Part Eight 3500 BC ‘After’
The screaming and howling above the longship grew in intensity causing everyone on the deck to cower and hide. Most of the Alban raiders were below decks manning the ores with only a few above working the rigging. Even in their entranced state they were fearful of whatever was assailing them from above.
Arthfael had no idea if they were under attack from the entity that was flying in the mist shrouded rigging above. If it indeed was a banshee it was not acting like any he had heard of in the tales. This lament for the dead was not the keening described of in the lessons. Instead of a weeping and wailing song this sounded more like loud tones of threats and anger. What Arthfael could see of the figure sailing overhead reminded him more of the spirit of the Black Druid Lugubelenus in the ancient tumulus, not a ghost-woman heralding the death of their friend Haerviu. Arthfael was much afraid for a moment the fade had escaped the crypt and came to seek revenge on him for killing his new body.
Just when Arthfael steeled himself to stand against this unknown threat the angry screaming stopped. At the very top of the mast barely seen through mist the fade seemed to be drawing more darkness unto itself and became a more solid figure in a flowing tattered black robe. They could see the hole under the hood of the robes where the face should be become intensely black as it looked down upon them. The screaming started back up again causing them all to put their hands over their ears as it grew more intense with every second. The already dim day became even dimmer as specks of light went rushing towards the fade turning the maw under the hood from pitch black to a light so bright it equaled the sun that was hidden by the mist. It was as if all the light was being sucked out of the air around them and into the specter of the wraith.
A brilliant ball of light formed where the wraith had been, as if a thousand lightning bolts had all been forced together. It gave off a huge thunderclap knocking all of those on the deck off their feet as it shot down the mast. So fast the ball of lightning traveled it was just a white line that went straight into a young Alban raider who had been holding a rigging lines to the main sail. The young warrior was consumed with white fire as he screamed and fell lifeless to the deck. In that instant all went back to normal as if nothing had happened with the wind blowing the mist gently through the main sail pushing the longship farther out to sea. The only indication that something remarkable had happened was the body of the young raider laying on the deck with smoke and steam rising from him to mix with the mist.
The four young Druids regained their feet and walked towards the body laying by the base of the main mast while the rest of the Alban raiders resumed what they were doing before the wraith had appeared. They watched as the body slowly started coming around and with spastic movements attempted to rise to its feet. The boys were at first alarmed that the body had been possessed by an evil spirit like that of the Black Druid until they noticed the features of the young man start changing to resemble that of their friend Haerviu. To their surprise and astonishment he had come back to them.
With no reason to be disguised, the young Druids had dropped their spells of glamour showing their true selves. Their heads had become round and bulbous with heavy brows over deep set eyes. The skin covering their heads had become thick and leathery and gone from the slick gray to a dried cracked brown color. Their ears and nose were turning black and starting to flake off as if they were dying from frostbite. What little hair they had floated freely around their head thin and white. The eyes had become the most disturbing part of their faces for they were sunk deep under their brows, under heavy lids and had become almost totally white except for a little black dot in each that were the pupils. Under the eyes were thick leathery bags that stacked one over the other giving them a terrible visage.
They had also grown in size and were much taller and thicker than the boys that had entered the ancient barrow the first time not so long ago. Despite their humped backs and rounded shoulders they were solid with thick arms and wide across the back. In their true forms wearing their black tattered robes they were terrible inhuman monsters to behold. With just a momentary touch of sorrow they looked at their friend in his new human body and were saddened by what they had lost.
Haerviu stood before them shaking out the last vestiges of the man that had inhabited the body before him. Arthfael was amazed that his transmigration had happened so quickly. All of their lives they had been taught that when a person died, their spirit went to the Otherworld where it would await judgement on its previous life before being allowed to return to this world. It was a process of the Gods and Goddesses that could take several lifetimes of men as no one knew the will of the Gods. In all of their teachings the boys had never heard of transmigration of one soul into another happening so suddenly. It was truly an evil miracle that had just happened before them.
Arthfael pulled Haerviu aside while the other three resumed compelling the Alban raiders to make sure the longship made it safely away. He was still amazed that his friend was standing before him even though he was in a different body.
“How doest thou feel brother Haerviu? Art thou well?” Arthfael asked.
“Aye, Master, I deem mine self to be fit. T’was an eerie thing I felt leaving my body and thence taking this one with such force. A blackness guided mine actions and abide with me throughout. There was much pain to be sure but it did not breaketh me!” Haerviu said. He was somewhat unsteady on his feet as he told his tale to Arthfael.
