Ok so instead of a poem I have this beauty of a chapter as we finally get into the meat of the story.
This is the stuff I was encouraged to hold back for the purposes of a reveal and I wont really know how it works until I get some feedback or I do a solid read through.
But this is when we get into the heart of the first invasion, the real folklore not the shit I made up to go around it haha. I mean there’s a lot of that but this is the real dope and I love it. I love the mythology, I love the whole story, it’s great and I hope you do too because I’m too busy to get anything more up tomorrow. But believe me the next few chapters are gonna be coming hard and I can’t wait for you to read them.
Many years ago when the land was known as Inish Alga, the noble isle.
The goddess Tailtui kissed him and her lips were as sweet and as sour as the first blackberry of spring. Her body was as firm and as warm as a log on the fire in front of which they made love. Her body crashing against his like a falling tree she kissed him again with an intense urgency. Looking into his eyes she whispered a blessing and a curse “As long as I love you, you shall never die.”
The fire blew out and cloaked the room in inky blackness. A deep silence and a rattling scratching noise came from the fireplace.
“What is it Eoichid?” A silken voice asked.
Eoichid pushed her off of his large frame and strode towards the fire place. He stoked the embers stabbing at them with a poker his naked broad back to his woman. He could hear the scratching more clearly. It was a skittering noise in the chimney.
“Just a bird trapped in the chimney” He stated his voice flat and stern as his jawline.
Then all of a sudden a thunderous crash and a great black bird hit the embers scattering sparks and hot ash in an explosion of chaotic furry. The bird cawed and sqwarked and flew about the room. Eoichid’s ears pricked as he finally noticed a dull metronome of flapping wings and cawing. He went to the window and the sky was black with their fetid wings. Their vile bulbous black bodies blotted out the sun as they flew as if shoulder to shoulder.
Eoichid woke in a sweat, he turned to look at his wife Tailtiu still sleeping, her nose wrinkled as if she smelled something loathesome. Her auburn hair like a bed of autumn leaves. Her face was pale and lovely like freshly fallen snow. Her features that of a faun, or nymph, a slightly upturned nose, light pouted lips and speckled cheeks.
He got out from under the furs of their bed and put on a robe. He fumbled out of his bed chambers without waking the goddess and took a lit torch from a sconce in the hall. He walked down the circular stone steps into the druid’s quarters.
The druid’s quarters were dank and dusty. The smell of booze and bone dust covered by the sweet scents of lavender and thyme permeated the tapestries on the walls.
The room was dark but the outlines of skulls and books and dirty bowls could be seen amassed on the many counter tops and spilling from reliquaries. The piled stone walls were covered in a thick layer of dust.
“Caserd! Caserd! are you awake you old fool?” Eochid lit up the old druid’s face with the firelight.
The old man spoke without moving his eyes. His face potmarked and covered with an ashen beard. “I’m always awake my lord high king.” He opened just one eye in his wizened face “Is it bad dreams sire?”
Eoichid stood motionless at the foot of his bed, the torch held low. “I need you to read the bones again”
“As you wish my king” The old druid climbed out of his bed in his night robes and cap and by the light of the King’s torch he placed a candle on the ground. Next to it, a cup of water and another cup in which he poured alcohol.
He sat with his legs bony crossed on the stone floor and took a deep breath closing his eyes and then dropped a single piece of silver into the bowl of water.
“The bounty of the deep” The old man whispered hoarsely.
He clapped his hands and the candle lit. “The rising of the light”
He dipped his finger in the water and touched his forehead.
The druid gazed at the flame and cleared his throat “Between fire and water, I find my balance”.
He then lifted the cup with the alcohol in it. “I drink to the holy powers of the world- I drink to the ancestors – I drink to the land spirits – I drink to the shining goddesses and gods – To all the beings in all the worlds – In land sea and sky below and on high – I drink this cup of fellowship.” The old druid then threw the liquid to the back of his throat instantly causing a fit of coughing.
When the coughing fit subsided he took a swig from the jug from whence he poured it and cleared his throat again. He scrunched up his face and taking a handful of bones he threw them into a pewter dish.
He moved them around a little and squinted at them and then moved them around again. He looked puzzled for a moment and turned back to his stone jug and took another long pull resulting in the same amount of coughing as before.
“Spit it out” Eoichid erupted impatiently.
“Black wings” The old man sputtered. “I see a sky covered in a blanket of black wings”.
The next morning Eoichid looked out on the balcony of his chambers. He watched as slow creeping mist covered the mountains of Sliabh an Iarainn to the west. Looking out at them from his capital of Tailtin, named for his wife and goddess.
The mist remained for three days and three nights and the high king watched it with cool trepidation. Until the third it cleared but in its place a mighty ship crewed by shining people stood on the mountain.
They slowly advanced westward toward the sea of Ulster. A messenger was sent forth from both tribes.
Sreng the mightiest champion of the Firbolg, rode his black horse up the hill carrying the shovel headed javelin of the Firbolg. A long rounded shield on his back and an iron club on his belt to parlay with the outsiders. On his shield was the crest of Connacht, the sword arm and black bird. He wore a multicoloured patchwork cloak and a heavy hide jerkin. He was large and broad shouldered with a weathered face and long black beard and hair.
