Chapter 21

Copyright© 2021 by Charly Young

In the year 60 AD, the roman general, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus crossed the Menai Strait in northern Wales and led his legions against the Druid stronghold in the Isle of Mona. His legions razed the villages, uprooted the sacred groves, and slaughtered the druids. Some few escaped to Ireland, most perished.

Two children huddled in a mass of blackberry bushes and watched.

“I’m scared,” whispered little Ingrid.

Glew had sworn an oath to her mother, Brigid, the leader of Banduri Druids, to protect her.

“Ingrid, you must be as quiet as a field mouse in the hedge.”

The Romans had come at dawn and despite the spells cast by the elders, by late afternoon they had cut through the Druid’s lines like a sharp knife through a willow. As he watched, legionnaires had cut the throats of the wounded like the sheep his masters sacrificed at planting time.

Glew sucked in a shocked breath. A tall black one with a scar that ran the length of his face was even using one of the sacred knifes. Surely, Mother Anu would come down and wreck vengeance on the barbarians.

The big man came closer. Glew withdrew further into the blackberry thicket. His fear made it easy to ignore the vicious thorns the canes had. He took another quick glance and watched in horror as another century marched into view.

They were chopping down the sacred groves and burning them!

Both children made their way to the center of the jumble of bushes.

Now that he couldn’t see, the sounds of the slaughter magnified his fear. He wanted to plug his ears to the screams, but continued to listen with a frozen fascinated terror, The legionnaire’s shouts and laughter were getting closer.

Glew was too terrified to look.

The little girl whimpered.

He quickly put a hand to her mouth. He was horrified with the thought that he might have to smother her to keep her quiet.

Earlier in the day, they sent him to the front lines to be one of messenger boys. He watched as the legion effortlessly tore through the Druid lines. When Anwil and Artur his masters had fallen from the first flight of arrows, he had dropped down and crawled underneath their corpulent corpses and hid. When they passed, he jumped up and ran for the shore hoping to find a boat only to brought up short by Brigid and her sisters. She handed her daughter off to him, made him swear on his soul to keep her safe and that was why he was now in this mess. All he had wanted was to be a priest and be respected and maybe even feared and now he was going to die at the hand of a huge dark-skinned man with a scarred face wielding bloody short sword.

He practically jumped out of his skin when a voice whispered into his ear:

“So, boy, what will you trade to prolong your worthless life.”

He looked over his shoulder. A blond-haired blue-eyed girl stood amidst the thorn-studded blackberry canes looking at him with laughter twinkling her eyes.

A faerie.

He shivered. He’d been at his lessons long enough to know very well the dangerous seductiveness of the Fae. All knew that their bargains were always one-sided.

The faerie appeared to be a girl of eleven or twelve seasons. She stared at him with unblinking ancient eyes.

“Your kind call me Mellith. That dark man is filled with the battle lust. The killing has maddened him. I’m quite certain that he would enjoy slicing your belly and pulling your guts out for the ravens to feast on. I am looking forward to tasting your agony.”

He watched the faerie dumbly. He had no idea what to say.

“I will take the babe as trade for your rescue,” it said, its voice soft and warmly seductive. “Give me the babe”

Little Ingrid was his to take care of. He had sworn an oath. But by now her mother Brigid was dead.

Was the big legionnaire closer?

He made the choice. A choice that was to haunt his nights down the long years ahead of him. A choice that made him was to gnash his teeth and tear his hair in regret—until, that is, until there came a time when he was incapable of regret.

He handed the girl to the faerie.

“Please Glew,” the little girl whimpered. “I want to stay with you. I will be quiet, I promise.”

“Go with this girl, she will keep you safe,” he said his belly twisting at the lie.

“Please Glew...”

He handed the girl over. In exchange, the faerie handed him an ash wand. “Take this and get you down to the shore. You will find a boat hidden in the willows. Go now and you will live.”

Glew ran.

The Faerie who was known as Mellith by those unfortunate humans who had fallen into her clutches over the millennia watched the boy Glew run away with glee. The boy’s aura had a glow of wholesome innocence that fascinated Mellith. An aura that was darkening a bit even now as she watched. Delicious. She shivered with lust.

It had been a day sharp with an exquisite ecstasy, Mellith had supped on the pain and death terrors of a thousand and forty druids as they were slaughtered. Such delicious despair.

The faerie needed to leave soon because wouldn’t do to be caught on this side of the In-Between by a Keeper, but there was more to be gained here.

The faerie next sought out the Druidess Brigid, who lay sorely wounded. Mellith touched her face to get her attention and whispered to Brigid the bargain she had made for her daughter.

Mellith sat back and grinned a sly grin as Brigid screamed her rage. Her hands tore long bloody hanks of hair in grief and with her last breath the powerful Druidess laid a death curse on the boy Glew.

Humans were so much fun.

The day was complete. Mellith, who was fed flush full of the day’s slaughter-lust, was near orgasmic with the druid’s despair.

A thought came.

There was more fun to be had.

She gleefully flew to inform the boy of his doom.

The Faerie folk loved a bargain that paid and paid.

Mellith and the little girl flew back to Annwn, the land of the Fae by way of the now fading Dinas Emrys Thinning.

As she journeyed, she made a mental note of the boy Glew. His innocence was going to be so delicious to corrupt—and unlike the other humans with lives short as May Flies, he was going to around for a long, long time. She passed through the borderlands known as the Murk and on into Annwn.

Eager to share the story of the defeat of the hated Druids. She abandoned the terrified little girl at the edge of the swamp lands without a thought.

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