Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Darkness within.

Many knew of their dalliances, those stories of coupling and her gifts of prophecy and favor. Many more of their rivalry, the clash of their Wills again and again as each worked for balance.
Few there were beyond the two that knew of their relationship.

She came to him out of the darkness, the quiet comfortable black that exists between all things of light. Unlooked for, uncalled for, she moved closer. She Knew.

Her bare feet took her on the ways, leading her to him unerringly, without falter. Past his rath, for home would not bring him comfort. Past his flock for he would not find peace being among them. Past his workshop for there was no focus left to him.

Her feet felt the grass, her nose took in the scent of the tree, and her ears the labored breathing from beneath its roots. As she approached the dark entrance to the earth beneath, the tree shuddered under her hand as if some great blow had impacted it.

As she stood one foot on the threshold of the hollow, her Will gathered to her, she could not escape a shiver of apprehension somewhere in the recesses of her mind.

Countless foes she had slain, fools she had humbled, heroes she had claimed. At her call stood a host of ruin fit to break the world. Change was her dominion in all its forms even onto the final change of utter destruction. All of the forces and strength gathered to her Will, all in her control.

Yet still in some primal spot she held a shudder just in check when she thought of Him.

He was here and He was in his darkness.

Slipping silently beneath the earth she felt the tree shudder again, a root deep shake as it absorbed the energy and dissipated it through its ancient feet and into the earth.
Shifting into the space she heard him first. Breathing labored and heavy. Each exhalation ending in a deep throated growl. Body moving in the confines of the space. Feet scraping the soil, shoulders rubbing against the inside of the tree, big broad strong hands gripping and scratching the wood.

Next her nose took up the scent of him, so similar to that of the earth itself it still had a distinct tone to his sweat which she could never mistake. Breathing deep she inhaled the scent of blood, rich and metallic. His blood.

Her heart pumping hard she was stirred in many ways. The heady coppery smell filling her and causing a different shudder she could not suppress. Her intent shifted slightly in response to that feeling.

In the darkness, the labored breathing stilled abruptly, and a heavy silence fell. Like some beast scenting prey she heard him snuffle the air. Letting her eyes adjust she saw his shape, broad and muscled, still and poised in the darkness, head up and to the side, to catch the smells around him.

That primal shudder skittered across the back of her mind again to see him so, yet this time her reply was a smile, all teeth and aggression.

Her moment was near. She would have to time it right, strike when she had her opening or leave him to his darkness. Her eyes, blacker than the dark about her, weighed him, mind flickering back and forth on every detail as she reached her moment.

With a second to tense and target her Will, she lept. Sailing out of the blackness she landed upon his back, arms locking around his bull thick neck, her strong legs wrapping tightly about his waist.

In the moment of contact she felt it all, the echo of which had brought her to this place. Rage mixed with pain roared its way into her awareness. A crashing wave of sensation that would drown anyone foolish enough to be unprepared for its wroth. The red and blackness of it all swirling about her mind as she sought deeper within him, searching for the cause.

His reaction was instantaneous, throwing his weight forward with a roar, frenzied and animalistic, trying to dislodge her. Thrashing his mighty shoulders back and forth. Her strength held and with a squeezing of her arms and thighs she denied him his breath.

His thrashing did not ease, only intensified with the loss of air. She felt her skin scrape against the the earth and tree roots around her, but the pain it caused was funneled by her Will adding strength of her grip.

With a gasped growl, he  finally slumped to one knee, big arms out and braced against the interior of the tree.
Loosing her arms she let him breath and clamped an iron grip with her hands upon the broad meat of his shoulder muscles. A hiss escaped him as her fingers pressed deep into the locked knotted flesh across his collar bones.

The words when they came were a hushed angry growl from a throat that had not uttered a clear word in hours.

“Don't. It’s mine. Mine to bear.”

Ignoring him, she drove her strong fingers against his flesh, working, kneading, releasing the pressure where she found it.

As her body worked his flesh, her senses searched his energy. The storm within him began to ease as the pain she caused him relieved the pain which he held to. The red rage began to fade in him as his great arms slumped low, the blood on his knuckles, dripping into the soil.

Still, she did not relax her muscles, legs tight to him, body pressed to his, her cold skin taking the heat out of him as his breathing steadied to a slow even pace.

Her eyebrows moved to a frown as the blackness did not stir, but deepened in its stillness within him, taking a hold.

Leaning in close, arms loose around his neck she placed her lips close and breathed huskily into his ear.

