The Belfast Mountains

Ireland, 1798. A time of revolution and uncertainty, fear and betrayal but for Annie and Will, a time of love, learning and loss.
Set against the backdrop of one of the bloodiest times in modern Irish history, a simple Ulster farm girl and a young revolutionary begin to fall in love and learn about price of freedom.

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2. Prologue

 

The harsh and brutal crash of steel on steel pierce the sweet June evening. The agonised yells of men mortally wounded, the furious battle cries of their vengeful comrades, the thunderous booming of gunfire seem to cloud the clear blue skies above.

The pale pink and yellows, the pretty colours of the fragrant summer blossoms which bloom in the hedgerows seem at odds with the scarlet uniforms which litter the battlefield and the ruby colours which decorate the now still bodies of men, These colours are perhaps reminiscent of the crimson poppies of July which have yet to bloom but the putrid odour of death, fear and blood are far from the sweet aromas of wild summer flowers.

It is a pity that such a beautiful evening, where the blazing sun makes the cold, steel swords glisten and glint, should be marred by such an unpleasant chaos and cacophony.

But if one listens carefully, past the angry screams of men at war, the horrifying squelch of flesh as a lightening keen blade finds its mark and the frightened whinny of startled horses as their once brave masters are felled to the ground by a fatal blow. Beyond the crackling noises of households succumbing to the vicious flames, the confused crying of children and the woeful wailing of women bemoaning their losses and cursing the cruel perpetrators who caused such heinous destruction, perhaps one could hear the linnet bird sing its lilting melody, celebrating the joyous sun in the sky.

But the linnet’s carefree refrain is further interrupted by the bleating, unharmonious noise of a bugle calling the haphazard legion of men, their only uniform the rosettes in the forbidden tricolour of green, white and gold, most of them armed with nothing but home-fashioned pikes, to retreat. With reluctance and relief etched on their faces, men flee the scene, in hopes they will live to fight another day.

A man sits astride an ebony black stallion; still fighting fiercely, the calls to retreat falling on deaf ears. He flashes his sword with deathly accuracy, cutting the Saxon strangers to the ground mercilessly. The green of his coat is spattered with crimson drops of blood and his proud tricolour lies slightly askew on his breast. His dark, cropped curls cling to his scalp with sweat and he grunts with the exertion of it all, but still he battles the band of Redcoats that surround him. Bravely, he parries the blows but with a cowardly strike by a smug soldier, the arm of his jacket and shirt are torn and are quickly stained by his own blood. He grits his teeth and with a renewed fervour he brings the remaining few who stand in his way to the ground, his azure blue eyes blazing dangerously. He gallops off in pursuit of his comrades, eyes still burning. Burning with anger, with loss, with righteous indignation against the treatment of his fellow countrymen, with hope for the day Ireland can call herself free.

 Burning eyes that sear into the soul of the girl who dreamed of them.

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