The 10 Seeds of Anu: The Gaiscioch Origins Story
By: Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley | : 989
The following story was created in 2001 as the Origins story for the Gaiscioch na Anu, a Dark Age of Camelot Roleplaying guild formed to share the stories of Celtic folklore with the Hibernia, Nimue community. Characters mentioned in this story are fictional and not related to any person in particular. This story loosely based on the lore of Dark Age of Camelot, Celtic folklore, and in game character stories.
Chapter 1: The Tuatha de Anu
Legend has it that the Tuatha de Anu was created by Anu to help protect the people of Hibernia. Anu is known throughout Hibernia as the mother goddess or as Mother Nature. She is the Wife of the Sun God Belenos, and mother to the Tuatha de Anu, or Tribe of Anu. She is well known for her benevolence and is often times referred to as the goddess of fertility and nature. It is believed that she is the source of all energy that lives within all natural elements. This is the very same energy, which allows the ancient druids to practice the magical ways that help protect the land of Hibernia. Little is known about the origins of Anu however it’s believed that she has been around since the creation of time.
The Tuatha de Anu was comprised of several gods and goddess. The most well known being Dagda the king of the Tuatha de Anu. This was not always so. His brother Nuada was once the king of the Tuatha de Anu. Until the first battle of Magh Tuiredh. In this treacherous battle King Nuada had his hand severed in combat. Due to this sign of mortality the Tuatha de Anu removed him from his throne and in his place sat his brother Dagda.
Nuada was rather upset by the loss of his seat as king and also the loss his hand. His brother, being as clever as he is and a skilled craftsmen, Nuada’s younger brother Dian Cecht, forged Nuada a new hand made of pure silver. The hand was given to Nuada and from that day on he became known as “Nuada Argetlamh” or “Nuada of the silver hand”.
When Dagda took the throne his brothers Nuada, Dian Cecht and Lir quickly became dominant figures in the Tuatha de Anu as well as Dagda’s 4 sons; Aonghus Mac Og, Lugh Lamfhota, Oghma, and Aodh, and 3 daughters Brighid, Banbha, and Eire. He is endowed with great wisdom and extreme magical skills. He wears a coarse-woven, brown low-necked tunic, which only reached down below his hips; and over this a hooded cape, which barely covered his shoulders. He wears knee high animal-hide boots, and has long hair with a full silvery white beard. Even though he is a king he has never been seen with a crown or any type of jewels or riches. He is a rather large man towering over most firbolgs.
He had enormous strength and carries a club-of-anger. This eight-pronged war club is so huge that several men would be needed just to carry it. The club is imbued with magical powers on the smooth end he could touch a dead man and instantly bring him to life. Thus one end has the power to destroy while the other the power to recreate. He is also known for his mighty bronze cauldron named the Undry, in which provides an endless bountiful harvest to the people of Hibernia. He also possesses a harp that when played can change the weather and seasons.
His first son was Aonghus Mac Og. He was raised by Midhir, a chieftain in Bri Leith, after his mother Boinne gave birth to him. This was because Boinne was the wife of Dagda’s brother Nuada who he had taken the throne from. In an act of passion Dagda ordered his brother Nuada to travel to the islands in the east to investigate a new civilization that had been discovered. In the time that Nuada was away Dagda impregnated his wife and delivered his child. In an effort to keep his heredity secret the Tuatha de Anu’s poets of skillful words and magic educated him. He excelled in the magical ways of shape shifting and in time was told of his true heredity.
His next son, Lugh Lamfhota, was endowed with abnormal strength. Based on his abnormal strength and the long range of his weapons, Lugh became known as the Raven of the Long Arm. He carried a sword that could cut through anything, and a spear given to him by Dagda, which was extremely powerful. It could fly through the air for a great distance when cast by him, and when he spoke the word “Ibar” it would never to miss his mark. Then he would speak “Athibar” and the spear would return to his hand. He earned the name Raven from his ability to speak with the ravens to learn the positions of the enemy soldiers. He has long blonde hair and was very tall and muscular. He is handsome and well proportioned. He is a heroic warrior, sorcerer, and accomplished in all skills. From music to crafting in metals stone and wood. He is portrayed by many, to be the God of Light.
Dagda’s third son, Oghma is a master of wisdom, speech, and poetry. Oghma is shrewd and thinks quickly in warfare, and a champion in battle. He is one of the leading warrior chiefs in battles. He was the creator of the Ogham script, the earliest form of written language. He is fair haired, blue eyed, and handsome with a chiseled face. He is tall, muscular and very strong. Even today, his language can only be read by the Tuatha.
The fourth son is rather elusive. There is little documented about his son Aodh. It is rumored that he is the god of shadows and no mortal has ever laid eyes upon him. It is believed that Aodh was extremely jealous of his other brothers and decided to spend life in shadows and only to appear upon the request of the goddess Anu herself.
