“The truth is not known, beneath the sky of stars,
Whether they were of heaven or earth.”
[Lebor Gebála Érénn ]
Golden rays from the sun covered Eireann’s green fields that morning. A strange ethereal mist floated across the plains, filling them with a haunted ghostly air only previously matched by the Elysian fields of Hades.
The Tuatha De Danann were camped on the hill and made ready. Across the plain, the hordes of the Firbolg were visible in the distance, slowly marching against them.
Lugh surveyed the scene, through ‘Infinity’ the magic looking eye of the Druids. He saw their weapons in fine detail, the glint of the sun sparking on their axes, the shimmer of their moon-metal swords. No sign of Balor amongst them. There was hope of a fair and even battle.
His men armed themselves, as the last of their armour was locked into place. Battle-hardened men, keen for the blood of their sworn enemies who’d tried to enslave them. This would be Balor’s tax payment.
The sound of stone on metal filled the air, as the lines of the Tuatha sharpened their swords to perfection. Horse sweat and silent foreboding filled their nostrils as the mounted warriors drew up to their rear.
Nuada assembled his silver arm, his eyes fixed in concentration, his mind focused on the day’s work. Dermiud the poet tuned his lute and struck up inspiring song lines to fill the Tuatha De with hope…
“Long is the road, dark is the night,
Tuatha make ready, fresh is the fight –
Slaven no more, slay Balor’s hordes,
Rise with the dawn, march into the light” …
As the song lines rang out, Miach the Druid, son of Dianceht, held his hands aloft in front of Nuada. Grabbing magic from the heavens, he brought it down upon the silver arm. He infused motion and feeling into it, the final preparation before the battle. Nuada was ready. He could now take his place at the front of his men as their King, complete and whole.
Lugh also took his place in the front line and made ready with his spear, as the battle witches Bodhbh, Macha, and Mor Kegan chewed upon their thumbs and cursed the approaching enemy. Their strange whispering got gradually louder as the sky turned black above the Firbolg. Even the Tuatha shivered where they stood at the sound of the curses being vexed upon their foes.
Suddenly the sky cracked open as a lightning rod flashed downwards and struck into the heart of the Firbolg. Their men scattered outwards as thunder rumbled above them. As the earth they stood upon quaked, blood rained down upon the Firbolg, falling from the heavens in a torrent.
As the ground turned red around them, drenched to the bone in supernatural blood, they looked upon the Dannan with unfathomable hate. Who did they think they were, these fair headed elves with their magic ships and druidic curses? The Firbolg would level them once they got within striking distance.
But the rain wouldn’t stop. The Firbolg looked at one another in confusion. The battle witches of the Danann spoke louder as their whispered curses became screams. Bolts of fire struck into the Firbolg, breaking their lines once again.
They called upon witches of their own. The Firbolg sent out a messenger to summon Cesara, Gnathach, and Ingnathach. The sisters had enough magic to match those of the Dannan.
And so they waited for deliverance from the rain of blood…
[ To Be Continued ] …
Seán Gearárd McCloskey, 2016