Tuesday, 30 August 2016



The sun shone bright upon the land as the Summer's warmth made a fine day of the green fields. White clouds chased each other across the azure dome of the sky as a light wind fluttered the pennants and pageantry of the Feile.

The children of Danu roamed about the space enjoying the sport and the wares that were on offer. Food set out on long tables filled the place with sweet and savory scents. A band of bards set sounds and song to complement the festive feel of the event.

He always enjoyed these days. The flow of feelings all lifted together in an energetic dance that did the soul much good. Invigorated by the revels a person might indeed live forever.

Dagda’s smile was broad as he meandered about, moving between the crowds. It always tickled him to move his big broad frame through a shifting throng without touching anyone, eyes scanning the route, mind plotting the movements and the flow, working the gaps. It was all just a game, but one he enjoyed immensely.
A playful bellow came from his left was his only warning.

Shifting his weight rapidly to his leading leg, he spun about on the ball of that foot, almost as a dancer twirls, getting his trailing leg ahead of him. Just in time, as two figures came sprawling out of a tent onto the ground in a friendly grapple.

Ogma, had a good grip around Luchtaine’s waist and had set a squeeze with all his might, yet  the carpenter's strong hands were locked vice like on the warrior poets wrists and Dagda was sure that his brothers grip would not hold long.

Seeing the disruption the friendly brawl had caused to those in and around the tent, the chieftain stepped in and grabbing both men but the back of the neck, heaved them upright and apart.

“Now now lads, shame on you to start this up without proper consideration for your fellows. Sure isn't the wrestling ring all set up over yonder? how can there be such sport without fit wager and spectacle to support the effort.”

Setting the men on their feet, and with a gentle nudge forward, the two set off for the cleared section of dirt across the field, gathering a crowd with every step. The followers moved with a happy buzz, trading talk, forecasts and indeed wagers.

Dagda, shook his head and let out a happy sigh. His brother was no laggard and a fine fighter, but the chieftain had spent many a time practicing his wood working skills with Luchtaine, and knew the stamina and endurance the the master carpenter had to call upon. It would not be easily resolved, and glancing at the crowds he was glad for the spectacle to come.

Returning to his own game, made a lot easier now, he moved about the stalls with nothing on his mind other than movement and appetite for the food and drinks.
His wandering feet eventually brought him to the stalls of the three brother craftsmen. There he found Goibhniu and Creidhne busy at work showing their wares to the interested.

Finely wrought jewellery of precious metals gleamed and glittered on their stands, beside vessels and curious artifacts, but by far and above it was the weapons which drew the greatest attention. Wrought with the finest skill each was a masters work to fashion.

Sword and spear, axe and javelin, blades shaped to many forms. One and all a beauty to behold for their craftsmanship, yet one and all stirred a sadness in him. Like a distant echo, faded by repetition, he heard the clash of such weapons, the screams of the wounded, and worst of all, the silence of the dead.

His sad eyes drew the attention of a few youthful warriors and misinterpreting his interest they put a question to him.

“Chieftain, tell us, which weapon is best?”

The Dagda shook his head slightly and found a smile for the warriors.

“Whichever suits you best, is the best to use.”

This response seemed to set the group off once more in their debate. One voice calling that versatility was key and that daggers were the most versatile of all.

Yet another raised their voice to decry the first. Speed they said was the best and no faster weapon than a sword to slice and slash one's foes.

The third spoke of reach, the javelin and spear, keeping a foe at safe distance whilst inflicting serious harm upon them.

The fourth, a broad backed warrior called them all fools and said that strength above all lead to victory, and no better weapon than an axe to deliver one's strength in a broad headed bite of ruin.

Around again it went, their ire in reply to each other.
“With my daggers thrown and followed, I can end 5 warriors before they could move against me.”

The second replied with a mocking laugh. “Pish! With sword in hand I could slice 10  foes before a sweat did take upon me.”

“Fools.” said the third. “With javelin and spear I could fell 15 warriors before any could get close enough to touch me.”

The fourth roared a bellowed laugh at the others.
“Weaklings one and all. With axe in hand I could end end 20 lives and cleave asunder what defense they may attempt against me!”

Then all started and the volume of their bickering rose to disturb the feile. The shift in the feeling around the four put a spoil on the day, and an angry frown on the Dagda’s face.

Stepping in between them all, he silenced them with his presence, and in a hushed voice bade them follow him.

Striding off and away from the fair he brought them to the mound of wood set aside for the evening bonfires.

Stepping up he selected 5 big logs of similar size and width and planted them upright in the earth.Stepping back to them he gestured at the logs.

