Elven World – Chapter 9 – The Formorian

Lugh felt a strange coldness surrounding him and opened his eyes slowly.  An icy black sword lay across his neck. It was held by the Fomorian giant, Grim, whose dirty, grey teeth shone in a wide and wicked smile.

“I have found you at last.”  Grim stood over him with one foot on either side of his torso, the heavy black sword of death light as driftwood in his massive hands.

Rather than fear, thoughts raced though Lugh’s mind, concerns for the others, where they might be, how many Fomorian had come with Grim and whether his friends would be alert and able to execute the necessary magic skills to save their lives. His stomach ached at the thought. He wondered if Airmid had learned the necessary skills to restore life after death.   He did not speak his mind, but instead challenged the giant.

“At last you are here, Grim! Welcome! I’d been hoping you’d come by! We were wondering what had happened to you and whether you had made it safely through the time channel.”

The refusal of Lugh to accept fear coupled with his unexpected friendliness overwhelmed Grim who became visibly confused. He loosened his grip for an instant and at that moment Lugh grasped the massive blade and pushed it upward with all this strength. It was enough to cause Grim to stumble backward ever so slightly. Lugh drew the Sword of Light that had been throbbing at his side, in anticipation of action. It glowed blue and then white light.  They stood facing one another.

In another part of the forest, BéChuille rested in Ogme’s arms. Her eyes flew open when she felt a presence previously unknown in the great forest. “Wake up,” she whispered. “They’re here.”

She dreamt of this moment and had told Ogme about it.  He had put his finger to her lips, “If and when they come, we are strong enough for battle. “ BéChuille was a fierce woman but she’d changed of late and would rather lay under the morning stars than fight the changeling witch, Carman. Nonetheless, her spirit rose and she transformed herself into a black raven searching for the witch’s spirit she knew was present there.  Ogme stood and drew his sword.

In the woods not far away, poor Eocho lay sleeping. By the time he realized what was going on, his left arm had been sliced and blood was seeping through his tunic. Regardless of the wound, he jumped up and attacked. He had no weapon, but aimed to strangle the giant with his bare hands. Suddenly, there was a tremendous gust of wind and Eocho was lifted high into the air.  His eyes opened wide in amazement. Thedra, the Fomorian giant, tried to pull Eocho to the forest floor but the wind blew him up even higher. Thedra was left standing there forlornly, pathetically holding Eocho’ shoe in his hand.

Suddenly, the earth began to tremble. Thedra’s eyes grew wild: The earth was opening in the exact location where he was standing!  He turned to run, but the crack was just beneath his feet. No matter which direction he turned, the crack turned with him.  All in an instant, the giant was trapped up to his thighs, since the crack opened just that wide and then held him there tightly.

The wind let Eocho gently fall to the ground. Nematona appeared and ripped off a piece of her tunic, wrapping Eocho’ arm in it to stop the bleeding.  They stood watch over the trapped (and embarrassed) Fomorian.

In still another part of the forest, Nantosuetta sat on a fallen branch brushing her hair.  She was alert because she perceived danger nearby, a threat to the children she held inside her. She had urged Angus to rise but he was sleepy and would not.  She called the forest animals for protection and they ran to her: the red fox, the raccoon, the spotted owl, black tailed dear and finally, the gigantic black bear.  They stood ready and waiting nearby.

There was a tremendous roar, a Fomorian battle cry, and the Fomorian giant, Bres, stormed over the fallen trees, spurting flames, his red face puffed out in a furious gesture.  He held a sword in his right hand and a tree branch in his left. He looked as if he had already been fighting (or perhaps drinking) because he was reeling. “Fomorian are even worse in this condition,” Nantosuetta thought. She raised her hand and the animals came out of their places and stood in a ring.

“You will die, pretty Fae!” the Fomorian roared.  Nantosuetta gave her husband a swift kick but still he slept on happily, dreaming of music. He lay in the thick mulch of the forest floor. Bres could not see Angus below the tangle of fallen trees and branches.

“Come ahead you great ugly beast, I am not afraid of you and I am not afraid to die!” She called out.  “Come on over here and let me see your great red eyes. Perhaps I should be so lucky that you might try.”

