books, Fantasy, Heather Poinsett Dunbar, History

Morrigan’s Brood: Prologue

Hope you all enjoy!

 

 

Journal I

She gave me gall ink, quills, and several sheets of vellum today. Finally, I have a chance to record my past, what I can remember of it.

However, the legend remains forefront in my mind. So this is my first entry, the Legend of the Deargh Du. It is the story of my line, my people, and the Goddess who created us. The sun rises soon, and the fire is dying, so I must make haste. Here is the tale.

****

Morrigan, the Tuath Goddess of blood, battle, justice, destruction, and rebirth, gazed upon the expanse of the impending battle below. To the east, She could see the massive army of Mílesians disembarking from their crude, yet seaworthy, vessels. The Iberian invaders wanted to try conquering the rich land of Éire again.

As She exchanged glances with the others of Her family, The Tuatha dé Danann, She noticed Her consort, Dagda the All-Father, striding to Her side as they assembled for battle.

Morrigan licked Her lips in anticipation. Soon, spilled blood would mix with the green grass, causing a myriad of delightful scents. Soon, Her ravens could feast again. This time, She would join them.

“Remember what Lady Dana, mother to us all, told us, Morrigan.”

“Dearest, how could I forget?” Morrigan felt Her lips turn up into a grimace. Dagda always wanted to be fair, even to His enemies.

“I know that look,” Dagda whispered into Morrigan’s ear. “You are the Great Balancer. Practice some restraint.”

“They are our enemies,” She hissed in reply.

“Do not allow your anger at the invaders to overwhelm you. They are our mortal brethren, after all.”

Morrigan sighed, before drawing Her blade. While Her consort provided for Her and loved Her, Dagda’s little rules about peace and harmony always proved to be highly annoying. Life always involved highs and lows, even for immortals. Tipping the great balance toward good or evil always caused ripples in nature. Such ripples made Her duties more difficult.
Morrigan tilted Her head to the side in order to study the advancing Iberians. “Just another group of invaders.” She chuckled to herself. “They will never learn. Perhaps it is time for these rash Mílesians to learn not to tread on our lands.”

As soon as the Mílesians gathered into some semblance of a formation, their leader shouted out a blood-curdling battle cry. At that moment, the enemy charged full force.
Morrigan peered into the leader’s dynamic, diamond-blue eyes as he ran, and She could see no fear. Oh, how She would love to see fear in those eyes of his. Perhaps She would have that opportunity soon. “Attack,” She shouted as she began to charge.

In answer, the roar of the Tuath chariots echoed through Tara as they galloped over the hills to engage the enemy, but then Dagda shouted, “Hold back,” while waving his arms at them, and then the chariots slowed to a walk. Their drivers seemed anxious to charge.

Morrigan ceased Her charge to stare menacingly at Dagda. An itch to plunge Her blade into a mortal heart made Morrigan twitch. She could sense every mortal warrior’s heart beat faster and faster as they ran. The scent of blood created by each beating heart became an aphrodisiac for Her bloodlust. Her resolve to stand still and wait for Dagda to make up his mind dwindled in the face of Her hunger to enact vengeance. The Balance had to be maintained.

Finally, Her hunger for rash action won. “I can wait no longer,” She cried out. Morrigan then pushed Her way past the other swordsmen and charged the enemy.

She could hear Dagda’s grumble of discontent as He and the others joined Her mad dash towards the waiting swords. The roar of the chariots resumed.

Morrigan lost Herself in the tide of redness that overwhelmed the green, sloping hills of Tara. Spears whooshing through the air, swords clanging on other swords and shields, and the screaming, grunting, and shouting of men and women created a sweet song to Her ears.

One had to admire the Mílesians for their fighting skills and bravery. They cut down many immortal warriors. Flush with victory, they continued striking down the Tuaths, unaware of the invincibility of their foe.

However, fear soon flooded the ranks of the remaining Mílesians as they realized that the dead Tuaths returned to life, even after being hacked into pieces. The mortal warriors screeched in horror as the Tuaths impaled them with spears. Soon, sleeting rain hit the Mílesians, pummeling the warriors into submission.

