The Spear of Lugh Part 1
The Spear of Lugh- Part 1
The swirling arcane energy dissipates and with it, the accompanying nausea too. Completely disorientated, Heraclief and Manzio find that they have arrived back at Cuchulainn’s Standing Stone, though they have no idea whether it is morning, noon or late afternoon, as the sun is hidden beneath a thick layer of cloud.
With the danger of attack seemingly averted, the group begins to lick its wounds. The exhausted Nessa falls into a deep sleep. Heraclief lights a familiar emerald green fire and then the stress of his wound from the Filidh’s new assassin in the forest returns to him and his strength fails. Manzio cleans the sorcerer’s wound with some water from a nearby river and then redresses the ugly scar tissue on his back. It is not long before both Heraclief joins Nessa in a deep sleep. Similarly, Bróccan sits staring into the flames for a while and then seems to slump into a sleep, his back rested against a wizened old tree stump stubbornly clinging to its roots on the moor. Blayne sits warily, eyeing each member of the group suspiciously, her crossbow rested on her lap and never far from her twitching fingers.
Meanwhile the knight stands in front of Cuchulainn’s Stone and begins a chant. As Manzio and Blayne listen to the deep timbre of the knight’s voice, it is difficult to tell whether they are listening to a song, dirge or simply an ancient language.
Concerned with the lack of rations provided by the bedraggled, exhausted group, Manzio forces his tired body to look for food. He returns to the nearby river and finds it abundant in fish. Fashioning a trident from a branch stripped from a tree overhanging the flowing waters beneath, he is quickly able to catch a fish. He repeats this success 5 times in less than a hour and feeling pleased with his efforts, returns to the others. After cooking his catch in the emerald flames, he awakens each in turn, handing the cooked fish, which is quickly devoured. No words are exchanged, each simply glad to be alive, in relative safety and with food in their stomach. Only the knight does not eat, nor does he turn from the chant he is performing in front of the stone. Finally, even Manzio falls into a deep sleep…
It is dark when he is awoken by the rough shake of a gauntleted hand on his shoulder. ‘Wake up.’
Quickly, the whole group is roused and whilst tired, Manzio notes that his body feels remarkably recovered from the ordeals of the quest.
The knight looks at each survivor in turn, the burning glow of ancient eyes ablaze beneath the metallic helm. ‘We have little time. Decisions must be made now.’
Turning to look at Manzio and Heraclief, the knight addresses them with his booming voice. ‘Will you continue with the quest?’
Heraclief and Manzio turn to one another, an immediate agreement formed without the need for words.
‘The best way to help our friend Ross is to complete the quest.’ says Manzio.
The knight nods in agreement. ‘The power trapped in yon standing stone has the skill to release you from the enchantments of The White Badb.’ He pauses. ‘Should you wish it?’
He turns to the three Danagrim.
‘And what of you three survivors? Will you journey with us on the quest for the four Tuatha de Dannan jewels?’
Bróccan is first to respond. ‘You told us that coming with you was our best bet for retrieving the eye of Balor. How so?’
The knight hesitates as though noting Bróccan for the first time. ‘Had you remained in the gardens of destiny you would have been slain. By finding the 4 jewels you will create avert real means of challenging the Black Queen and her Scarack henchman. If you want to retrieve it by force you will need ancient artifacts and strong allies. Recovering the 4 jewels will serve all of our purposes.’
Bróccan nods as though seeing the sense of this alliance. ‘…and what of you knight. Will you at least tell us your name?’
Again, the knight hesitates. ‘Names are overrated as your shaman will testify. I have had many. Knight will suffice.’
Manzio once again intercedes clearly irritated by a thought. ‘I think I noticed the Dark Queen as we teleported with the Stone of Destiny. Will she attack us?’
The knight turns to face the young Vesuvian whilst gathering the group close to the stone and speaking quietly as though fearful of being overheard.
‘By your hand was a declaration of war waged between the White Queen and Black Queen. So it has been many times down through the years. It is just as well because without it I would still be trapped and hope would be stark. You are wise to fear the Black Queen for she is the least merciful of the three and a cruel, sadistic creature who takes pleasure from the misfortune of others. She is sometimes known as the champion of the dwindling elder people’s but she is nothing of the sort.
However, it is my belief that she will be too busy preparing an attack on Orkney to bother with us for now. Her Filidh is another matter and I wonder if the eye of Balor will come to us’ the knight glances at the Danagrim trio ’…without us needing to seek it.
But fear not, with the stone you also reclaimed the sword, for it is carried in my hand. Only two remain.
We must travel to Lewis in Scotia via the ancient Callanish Standing Stones. From this starting point we will journey to Harris and find the resting place of Adomnán, the biographer of St Columba himself. The Spear of Lugh is held in Adomnán’s hand as a deliberate abomination designed to alienate the church. The spear cannot be taken by force.’
The knight glances at Manzio, Heraclief and then Blayne.
’But it can be stolen!
Quickly, now. Time is short. Gather round.’
The five reach out to touch the standing stone whilst the knight begins a chant of power. Before long arcane power begins to build before Manzio and Heraclief are swept up into a powerful typhoon of motion. Manzio fearfully opens one eye expecting to see the Dark Queen but instead has the sense of a great giant face looking back. No sooner is this image evident than he is thrown upward with a violent jerk before emerging through the swirling maelstrom of several standing stones. The weather conditions have changed quite dramatically with a biting cold wind whipping in from the Atlantic Ocean. There is a thin layer of snow underfoot and Manzio reflects on the weather left behind in England only a few weeks previously. Have the weather conditions been brought from the mainland?
Stepping out from two of the great stones forming the Celtic cross, emerge first one and then a second giant mechanical construct. Both carry a sceptre in hand but are of opposing tones: one black, one white. Like walking metallic bishops, the two wear albs, cinctures and maniples, as though a mockery of the Christian faith.