Chapter 1 - Aenghus Óg's Idea
In a meadow away from the castle, an old man named Aenghus Óg sat on a rock while roasting some leftover boar. A sigh escaped his lips as the embers danced on the burning twig. He bitterly smiled at the flickering fire as he recalled the colour of his foster son’s eyes.
Unfortunately, it was eyes he would never see open again.
His foster son, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, was one of the best of the Fianna. A proud knight and a courteous gentleman, he knew he would get far with his wise and calm personality. When word reached him that his son had stolen the intended bride of his king, he couldn’t believe his ears. Diarmuid? Steal a bride? It didn’t make sense to him!
When Diarmuid appeared on his doorstep, how he wanted to yell at him and beat him! However, the pleading look in his son’s eyes cooled his anger. He instead welcomed them to his house and listened to his story. From there, he discovered that it was not by his choice but by force.
Grainne had laid a geis on him.
A geis - he shook his head - was one of the most terrifying things to lay on a warrior. Especially, if used for coercion. If the geis were to be broken, horrible things were said to have happened. Diarmuid apparently had the worst kind of geis: he either elopes with Grainne or loses his ability as a warrior forever.
And from then on Aenghus Óg knew, Diarmuid would have chosen the first instead of the latter.
However, it was also this that made his foster’s sons days numbered.
It was on a hunting trip that Diarmuid’s fate had been sealed. A victim of Fate, Diarmuid was gored by a bore who was the son of his father’s steward. As he lay wounded, Fionn offered to heal him. His hands had the power to heal as any person who would drink water from Fionn’s hands would be healed even from the most mortal of wounds.
But Aenghus Óg knew better; Fionn was not a man of forgiveness.
Twice the water slipped through the spaces between his fingers. Fionn purposely would let it slip through his fingers every time he reached the dying knight. It was only through Oscar’s and Osin’s threats that he attempted truly to save the knight.
Unfortunately, Diarmuid died before he finally could save him.
As Diarmuid’s body was brought to him, Aenghus Óg made sure that his son’s body wouldn’t rot. Even if he was just the god of love and creativity, he still had the usual set of powers. He removed Diarmuid’s wounds, cleaned him up, and breathed life into him if he wanted to talk to him.
But this wasn’t the life he wanted for his foster son. Diarmuid became a victim of circumstance; his death had been caused by a woman who coerced him into betraying his lord. He would do anything to change that!
Suddenly, an idea hit him. What if he could find a woman for Diarmuid even before Grainne would meet him? That even if Grainne cast the geis, Diarmuid would never dare hurt his already beloved lady. But of course, he couldn’t tell him! Diarmuid would never agree to such an idea!
Turning to the fire, he waved his hand. The embers roared into larger flames as the boar meat turned into cinders. Flames danced and painted an image of a young brunette woman who sat on a desk with books and papers forming a fence around her.
“Yes,” Aenghus Óg beamed, “she would do nicely.”
He flicked the flame as other images of the woman appeared. The woman appeared to be rushing through the hallways with a messenger bag full of papers. Another image showed her training with a pair of sticks, swords, and other weapons. He could see the fire in her eyes as she trained hard.
Aenghus Óg nodded.“Yes, she would definitely do nicely.”