They fought their last battle before the sixth gate. The guard that the King of Ireland's Son made was weak, and if the King of the Land of Mist could have turned fully upon him, he could have disarmed and killed him. But his head had been so placed upon his body that it looked over his left shoulder. He was able to draw his sword down the breast of the King of Ireland's Son, wounding him. The King's Son whirled his sword around his head and flung it at his wry-headed enemy. It swept his head off, and the King of the Land of Mist fell down.
The King of Ireland's Son saw on the outstretched neck the mark of the other beheading. He took up the Sword of Light again and prepared to hold the head against all that might come for it.
But no creature came. And then the hair on the severed head became loose and it was blown away by the wind. And the bones of the head became a powder and the flesh became a froth, and ail was blown away by the wind.
Then the King of Ireland's Son went through the sixth courtyard and came to the seventh gate. And before it he saw the last of the sentinels. A Hag, she was seated on the top of a water-tank taking white doves out of a basket and throwing them to ravens that flew down from the walls and tore the doves to pieces.
When the Hag saw the King of Ireland's Son she sprang down from the water-tank and ran towards him with outstretched arms and long poisoned nails. With a sweep of his sword he cut the nails from her hands. Ravens picked up the nails, and then, as they tried to fly away, they fell dead.
"The Sword of Light will take off your head if you do not take me on the moment to where Fedelma is," said the King of Ireland's Son. "I am sorry to do it," said the Hag, "but come, since you are the conqueror."
He followed the Hag into the Castle. In a net, hanging across a chamber, he saw Fedelma. She was still, but she breathed. And the branch of hawthorn that put her asleep was fresh beside her. Strands of her bright hair came through the meshes of the net and were fastened to the wall. With a sweep of the Sword of Light he cut the strands.
Her eyes opened. She saw the King of Ireland's Son, and the full light came back to her eyes, and the full life into her face.
He cut the net from where it hung and laid it on the ground. He cut open the meshes. Fedelma rose out of it and went into his arms.
He lifted her up and carried her out into the seventh courtyard. Then the Hag who had been one of the sentinels came out of the Castle, closed the door behind her and ran away into the mist, three ravens flying after her.
And as for Fedelma and the King of Ireland's Son, they went through the courtyards of the Castle and through the mists of the country and down to the River of the Broken Towers. They found the Glashan broiling a salmon upon hot stones. Salmon were coming from the sea and the Glashan went in and caught more, broiled and gave them to the King of Ireland's Son and Fedelma to eat. The little black water-hen came out of the river and they fed it. The next day the King of Ireland's Son bade the Glashan take Fedelma on his shoulders and carry her to the other shore of the River of the Broken Towers. And he himself followed the little black water-hen who showed him all the shallow places in the river so that he crossed with the water never above his waist. But he was nearly dead from cold and weariness, and from the wounds on breast and foot when he came to the other side and found the Glashan and Fedelma waiting for him.
They ate salmon again and rested for a day. They bade good-by to the Glashan, who went back to the river to hunt for salmon. Then they went along the bank of the river hand in hand while the King of Ireland's Son told Fedelma of all the things that had happened to him in his search for her.
They came to where the river became known as the River of the Morning Star. And then, in the distance, they saw the Hill of Horns. Towards the Hill of Horns they went, and, at the near side of it, they found a house thatched with the wing of a bird. It was the house of the Little Sage of the Mountain. To the house of the Little Sage of the Mountain Fedelma and the King's Son now went.