Kells still show'd the signs of a conquered kingdom, remains of topples towers or scorched fields. People displaced from their homes had flooded the city walls and begged for alms. Still, the scars were healing, and the people needed't know much fear. Save for their new masters, many still glanced up at them with apprehension and fear, however those who did business with them said they were honourable and honest men. That being said, when they all towered over the average man by at least two feet and were massive in form and in appetite, it was hard not to be intimidated.
Yes, the people of Kells didn't quite know how to feel about these Gallóglaigh, These Onóir Fir, and their new king, Conchobhar Ó Comhghaill.
Conchobhar knelt now in the light beaming through the glass dome roof of the Observatory, he had been there since it had been dark, basking in the moonlight and offering his prayers to it. Now the pale light of the morn graced him, and Conchobhar took these moments to centre himself, within him reared a great beast, wild and vicious, that pressed against the edges of his will. It hungered for blood, violence, and death, yet it did not break the bonds that kept it within check, those bonds was his will and his code. So all the Onóir Fir did, that is what put them apart from all the other Lycan Clans. Clan Ó Comhghaill hunted not men and ate not of their flesh, so read their creed.
"By the light of the moon,
Do our foes know woe,
For within us a great evil does flow,
That we fight, and instead compassion we show,
So that we fight a beast born long ago.
So here I swear, and prayer I send,
That my hunger lessen, and wounds can mend,
That against temptation, I have strength to fend,
That who I call foe I can call a friend."
Conchobhar stood and sheathed his sword, the beast was calm for now, and he was ready to face the day as the King of Kells. But first he had obligations, and he found himself climbing the west most tower of his keep. There he stepped out into the cool early morning air and breathed deeply, Conchobhar peered out into the west towards Dealg Dubh, the keep of King Walsh, his neighbour. Peace existed between them, at least for now, Conchobhar wished to keep it this way, but he also wanted to keep his neighbour on his toes. He reached over into a small chest that was resting up here with him and retrieved his bagpipes.
If you want peace, prepare for war. That's what Conchobhar was thinking as he inflated his bagpipes and blew into them, their loud wailing echoed their triumphant tattoo through the air. Everyone in Kells could hear the sound, and it drifted across the land, across the wood, and right into Dealg Dubh to Lord Walsh's ears.
Five days prior in Dealg Dubh, Sabrina Walsh had been summoned to King Walsh’s study. The messenger who had been sent to retrieve her had refused to leave her doorway without her in tow. She had waited two days, and still, he hadn’t left, instead sleeping outside by her garden. Finally, three days after the summons had been issued, she had accompanied the messenger back to the keep. She had strode in, her many-layered dress just barely brushing the floor as she walked, and had gone straight to the king’s study.
It was there her brother had spoken to her directly for the first time in three years.
“I am begging you to go, my darling. I have no one else to send. Your brother is off at the High King’s court, and I cannot go myself.” He had looked at her with such tired eyes, and then, as if like clockwork, just as the sun had been rising, the bagpipes sounded in the distance. Ethan had hidden his face in her hands and groaned in exhaustion. “You must convince him to stop.”
That had, of course, all been fine. Sabrina was known to be a neutral party, regardless of her connection to Dealg Dubh and her older brother, its king. So she had agreed, and he had written her a letter to deliver to the king of Kells, King Ó Comhgaill. She had happily accepted the letter and late that day, she had set off with a small escort to go see the king of Kells.
That was, until the end of the first day of traveling, when she noticed that the bags on the horses were far too full for such a trip. Until she had noticed that he had sent with her a handmaiden. That was when her suspicions had grown, and she had opened the letter to King Ó Comhgaill.
King Ó Comhgaill,
This letter is to inform you of my request to have my younger sister, Sabrina Walsh, the Red Witch, stay at your keep for the next four seasons. I have sent her to accompany it, and I hope that you will allow her to stay. I send her as a diplomat between our two fiefdoms, that she might make our relations more welcoming and continue to allow peace to prosper between us. It is with that that I wish you good health, prosperity, and peace.
This was why she was furious as she strode into the keep at Kells, her escorts close behind her. She had been put in a lovely dress of green with gold braiding, her wild red curls tamed into two long braids, and she was anything but thrilled about the plain circlet on her head.
Her brother had deceived her. Betrayed her, even, and her trust. She wasn’t being sent to resolve a simple issue of Ethan’s daytime rituals being disturbed.
She was being sent off to hopefully be married.
So it was with that in mind that she stormed into the middle of the keep and declared, “I am here to see King Ó Comhgaill! Tell me where the bloody hell I can find him.”