The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
**Content warning pertaining to Non Consensual physical interaction. My apologies if it upsets anyone. It most definitely upset me. **
It's all they seemed to want to talk about. The gathering of chieftains had been in session since the days dawning and now it approached its dusk.
Word had come from the Fomorians offering hospitality and so the chieftains had been called to have their say, and what say there was had spoke of warriors, weapons, battles and glory.
He had sat for the full day in quiet watching his people, listening to their words and reading the truth of their hearts.
The truth which made the sadness come heavy upon him.
Intolerance laced with fear and pride, it brings out the very worst in us.
A voice rose above the rest.
"We should just end every life among those tribes, whether they stand against us or not. They are not of the people and are little more than animals."
The wooden table shook to the thunderous blow laid upon it, cracks lacing out from where the big fist had struck. All noise ceased and all attention was given to Him.
Dagda had moved.
In contrast to the loud impact which shattered the conversation to silence, his voice when it came was quiet.
"You would dishonour us all by making such murder upon those who share this land, and worse prove us to be the worst of peoples. All life is sacred."
"Strange words from one who carries true death in his paw. We all know that many fall before your might, and yet you simper and quail before the glory of more battle?"
Lugh had answered the Dagda's statement, knowing full well the details of his power.
"It's true I bear the burden of life and death in my hand, but doing so makes me responsible for each life I end, each of which I carry in my heart knowing their story will not continue."
Dagda cast his gaze about the assembly.
"You gather here and for a full days light you talk and plan and plot for war, never considering any other thoughts. We have not received a declaration of war, we have received an invitation to peace."
Once again it was Lugh, wise to the ways of his lineage who answered.
"Surely you are not blind to their intent despite their invitation? The Fomorian’s seek only a reason to come to battle, going to them as requested is a trap which none could escape and it would be war before even the greetings were given. So we prepare for war which will surely come."
Dagda's sadness rolled up upon him again as gaze fell to the floor..
"I am not blind to their intent. I read full well the hearts of people."
His eyes came up to lock each Chieftain with his gaze.
"A heart turned to war and conflict becomes a malicious thing, small, closed, twisted against love and joy. Such things if not challenged can taint a people forever."
He allowed the moment to sit upon them and then spoke again.
"Full ware I am that the Fomorian invitation may be more trap than nought, but for the sake of a chance at peace, I offer myself as equal to their hospitality. No war will there be with the Tuatha De Danann to blame for its starting."
And with the words of him finished the Dagda stepped out and strode off across the lands to meet Fomorian hospitality.
Through day and night he walked to reach the place that had been spoken of, moving with his rolling, land eating gait so that he arrived upon the day and at the hour as requested.
The Fomorian people had gathered in what could only be described as numbers fit for battle and into their midst the Dagda lumbered, slow and shuffling. Sweat and road dust covered him, hair lank and loose hanging down over his face.
"Welcome Chieftain of the Danann folk to our humble camp."
Indech, King of the Fomorian peoples stood tall and proud, head raised above that of all others around him. Decked out in the finest of cloth, torcs and bracelets of richest metals and set with precious stones he looked upon the sweat and filth stained traveller with open disgust. He had heard one such warrior existed amongst the Tuatha De Danann, a sloven, an oaf, glutinous and lecherous by nature.
So this was the emissary they sent to him? As much insult as could be found in their midst. Still their pride would see them undone, and all the sooner looking at the wretch they had sent to him.
"I see you have travelled far to be with us, and I offer you what hospitality we may in a humble camp such as this."
Indech turned a slow twist, arms out wide as a grand performer would. His gesture encompassing the whole of the great gathering, a multitude of finely dressed warriors standing amidst large bright tents with splendor to see at every angle.
"Alas you arrive later than agreed my honoured guest and as such our meal has all been passed, but in regard of one such as you a meal has been kept to honour the rule and law of hospitality, such as can be found in this poor excuse for a camp."
The Fomorian king's face split in a toothed smile, mimicked by all around, as he gestured toward a trench dug deep into the soil. With the kings waved hand the awaiting warriors tipped massive cauldrons over on their sides, spilling their contents into the rift in the soil itself.
