Faolín sighed and shifted her weight, earning herself kicks from her sisters, still sleeping, for her trouble. How could they sleep on this day?
But this was their way, to sleep the day and emerge in darkness, through darkness, to the world beyond. On this night of nights. Full of restless energy, Faolín rose as quietly as she could, though not quietly enough to spare her another sleepy kick from the eldest of the three. She left the chamber and sought her father.
Airiteach was tight in talks with his Draoí so she waited, her mind shifting from one topic to the next, fleet darts of thought that would not settle or sink in. At last he was finished, and she slipped in to wait by his great seat, until he turned and noticed her presence. His great brow broke clear of its darkened demeanour when his golden eyes rested on his youngest daughter, his heart’s joy.
Just as was their way, they spoke of the night’s work ahead, for though Faolín was youngest of the daughters of Airiteach, she was the cleverest and most conscientious. She had earned her father’s respect, and his trust too, on many occasions when their work in the Other World may have gone very differently, had it not been for Faolín’s quick wit and cunning.
Right then though, her head was not concerned with the ancient pact, the agreement that kept the world borders clear. For although her family had been charged with collecting the pact tribute for as long as the Elders could remember, it was what came after that inspired her eyes to light.
The Great Revel. Back in her own world, senses washed clean of the filth of her necessary journey, she got to stay here in her kingdom, for another whole year, and best of all… the music! The lights, the dancers, and the wondrous magic of music stirred her like nought else could.
Last night, when she and her sisters had ventured to the Other World for their first foray, she had heard an unusual thing, for that place. The harper Cas Corach had called the sisters and entranced them with his playing, for a short time. Their senses were too fine tuned for his sometimes fumbling fingers, he lacked the finesses of her own folk… but for one such as he, it was extraordinarily lyrical. Perhaps they would meet again this night, for she would enjoy to experience more of his talent.
Eventually, her sisters slouched from sleep, still grumpy and sniping at each other, but gradually that wore off and the excitement of the Wild Hunt grew upon them. They relished it more than she, truth be told, though there was a certain something to be said for the thrill of the chase, the power of thumping loam pounded by paws and claws.
When the time came, Airiteach released his daughters, and their pelts picked up a coating of clay mud as they sleeked through darkness of cave and stone, through to the world of men.
Emerging, her middle sister first picked up the smell of prey beasts. Not far from the entrance and sitting downwind, their stupid bleating a clarion call through the gloam of Samhain night. The three followed the trail, moving as one, until cresting a rise they came again upon the human harper Cas Corach, sitting in the lee of an ancient mound of men. When they appeared to him, he began to play, and called to them to come, to listen.
With soft words he spoke, timing speech to the enchanting notes he plucked on strings of finest metal wire. He sang the wolf sisters of the beauty that only human ears could hear, and convinced them to change form, all the better to hear him with. Faolín, the keenest, saw no harm, but when all three shifted, sat relaxed and trusting, the warrior Caílte stepped forth with Samhain spear and ran the sisters through from breast to breast, then took their heads before the last breath died, with one swing and sweep of sword.
And so the ancient pact was broken by the ignorance of men, with much more to the record than has made the history books… but sure, they’re all stories for another day.
Based on the Story of the She-Wolves of Cruachán – very general info (it’s wiki be careful!) here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cas_Corach
Translated Version here: http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/846115&authorid=15504
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