Dagda’s first daughter Brighid was born at the exact moment that the sun rose over the eastern foothills. A great tower of flame rose from the top of her tiny head, reaching far into the skies, thus signaling the birth of a uniquely divine baby. Her breath gave life to the dead and this earned her the name “the Exalted One”. She is a great poet and possesses many talents in the realm of arts and crafts. Many Bards and Poets aspire to be like Brighid and often times find themselves in awe of her greatness. However, while Brighid’s words are beautiful she is cursed with one half of her face being ugly while the other being beautiful. However her long hair hangs over her one side of her face to hide this curse. She is rather well proportioned and is always clad in a simple, long white robe. She is married to Breas, the son of a Fomorian king in an attempt to form an alliance between the two races. She gave birth to a son Ruadan who was beheaded and killed in a battle at a young age. Due to the delay in reaching her slain son she was unsuccessful in breathing life into his body. Her sorrow was great and she was the first to lament the death of a love one by weeping, shrieking and wailing. In his memory she erected a shrine in Kildare that contained a sacred flame that would never go out.
His second daughter Banbha took king MacCuill hand in marriage at a young age. She is a gifted magician and is known to be the goddess of war and of fertility.
Dagda’s last child was Eire, a extremely powerful magician who cast powerful spells by the use of incantations and herbs. She sometime appears as a tall, powerfully built woman in colorful, intricately adorned robes, luxuriant gold-blonde hair, and sometimes as a long-beaked gray crow, casting her spells and weaving magic wherever she goes.
Dian Cecht is a fine Craftsmen and maker of Nuada’s silver hand. He is the great god of healing and is the physician of the Tuatha de Anu. It was Dian who blessed the well Slane in which the wounded Tuatha de Anu bathed. It is known that this would cure all wounds so they could resume fighting.
Lir is the god of the sea and father of four. The most controversial of which, was his son Bran, who was born from a mortal woman. Lir’s love for this mysterious woman would eventually lead to her death. Bran still lives today as a well known as a giant that roams the land south of Innis Carthaig.
The Tuatha were strong and brought prosperous times to Hibernia. Many years passed before the great conflict began.
Chapter 2: The Great Conflict
It was the winter after the great oak fell near Ardee, that snow began to fall on the mountains to the east. This made the Tuatha de Anu very weary. For snow had not touched the soil of Hibernia for nearly a thousand seasons. Anu began having horrible nightmares of a foreign race coming to Hibernia and laying siege to its peaceful way of life. They had horrific faces often times hidden in the shadows. Some were tall and bulky while others were short and slender. Their coarse skin was like the scale of a dragon or that of golem.
Anu decided it was time to call upon the Tuatha de Anu to discuss the nightmares that had besieged her. The Tuatha agreed to meet at a place not to far from Caille at the top of a mountain where villagers had erected worship stones. For hours upon hours they discussed this matter and a plot to prevent the fall of Hibernia. The first to speak was Brighid. Tormented by her own ghosts and plagued with the ever desire to partake in war she suggested that the Tuatha meet the resistance before it had ever begun. Dagda looked to her with a troubled face and asked, “if we are to leave Hibernia to fight a war against an unknown race, who would be left to protect our home?” Lugh then spoke out hastily to add, “We can not leave our country, nor can we even begin to predict the power of this race. We must defend before siege. Learn the ways of these people.” Nuada then interrupted by saying “why don’t we have Dian Cecht create a staff that could be imbued with our powers and used to protect the lands of Hibernia even in our absence?” The heads of the Tuatha snapped to Nuada and the air became rather still. Dagda said calmly “Aye brother… I do feel that would be our best plan of action.” The other Tuatha quickly agreed.
So it was decided that Dian Cecht’s craftsmanship would be called upon again. He began crafting a shod staff made of duskwood with an emerald the size of a fist encased in its peak. After the staff was crafted the Tuatha met once again to perform a ritual that would place their powers into this staff. As the ritual progressed the storm that had been bantering the hillside for days diminished. The sun peaked out between the clouds and shined upon the shrine illuminating it with a breathtaking aura. Small wisps of light began flowing through the bodies of the Tuatha into the staff. When the wisps of light disappeared Anu stepped forward and mumbled an ancient blessing. She then bent down and kissed the emerald, which was placed at the staff’s crown. The staff began glowing a silvery green color and Anu named it “Bioran de Saorsa”.
At this point the Tuatha decided they needed a place they could house this powerful yet destructive staff. Anu decided it was time to contact a mortal and instruct them to build a tower that could protect this staff. She sought out an individual so pure of heart that he would perform this task without questioning her motives or inquire about the origins of this sacred staff. It was imperative that the staff be kept secret, as every rogue from Innis Carthaig to Tir Urphost would be seeking it out for its valuable emerald.
It was at Carragh dé Earsadh, also known as the Monument of Hope that she contacted a druid by the name of Allister Caulfield who was paying his respect to the Tuatha. Allister was a medium sized man with short brown hair and fair skin. He was a man of unquestionable devotion and dedicated his entire life to nature and to worshipping Anu. He had traveled to Carragh dé Earsadh to give the goddess Anu a gift. It was a golden necklace with a leaf embossed pendant that he had spent many hours crafting for her.