Dagda watched from under his lowered brow and saw a porridge of oats slide onto the ground, but mixed within it he noted the boiled offal and innards of some swine, sheep and goat, no doubt butchered for the Fomorian feasting. A nausea inducing scent filled the air as the cold gruel finally came to its fill.
Indech turned to face the emissary again, a triumphant smile upon his face. Poor hospitality it may be to offer such a meal, but who would believe the words of an oaf when compared to those of a King.
Once this emissary publicly rejected the meal, crafted specifically to honour them, then indeed the King could hold the peoples of Danú to fault in breaching freely offered hospitality. And here at last he would have his just reason for insult and war.
The Dagda was not one to be lightly dismissed though, and knowing full well the trap before him he did what would not be expected. Fixing his face to its most vacant expression and loosening his jaw so as to hang his mouth open, the Dagda bowed. His words when they came were slow and slurred, but still carried wide around the camp to the ears of all.
"Yer a gracious one, O King to offer a humble one such as I so large n fine a meal."
And with that he lumbered over to the trench. Producing a large spoon from amidst his soiled leine, Dagda slumped to the ground with a loud thud, and set to consuming the gruel.
Spoon after spoon of it rose to his mouth. Cold and slimy the bites of it slid down his throat. Chunk after vile chunk of the offal was consumed until the Dagda's body was bowed, his gut distended, his breath laboured and even the gravel from the trench was scraped clean of the meal his hosts had set for him.
What noise and jeers had accompanied the start of the meal had long since slipped to stunned silence, as the sun had slipped beyond its mid. All that could be heard now were the huffs and puffs of the Chieftain as he rolled to his side, then over atop his stretched gut, followed by the groans and moans as he slowly got his legs under him and rose to his feet.
Dagda stood, hunched and huffing for breath and met the incensed gaze of Indech.
The Fomorian Kings face was near the purple of his cloak, jaw clenched, lips pressed tight together so as not to offer an inhospitable statement to the grossly swollen figure before Him.
The De Danann warrior let out a belch which resounded as thunder amidst the silence.
"Truly a grand meal o King, I apologise for not leaving any fer you n yours to share in it. I'll be off now and you have me gratitude an that o me people."
So saying the Dagda bowed forward as much as his distended gut would allow, then lumbering about he shuffled and shambled his way out of the camp.
Though many were the deaths promised in the eyes of the Fomorian warriors, none would move against him for one who comes in hospitality is protected by it so long as they do not break with the honour of it.
Yet Indech was not so easily thwarted, nor conflict avoided, so he set forth his daughter to again ensnare the emissary of the De Danann and secure him his war.
Shuffling feet and lumbering movements carried the Dagda onwards, the burden in his gut heavy and sickening, so it was that he did not see the woman until he was all but upon her.
"I said, what state is this to greet a woman of noble stature?"
Her sharp voice cracked Dagda's head up and shook some of the malaise from his senses. Without straightening or giving any overt sign Dagda roamed his dark eyes around the area and then the woman herself.
Tall and shapely with pale skin and dark hair she stood beside the track, draped in a fine gúna and cloak, clasped to her shoulder with a broach of precious metals and stones.
"Sorry lady for I did not see you there, I will step around ."
"You will step nowhere without me upon your back! I am the daughter of Indech and by his request as a good host to you, my transport and safety are yours to ensure."
So here it was. The second trap of Indech and one he did bait with his own child.
With a heavy sigh Dagda put his mind to work, for the state of his body was such as to leave him near crippled.
He slumped heavily to the ground, groans and gases escaping him as he hung his head, eyes half closed, to observe her through his dishevelled mane without being noticed
"Apologies for my rude greeting Princess. I had not thought to find such a worthy person as yourself alone and so far from her people. Might I know your name?"
The disdain never left her face nor voice and her reply came sharp as if bladed.
"One such as you has no need of my name. The name of my father and my kinship to him is enough to warrant your obedience, now get up and carry me upon your back!"
