The Essential History of Hibernia
1. The Fomorians
Before the dawn of mankind when different laws governed the cosmos, there existed on the planet Earth a race of beings called the Fomorians. Visitors from the stars, they wove themselves into the fabric of a small but important Island which would one day become known as ‘Hibernia’ but was known by the Fomorians as ‘Eiru’. This island was located above a vortex of great power, from which ran countless ley lines, channelling mystic energy to any who could use it. And the Fomorians used this for sustenance and power.
As millennia passed and other races evolved, many were drawn by the mystical power of Eiru. Amongst these were the Fir Bolg
2. The Fir bolg
The Fir Bolg arrived and overran the island of Eiru. What they didn’t know was that the Fomorians had cloaked themselves from their sight. The Fir Bolg were not Developed enough to utilise the energies of the vortex, so were no threat to the Fomorians. Unbeknownst to the Fir Bolg, they co-existed with another race, and a balance of sorts existed. The Fomorians became complacent and were in a state of removal from physical reality. All was in equilibrium for a time, until the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
3. The Tuatha Dé Danann
The Tuatha Dé Danann arrived at Eiru and as ethereal beings; they could sense the presence of the Fomorians, as well as see the Fir Bolg. The Dé Danann claimed half the island from the Fir Bolg, knowing it would result in war, and confident in their ability to best them.
4. The first battle for eiru
The first battle for Eiru now began, with the skilled Fir Bolg warriors against the ethereal power of the Dé Danann. The force of the battle was so great, that it stirred the dormant Fomorians from their far away state. Intervening in the battle, they explained to the Dé Danann that it was wrong to fight, or the vortex of power would be destroyed by the powers of both sides. The Fomorians were more powerful than the Dé Danann, and so when they proposed a battle of Champions, they had no choice but to agree to it.
Under the watchful eye of the now fully visible Fomorians, the Dé Danann champion, Nuada, their King, would fight the Fir Bolg’s champion Sreng. Nuada lost an arm in the pitched battle, but he persevered and won, finally slaying Sreng. The Fir Bolg, afraid of the power of the adjudicating Fomorians, accepted their loss, and were banished to the West of Eiru.
The King of the Fomorians, Balor, was aware that the Tuatha Dé Danann would not be satisfied with the victory over the Fir Bolg and would next seek to usurp their power. Balor knew it would only be a matter of time before the ethereal Dé Danann could access the mystical powers of the vortex. To obviate a threat to the Fomorians safety, and currently in a dominant position, ordered a union between the Fomorian and Dé Danann peoples, the result of which was Bres, a hybrid being. However, Nuada would not rest until the Dé Danann were supreme, and in a pitched battle, he tore the very power of the vortex apart. The Fomorians, without the power of the Vortex, took to the seas, never to return.
6. The fading light
With the power of the vortex shattered, the ley lines could no longer channel the level of mystical power they once had. The vortex began to heal its fractured matrixes; however, its power levels were greatly reduced. The Dé Danann were triumphant, but they had a hollow victory. The Tuatha Dé Danann had wrested control of Eiru from the Fomorians and the Fomorians had disappeared into the seas. Nuada’s actions had stolen the very essence of Eiru from the land, and nothing the Tuatha Dé Danann did or tried to do could replace it.
The newly renamed ‘Hibernia’ replaced the legend that was Eiru. Yet the Tuatha Dé Danann tried vainly to recapture the ‘heart of the land’ as it became known, but despite their great abilities it was not within their power to do so. Their oracles and druids noted with great concern that the power of their four greatest gifts diminished daily. The stone of Destiny the ‘Lia Fail’, placed at the heart of the mound of Tara, seemed strangely silent. The spear of Lugh, and the sword of Nuada, the greatest weapons of the Tuatha Dé Danann failed as never before in minor battles and were given to the druids for safekeeping and investigation. Finally, the bounteous Cauldron of Dagda, which had always provided sustenance to the Tuatha Dé Danann, no longer filled with plenty, and was said to have lost its magical power. Dire portents of woe filled the druids’ rune readings, and the scholars began to speak of ‘the fading of the light’.
7. The milesians
But worse was to come. Dark eyes watched Hibernia and the Tuatha Dé Danann. One winter evening, Ith the son of Breagon, a Celtic Milesian, stood on his watchtower and looked across the seas from his citadel in distant Spain. Using divination, he saw a land that sparked his curiosity. That land was Hibernia. Ith wished to give the territory closer examination. He set off with thrice thirty warriors to this new land. The Tuatha Dé Danann now had a tripartite kingship in the hands of Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine--grandsons of the Dagda. When Ith arrived with his warriors, he spoke of Hibernia in glowing terms, full of lavish praises of this new land. The three kings, worried at the ‘fading of the light’ and urged on by their oracles, considered this as a sign that the newcomer might try to possess Hibernia, so they had Ith killed.