As he set the necklace on the base of the center stone the rain that had been hammering his blue hooded gossamer cloak dispersed and a beam of light illuminated the shrine. Anu appeared next the stone clothed in vines of ivy. Her skin was far paler than he expected. Her red hair flowed into the wind like fireflies dancing in the moonlight. Her eyes were like emeralds yet peaceful and soothing. He was mesmerized by her beauty and could barely breath. But as the wind stilled and Anu’s lips parted, he felt warm and safe, not terrified like before. She spoke to him and requested that he build a tower so vast that it could house a staff created by the Tuatha de Anu. She gave to him the plans for this tower and then disappeared into the light.
Within one season cycle Allister had the tower completely constructed. It was erected just north east of the town of Magmell and he called it the “Tùr na Tir na mBeo” or the “Tower of the land of the living”. The Tuatha de Anu came to Tùr na Tir na mBeo and placed the staff in its highest point. Upon placing the Bioran de Saorsa into its holder a bright light flowed from the staff into the sky creating a barrier that would prevent foreign invasion. This barrier was known as the Veil.
The following season ships were seen to the coastline just passed the hills of Emain Macha. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners began making camp on the beachhead just a days hike from the village of Failte. These humans, who claim to be from the land of Midgard, brought with them hundreds of beasts known as trolls and kobolds. Like Anu had dreamt, they were tall and bulky while others were short and slender.
Widespread panic began to arise in the land of Hibernia as tens of thousands of Norsemen, Trolls, and Kobolds stormed into the northeastern lands of Hibernia. Scouts reported a large settlement on the beachhead. Villagers packed their bags and began heading towards the capital city in hopes their lives would be spared. A call to arms was sent across the lands and what forces Hibernia had moved to Emain Macha in hopes they could stop this force about to partake in sieging their homes.
Another season passed before they attempted to siege the Hibernian fort of Dun Crauchon. Legion upon legion began marching towards the north-easternmost keep. Like a sea of steel they progressed towards the mainland. However upon crossing the hills of Emain Macha their skin burst into flames and their bodies were disintegrated within seconds. Half the Midgard legion attempted to pass through the hills of Emain Macha before they finally figured out they could not pass as long as the veil stood.
After half the Midgard force fell the Tuatha lead the counter assault. Celts, Elves, and Lurikeen all joined together and pushed the Midgards back the ships in which they came. As the last Midgard ship set sail to the east, an uproar of cheering and celebration was heard across the land. Hibernia was saved thanks to the devotion of Allister to the goddess Anu and the work of the Tuatha de Anu.
Chapter 3: The Fall of the Veil
A thousand seasons passed and relations between the Tuatha and the races of Hibernia were strengthening. For they knew that if the veil should fall it would be up to the races of Hibernia to defend their land. While the Lurikeen, Celts, and Elves agreed to the alliance the Firbolg remained at war with the Fomorian and would not agree to peace between the two races.
For thousands of years of war placed a thick wall between the Firbolgs and Fomorians. Dagda offered his first daughter Brigid’s hand in marriage to the Fomorian kings son Breas as sign of new life between the Formorian and Tuatha. The Formorian were pleased by this offer and Breas and Brigid gave birth to a son by the name of Ruadan. However the Firbolg were appalled by this gesture. The fact the Tuatha chose the Formorians before Firbolg did not help matters.
This did not last long, as before Ruadan’s 15th birthday his own father Breas, out of jealous rage sent him to his death in one of the most meaningless battles ever fought. This caused an all out war between the Tuatha and Formorians and the Tuatha forced the Formorians out of Hibernia. Now the Formorians can be found on the small island of Hybrasil. Seeing this war take place did however smooth over relations between the Firbolg and Tuatha and finally the Firbolg joined the alliance.
Meanwhile in the land of Midgard, a Stormur Herra by the name of Garn was ordered to take a small band of troops to Hibernia. They were ordered to infiltrate the eastern shores of Emain Macha, secure a fortress, and make contact with a greedy Celtic rogue by the name of Kerwyn who had agreed to steal the Bioran de Saorsa.
Garn set sail from the port of Mularn. Less than a season later his ships landed on the shores of Emain Macha. A cave quickly became their base camp and was the arranged meeting spot for Kerwyn. At the next full moon Kerwyn arrived late at night by horse. He met with Garn and agreed that in exchange for the staff Garn would give him 5 platinum coins and a home in Midgard in the highest class neighborhood of the Midgard society.
Kerwyn spent many months observing the guard cycles and patterns around Tùr na Tir na mBeo. He noticed one guard had a tendency to talk with a local rowan maiden a wee bit too much and talking wasn’t all they were doing. He planned his entrance around the guard’s scandalous affair, planning to sneak in and out of the tower before he would ever notice. His plan went exactly as he imagined and by the next moon cycle he found himself with the Bioran de Saorsa in his hand running riding swiftly to Emain Macha.
Once again as winter came, snow fell on the hills east of Ardee. Anu began having nightmares and the Tuatha were called together. Dagda was sent to Tùr na Tir na mBeo to check on the sacred staff. When Dagda arrived he noticed the staff had been stolen. In his rage Dagda struck the tower sending it crumbling to the floor. The staff was gone and worse yet the veil had fallen.