The next sigh to escape him was one of pity for her. His eyes had told him more than her words could. She was tense, poised upon the balls of her feet, ready to flee should he pose any threat or even any insult to her. This was not the will of the woman before him, but that of her father, speaking through her, tempting insult or injury upon the flesh of his child therefore ensuring him his War.
Dagda had naught but pity in him for her, but still he must tread carefully.
"Alas princess I am bound by a geis on me not to carry any upon my back unless they know the naming of me."
"Well give up your name then for to refuse me would be great insult to my father!"
"I will not refuse you lass, but I doubt I will be of any use to you. That and I would ensure no insult to one such as you."
"Give up your name and I shall judge what use a disgusting swollen filthy wretch such as you may be to me."
"One such as I is so far below a beauty and bearing the likes of you that I must by virtue of my appearance alone be a slight to you. Surely letting me on my way will allow for a more fitting person to serve your needs."
The shift in his words did not go unnoticed. Her frown shifted and she sought any insult in his terms, but finding nothing to take to her father she persisted.
"A third time I must ask you and let it be the last, for you are the one here and this is the here In which I must be. What is your name!"
"If such is how you would have it lady then hear the naming of me."
Dagda straightened from his hunched slump, set his big hands upon his thighs, yet made no move to rise. Meeting her gaze for the first time he saw her shift slightly, body leaning away like a doe about to leap up and sprint.
He let his voice come soft and slow then, rolling the words out one after the next in a soothing rumble, his eyes fixed to hers so as to show clear the absence of any threat or intent to Him.
"Fer Benn Bruach Brogaill Broumide Cerbad Caic Rolaig Builc Labair Cerrce Di Brig Oldathair Boith Athgen mBethai Brightere Tri Carboid Roth Rimaire Riog Scotbe Obthe Olaithbe"
When the naming was complete a moment of stillness existed between them and the Dagda was the first to break the gaze and lower his eyes.
"Many names for one of such poor stature. Now with the naming, you will carry me upon your back."
The words were meant to insult, to create a slur of his form and rise any kind of ire from him, but as his ears listened beyond the words he heard the sharpness of her tongue had dulled. He knew sure then that it was her father's will which rode her, as she was expected to ride him.
Alas he knew that more would be needed and so once again his body became forfeit.
Letting out a sigh as much for show as for himself Dagda slumped to his side upon the earth, massive stomach stretched out, and breath coming heavily to his lungs.
"I would gladly be of service to you Princess but full I am of your father's fine meal. If you would but press gently upon my stomach mayhaps I can shift this burden and we can me off."
Seeing this gross obese creature slumped so upon the soil, seeking her gentle aid, the daughter of Indech took opportunity to add injury to her insult. Why her father put such stock by this so called Chieftain she did not know. Surely any man would not take to harm without defending themselves and as soon as he struck out at her, she could flee and appease her father's anger.
So it was that stepping forward she began to lay about the Chieftain of the Danann with swift strong kicks to his gut, all the while layering her insult on him for his gross obesity. She stood close watching and waiting for the first sign of his retaliation, but none came.
Instead, as the bruises began to form the Dagda rolled to his fore and purged the 'meal' from both his stomach and bowel. Indech's daughter leapt back from him, disgust rising as the filth left him in amounts more than could be believed.
Spasms continued to wrack the chieftains body as that which he had consumed to prevented war was now expelled to prevent war. Twitching and retching, wiping the remains of the filth from his form using the grass and leaves about him, he at last began to rise.
The Fomorian princess stood at safe distance, watching this massive man move. Waiting for the first sign of aggression towards her, but none came.
Instead the broad Chieftain, gut now shrunk to a moderate midriff, bent himself to a knee presenting his big back and wide shoulders to her. His voice when it came was torn from the retching and weak.
"Thank you for your gentle ministrations. I'm ready now to carry you."
Indech's daughter stood, her shock showing plain on a face he could not see. What was this man? To take such insult and injury and not be moved to anger or reprisal. What Will was this to drive a man to accept such punishment?