Morrigan’s pleasure tripled as the majority of the remaining Mílesians took flight, heading back to their ships on the beach, and began calling on their druid Amairgin for assistance.
In short order, the ships pushed away from the shore, leaving behind the dead and wounded Mílesians as offerings for the carrion birds.

“Come,” She called to the others. “We will show them what we do to our enemies.”

Dagda held up both hands and replied, “Peace, Triple-One. We shall ask Dana first.”

“They are invaders, Dagda,” She argued in a hushed tone.

“The Iberian Invaders have no home, remember? The sons of the King Míl left for a new horizon after their enemy took their lands and cattle,” Dagda explained, while leaning up against an oak. “Have mercy and let them come forth. Perhaps they will wish for a truce, now. Perhaps they will want to join forces with us against the Fir Bolg. We could use such a worthy mortal adversary to our benefit. Tara and Éire will remain in our hands.”

Morrigan sighed. “Fine, work out a truce with our enemies.” She then thrust Her sword in the ground and stomped away, watching as the other Tuaths cleared out of Her path. They then formed a circle and began discussing what terms they should offer. She could hear them deciding that they would allow the Iberians either to join them, leave peacefully, or drown in the cold sea.

Fury inflamed Her as She recalled previous invasions. If the others wished to be peaceful, they could. However, She would enjoy tipping the balance against these warriors any way She could. Morrigan cawed as She transformed into a raven and took to the sky, leaving the others behind. Burning hunger grew within.

Morrigan watched cold flecks of snow fall as the Tuaths left the battlefield, leaving the dying Mílesian warriors behind on the hillside of Tara. The remaining ice transformed into slush as mud and blood mixed with the sleet. Deep red pools of vitae spilled from the dead and dying Mílesian warriors.

Morrigan the raven flew over the carnage. She then paused mid-flight upon seeing a pair of limbs flail about as a warrior tried to pull a spear from his torso. Intrigued, She hovered in closer for a better look. Morrigan soon realized that She beheld the leader of the Mílesian force. The spear, with which he struggled, held him to the ground.

As Morrigan watched the warrior’s blood escape from his lips, he soon ceased shivering. She could feel great warmth surround his soul as his spirit prepared to depart for the Otherworld. She then cast Her shadow across his broken form and turned the air around them as black as Her feathers. She would not let his soul depart so soon. Morrigan then landed on his chest and stared at the face of the prone figure in the snow. Fear greeted her gaze. Ah, how much She enjoyed finally seeing fear in his diamond-blue eyes.

Morrigan soon hopped to the ground and returned to Her previous form. She then knelt next to his prone figure, leaned forward in order to drown Herself in the aroma of his blood, and then closed Her eyes. She stretched Her neck, letting Her nose guide Her, and began licking away the reddened trails of blood from his skin, losing Herself in the fear exuding from his blood. His terror immersed in Her consciousness, pushing aside the other concerns of battle. She continued to partake of the man’s spilled blood.

These new invaders exuded life, and their memories tasted sweet and intoxicating. The coast of Iberia, home of the Mílesians, became clear in Her mind. Then, exhilaration swallowed Her whole when another emotion emerged from the warrior. Utter fury.  So delicious.

Morrigan opened Her eyes again, looked up, and noticed that the skies had darkened, signaling the time to return home with the others back to Dagda. She rolled Her eyes, thinking of Dagda’s displeasure at Her blood thirst. Defiant, She pulled back a lock of Her hair and turned Her head to regard to the dying enemy once again.

She slid Her tongue across his cold mouth, licking away the remaining blood. As his death drew near, the warrior shook and turned to face Her. She then began to pull out the spear pinning the warrior to the ground, watching him wince as She drew it out inch by inch. Her ears feasted upon his cries of agony. With the spear now withdrawn, She tossed it aside.

“Who…” he whispered, as confusion and anger covered his face.

She snorted a laugh and shook Her head. “I have many names,” She whispered. “Some call me Badhbh, Macha, or Neman. For simplicity, most call me Morrigan. You may call me Phantom Queen. I reign over battle, death, destruction, creation, justice, and revenge. I am She Who Maintains the Balance.” Morrigan paused and then added, “I watched you during the battle. You were magnificent, Adhamdh,” She purred his name.