The search for the staff began however it was too late. When Kerwyn arrived at Garns hideout he was told that Garn asked he meet him at the village of Failte. The tired and nervous thief made haste to the small Lurikeen village. From a distance he could see a cloud of smoke. As he neared the small bodies of Lurikeens were scattered throughout the land. It was an massacre and those who survived the initial raid were captured, locked in their town hall while the children of the village were locked in a cage and forced to watch their mothers, fathers, and grandparents burst into flames and perish.
Garn rode into town with cynical grin on his face. He dismounted his horse and walked over to the now shaking thief. He took the staff into his hand and yelled something in a Midgard tongue. A loud uproar began and then an utter panic. Garn looked to the cage where the children were held, and noticed the lock had been removed and the children escaped.
The children arrived at Dun Crauchon and the forces of Hibernia were sent to the village of Failte. When arrived they found the body of the hooded thief stapled to the side of a burned out building with a piece of the sacred staff shoved through his forehead and through the oaken log wall. Scouts led the troops back to the cave where Garn had set up camp. To their dismay the cave was empty. All that was found was a few remains left over from spraggons that had made a tasty meal at one time. The Midgards had set sail back to the homeland to inform their leaders that the Veil had fallen and the most powerful stone that had ever befallen the hands of a mortal, was now in the possession of Midgard.
Fear and sorrow plagued Hibernia and King Fagan was more interested in mining silver from the Silvermine Mountains, than he was preserving his kingdom. The veil had fallen and the only thing standing from total domination was the people of Hibernia and the Tuatha de Anu. When Fagan realized he might lose the Silvermine Mountains and all that lay within if he did not act to keep the Midgard’s away he ordered a messenger to travel to Albion to seek assistance from their neighboring Island.
It was known that the War of the Realm had begun. Several strongholds were constructed to protect the land and scouts were ordered to patrol all coastal land constantly and to notify Fagan when the Midgard’s resurfaced. It was only a matter of time before the “Là na Bàs” or the Day of Death.
Chapter 4: Là na Bàs
A cold winter night greeted the Stormur Herra Garn as he set foot in the port of Mularn for the first time in almost four seasons. Several other Midgard officials joined him as he marched to the capital city. The Midgard king Kaall anxiously awaited his return. As he entered the palace he removed his cloak and gave it to one of his servants. As Garn approached the throne of King Kaall he wielded the glowing green emerald.
A legendary runemaster by Uald took the stone from his hand. The King was most pleased by his actions. Uald attempted to summon the power of this legendary stone but failed. Several times he attempted and every time resulted the same. Something was missing he said as he looked to Garn. He asked if there was more than just the stone when he found it. Garn looked to the floor and then let out a roar so loud it scared even the king himself. He then looked at Kaall and apologized. He told him that it had once been encased in a staff and that the staff too must have contained power. He mentioned the staff had been broken in two. One half he still possessed. However the other half remained in Hibernia and its location was unknown.
The king was most displeased by this and sent Garn along with five warships full of trolls, norsemen, and kobolds to seek out this second half of the staff. The oceans were not kind to the Norse as two of their ships overturned on the way to Hibernia. The remaining three ships arrived near the old settlement in Emain Macha. When Garn set foot on Hibernia soil even the willow trees wept in sorrow. For there was only one outcome in store for Hibernia, total destruction.
Garn spent one month rebuilding he lair before setting out for the first medium sized village. He came across a Firbolg village by the name of Darag. By nightfall Failte looked like a carnival compared to Darag. This time Garn spared no one. He almost butchered the entire village, only a handful of the Firbolg managed to escape. The chieftain of this village, Rusg, was tortured and killed after he would not speak of what happened to the second half of the staff. This was the largest massacre that had ever fallen Hibernia. It became known as Là na Bàs.
Three more villages were plagued by Garn’s wrath in the following days and word of his presence arrived in Tir na nOg. King Fagan was furious that Garn had disrupted his silver trade routes once again and called upon their allies to the east.
Within a half a season Albion forces arrived. The Albion forces were greeted by thousands of Hibernians. The two nations combined an assault and managed to push Garn’s forces out of Emain Macha. Yet it was not over. As the Albion and Hibernians pushed the Midgard forces back, fifty more ships arrived unleashing yet more terror on the nation.
Onboard one of the ships that had docked at the Midgard settlement came Uald, a very wise and powerful runemaster. The Midgard forces constructed two strongholds in the east side of Emain Macha. Inside these strongholds Uald used an ancient summoning stone and a spell that allows the bending of matter which allowed him to construct two portals that would allow Midgards to flow into the land without wasting several months at sea.
Fagan quickly demanded the creation of two gates that would be used to halt the Midgard forces from entering Emain Macha. The creation of these gates did not go without blood being spilled. Hundreds of Hibernian soldiers passed to the netherworld defending the gates construction.
The Tuatha de Anu were greatly saddened by these casualties and decided it was time to endow the soldiers of Hibernia with the same life giving power that Brighid possessed. The Tuatha traveled to every major city and taught the master healers to use the town’s runestone to bring the fallen soldiers back from the dead. Each soldier was then given a miniature runestone that would bind him or her to their hometown’s stone. These quickly became known as Bindstones. With this innovation the Hibernian soldiers fought without fear of death.
