The Dark Druid - Tales Of The Fianna: Book Three [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Kenneth C. Flint
eBook Category: Fantasy
eBook Description: Ireland's greatest hero, legendary warrior and lover, heir to a world of strife and sorcery, this is Finn MacCumhal. With steel and courage, he sets off on a perilous quest to save a desperate land and to free his beloved from the shadowy magic and thunderous evil of the one known as the Dark Druid.
Flint's talent for imaginative retelling brings new life to old myths in this third novel in a series that includes Challenge of the Clans and Storm Shield. Recommended for fantasy collections.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, Published: Double Dragon Publishing, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2011
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE DARK DRUID Is A Spellbinding Tale!
The third and final book in this trilogy is a fast paced, mesmerizing read! In this story Finn MacCumhal is finally set to settle down as Ireland is at peace. However, he is about to find the love of his life, the woman he will marry in a different form of a fawn cast upon her by the evil Dark Druid who reasons if he cannot have her she will remain a fawn. Everything changes when the spell is reversed and the Dark Druid, a powerful banished de Danaan meets his match in Finn.
In spite of this, the Dark Druid also known as Fear Doirche manages to smuggle Finn's new bride, Sabd, away from Almhuin, Finn's home fortress and keep her captive.
Finn strikes out on a quest to find her and encounters a major diversion along the way which results in him defending others who are in desperate need of his help. After doing this, though, he continues on his quest to rescue Sabd from Fear Doirche with the help of the Fianna, a new friend, Donn, and his regular retinue of Cnu Deireoil, Sceolan, Bran & Caoilte.
They brave the many obstacles the Dark Druid has set for them and when Finn inadvertently befriends Bobd Derg, the High King of the de Danaans, he receives help from him in a most unusual, magical way.
Read this novel, it will absolutely NOT disappoint! The story moves along at such a rapid pace it ends all too soon! Read the other two books in this trilogy, CHALLENGE OF THE CLANS & STORM SHIELD and prepare yourself for a wild ride!
The forest clearing slumbered peacefully in the quiet of a warm, bright afternoon.
Shafts of the purest sunlight from a cloudless sky slanted down through the high branches of the surrounding oaks. They cast brilliant spots, like glowing emeralds, upon the open ground. Fine motes of dust, not rushed by any breeze, drifted lazily in the shining columns.
There was little other movement in the clearing. A gray squirrel boldly browsed far from the safety of his trees. A few birds flitted in the treetops. Their occasional calls sounded hushed beneath the vast cloak of silence that enwrapped the wood.
A magnificent stag pushed out from the underbrush into the clearing. For a moment it stood, head proudly erect, great spread of antlers lifted high in a display of exalted rank. It strode slowly, grandly, fearlessly across the empty ground to the center of the open space. Here it stopped, looking austerely around. Finally it deigned to lower its head and nibble on the lush grass that could not grow within the shadows of the wood.
Then came the sound of the horn.
It was a low, sustained note, carrying clearly through the quiet forest. The stag's head jerked up, turning toward the sound. The squirrel froze, listening, bushy tail jerking nervously. The birds in the treetops about the clearing fell abruptly silent.
The sound came again, from much closer this time. And with it came new sounds, continuous sounds that grew louder rapidly--the baying of many hounds and the shrill, wailing cries of men.
The stag bolted away, vanishing into the trees. The squirrel scuttled for the safety of the nearest trunk. The birds, as if a single being, flashed upward just as a heavy body crashed through the last screen of underbrush into the open.
It was an enormous boar that had now charged into the clearing. Its size was closer to that of a small bull than of a pig. The massive, muscled shoulders reached as high as a man's chest. The body was sinewy and hard, moving lithely and with tremendous power. The head was immense. Its bristled snout sported long, curved tusks. Above the snout, tiny eyes glowed redly, like hot coals.
It didn't pause as it burst into the open area. The sounds of dogs and men gave evidence that they were close behind it. It started across the clearing at a run.
It was less than halfway across when a pack of hounds began to pour from the woods in close pursuit. At least fifty animals formed the energetic group, all in full cry. Most of them were sleek, slender, long-limbed animals with small heads and pointed muzzles. But leading them were two wolfhounds--great, shaggy-coated beasts nearly as large as ponies.
