They called it the Cobh Reel, and it had only been played and danced once.

During Cromwell’s campaigns in Ireland, a contingent of men pledged to support a free Ireland found themselves caught between the Scylla of a Royalist garrison and the Charybdis of an advancing Republican formation. Their musicians, drawn from the hinterlands, had knowledge of the Reel passed down from the ancient time of the Irish High Kings, and proposed it to their commander. He, a coward that planned to watch the battle from a nearby escarpment and flee if it went ill, agreed.

He saw the Republicans and Royalists clash with his own force caught between. He even heard snatches of the music through the din of battle joined.

He did not see the force that emptied the battlefield of men, bearing them wailing off to parts unknown and leaving only blood and armor behind.

The few survivors were maddened by what they had seen–blinded, deafened, or shouting only in strange tongues. Every last one was caked in the blood of their fellows. Cromwell’s lieutenants reported that his forces had been wiped out by an ambush, and they were right enough about that. But as to who had done the ambushing, and what the Cobh Reel had to do with it, well…there was a reason it was only used once.