The Destruction of the Inn

Ulster Cycle (Volume 4)

Randy Lee Eickhoff

Forge Books

The Destruction of the Inn
Part One
Conaire's Last Supper at Da Dearga's Hostel
And you thought it wouldn't happen to you: the burning walls, the gasping for air, the place surrounded by a coming enemy that looks like you, and talks like you, with your same last name, armed to the teeth and shouting--all because you entered the kingdom naked, carrying a stone and were bowed down to by an admiring populace. Well think again; the curse is on you--prince, king though you are, and handsome and wise, with an arm that could kill thousands and a heart that could make them live. Didn't you know it's the severed head that speaks the loudest, the scattered remains of the dismembered hero that become the seedsof future salvation?Beware of the three red men in front of you. You cannot escape their duplicitous gaze. See them sitting at your table, eating your food, nodding their heads and smiling. They laugh at your jokes and call for wine. All the while wind is putting pressure on the door. Eat up. Be brave, be strong, be holy. Do what you must; do what you have to, when you have to. When have you ever done anything else? It is your fate, know it, and the fate of those who follow. It is only the whole green world that is watching.
--Mícheál O'Ciardha
Copyright © 2001 by Randy Lee Eickhoff