At first, Lugh thought he imagined the voice. His head was pounding. Slowly, the white light surrounding him turned to mist and the mist faded. Was he dreaming? Was he dead?
He looked up and counted the wizards sitting on thrones before him. There was a group of nine; four each on either side of The Daghda, God of the Sky and King of All Things. He knew them. They were the Council of Elders—Tuatha dé Danann gods who reigned over the sea, forests, rivers and mountains. Three Fomorian kings, powerful wizards in their own right, sat amongst them.
Lugh blinked and saw his horse, Nair, who was standing—she’d been restored to life! He saw Eocho who looked very alive, too! All of the Warriors were there: Mider, Ogme, Dermot, Angus, Fionn, and Segomo. And the Fae: Flidais, Scota and BéChuille. Bran sat beside them.
BéChuille looked a bit aggravated but nonetheless beautiful. The rest of them looked rather stunned (except Bran who yawned and put his head in his paws.) Lugh was so thankful to see his friends alive that he completely forgot the seriousness of the occasion. He smiled widely and bowed deeply to the Elders. He wished he had been wearing his cap so he could tip it properly, “Sirs…”
“You have not been spoken to!” bellowed one of the wizards. Lugh tried to look serious, though all he felt was tremendous relief. What a dream!
A dwarf, who appeared to be a court reporter of some sort, appeared front and center and called out in a shrill voice:
“I call before the Council to be tried—
“Mider…he who learns and judges!
The reporter looked a bit disgusted at the word ”judge” and his enormous nose crinkled and twisted until Lugh thought for certain he’d sneeze, but then he continued:
“Ogme…the brave and eloquent!
“Dermot”—the reporter dwarf coughed loudly this time—“young lover!
“Segomo…the bold giant!
“Eocho…the one who speaks with animals!” The dwarf sniffed loudly and wiped (was it a tear?) from his eye.
“And” He coughed, (or was it a snigger?) “Fionn, the poet-outlaw!
“These and their leader Lugh, the Shining One, call themselves the Warriors of Right!”
Lugh could hear the sigh from the panel above. He felt foolish and wished it would be over soon. Whatever the enchantment they would issue could not be worse than this humiliation.
“Also to be tried—the Faery Sisters of Illusion!
Lugh’s eyes flew open wide, as if he had been looking through a dreamy mist that suddenly cleared. He came to the painful realization of where he really was. This was not a dream! His stomach ached. He was standing before the Council of Elders with his best friends—awaiting trial! He thought of how furious BéChuille would be if she were turned into an ugly thing as a punishment. He knew she wouldn’t forgive it easily. He was drowning in an overwhelming sea of fate.
“In violation of the laws of The Land of Youth and against the most fundamental rules of Our Universe, you have taken the determination of magical war into your own hands. You fought Fomorian on Tara Hill in the UPPER WORLD.” The last two words pounded like falling stone. Dian Cecht looked like he would tear them to pieces. “It was a magical battle—WASN’T IT?!”
Lugh looked around. No one else seemed capable of answering, so he spoke softly, “Sir.”
Another Councilman roared, “AND YOU HAVE COME TO THIS AGREEMENT WITH FOUR FOMORIAN AND A FOMORIAN WITCH HAVE YO-O-O-U NOT?”
It was Balor, the Fomorian king who wore a patch over one eye, probably because he could kill people by just glaring from it. The skin of his red, oily face seemed to be hanging off of him. He wore no shoes and his toenails were each very long and curled up towards the ceiling.
Lugh also had no idea how to answer. He searched the faces of his friends for advice. He knew silence could get them all bewitched and lying would be even worse. Obviously, his friends, whose feet seemed petrified to the floor, had elected him the spokesperson.
Balor continued—sort of snorting and bellowing at the same time—“and you all agreed that the loser would banish himself from the Land of Youth FOREVER?”
Lugh opened his mouth to explain, “But… But…I think the Fomorian are the cause of Tír na nÓg’s loss of magical power… that was why Manannan lost his stature… I had to call the battle because the magical people could not keep on shrinking! Sorry if I was wrong but I had to do something. If I could just explain! I did it for you! I’m sure the Council can understand!”
He opened his mouth to say all this, but the words did not form on his lips. He was standing with his mouth open trying to utter something when the motley crew of Fomorian suddenly materialized: Grim, Thedra, Bres, Carmen and her three sons Dub, Dother and Dian. They stood frozen; posed in the same stance they had been in prior to their time travel with their clothes torn and their crimson faces enraged.
Lugh felt like laughing at them. Until he remembered his situation was probably much worse.
The Councilman went on, “SO YOU SHALL BE, ALONG WITH THE OFFENDING FOMORIAN—
BANISHED FROM THE LAND OF YOUTH!!”
The Fomorian suddenly realized where they were and gasped. Carman cried out, “Banished!” Flames licked the ceiling as Grim and Thedra roared. Nair reared up on her hind legs. The Elven warriors drew their swords. The Fae pulled daggers and prepared to transform.
But before any further damage could be done, an enchanted, glistening force field fell upon them and froze them all in their places.
“YOU ARE ALL BANISHED TO A DISTANT LAND NEVER TO RETURN—SAVE THE RESTORAION OF MAGIC POWER TO THE LAND OF YOUTH.”
Lugh couldn’t move but he could still think. Banished! Banished with the Fomorian. Never to return – unless he could restore the magical powers to his people!
But instead of being discouraged by this pronouncement, Lugh suddenly felt relief. It washed over him like sun melting frozen ice in a river. He would not stay in Tír na nÓg! He would not be tied down any longer! He would be able to travel freely to the Upper World! He could fly!
The dwarf appeared and walked smartly in front of the Council members’ thrones, his noisy shoes clicking on the floor with each step. He unrolled a parchment. In his creaky voice he announced, “A miracle is defined as a single act which makes the world safe for magical people.”
“You-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u se-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e, there i-i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s a threat woooorse than Fomo-o-o-o-r-i-i-i-i-i-ian….” Balor, the ugly Fomorian hissed.
A flood of questions engulfed Lugh’s mind: Where were they going? How could he restore the magical power? Would he still fight the Fomorian? What about his parents? What about his friends?
But before he could raise these or any questions the room filled with white mist. And they were gone.