However, there was one way that the spirit could be lost and not return to the bindstone. If by chance the miniature stone was lost or not on the body of the fallen victim the body would be lost in the netherworld and permanent death would overtake the soul.
With the portals unleashing hundreds and thousands of trolls and kobolds unto Hibernia, the Albion drafted an idea to take over one of the portals to allow Albion troops to move directly into Emain Macha to meet the resistance head on. Fagan approved this plan and the Hibernian and Albion forces slammed into the southern portal crushing its opposition. An Albion mage then cast a similar spell that Uald used to create a gateway between Albion and Hibernia.
Albion forces came by the thousands and joined together with the Hibernian forces. Together they crushed Midgard’s remaining settlements and pushed them back to their last stronghold. The fight would have been won if it weren’t for the Black Plague that befell Albion. That is when the real battle began.
Chapter 5: The Black Death
The spring brought with it more than just color and warmth to the land of Albion. With it came a plague of which none had ever witnessed. It began in a small town outside of Lyonness. A local villager came out of the woods terrified and barely able to speak. His ramblings were so delusional that people took him as a mad man who had too much to drink. A wealthy man took him to the local inn and paid to his stay for the night. By morning the man covered in black welts, his fingers had turned black in color and he lacked the strength to even move. By nightfall three of his fingers had fallen off at the knuckle, and the welts on his body began to burst, leaking a white substance. By the next morning he was nothing more than a mutilated piece of flesh. That day five more people became ill. By the end of the week, hundreds of Albion men, women, and children were ill as well.
The Albion king set up a stockade preventing anyone from entering or exiting the east side of Albion. In this great state of turmoil he ordered all of his troops to withdraw from Hibernia, as he would need them to contain the illness that the locals began calling “The Black Death”. The troops immediately pulled out of Hibernia leaving the fight up to their neighboring island.
Within a month many of the Albion soldiers had fallen victim to this illness. The king ordered his best Alchemist to study this illness and find a cause and a cure. He traveled to Lyonness to begin his research. His research led him to the woods to the south of Lyonness where he found a necklace that had Ogham script written on it. This concerned him as the nations relations with the Tuatha and the Hibernian people had been peaceful for many centuries.
The alchemist traveled back to Lyonness to speak with the innkeeper who might have heard something of the ill mans ramblings. When he arrived the innkeeper had also fallen prey to the illness. His journal was taken back to the alchemist’ workshop where he read about the sick man collapsing to the floor speaking of a tall dark skinned beast, with an amulet around his neck. The man said he swung his dagger at the beast cutting its necklace off. Before he could escape the beast cast a spell on him and then vanished.
He looked at the amulet in his hand, which possessed Ogham script on it and began making notes. He wrote in his journal that the man was rambling of a curse put on him by a tall dark skinned creature that wore and amulet with the divine language of the Hibernian Gods on it. He went on to note that this was most likely a Firbolg or Fomorian and could possibly have been one of the Tuatha.
He sent this journal back to the King and this cause great unrest between the two nations. He asked himself, how could the Tuatha bring this death to the people who had been helping them. The betrayal was too much to overlook. He ordered his troops to attack Hibernia. The following months became the largest wave of bloodshed Hibernia had ever seen.
Albion and Midgard raiding parties ravaged the hillside of Emain Macha. Folk of the land began referring to Emain Macha as land of blood as blood had stained so much of the land it glowed red in color.
Meanwhile, back in Lyonness, the Alchemist went back to the area where he found the amulet. On a nearby tree he saw what appeared to be a dark greenish fluid. He drew his dagger and scrapped a small amount off the bark and placed it into a small satchel. He took it back to the lab to compare notes. After weeks of research he found that it was not the blood of a Firbolg or Fomorian, but that of a Troll. The amulet was sent to a master of cultural arts and he determined that the amulet was one that was give to each Hibernian chieftain to protect their village from harm. It was also noted that the amulet came from the village of Darag where the Midgards had ravaged the small Firbolg village.
This news did not set well with alchemist. He realize by assuming something so bold he cause a war between two peaceful nations. In the night, the alchemist slipped into the Lyonness bell tower and jumped from its edge. His body crumbled as it smashed into the hard rock below. In the weeks following the kings men packed their things and returned home.
One season had passed and not much hope remained in Hibernia. People began fleeing south of the great walls of Druim Cain and Druim Ligen. Every day several more cities were destroyed. It was only a matter of time before the Midgards and Albion would march into capital city of Tir na nOg.
Seeing the unrest in the nation and the latest turn of events, Anu called upon the Tuatha de Anu to meet with her once again. She had decided it was time to use the 10 Seeds of Anu. The last hope of Hibernia.
Chapter 6: The 10 Seeds of Anu
With the black death spreading across eastern Albion, and the remaining Albion force amassing in Emain Macha, Hibernia found they now had two foes threatening their way of life. The king was troubled and knew that if he did not put an end to this, all of Hibernia would fall. He called upon eight of Hibernia’s best scouts.
