This section is the idea that begins the second part of the book where Oatie and Lugh seek to gather forces to oppose the league of giants. This secret place is special to Oatie, where she learned her giant killer trade, where she lost her father, and where she hopes to find the clues to find possibly her last living relative, the Dagda, Eochaid. It is a leap ahead and something I plan to be doing for awhile, setting scenes to be expanded and thereby giving myself goals to write to, mileposts along the narrative way, so to speak. -LSO
The great-hall of the sidhe had caved in and the ceiling parts had been swept away by time and other agencies leaving only the stone skeleton of the former faerie mound, ragged stone teeth rising above a stone flagging floor. In the middle of what looked to Lugh like a standing stone circle in the half light of dawn, was a great hearth. At least that is what Oatie had named it in whispers as they approached after a sleepless night watching for non-existent followers intent on discovering the secrets of this ruin.
Lugh was disappointed. Surely there must be more to it than the looming uprights of rock that had held up the roof of what had been a fine Sidhe, but Lugh had seen just this sort of thing after he’d stumbled across Oatie’s giant killing hunt. If anything, this seemed a bit humble even were he to correct for its ruination by imagining it in its heyday. Off to the sides he could see cave like entrances that would have lead to the underground living quarters, granaries, and storehouses of the Norfolk if they had still lived here, perhaps they were fallen like the roof, or just empty.
Oatie knelt, grubbing in the hearth. She had a small stick and was cleaning out the joints between the rougher stones of the hearth. She was so intent on her digging it surprised Lugh when she called over her shoulder, “Make yourself useful and check the perimeter.”
Lugh rolled his eyes, but he was bored enough to be willing to be ordered around by the girl. Lugh turned and muttered a snarky, “yes master Moss,” that he regretted immediately, but Oatie didn’t seem to hear it, so intent on her digging was she. Lugh loosened his sword in its sheath as he walked by the yawning dark of a descending tunnel out between the standing sentinels of the roof-beam ribs of the great-hall and out into the early morning light.
The new day was misty and silent. The ghosts of burned out trees rose out of the fog, but nothing more threatening was in the valley. Lugh dutifully began a circuit of the fallen sidhe, but there was nothing to find. Before he’d made it completely around he gave up the search. Even if there was something to see, the fog blanket would keep him from seeing it and them, as if there might be anyone or thing, from seeing Lugh or Oatie.
Lugh walked into a rubble strewn trench that led between the standing stone supports into the remains of the greathall again. Oatie was still digging, so Lugh took a few moments to look deeper into one of the cave-like passages. It would serve, in a pinch, as shelter he thought, but not very well or for very long. Not far back from the rune carved gate the descending passage became chocked with deprise, and a little farther still the roof had fallen in on it.
Lugh walked out of the doorway in time to watch Oatie slide a long stone finger out of the midst of her digging. She glanced up at his approach grinning happily, “I’ve got it.” she said triumphantly.
Lugh watched as Oatie stepped to the edge where the rougher stone of the hearth lay just below the flagging of the great-hall’s floor. Oatie tugged another stone and then another from the beneath the edge and placed them beside the long stone sliver on the stone flagging outside the hearth.
“Lugh, come over here. Mind, you stay clear of the hearth.” The mischievious grin on her face was too intriguing to denigh.
Lugh walked to where the stones lay. Oatie pulled one last stone from under the curb and with a look of triumph stepped off the hearth and stood next to Lugh. With ponderous slowness the entire inner circle of the hearth began to move. The edge nearest them began a slow rise, moving from just below the main floor while the opposite side dropped away. The whole of the hearth pivoted like a gigantic plate. As it rose, blocking out Lugh’s view of the opposite side, Lugh began to see a stone stairway descending into the inky darkness beneath the great stone circle. “This leads to the tomb of the Ungiant,” Oatie said, each word dripping with portent and awe.
This was starting too slowly I believe. “Book II” is supposed to be a jump ahead and though I might want to keep this stuff I think I’m going to jump ahead to what I really want to get to and skip the rambling ambling preamble. That is what appears below and may be integrated back into the story when the whole is gathered together from the various and sundery sundered pieces. LSO
A fire had stripped away the protective hedge work of trees so that as Oatie and Lugh had first topped the rise they could see the artificialness of the blister like sidhe in the bottom of the draw. “There’s the sidhe,” Oatie had offered, more to break the silence then for any real need for communication. It was in their path, obviously alien, and placed just where he had come to expect them to be.
But seeing it was not being at it. Oatey had led them on a wide loop, backtracking up over the ridge and waiting to check their back trail for anyone or anything that might be following. The woods had seemed oppressive and fly ridden enough to drive him half mad, but waiting through the morning had not been enough. They had labored through the woodland, brambles and the rotting wood of dead fall. Always the clear place was within sight but denied them by Oatey’s paranoia.
They labored most of that day, but had not gained the sidhe that was less than an hour away if they’d walked directly across the open land to it. Then when they’d labored through the tangle to the opposite side he thought they might walk to it and have done, but Oatey had stopped him and then, when he would have complained, she shushed him to silence. So he sat, miserable, as his sweat turned to chill while the last of the suns’ light died behind the ridgeline where they’d stood a full day ago. In fact, the dying light, the days long labor, and Oatey’s denying even complaint to him had their effect. Lugh fell asleep.
He got no rest. Oatey nudged him back to wakefulness almost at once, “Lugh, it’s time.”
He began to swear, to complain, to resist, but she shushed him yet again and his tired mind could only comply. So he followed her, wishing that at least his exhausted sleep had not been denied and thinking of almost nothing else save that he followed Oatey.