I. Here Beginneth the Journey

The Journey of the Leanaí i Ndán

I. Here Beginneth the Journey

ONCE of a time, in the Ailing Age, the Destined Children gathered together to rescue the souls of the dead from the clutches of the Primordial Ones—for it is in rescuing the souls of the dead that they would be able to free the gods from their imprisonment. Chosen to descend to Tír na Marbh, the Land of the Dead, were the five heroes, the Leanaí i Ndán:

BRAONÁN THE BOLD, son of Manannán,
whose cunning could pierce a warrior’s armor,
whose music resonated so sweetly with the living and even sweeter with the dead,
who walked the line between truth and deception, crafting waking dreams with one hand and wielding Fragarach the Answerer with the other;

MAGNIFICENT MEADHBHÍN, daughter of Brigid,
whose comeliness lingered in the dreams of all who gazed upon her, even the unworthy who were stricken blind,
whose dancing made fire and water alike clamor to claim her as partner,
who could summon the finest food from the barest scraps and sweet mead from naught but brackish water;

LÁMHGHALA THE RESOLUTE, a broad-shouldered defender with an arm crafted of stone,
who could lift the weight of three-hundred people,
whose stone arm could mold earth as deftly as it could destroy,
whose dedication to guarding her friends knew neither bound nor distance;

FEARLESS MÁRSÉLU, a lovely sorceress with her babe Samhraidh at her breast,
whose formidable blood magic could restore a person to health or could strike them down with illness,
whose voice could soothe or cut,
who could see the secrets resting on restive tongues;

FEARGHAL OF THE CROW-MEN, a light-footed warrior from where the East becomes West,
whose glaive could be summoned to his hand by the clap of lightning,
who could stir the most turbulent tempests from even the clearest skies,
whose fearsome battle song spurred him and his five crow warriors to victory.

Thus charged, they bade farewell to and parted from the other Destined Children, setting forth in their magic vessel, An Sharmh, through the Middle Lands to the Lands of Eternal Winter towards the sea; across which lay Éiru, where they would gain entry to Tír na Marbh.

I. Here Beginneth the Journey

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