The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The morning sunshine warmed him as he lay upon the grass.
Arriving in the moments before the dawn as he always had, the Dagda stripped off his clothes and waded out, waist deep, into the river's depth. As the first rays of the sun's light were captured by the water, he raised it in the bowl of his cupped hands and poured it over his head and face.
Breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly with every movement, he repeated the process again and again.
The Dagda cleansed his body, and with it his spirit.
Standing in the shallows of the river's bank he gazed across to its opposite side. Assessing where the earth met the water, he marked his spot and with a large inhalation, dove below the river's shimmering surface.
Beneath the water's boundary the world was a different place. A quieter, more fluid space. An area where one thing moved toward the next in a constant, never ending push and pull, measured in the space of a held breath.
Kicking his strong legs the Dagda reached for the bottom and dug his thick fingers into the earth beneath the water. Anchored there, he took his mark to the earth above the water and with a bend of his body, and a plant of his feet, he pulled.
As the near noon sun beat down upon the water, the Dagda rose with a gasp to fill his lungs again. It was done.
Clambering forward, he heaved his form up on to the shallows that now forded the river from one point to the other. Lying on the earth with the water running over his body, air filling his lungs, skin drying in the warmth of the sun's fire... the Dagda rested. Eyes closing and breathing deepening, sleep took him.
With a snort and a shudder he sat upright, mind returning from dream to his boy. Squinting, he looked to the sun’s position. An hour had past at the most. Noon.
Still, she would be here soon.
Looking about for a suitable place, his eyes fell upon some heavy brush not far up the opposite bank. Returning to his discarded Léine and other clothes, he gathered them up, scuffed his feet through the flattened grass to make it stand, and crossed the river using its new ford. Moving to the brush he circled around it and finding a suitable spot, crawled beneath its cover. Wriggling forward on his gut, the Dagda gained a view of the ford, and settled to wait.
She would be here soon.
The heat of the sun at its highest was a need to warm her.
The flow of the water, clean and clear to wash her.
Her eye, which always sees the ways of change in every glance, will be drawn to this place where the land itself was changed.
The Dagda knew all of these things when he chose a space for their coupling.
It was not long before a shadow flickered by above and the crows' call announced her approaching presence.
The Dagda relaxed his body and made his mind still, imagining himself as small as he could. Letting go of his intent he allowed his eyes to see all that was there, foregoing thought, judgement or decision for the sake of the moment. A difficult skill to master, being omnipresent, with no thought of self nor worry for the cares of tomorrow, with no part of the mind returning to the vaults of memory.
Dissipating his Will, the Dagda ceased to be, and became only a pair of eyes observing a moment.
Into that moment she came.
The Morrigan, cloaked in the colours of Autumn. The hues of orange, yellow and red. Her hair falling from her head in a crimson cascade. Skin with the clean healthy pallor of a fresh snowfall. Lips as red as heart's blood. Eyes of the deepest blue skies, surveying all around her.
Stepping lightly to the water's edge she stopped and cast her gaze about. Her Will rolled out across the space - seeking, searching. Only one who knew her well would have seen the slightest of frowns move her brows a fraction.
The land was changed. His hand had made it so. This she knew. Their meeting and coupling here, where earth meets water, in the surroundings of air and fire, was more than mating. This was their personal moment of balance. Service offered and given. The exchange that would speak to the next years course.
Every year this ritual was met and the requirements satisfied, and yet every year she could not find him before the right moment. As if he did not exist until the ritual needed him to. Never would she say, but it annoyed and vexed her to so lose track of him.
Slipping her arms from her garment she let it fall to the green of the grass. Time approached and though she could not find him, she did not doubt his presence. Her face took on a smile at her surety. He always liked to watch.
Stepping lightly, she moved forward upon the balls of her feet, her strong legs taking her naked body out into the waters of the ford. She moved her warrior's physique with a dancer's grace. Lithe muscles moving sinuously, alluring and yet deadly.
