Part Three – Phelan’s Select
“My father had to wait to find out why the Storyteller
was going to the castle…”
“In the Lands of the Dead. You were going to tell me
about Phelan’s Select,” the boy says excitedly.
As did I. I waited less time than my father of course,
because I accompanied the man in red, but that comes
later. I crack an eye open as the Ferryman drops his
anchor and sits at the stern, taking out a burnished
silver flask and taking a great draft. The blank mask
comes to rest, the hidden eyes on me. Wordlessly he
passes me the flask, and I take a draft. He reaches under the bench he sits upon and takes out a small sack.
There is a loaf of bread, some cheese, some olives, a
few slivers of sausage. He takes the larger portion but
gives me some. I gobble it down with gratitude, the
first food I’ve had since I don’t know when, two days?
Three? They have kept me watered though. They
wouldn’t want me to expire before He metes out His
justice. “My thanks,” I say, but he continues to watch
“Ah yes. That’s a long tale, I’m not sure we have time.
Ah, ah, don’t be downcast. I can tell you many tales…
very well then. I can see that you are set on this tale.
We should ask your father to row slower then?”
“The man in red seemed to be in no hurry…”
The Ferryman kept a wineskin on board, with watered
down wine in it. His ‘sipping wine’ he called it, for
the journey. He shared a little with the man in red.
The water of the lake was drinkable, but barely. The
man smacked his lips with gusto, like he’d just tasted
the finest wine in the country. Theatrical in even his
smallest gestures, the Ferryman noted.
“Where was I?” The storyteller asks the boy.
Phelan rubbed his straining eyes while carving
Ogham. He was glad he was in Malvin’s Holding, in
the Court of the Red Bull, in the east. The most civilised of the kings, he always thought. Phelan, like all
the Great Druids, spent the majority of his time in the
lands of the Fair.