Close on the flying heels of the pack, a band of men leaped into the open. There were some two-score of them. Their tall, lean, wiry bodies were clad in short tunics. Their bared, fair-skinned arms and legs flashed as they ran. Their hair was long and mostly of light hues, either clasped at the nape of the neck or loosely plaited to keep it out of the way. They wore no adornment and carried no weapons save for short thrusting spears with broad points of gleaming black iron.
At their head ran a young man of striking looks, clean and boldly featured. His thick plait of hair was so blond as to shine nearly silver in the sun. His smoothly muscled body moved effortlessly, tirelessly as he flew across the ground.
Close beside him ran another man of a like age, quite handsome too, but swarthier of complexion and dark of hair.
By the time these men were all into the clearing, the boar was nearing its far side. But before the beast could reach the cover of the trees again, the two wolfhounds were upon it. One nipped at a heel. The other made a tremendous leap, fastening its jaws upon a bristled ear.
The boar squealed with pain and swung with amazing agility. Its ear ripped and the hound was thrown aside, rolling to the ground. Further enraged by this wounding, the boar wheeled, brought to bay by the full pack that now encircled it. Barking and snarling, the hounds kept a wary distance as they awaited the approaching men.
But the boar did not wait. As if knowing itself to be caught in a fatal trap, its desperate gaze fell upon the men. Focusing upon them as the source of its torments, it gave out a frenzied squeal and charged, clearly bent upon revenge.
It clove through the pack of dogs like a scythe through ripe wheat, sweeping them aside. Head down, deadly tusks thrust forward, it was as a blasting gale, a raging torrent, that it now descended upon the hunters.
Most of them were nimble enough to leap from the path of its first rush. Only one hapless fellow, seeing the move just too late, was unable to get himself clear. A tusk point caught him at the back of one thigh as he turned away, tearing a ragged line deep into the flesh. He jerked and staggered, toppling to the earth. Bright blood gushed from the gaping wound.
The boar was carried past him by its momentum. It pivoted with a speed equal to that of the long-limbed hounds and started back toward him, bent on finishing its work. But, as it did so, the dark-haired man bounded in. He came up close beside the charging animal, thrusting out with his spear, striking for the heart.
The point struck home, but just too high, penetrating the thick hide only to imbed itself in the knotted muscles of the shoulder. The boar gave a loud grunt, but more of anger than of pain. It pivoted again to face him. He had saved the downed man only to find himself looking into the flaring eyes of the maddened beast--less than a spear's length away--and without a weapon in his hands.
He ducked to one side. The boar moved as swiftly, swinging its head up to catch him with those rending tusks. The tusks, however, never reached their mark. For the fair-haired young hunter using the other's diversion as a chance to move up behind the animal. Now he leaped boldly onto it.
He mounted it as easily as if he were vaulting onto a tamed pony's back. The boar squealed in both astonishment and rage. First it twisted its head about to get at him. Quickly realizing the futility of this, it began to buck and writhe with a most incredible vigor, as if seized by some fit. The convulsions of its powerful body seemed to take it in all directions at once.
But the man upon it stayed firmly seated there. His muscled legs were locked against its sides, strained taut with the pressure. This left both his hands free to raise the short thrusting spear high above the boar's head and take careful aim. In a blow backed by all the weight and strength of his arms, he drove the weapon down. The spear head slammed into the corded neck at the base of the massive skull. The sharp point went deep, its keen edge severing the spine.
The boar died instantly. Its frenzied movements ceased. Its heavy body crashed to the earth, rolling sideways. The fair-haired man, in a simple, almost casual move, hopped clear. The boar rolled down, its legs kicking up, splayed and jerking in a last death spasm. Then it settled limply and was still.
The other hunters moved in to stand around the beast, examining it with looks of keen interest mixed with awe. The pack joined them as well, the two great hounds venturing forward to sniff at the carcass.
"By the Dagda, Finn, that was a near thing," the dark-haired man remarked to the fair one. "He was more savage than any boar we've ever hunted."
"He was that," agreed the one called Finn.
He turned from the beast and strode to where the wounded man lay. Two of his fellows were already attending him, binding the gash with strips torn from their own tunic hems. The man looked a bit pale from his shock and loss of blood, but seemed in good spirits.