Son of Light: Taster

Son of Light

They call me Son of Light because Lugh, the God of light and the sun, is said to be my father. Most say it with respect. Those who think it was a ruse say it with a sneer, but never to my face. No one has had the courage since the festival of Samhain. Not even King Conor, who sneers at everyone except his druid, Cathbadh.

I hear you, though. How can a demigod be half dead and tied to a rock, your silence screams? You think I do not know the truth of it? Of course, I know. It was a ruse of King Conor, obvious to me because my father had been a bent-backed farmer and the only thing light about him had been his respect for my mother and his courage. I was not born on the plain of Murthemney, son of the king’s absent sister, Deichtine and Lugh. I was born in the Wicklow mountains, son of a wife beater and a drunk.

My sight is blurred by pain, but still I see Laeg, lying where he fell, after you cowards jumped out from behind your bushes and your rocks and pierced us with your javelins and your arrows. Laeg was a man I loved. A man who followed the code and died because of it. A man who was more than brother to me. There lies a man of courage with a javelin in his side and an arrow in his eye. He waits for me in the mound of Donn and wonders at my delay.

I wonder should I be talking of courage when I look at you so-called warriors of Connacht, sitting there with your swords across your knees, afraid to approach a mortally wounded man who is tied to a rock. True, my reputation is fearsome, but now the night approaches and the ravens prepare for the feast, I cannot lift my shield arm, much less parry a lance thrust. I am so weak, wearied and pained, I long for the night. I long for that never-ending sleep.

Does that give you courage? No. Still you sit there and watch, waiting for my end. I can see now why you serve the witch. She too does not have the courage demanded by her station. The Warrior Queen who sends girls trained in witchcraft to do her deeds and hides behind bushes and rocks when killing is required. But then, small wonder, because she is married to a sot; the drunk who was once a king, once your king.

What, not even insults to your king and queen will cause your ire to rise? You are more than just cowards. You are turds, as well. You squat there, behind your fires, quaking and I would wager most of you do not know why. I would wager your knowledge comes from the bards who could not tell the truth if their lives depended on it. Those who claimed Dond Desa had arse cheeks like two rounds of cheese and killed a hundred men with one stroke of his war hammer. Pah. Those who claimed Ingcél, when he landed his war fleet, made so much noise the Five Kingdoms shook. Those who claimed Macc Cecht’s knees were so hairy they looked like bowed heads and he killed six hundred with the first stroke of his sword. Those who say I killed my first warrior when I had seen but seven festivals of Lughnasad and the only way to appease me was giving me the teats of the settlement mothers to suckle on. Pah. When I was seven, I could barely lift a camán, let alone stab a man with a spear.

You do not need to kowtow to your ignorance, though. If you have the courage to listen, I will tell you the truth of it on this, my dying day. What am I saying? I do not care if you Fomorian spawned turds have the courage. I will tell you anyway. And you will listen, because the only thing that scares you more than a half-dead hero, is the wrath of your ill-gotten warrior queen. She has ordered you to see me dead, so sit and wait and watch you will. But you will also listen. You will not be able to prevent yourselves.

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