Hinterlands, Chapter Five
AS DESPAIR WASHED OVER HIM, Séamus HEARD THE HIGH PITCHED WAIL of his grand-daughters battle cry in the distance. Áine had just burst into the clearing where the boy lay dying, not knowing she was coming to the aid of the one person who could wash away the stigma of her family ties.
Fate it seems, is not without a sense of humor.
Richard turned towards the clearing with a snarl, giving Séamus the chance he needed. Séamus lunged at the vampire, putting every ounce of strength, speed and hatred he had into one desperate sweep of his axe.
At the last second Richard sensed the danger and threw up a wall of flames.
When the axe struck the flaming wall, the magic infused metal exploded, tearing Richards’ shield to shreds and splintering the metal of Séamus‘ axe in the process.
What remained of his axe, driven by every ounce of strength Séamus had, cleaved Richard from shoulder to waist.
Richard's face contorted into a mask of pain and rage as Séamus bore down on him. Séamus knew this was only buying them time, no damage he could do to Richard would be lasting or critical, but every second more they had increased their chances of survival one hundred fold. With that in mind, he worked the shattered axe head deeper into the vampires midsection.
With a snarl Richard lashed out, scoring a hit that sent Séamus flying through the trees. He landed hard on his right arm.
With an audible snap the bones of his upper arm broke in three places. Séamus staggered to his feet fighting off cries of pain. With some effort he walked over to where his axe had fallen and retrieved it.
"This isn't over dog!" Richard spat. The bleeding had already stopped and the giant gash in his chest was beginning to close.
"You can't kill me, you know that! Once I have knitted myself back together I will be coming for you and all those you hold dear!"
Séamus called to Anluan, asking him to beseech the island to lend them her strength.
When he was young his mother told him the stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the gods of their land, how their servants and children lived within the nature that surrounds us.
As most children do, Séamus thought of these as pretty tales to inspire love for the land, to convince us to protect it. It wasn’t until after he had become the first of the Children of the Glen that the truth became clear.
All of it was real. Every tree, stream, rock and boulder was a home for the extraordinary if you knew how to look.
Even the island herself was alive and aware. If you knew the old ways you could call to these spirits, at least those that have survived, and if found worthy, be given their support.
For the last thousand years Séamus had been working tirelessly to protect the island and its environment, and as such, had forged a strong bond with her and those few spirits and sprites she still protected.
He taught his children this, and they taught theirs. If you love and protect Ireland, she will love and protect you.
When Séamus called, Ireland answered.
At first there was a rumbling, deep and low as if a sleeping giant had been woken from its slumber. In many ways that was spot on.
The spirit of the island was moving, and she was angry. So very angry.
Suddenly vines and roots the size of a mans arm began winding their way around Richard's body, chaining him to the ground in a cocoon of forest life. Over that came the stones. Great slabs of granite were brought up from the depths of the island, fusing together to form a tomb of stone.
In moments he was covered to the head.
The forest's cage wouldn't hold the vampire for long, but it should give them enough time to make a clean escape if fortune smiled on them this day.
Séamus looked down at the struggling form of the demon and wiped the blood from his face.
"Oh aye, I know you will demon. And when you do I will be ready, and so will the boy." With these parting words Séamus slammed what was left of his axe down onto Richard's head, caving it in.
As Séamus loped off in the direction of Áine and her packmates, a small smile splayed across his lips as he heard the screams of pain and rage coming from behind..
"I can't kill you ollphéist, but I can sure as hell hurt you"
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