The first to arrive was resident of the city of Howth, which could be found deep in the Silvermine Mountains. He was a young lad by the name of Ethan Foghladha. Professionally he was a well known as the Lurikeen ranger that had previously scouted many of the Midgard movements. King Fagan ordered him to scout the movements of the famed Kobold shadowblade, Garn.
This news troubled Ethan as he had seen the village where his grandparents lived destroyed in a matter of minutes under Garn’s hand. He traveled to his home in Howth, to his wife Alexis and sons Banning and Alaois. Upon entering the gates Alaois came running jumping in excitement to see his father had returned from the capitol city. Ethan kneeled down next Alaois and handed him a bow he had crafted on his journey to Tir na nOg. Alaois looked to him with bright eyes and embraced his father.
His wife Alexis was the next to greet him. In her arms was his second son Banning, who while he was away took his first steps. Ethan leaned over and smiled at his son Banning and then kissed him on his forehead. Alexis glowed with an aura of pure delight. Her hair was as red as the sunsets over the Silvermine Mountains and skin as fair as beaches of Connla. He held her tightly as he knew it would only be a day before he must depart.
Alexis had cooked a fine meal for him and they discussed his orders over dinner. Alaois looked at his father with pride hearing as he was ordered by the King of Hibernia to seek out one of the most famed Midgard’s to ever touch Hibernian soil. Alexis on the other hand wore a rather saddened face and was disturbed by this news. The time came for kids to go to bed and Alexis and Ethan tucked them in and told them stories of the Gods and Goddesses.
Alexis and Ethan returned to their room where Alexis wrapped her arms around Ethan tightly. She gave to him a necklace of badger teeth she had made for him and in return Ethan gave her his old bow he had used for years. He said he never threw it away because it brought him luck.
That night Alexis and Ethan did not sleep. Instead, they embraced each other as they gazed up at the stars. Ethan took Alexis’ hand and told her that no matter what, the Gods would protect her and be looking over them while he was away. He assured her that he would be all right as he had his bindstone firmly fastened around his neck. He knew if by chance he fell he would be saved by the mages in Tir na nOg. However this did not set Alexis’ mind at ease. She had an ill feeling about this that she could not seem to dismiss.
Morning came and the birds began to sing. Alaois packed his father’s bags and Ethan set off for Druim Ligen where he was to be given his orders. As he rode off, Alaois ran along side his horse wishing his father good luck. Ethan looked back at Alexis as she blew him a kiss and then rode towards the horizon.
Meanwhile, in Bri Leith, the Tuatha de Anu gathered on the hill they met at long ago. Only nine members made it to the gathering as the others were seeing to the removal of the Albion and Midgard forces. Anu looked over the nine war torn Gods and Godesses and stepped into the center of their circle. She then held out her hand and chanted an ancient blessing on the 10 seeds in her hand. She spoke of a prophecy, which was said that in the final days of unrest when all is thought to be lost that there would be 10 seeds to rise up upon evil and save the land of Hibernia.
Anu passed one seed to each of the nine gods and told them to find one family each that could handle the burden that the 10 seeds would bring. She also told them not to speak of the seeds to the nine families, which they were to give these seeds. It was said that the 10th seed, the seed Anu herself would give would be told of the 10 seeds and it would be up to them to seek out the other seeds. The gods agreed, and they set forth on their epic search to find the ten families that would be known as The 10 Seeds of Anu.
Chapter 7: The Gaiscioch na Anu
Ethan Foghladha arrived in Druim Ligen on the first day of the new winter. He reported to Caiptean Lucas MacKerry III, and was given his charts and orders. His orders stated he was to travel to Emain Macha and scout Garn’s encampment to find out how many soldiers were under his command. He was to leave the next morning.
That night he went to a pub in Ardee for a drink before he long travels. Here he sat on his stool thinking of Alexis and his sons back home. To his left he noticed a young Lurikeen lad sitting in the corner. He had his steeple hat pulled so low than no one could see his eyes. He was dressed in black and had carved a dagger with a rose into his walking stick. Ethan approached him wondering why he looked so distraught. As Ethan approached young lad quickly hid the engraving on his staff. With a cough in his voice Ethan asked the boy his name. The boy looked to him slightly without revealing his eyes and said, “I do not concern myself with names.” This statement confused Ethan. Ethan slowly pulled up a stool to the table and sat down. The Lurikeen seemed to grow uncomfortable to his presence. Ethan asked the boy “What troubles ye lad?” The Lurikeen moved his hand revealing a name in his staff… Two words were inscribed on the staff, “Fogair Garn”.
Ethan then knew this was one of the children of Failte. Ethan asked the boy if he knew anything about Garn that might help him find his lair. The boy nodded and began telling Ethan about the night his parents were killed. Several hours passed and the boy and Ethan compared stories. It was time at last for Ethan to rest and he asked the boy one more time what his name was. The boy said “you can call me Conchobair De Failte” Ethan nodded at the boy repeating the phrase Fogair Garn, which in the modern tongue means Destroy Garn.
