It's getting colder
The waves lashed against tory isle with a profane hatred. Lapping against the rocks working into a viscous foam. The rain beating down in sheets, an unending deluge on the night of Samhain.
A small boat tossed restlessly against a small battered pier, only the moonlight and far off lightning to make it visible.
“This way girl” Cethlain’s whispering voice fighting over the wind and rain. “Take this boat to the mainland, Balor won’t be able to follow you through the storm.”
Birog dragged herself sheepishly out into the rain, covering the swaddled child with her body. “Why are you helping me?”
Cethlain looked at the girl, bloody and clinging to life through her dark veil and said “I do it not for you but for my grandchild”. She held out her hand for Birog to take it. “You must hurry, you cant hide from Balor for long.”
He felt the blade pierce his skin. The cold blade passing through him like a sheet of frozen rain. The blade going in and coming out the other side.
The firbolg slumped forward into the blade and went limp but still stood supported by the sword.
Tethra’s laugh rang out in the soundless void. “Your heart is pierced firbolg, you will die and if not, I will take your head and sink it to the bottom of tory bay where the crabs will feast on your eyes!”
A split second of silence elapsed before he heard it. That ghostly laughter, scarred choked sound from a dead throat. Cur’s low guttural cackle.
Tethra’s blood ran cold as he heard it, icy fingers ran up the creatures back and he suddenly felt as small as his stature depicted.
He tried to pull the blade out and deliver the killing blow and separate the firbolg’s head from his shoulders but it wouldn’t move an inch.
Curs cackled, that evil spiteful laugh, like the spit of a vicious uncontrollable fire.
Cur had held the blade in place with his silver arm and no force could move it “I have you now sorcerer” he laughed. “Now you die!”
Birog’s small boat was loosed from the discarded jetti and she; cast into the dim veil of night. The stars and moon under a blanket of thick black clouds billowing forth an unending rain like the floods of creation.
The only light that of a small lantern in the front of the boat and small tear of soundless lightning in the sky. As if Dannu herself had ripped the sky open to watch as the child of prophecy on their journey to the homeland.
The sea tossed the small boat like a toy in a child’s bath. But it did not capsize and the baby did not cry.
Birog didn’t have strength to row, the wind and the waves and the will of Dannu propelled the small boat towards Inish veil and an uncertain destiny.
“Y-you- meant for me to run you through!” Tethra sputtered.
Cur said nothing only his low vile cackle in answer.
Tethra struggled for the blade like a petulant child trying to wrench a toy free from their fathers hands. But the silver hand would not move an inch.
With his free hand the firbolg reached out to grasp the demons throat and squeeze. The barbarians grip so tight as to make Tethra forget all about his precious sword. Both the fomorians small hands came away from the hilt fumbling for the giant hand around his neck.
The moment Tethra’s hands came off the blade they were both transported back to the hill of Tara. The empty noiseless void falling away like dead leaves replaced with the unending icy rain of Inish veil.
Cur lifted the sorcerer off his feet squeezing him in his hand. His low cackle rising above the din of the driving rain.
The firbolg dropped the sorcerer in the mud, letting him fall like dead weight.
“No more tricks sorcerer” Cur hissed mockingly drawing the demon blade from his chest with the silver arm.
He drew it out slowly, his silver hand on the blade, the power from it resonating with the demon blade.
For a moment it was as if he could hear a strange inhuman voice in his ear. An evil voice that was pleading for it’s life.
Without hesitation Cur snapped the evil blade over his knee. The wicked resonant voice crying out and then ceasing to exist, disappearing like smoke.
Cur tossed the tip of the blade in the mud as he watched the sorcerer crawl like a beast on his belly through the muck.
Cruelly Cur stepped on the welps head, forcing the creature to breath mud. The firbolg laughing as he watched the fomorian struggle.
The fomorian stopped struggling and Cur lifted his small head out of the mud.
“Death will not be as easy” Cur whispered gravely.
“Death?” the fomorian sputtered like it was a foreign concept, on his muddy face an arrogant toothy grin. The fomor laughed. “I would rule Magmell as king and see you as my servant soon enough.” He laughed.