“What? All that fight gone from you now?”

So saying she sank her teeth into his scarred ear, biting hard and sending a spike of red back through him.

With an answer growl he moved, and she allowed him shirk her over his shoulders and into a crushing embrace. His mouth found hers and the pressure of his kiss crushed her lips to her teeth, the strength of his grip bruising her flesh, and the hunger of his need washing over her.

She accepted it and gave equally, her hunger in return.

Their coupling was fierce. All flame and power coursing one against the other. Muscles pressing and straining. Skin sweating against skin. His weight crushed down upon her as he moved within her. Their pace frantic as they pressed themselves together each simply feeding their need with the others flesh.

Their labored breathing intermingled with gasps and grunts could lead to only one ending and in that moment of explosive release, they roared as one.

As  he drew deep on his next breath, his arms gave and he lay forward onto her. Her arms came up and around his wide shoulders as she held him against her, each working to steady their breath.

Deep within him, the blackness had shifted, the red of the anger having burned it back. In its center she found a whiteness. The space where peace and calm ruled. With that she found her smile, warm and genuine this time.

Moving her hands she lightly scraped the skin across his broad back , tickling the hairs there.

The hiss that escaped him this time was one of happy pleasure, and he raised himself up to meet her gaze.

“ I have told you lass, no one touches my shoulders.”

Mischief sparkled in her eyes and her smile broadened.

“Its lucky that I’m definitely a someone to you then, otherwise you would be lost and I would have no one to play with. No one decent anyway.”

His chuckle rumbled up from his broad chest and she felt his normal warmth enfold her, comforting and close.

She didn't ask because she already knew, and he didn't thank because no words would ever be big enough.

When next their lips met it was soft and gentle, intimate and caring. Their bodies began to move again, but this time with a slowness to match their kissing.

Three words were all that followed.

“I love you.”

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A life worth living. Forever.

The rattle of the keys on the laptop came to a halt as the Scealí looked up, pausing the narration,  with a quizzical frown.

"Does it actually ever end? I mean all of it. I'm mortal. I know that time will come and I will pass away."

The storyteller's face was somber but still curious. 

 "But you, you're immortal. You talk about ages past as if it were yesterday. You have seen the turn of centuries and even millennia. How is that?"

The Dagda shifted his broad bulk more comfortably in his big chair, breathing in the comfort of his home, taking a time to consider his reply. This question was not unexpected, but the reply had to be tailored with care.

"I guess it doesn't actually end as long as you are remembered. The love in ones heart is a powerful thing and it can burn on long after the bodies last beat. To me it comes down to how you choose to see things."

"So you're saying that love makes one immortal? What then of the pain and loss that goes with every life? Is this a result of love? What of those who barely even get a life? Where is the love preserving them?" 

The bard's frown deepened and his face and words were coloured with a pain and anger which the Dagda knew all too well. 
His broad care lined face showed a look of deepest compassion.

"It hurts for those left behind. Loss is almost always bitter no matter what the poets tell you. I have heard it said that life is pain, and anyone who says different is selling something. I would disagree with that and would share with you a perception, for you to choose to accept or ignore as is your right."

A thoughtful frown settled on his brow, as the Scealí remained quiet and attentive.

"The soul or spirit, holds the energy of the person, but that energy came from some place and wasn't just made manifest out of nothing when the person started their existence. 

That energy comes from the greater whole. From the collective universal force of all things.

A fragment of that, the energy of growth and life, the energy of a star's fire, the energy of a lightning  bolt, the energy of an ocean's wave, is brought to being with the consciousness of the vessel. Created within a mother and of a father, that energy finds purpose."

A big strong hand raised the mug of tea to his lips, momentarily interrupting the words.

"So. What then when the vessel's purpose is complete? It might be hours, days, years, or indeed decades but at some point the work is done, the final rest earned." 

Dark eyes focused on the storyteller as the Dagda continued, adjusting his words to his audience.

"The laws of conservation of energy suggest that energy can never be created or destroyed. Following that, my presumption is that the energy returns to the universal whole."

"For a time it remains a fragment, separate and individual. Identified by a name and experiences, fed by the call of those left behind, but over time, as the name is not spoken of, as the memories fade and the hearts love which charged it cools, the fragment merges back and is no longer separate. Enriched by the experience it carried and enriching the whole with what it brings back."

"This is happening all of the time in the innumerable things within this universe. This is what I call the great cycle."