As the sun reached its highest, giving its warmth to her flesh, she stopped in the middle of the river. There she bent to raise water with her hands. Lifting it to her face she sipped of it, and then poured it down her head and body. Turning about she repeated this in the four directions.
The Morrigan cleansed her body, and with it her spirit.
With this done, she came about again, offering the four points of the land the four elements, filling each movement with her Will. Water of the river. Earth of the ford. Air of the winds. Fire of the sun.
Her will gathered in across the land and from that moment, all was in readiness. She cast her gaze about in one last effort to find him, but knew that he would only exist once the call was placed upon him.
Come you then, O Chieftain of the people.
Come you hither in service and in seeking.
fís agus eolas
I call you and by your name be made present.
Her voice rang out its clarion call, taking her Will with it in all directions at once.
The eyes that had watched blinked.
The word had been spoken and settled upon him like a mantle - full of power, purpose and responsibility. Muscles in the body twitched, as that which had until that moment been just part of the land became separate again. Big callused hands placed down upon the earth supported the push of strong arms connected to broad shoulders.
The body moved as a Will filled it once again and the Dagda rose up from the brush to face her.
In the moment his name had left her lips she had felt him. So named, his Will could not be hidden. She was facing the brush as she heard the first rustling of his movement. Seeing his broad shouldered body lift up, as if out of the earth itself, always gave her pause, yet no sign of it did show upon her face.
He moved with a steady grace for one of his size, unhurried and patient. His big naked full frame, covered in ruddy bronzed skin from a life of labour outdoors. Slab like muscles defined on his shoulders, arms, legs and chest with a heaviness about his waist which spoke of wealth and comfort.
His hair hung down about his broad face, features lined and careworn where they ran down to his close cropped beard. The eyes that met her gaze were the rich dark of the fresh turned earth, deep and steady.
“I am here Lady, on behalf of the people I answer the call. Fís agus eolas, I seek so best to offer them service.”
“And what, Chieftain, do you offer in exchange? All know that with knowledge comes power, and with power comes responsibility.”
The deepest blue of her eyes locked to his brown as their Wills met in full at that moment. Push and pull in the water's course. Shift and steady in the earth beneath. To and fro in the gusts of air. Hot and cold in the fire's heart. They challenged. Each testing the other's worth. Pushing their full power and focused Will against their opposite.
As the challenge reached its apex, match for match, equal to equal, he let go, allowing her Will to surround and take him. Sinking to a knee in the ford he lowered his gaze from her and hung his head in submission.
“In this moment and upon this ford, I offer all that I have, which is all that I am.
For the vision and knowledge to best serve my people from this moment on until next we meet upon the boundaries between all things. "
Moving forward through the water, she approached. Stepping in front of him, standing above his big kneeling form, she placed her hand upon his head resting it there for a moment, allowing time for this act to settle within him.
In a sudden movement, she grabbed a fistful of his hair and painfully yanked his head back, face meeting hers, eyes locking again as she sought any resistance within his gaze. Deep in the brown of his eyes she saw the pain she caused him register, but no resistance came.
Using her other hand she gripped his throat, fingers tight and claw like, ready to rip the life from him, nails biting deep enough to draw a trickle of his blood. In those eyes she saw his willingness. His life was hers to take should she wish it, and he would not resist.
Total and complete submission. His perfect sacrifice.
Pushing him over upon his back in the cool waters of the ford she loosed her grip on his throat. Pressing her body down upon his big frame she brought her lips close to his ear and whispered in a husky tone.
“Tell me you want this.”
His reply was calm and filled with deep rumbling truth.
“I want this, Lady.”
Her smile was triumphant as she clamped her lips around the wound in his throat, sucking to draw a bruise to his flesh and the taste of his blood to her mouth. With her hand she took the tumescent girth of him, and with firm grip pressed him deep within her, filling her completely and stretching her with a pleasant pain.
