Microfiction: Invasion

The Daily Post prompt is: island.

I have already written one island story this week, but the prompt is worth another. In case you don’t recognize it, this is a retelling of the invasion of Ireland by the Milesians.

1014px-Burne-Jones-Viking_Ship

Éremon peered through the mists that shifted and dazzled, sometimes glittering iridescent pearl, sometimes the turbulent glass green of storm waves. This was the island his father had told him of, the island of treachery where his uncle had been murdered. He and his seven brothers had come with no magic, but with iron swords, to avenge and to conquer. Thirty ships he had with him. He and his brothers would carve this misty isle between them.

He frowned. If only he could see. The mist enveloped the shoreline and he could not tell if it was worth the effort. Not only the mist, but a buffering wind pushed the ships back from the shore. He counted. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine waves crashed on the strand, and he could come no closer. The magicians were there, conjuring the magical wind, the ferocious waves, cloaked like cowards behind their wall of mist, and his iron swords, his soldiers, his horse, were useless as a handful of dead leaves in the wind. His men were green with the sea sickness, their horses, mad with terror and the hobbles at their legs, but they could not beach the vessels to cut down the traitors.

A hand rested lightly on his arm. Amergin, the bard.

“Let me try to calm the wind.”

Éremon looked at the sword hanging uselessly at his side and nodded.

“Iron has no power over it, perhaps a song will break its power.”

So Amergin sang, and his song rose above the clash of the waves and the howling of the wind, and the oarsmen pulled until their sinews were ready to break with the effort. The mist cloaked them in its magical darkness, and Éremon lost sight of the other ships, but he heard the crack and splinter of ships on rocky reefs and the screams of men drowning. Still Amergin sang, and the oarsmen pulled, and the grip of the wind and the waves slackened.

It was at dawn, grey and grim, upon a strand scattered with smashed timbers and lifeless corpses, that his little ship beached on the white strand. The mist was gone, and so too were the magicians, fled before his anger. Éremon’s face was a pale mask of fury. He drew his sword and strode into the foam and the spray.

“This day, our dead will be avenged,” he shouted, “and this island will be our home, though we march over the bodies of those who stand against us.”

And so, in blood and treachery, magic and murder, the enchanted island hidden in the mists between the ocean and the setting sun was conquered by the men of Hispania.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

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