“These are your opponents. These are the people you would harm. Show us all then, your skills at killing.”

So saying the Dagda, stepped aside and folding his massive arms across his chest he watched.

The first stepped up and let fly with two blades thrown one from each hand. As they left her, she set foot to chase, and at the moment that the thrown blades struck the timber, she was there driving two more into its sides. It all took less than a minute.

The other warriors cheered and applauded at the skill.

The Dagda made no move, his face gave no expression.

The second stepped forward and with a rapid flourish, the sword all but flew to his hand. Spin and cut followed thrust and slash. In rapid moving moments the log was slashed and shredded, with nary a bead of sweat on the warrior's brow.  It all took less than a minute.

The other warriors cheered and applauded at the skill.

The Dagda made no move, his face gave no expression.

The third moved to her place and with a flex of her shoulder she threw a javelin across the field, piercing the log and sticking deep, shaft quivering, in the wood. A few long strides forward had her in spear range, yet further from the wooden opponent than any of the rest had been. What followed was a flowing dance as she lunged and thrust, each strike in perfect form and balance, each punching deep into the wood which very rapidly came undone. It all took less than a minute.

The other warriors cheered and applauded at the skill.

The Dagda made no move, his face gave no expression.

The fourth had watched the other performances, and seen the Dagda’s lack or reaction. Looking to impress his Chieftain with his mighty strength, he hefted his axe and with a heroic swing and a bellow he cleaved the log from top to bottom in one act. The wood split straight and true and the halves fell to the ground sundered completely. Turning about the big warrior raised his arms to bask in the adulation. It all took less than a minute.

The other warriors cheered and applauded at the skill.

The Dagda made no move, his face gave no expression.

Frustration colored the fourth warriors face with a red anger and his words came harsh and mocking.

“What now o Chieftain? How will you best the performance of such great killers as us?”

With a face of stone the Dagda walked back to the wood pile. It took a moment to find what he sought. Twice as long as his forearm, broad and solid up its length, he lifted the makeshift club and gave it a test slap into the meat of his other hand.

It could never match the versatility of a dagger
It could never rival the speed of a sword.
It could not match the reach of javelin or spear
It could not match the axe for the strength of its broad bladed bite.

Mocking amusement appeared on all of the warriors faces to see the Dagda approach his log with nought but a big tree branch.

The first swing, struck the log square in its middle with a resounding thump, sending bark flying.
The second swing struck the other side with the same powerful swing and again more bark flew. Beyond these two strikes, the log remained undamaged.
The Dagda’s stance was set wide, this arms loose and his broad shoulders straight. Blow after blow rained down on the wood again and again.

The feat wore on and the log took more and more damage, the Dagda’s body beginning to sweat in the heat of the day and the exertion. As the fourth minute arrived, the Dagda’s last strike shattered the log and the branch, sending kindling raining down upon the ground, utterly destroying the wood.

No applause met him as he turned. Just confused puzzled glances shared between the warriors.

With heavy breath he approached them and locked each in turn with his dark eyes.

“ A grand bunch of killers you are, but one and all of you miss the most important part.”

No words did the warriors exchange, bound as they were to his gaze.

“A task done with too much ease has little value. Think you then on the ease with which we end a Life. Another living breathing creature of this world.  Stopping, with your action, the very existence of another being."

"And all in less than a minute."

A big shuddering breath escaped him, and none of the warriors could be sure if the wetness about his eyes was sweat alone.

“You ask what weapon is best and here you shall have your true answer. The best weapon is one you never have to use.”

So saying the Dagda left them, lumbering off towards the light and joyous sounds of the Feile.
He allowed the echoes of battles past wash over his senses for a moment, and saw again everyone he had been required to end. 

This was the price of his actions, forever to be haunted and heart heavy. Burdened by the blood upon his hands, he gladly accepted the sorrow, for in it he knew that he could never take joy in the demise of another. 

Blowing out a hefty sigh he straightened his shoulders as he reached the happy full energy of his people at their revels. Looking again upon the pennants and pageantry of the Feile, he knew that it was a price he was glad to pay.

For Them.

He forged a smile then, and followed his nose towards the food tables. 

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Thirst.

A long morning it had been. Warrior, hound and horse, were tired and a thirst was upon them as they approached the pool. 

One of the younger warriors sighed to see the sight of the clear still waters.

"At last a drink to freshen my mouth. The thirst is upon me fierce."

"Whisht! You fool. Else it will be your life that is drank from you!"

The voice was stern and cracked the youths attention back just as he were about to touch the cool waters. 

Old Aenagus glared at him, brows beetled and a look of both concern and disapproval on his features.

