“I see a chariot coming over the plain.”
“…The next day Connor Cruel-Crest and Long-Horn O’Leary
met at the stables of King Grim-Gaze the slug-man.
“Let our horses be brought and our chariot’s yoked,” said O’Leary.
“There will be little profit for you in that,” said Connor,
“by the men of Albion, the clumsiness of your horses is renowned,
as is the unsteadiness of your going and turnabout.”
“And your chariot’s movement is so heavy that it’s two wheels
raise turf on both sides,” said O’Leary, “so that for a year after your passing
the track is still recognisable to the men of Albion.”
“Put not on me the precedence of kings until I have fared
before the champions of Albion in woods and confines,”
cried Connor as he stepped into his chariot.
“Put not on me the precedence of kings until I have nimbly
crossed fords and outstripped the champions of Albion,”
cried O’Leary stepping into his chariot…
…He watched two figures striding across the hilltop.
A man and woman laughing in the dusk.
They were talking.
He could hear their voices, but the words were strange.
The woman stopped and picked up a feather, holding it out to the man.
They stopped and looked at it.
It was an owl.
The birds too saw things other eyes did not see.
The man was tall and slender, carrying a leather pouch across his shoulder.
All in black, tight like a knight’s gambeson.
She was small, brightly coloured, her hair like flame catching the last of the light.
He liked their laughter.
It warmed the coldness around him.
He watched as they walked on.
She looked over and met his eyes.
She smiled at him.
He could see the castle lights through her.
But she saw him and she smiled.
He watches the surface of the pond.
as the ripples merge one into the other…
…So the heroes of Albion set out for the Cave of Cruachan…
Through the Gap-of-the-Watch,
over the Plain-of-Two-Forks,
across the Ford-of-the-Morrigan
into the Rowan-Meadow-of-the-Two-Oxen
by the Meeting-of-the-Four-Ways they drove
before a dim, dark, heavy mist overtook them…”
Extracts from Heart of Albion
Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent