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Argyle has written copious backstory on the Raghaillaighs

Of the Of The Lost Children of the Raghaillaighs

 

            Mounted atop one of the last chevroths, Mordgar Raghaillaigh, last king of the Ginnic Scots sat. In his right gauntleted fist he held the Dark Sword, its black energies steaming from its daemonic blade.  In his left hand he held the banner of the Raghaillaighs. The four dark fists on a starch white background were stained with dirt and blood from a thousand battles.

From the side his shaven scalp hung one thick braid that fell just below his bristling black beard. His face could be no more intimidating. The only thing that drew a viewers stare from the myriad of deep scars on his flesh, was the tattoo of the Ganackd Shield Knot that spanned squarely from his brow to his chin, and cheek to cheek.

He had earned himself a reputation for being the most blood thirsty of all Clanmasters to ever have reigned over the Raghaillaighs. He had led a great campaign against the pagan Blacksackers from Ireland, and had almost brought them to their knees. He had routed the finest armies the Southmen king had to offer, and had done so with the undying thirst to spill blood in the name of Ginneigh.

Some had called him Mordgar the Black, for he bore not the tartan of the Raghaillaighs but a dark black and gray pattern upon his brecae, and black armor fashioned of Ogre hide, flesh he cut from the corpse of the a great mountain beast himself. Whilst he delved into the black magic of the Unholy Enemy, he was never once questioned for his devotion to the Green God. His soul was an unconquerable bastion of Ginnic purity. It was this that allowed him to command the unholy powers and stand uncorrupted. He wielded the daemonic black sword, stolen from the Fallen Son, the blood wraith himself, Dunemor. Given the approval of Ginneigh, Mordgar tracked the bastard son of William the Wise into the lost cannibal wood of Armen, where at last he met the wraith in combat, and felled him. With the ring of Ginneigh upon his finger, and the indomitable will only Mordgar himself possessed, he took up the Unholy sword. With this weapon of dark origins he had cut down all his enemies, but the undefeatable Red Armies that now marched to Reilltoch. The armies that the second incarnation of Ginneigh, Winnebeg Raghaillaigh, now held off, to bid Mordgar time to organize this last stand of a great people.

At the inner gates of Reilltoch, the great hidden city set amongst the thick evergreen that grew atop the Lone Mountain, he stood before his people, massed to wage their final battle against the red enemy of the South. He strode back and forth across the mossy stonework of the mountain city before the great host of proud Raghaillaigh warriors, the thick hooves of Fodroth crashing onto the stone with an almost deafening clamor. The purest of the Raghaillaigh line stood at the vanguard. Their thck leather armor, reinforced with plates of Reillairden steel, with deeply etched images of great fists was decorated with tokens of many battles. Heads of heathen Irishmen were woven into the braids of tall long bearded Scots, torn and tattered plaid cloth flew in the wind behind the hilts of their great swords and hammers. Behind this great rank of the ancestral Raghaillaighs, was the great mass of men that had migrated to the Raghaillaigh kingdom to pay proper homage to their god, or at least those of the clan who did not claim direct lineage to Argyle the first.

            “Winnebeg the Great Manifestation fights now so that we may prepare!” He bellowed with the great voice he wielded.

            “The people of Ginneigh may fall into darkness upon this day, but He shall never die!”

            Ginneigh’s armies raised their weapons into the air and responded with a mighty roar.

            “I call forth the Black Riders of Mordgar!”

From behind the great host rode eight Chevroth Riders, bearing large wooden round shields, wrapped in hide, and thourougly studded, and their massive chevroighner flails shouldered. The weapon in itself spoke a thousand words about their wielders. It was a massive metal spiked club, with two long blades extending from the end on opposite sides, perpendicular to the club head. From the end of these terrifying weapons hung a chain flail, a spiked metallic ball dangling at the end of a two foot chain. The chevroth riders would ride into the battle and crush their enemies with the massive reach and power of these great weapons

At the helm of this group was Mordgar’s son and heir to the doomed throne of Reilltoch, Argyle III, Salochstagh, Heathensbane. He had earned his title through the puritanical slaughter of the Blacksack legions of Death Cracks. In the darkness of that damned canyon he led a company of Mordgar’s finest to annihilate the full force of one thousand Blacksack demon-men. They say as he was nearing victory when he called off his men, so that he could feast on the flesh of his enemies, so that they would know the fear of Ginniegh. Argyle was outmatched only by his own father in terms of violence and Ginnic devotion.   He wore a finely crafted cuirass of hide, decorated with celtic knots, and brass bindings, and bracers to match. Beneath it he wore a chainmail hauberk, extending to his elbows, and above his knees. Wax-hardened leather greaves protected his lower legs. His thick brown hair fell past his shoulders, full of thick Celtic braids, and resting upon a mighty fur mantle that amply covered his shoulders. Draped from his shoulders was a forest green cape bearing his herladry, a bloody wolf rampant, over the traditional Celtic Shield knot embroidered in black. Completing his image, was a fine helm. It was of the Norse design, a thick Reillairden cap, coated with a glistening silver. Cheek flaps of gold, and embellished with ornate Celtic knotwork extended from the cap, as did gilded bands framing his souless eyes. From the rear of the cap draped a cape of chainmall that fell to the base of his neck.   

The company he led was of seven grizzled war-dogs. Men who served him, his father, and of course the Green god. These were men who had seen too many battles, men who no longer thirsted for water, nor hungered for food. Men who had given their bodies to Ginniegh. They were but tools, weapons of their divine master. Their only emotion was rage, the holiest of all emotions. It was with their rage that they took the Unholy Armies of Blackar apart piece by piece.

            “Your will father,” Argyle slowed his great steed and waited for Mordgar’s answer.

            “The Red Armies of the South have ravaged their way up the hidden road of the mountain. All that stands in their way is Winnebeg. He will return to us shortly, to lead our charge. We will ride with him at the forefront of the tide. We will fight to the last man, or until Winnebeg bids us some other task.”

            “Of course, father. What of the villagers, will they fight?”

           “No, they are our last hope. Should the inevitable time come, you will leave the battle, and prepare the final defense of the city. You will lead what of them you can down the back of the mountain, into the North of Blackborrow wood.”

            “Your will is as His,” Argyle gave the customary O’Reilly affirmation.

 

            Atop the battlements of the great Reilltoch gate the guards blew great horns, signaling the coming of a friend. Mordgar and Argyle’s company drew their attention to the gate as it opened. Slowly approaching was the massive hulk of Winnebeg Raghaillaigh. He was a nine foot beast of a man. His shoulders alone were four feet across He wore naught but the Raghaillaigh tartan, woven in wool, and wrapped about his lower waste in a manner that the Ginnic Scots would later take on themselves, and call it a kilt. Crowning his massive head was a helm horned with the massive horns of a great steer. His rippled body was ravaged by scars. Many were from battles that occurred years before. Many were self inflicted, and some bled now, new wounds opened by the blades of the Red enemy that still approached.

            As it occurred many times throughout the history of Ginneigh’s people, the God will offer a gift to his throng. A sign of his graciousness for the honor they live by in his name. No gift was greater than that of Winnebeg. The second wife of Royard Raghaillaigh was torn limb from limb as Winnebeg was born. He was the second human manifestation of Ginneigh, delivered to Scotland to protect it in dark times.

            He still held in his bloodied fist his gargantuan sword. A fifteen foot blade thickly caked with the blood of at least two-hundred Southmen. As he approached the armies of Mordgar, the Raghaillaigh dropped to a single knee, and lowered their heads. They brought a clenched fist to their heart.

            The head of the naked beast of a man called Winnebeg lowered to the dismounted, kneeling Mordgar.

            “Mordgar Raghaillaigh, stand,” the booming solemn voice of Winnebeg shook the entire mountain.

            Mordgar stood, and looked into the pupiless eyes of Winnebeg, that towered four full heads above him.

            Winnebeg spoke again, “Time is now to lead forth Ginneigh’s armies. Take this time now to rally your men, and then you will follow me into the enemy horde.”

            “Your Will is Done,” Mordgar replied, with a quiet, but deafening revere for his master.

            The living god turned his great sword to the ground, and stood in silent patience for the charge to begin. Taking up his role as commander again, Mordgar remounted his Chevroth. Following their master, Argyle’s company did the same. Mordgar turned to face his army:

 

“Time has come my minions!

The Southmannish armies knock at our gates,

And by Ginniegh we shall answer!

 

They may destroy us all on this day,

But we shall ride forth grimacing!

We will welcome death,

For through only death will we sit at Ginneigh’s table once more!

 

Let them know the fury of the Raghaillaighs on this day!

Let them remember the name Ginneigh forever!

Let Him haunt their dreams for eternity as we perish!

 

Ginneigh’s name shall sound in their skulls as you crush them in your bare hands!”

 

            The great army now roared as one, chanting Ginneigh’s name. Above the din of a thousand great voices, Mordgar called out the Raghaillaigh cry of cleansing:

 

 

 

 

 

“Frorren Raghaillaighs!

O sogmar fah Ginneigh!

O sogmar fah Winnebeg!

O sogmar fah Scotland!

O veer fah nor dor frorren,

Plaigh nah saloch habar!”

 

 

 

 

 

Ginneigh’s Army then took up the chant:

 

“Nah groveer!

Nah merchod!

Nah pralagh!”

 

            With his mortal followers now in full momentum Winnebeg called out with a thundering voice for the Raghaillaighs to charge. He charged out of the open gates of the mountain city with his massive sword pointing towards the enemy that waited ahead. Mordgar, Argyle, and the seven riders of his company followed behind, not even their great steeds could match the speed of Winnebeg. The deafening cry of a thousand enraged Scotsmen came with the massive charge of the great army.

            The massive footsteps of Winnebeg pounded the earth and rose dust along the dirt road that shot down towards the foot of the mountain. Alongside the great Chevroth riders, at the edge of the wide road, the thick woods that hid the path from the enemy for so long passed by. Mordgar, Argyle, and his men roared as their long downhill charge was now ending as they were about to tear into the Red Army line.

            In the first line of the enemy a great legion of spearmen stood wearily at the charge of Winnebeg, followed by Mordgar and his riders. While the Southmannish army outnumbered them twenty to one, they had just suffered an attack from Winnebeg alone, and he had sent more than two-hundred of their steaming carcasses into oblivion. Sweat dripped beneath their broad brimmed metal helms. Leather gauntleted hands clenched long wooden pikes. Long red tunics with yellow heraldry were soiled in fear.

           

            Winnebeg leapt into the air over the pikemen. He somersaulted through the sky and came crashing down, crushing two beneath his feet. He swept his massive sword through the center of the enemy horde. Twelve men fell headless to the ground after a single swing. As more of the red bastards charged forth, he lashed out a great fist and crushed their skulls. Returning his hand once again to the handle of his weapon, he spun around completely, killing another seven men.

            As Winnebeg tore into the heart of the enemy line, Mordgar’s riders crashed into the pikemen. With his daemon sword he splintered the spear of an enemy soldier, and rode straight over him. The man was pulverized beneath the iron feet of the massive Chevroth. Argyle and his men called their horses to leap clear over the front line of pikemen and into the enemy infantry.

            The downhill charge of the Raghaillaighs had devastated the enemy’s front line. The nine riders were hacking the enemy to pieces, while Winnebeg sent the dismembered bodies of the enemy to the ground in droves. Through the great dust cloud that rose behind the Chevroth charge, the great army of the Raghaillaighs revealed itself. Bearing hammers and swords, the great host tore through the squabbling enemy mass, and the great battle for Reilltoch had begun.

           

            The front line of pikemen had been completely consumed by the plaid tide. Shouting the Raghaillaigh attack cry, “Brad fah Ginneigh! Brad Fah Ginneigh farr ron Oo!” the heavily armored Scots hacked through the Southmen like dogs. Southmen were crushed under heavy reillairden hammers like wurms beneath an iron boot. Massive claymores separated legs from torso, muscle-bound Scots reached out with metallic fists and took heads straight off shoulders, and scores of Red Southmen fell to the ground lifeless beneath the O’Reilly charge.

            The momentum of the Raghaillaigh attack had taken its toll indeed. Any other army would have waited within the city walls, and attempt to withstand the siege. This was not the path of an army of Ginneigh. The Raghaillaigh had taken their doom by the throat, and laughed in its face. They faced their deaths head on and the Red Armies expected nothing less than such a bold attack from such a fanatical enemy.

 

Although the great army of the Scots was quickly ravaging through the Southmannish king’s men, the shear size of the Red Army was beginning to take its effect. Winnebeg and Mordgar’s Riders were quickly surrounded and being overwhelmed at the innermost portion of the horde. Winnebeg sent huge swaths of bleeding men screaming to the ground, and Mordgar’s dark blade tore through flesh and metal alike, and Argyle and his Black riders obliterated their mortal foes beneath the spiked fists at the end of their chevroighners, but the great mouth of the enemy was swallowing them indeed.

Mordgar lashed downwards at a tall Southman. The Black Sword cleaved the man’s helm in half, and split is upper torso in two. A fountain of blood shot up into the heavens and dowsed Mordgar in the red hot liquid of retribution. The sword’s evil origins attributed to such horrific effects that were seen to occur when stuck upon an enemy. Such effects were completely at random, and while some foes burst into flame when struck, others would quickly find their skull under enormous pressure until their head would explode and vanish into a red cloud of brains and skull fragments. He yelled down at his foes as he crushed them under the massive hooves of Fodroth.

“Remember Ginneigh’s name! Remember his name as you burn in hell!”

“Father!” Argyle called his father to turn and face the pikemen that charged through the Red horde to Mordgar’s rear flank.

It was too late, the soldier jabbed the long pike into Mordgar’s back armor. Spinning around at the waste, ignoring the pain of his slightly pierced vertebrae, he struck the man in the jaw with the O’Reilly standard pole. The man’s head jerked back, casting off his helmet. Before the man could rebalance himself, Mordgar swung around with his right arm, cutting into the arm of the soldier below. The man’s arm instantly rotted, and the flesh melted from the bone. Screaming in agony the man lashed out and struck Fodroth in the flank as the horse reared around so Mordgar swung to fully face his enemy.

The horse writhed in agony and kicked up its massive front hooves and then fell to the ground, crushing the left leg of Mordgar under its weight. Mordgar’s gauntleted hands dug into the thick dark earth as he dragged his body and broken leg out from underneath the massive beast. Mordgar hollered a bellowing shout into the sky as he swallowed his pain and fought off the agony of his crushed limb. Still on the ground, he sensed the blade of an enemy coming towards him. He twisted around and parried a spear that lunged at his face. It was the man who’d killed Fodroth. Bearing witness to his steed’s murderer, a great rage boiled inside Mordgar. Lunging off of his broken leg, Mordgar thrusted the barbed tip of the Black Sword into the man’s torso. The man’s flesh was torn from his muscle and sucked into the hole left by the blade. The skinless atrocity fell lifeless to the dirt ground.

Mordgar became quickly surrounded by enemy infantry. Men with thick iron shields and well-sharpened swords surrounded him wearily, afraid to attack. Not waiting even to think Mordgar struck the man nearest him, the evil sword superheated the metal shield and the bearer dropped the glowing red metal from his burning hand. The reeling soldier then evaporated into a cloud of red mist with the finishing blow Mordgar dealt him. The rest of the Southmen then swarmed Mordgar. Mordgar moved quickly and ducked under three successive swings. Mordgar lashed out with his sword and took the legs off of two of his enemies. A third man jumped onto his back. The rest of them quickly piled on Mordgar.

 

It was becoming apparent to Argyle that the enemy was putting all their efforts to dismounting the chevroth riders. He looked to his right as a pack of southmen lanced a chevroth in the chest and sent the behemoth rider, Gogroth, to the ground. More men with lances barreled through the horde towards Argyle. He mustered his strength and brought the end of his massive chevroighner flail down upon the helm of the foremost lancer, and lodged the man’s head between his shoulder blades. He was not quick enough to bring his flail around a second time, and his great steed was dead before he could turn him away. To avoid being crushed by the weight of the chevroth, Argyle leapt from his mount to the ground below.

Two Southmen darted towards Argyle with swords pulled behind their heads. Argyle raised his shield up to block the first downward blow, and then back pedaled out of the path of the second attackers cross slash. Quickly countering, Argyle lashed forwards and caught the end of his chain around the leg of the attacker on the right. The chain whipped around the man’s left leg and swung into his right knee from around the back. The blow shattered the knee cap and the man fell to the ground on his good knee in agony. Argyle then blocked another blow from the attacker on the left with his shield. Not wasting the time to pull another flail through the air, Argyle reached out with his  fist, clenching the chevroighner. The calloused fist pounded into the man’s nose, and the crunch of his nose breaking pleased Argyle’s ears. With the edge of his shield, Argyle crushed the man's neck inward and instantly paralysing him, and leaving him in agony on the field.

The first man still lunged at Argyle’s legs from the ground. With great ease Argyle brought the spiked haft of the chevroighner down onto the man’s skull. The inner blade protruding from the club shot through the man’s head down into his neck. The momentum of the swing brought the flail end through the air and crashed into the ground behind

The familiar cry of Mordgar caught Argyle’s attention. Looking through the fray with keen eyes, he saw the flash of sunlight gleam off of the blade of a great dark sword. It was indeed Mordgar, and he was being outmatched by a great number of Southmen. Argyle took up his duty as Lord’s Protector, and made haste towards his father. A great number of the enemy lay between him and his master. As he strode forward he dropped the heavy chevroighner and shield and unsheathed the great claymore from his back. The six foot blade would be much more suited on the ground, where he would need to hack through a vast number of foes to reach his father.

Argyle cut down the enemy between him and his father like stalks at the edge of a machete. A dozen headless men lay in Argyle’s wake.

“Father! I have come! Let us send these to the foul place of their eternal doom!”

“I have slain many my son, but you are sight I am glad to see. My leg is crushed! It will not be long before I am bested by one of these fell men!”

“Then I shall die with you!”

Standing back to back Argyle and Mordgar stared the enemy down. The two  men rotated around an invisible axis between them, pointing their swords at the circle of enemies around them.

 

The Raghaillaigh infantry rampage had now slowed. While the initial momentum of the downhill charge had ended the lives of the Southmen in great numbers, the Raghaillaigh footmen were finding themselves overwhelmed. The majority of the Red Army was still pushing through themselves to reach striking distance of the Scots, yet the Raghaillaighs were already fighting five against one.

It was this combat that O’Reillys lived and died for. Atop Reilltoch, these soldiers trained for days at a time in the ancient art of the Ginnerald, the fighting style unmatched in grace and power that had been taught to the first Raghaillaigh by Ginneigh himself. These men trained for years, to build enough muscle to wield their forty pound hammers. They fought for the sole purpose of honoring Ginneigh, and hoped that the heathen souls they sent to hell would be enough to give them a spot at Ginneigh’s table when they passed.

With unfailing devotion they would fight and until the earth itself was destroyed to honor their god. None more honor could be received than through death at the hands of an enemy who far outnumbered them. To die heroically was of utmost importance in the mind of a Ginnic Scot.

            A good quarter of the Raghaillaigh army was killed, and the majority of those still alive were the pure-bloods. The direct descendents of Argyle the First, and they fought more tenaciously than common mortal men. Many of these were of the Nardelmh, men who believed honor was best achieved through victories in combat without the use of weaponry or armor of any ilk. The Ginnic word Nardelmh translates into “naked ones”. These men went to battle wearing little in manner of clothing, and often wielded nothing more than their rock solid fists, occasionally strapped to solid metal discs, braced against the flats of the knuckles.

            It was the Nardelmh that were taking the advantage of the enemy’s numbers away from them.

            “Christ, save us!” A Southmen cried as a naked howling Scot leapt onto the man. The southman swung his short sword towards the nardelm’s neck but the Scot caught the man’s wrist and twisted it until it snapped. The naked barbarian then punched the man unconscious and then bit out his throat.

            Another southman warrior stabbed the nardelm in the spine from behind. While the man reveled in his glory, the behemoth Winnebeg crashed down to the ground behind him. The warrior swung around to face him, but was frightened half to death at the sight of the great man. The warrior let his sword drop from his hand as Winnebeg swung downward with his massive claymore. The man was split in two, a piece of timber beneath an axe. Winnebeg then turned to lead the Nardelmh behind him to advance farther into the southmen mass.

            “To Mordgar! To Argyle! Charge my children!” Winnebeg called to the mighty Nardelmh troop gathered behind him. Winnebeg mercilessly sheared his way through the field, leaving only a few screaming victims in his wake, left armless, or legless, left only to be beaten to death at the end of the iron fists of the Nardelmh that followed him.

           

 

            At the front end of the field a great mass of the Raghaillaigh clan had been surrounded. The massive Gogroth, of Mordgar’s Black Riders, who had been thrown from his horse had regrouped with the advancing Raghaillaigh army. Now they were surrounded and entirely outnumbered. With Winnebeg and the Nardelmh cutting through the southmen masses towards Mordgar and Argyle, these Raghaillaigh regulars stood against the vast number of enemy infantry, and with only the skill of the lesser captains did they stand a chance.

            “Cut them down! Cut them down! Let these bastards taste their own blood!” Gogroth howled into the fray. His fighting style was the epitome of Ginnerald, the fluid movement and finesse linked with incredible power. Clutching his long-handled hammer, he pushed the haft into an enemy’s throat. Taking the spiked pommel of his weapon he stuck it into his foot, and then finally brought the heavy head of the weapon into his foes skull.

            A sudden chill of metallic pain shot through Gogroth’s torso. The tip of a spear had penetrated his armor and was stuck deep into his lower pack. Gogroth spun around to meet his foe, but the spearmen did not let go of his weapon, and as Gogroth twisted the metal dug deeper into his flesh. From behind the spearmen another red soldier came, bearing a long sword over his head. Gogroth raised his weapon to block the sword, but the heavy sword cut the haft of his hammer in half. The spearmen still tried to jerk his weapon from Gogroth’s back. Gogroth took the up the hammer side of his broken weapon and broke the leg of the right attacker, and with the spiked pommel he stuck it deep into the other’s chest.

            Gogroth reached behind his body to pull out the spear that still protruded from him. The spear broke as he pulled, and the metallic tip remained stuck in him. He shouted in pain. To his right three southmen overwhelmed a young Scot and brought him to the ground. As Gogroth hastened to his aid, the Scot’s throat was slit and the enemy spat on his corpse.

            “Ginneigh!” Gogroth bellowed his god’s name, so that his enemies would remember it when he destroyed them. In his right hand he still clenched the broken hammer head, which remained at the end of the broken handle. In his left he held the spear ended pommel. With great speed and vengeance he descended upon the three men. Swiftly he sent the sword of one of them spiraling into the sky with a solid hammer blow. A second attacker came swinging downward upon him, and cut through the broken half of his hammer and found its mark deep into Gogroth shoulder. With the loss of his arm, he gave up on his broken hammer. He dropped it and reached to his belt for a throwing axe. He tomahawked the weapon into swordsmen’s face, quickly retrieving it and spinning underneath the swing of the third soldier’s glaive. The second solider lunged at Gogroth and the tip of his blade dipped into the flesh of Gogroth’s thigh.

            A nearby Raghaillaigh warrior bearing leather armor, a macabre skull mask, and wielding a pair of  axes bore witness to the Gogroth’s impending defeat. The masked warrior finished off his own foe before coming to his captain’s aid.

Gogroth parried the lunge of an enemy swordsman narrowly, and swung wildly with his small hatchet at the two to no avail. At the very moment Gogroth expected his death to come to him, a masked warrior leaped onto one his enemies from behind, his long braided brown hair whipping wildly behind him as he tore the southman apart with his dual axes. The soldier attacking Gogroth turned to bear witness to what had become of his ally, only to have his leg hacked from him by Gogroth, who took his opportunity.

Before Gogroth could worn him, the skulled warrior was struck behind the head by a chain flail, a tall thick-bearded southman with chain mail coif bringing death to him. Gogroth’s leg locked up in blood loss, and he was incapable of rising from his knee. The southman swung his flail around his head wildly to build momentum. A terrifying whipping sound seared the air above Gogroth. Finally the man released the flail, and with only a small axe to block it, Gogroth found his last weapon caste away from his grip. Gogroth breathed in his death and roared Ginneigh’s name as stoically as ever as the southman’s flail broke his face in.

 

            Mordgar stood tall amongst a swarm of southmen, and his son Argyle laid flat on his back beneath a great pile of men, grappling with a red soldier. Still clutching the brilliant banner of the Raghaillaigh Clan, refusing to dishonor the standard by releasing it from his iron grip, he cut down countless enemies with his daemon sword, the sword whose name is no longer uttered. Arising with a great vengeful fury, Argyle caste off his attackers.

            Mordgar proudly witnessed his son bring the might of Ginneigh upon his attackers with nothing but his fists. Argyle was blinded by his uncontrollable rage, the same rage that had compelled him to eat the evil bastard men of Death Cracks, and he tore his enemies limb from limb. Mordgar too, realizing their survival, and the survival of Ginneigh’s name against the insurmountable odds they faced, fully depended on such blinding rage, submitted to his own inner fury. His transformation from mortal man, to unconquerable avatar of vengeance was instantaneous. He snapped his neck back, bayed into the sky like some Black Wolf of the Darklands, let his eyes turn up into his head, and let his anger consume him. Then nothing but his primal fury led his body. The intangible bestial force that resided in the souls of all men, that none but the Scots of old had harnessed now drove him.

            Argyle and Mordgar unleashed themselves upon the southmen. Scores of men were felled by Mordgar’s daemon blade and Argyle’s great sword. The inhuman rage that consumed them shielded them from pain of the countless wounds they were being dealt, they fought on blindly, at the whim of their deepest emotion, unaware of the damage being sustained by their fragile mortal bodies.  Spear ends sunk into their flesh, swords cut into them, but they fought on unwavering.

            It was to the great fortune of Argyle and Mordgar that Winnebeg and the Nardelmh he commanded came to their aid.  A great hand enveloped a red soldier’s head from behind as he nearly cut Argyle in half, and crushed his skull with a firm squeeze. The gargantuan man-god Winnebeg had come to honor his holy heritage. Winnebeg, Mordgar, Argyle, and the Nardelmh then faced the great force of the Red Armies. Their bastard King, watched from afar upon his horse, surrounded by his knights, as his great armies now consumed the company of men that he had sworn to his God to destroy. He was no man of honor, and would not put his life at stake; he left that to his men. He would watch and wait for the fall of his enemies.

           

At the front of the battle the great number of Raghaillaigh infantry was nearing defeat. The three survivors of Mordgar’s Black riders lead them, still mounted on their great chevroth steeds, the last of their kind. These three captains were Hadgar the Pious, son of Roius, Dodgrim Ironskull, son of Droden, and Follar the White, son of Tandrod. Hadgar was a young warrior of no beard, known for his piety and dedication to Ginneigh. Droden was an older O’Reilly veteran, who lost both legs to Blacksackers during Argyle’s Crusade of Purity. He had withstood the full force of a hammer blow to the face and been given his title, Ironskull. Follar was the son of the great O’Reilly warrior of old, Tandrod, and lived forever in the shadow of his father’s memory. These were the three men that lead the dwindling army of RaghaillaighO’Reilly footmen that now were disappearing within the sea of southmen. They fought from atop their massive steeds, and kept the fire of hope still burning in the hearts of the last of the infantrymen than fought on.

            “Die with Honor! Die as a great servant of Ginneigh and you shall never perish!” Hadgar called to the last of his men. From atop his horse he could see their grim fate unfolding itself. His men died all around him. To his right Droden mercilessly beat his enemies from the legs of his chevroth with his chevroighner and to his left Follar called his horse to kick and trample the southmen to death. Behind him O’Reilly warriors he had come to know and love became swallowed by the red ocean of southmen.

            An old white bearded Scot fought off ten men alone. He had already lost an arm and an eye to an enemy sword, and had a long knife stuck into his leg and he fought on. He did not fight for his life, he fought so long as his body would sustain him, so that the name of Ginneigh, and the legacy of his people would not ever be forgotten. With his last bit of strength he brought an axe into the chest of an enemy. From behind a hammer shattered his spine, and he fell to the ground. Screaming not out of pain, but screaming defiantly at death, he welcomed the final stroke that spelled his doom.

            Before they fell, these brave warriors let their presence be known on the battlefield. For each Raghaillaigh killed there were ten of the enemy. With speed and power given to them by the gods, these men parried and blocked weapons of twenty foes, and cut them down with the reillairden blades until finally he would face his end valiantly.

            Hadgar looked around him with pride as he saw his brothers transcend the mortal world. For each of his brothers fall, he saw a man once again become one with the Green God. Before long it was positive in his mind. The great army of footmen that had charged from the gates of the city had now all been killed.

            “To Winnebeg! To Mordgar! To Argyle and the Nardelmh! Ride! Ride!” Hadgar called to the other riders, Droden and Follar.

            The three seemed to glide over the red armies like great ships on high waves. Their massive steeds crushing dozens of men, leaving a wake of crushed bone and flesh behind them. All the while the three lamented their foes with their great warrior cries.

           

As the last Nardelm were cut down, Winnebeg, Mordgar, and Argyle once again fought alone.  A great hammer fell upon Mordgar’s head and he fell unconscious to the ground, blood ran from a dozen wounds from his body. His dark sword fell to the ground, but his left hand still clutched the Raghaillaigh flag, even unconscious his will prevailed. The unworthy southman who had dealt Mordgar the blow ripped his prize from his enemy’s grip. The four fisted flag of the Raghaillaigh clan.

“Bring it to the King!” A southman ordered the hammer wielder. Ten more red soldiers filled their place as the two ran off with the flag to their king.

 Argyle hastened to his father and warded off the southmen vultures from bringing Mordgar to such a terrible end. He swung his claymore about wildly clipping arms and legs off those who ventured to close. A great number of soldiers now climbed up the great body of Winnebeg. Soldiers clung to his arms, legs, shoulders, and head and stabbed relentlessly into him. Winnebeg did not submit. He pulled the southmen from them and threw them to his feet. Bearing the wounds he fought on. As the three chevroth riders filled into the pocket where Winnebeg, Mordgar, and Argyle still breathed the calls of King Edward could be heard, calling the southmen to swarm them and bring them death at all costs.

In a great booming voice, Winnebeg ordered the riders,” Take Lord Mordgar! Take him from here! I will fight, prepare for the final defense of the city!”

Winnebeg lashed forward and snatched the head off of an enemy. Follar and Droden shielded Argyle as he raised his father’s broken unconscious body up to Hadgar. Hadgar sheathed his chevroighner and clutched Mordgar’s body.  Then Argyle gave him the cursed sword, Hadgar sheathed it.

“Argyle! You must lead what is left of the women and children out of the city!” Winnebeg ordered again. His heart wanted him to fight and die, in his father’s name, and Ginneigh’s name. Were it not Winnebeg himself that commanded him, he would have stayed. But Winnebeg’s will was Ginneigh’s, and with respect he took Droden’s hand, and mounted his Chevroth.

“Protect the young and the meek!” The three chevroths carried them towards the city gates.

The five crossed the threshold of carrion and corpses between the city gates and the battle from which they fled. Their Raghaillaigh spirits writhed in the agony of retreat as they turned back to bid farewell to their fallen brothers.

In the distance a great god could be seen. Bodies were caste skywards. Great torrents of bloodshed flowed, and the red mists filled the sky. At this moment a great gasp was heard from Mordgar, who arose from the chevroth mount. His brecae were frayed and shambled. His armor was pierced in countless places. A great gash oozed from his brow to atop his skull. His leg throbbed in pain from it’s crushing beneath Fodroth. His right arm burned, and his flesh was near melting from wielding the dark sword. All that saved the tormented limb from complete destruction was the Fist of Ginneigh. The small fist shaped ring that Mordgar bore on his finger, the ring Ginneigh had forged and passed on to all of the Raghaillaigh lords. It could be seen on his hand. Dark veins writhed and swirled throughout his hand and up his arm, but never neared the ring on his finger. They swelled and oozed with blood, and burned, but flowed around the finger, never fully corrupting him.

Argyle knew what was coming, and what he must do. They would watch as Winnebeg fell from the gates of Reilltoch. Argyle would then bid farewell to his father, as Mordgar would make his last charge. He would be given the ring, and he would lead what was left of the Raghaillaighs into exile.

 

The great red horde, like a receding tide, pulled themselves back from Winnebeg. Horns sounded and flags were waved and great war-machines were rolled up to the front, facing Winnebeg. A great rank of pikemen filed out in front of the machines. They were great wooden ballistae, four times as long as a man. Mighty spears were mounted onto them, and as they cut the ropes to let loose the great missiles, Winnebeg strode forth. He was not fast enough and the great missiles struck him in four places. Once through the abdomen, once in the bicep, once in the thigh, and once in the chest. Not even the great god Winnebeg could withstand such grievous bodily harm. He came crashing to the ground before the red army. He clutched his claymore and attempted to use it to raise himself up to fight once more, but his body convulsed and he breathed his last breaths, and with that he passed.

 

Mordgar, Argyle, Hadgar, Follar, and Droden watched Winnebeg’s fall from the gates. No word was said, nor was a single tear shed at his passing. The five let the hate sink into their souls. They let it broil inside them like a fine stew. They would let it age, and let it refine itself so that it may be unleashed at the opportune moment.

For Mordgar, that moment came sooner than for the rest. The red armies reformed their lines and resumed their march forward towards the gates. The Southmannish king no longer stood and watched from afar. He rode in front of his armies now, along side his knights. In his arrogance he held the flag of the Raghaillaigh clan, the flag that was stolen from Mordgar’s hands. He did not know what he brought upon himself.

Mordgar gave Argyle the Lord’s ring without saying a word. He bestowed him the Daemon Sword. A moment of eyes locking, was all that affirmed Argyle’s taking of the throne.

“My sword father,” Argyle said solemnly giving him his great claymore.

He accepted it.

“I will ride to the flag now, and I will die. You and these last three riders will go to the city and take what women and children that are there, and go far from here. Make haste to some dark place, some place of reckoning, a place of sanctuary. You will live in eternity as a reminder of these old times. You will have the eternity of years that lay ahead to reap vengeance upon the sons and daughters of those that have slain us.”

Argyle understood. “Like some dark creature we will stalk the woods, and the moors, and wherever our enemies dwell. We will never let them forget His name. In Ginneigh’s name I shall avenge you father. I shall avenge every treason put upon our people and our God. I will slit every throat in Scotland, I will hew off every head on this Great Island, and I will crush the earth beneath my boot before I suffer to let the enemy forget our name. Die well, father. Ride now, and go to Him.”

Hadgar dismounted from the chevroth and left it to his lord.

Mordgar Raghaillaigh the Black barreled across the corpse ridden field towards the Red King Edward. His eyes fixated upon the flag as he screamed down upon his enemy.

Just before the great army consumed him, Argyle and his men could clearly see a head fall from a kings shoulders, and an enraged Scot raise his flag to the heavens with the defiance of a god.

And so, the Red Armies marched upon Reilltoch to find the city empty. Not a single creature moved in the abandoned stone city that once existed invisibly in the mountains. The Southmannish king was celebrated as a martyr, and as the Hammer of the Ginnic Scots. His name was forgotten with the aging of time.

 

A caravan of horses transverses a muddy north Scotland rode in the cold rainy night. Atop the steeds Knights can be seen bearing the seal of Britain upon their standards. The road cuts deep into a dark wood.

With the strike of a lightning bolt from the sky a rider disappears. The horses whinny and run about, the caravan is broken. The long bearded officer looks about for the missing rider. A scream behind him catches his attention. He spins around to find his squire’s skull split by a small axe. Within moments the officer finds himself standing alone, accompanied by only the fallen bodies of his comrades sinking deeper into the mud, who have been felled by some unseen force.

A dark figure upon some great beast-horse is revealing itself through the rain as it approaches him rapidly. As it nears him he can identify the features of a long haired barbarian, bearing tartan brecae, and wielding some terrible sword which has an appearance alone to sear the eyes. The warrior then shears the officer in half with a stroke of his weapon.

 

 

 

He dwelt in the dark woods of the north,

Upon misfortuned enemies he would sally forth.

Upon the life of his father he swore he would not tire,

Until all the ancestors of their enemies burnt in Ginneigh’s fire.

This is the legend of Salochstagh and the Lost Children of the Raghaillaighs.

 

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The House Raghaillaigh , Palatine, Illinois Last Upadated: July 13th 2009