Morgan blinked in the mote-speckled sunshine that came pouring in through the dormer window high in the thatched roof of the lodge. Sitting up, he stretched luxuriously and gazed stupidly at the scattered gear and empty sleeping-mats that lay strewn across the floor, wondering why he and Baxter were the only ones still in bed.
He had retired for the night under the assumption that Eny simply needed some time to herself. She had slipped away from the banquet table, he thought, because she wanted to be alone. He knew her well enough to know that she craved solitude at all times, but especially when there was serious thinking to be done. And the dark and threatening words of the Morrigu’s envoy had given everyone plenty to think about.
It was a rude awakening for him, then, when Rury and some of the other Fir Bolg suddenly burst into the sleeping chamber with the news that Eny was nowhere to be found.
“She never came back to the long house,” Liber said. “Not all the night through.”
“She’s taken her things with her, she has,” added Semeon.
“Some of mine as well,” put in Rury, shaking his head.
Baxter, who had been snoring beside Morgan, sat up and rubbed his eyes, his face red, his sweaty hair a rumpled heap atop his head. “What’s all the fuss?” he said irritably.
“Eny’s gone,” said Morgan.
“Long gone, if the signs tell true,” observed old Genann sadly.
“Is that so? Well, you better run after her, lover boy,” yawned Baxter. “You can’t let her go now. Things were just starting to get good!”
“But why?” asked Anust. “Why has she done it? If you know the reason, we beg you to be at the telling of it.”
“Is it to spare us all the trial of the Morrigu’s wrath?” asked white-haired Crucha, motherly concern shadowing her matronly brow. “Does she risk her own self for the sake of the rest?”
Morgan scanned their anxious faces. “That’s just the kind of thing she would do,” he said thoughtfully. “But honestly, I don’t have the slightest idea where she’s gone or why. Do Ollamh Folla and the other Danaan chiefs know about this?”
“They were the first to be told,” said Rury. “We have only just come from their council meeting. We brought them word while yet the last stars hung fading in the sky.”
“Well,” said Morgan, standing up and putting on his cloak. “I want to talk to Ollamh myself.”
“Na, na, man!” countered Rury. “No chance of that now. It’s gone away he has—under the guise of Simon Brach, mind you. And Sengann and Slanga and Crimthann and Eochy with him. They’re off to search for the missing girl!”
“Then I’ll catch up to them.” Morgan took his bolg and backpack and turned to leave.
“Wait!” called Baxter, holding up Morgan’s silver-sheathed Danaan sword. “Won’t you be needing this?”
Morgan glanced back over his shoulder. It seemed to him that there was a strange glint in the other boy’s eye. “Keep it yourself,” he said with a smirk. “That way you’ll have two.” Then he opened the door and stepped outside.
(To be continued …)