Chapter Two: The Glory of Our Times...
I ran out of the council chambers as quick as I can, following the sound of my father's steel greaves against the cold stone floor of the halls, I continued running in order to catch up with him, picking up pace, but the sound of the greaves disappeared.
I looked at where I was, and I was surprised I never saw this place in the past...
To my right there was a large archway, leading to the courtyard, the arch was decorated with stone Harps and Gryphons embedded in it, in the entrance, to both sides, were two large statues of Gryphons and a guard by each one, to my left was nothing, a simple wall, quite decorated, and straight ahead the hallway continued, probably heading to the main hall...
I decided to give up, and I retraced my steps, going back to the council chambers, and from it to my chambers.
Waking up the next morning; I approached the main hall and saw my father sitting at the throne and in front of him was a man holding a battered shield and a poorly made spear.
The king nodded as the two spoke, my mother sat next to him, on her on throne, I smiled at her as she smiled at me, a hearty old lady really.
Approaching the decorated throne, I heard the armed man speak:
"We swear allegiance to you, king Brian the Mauler" The armed man bowed.
"It shall not be forgotten, nor be failed to repay you in grace if you succeed. Gather your troops, good man, gather your troops and head for the Smithy, it shall get you armed and ready" Said the king, smiling.
The armed man nodded and bowed once more, leaving the great hall through the gigantic wooden doors far ahead, which were wide open.
"My king..." I uttered, wanting to apologize.
"Think of it no further, Domnall" He said, as if he know what I wanted to say.
Whilst the name most of the people called me was Michael, Domnall was my birth name, yet only my father and mother called me that.
"You did what you had to do, and I relish the fact that you take such interest in the court's politics, and in our wars." He smiled. "It will not be tolerated again." He added, this time with a glare.
I nodded and bowed.
"Father, who was that man?" I asked, truly intrigued.
"A farmer from a nearby village, leading a war band of over fifty men coming to seek fortune in war. We have four hundred men coming from Cork and seven hundred from Galway, in addition we have a hundred men coming with ships from the Scottish highlands" He nodded, happily.
"Gallogiach, sir?" I asked.
"Yes. The mightiest warriors we have ever seen" He said, almost laughing with joy.
I couldn't help but thinking, that my father had nothing if not an amazing influence over this land, a land so poor and so ill equipped, and he managed to raise an army of well over a thousand men in a matter of days?
Or... Was he mustering this army before?
He wasn't telling me the whole truth, but I had a feeling I did not want to know the whole truth...
"Domnall," My mother said, smiling. "Your wife summoned you... You should go to your chambers" She said once again, with a smile. I obliged.
Three days later, at noon, hundreds of armored soldiers marched through the streets of Dublin for the courtyard, my king's army was assembled, and at no better time. A Scottish messenger arrived at Dublin, facing myself and my king.
"Good king" He bowed, "Good prince." He bowed once more, to me. "I bring dire news. The English march on York" Said the troubled Scotsman.
The king frowned and gazed at the Scottish messenger; "We are not ready for war, brother. We don't have our entire army here yet." Claimed the king.
"I fear we have little time, good king, and we urge you to help us, as soon as possible" Said the troubled Scot. "We won't be able to hold York for long, the people at Edinburgh are troubled... They will be the next target if York falls." He claimed, urging the king to take action.
"Go back to your home, brother... Go to your home and take up arms. We will be there." Said the king, the two men embraced each other and shook hands, the messenger almost sprinted out of the halls.
I looked at my king, befuddled.
"Gather up the men, Domnall. Gather up the men and prepare for war. We set sail at dawn."
"Are we to sail to York? If what he says is true, it means the army of England protects York, meaning we have no chance of winning, we must pick a di--"
The king cut me off, speaking; "Yes, I know. Do not worry, my son. My spies tell me of a perfect beach head, not too far from here, a castle named Caernarvon, it would not be an easy battle, but it will be a battle we will have to face, one way or the other." Said the king, nodding.
"After taking over Caernarvon, we will attack Exeter, in hope of spreading the enemy army in two, taking the pressure off the Scots" He said, thoughtfully, obviously running the map through his mind and thinking of a battle plan.
Priest MacCann was right, the king did deserve my respect, a brilliant strategist and a charismatic leader, one man I will gladly follow to war.
"Yes my lord. At dawn" I nodded and bowed, rushing to the courtyard to make sure all the men are equipped for war.
"War? What is he thinking? We're not ready yet!" Sean urged at me.
"Yes, I know we're not ready yet, but do not worry, his plan is brilliant" I calmed my brother as we were walking ever so quickly past the halls, heading to the courtyard.
"Brilliant? What does he plan to do?"
"Let's just say that the English will never see us coming." I smiled. "Remember brother, they underestimate us, for all they know, we are dumb and drunken religious Irish, what they don't know, is that we're only drunken and religious!" I said, laughing, but my brother did not laugh, his mind was troubled.
"Do not worry my brother, I have a different assignment for you" I said, calming him.
"That's what I was afraid of... I want to fight!" He claimed. "I want to ride with you to war, brother, fighting side by side" He said, bringing us both to a halt. "I do not want to abandon you, brother. I feel ill now, I do not know what the outcome of this campaign will be but I feel ill, do not go! And if you do go, let me go with you!" He said, he probably thought of this speech for some time now.
I shook my head. "You must go to Cork. You will rule in our absence. The king and Prince go, the brother stays, it is the way the world goes" I shrugged.
"Go now, go my brother, may you rule ever so graciously if the campaign goes ill" I said, adding this little part, making him understand that this was the end of this discussion, he ran down to the streets and mounted his horse, riding with his bodyguard to the royal palace at Cork.
"Men! ARE YOU READY!?" I screamed to the men at the courtyard, they raised their spears, bows and swords up in the air, screaming our war cry. War was upon us...
We rode to the ships, speeding to the coast of Dublin, my father and I riding together at the front of the column and the rest of the army at tow.
"My king! My kiiiiing!" Someone screamed, galloping in horse in almost divine speed, he stopped right in front of us, and we did too.
"Yes? What is it, boy?" Asked the king.
"A message for you, good king." The boy delivered the message and hurried to join the ranks of the cavalry.
"We must make haste... Our brothers are in need! DOUBLE THE PACE! Form up, MOVE OUT! Form up! Move out!" Screamed the king, we galloped to the ships, and to war.
End of Chapter Two: The Glory of Our Times...
Chapter Three: Baptism of Fire...