The ponderings of the daughter were soon overruled by memory of the words of her father.
"Go to the path along the ways and wait. A Chieftain of the Danann peoples will come by that way and you are to place demand, insult and injury upon him until he does to you some harm or slight. Then we will have our war."
"Father, what of my safety? What of my virtue? What of the harms that may be done upon me to be alone with our enemy?"
"All the better that harm to you or your virtue happen for then my rights to their lands through means of battle are assured. Be not a waste to me daughter and go!"
Indech's daughter looked upon this kneeling Chieftain and found her hatred cooled, her disgust abated, yet still her father's will drove her.
"I care not by which name you would be called, oh gross one, but a soiled leine is not fit for me to climb upon. Strip! Remove your rags and use them to wipe your filthy self."
Dagda sighed heavily. What a sight he must seem to her. A fair Fomorian princess sent out to ensnare a filthy, gorged mass of dirt and sweat. Insult and injury she placed upon him and now with his service secured she demanded more in order to demean him further.
With slow movements he pulled the soiled leine from off his back leaving him naked to her gaze. Using the fabric as best he could Dagda wiped and cleansed his body of the filth, muck and sweat, standing before her as she gazed upon his bared body.
He saw her eyes follow the line of his shoulders, the movements of his muscled arms, down across his now shrunken stomach, across the groin of him and where his penis hung limp between his massive muscled legs.
He noted her fear to see his big form so laid bare from beneath his loose rough spun leine, so maintained the slow steady movements until once again he knelt to the ground, broad back and shoulders presented to her.
Without a word he heard her close on him, with no flinch he felt her icy hands slide across the shoulders of him and without groan nor complaint he stood, lifting the form of her gently upon his back.
So arranged this Chieftain of the Danu’s people moved off, setting a gentle trundling gait so as not to jostle the princess. Across the land they went, her cold hands guiding him at times so that their progress would be noted by the Fomorian peoples. So they would see the humbled hero of the Tuatha De Danann carrying their princess. So they in turn could note his naked form and hurl their jeers and insults upon him, but still the Dagda moved on with no reprisal.
Eventually they arrived at the fording of a river and here the princess commanded he stop and lower her down. Tired and sweating again the Dagda slumped to the ground.
Many hours had she ridden him and much land had they covered, yet for all of that, no bruise was there upon her skin from his hand, no chaffing nor scraping, no marks upon her flesh for which she could claim harm.
As she stepped down to the water’s edge Indech's daughter began to despair. Her father would be furious with her should she fail to secure some harm for him to use as slight.
The will of this strange man had seen him accept gross mistreatment. Of hospitality, of his bodily form, of his naming and pride. Shaming him in near all the ways one can be shamed and for all that, she had not one scuff, nor one slight with which to hold against him.
As the sun began its dip towards darkness she had but one thing left to her, one last thing with which to secure harm or slight, her virtue as a maiden.
Standing in the shallows she slipped her guna from her shoulders and allowed the sun's light to bath her naked form. Shapely and muscled with fine curve to her thigh, hip and breast, she had long known the lascivious gaze of men, had endured their leering, pawing, harassments all to ensure no insult for her father, and now here she was set to experience the worst of things, exposed to the appetites of a stranger, so as to secure insult from him and bring about her father’s war.
She turned slowly about gathering her courage to face yet another leering gaze, more exposed than ever before, and found him sitting, eyes cast down averted from her.
All time seemed to stop in that hung moment, the sun spilling liquid fire across the waters flow where it ran above the earth of the ford, the air hung close and still.
"Lass, there is no need for that now. I have read the truth of your eyes, heard the will of your father in your words, and felt the flutter of your heart against my back.
This is not by your consent to be here in this place and be as you are and so you will have no harm of thought, word, nor deed from me.
I would for the very life of me do you no insult or injury, for though conflict may yet come between our folk, I would not have it come from any harm done by me and mine."
His words rolled out upon her, heavy with sadness which she knew was solely for her, but her father's will still drove down upon her, and rage filled her to see so humble a man show true care. Who was this stranger to care so much for her, where her own kin would not. So the moment broke as she descended upon him.
