Black soul choir
The moon hung low on Samhain. The sky crackled with thunder. A spark of lightning in the distance and a torrential oppressive rain beating down making a constant din.
A drum beat steadily as barrels of milk and honey and corn and wheat were taken down into the caverns. Caverns that the fomorians had carved centuries ago before the island even had a name.
Some of the goods were loaded onto a boat and taken directly to Tory isle, the rest stored under the island to feed Balor’s growing army.
The children were collected at the gates of each village by cart horse driven by the robed men. They too were loaded onto boats for Tory isle.
But a select few were chosen for a precession to the top of the hill of Tara to be sacrificed to Domnu the god of the earth. They’d be led into the catacomb never to be seen again.
The precession walked by the light of the moon and the slowly building drum beat. Trudging through the rain and the thick soupy mud.
Far away in the tower of Tory isle Ethniu cried out in pain and terror “The baby, it comes now, I can feel it!”
Outside the rain poured into the sea which tossed restlessly, kicking up at the tumultuous black and grey sky.
“Samhain draws near, but you must quiet or the whole island will hear you!”
The fomor princess strained and groaned like a stuck pig. Sweat dripping from her brow and tears streaming from her one beautiful eye as she bit her lip to hold her screams.
The drums continued to beat an ominous metronome over the constant din of the rain and the feet sloshing in the mud. The procession carried torches and drums. The head of the procession held a birch staff as he lead them to the top of the hill and the stone of destiny.
The children were scared and cold and drenched by the rain. Their terrified eyes staring only at the muddy ground, following the hypnotic beat of the drum.
One boy of maybe eight or nine saw something glinting in the night, a spark of steel lit by a brief flash of lightning. He saw a sword hanging on a belt under one of the robed men’s cloaks.
Ethniu muled and wailed unable to keep quiet as the unbearable pain tore her senses. She didn’t care about anything, she just wanted it to stop.
“You must be quiet, midnight is not upon us yet, the prophec-!”
Suddenly the sound of footsteps in the stairwell.
The was a banging at the door “What’s going on in there?!” a forced blubbering voice pushed passed bulbous fishy lips.
“Nothing, everything’s fine!” Birog called out.
But the banging just got louder “Let me in this instant!” the voice belched impatiently.
“Coming right away!”
The drums continued their full haunting metronome as the precession marched the muddy hill towards the stone of destiny.
The child reached for the sword hidden under the robe. A large human hand batted the small hand away and grunted irritably.
“Mind yourself boy or you might get it cut off” the gruff scarred voice hissed.
The banging continued from behind a hastily constructed barricade of the girls dresser and chair.
“Let me in I say!”
“I’m sorry, it seems to be stuck”
Ethniu continued to wale in pain.
Birog ran to her side.
“Its almost time.” Birog whispered. She put her cool hand on the girls cheek. “You must be quiet or your father will kill us all.”
She was barely competent, driven mad with the pain. The princess looked at the druidess “He’ll kill my baby” she sputtered, dizzy from the pain. “you have to save my baby”
“I will I promise you that”
The drums of the procession started to get faster and louder the closer they got to the stone of destiny.
The boy looked up to see a hawkish eye regarding him from under the hood of the cloak. Illuminated by another flash of lightning. The eye was cold and vicious and it terrified the boy so much he couldn’t help but run for his life like a startled sheep.
He broke away from the procession, the drums continued to beat. The rain ever relentless, the mud almost up to his knees.
The procession halted, all eyes on the boy as he ran.
The head of the procession turned and called out “Get back in line boy!”
A snarling caught the high priest’s ear and he turned to see a rabid wolf in his path. The procession stopped.
The drumming suddenly stopped.
The high priest turned back to the procession. A large cloaked man slew the drummers with a sword. He killed them quickly and brutally using the distractions to catch the cloaked fomorians unaware. Their flabby malformed bodies coming loose of their cloaks and lying still on the cold mud of Tara.
“Who goes there?” the high priest called out.
The cloaked figure rose to his full height and let out a hideous low cackling laugh. “I am dooms right hand” Cur said as he let the cloak fall into the mud. Revealing the firbolg wearing fur greaves and a light shirt of mail but little else to cover the silver hand, and in the other he brandished Ogma’s sword.
The door to the princesses bedchamber shook as the guard rammed it. But the door opened directly into the spiral staircase so there was very little room for purchase to ram. Nevertheless the brute tried to force the heavy oak door and despite its difficulty he would eventually get through.
The sound of more footsteps more voices outside the door. It was only a matter of time before Balor was alerted.
Ethniu strained and screamed, her big eye bloodshot and terrified as she cried.
