My Réglainn Occulti Story Part 3

An Old Mill At SpawnTown
An Old Mill At SpawnTown

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“It’s quite alright.”, she assured me. “It was my brother’s who has departed from our midst rather permanently I am afraid. So, it has more sentimental value to me than anything. Although, the information he was seeking, if he was able to find it, would be beyond value to anyone in my community. Perhaps to anyone in the Réglainn Occulti even.”

“This picture you’ve given me. It’s been in my mind ever since I found your brother’s journal and was able to read a part of a poem in it.”, I said as I handed the old, tattered journal over to her. “I’m not surprised to be honest. He was obsessed with it like a man possessed for years.”, she replied. “Yes, but I had never seen it before in my life but this is precisely the image that has been in my mind.”, I responded. Danand smiled and said, “They say the ways of the gods are oftentimes a mystery.”

1 – A Blessing or A Lesson?

She turned the pages in her brother’s tattered journal and continued, “I hear that when you first arrived in the Réglainn Occulti it wasn’t at the Spawn Tree as usual but outside of Nova Falias on New Caledonia 1. Then, while there you were brought to Gregor MacInness, the chief folklorist and historian to the High Chief. Is that right?” “Yes, that’s true.”, I nodded. “It’s often said among my people that the gods bring people to us for a reason. Either as a blessing or a lesson. The way you came to us has all the earmarks of the workings of the Sidhe. I believe you are here for a purpose.”, Danand proclaimed.

“Gregor said something similar. Although, I am not sure what that purpose might be.”, I replied. “Well, there certainly are some odd coincidences surrounding your coming about and where and whence you came from.”, she said as she placed the journal in her inventory bag. “The rumors are that you were living near the area of Dallas, Texas in the year 2017 and that you were a high priest in a pagan group there which took a lot of its teachings from Celtic mythology.”, she paused. “Well, yes, that’s right. I was one of several from that area and time who did so.”, I answered.

2 – What’s In A Name?

“Our own lineage draws from a group from the same time and place. We were forced into secrecy when the practice of non sanctioned religions and later all religions were outlawed by the Cyberocracy. As a secret society we called our order the Temple of the Ancient Fire. Your name, Cianaodh is composed of two parts. Cian which is the name of the father of Lugh Lámfada in the stories of our ancestors. The name Cian literally means Ancient.”, she looked at me for a response as she said this but I gave none.

“Then the other half, Aodh which in old Irish would have been Áed. A name that was very popular in ancient Ireland and borne by several high kings. Áed means fire and is often anglicized as Hugh. In short, your name means Ancient Fire.”, she concluded. I sighed and formulated my response. Then I nodded and said, “Yes, I know the meaning of my name. I chose it while studying the ancient tales myself for my degree in the tradition I belonged to. However, I didn’t call my group that nor would I be so bold as to name a tradition after myself.”

3 – Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

The truth is, I had pondered on these uncanny coincidences too but kept them under my hat. Something just didn’t feel right about the inference of it to me and I chose not to dwell on it. “Oh, you wouldn’t have perhaps. But your descendants might have.”, she retorted. “I do get the feeling that, perhaps there is more to you than you yourself have realized or come to grips with. But, in any event, I do believe the gods have brought you here for something.”, she gazed into my eyes for what seemed like an eternity.

“Also, that you just happened to settle in the last place my brother apparently was alive on this plane of existence while on his quest to unravel the mystery of the painting is a bit too coincidental to be an accident, I believe.”, she emphatically added. “Well, I’m not keeping any secrets, if that’s what you think!”, I shot back. “No, I don’t think you are Cianaodh. But, I think you are on a quest to pick up where my brother left off, whether you realize it or not.”, she stated. “Let’s see if we can get you up to speed, shall we?”, she added.

4 – Analyzing The Picture and The Poem

“Sure.”, I nodded. “That picture you are looking at is known as The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke and it was painted in the nineteenth century by a man named Richard Dadd who went insane and killed his father for which he was committed to an insane asylum.”, she told me. “I knew about the artist, Richard Dadd and that he was considered to be insane, The Crone told me about that. But, I did not know that he had killed his father. That part is new to me.”, I replied. “Well, he did, but that’s not the part that I want to discuss right now.”, she continued.