"Do you not know a spirit pool when you see one? Look at its surface again, a breeze here blows, but do you see a ripple?

A sup of that water would slake your thirst alright...but no other oisce after that would ever do so again."

Just as the youth staggered back in fright for the flat still lake, there came a mighty splash!

All the Warriors jumped and turned, some with weapons drawn.

Large ripples spread out, disrupting the water's surface, and as they stared in fear a figure arose from the water. 

Not a one in the Warrior band, male or female failed to recognize the broad naked form of their Chieftain. 

Rising up, waters streaming from his body and running in rivulets down his chest and arms, the Dagda cupped some of the cool water in his big hands and raised it to his lips.

His warrior band gasped in dismay but none would move against him. 

With a mighty bellow he called.

" Come then Spirit, and see what you make of me!"

And so saying, the Dagda drank deep of the cupped water from his hands. 

All sound fled the world and in an instant all was stopped. 

The Warriors in the poolside, as if carved stone.

The ripples, where they had run across the pool, as if frozen atop the water. 

The breeze where it had bent the grass and trees, held firm and still. 

In the pool the Dagda lowered his hands from his face.

The spirit stood in the water not more than a few feet from him. 

It's form, though made of the pools water, clear and see through, was female.

When the voice came to him, it rippled and giggled like a brook babbling across stones.

"Brave and foolish you are to drink the essence of me, for all peoples know that this water is sacred and to taste it is death."

So saying, the spirit began to drift closer, slowly moving through the water.

The creatures hunger and intent washed over the Dagda, yet he remained still. 

"And what peoples will remain to honor you and these sacred waters if they die of thirst for lack of its taste?"

The Dagda's brow was set as he gathered his will to him.

The spirit did not reply and in but a moment she was upon him. 

With the power of a wave it crashed against his broad flesh, yet the Dagda made no step backwards.

With the cold of the grave it wrapped itself about him, yet the Dagda made no move to pull away. 

As its face moved close, lips hovering just a breath from his, it whispered. 

"Fool you are to think you can thwart the elements. Now tasty my hunger and die."

So saying it placed its lips to his, wrapped its form tight about him, and began to feed.

Hunger like the depths of the darkest oceans crashed against the Dagda's Will, as the grave chill began to seep into him.

Down and deep the spirit fed it's hunger, taking the life force of its victim.

In response his heart began to hammer, rushing blood through his veins.

Then the Dagda moved.

Big broad arms rose from the water and wrapped about the spirits form.
The strength of the Chieftain began to crush the water spirit to his chest.
As his grip locked the creature, he released his Will, into it, and placed his thirst upon it.

For a moment the two locked in place, then with a huge and mighty gulp, the Dagda swallowed.

In an instant the spirits will shattered as the Dagda consumed part of its life force. 
 It began to thrash wildly against the strength that bound it, but found no give in the vice like grip. 

Again the Dagda swallowed, and yet more of the creature was consumed by his thirst. 

Breaking, its face away it screamed.

"What are you? What manner of monster? I will not suffer this!"

So saying the spirit began to thrash all the harder, but froze when his Will full voice fell upon it.

" I am The Dagda, chief of the Danu, son of the Mother, and you will suffer me."

With this words the Dagda locked his mouth to the spirit of water and setting his thirst upon it again began to gulp and gulp. 

As the spirit diminished, it's struggles became weaker until all but the last mouthful remained, and there the Dagda stopped. 

Holding the spirit in his hand, he loosened his grip slightly. 

"I seek not your demise spirit, only your hospitality. From this day you will share the waters of this pool with the thirsty, and they in turn will honor you and the water you give with offerings.

So shall you be fed by this and no more take a life of the people.

This is the Will of the Dagda, and by it you will abide."

So saying the Dagda cast the spirit far out into the pool. 

The rush of the wind returned, as it sank below the surface, and with the wind came the cries of his warriors.

The Dagda strode from the waters to his company, and saw their gawping faces,  none more so than old Aenagus.

" The water is now safe to drink, but each must sacrifice an offering to feed the spirit that residues there. 

That is the agreement and set by my Will."

Each warrior took some treasured token to the water's edge, a broach, a coin, a torc, and casting it into the pool, took their fill of water. 

"And how, pray tell, did you negotiate these terms, oh mighty Chieftain?"

Dagda turned to look into the sharp green eyes of Clara who addressed him, the followed her gaze down his own form to the firmness of his erection, where it stood proud and stiff,
throbbing to the rush of his blood.

"Ahem...well, see it's not what you think.."

Her bawdy laughter followed him as he turned hastily to grab up his clothes. 

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