“Oh lady, I will.” Bres strode forward greedily, his sweaty face and long thin red beard sticking to his bare pink stomach.  At that moment, the chipmunk jumped directly onto his face and the raccoon ran between his legs, tangling him so he fell.  The fox jumped on his chest, bearing his teeth.

The giant growled, shook his held violently and threw the fox off of his chest with such force its leg was broken.  “Do not try to stop me.”   Bres’ face turned even redder than usual and Nantosuetta could see his blackened teeth.  She kicked her husband again, “get up – now!” At last Angus began to stir.

Just as Bres hurdled the fallen tree, the final barrier between them, the great black bear came roaring out of the forest from behind Nantosuetta.   The bear stood on his hind legs showing himself even greater in size than Bres.  In one swift movement, the bear knocked the sword from his hands and pinned the ugly Fomorian to the ground.

Then Angus drew up from his bed and went to his wife, putting his arm around her waist. “I hear noises, are you alright?” He asked.  She looked at him sideways in frustration. But when she saw his face she melted again into his arms and nodded toward the Fomorian trapped to the ground by the black bear. “They’re here.”

Lugh ducked a great blow and tumbled, turning again to face Grim. The black sword hit the blue Sword of Light with a crack. They fought: Lugh’s light-footed dance against the Fomorian’s heavy blows.  Grim began to spit his fire and Lugh disappeared, forcing Grim into an even greater rage.

“Fight with your sword!” Grim bellowed, gritting his teeth as their swords clashed again.

“As you wish. I have no need for magic to kill the likes of you.”  Lugh paused and looked directly at the monster. “Yet, I do not know why I am fighting you, Grim. You are not my enemy.”

“A fight to the death, little one. You caused it!” Again their swords matched, glinting in the sun as it shone through the forest’s canopy.

“It was a mistake, Grim. Mine.”  The words were so sensible they hit Grim in the face like he’d been smacked with a flat board. His nasty, black sword faltered.  Lugh hit him again with words of sense and logic, “I am telling you—you are not my enemy.”

“Is that so, oh ugly one?” Grim answered back smartly. “Then how is it that I am here?”

“Let’s not get too upset, shall we?”

Grim growled with anger and effort, as if his mouth were full of stone. “Tell me why I am here, you little one, or I shall cut you into small bits and eat you for breakfast.”

Lugh laughed. “I am, first of all, not too tasty. And second of all.” The Sword of Light moved so fast the Fomorian could not counter any motion. Grim’s black sword fell.  Lugh pinned him to the ground.  “You are not my enemy, I tell you!”  Lugh had to really yell by this time, since it did not seem to be sinking in otherwise.

Grim looked at him finally, his red eyes curious.  Lugh backed away, picked up the black sword, and handed it to the ugly giant.

“There are enemies for us, my friend.  I know not where. But it is not here.” Lugh gave a frustrated sigh sat down with his back against a tree.

The anger in Lugh’s voice struck a chord in Grim’s thick understanding.  He shook his head, amazed, “Perhaps you are serious…”

“Of course I am!  There is something wrong! It seems there is some evil in the world. It has made my people small and it has kept you charmed in a wicked identity!  Look at you: sweaty, red and filthy. You have not always been so.”

Grim felt his face and rubbed his scraggly beard. He thought about it a moment and then said, “If not the game of chasing you then … what are we to do?”

Lugh was silent for time, since he had no answer.  He spoke honestly, “I don’t know.  But I know we can never return to Ireland unless we figure it out. And I know I need your help, Grim,” Lugh sighed, lost in his own concerns, far away from any thought or worry of the Fomorian attacking him again.

No one in all his life had ever asked Grim for some assistance, not in earnest. He had never known a friend, even among the Fomorian. It felt good!  He smiled. “Whatever your problem may be, Oh Shining One, I will help you.”

And so it came to pass that the Fomorian and the Tuatha de Danann, once mortal enemies, became friends, as best they could be.

Airmid and Micher helped Eocho repair his arm using herbs they collected from the forest. The red fox drank from ater fixed with hers and he, too, was healed.

Though the Fomorian were an ugly crowd, the Fae got them cleaned up and dressed up in some finer clothes.

The Elven and the Fae and now the Fomorian stayed in their forest home for some time, resting and preparing for their task to restore them to their rightful position in the Earthly world and the rest of the universe.

Next Chapter – Chapter 10 – The First Touch

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