“Mr. Dadd spent nine years working on the painting. An official named H.G. Haydon at the Bethlem Hospital commissioned the work. Richard Dadd was already noted for his paintings of fairies and other supernatural depictions before he was sent to the hospital. In the center of the painting is the Fairy Feller himself. He is raising his axe, ready to split a chestnut which is to be used to construct Queen Mabs’ new fairy carriage. Now, there are many theories surrounding this event but one in particular focuses on the chestnut itself. Are you following?”, she asked. I nodded my head.

5 – The Business Of Nut Cutting

She continued, “In the center of the picture the white-bearded king is raising his right hand, commanding the woodsman not to strike a blow until the signal is given. Meanwhile the rest of the fairy band looks on in anticipation, anxious to see whether the woodsman will split the nut with one stroke. That is what he is known for. He is a master of his craft who never misses his mark. To do so, at this momentous occasion, would be a dreadful embarrassment.”

“Some say, he missed and the king banished him from the fairy court to another place and time, perhaps here. Others say he succeeded but the chestnut was no ordinary chestnut and a new fairy portal to a new land opened when the woodsman split the nut. Again, perhaps here.”, she stopped for a moment and poured us both some new drinks. “Are you saying, that all of this revolves around some painting by some insane guy that lived hundreds of years ago on earth?”, I chuckled at the absurdity of it. “Oh, it’s not because an insane man from hundreds of years ago painted a painting.”, she replied and took a sip of her drink.

6 – Under A Spell

“It’s because something possessed him to paint the painting. Just like something possessed my brother to pursue the meaning of it and just as the image of it possessed you before you ever laid eyes on it. This is fairy magic, Cianaodh. People don’t just dedicate nine years of their lives to something because they have lost their minds. They do it, because they are under the spell of it.”, she concluded. It was beginning to get dark and I was beginning to get sleepy. I asked if she cared to stay the night although my accommodations were rather meager.

She declined and said she needed to get back home to Baile na Dagda but that we will talk again soon then vanished before my eyes. It wasn’t until I stood up that I realized how strong the drinks she had been mixing were. I stumbled to my bed and fell straight to sleep. When I awakened the next morning I wasn’t sure how much of what I remembered had actually happened and how much was a dream. Or was it from being on the batter? I checked the table and the new book and picture were still there. “Well, I guess it wasn’t just a dream at least.

7 – Danand

I recalled something someone had said in one of my earlier conversations. Was it Gregor? Well, in any event, I could see how the lines between what is reality and what is not can easily become blurred. Danand was a very strong, yet beautiful and at the same time mysterious woman. Her magma red hair falling in long locks, framing a comely face with a slightly upturned nose. She was at least as tall as I was and very athletically built. I wouldn’t want to pick a fight with her for sure. Yet, when she smiled her oyster white teeth and beguiling, constellation blue, eyes melted the heart.

Perhaps I should journey to Baile na Dagda and see what life is like there. I knew there was a road that led from SpawnTown to the village and The Crone also mentioned a quicker path through the nether if I used the portal that Fergus always patrolled. But, I didn’t feel like this was a journey that should be taken too quickly. Sometimes the journey can be more important than the destination after all. I did want to become more familiar with the lay of the land and we often miss very important details when we get into too big of a hurry. So, the overland path it will be.

8 – A Journey to Baile na Dagda

This time, I decided to leave the wolves behind. The puppies were getting bigger and I wasn’t sure how long I might be gone. I would rather have them stay and protect the homestead. So, I made sure plenty of food was available. I also, sheared the sheep, harvested crops and replanted, then I packed my gear. I needed to drop off some extra supplies at community storage so I started my journey by teleporting to SpawnTown.

Of course, no visit to SpawnTown was complete without dropping in to say hello to Jundran, The Crone and others there. The Chief Librarian took a keen interest in the new book I had acquired and even offered to buy it from me a few times. I turned him down of course telling him that it was a special gift from a friend and that I haven’t even had a chance to read it yet. By the time I finished dropping off my extra crops, and mined materials and chatting with everyone it was already beginning to get dark again.