When news of Ith's murder reached the Milesians in Spain, his nephew Mil rose up in anger and declared he would avenge his uncle. Mil gathered a force of three score and five ships and sailed to Hibernia, landing on the day before Beltaine, on the 17th day of the moon. The Milesian wizard Amergin was the first to step off the ship, and plant his right foot on the Hibernian soil. At once he burst into voice saying: "What land is better than this island of the setting sun?" The Celtic Milesians concurred that this would be their new home. But first they needed to contend with the Tuatha Dé Danann and settle the matter of Ith’s death. The Tuatha Dé Danann had noticed the landing of the Milesians, and their druids conjured an illusory army on the shore, but the Milesian wizards were able to see through the illusion and dissipate it. So the Milesians marched towards Tara, the seat of power of the Tuatha Dé Danann. On their journey, they met the woman Eriu who welcomed the warriors and prophesied that Hibernia would become theirs and that their race would be "the most perfect the world has ever seen." The Milesians blessed her and bade her peace.
8. The Battle for Tara
Once the Milesians reached Tara, the kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann complained that the Milesian warriors had taken them by surprise and thus asked for an honourable battle to avenge Ith. Amergin agreed to be fair and honourable, and followed a plan where the Milesians would embark on their ships once again and go a distance of nine waves from the shore. Upon returning to the land, the Tuatha Dé Danann would then be ready for battle. The Milesians left and departed to nine waves, but the Tuatha Dé Danann rose up a powerful druidic wind, preventing the Milesians from reaching the shore once again. The Tuatha Dé Danann had proven to be treacherous. The voice of Amergin, greatest of Milesian Wizards then grew powerful and he invoked the spirit of Hibernia itself. Hibernia heard his call, and calmed the powerful wind of the Tuatha Dé Danann allowing the Milesians to land. What would follow would signal the end of the power of the Tuatha Dé Danann forever.
9. The finding of the Sidhe
When the Milesians reached land, they abandoned any parley with the Tuatha Dé Danann and declared war. The outcome of the war should have been a foregone conclusion, given the mystical abilities of the Dé Danann. Following the earlier defeat of Nuada, the four great mystical artefacts of the Dé Danann had diminished in power. This however, was a fact the Dé Danann rulers had hidden from their people, who supremely confident in their mystical might, were taken aback by the pure savagery of the Milesian forces, when that very might failed. The Dé Danann, as the absolute masters of Hibernia, had neglected their fighting skills and relied on their mysticism, and now they had paid the price.
What little power remained in the artefacts, was siphoned into four precious stones and hidden through out Hibernia.
The Milesians were successful in their war against the Dé Danann, which lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, with a final triumph at the battle of Tara. Following the final defeat at Tara, the Dé Danann realised they would not be able to co-exist with the Milesians. The magic was fading from the land, but, the Dé Danann now realised that the magic was still present in the interior of the land, were the fractured vortex had healed, and that they must therefore, relocate.
As the accords of Tara were set up to broker peace, they reached an agreement with the Milesians. As part of this agreement the Milesians would occupy Hibernia, and, in return, they allowed the Tuatha Dé Danann to live underground in ‘Sidhe’, invisible places of great power, accessed from the surface world. These ‘Sidhe’ were actual different dimensions of space and time, which had been created by the shattering of the Vortex in the battle between Nuada and the Fomorians. Here the Dé Danann would practice and hone their abilities to bring their magical powers to perfection.
10. Tír na nÓg’
Additionally, the Dé Danann inhabited an island to the West of Ireland, which was only visible from the Sidhe dimension, and here time stood still. The Dé Danann named it ‘Tír na nÓg’, for to dwell here was to be immortal. From that moment on the Milesians and consequently the Hibernians in the mortal world would honour the immortal half-gods and fairy-folks of Tír Na nÓg, and they became known as ‘The Sidhe’ taking the name of their magical portals.
Down through the ages the Sidhe would contact favoured mortals giving protection, healing and even teaching some of their skills to mortals - Smithcraft or the working of metals being one such skill. And so the Dé Danann became the Sidhe, but as to the Milesians? Their own descendants would become known as ‘the Gaels’ and they would continue to interact with the Sidhe. Indeed, the Sidhe would be instrumental in the lives of a new generation of legends in Hibernia, and particularly the formative years of the Gael Setanta, who would go on to be known as Cúchulainn. For the time of invasion was coming to a close, and now it was a time for Heroes.
11. The forging of a hero
The Dé Danann became the Sidhe, and the Milesians became the Gaels. Throughout the history of Hibernia and the mists of time many heroes and gods would stand out in her annals and literature. Although many of these heroes were very important, Cúchulainn was the one that was most often represented in Hibernian culture and lore.
