Marked by Destiny(2)

By: Lisa Cardiff

 “We’ve encountered stronger enemies than this one, and we have the Four Treasures on our side. We are invincible.”

Kalen eyed the four separate groups of Tuatha Dé warriors, each flying the banner representing their city of origin in Atlantis and each proudly wielding one of the Four Treasures - the Stone of Destiny, the Sword of Light, the Spear of Victory, and the Cauldron of Renewal. As if sensing the wheels of destiny in motion, each of the Four Treasures glowed and pulsed with preternatural light, almost ungodly in its brilliance.

When the invaders finished disembarking, a cheer reverberated through the Mileasian’s ranks, followed by the bellow of one of their leaders. “Kill them! Kill them all, every last one and this land and all its treasures shall be ours. Their lives are yours to take. Show them their fate.” Like men possessed, they charged forward to meet their enemy, swords raised high.

Overwhelming anxiety caused some of the Tuatha Dé to break formation and meet the onslaught of the invaders.

“Stand and wait,” Mac Cuill hollered, struggling to be heard over the clanging of weapons. “The goddess will not desert us. The Treasures will not fail us. We are the chosen tribe. Don’t be afraid.” The Tuatha Dé shifted back into formation, nervously awaiting Mac Cuill’s command to engage the invaders.

“This is wrong,” Kalen spat out, no longer able to hold his silence. “We cannot wait for them to slaughter us. Can’t you see their weapons are made of iron? The Treasures are irrelevant. We’re powerless to defend ourselves from this invasion. We should retreat and regroup. The Goddess Danu has forsaken us.”

Mac Cuill speared Kalen with his eyes. “Your thoughts are treasonous. We will be victorious.” Refocusing his attention on his warriors, he yelled, “On the count of ten, charge.”

With mounting dread, Kalen turned from Mac Cuill, watching the invaders rush forward.

Mac Cuill’s count floated through the air. “…Three, two, one. Now!”

It happened so fast. Mac Cuill charged forward with the front line of warriors just as the Milesians released a cloud of iron-tipped arrows that glided through the sky, buzzing like swarming bees. As the arrows fell, so did Mac Cuill’s lifeless body along with dozens of Tuatha Dé warriors. And then the tribes collided, killing each other in a relentless fever of screaming, hacking, slashing, and indiscriminate slaughter. Blood covered the once green knoll, coloring it a deep burgundy. Bodies fell in rhythm with the haunting pulse of drummers as if the battle were a choreographed play of carnage.

Hours passed without the Tuatha Dé having any respite from the waves of invaders. Cries of agony faded into the roar of utter chaos. Kalen swung his club with desperation, smashing it against an invader’s head, nearly splitting it open. Sensing something menacing hovering near his back, he whipped around without hesitation, blocking the sword of his next adversary and throwing a dagger into his chest.

When he had a moment of reprieve, he surveyed the battlefield, looking for any sign the goddess had not abandoned them and they would not be forced to share this land with the invaders, or worse, be driven from their homeland, but it was hopeless. A seemingly endless number of Milesians continued to charge the battlefield from the growing fleet of ships floating near the coast. They were doomed to failure, and it was not long before the last living King realized it too.

The last King of the Tuatha Dé blew the horn calling for the remaining Tuatha Dé warriors to abandon the battlefield. Kalen looked around, mesmerized by the carnage of tangled, writhing, and limp bodies and offered a brief invocation to the goddess Danu for mercy and salvation. The surviving Tuatha Dé fought their way through the frenzied mob of invaders and the dead bodies littering the blood-soaked grass to find refuge in their underground stronghold.

Over time, the Tuatha Dé underground stronghold grew beneath the green hills and vales of Inis Fail, eventually becoming a kingdom of its own. Thus, Inis Fail, now known as Ireland was divided between the two tribes and into two kingdoms. The Tuatha Dé, also known as the Fae or Faeries, ruled over the Otherworld. The Milesians, or humans, ruled over Earth’s surface.

Also By Lisa Cardiff

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