The fomorian chortled to himself in the mud. “You will be my sla-“ the fomorian gargled as Cur cut into his throat savagely with the hilt and broken blade of what was left of Tethra’s singing sword. The fomor choking on his own blood as the Firbolg began to saw his head from his body.
It was done in a matter of gruesome moments, the black blood of the fomor spilling on the ground and making a vile evil sludge with mud of the hill of Tara. A blackened offering to the god of the earth.
Cur lifted the child like severed head and grinned. “See you in magmell!” he laughed his scarred cackling laugh and dropped the head into the mud alongside the frail body.
Thunder rolled across the sky, a feeling of emptiness replaced the glee of slaughter.
Lighting split the night and a horse’s demon whine filled the silence it left behind.
The dullahan stood waiting on the hill of Tara. The rain running like blood over his black armor and onto his black horse, it’s red glowing eyes fixed on the firbolg.
It seemed like centuries past as the small boat tossed on the turbulent waters between Tory isle and Inish veil.
The sky too tossed restlessly as if the world were in the tumult of birth. A rebirth that would see it changed for all time.
Birog nonetheless felt an eerie calm set over her. Her shoulder now only a dull ache instead of a sharp stabbing pain. The fear of Balor chased from her mind as she felt the land of her people drawing nearer to her. Not the beat of the rain nor the cold wind could she feel. Just the small warm bundle she held precious to her chest.
The druidess found herself suddenly struck by an unusual warm sensation, the rain beginning to abate but oddly only in the vicinity of her boat. The sky it seemed opened, clouds parting allowing a single warm beam of light to penetrate through and illuminate the small boat. And although it was night it felt like a warm afternoon in spring. She could almost smell the blackberries and gooseberries, hear the birds chirping. Was this death?
The boats now gentle rocking threatened to put her to sleep but she couldn’t let go of the child.
The mist and darkness parted like a curtain and she could see it shining, calling to her, the shore of Inish veil.
She roused herself as the boat moved on its own towards the shore, pushed by a warm gentle breeze.
The boat nosing into the sand and loose soil on the shore. Dawn shaking off the cobwebs of Samhain.
Birog found the strength to stand, the boat firmly on land now. She rose steadily and disembarked to the shore.
A gust of wind blew and carried a strange tittering voice like birdsong “At last you have come” the voice said softly.
“I brought the child as the prophecy fortold.” Birog said wirily. “I’ve done my part” almost to herself.
“That you have girl”
The gust of wind lifted leaves from the ground, spinning them into a whirlwind slowly taking shape.
“Give the child to me” the leaves said as they took the form of the green knight. His arms outstretched.
Birog seemed confused for a moment.
“I will take the child to their people”
“The firbolg live on?” Birog asked.
“In a manner of speaking yes” Cernunnos said whimsically.
“The child will be safe with them, you have my word”
Birog unwrapped the small bundle and looked down at the child that seemed to glow. The dawn had come with it and the rain had stopped, warm rays of morning light draped the beach in a divine radiance.
She reached out to hand the child to the forest spirit. And the knight took the child gently in its strong arms.
As Birog let go of the child she felt the pain in her shoulder which had become a dull ache fade away to nothing. She looked at the wound and watched as it closed itself and began to heal almost instantaneously.
“I spent far too much energy saving the child’s father. I’m sorry I couldn’t come back for the child too. But the father has work yet to do in this world. There’s magic enough to heal now that my feet are rooted on the soil of Inish Alga.”
“Thank you” Birog said softly.
The leaves continued to swirl and amass as they had before and a giant deer was then also formed from the leaves. It’s long strong limbs like that of young sapplings. It was a fearsome specimen but it was beautiful and calming to look at with its swirling patterned fur. The child gently bundled in one of his great arms, The Forrest spirit ascended his mount easily. He slid into the ornately decorative saddle as if rolling down a boggy marsh. Cernunnos movements were quick and light and youthful and took with them the wry exuberance of spring.
Cernnunos looked down at the Seer who looked exhausted and said “Your work here is done. Go now and rest for this-” the forest spirit looked down at the small child nestled in his mighty arm and said “Is just the beginning-”