So, I slept in the spawn hub before getting an early start on the road leading south, past the weird hangar complex. “What is with that place anyway? It seems so out of place here but at the same time, just right.” I made a note to myself that I would have to explore it sometime in the near future as well. Ahead of me on the road, to my left, is what looked like one of those big walking robot things from the Star Wars movies which I also noted I should go take a closer look at some time.

9 – Meeting Brighid

Then, under an interesting looking tree with some lovely lampposts providing it with light was another beautiful woman. Brighid said that she, too, was from Baile na Dagda. She bid me well on my journey and told me that if I was in need of healing or if I would like to ask for blessings to come see her. She also mentioned something about a ghosti system and that she could help me keep mine in the good. I thanked her and promised to return to talk with her more about it soon. I felt as though I had been in the presence of a goddess as I continued on my journey after speaking with her.

She was stunningly beautiful but otherwise looked like an ordinary human, woman. Still, something about her presence was energizing, uplifting and somehow enlightening. The path led into a wooded area with spruce, oak, the occasional birch and, increasingly, dark oak trees as I continued. There was a large large lake with a stone and wood bridge crossing over into yet another wooded area. To my right, I saw what looked like a cottage and small farm. Snow blanketed the ground in glistening white for as far as I could see in the direction I was traveling but the road seemed well traveled enough that it was mostly bereft of the drift.

10 – Home of the Dagda

Finally, after several hours of walking I began to see smoke coming from the tops of round, thatched roofs. Also, I could hear the clamoring of a populated area nearby. Was this Baile na Dagda? I certainly hoped so. My feet were becoming sore from the journey and the meat cooking on the fires nearby reminded me how hungry I had become. As I crossed the treeline into the clearing I could see that the village was protected by a tall, wooden wall. But the gates were unguarded. I let myself in and they closed automatically behind me. Apparently operated by a pair of pressure plates just inside the entrance. The buildings were all ancient Celtic style roundhouses.

The materials used seemed to vary but the style remained the same. There were farmers, smiths, fletchers and other townsfolk wandering about and carrying on with their business. I also saw some of the iron golem creatures like the ones at the village Gregor and I visited in Nova Falias. In the center of town was a large, black stone gate with the purple glow I had come to know as a nether portal. In all of my time in the Réglainn Occulti so far, I have yet to visit the so called, nether. Or underworld as some call it.

11 – Stories of the Underworld

Descriptions I’ve heard of it make it sound like a hellish place. They say no water survives there. I’ve heard that beds explode if you try to sleep on them there. Also, monsters that inhabit the nether make the zombies, skeletons and giant spiders on the surface seem like play toys. But, I am also told that portions of it have been tamed and are quite livable. Also, there is apparently a travel system in place which makes getting to places far faster than on the overworld. I’ll have to visit some time. But, there are so many places I have yet to see and so many adventures I have yet to go on.

For now, let’s focus on this one. Stepping into Baile na Dagda feels like stepping back in time. It’s like an iron age village with all of the magic and mystery of an ancient tale told by a wandering bard from lands far away. The predominant languages spoken there are a modern form of Gaeilge (Irish Gaeilic) and a bit of Terran Common tongue as well as that strange ‘Hmmm’ language of the villager tribes. Whether you speak the language or not, trades are fairly easy to facilitate. Although, you might find better deals or even deals you otherwise would not have known were available if you use their native tongue.

12 – Deals In Baile na Dagda

Although the prices aren’t the best I’ve seen available, they aren’t the worst either. What’s unique about Baile na Dagda are the ‘special’ items that one can find there if one looks hard enough. While chatting with one of the fletchers there I was told of a craftsman who sometimes shows up with a special bow reputed to be crafted by a Nordic god. A Bow of Ullr, it is called. Supposedly if you have even just one bow in your quiver, you will never run out. This is not unheard of in the Réglainn Occulti. There is a magical enchantment called Infinity which imbues a bow with this ability.

What is unique about this one though is that it can both fire unlimited arrows as long as you have at least one in your possession, but also it can repair itself from the essence gained from felled creatures. Again, this is not unheard of. People in the Réglainn Occulti who use magic will often use an enchantment called Mending to keep their gear in working order. But most bows can only have one or the other. Usually you can have infinite arrows but not the ability to mend with essence. Or you can mend your bow with essence but have to keep a stock of arrows on hand. Only a Bow of Ullr can do both.

Check back here later for more…


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