The shining one stood on the hill, he was small but fair of face with long golden hair with no beard and carried a sharp thin spear.
The sky was dark slate grey, a light mist covered the ground and a strong wind blew them both and speckled rain. The green hills stretching on forever, sheep in the fields grazing calmly, a squat crow sat on a high stone next to the hill sqwarking to itself.
From the hill Sreng could see the mighty capital Tailtin. Hundreds of smoke stack round houses surrounded by a huge wall of timber and the fort that was the high king’s keep towering at the top of it.
The shining one spoke and his voice was like honied water, calming but firm and constant, delicate but sure. “I am Bres the beautiful of the Tuatha De’ and I offer you glad tidings, brother.”
Sreng stopped at the bottom of the hill to look at the stranger. His skin was pale almost silver and translucent in color, his features sharp and his ears slightly pointed at the top. He wore a light and loose tunic with his arms and chest exposed revealing strange blue markings which seemed to glow when the light hit them.
His eyes too were strange, they were a bright amber color. There was a moment before Sreng decided to speak.
“I am Sreng of the Firbolg”. He bellowed, his eyes lidded and searching.
“So we share the same tongue – cousins perhaps?” Bres smiled jovially and carelessly.
Sreng stared trying to hide hide amazement for a moment in silence.
“My people talk of our ancient predecessors walking this, our ancestral home, is it that I look at a ghost of our past?” Bres jested with a mocking smile.
“I am no ghost” Sreng said as he continued to study the stranger’s weapons as he’d never seen anything like it before.
They looked strong and deadly sharp but were thinner than any weapon he’d seen. He could barely fathom how something as thin as a goose feather could be a weapon at all.
“You like my spear? Here, take it if you like.” Bres tossed the spear sideways and it floated through the air weightlessly. Sreng caught it in his huge hand and his eyes widened as he took it in and felt that it had almost no weight. He gawped at it in amazement as he ran his finger over the fine point and sharp edge and saw blood. He sucked his finger and looked up at Bres.
“You can keep it, we have many more” He grinned. “I wouldn’t mind taking a look at that one on your back.”
Sreng thought for a moment before deciding it was only chivalrous to do the same. He slid his javelin out of the doe skin and tossed it at Bres as one would a log onto a fire.
Bres caught it in one hand and swung it about himself as if he’d handled it a thousand times before. Cutting through the air with the savage recurved blade and stabbing the air with the rounded shovel point looking down the hefty haft.
“A good weight to it” He said as he jostled it playfully. “How do you get this metal to behave?”
“Our forging techniques are a guarded secret.” Sreng said gruffly.
“Why is it you’ve come?” Sreng asked.
“Oh didn’t I say already?” Bres licked his lips and grinned. “We’re home”
“What is it your people want, be clear so I may return to my king.” Sreng said curtly, letting some irritation slip into his voice.
Bres pursed his lips and tapped his fingers along the haft of the rugged javelin.
“Half?” Sreng spat.
“Half the island” Bres smiled playfully but he was not joking.
“You wish me to relay this to my king, High king Eoichid Mac Erc? That you want half of all that is his?” Sreng said almost dumbstruck by this boldfaced arrogance.
“I can do it myself” The voice came from close behind Sreng.
Sreng blinked and saw the shining man on the hill was gone and next to him stood a reflection of himself staring back at him carrying his own javelin. In an instant the javelin came down and cleaved Sreng’s mighty head from his shoulders. His head had rolled halfway down the hill before his body fell.
“Babd, did that please you?”
The crow shone and changed into the form of an elven woman wearing a deep red silken dress, her lips two were kissed as such.
“Yes my lord”. She cooed.
“Take the spear and the body back to Nuada, Dian Cecht will most likely want to study both.”
“Yes my lord”.
“Half!? HALF!?” Eoichid shouted his voice booming around the stone walls of his audience chamber. His face youthful and handsome as it was, twisted by rage and in his eyes a battle tested ugliness dwelt. “They come into my land, the land we fought and bled for. The land we built from nothing with our own hands, the very soil carried on our backs from that cursed land that slaved us and he wants HALF!?” The veins on his neck stood out like the branches of a tree and so to the scars on his face were licked by torchlight.
Sreng knelt before him, his eyes fixed on a spot on the floor as Eoichid paced back and forth.
“Never” Eoichid whispered. “NEVER!” He bellowed. “If we give them half this day they’ll take all from under our noses tomorrow.” Eoichid walked over to his throne, which was a simple chair made of ash with a gold leaf trim and the coat of arms relief. The slim beautiful spear of the Tuatha de’ draped across its arm rests. He snatched it up off his chair “And what is this? A chariot ornament, a giant whore’s hairpin” He said as he snapped the clean wooden haft over his knee and threw the two pieces into the fire.
The high king calmed himself and addressed his champion. “Sreng, you will ride out at first light and ask them what field of battle they wish to die on. We’ll meet them with shovel or pick or fork if they like but they will never have this land.”
Sreng nodded and didn’t say another word.
Read the rest of the chapter on inkitt Love thine enemy