The goddess Eriu waited. The new Ard-Ri, high king of all Ireland, had been chosen, elected by his people to enter the Mound of Kings and to induce her to accept him as a wife would a husband. He would be difficult to resist if she were judging on strength and beauty alone; Parlan was as potent a mortal as any she had seen. But to be Ard-Ri required wisdom. Was it wise for Parlan to believe he might win the hand of a goddess? Such pride brought tragedy, the wrath of the most potent magics of Eire. No, Parlan could not succeed. And yet, did part of her long for his victory? Yes, when Eriu considered Parlan she trembled, for here was finally a man who might be worthy. If only he passed the tests to come.
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