The Wooing of Emer: Part 11

Last week Cuchulainn fought Aife in single combat…

My heart leapt as Cuchulainn jumped from the boat into the sky-blue, warm seas of Ireland.  He laughed for joy.  Home!

Then he ran across and hugged all the breath out of me.  “Loeg!  It is so good to see you!  How have you been?  Any adventures?”

“None worth the telling,” I made a face.  “But tell me all about your exploits.  You have more than just fighting to talk about, I’m sure.”

Cuchulainn winked.  “Later.  But now that I’m back on Irish soil – Emer.  Where is Emer?”

“In her father’s fort, locked away.”  I replied.  “I’m sorry, Cuchulainn.  There was nothing I could do.  And I’m not sure she would have wanted me to break her out, even if I could.  She is a proud woman.”

“She is waiting for me.”  Cuchulainn’s eyes lit with the fire for adventure that I had seen on him many times.  But now there was something new mixed with it.  A steely resolve, direct and piercing as a knife.

“I will not let her down.”

We rode down to Lusk the next day, to circle the fort and make plans.

“Do you want to attack now?”  I asked.

“Let them see me and be afraid,” Cuchulainn laughed.  “Also, let Emer have time to prepare.”

The next morning we put our plan into action.  I watched in awe as Cuchulainn jumped over the walls, gaining extra height through leaping off the point of his spear.

I waited by the gate to bring the chariot in, and within a minute Cuchulainn had opened the great doors to me.  Behind him stood three men, disarmed.  I recognised Emer’s brothers.  Task one fulfilled.

I drove in.  Bodies littered the courtyard.  With a grin, Cuchulainn disappeared inside the house.  More clashes of swords echoed from inside.  Then there was silence.  Finally Cuchulainn emerged again, carrying a chest, followed by a delighted looking Emer.  They jumped into the chariot.

“Loeg, go!” yelled Cuchulainn, and we whooped as the chariot hurtled across the plain.