The frown had been building on the Scealí's face, his brain working rapidly to keep pace, and as the big man finished, the next obvious question came.  

"So, you are not bound by the great cycle then?"

Dadga's face showed he had been expecting it and a patient smile crept onto his features, as a chuckle rumbled from his broad chest.

"Of course I am. All things are, as all things are bound to the one energy. "

"The reason my energy has not returned is as I told you. My purpose is not yet complete, there is work to be done."

Comprehension dawned on the Scealí's eye, followed quickly by deep compassion. 

"So, you exist because you are needed to exist. It must be so hard on you then. To keep going, seeing loss every day, knowing that even me, your storyteller will pass away and that you may yet endure. Indefinitely."

The big man heaved a bone deep weary sigh and the storyteller thought he saw his eyes glisten with unshed tears.

"Aye, you're not wrong that bitter loss is always there. The best I can offer you is this.

When you pay attention to the energy of all things, you see how it dances. Some fragments always seem to dance in the same energetic frequency, the same rhythms and vibrations.

Like a harp string, its length and material always set, will make the same note whenever it's plucked, even if it was last plucked but a moment ago or hasn't been touched since the start of the song, so too may the energetic dance of fragments vibrate in the same way every time they take up a vessel."

The deep dark eyes of the immortal showed, for but a moment, the extent of the years they had seen, and it sent a shudder through the storyteller. 

Dagda's face took on that knowing smile of his. 

"Do you think this is the first time your energy has been of use to me?" 

The Scealí slumped back in the chair, flummoxed yet unable to break that stare.

"Oh no, 'OakHeart', you have worked for me many times before." 

As the bard's brain began to spin upon itself, the Dagda sipped his tea and watched, with a compassionate smile.

"Does any story ever truly end?"

Monday, 12 September 2016

Where the work is



Trees and trees as far as the eye could see, covering the land down to the plains of the midland.

The leafy boughs shading the land from the most of the summer’s heat, and the worst of the summer rains.

He liked it here.


Lost among the growth of decades it was a place to loose time in all of the best ways one can lose it.

Inhaling deep and slowly the Dagda took in the heady scents of the woods all about, the leaf and loam, and the rich earth beneath.

Twice to three times the height of a tall warrior these plants had seen the turning of many seasons and with it the passing of many generations.

His feet inevitably took him along familiar trails, moving easily through the brush in some places, or across the expansive clearings kept beneath the tallest and broadest of trees.

This was a pleasure that not many seemed to appreciate. People seemed to spend too much time with their eyes fixed on the destination, rushing to meet at some place and time without allowing space to appreciate the trip in the middle.

The Dagda's eyes fell on the trail in front of him and he took a moment to squat down and really look at what the earth was telling him.

Deep brown and firm, the soil told him that the rains had been through here no more than a day or so before. 

The roots of the nearby trees found their way to the surface here and there, reminding the traveller of their hold upon the earth, and to watch their step.

Slight scuffs in the dirt indicated that he was not the only creature to recently use this trail. His eyes roamed forward but were denied a clear print, until they came to rest on some hair captured in the embrace of earth.

With another deep inhalation the Dagda mentally sorted what he was smelling until he found it. Deer.

Luckily he was here for a different prey. With a smile on his broad craggy face he sauntered off down the track pondering what he smelt like to the deer as he passed its hiding place in the brush to the far left.

 Within a long slow hour he came upon his prey. Large and broad it lay on its side. Almost as wide around as he was, limbs splayed out at odd angles.

Approaching slowly he saw how it had died. The earth was tossed about at its foot and showed where its grip on life had failed.

The storm's wrath was played out all around the fallen tree.

The Dadga moved to it and placed his broad hands upon its rough bark. Closing his eyes he tried to imagine the years it had seen. Though not as old or as big as its brothers it still would have held many stories.

Listen hard enough and you will hear even the echo of the land's birth, he thought.

Shaking his head with a smile at his own conceit, he opened his eyes and patted the fallen tree.

Time to go little one.  Don’t worry, I will find the heart of you and keep it safe.

With that the Dagda set to work, with axe and saw he stripped the roots and branches, stacking the limbs to dry beneath a near chestnut. He often left little stores of drying wood for travelers who may come upon them, or indeed himself should he need it on a dark night.

With the trunk stripped and the area tidied, he took the last tool from the bindle, its chains ends clanking.

Setting the wood hooks firmly in the tree, he settled the leather covered section square across his shoulders.

Time to make a new trail.