Surprise greeted Her.

“Yes, I know your name. You were superb, just not good enough to survive my immortal clan.”

His ire sweetened his blood as he stared at Her. “I call you by your true name, Witch,” he whispered. “Stop taking my essence.”

Morrigan’s battle apron flapped in the cold winds as She sprawled next to him. She leaned over, traced the remnants of blood surrounding his lips with Her index finger, and raised it to Her mouth. She exhaled as the fury leapt from his blood into Her body. Morrigan then leaned forward and whispered into Adhamdh’s ear. “I will do as I please.”

Soon, however, his annoying impertinence grew tiresome. “You are nothing but a witch, trying to snatch my soul away to keep me from joining my brethren in the Otherworld.”

Morrigan snarled before regained Her senses. “Fine,” She hissed. “I will show you that I am no mere witch.” Morrigan sat up and tossed aside the bracer on Her right wrist. She then brought Her teeth to Her bare arm and tore away at Her flesh. She crawled over towards Adhamdh and raised Her hand over Adhamdh’s face.

“Now, watch a Goddess heal,” She whispered as she watched him stare up at Her.

“You bleed as I do,” he hissed, “and now I will take your essence back with me to the Otherworld.”

Without warning, he latched onto Her mending wrist with his teeth. Adhamdh then drank some of Her blood, before rolling over onto his side, clutching at his stomach, and gagging. His eyes glazed over as he began to giggle and then laugh in a maniacal fashion.

His body then began to transform to become more beautiful, more perfect.

Morrigan gasped, horrified that She had failed to prevent this heinous action. She needed to take care of this mistake and send Adhamdh to the Otherworld, but at that moment, She felt his mind tickle Hers. At first, She experienced annoyance at finding Adhamdh within Her mind. However, She soon felt a wordless acceptance and gratitude from him. Morrigan relished that the former mortal understood Her motives and the reasons behind them. He knew, and yet he did not flee like other mortals or turn away like Her fellow Tuaths.

She never realized that sharing Her essence could be so satisfying. For once, true calm settled over Her. The warrior Goddess closed Her eyes, enjoying the understanding between Herself and the former mortal about the need for balance and the hunger for bloodshed, destruction, and creation.

Adhamdh turned back to Her and began licking away Her bloody wound.

Morrigan watched Adhamdh’s wounds close as the harsh reality of what She had done grew more clear. A mortal man had ingested Her immortal blood. Her family, the Tuatha dé Danann, would be furious that She had permitted a mortal to share in Her essence, even though it had been an accident. She could still terminate him, but he seemed to fill a void previously unknown. She could not destroy him now. She needed him. Besides, he could help Her manipulate mankind for Her own satisfaction.

Adhamdh looked at the Goddess with his newly changed, glowing green eyes. Morrigan turned to watch him, and She felt Her face smooth into a small smile.

Morrigan clasped Adhamdh’s cold hand. “We must go now. There is much for you to learn,” She told him as she banished the darkness around them.

They flew far from the battlefield to the hills where the Tuaths held dominion.

The Gods, Goddesses, and fae-folk turned away from Adhamdh. They found him unnatural, but Morrigan enjoyed Her newfound child. Adhamdh’s thirst for blood matched Her own, and Adhamdh understood Her bloodlust unlike Dagda or the others.

The Tuaths and faeries called Adhamdh the “Deargh Du”. He spent his days hiding from the killing sun, and he hunted with Morrigan at night, feasting on the blood of mortals and the wild creatures of Éire.

As the years passed, others of Adhamdh’s kind stalked the night. Morrigan’s Brood became legendary, forever caught in the world of mortals with the blood of a Goddess in their veins.

Beautiful, immortal, deadly.

****

My friend, the young druid, leaves me again to rejoin her teachers. Despite her offers of friendship, there is something in her eyes that chills me to my bones. Still, she offers me the secrets of our race, and I long for the friendship of a companion, even a mortal one. I only fear that my hunger will rise again one night, and she will become my victim.

She promises to teach me more tomorrow night. Perhaps then the thick fog of the past century will clear.

– M.G.P.H

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Morrigan’s Brood: Prologue”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s