And Fergus descended into deep bitterness and grief for the loss of his lands, saying that he must have sight of them again before he died.
In time, Conor heard of his distress. Ness had died, some said of a broken heart, and Fergus asked that he might return to Ulster to mourn her. Conor’s own heart had been softened by time and the loss of his mother, and Fergus once had been kind to him, before he took the throne. And so Fergus was welcomed once again to the court at Ulster and given high honors, but it soon became apparent that certain of the older chiefs would have been glad enough to see him back on the throne. Privately, Conor began to seethe with anger towards Fergus and to regret that he had ever permitted him back. And Conor bore a cold black anger that caused people to turn away from him.
While Fergus sought refuge at Queen Medb’s court, the old Ulster custom had sprung up once again whereby each chief presented a great banquet for the king and his retinue. At length it became the turn of Felim, Conor’s chief story-teller, to hold this feast.
No effort or expense was spared; indeed preparations took the fullness of a year. A great hall of oak was built next to Felim’s castle, with shining inlays of precious stone, and every care was taken for the comfort of the guests the better to host and impress them. For Felim was determined that never would his vast entertainment be forgotten.