Scota and Teutates fought side by side. Wave after wave of Lyr’s raiders broke against their shields and were thrown back by spear and sword. There were always more who came, pounding relentlessly like the sea.
“Too many,” panted Teutates, “They are like the endless coils of a snake.”
“We can beat him,” Scota cried, “Shut up and just keep fighting.”
“No, this is Lyr’s doing, but we could kill all his armies and not stop him.” Tuetates caught a heavy blow with his shield and casually stabbed the frenzied axeman in the unprotected thigh. The man howled in pain and rage, rearing back for another savage blow. Teutates ducked past the man and drove his short sword through the man’s back and into his heart, his return stroke hamstrung another warrior.
Moira dispatched the stumbling cripple with a quick thrust through the man’s throat, “So we run?” The bitter contempt in Scota’s voice made Teutates shiver.”
“Not that,” Teutates pulled a spear from a corpse and hurled it through a skinny raider with a ridiculous horned helmet and a sword, “We waste our strength on Lyr’s coils,” Teutates pointed his bloody sword toward the cluster of sheilds and spears on a small rise around the standard of their brother, Lyr, the lord Balor to his raiders, “There is the head!”
“Cut it off and the serpent dies. The bloody head is the thing,” Scota gathered like a storm cloud.
She was beautiful in her rage, but all Teutates said was, “I love you Ota,” his words were lost in the battle noise. Louder he commanded, “Organize our guard into the kind of spear-point that can reach that standard, I’ll get with our commanders to thin our way.” He did not look to see if she would do her part, he knew her.
The forces opposing Balor were hard pressed, but a line was formed and a broad push launched at Balor’s spear bristled hill. A thin line of reserves was withheld and Teutates and Scota, with their guard, prepared to exploit their enemies lack of discipline from a tight packed wedge formed up behind the screen. The push seemed to threaten to reach even to Lyr himself before it was thrown back. With a nod from Teutates the recall was sounded and the assault seem to dissolve in disarray.
Teutates watched as the rabble around Balor’s command began to pursue what seemed to be their opponents fleeing after one last attempt. Satisfied that all was well he ordered the charge and the war horns sounded the charge.
Beside him Scota screamed, “Crush the Head!” and as one they drove toward their brother Lyr’s battle standard, the bloody flag of Balor of the Fomor, with black murder in their hearts.
Their hand picked warriors surged after. It was a hero’s charge, enemies fell to the left and right. Their narrow wedge thrust into the confused Fomor ranks, bringing destruction. Teutates’ powerful sword arm wrought death on the right while Scota’s brilliant sword work killed foes to the left, hundreds fell. Nothing survived between them and Lyr’s shield wall, nor did it stand before the two gods of the Gael, but their guard was slaughtered behind them.
It only took a moment to see they’re success was a trap. Swords pressed them on all sides. They fought on, grimly taking wound after wound until Teutates fell unconscious and Scota’s sword slipped from her bloody hand. She collapsed to the ground next to her husband and expected quick death.
It did not come for her. “Good,” Boomed a commanding voice, “I wanted to have a word with you sister.” Scota looked up to see a hulking shape that seemed to squat on a sort of mobile dais. With a wave from lord Balor, who was her brother Lyr, the press of soldiery stepped back, “You’re looking lovely Scota.”
“I’ve looked better,” murmured Scota, “But you, Lyr, look like a hideous bloated toad.” There were gasps all around. Scota wiped the sweat from her face, replacing it with a smear of blood from her arm.
Lyr chuckled, unconcerned, “You see? This is how we gods converse, one big happy family.”
Scota laughed without humor but made no more comment.
“I always admired you Scota. . .”
This she couldn’t let pass, “I’d rather die than let you touch me.”
“I do what I like,” said Balor without heat.
“Not to me . . .”
Balor shrugged his thick shoulders and chided, “I think you know better than that. I can do to you whatever I wish. Question is, do you want to live sweet sister?”
“I told you, I would rather die than sleep with you Lyr.”
Lyr laughed derisively, “You flatter yourself, it’s not your (body) I want. I like your violence.” Lyr rose and stepped off his dais. He was very nearly seven feet tall, thickly muscled and massive. Only a bloated paunch hanging at his waist spoiled the martial effect. He hefted a huge double bitted battle-axe one handed, and with ease. “Choose Scota, life or death, it’s up to you, sister.” Lyr was a far larger man than Scota remembered, he’d not stopped growing in his over 200 years. “Killing you both just leaves me with two less headaches.” Lyr stepped closer, menacing, swinging his great axe.
Scota glanced around her feet, desperate to find her sword. She looked up to see Lyr smirking, obviously reading her, but not caring. Their eyes locked, but Lyr’s smirk didn’t change. What was she missing? Did he want to kill her himself?
Lyr’s eyes flicked away and he nodded. A soldier with a spear, standing out from the general press, raised his spear and drove it into Teutates’ chest. It must have killed him instantly because even the man twisting and wrenching the spear free of her husband’s body didn’t illicit any response from Teutates.
“No!” Scota heard herself scream. Lyr’s laughter lent everything a nightmarish quality. Scota threw herself across Teutates body. His eyes were staring sightless and his jaw was slack. Scota’s hand closed around the hilt of a sword. As quick as thought and before the spear-man could bring his bloody spear to bear Scota shoved the sword into the man’s guts. She leaned against the man, taking pleasure in watching the light go out of his eyes, before shoving his corpse back and off her sword.
Lyr seemed to find this extra measure of death even funnier.
Scota turned on Lyr, but made no move. Balor, god of the Fomor, stood casually with his axe resting on his shoulder, “I never liked him,” said Lyr.
For a moment, Scota thought he meant the spear-man she had just killed, but Balor was looking at Teutates body, “Why did you kill him?”
“Because I do what I like,” Lyr stared at her a moment, during her perhaps, “It seems to me you’ve chosen life, wise.” Lyr nodded to the other body on the ground, “The man you just killed was the captain of one of my elite battalions.”
“Do you expect . . .”
“Shut-up Scota, I am the lord Balor and not even a goddess may interrupt.” Lyr shouted her down. Lyr spoke loud enough for all to hear. “There is a price for raising your hand against a god, even if your are obeying the orders of another. In this case death.” Then to Scota, “You killed my captain, so I’m making you captain, his battalion is yours.” Without another word Balor turned and walked to his dais.
“You’re mad!” Scota shouted, baffled.
Balor sat his seat and with a wave he was raised onto the shoulders of his bearers. “Use them wisely, sweet sister.” The heavy platform turned slowly away so Balor had plenty of time to call back over his shoulder to where Scota stood stunned. “Your second is one of my sons. I got him on some whore. What was your mother’s name boy?”
“The lady Angelata Morel my lord.” called a handsome young man.
“Meet your second, Andalyr. Andy, my sister Scota goddess of the Gael,” Balor chuckled to himself, amused by his wit or simply mad, “He’s half a god himself, so don’t kill him. He’ll be of use to you.”
With blaring trumpets and shouted orders, Balor left the field. Scota was left on the little hill with two dead bodies, and her five hundred.