Grabbing, clawing, biting, she took him. All aggression and anger, her fear spilling out and over this strange man. All she needed was some mark, some reprisal, some moment of broken concentration in which his strength was let loose upon her.
She forced her mouth to his, biting his lip til blood flowed, raked her nails across his chest opening crimson wounds so that his heart began to thump and so engorge his limp member. With his penis stiff and turgid from blood flow she mounted him, impaling herself forcefully down upon him, a scream of pain and rage escaping her and there astride him she finally looked down to meet his gaze.
Big dark eyes met hers. Filled with such deep sadness pity and pain that they had overflowed to tears. Salted water streamed steadily from him, down his broad cheeks, passed blooded lip, and into sweat soaked beard. All else of which was silence and stillness from him.
The woman atop the man saw the harm and injury she had caused, not just the physical but also the mental and emotional. She saw in that moment the great extent of a will set to do no harm, a heart burdened by hurt and pain, yet no anger rushed to retaliate.
She saw him. So big, so strong, so powerful, so compassionate. Yet all of that was as if nothing compared to an immovable Will, set now to do no insult or injury no matter the personal cost to him.
Her people had provided the worst of filth and he had sacrificed his honour to consume it.
She had beaten and berated him, stripping him of dignity and he had sacrificed his pride to allow it.
She had taken him, with harm and hurt, without consent, and he had sacrificed his body to endure it.
The depths of those dark eyes took her and in them she saw the truth. The world as it could be. A world where the highest ideals were met as all values were shared equally. Where there were no disparate tribes, but where all were as One people. Where diversity enriched the whole, instead of differences dividing it. She saw hope.
The steady slow rhythm of his heart returned her to herself. She had not known when it had happened but she lay upon his broad chest, face against his skin, rising and falling with his slow breath. Her body was warm despite the darkness of the night around them, cradled gently in a pair of massive muscled arms.
"I saw it."
Her words came as a whisper into the silence and she felt more than heard his acknowledging grunt.
"It can't exist. It's not possible."
Again her only answer was that same grunt.
"My father will not stop until he has his war. He and all the peoples of the land are bound to their hungers, their needs for wealth, power and dominance."
His lungs filled and the breath was released with as much a sigh as an exhale.
"I know lass. I know the ways of hearts and minds. I know the truth of the Worlds.
They no longer struggle to survive, to fight and scrape to have enough food. With work there is enough for all so that hunger need not be a foe. So now they struggle for that which they think enriches them, land, wealth, precious metals, adoring subservient followers, all the while not knowing what true satisfaction is.
I know that an ideal world cannot exist because we don't all share and live to the same ideals. Until we can come together over common values, to acknowledge the baseline basic truths that apply to one and all, there can be no true satisfaction for all and so no true peace."
His words, so softly spoken in that still space, hung heavily upon reality.
"Come away with me then, let's leave them to their wars and hatred. Let's you and me make a place of peace for us."
Her words were spoken but she knew the answer before she had even started them. She had seen his eyes, she had seen the depth of his hope.
His chest rose and fell a few times, that slow steady drumming of his heart in her ears.
"You know the answer to that lass, but I'm grateful for the asking. An ideal world might never exist, but who would I be if I stopped trying to make it so.
What hope is there for the rest if there is not at least one who is willing to sacrifice all that they are to show that ideals and values have a rightful place in the truth of our world."
This time she found it was her eyes which were wet with tears.
"I fear the price may always be too high. War will come but it will not be from this day’s events. I will do all I can to delay my people but when it does dawn, know that that day I stand with you, for the sake of your ideal world."
So saying, Indech's daughter, princess of the Fomorians, slipped from his big arms, shivered in the cold, gathered her guna, and disappeared into the night.
Dagda lay there gazing up at the starry heavens and allowed his tears to flow until they joined the rivers swell and rolled away across the lands.
"An ideal world might never exist, but who would I be if I stopped trying to make it so."
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