“Easy for me to liken them,” says Fer rogain. “Those are the nine pipers that came to Conaire out of the Elfmound of Bregia, because of the noble tales about him. These are their names: Bind, Robind, Riarbind, Sibe, Dibe, Deichrind, Umall, Cumal, Ciallglind. They are the best pipers in the world. Nine enneads will fall before them, and a man for each of their weapons, and a man for each of themselves. And each of them will boast a victory over a king or a chief of the reavers. And they will escape from the Destruction; for a conflict with them will be a conflict with a shadow. They will slay, but they will not be slain, for they are out of an elfmound. Woe to him who shall wreak the Destruction, though it be only because of those nine!”
“Ye cannot,” says Ingcel. “Clouds of weakness come to you,” etc. “And after that, whom sawest thou there?”
“There I saw a room with one man in it. Rough cropt hair upon him. Though a sack of crab-apples should be flung on his head, not one of them would fall on the floor, but every apple would stick on his hair. His fleecy mantle was over him in the house. Every quarrel therein about seat or bed comes to his decision. Should a needle drop in the house, its fall would be heard when he speaks. Above him is a huge black tree, like a millshaft, with its paddles and its cap and its spike. Liken thou him, O Fer rogain!”
“Easy for me is this. Tuidle of Ulaid is he, the steward of Conaire’s household. ’Tis needful to hearken to the decision of that man, the man that rules seat and bed and food for each. ’Tis his household staff that is above him. That man will fight with you. I swear what my tribe swears, the dead at the Destruction slain by him will be more numerous than the living. Thrice his number will fall by him, and he himself will fall there. Woe to him who shall wreak the Destruction!” etc.
“Ye cannot,” says Ingcel. “Clouds of weakness come upon you. What sawest thou there after that?”
There I beheld another room with a trio in it, three half-furious nobles: the biggest of them in the middle, very noisy ... rock-bodied, angry, smiting, dealing strong blows, who beats nine hundred in battle-conflict. A wooden shield, dark, covered with iron, he bears, with a hard ... rim, a shield whereon would fit the proper litter of four troops of ten weaklings on its ... of ... leather. A ... boss thereon, the depth of a caldron, fit to cook four oxen, a hollow maw, a great boiling, with four swine in its mid-maw great.... At his two smooth sides are two five-thwarted boats fit for three parties of ten in each of his two strong fleets.
A spear he hath, blue-red, hand-fitting, on its puissant shaft. It stretches along the wall on the roof and rests on the ground. An iron point upon it, dark-red, dripping. Four amply-measured feet between the two points of its edge.