A Mighty Chieftain brings Romancing the Guardians to a close . . . with a final angelic pronouncement.
Over a month’s time in autumn some ten years after the Guardians’ showdown with the Hellhounds, a series of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis rocked the planet, killing millions and heralding many more deaths due to disease and starvation. Combined with the ongoing wars in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula, Lara Flewellen O’Shea took these devastating events as the sign she had been watching for. Dreading the future, she sent out a call for the Guardians to meet on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in three days’ time.
She allowed them that long because all had young children, including Conn and herself, and even Leon and Delilah, who had believed herself incapable of ever bearing a child. Lara was certain all the Guardians’ mates – now wives and husbands – would insist on accompanying their spouses. Thus, they would need time to arrange child care and, in some cases, travel from far-off locations.
The appointed day dawned chilly and gray, appropriate for the occasion, Lara thought. Two-by-two, the couples arrived, bundled up against the cold wind. They greeted each other warmly but soon adopted grim expressions, for like her, they knew what was to come.
She had instructed the six members of her council, the comhairle, to bring the hooded gray cloaks they wore at their yearly gatherings. An outmoded tradition perhaps, and eerily reminiscent of their arch enemy, Balor’s attire, but it suited Lara’s purpose. She hoped they would attract attention when they donned the garments.
The tactic worked. Their spouses moved aside, giving them center stage as they donned the cloaks and pulled up their hoods. They drew curious stares from people coming and going from the stately building behind them, and a crowd began to gather, curious to see what this odd bunch was up to. A few snared photos, others taunted the seven silent strangers who just stood there, saying nothing.
“Hey, weirdos, what are you protesting?” one smart-mouth taunted, as usual getting no answer. The Guardians held their tongues as Lara had ordered, hands buried in the voluminous sleeves of their cloaks, waiting for the inevitable media to show up.
Word got around of the wraithlike figures who had taken root on the capitol steps. Before long reporters were shoving microphones practically in their faces, demanding they explain their strange behavior, and camera crews were filming the action – or lack thereof.
Although Lara’s bad leg had begun to ache abominably from standing in one spot for too long, she waited patiently until she felt certain they would make the local and national television news. Only then did she step forward, raise her arms skyward and tip her face up, letting her hood fall back. Excited cries went up from the surrounding crowd. She ignored them, and silence fell as she began to speak.
“Oh, great Nuada and spirits of our ancestors, servants of Danu the All-powerful, I the High Guardian of Her words, call upon you to fulfill your promise and stand with us as we deliver her prophesies to the world of man.” She closed her eyes and maintained her stance, doing her best to block out the scoffing shouts that rang out. She did not have long to wait.
Lightning flashed overhead, immediately followed by a rumble of thunder, drawing fresh cries, this time frightened, from the crowd. Guessing what she would see, Lara turned to look. She gasped at the sight of not three, but a host of angelic beings hovering behind the awestruck Guardians, almost blinding in their brilliance.
“We have come, High Guardian, as I vowed we would,” Nuada’s resounding voice declared. Majestically tall, with flowing golden hair, a flaming blue sword clutched in one fist and a white shield in the other, he was beautiful and terrifying to behold.
“We welcome you, Lord Nuada and your mighty host. Thanks be to Danu for blessing us with your presence on this fateful day.”
“The Great Mother lauds you – he passed his sword above the seven – and the many generations of Guardians who safeguarded her prophesies through the ages. She agrees the time has come to reveal them to humankind.”
Lara bowed her head to him then pivoted to face the gaping crowd, the cameras and reporters, who for once remained silent instead of firing off questions.
“Thousands of years ago,” she began, “Danu the Creator Goddess who guided our ancestors, the Tuatha Dé Danann of ancient Ireland, foretold dire events in the distant future. The seven Druids, or psychics if you prefer, who received Her prophesies hid them away, vowing they and their descendants would guard Her words until the time was right to reveal them. As you just heard from Her emissary, Lord Nuada, the first High King of Ireland, that time has come. Each Guardian will now read the prophesy he or she guards. We ask the news people among you to record and announce Danu’s warnings to the world.”
Stepping aside, Lara motioned Gabriel forward. He withdrew a small blue metal tube from a deep pocket of his robe, unscrewed the cap and withdrew the parchment scroll it contained. Handing the tube to Lara, he unfurled the scroll and began to recite, translating as he went. When he read, ‘the Aes Sidhe will arise from their fairy mounds and fight alongside mortals to destroy evil, wielding lances of blue flame and carrying snow-white shields,’ gasps of wonder arose from the crowd as they stared at the spirits arrayed behind the Guardians, looking exactly as described in the prophesy.
Next to recite was Charlotte, speaking of a plague that would wipe out millions. Those listeners who hadn’t already turned pale did so now. Then came Nathan with a prediction of lawlessness among survivors of war plague and famine, followed by Delilah and a warning of worldwide financial collapse, which seemed to scare the crowd almost more than the previous deadly prophesies.
When Adam spoke of a time when crops would fail beneath a sky turned dark by war, a man in the crowd said, “That sounds like a nuclear winter.”
Nodding, Adam grimly agreed. However, the latter part of his scroll, predicting regrowth and a return to an agrarian society, met with somewhat hopeful expressions. Michaela’s prophesy of commonplace psychic abilities among humans in the future even garnered a few smiles, but the overall mood of the crowd was somber. Properly so, Lara thought.
Nuada now raised his voice again. “One more prophesy was given to the Druids’ High Mage, Aodhfin. It has been passed down from one of his children to another through time and now rests with the last High Guardian. Since she chooses not to share it, I will do so.” He bestowed an angelic smile on Lara, who ducked her head in embarrassment. Then he recited Aodhfin’s words, lastly repeating the final paragraph she had recited before Balor and his minions.
“‘For this I have foreseen – Beyond a long darkness, from the west shall arise a mighty chieftain who will bring forth the Great Joining and open a path unto the future.’”
Nuada extended his mighty sword above Lara’s head. “She stands before you now, ready to lead humankind through a dark and deadly future, into the bright light beyond. Believe what I and the Guardians tell you, for these are the words of Danu the Almighty, She who is the Truth Everlasting.”
Am I foolish to reveal the finale of the series? You be the judge. Keep in mind the prophesies are all fictional, but they convey very real worries I (and others) live with.