She owned him. Fully consenting to her whims and wants he was hers to take, and take him she did. As the afternoon wore on she used him. Taking gratification in body, satisfaction in his strength and stamina. Feeding her wants again and again.
As the evening darkness began to exert itself, she was astride him again, facing the west. The water had continually washed the sweat from them and refreshed them. The earth supported and steadied them. The air filling their lungs and carrying their gasps and moans. The sun's fire keeping a chill from their naked flesh.
Just as the sun slipped to its set, its light disappearing into darkness, she impaled herself fully upon him, and with a shared deep moan, pleasure wracked them both as his life seed filled her.
All colour fled her eyes in that second, filling with blackness. She felt her full power, in that moment, without fetter, without rival. Using him, using his consent, she took his power in to meet her own, filling her, rushing in to her being so that she became everything.
Everything that was, is, and will be was hers to see, hers to change, hers to control. Ownership of all of it within her grasp, to take as she saw fit, to create or destroy.
Total. Unchallenged. Power.
What use had she for anything else? What was there of value to anything that was not of her? What was there in all creation that could stop or hinder her?
The answer came to her mind, of her own mind and without provocation. Memories of a pair of earth brown eyes. A big form kneeling before her. Fis agus eolas.
There was one thing, and one thing alone that could challenge her.
The words came. From her blood red lips they fell. Speaking of the vision she perceived, of the knowledge she held. There were no questions. There were just the words, spilling and tumbling from her to fall into his awaiting ears. When the words had ceased and all was said she held there, that total unchallenged power. Creation and destruction. Life and Death. Light and Dark.
As the choice was his to start, the choice was hers to finish.
With a last deep breath she closed the blackness of her eyes, exhaled fully, and released him. His power left her. Flowing back where it came from. Back to that big frame, filling those dark eyes. A shudder ran through her body as the full warm heat of him left her, and she slumped forward atop him, full now only of herself, and completely spent. His arms when they encircled her were gentle and warm. One big hand moved slowly to her head, there to lightly stroke her hair.
The words were soft and sincere. Whispered just for her, with warm breath against her face, followed by the small peck of a kiss. She allowed herself to be small. Wrapped in those big arms and warmed by his heat, a happy smile came to her rose pink lips.
“Did you get what you need?”
As the power had left her, so had the memory of what she had seen and said, carried back along the lines of energy to the universe.
“Yes. The people shall be prepared and endure because of your gift.”
As the night began to take hold, and the day lose its heat, she snuggled close to him, sharing in his heat and smiled again. They stayed like that until the last light of the day was well gone and the stars had begun to show themselves.
A deep shudder ran through him and a burr for the chill escaped his lips.
“Let's get out of this water now lass before the cold settles any deeper. I warm up pretty quick but we both know how long it takes for you, once the cold gets deep in.”
The Morrigan sat up off him and opened her storm grey eyes to meet his deep brown. The smile stayed put as she moved.
His big eyes blinked, seeing her so, and his words rumbled out softly to her.
"You slay me with those eyes of yours, Lass"
"Be glad that's not true, or you would have died many many years ago."
The smile on her reply showed her fondness, but the Dagda's lined face became sincere and his next words direct.
"Oh I did, and do. A little part of my resolve dies every time you look at me like this.
You will be the end of me some day. Of that I have no doubt."
His words were new to her, and struck something deep inside with a quivering of apprehension. Grasping hold of her Will, she met his sincerity with her own.
"May that day be a long, long way off."
His face softened to hear her reassurance, and a contented smile took on a mischievous tweak.
“Well, you would KNOW for sure, one way or the other.”
Rolling her eyes towards the sky, she punched him hard in his meaty arm, yet she couldn't contain her chuckle.
For more stories and exclusive content please considering supporting me on Patreon
If you enjoy this along with my other work, and would consider buying me a coffee or a pint for the purposes of a chat, maybe pop over to the Patreon.com/Dagda
An Scéalaí Beag