“You must push! We don’t have much time.”
The princess grimaced and pushed as hard as she could, her eye rolling back into her head.
Birog got on he knees “I can see a head keep pushing, we’re close now, it’s almost over.”
The princess shrieked as if she was being torn open from the inside.
“Just a little more. We have to hurry, it’s almost over”.
“Oh it’s you” the priest said calmly. “I suppose it’s high time I dealt with you.” the priest said as he draw his hood back revealing a youthful slightly feminine appearance. “You might not recognise this face but you’ll certainly recognise this.” the priest said as he let the birch staff drop from his side and unsheathed a strange but familiar sword marked with alien characters.
“Tethra” Cur spat as the rain poured over his bone white flesh.
“I thought you might remember me” he smirked. “Slayer of slaghtaverty” tethra laughed as rain ran down his strange waxy face.
Cur grimaced with rage, squeezing Ogma’s sword hilt as if it were the welp’s neck.
The wolf howled and snarled and chased the children causing them to flee into the woods. Tuan would chase them to safety. Safety was anywhere that wasn’t the hill of Tara on tonight of all nights.
Tethra laughed “So you came to save the precious children, how noble” His smirk dropped like an iron portcullis. “Sadly you only saved a handful, most of them are already on their way to Tory isle as we speak to join Balor’s legion.” Tethra pointed the sword at Cur “And after I kill you we’ll just round them up again, like the cattle they are.”
“I came for you sorcerer!” Cur growled.
Tethra chuckled at that “how would you even know I lead the precession, unless, oh that’s funny- you’re trying to spark a war” Tethra laughed. “You want the Fomor to crush the Tuatha”
Cur grinned like a gargoyle.
“Very clever, the Tuatha defeated you, drove your people to the far corner of this emerald Isle.” Tethra smirked wickedly. “But it was my people that dealt the killing blow!” He laughed triumphantly. “Just like we eradicated the partholonians before you. It’s our plague, our final solution to a people that will not bow, so they must break.”
Curs scowl became feral as he pounced at the fomorian his blade flashing over his head. The firgbolg howled a fierce battle cry cutting through the curtain of rain a flash of lightning over head.
“Let us in!” the voices and the banging outside the door growing and getting more and more impatient.
“It’s almost time , just keep pushing.”
“I can’t” the princess sighed exhausted. Her one eye leaking, her tears mixing with sweat. The pain was almost unbearable, for this was not a normal birth, far from it.
“You have to, if you father gets here-“
Suddenly the banging on the door stopped.
Birog turned sharply, in a moment the door was torn open, the dresser tossed across the room like it was a child’s toy.
Standing in the doorway was Balor, his eyes glowing that vile purple.
There was a clashing of swords, Cur towered over the fomorian who was slight and girlish in figure. But the creature fought like a man twice his size. He chose this form to appear as a kitten to his foes who were unaware they fought a lion.
He was fast and strong and merciless and not hampered by the mud and rain at all. The beast was almost a match for Cur, almost.
Cur was relentless, tireless, and fought with an unrivaled beastial fury. He struck the singing sword again and again tossing up sparks like lightning striking vaporising the rain. But the fomorian parried each strike. Curs assault left no time for a counter attack and the fomorian seemed to be wavering.
They locked swords and Cur cackled as he feared no blade. He let the singing sword bite into his flesh at the shoulder so he could pull the welp close enough to bite his ear off.
The fomorian yelped like a kicked dog but the firbolg wasn’t finished with him.
He took the singing sword from him and stabbed it into the earth like a headstone and head butted Tethra across the bridge of his pretty little nose. Blood gouting like a fountain as the creature fell backwards into a thick puddle of mud.
“What is all this commotion about I wonder.” Balor said in his child’s monotone voice.
“Nothing my lord” Birog blurted foolishly.
“Nothing?” Balor said pallidly.
“I-“ before she could finish speaking Balor’s arm turned into a huge tentacle and batted her away like she was a tick. The girl flew across the room landing on the other side of Ethniu’s grand bed.
The strange child approached his daughters bed, his face a mask of icy indifference and slight distaste.
Ethniu didn’t have strength even to fear her father, she barely even reacted to his presence. Only remembering how to breathe, staring blankly with her one beautiful eye at the ceiling.
“I see” Balor said as if he were looking at horse in his stable that had foaled. “so you wished to see your prophecy fulfilled? You wanted the barbarian here for this reason alone and you let him to do this to my daughter.” Balor’s expression changed caught almost by some divine irony or inside joke he grinned slightly at the corner of his mask like face. “But even you, crafty witch, could not forsee that the child of prophecy would be twins.”