked sidelong at Cathair. "It is a symbol of the state of the people." She put up her hands. "I can not explain it properly in Latin, to Romanized ears. But it is not as barbarian as you seem to have been led to believe."
She turned back to Cathair. "Whatever possessed you to tell such a horrible tale?"
He shrugged. "It was either that or bluntly tell Kay here that I didn't appreciate being shown off like a new kitten in the arms of an excited little girl. I didn't think it would be right to start a fight in Lord Ambrosius's absence, even a friendly one."
Nevertheless, the challenge was in his eyes. Aithne could see it- he looked not like a kitten, but a cat baiting a mouse. Or perhaps a dog playing with a badger, for, putting all loyalties aside, she had no clear idea of who would win the fight, if it came to it. She wondered if Kay would recognize it for what it was, or if he would take true offense.
"Oh please, Cathair, don't fight with him." she took his hand, imploringly.
"Why? Are you thinking I couldn't win against the man?"
"Oh no." she said, looking over at Kay, then back to Cathair. "I'm just thinking how bloody your face would be after he split his knuckles on it. I don't want poor Kay to need Jason's care, nor to welcome Lord Ambrosius back all over bruises and bandages." She could not believe she was continuing the taunt. But she surprised herself by wondering just how such an encounter would go.
Men. They would go at each other hammer and tongs over nothing, then sit down together better friends than before the fight. She looked back and forth between the two men, waiting to see what would happen. Who knew? They might end up brothers for it.
- Jenny: The Devil
- Lys: For I Know The Plans I Have For You
- Jenny: With the Flash of the Deer
- Lys: Cassandra
- Jenny: Foreshadows of the Past
- Lys: A Friendly Fight Or Two
- Jenny: The Philosopher and the Poet
- Lys: The Gift Of The Blarney
- Jenny: Distraction
- Lys: Strange Bedfellows
- Jenny: Terror Tastes Like Honey
- Lys: The White Creature
- Jenny: What Can't Be Seen
- Lys: The Lady of the Villa
- Jenny: Shivering, Like a Horse That Smells Fire
- Lys: A Frozen Flame
- Jenny: Rubicon
- Lys: Fighting Fear
- Jenny: A Familiar Darkness
- Lys: Unreasoning Fear
- Jenny: Just a Guttersnipe
- Lys: Wounded Creatures
- Jenny: Old Acquaintances
- Lys: The Hawk Has Flown
- Jenny: Long Shadows
- Lys: An Elephant
- Jenny: In the Snow
- Lys: Trouble Lies Heavily
- Jenny: Taking Care of Things
- Lys: Heroes
- ▼ January (30)