“Thou wilt goeth below decks and taketh thine rest my brother. I wilt abide no quarrel for thou hast suffered much. We wilt converse more of this on the morrow. But for now thou wilt rest!” Arthfael then put an arm across his friend’s back and guided him down the stairs to a sleeping bunk at the bow of the ship. Haerviu argued briefly that he was fine but Arthfael would not hear it and saw to it he laid down in the bunk. Arthfael did not leave until Haerviu had fallen into a deep sleep and was gently snoring.
As Arthfael made his way back up the stairs to stand along the railing of the deck he thought on this new power they had gained through the Black Magick. He had not read of instant transmigration of a soul in the scrolls, but Haerviu, or who was now Haerviu, was proof of it. Arthfael would have to test it on another of his acolytes to make sure it was not a fluke. He did not think it was and if that was so it meant they could live forever collecting life spirits and the power that came with it. He smiled grimly looking upon the distant shores of Alba and thinking of all the people they would soon come in contact with.
It took three long weeks for the High King to secure the several longships they would need that were large enough to transport his army across the Narrow Channel to the island of Alba and Albion. He could only take a portion of his army, one hundred and fifty warriors and twenty Druids with all of their horses and equipment. He and the High Druid Priest wanted to take more men but they could not wait any longer for more ships. They would have to rely on the Kings, Queens and Druids they knew on the big island. The two men were well known in many parts of the far lands and thought allies would be easy to come by, especially when they told the tale of the great ancient evil that was amongst them. The High King only hoped the Kings and Queens of the island were forgiving that these monsters were let loose upon them from his land. He was not so sure he would be if the tables were turned.
It was a stormy night on the sea when the longship carrying the five young Druids landed on a sandy shore. They beached the boat on the coast of the southern tip of Albion near the white cliffs that rose high along the beach. The Alban raiders that sailed the longship landed them close to a small village they called Doverre. From this point they would march inland enslaving warriors as they went to rebuild their force and performing sacrifices on the unsuspecting peoples of the land. It had been a long sea voyage, much longer than they had planned. But Arthfael knew his father and the High King would be relentless in their search for them so he hoped they had gone far enough to make them hard to find. Albion was a big place and they could get lost in this land.
After getting carts with oxen to pull them from a nearby farm along with a few compelled slaves they unloaded the longship and traveled inland. The dragon-ship was left to the tide and the mercy of the sea. It did not take long for it to get washed away erasing any trace of where they had come to shore.
For several turns and with much hardship they marched through the villages and towns of southern Albion enslaving many warriors and taking sacrifices as they went. Even though they never confronted the High King and the High Druid Priest of Meath during their travels they were hindered by them due to the influence the men had over the Kings, Queens and High Druids of the land. All along the way the land was in an uproar against them as the peoples believed in the tales told that an ancient black evil was upon them in the guise of five young Druids. It was just one more reason that Arthfael had to destroy his father.
The five Black Druids, as they finally started calling themselves, assembled five armies during those turns as they each learned how to compel more and more warriors under their spells. But they lost those armies just as quick as they made them as they battled their way through a countryside where everyone was against them. During that time they also enlisted five more acolytes, men with hearts as dark as theirs, that took very little compelling to join in their evil ways and partake in the sacrifices. They were always on the move as they marched north through Albion trying to get away from the armies of the Kings and Queens that rose up against them at
Besides the weak Good Magick of the Druids and the warriors of the Kings and Queens of Albion that Arthfael expected to be used against them they were also assailed by a dark magick that was surprisingly strong and came close to overwhelming them several times. Unbeknownst to Arthfael the Elder Druid had come over the sea with High King of Meath and had sent his minions out to ignite the fires of those that practiced the dark arts against them to obtain the scrolls. With the battles getting more intense and victory becoming harder to come by the five Druids decided it was time to leave the land of Albion and try their luck in the barbaric lands of the Nordics across the North Sea.
But they would not leave before they set a trap for the High King and the High Druid Priest of Meath to put this chase to an end. The young Black Druids found the perfect place in a small Nordic trading village on the far northeastern shore of Albion. It was the season of the third winter that they had been on the island and the snows were coming down very heavy.
2500 BC Present Time
The Dark Lord looked down at the little girl in his arms as he thought back to over a thousand turns ago. The look of defiance had gone out of her eyes to be replaced by a numbing fear. The visage of the Master’s face was a thing that one should not be close to for very long. His mind returned to the memories of that time still sparked by the face of his long lost sister that he saw as he looked upon the girl. He had lived for over two hundred life spans of a man and had not once thought of those days so long ago. But now the memories of that time came rushing back to him as if it were yesterday.
Thank you for reading Part Eight of Druids-Bane! Please vote or leave a comment if you like (or even if you don’t). I would really appreciate it and it would really help me out in my writing endeavors. Keep Well!