The next dawn came and Ethan once again packed his things and set off on foot to Emain Macha. The road was long and oftentimes wet. Ethan kept on schedule arriving in Emain just before the leaves began to fall. Ethan’s first stop was at the village of Failte. There he placed a stone that Conchobair had given him on the burned remains of their town hall. Ethan noticed a piece of driftwood lying next to a well. As he began to reach for it he heard the sound of something rather large coming his way. Ethan grabbed his bag and dove behind the remains of a small building.
He sat there very still while a least a hundred trolls ran by. He peered out from behind the rocks to see the mark of Garn’s warband on the cloaks of these trolls. Ethan grabbed his bag and began following this group of trolls. They led him to a Midgard settlement right off the coast. As Ethan moved closer to try to get an accurate count another group of trolls came marching into town. With this group was a shaman. The shaman spoke to Garn of the success of his mission in Albion. Ethan did not immediately understand the depths of this but then realized that this Shaman must have been the cause of the Black Death.
Ethan then attempted to sneak out of the Midgard encampment but a hunter had caught onto his scent. Ethan looked at the hunter who was about to fire his bow and before the Hunter could get a shot off, Ethan drew his stiletto, and threw it at the hunter splitting the string of his bow and stabbing the hunter in the neck. The sound of the hunter’s body falling onto the leaves that had fallen in the night’s wind triggered the guard’s eyes. Ethan began to run grabbing his dagger from the corpse of the hunter.
Ethan ran but the trolls did not seem to tire. He was almost to the Mile Gate, when on the horizon stood more than a hundred trolls and kobolds. He turned to run the other way and noticed another hundred trolls. He had been surrounded. A small group of trolls moved in on Ethan’s position. Ethan drew his bow and let loose a fury of arrows killing six of the trolls. Ethan was down to his last arrow. He barely could make out the silhouette of a figure on a horse in the distance. He cocked back his bow and let his last arrow loose. The arrow seemed to be carried by the Gods as is roared through the sky. A moment later the arrow pierced through the figures thigh and into the body of the horse killing the horse instantly. Ethan watched as the horse fell to the ground crushing the figures leg under it. Several large figures most likely trolls ran to his position and removed the horse from his wounded leg.
Next a group of six kobolds began to close on his location. Ethan drew his daggers knowing that if he was to die, he was going to bring as many as he could with him. The group formed a circle around him and began dancing around as if to try to taunt Ethan. Ethan tossed his first dagger into the air and reached for his spare dagger. The kobolds all looked up at the dagger as it soared higher and higher flipping end over end. A moment later Ethan lunged and thrust his daggers into two kobold chests then swung around slashing another trolls throat then as the other 3 drew their axes and Ethan threw his left handed dagger at one of the trolls piercing his skull as if it were made of cloth. The second troll charged him and Ethan evaded his charge by spinning away. As the kobold passed Ethan he threw his second dagger into the spine of the kobold. The last kobold looked around at all his fallen comrades and the lone Lurikeen standing there empty handed. The troll smiled and then began laughing furiously. Ethan then placed his hand behind his back catching the dagger he had tossed into the air. The last kobold opened his eyes to see a dagger sticking out of his skull. His vision turned red and he fell to the floor.
Ethan walked over and collected his three daggers and awaited the next group. The shadowy figure with the wounded leg began limping towards him. Ethan waited in anticipation to get a good shot at him. When the figure was almost in range an arrow pierced Ethan’s leg from behind causing him to fall to the ground. Ethan attempted to rise to his feet again and an arrow pierced his shoulder. Ethan fell to the floor yet did not shed a tear. He did not rise again. He laid there quietly asking Anu to protect his wife and children. Two trolls approached him taking his bow and daggers. They sat him on his knees all grew quiet.
The limping figure approached Ethan and as he looked up he saw the wounded Kobold Garn. Garn drew his axe took a hand full of hair in his hand and swung. Garn raised Ethan’s head and roared. Ethan’s limp body fell to the floor and a loud roar could be heard as far as the mile gate.
Then next morning another scout opened the mile gate to see a box sitting in front of it. He opened this box and began go gasp. It was Ethan’s head, all which had remained of him. His head traveled back to Tir na nOg with a message written on his forehead. This appalled King Fagan. He had his best scribes try to translate the carvings on Ethan’s forehead and sent a messenger to notify his family.
A couple days later the messenger arrived in Howth and delivered the message to Alexis. Alexis was mesmerized by the letter and literally turned white. She went into her house and gave Banning and Alaois a hug and kiss and told them that she must travel north. She told them their father had asked her to meet him. Banning and Alaois smiled un-expecting and Alexis packed her bag and rode off into the mist.
Several days passed and Alexis arrived at Druim Ligen. The guards would not her pass even after she offered them money. As she was leaving she bumped into a young Lurikeen wearing a Steeple hat so low that it hid his eyes. She apologized for bumping into him and he grabbed her hand. He placed a dagger in her hand and told her that Ethan had given it to her. He went on to tell her of their encounter and that Ethan had been seeking the Kobold Garn. Conchobair then told her of a way she can get passed the gates. Seems Conchobair had been traveling back to Failte once a month to pay his respects. He showed Alexis to small opening he had dug to circumvent Druim Ligen. As she exited the small cave Conchobair said, “forgive me mi lady, but I do not believe I asked ye your name.” Alexis looked back to him and answered “Foghladha… I shall be known only as Foghladha”. With that she turned to the long road ahead and marched off towards Emain Macha.
