No, I haven’t run out of authors to feature here, I have a fair few fab scribblers already lined up for your future delectation, but I thought as this is my blog, I might promote my own story on it now and again. This excerpt comes from my new book, Conor Kelly and The Fenian King, which is Book Two of The Tir na Nog Trilogy.
Chapter Sixty One – A Wild Goose Chase
the present day…
“I remember now,” exclaimed Conor, as all eyes fastened upon him. “We’re completely barking up the wrong tree.” Shrinking under Ciara’s hard stare, he mumbled a shame-faced apology to the hounds, before continuing excitedly. “He’s not here. At least, he was, but he’s not now. Finegas did bring him here, but somehow word got out, and over the years, rumour became legend and attached itself to the mound. Eventually, there was an amateur excavation in 1931, during which the mound was damaged, as you can see by the cleft in the top of it. They found a male and a female skeleton, both buried standing up and facing east. They were claimed to be those of Fionn and Grainne. But Finegas set it up, knowing it would put an end to the search for proof of Fionn’s fate.”
“How d’you know?” Ciara looked suspicious.
“When I fell from Sceolán’s back, I kind of went back in time. I watched the excavation, and I saw Finegas. He was standing on top of that hill over there.” Conor pointed at the black lump of Sidhe Mor silhouetted against the starry sky. “He was really angry.”
Ciara adopted her familiar stance with fists on hips, brows raised. “You went back in time to 1931? Really? You were right here, you numpty! You were only out of it for, like, thirty seconds.”
“Well, I saw it all happen. Finegas is guiding us from wherever he is now,” insisted Conor.
Ciara sniffed. “That bump to your head really has sent you doolally.” She looked over at Sidhe Mor. “So you’re telling me Finegas moved Fionn from Sidhe Beag to Sidhe Mor?”
“It wasn’t the bump to my…oh, forget it. Look, Finegas left a clue in the position of the skeletons. They were facing due east. That’s the way we have to go.”
Ciara looked even more sceptical. “You’re kidding me. Just because of the position two skeletons you never actually saw were buried in, you’ve decided we have to go east? Well, that narrows it down a bit.” She stalked off angrily.
Bran came and pressed his head against Conor’s chest. I will see if I can find a trail leading east, Treasure Seeker. Why don’t you rest here a while?
And I will go hunting. Bran and I must feed if we are to continue this journey. Light a fire, Conor, and I will bring you meat.
“Uh…thanks, Sceolán, but there’s really no need,” replied Conor hastily, preferring to go hungry for the night. The thought of skinning, gutting and dismembering the carcass of an animal for cooking turned his stomach.
Ciara, on the other hand, looked like she’d derive much pleasure from such work. She came and sat down on the other side of the little fire Conor raised with his magic, and stared moodily into the flames.
“This is ridiculous. We’ve been sent on a wild goose chase. We’ll never find him…if he even existed,” she muttered despondently, wrapping her arms tightly around her knees, and resting her chin on them.
“Actually, we’re closer now than ever. You never let me finish speaking before you stormed off. I know exactly where he is. It’s like I said; Finegas is guiding us.”
“I don’t trust him. He’s mad as a hatter. I think he only stayed alive because of all the magic mushrooms he ate in the forest.”
Conor laughed. “You could be right.”
Ciara raised her eyes to his. “So we’re going east in the morning?”
“Yes, as soon as we’ve had some rest. It’ll be an early start. There’s no time to lose.”
“Do you think you could, you know, take us by portal, if you know where we’re going? I hurt like hell after all this riding.”
Conor sighed. “Me too. I wish I could, but I can only open portals between places I know. Once I’ve been there, I can store the co-ordinates for future use. I don’t know if it’s the same for all the Sidhe, or just my inexperience.”
Ciara’s eyes returned to the flames. “Shame Finegas didn’t think to give you those when he told you where to go.” She reached into her backpack and shook out a blanket. “I’m gonna get some sleep. Sure could do with a burger and a beer right now. Ooh, and a nice, hot bath. Going on a quest isn’t quite the adventure I thought it’d be. Oh well…” She wrapped herself within its folds and was soon sound asleep.
Conor watched the flames die down. It wasn’t long before he was re-joined by the hounds, licking their lips after their feast of fresh flesh. Their muzzles and chests were flecked with splashes of blood.
“Did you pick up the trail?” he asked, tearing his eyes away from the gory evidence of their meal. Bran shook himself, and began grooming. I found no trail.
“If I tell you our destination, will you be able to take us there?”
I have come to know this land well. It is my hunting ground. There are not many parts of it where I have not roamed. Fear not, I will take you anywhere you want to go. But sleep now, Conor, and Sceolán and I will take turns with the watch. In the morning, we will finally meet our old Master.
Sleep came to Conor surprisingly easy on such an empty stomach and hard, cold bed. The last thing he saw before his eyes closed was the stationary figure of Bran standing guard over him like an enormous canine statue.
So there you go… that’s it. If you think you might like to own a copy, you can buy it for your Kindle or Kindle app here and here, or if you haven’t yet been dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century, you can now get a paperback copy. Oh, and if you do succumb, would you consider writing a few words of a review? Us Indie authors thrive on on them you know, you’d definitely make my day! Thanks!
Finally, if you are an independent author, and you would like to have your writing featured on the Friday Fiction, please contact me here.