The Split Rock
Chapter Four - Lansaire's Tale
Melo turned his attention to Lansair who had pulled up his horse beside the rock where Sean and Fiach stood. "Why do young men always hurry?"
This brought smiles from the old men and women in the crowd.
He raised a barrel to his lips and drank deeply. "Ahh, mead, I love mead!"
The young man jumped onto the rock nearly pushing Sean off. He stood bare chested. His long black hair billowed out from his head as he glared up at the Giant.
Is this what a warrior looks like, Sean wondered as he looked up at Lansair. The one's my father told me about?
Melo smiled. "And what, sir do they call you?"
"They call me Lansair, for I can throw a spear further than any other in this village!"
"My brother is also a loudmouth," Fiach whispered.
Melo picked up the roast beef, black and brown from the fire. "Lansair - tell us your tale."
Lansair raised his voice so everyone could hear.
"As ye all know, for many moons now I have been travelling over the mountain to the village of Drum, to visit the Chief's daughter. She with the golden hair, eyes as blue as the ocean. . .."
"Get on with yer story, we all know about yer love life!" A voice called.
The women in the crowd laughed. Behind Sean, Fiach snickered. Lansair, red faced looked down at his sister and glared at Sean. "Who are ye, I've never seen ye before."
"Sean, son of Tige."
"Lansair, young warrior, carry on with your tale." Melo smiled at him.
Lansair collected his thoughts. "Melo! The village of Drum is having trouble with a Giant!"
Melo stopped eating. "A Giant? What is this Giants name?"
As if he hadn't heard him, Lansair continued, wrapped in the story.
"He has destroyed half the village already. . .."
"What is his name?" People scattered as Melo started to rise.
"Tharoc! He has but one eye and, a big scar that runs from his hair to the bottom of his ear."
Melo threw the half eaten meat into the air. It sailed over the houses and disappeared. "So - he's back." Melo growled as he sat down again. "Go on with your tale."
Lansair looked around, his teeth bared in a grim smile. "The first the Chief heard of him was from the farmers fleeing into the village. He thought little of it, hoping the Giant would leave them alone.
"Then, one moonless night, they heard a terrible noise of his coming. Anything that came in his way, he trampled on or flattened with his club. The people were lucky to get away - alive. He came and sat in the middle of the village and demanded food, lots of food! The people brought as much as they could, but it was not enough."
Melo shook his head, his plaits swinging in the air looked like they were on fire. He muttered something but did not interrupt.
"Then, some of the people disappeared," Lansair waved his arms in the air dramatically as the crowd gathered closer, "some say, the Giant ate them!"
A cry of fear rose from the crowd as mothers pulled their children closer to their skirts.
"The village of Drum is empty, the people have fled to the countryside. There is no more food and Tharoc is very angry. He says he will kill everyone if they don't bring him more food."
Lansair paused for a moment and looked up at Melo. "I promised the Chief of Drum, that Melo, our champion would destroy this Giant!"
An angry shout of protest came from the crowd. Sean felt a hand on his leg. He looked down to the worried face of his father.
Abruptly, Melo stood, his face black as a coming storm. "Lansair, what have you done? I have fought this man before. He cares nothing for you, your land or your lives. He loves to destroy. An enemy of the earth."
"You fool Lansair!" someone shouted.
"Have you told Tharoc that I am here?"
Lancer's face paled. "Yes - and he laughed. He said he beat ye before and he'll do it again."
An excited murmur went through the people, some turned toward the village.
"Wait - wait my friends. You must make yourselves ready, for he will surely come." He looked from Sean to his father. "You all know Tige. You can trust him. Do as he tells you, now go and collect food for two days."
Hurriedly, the people left. Soon there was only Sean, his father and Melo left in the field. Fiach unseen, hid on the opposite side of the rock.
"Melo, I only know how to grow apples, how can I fight this Giant that comes?"
Leaning forward Melo spoke softly. "Tige, not many humans can face the fairies and win their hearts. You have done that. So I know no better man to take these people to safety. Gather all the farmers and the people here and have them wait outside the village. We will be back in three days."
Tige nodded. "Sean, go and get your mother."
"Your wife will make her own way here Tige - Sean goes with me."
© John W. Kelly