She arrived in Emain Macha on the first night of winter. The rains hammered Hibernia as if the Gods were angry. Another day passed and she neared the village of Failte. She found a few of Ethan’s wooden animals he liked to carve while he was away and began searching for clues to where he had gone. She found a trail of footprints too large to human and followed them. By daybreak she was at the Midgard encampment. She counted at least two hundred Midgards and decided it would be best to take the slowly.
The first was mage that had left the camp to empty his grog filled bladder. Foghladha crept up behind him drew her dagger and slit hit throat. She then took her dagger and cut his kneecaps out of his body and placed them in her bag. She then snuck back to the foothills overlooking the camp and began sharpening the two kneecaps into four arrowheads. By nightfall she had four arrows made of bone and creped back into camp. She watched as a patrol of 5 guards began to set out to the woods. She followed the quietly.
As they entered the clearing one of them spun around at the sound of a bow being drawn. He began feeling cold and looked towards the ground to see an arrow in his chest. The troll went limp and fell to the ground. Before his body hit the floor two more arrows flew through the air hitting one troll in the chest and the other in the eye. The last two troll drew their weapons and stood back to back. The creak of one last bowshot was the last thing either of these trolls heard. An arrow pierced both of their necks sending them into death before they could even speak. Foghladha then took the five trolls and gathered their kneecaps and once again began carving arrowheads.
The next season Foghladha took the trolls out one by one taking their kneecaps after each kill. The Midgard’s began fearing the legend of the Nightwalker and rarely left the camp without an armed escort. By the time winter had begun Foghladha had slain over two hundred Midgard’s and she had only one more that she desired. The Kobold Garn. She followed his movements for days and finally took her shot. For the first time in nearly two seasons she missed. Garn turned and saw her and began to run. He managed to escape and fled back to Midgard.
Foghladha ridden with sorrow went home. She had failed in killing the man that had slain her husband and vowed to slay this Kobold before she left this world. She set off for Carragh dé Earsadh to ask one last favor of the Gods.
Meanwhile, The Tuatha de Anu began seeking the 10 Seeds of Anu. The 9 Gods traveled far and wide and the goddess Anu had saved one seed for herself. This seed was to be used to form the family that would bring the families together. It was at the foot of the stones of Carragh dé Earsadh that Anu noticed a young lady broken by rage and sorrow kneeled in prayer. Her husband had been slain and she was left to care for her two young sons. She had just returned from Emain Macha after several moons of tracking her husband murderers. Her rage had consumed her so deep that she had lost touch with all sense of reality.
It was at this moment that Anu appeared next the center stone and lifted the young ladies chin to look her in the face and wiped a cold tear from her eye. She said “Worry not my child your destiny is not that of your husbands. You must find strength and prevail over the demons that besiege you.” She placed into her hand a golden Amulet with an embossed leaf upon it. On the other side was carved the words Gaiscioch na Anu. Anu then spoke “Take this Amulet and form a family so great it could protect all of Hibernia. Do this in my honor and the land shall be saved.” She then handed the young lady a solitary seed and said “Where you find this seeds siblings, you will find the hope of Hibernia. It is imperative that you seek out the other 9 seeds and bring them into your family, uniting all 10 families.”
The young lady shed a tear of happiness knowing that there was hope for her two young boys. Anu then asked, “What might be ye name young lady”. The young lady paused and grinned and said “Foghladha” Anu looked curiously at Foghladha and asked “Dost ye have no surname?” Foghladha replied “I had a name long ago but the loss of my husband Ethan caused me to banish my own name. I want him to be the last to ever speak my name. So I took on his surname as my own name.” Anu smiled and said “I happy to know that the fate of our land lies in the hand of someone who acts out of love. Love and friendship will be the reason Hibernia prevails. If you hold love and friendship above all else ye will succeed.” Foghladha nodded and looked to the ground with a slight blush. When she looked up Anu was gone. She placed the amulet around her neck and turned to walk away. That’s when she stumbled upon a little Lurikeen named Anwell. He had seen the whole thing and was awestruck. He was stuttering as if he were freezing cold. Foghladha placed her hand on his head and said “believe what you saw for I saw it as well.” Anwell looked into Foghladha’s eyes and said, “If you will have me I would like to help you find this family”. Foghladha agreed and the Gaiscioch na Anu was formed.
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About the Author
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Benjamin founded the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community in 2001 and has since been the founder & activities director for this well known community. His role has gone beyond just running the Gaming Community and now includes running the Athletics Program in Portland, Oregon, as well as acting as the Managing Editor of the Gaiscioch Magazine, and is the Lead Producer on the Gaiscioch Livestream Productions. Additionally he networks with game developers to form relationships between Gaiscioch and development studios.
His experience in publishing dates back to helping his Grandparents who operated a printing press for over 40 years. In high school and college Benjamin excelled in journalism and played an active part in the school newspaper. Benjamin currently works full time as the director of technology for a franchise trade publication & education company.