Eabhard staggered from the blood-strewn battlefield clutching at the gash on his thigh; sword hanging loosely from hand limp with exhaustion. His Black beard was speckled with an onset of grey and he had pulled back his hair into a large pony tail, all of which was in great disarray.

Eabhard looked up to see Connacht sitting on a stump with wineskin in hand. Connacht was shorter and stockier than Eabhard, and his hair and beard were a dull red. A scar, a reminder of another battle in another place, adorned his right cheek. His grin suffered none the less for it. While fierce and strong in battle, few were more pleased at the ending and hence the surviving of another battle as was Connacht. "You look awful man, come have a drink."

"I was half a step from my grave, Connacht. Half a step."
Eabhard collapsed next to his friend, laughing. Taking the wineskin, he threw back a long swig.
"You may need a Draoi to look at that wound. Oisin! Here's a chance to use your skills man."

After a short time the robed figure of Oisin appeared. A scowl adorned his unbearded face as he approached the two warriors. Youthful he was with shoulder length black hair that sported a shock of white above his forehead. He was slim in comparison to the great warriors but walked with a confidence that may not have fit his age.
"I've had more than ample opportunity to use my skills today Connacht. Inis, Murchadh, and Eochaill have been riding me hard today."

Eabhard laughed, "Ah, a lone boy under the tender tutelage of not one but three Dandraoi . I don't envy you lad. I'd keep an eye on the moon if I were you."
Oisin had already set out preparing the dressing for Eabhard's wound.
"Sit still, Eabhard while I tie this off."
"Yes, Eabhard put that mouth to some use, like drinking wine."

Standing up Oisin surveyed his work, "The herbs should staunch your bleeding and aid in the healing. But you need to stay off it or you'll open it up again."
"Don't look so glum," Connacht said slapping Eabhard's shoulder, "We'll get you so drunk you couldn't stand if you wanted to. After all there are no Sacschorn left to kill."
"It looks as if you're wrong."

Following his finger Oisin and Connacht looked over at the Saxon soldier rising from the field.
Grabbing his sword, Connacht headed for the soldier. Letting out a war cry he brought the sword down on the soldiers left collarbone biting deeply into the bone. Placing his foot into the center of the soldiers chest he pulled the sword free.
"Damn, I think I've chipped it."

Connacht turned back towards his companion. Behind him the Saxon soldier slowly stood back up.
"Connacht, you Fool! You've missed him!"
Connacht reacted instantly. Spinning around he brought his sword into a deadly arc, removing the Saxon's head in the process.
"By the gods what foulness is this?"

All around him the dead bodies of the Saxon army began to rise.
"Asarlaiocht !" Oisin breathed out in a ragged gasp, fear welling in his gut. He willed himself to move but nothing helped. His earlier confidence had drained away from him in but a moment.
Eabhard was pulling himself unsteadily to his feet, sword in hand while Connacht swung madly with his sword at the rearrising army.
"Oisin," Eabhard hissed. The young Druid was standing frozen in his tracks.

Eabhard knocked him upside the head,"Damn it boy do something."
Connacht was now backing warily to where his two companions stood.
"Leave it to a Sacschorn to do something so foul. Oisin we need your Draioght ."
"I don't know what to do."
"Well make something up or we'll be deader than those foul creatures are."

There were now twenty or more undead soldiers surrounding the group from a distance of only ten feet.
From their midst stepped a black robed Saxon with a staff make of course Elmwood.
"Foul Demon of a Sacshorn. What do you want?" Connacht yelled.
"Watch your tongue Celt. I have come for the boy, your Druid. His combination of innocence and power make him ideal for sacrifice to Hela ."

Eabhard raised his sword.
"You can't have him."
"It will mean your deaths if you do not let me have him."

Connacht spat.
"You'll kill us anyway."
"Some deaths are more pleasant than others."

A Loud roar suddenly erupted at the rear of the undead contingent. Spinning around the Necromancer let out a cry of surprise as a large bear began decimating his ranks of soldiers. With a loud whoop, Connacht and Eabhard leapt to the attack each bringing down an undead soldier, who promptly began to struggle back to their feet.

The Necromancer moved to the center of his troop keeping well out of range of sword and claw. It soon became clear to Oisin that his companions were fighting a loosing battle. The swordsmen were swinging wildly about in an attempt merely to keep the undead away. They were fighting a defensive battle, one bound to loose.

Letting his breathing slow, Oisin began to center himself. Then he slowly let his spirit merge with that of the world. Morigu save us, he prayed as his thoughts began to slip from him like quicksilver, slowly to be replaced with those of the world spirit; the instincts of an animal. With the change of his mind came the change of his body. His features blurred, his form shifted, assuming that of a falcon.

Oisin's consciousness spoke to that of the bird's and they rose into the air, flying higher and higher. Straining to keep in control of the spirited falcon consciousness, Oisin brought himself/the bird into a circling pattern above the melee, until he could make out the Necromancer. Then he dove.

The Necromancer, concentrating on controlling his soldiers, noticed too late the diving bird of prey. He screamed in pain as the talons dug themselves into his face and he collapsed. All around him, as if their strings had been cut, so too did the undead.

Eabhard, his battle frenzy gone, dropped wearily into unconsciousness. Connacht knelt down next to his friend. Wounds covered him. Having seen many such wounds, Connacht knew his friend would die if a healing could not be performed soon. He looked up as the bear lumbered forward, with each step reassuming her human form. That of a tall woman with silver hair hanging to her lower back and a stride of command that made even the warrior wary.

"Eochaill, can you help him?"
The Druidess shook her head slowly, her eyes revealing the weariness within.
"Alas I am spent, It has been a long day and I have used much Draioght."

Standing, she let out a shrill whistle. The falcon came and landed on her arm.
The bird blinked uncomprehendingly.
"That's Oisin!?" Connacht exclaimed.

"Yes it is , but he is forgetting that. The animal spirit is dominating him. Oisin! You must come back. Use your Draioght. Release the spirit. You must sever your bonds with it."
She followed it with a word of power. Connacht tried to remember what she said but his mind could not grasp onto it and he never knew what the word was.

Slowly, Oisin's shape began to return and after a transformation of thirty seconds he was standing, dazed, but human.
"Oisin!" Eochaill snapped.
"Yes, Dandraoi."
"We need a healing, come."
"A healing!?" Oisin seemed to be returning to his old self, "I can't perform a healing."
"If you can shape-shift you can heal. Come!"

Oisin moved slowly to where Eochaill and Connacht stood over Eabhard. Eochaill began directing him through the ritual of the laying-of-hands and whispered into his ear. Connacht could see Oisin mouthing something but as hard as he tried he could hear nothing. Slowly Eabhard's bleeding slowed and stopped completely. As the process continued the wounds themselves began to close and heal, leaving not even scars to prove that they had ever existed. When it was through Oisin collapsed into Eochaill arms.

"Dandraoi, does he live." Connacht asked gazing at his fallen friend.
She nodded.
"My pupil has done well. Eabhard will sleep for a time, when he awakes he will be fully healed. We must go now."
Eochaill led the dazed and weakened Oisin off into the trees. Eochaill knew this would not be the last such encounter he would have. She mourned silently the loss of innocence she knew from experience was lost as a result of destiny.30