Born Setanta, Cúchulainn was the name that he earned after having killed Culann the smith's watchdog. After having killed his hound, he offered himself as a replacement until a new dog was able to replace the old. At age seven, Cúchulainn first bore arms upon hearing of the druid Cathbad's prophecy that anyone taking up arms on that day would have a short life, but one remembered forever.
As his life continued, Cúchulainn became such a handsome youth that the Hibernian’s feared that he would steal their women’s hearts, and thus began a search over all of Hibernia for a wife for him, though he would accept none other than the daughter of Forgall the Wily, Emer.
12. The Sorceress of Skye
In spite of his love for her, Forgall suggested that Cúchulainn train with Scathach, a famous warrior-woman, descended from the Dé Danann, who lived on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Caledonia, in hopes that it would be too strenuous and kill him. Not one to give up so easily, Cúchulainn took the challenge and went. Skye, like Hibernia, sat upon a vortex of power, which although small, spread its power into its inhabitants. The women of Scathach’s family line were skilled sorceresses, drawing on the power of the vortex.
After having gone to Scathach, Cúchulainn learned the art of war, in particular the use of the Gae Bulg, a barbed spear. During his training, there were several others who trained with him, one of whom, Ferdiad, became his best friend and foster-brother. During this time, Cúchulainn slept with Scathach, leaving her pregnant. Cúchulainn left Skye with Ferdiad, unaware that Scathach was pregnant with his daughter.Scatach was a sorceress aswell as a mighty warrior, and her anger at Cúchulainn for leaving her, would be passed down through the women of her generation. The spirit of Scathach was so strong that it would reappear and possess women of her bloodline from time to time, seeking to have vengeance on the descendants of Cúchulainn. Having completed his trials in Skye, Forgall the Wily reluctantly gave Cúchulainn the hand of Emer in marriage.
Cúchulainn and Emer, who was descended from the blood of the Dé Danann, went on to have children of their own. So the blood of Milesians/Gael and the Dé Danann/Sidhe continued to flourish in his ancestors.
Three heroes, Cúchulainn, Cernach, and Buadach were duped into a contest at the feast of Briccriu. Although Cúchulainn won every challenge, the other two would not accept him as their better in any way. To resolve this issue, the Gael druid, Cu Roi, came to each in disguise, challenging them to behead him and then allow him to return and behead them. Of the three, only Cúchulainn submitted himself to Cu Roi as promised. He was then spared and proclaimed the champion.
13. The death of Cúchulainn
In the end, the sons of the men whom Cúchulainn had slain over the years conspired together to use these weaknesses against him. Because of this ploy, Cúchulainn was weakened before the fight against Lugaid, the son of Cu Roi. After being mortally wounded by Lugaid's spear, he had himself tied to a pillar of stone in so as to remain standing. Even after he had died, his enemies did not believe it until a raven flew to his body, at which point Lugaid went to cut off his head. Upon doing this, Cúchulainn's sword fell from his hand, cutting off Lugaid's hand. Cúchulainn's death is often used as a symbol, appearing on present day Hibernian coins and statues. His deeds are repeated in literature and remain an important symbol to those of Gael and Sidhe descent, even after all this time.
14. The Bloodlines
Throughout the ages, there emerged 2 different bloodlines from the hero Cúchulainn. Every generation, some in this bloodline would develop a special ability, or super-power, and they became known as ‘the gifted’. The powers usually manifested in the individual’s 21st year.
14.1 Cúchulainn and Scathach
One bloodline was from Cúchulainn and Scathach, which yielded women of great mystical power, able to draw on the remnant of the shattered vortex. As sorcery was a blend of white and dark magic, many of this line would succumb to baser instincts and give in to evil. This occurred because despite being inherently of good intent, the women of this bloodline could be possessed by the spirit of Scathach when they reached 21.
14.2 Cúchulainn and Emer
The other bloodline was a purer line and came from the pairing of Cúchulainn and Emer. This bloodline was drawn from the ethereal power of the De Danann. The natural link that the De Danann had had to the remnants of the vortex, allowed this bloodline to manifest special gifts. This line eventually led to the greatest hero of our times, the mighty Hibernius.
15. The flying column
The ‘gifted’ who manifested in our age, banded together under the leadership of Hibernius, and became beloved of the people of Hibernia, and their city of operation ‘Dubh-Lynn’ in particular.
The Column today comprises the membership of the following gifted folk:
Amber-Light based power
Fallow - swift of foot
Mr. Twister-Cyclone generator
16. Other lands
As the vortex began to heal from its fracture, and the ley lines began to establish new links, sub vortexes began to develop in throughout Europe. Some began to develop abilities atuned with their floral and fauna which seemed to maifest upon their step into adulthood being around their 21st birthday also.
17 The future
Recently, Hibernious has gone missing , Hibernia is vunerable and the Flying Column numbers are dwindling . But! new young
heroes are emerging . Is it Hibernia's magic calling these new heroes to the battlefont? ........
By Jason Browne and Seán Paul Teeling