[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]
Waves crashed against the shore, the salt spray caught on the wind, carried higher, up to the edge of the cliff where he stood watching, listening.
They would be here sooner than any of them would like. It was only a matter of time. Cíar had warned them, in broken sentences and fragments of thoughts. He’d warned them that they were coming.
They would be here soon, perhaps on that day’s tide.
Finn took a deep breath, then another. The sky was the color of ashes. A storm was coming off the water. The wind was biting, but he remained where he was, watching.
Soon he would see sails on the horizon. He knew it in his gut. His fingers tightened around the haft of the bow in his hands.
Would they be here before the storm? Would they wreck on the rocks, on the shoals?
We could only hope to be so lucky.
She had dispatched envoys to her cousin, to the king of the Áes Dana, lord of the isle. Finn could still remember Cíar’s weak whisper when he had come to sit beside him and share the news. The blind man had been curled beneath a pile of blankets and skins near the fire, barely awake when Finn had come.
“Your sister sent word to the king,” Finn had murmured, settling down beside him, a plate of food and a mug of broth in hand. He’d had little confidence that Cíar would be interested in either, but he’d promised Brighíd that he’d try. “She warned him of the war to come.”
“He will hear but not heed,” Cíar had whispered, sightless eyes trained on the fire. “He will not come to our aid this time, brother. We are on our own.”
“He will abandon us?”
“In time, they all will,” Cíar whispered. “And then we will truly see what our race is made of, in the age when our gods are suddenly gone.”