The Celt

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Celt stood watching the campsite through the trees, Silent and as still like a forest spirit. His face was grim and brooding, his breathing deep yet steady.

Submitted: July 03, 2017

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Submitted: July 03, 2017

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The Celt

 

It had been raining, the forest floor was damp, and the smell of wet earth pervaded the air in a melange of fungi and wild flowers. It was dawn the morning light filtered through the tree top canopy lending an eerie eloquence to the forest.

 

The Celt stood watching the campsite through the trees, Silent and as still like a forest spirit. His face was grim and brooding, his breathing deep yet steady. He had been hunting them down for three days, the bandit group that had descended upon his home. They had killed his family, wiped them from the earth, for nothing more than a handful of food and a pig carcass. All that he cared about in this cold heartless world was gone in the blinking of an eye.

He had tracked them to their woodland hideout and watched closely through dark soulless eyes. Revenge had consumed what was left of his humanity; there was nothing left inside of him but rage, controlled channelled bloodcurdling rage.

He had watched as the bandits had gone off on another one of their murderous rampages, leaving only five of their group behind to guard their booty. As night had fallen over the camp, he had come, as silent as a ground mist, as deadly as a spectre. He struck swiftly slitting their throats with his keen edged hunting knife, grinning to himself as their hot blood pumped from their throats over his hands.

He had worked through the night, all was set and ready for the returning six murderers; their fate awaiting them at their own camp, and like the greedy , confident fools they were they rode into camp, dismounting and suspecting nothing.

As they entered the campsite bragging of how they had taken the lives of yet another innocent family they stopped in their tracks. All blustering and bravado fell silent, as they looked at their four companions sitting around the campfire draped in their gold booty, Torcs necklaces and fine clothes.

 ‘What goes on here you dogs?’ their leader shouted as he stepped forward a look of suspicion crossing his face at his silent gold draped men sitting around the campfire.

‘Answer me you scum!’ he shouted.

There was no answer of course, their throats were cut, their life blood drained from them, they had been impaled on spears to make them sit up right, they were nothing more than gold and gem bedecked macabre scarecrows.

It was time for the trap to be sprung as the men rushed over to their dead companions, the look of horror on their faces as they realised they were dead.

 He slapped the horse on the rump and let out a blood curdling cry. The horse screamed and bolted bursting through the underbrush, its rider sitting high in the saddle holding a lance in his hand.

The men jumped and dived out of the way of the charging horse as it broke into view and reared up next to the crackling fire. The men immediately drew weapons and began hacking at the horse and dragging the rider from the saddle; he was going to die a long painful death for what he had done to their fellow thieves.

Yet as they pulled the rider to the ground and the horse fell kicking and screaming, the men were thrown into another fearful stunned silence as they realised the rider was the last of their group tied and bound to a rickety frame making him sit up in the saddle, his throat was like a wicked red grinning gash stretching from ear to ear.

Grabbing talismans and signing wards in the air and uttering names of their gods, the men looked at each other, what was going on, were they under attack from some forest spirits?

The purpose of the deathly greeting of their slaughtered comrades was to cast fear and confusion amongst the bandits, to give the Celt an edge when he attacked. Perhaps it would give him a chance to take down two or three of their number before they hacked him asunder; that was his plan.

 As they looked around, confused, fear gripping their innards, The Celt came, bursting through the trees screaming like a banshee.

He had drank of the quicken berry juice given him by a travelling druid he had helped many moons ago, it made his blood boil in his veins, gave him vigour and strength and made him weep tears of blood.

His hair was long and as black as a raven’s wing. His upper body was bare and painted in woad blue and chalk white, the swirling cloud images on his body were the colours of the sky god Lugh. He wore deerskin pants and boots, and upon his head he wore a stag antler headdress.

Swinging a slingshot he let loose a pebble with deadly accuracy. The first bandit hit the ground dead without even seeing him; the pebble crushing the back of his skull.

From his belt he pulled out two burdha clubs; two foot long ash clubs tipped with an iron studded band. As his first attacker turned to face him, the Celt was upon him. His hands were a blur as the burdha clubs hit their target again and again, wrist, elbow, collar bone all shattered with single blows, then the man spun around hitting the ground his jawbone and check bone shattered from the brutal onslaught.

It had all happened within the blink of an eye. Two men down. The others quickly reacted, drawing swords and axes as they fanned out from this horned devil. Their hearts pumped, fear oozed from every pour of their skin filing the clearing with its stench as the horned creature bellowed and screamed and killed them with wild abandon.

One man swallowing hard took a step forward raising a sword. The horned beast drew back an arm and let fly with one of the clubs, which hit him in the face crunching nose and brow. The man fell coughing and spluttering blood, blinded by the blow.

Then they were upon him coming from all directions. Dropping the last club the Celt gripped the horns on his headdress and pulled them off. Armed with antlers he impaled the first in the gut, the second was blinded as the tines of the antlers gouged out his eyes.

As the bandits jumped in and out stabbing and slicing with weapons, the Celt ducked and jumped back. The pain of the cuts and wounds he endured were like burning barbs, yet he endured and attacked, his rage unbound.

 

 Picking up an axe he hacked down severing an arm, spinning around he embedded the axe in a neck almost decapitating his attacker, next he rolled forward picking up a dropped sword. The sword in his hands was a blur of cold iron its blade spraying streaks of red from its victims,

Then it was over.

He stood alone his body quivering, splashed in blood and covered in cuts, several flaps of skin hung from his back and arms.

All around him was carnage. The bandits lay dead or dying. The horse kicked and whinnied as its life ebbed away. With grim determination he went from body to body and hacked off their heads and threw them into the fire; there would be no afterlife for the headless.

Sifting through the weapons, he took the keenest bladed sword, picked up his burdha clubs, his vengeance complete and his blood lust sated. He had no home, no family, he was alone in the world, a world large and full of danger, a world to be explored and more scum to kill. A smile broke across his face as he gripped the sword and raised it above his head.

‘I name this blade, An Dióthóir the destroyer, may she bathe in the blood of all who possess black hearts!’

Sheathing the blade, the Celt grinned, mounted a horse and rode off into the forest disappearing into cold swirling mist of dawn.


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