The Dagda chuckled to himself and settling his wide shoulders to their burden, leaning his broad back forward, he planted his feet and set the strain against his big round thighs.

At first the battle went to the earth, as it jealously tried to hold to the tree, but the Dagda could not be stayed once set to task.

With a groan from the wood, the earth finally gave up its stubborn resolve, in the face of one which out stripped it.

The Dagda's legs began to push on, and within moments they were pumping back and forth with a steady rhythm, the tree willingly moved to follow the man.

As the day found its afternoon the Dagda came to stop at his destination. 

The building was broad and tall, walled with stones fit snug to one another to keep out drafts, and the roof set to a high apex built around a wide opening so that the thick smoke could escape.
Set carefully about the edge of the building where various tools of trade.

Right now the plume rose high and dark in to the sky. Work was being done.

With a deep breath the Dagda shucked the chain off and allowed his burden come to rest.

Stretching out his arms and rolling the ache from his shoulders he strolled to the trough of water kept right beside the door. A musical rhythm came from beyond the leather covering and the Dagda did not enter.

Instead he dunked his head and shoulders in the cold water, then stood and let the water find its own path down his skin.

Returning to the log he removed the chains and again allowed his fingers rest on the bark stroking thoughtfully.

With a glance to the sky, one last shoulder roll and a nod to himself,  squatted down by the middle of the logs span.

Feet set flat and wide he pushed his hands in under the log and with a grunt of effort, he straightened, his powerful legs locking, his back straight. 

Once again the earth could not hold its embrace of the log, and gave in to the Dagda's strength. With a dead lift, the wood rose in to the air cradled in his big arms. 

With a few steps the wood was placed upon the logging horse and retrieving the saw he set the blade to bark. With one last caress on the tree the Dagda pulled the blades teeth through the wood. With his feet planted wide and shoulders set he pushed the blade back sending saw dust to fly.

Finding his rhythm in the hammering clangour coming from the building the Dagda set muscles to work and found himself humming along tunefully. 

After the sawing would come the axe, the rise and fall to crack and split. The pleasant reassuring rhythm of a job the body can do whilst the mind wanders the paths of thought and dream. 

Still the Dagda eye didn’t stray from the wood rounds as they fell one after another.
He had a promise to keep.

                   ******************

The forge fire burned hot and hungry.

It's persistent ravenous need something that any who laboured with this force needed to understand intimately.

Standing over it, the light shining upon his muscled labourers form, it's heat setting a sheen of sweat to mix with the ash and soot upon his skin, Goibhniú smiled. 

He knew this kind of hunger very well indeed. 

The fire would need a large feed tomorrow but for today at least the labour was done. 

With a sigh the smith, battled his gaze away from the fire and looked to the wood stock in the forge. This was the last of it, with nothing set by.  He would need to leave his fires tomorrow. 

Turning from the heat Goibhniú pushed the leather curtain back and stepped out into the late evening’s cool air. Blinking in the poor light of the sun’s set he saw that he had a guest.

Dagda, What brings you to my door this late?

The smith saw the chieftain seated in the dirt by the water trough, turning something over and over in his big hands.
 
Looking closer with a squint he saw it was a section from a round of wood, looking to be fresh cut from some tree. 

That was when his nostrils, so used to ash and the burn of metal, picked up the scent of fresh cut timber. 
Turning about to follow his nose Goibhniú stopped to take in an unexpected sight. Stacked against the wall of his home, set up to its very height, the smith saw logged lumber, cut and ready for burning.  

It stormed about three days ago but this tree’s heart was kept warm and dry. It's  lumber should set a nice fire for your work. 

Would you have anything to drink; I have quite a thirst upon me.

The Dagda’s voice was quiet as he rose  ponderously to his feet. Goibhniú looked back and saw him stash that little round of heart wood in his satchel. 

The smith stood, knowing the surprise on his face must look comical indeed but he couldn’t shift it. There was at least another few weeks worth of fuel for his labours, suddenly stacked neatly right by his door. 

The smith layered the pieces of the process together in his mind trying to fuse his thoughts into a whole which he could grasp.

The wood alone was a great gift. The effort required to bring, break, and stack it was more than he could expect. 
True, Dagda would not leave him wanting for the asking, but that was it, he hadn’t asked.

The whole piece came together for Goibhniú and there was but one word needed.

Why?

The Dagda looked at the smith, with his deep dark eyes.

Because this is where the work is;

His gaze slipped to the neatly stacked wood, and came back with that usual smile of his.

Was.

Now about that drink?