Fadó fadó, when the land was new and Ireland still glimmered with emerald beauty, Ireland was a simple place, filled with beautiful people who lived for and off the land. What was not simple, however, was its leaders. Before the arrival of the Danann, there lived the last Diana-Rí. A Diana-Rí was not unlike a King, save one very big difference – magic. While it is not uncommon for a King to rely on a Druid in his court, since the days of the last Diana-Rí, it is now law that a King may never wield such power for himself.
The reason for this was King Claddagh – the last Diana-Rí of Erin.
King Claddagh was a man with a short fuse and a big temper. People all the land over feared him. In order to maintain peace, the population appeased him in any way they could. Farmers would offer over their entire seasons produce, in hopes that the King would not set their lands aflame with a snap of his fingers. Butchers would slaughter herds, just to ensure that with the wink of an eye their prized heifers and hogs would not evaporate into thin air.
The worst by far, were the parents offering over their daughters to the King when they turned sixteen, to become Maidens of the Choróin.
A Diana-Rí would not take just one woman to be his Queen, he would have a Harem of women, called the Matrons of the Choróin. When a young girl turned sixteen, parents from far and wide would offer up their daughters to the Maidens of the Choróin. Here they would receive training in the art of womanhood and manhood. They would learn, to cook, sew, clean and other such duties by day, but night was a different story. At night the King would visit the girls to inspect how well they were aging and he would teach them in the ways of ‘manhood.’
At the age of twenty, the young women who remained, were inducted into the Matrons of the Choróin. A group made solely of six women, who lived to serve and please the King. The King would keep his favourite six, murdering the women who did not maintain his standard of beauty.
That was until Solas.
Solas, named for the beauty that radiated from the inside out, caught the Kings eye from the moment she was conscripted into the Maidens. Claddagh was transfixed by the blond locks that unravelled in curls from her shoulders to her waist, her blue eyes that seemed to change like waves between the brightest blue and darkest grey.
From a young age Solas never failed to see the beauty in the world and when she met King Claddagh, she was the first person to see the goodness, however slight, within him.
The King devoted all of his time to her, in awe of her beauty, kindness and ability to challenge him. Solas knew the stories of the Kings temper and at first humoured him out of fear. As the years went on, Solas began to believe that Claddagh had changed, that she had managed to bring him out of his darkness and finally into her light. It wasn’t long before that light turned to love and for a brief time, things had changed in Erin.
Claddagh, no longer needing anyone but Solas, released the Matrons of the Choróin. The Maidens were no longer training to serve the King, but rather to serve Solas. Solas treated the Maidens with the kindness of a sister and loved them greatly and they loving her in return.
Failing to believe that any woman who could love the King, and be loved so deeply in return could be of this world, the tribes of Ireland began to believe that Solas must have been “delivered of the faeries.”
When King Claddagh heard this, he could not contain his excitement. Being a man of the Draoicht himself, he was not one to take such musings lightly and began about arranging to bind their souls and magicks as one in the Ancient unity of Anam-Amhain.
Anam-Amhain, was an Ancient sanctum not unlike the modern marriages. An Anam-Amhain, however, is a sanctity between two persons of Magickal Descent. Claddagh was a Laidír Anaithid, a direct descendent of An Seancheann. “The Old One” – the Creator and Destroyer of Erin.
If Solas indeed was “delivered of the faeiries” then she and Claddagh would be able to wed in Anam-Amhain, allowing Solas to wield all the powers of King Claddagh, binding her soul to his for eternity. They would be immortal, so long as their hearts beat only for one another, in perfect sync.
There is only one way to be sure if one is “of the faeries”. You must first obtain a lock of the persons hair, a drop of their blood and the teardrop of a Merrow. Then you must mix them by the shore of the Great Sea under a Red Moon at dusk. If the hair glows pure white, this person is a faerie, if it glows an electric blue, this person is an imp (a child born of human origin) but if the hair glows in a yellow hue, as bright as the Summer’s sun, then this person is “of the faeries.” One with the ability to live forever and travel between the veil to the Otherworld of the Souls before.
Solas was indeed “delivered of the faeries”.
Claddagh arranged their Anam-Amhain during the Samhain, the end of the harvest and the beginning of a new year. The Samhain held the tradition of great change and the King believed it to be symbolic of the end of his time in darkness and the beginning of his life in eternal light with Solas.
They were wed under the Orange Sun on the top of a hill, where the night ends and the day begins. Erin rejoiced at the Dawn of a New Light, the people had grown to love Solas and were grateful to her for bringing joy to the land again.
To ensure that their bind was sacred in all aspects of life, the King arranged for a coronation alongside his new Queen. On the day they wed they declared themselves An Déithe Nua na hEirin – The New Gods of Ireland.
The Diana-Rí and his Banshee – Woman of the Faeries.
Together they ruled side by side for hundreds of years. Their hearts beating as one, in perfect synchronisation. Their hearts beating only for each other. Solas used her Maitheas to guide those on the brink of death in this world, to peace in The Otherworld. She gave hope to those who once had none. King Claddagh brought life in the land where there was once death and gave life to those who once had nothing.
Erin was at peace.
Where there is a beginning, I’m afraid there is always an end.
After what felt like a millennium in love, Solas and King Claddagh had not aged a day since their union and Solas was as beautiful as she had been the day her stormy eyes met King Claddaghs all those moons ago.
But now there was one more beautiful than she. Born to a man and maiden by the ocean. He was a fisherman and her a Merrow’s gariníon. Their daughter, Lí Ban was more beautiful than Solas.
The King first saw Lí Ban sitting by the river combing her hair, which was as white as the first frost in the Winter. She was brushing it to one side with a silver comb and separating it, as if in preparation to braid it. Her legs were draped over a rock and her toes were circling the currants of the waters.
He approached upon her silently careful not to startle the beauty. Suddenly she began to sing, it was the most beautiful sound Claddagh had ever heard in his life. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, all he could do was watch on helplessly and listen to her song as it slowly made its way into his heart.
Lí Ban knew he was watching her. She had purposefully sang to him to entrance him in her spell. She was making him fall in love with her. Lí’s grandmother was a Merrow and Lí had inheritated her magicks. As she grew, Lí began to master the art of the Merrow, using her Siren Song to seduce men into giving her whatever she wanted. She had learned to swim with the speed of a Merrow and was able to travel between Erin and Tír fo Thuinn, The Land Under the Wave.
Lí turned and gazed at King Claddagh with her lime green eyes, still singing she beckoned him toward her and with a kiss her enchantment was complete.
King Claddagh was hers.
Lí Ban filled King Claddagh full of false love and adoration, he no longer cared for Solas and thus no longer had a need for her. Lí convinced the King that he should murder his Banshee and take her for his Banloch – Lady of the Lake.
As Solas and King Claddagh were bound to live immortal as long as their hearts beat as one, King Claddagh knew that there was only one way to break the marital bounds of Anam-Amhain. Only one way to remove Solas from his life and create a new life with Lí Ban Under the Wave.
As a token of good luck, Lí Ban placed her comb in King Claddaghs hand and placed a kiss beneath his jaw. If a Merrow ever kisses you beneath your jaw, you will no longer be in control of your own actions. Her bidding is your bidding, her life is your life – you are a slave to the Merrow, as they are a slave to the tide.
Not wanting to alert his Banshee to his intentions, Claddagh presented the comb of Lí Ban as a gift to Solas. Not before he had enchanted it with a curse that whoever were to use the comb would be stripped of all their Magicks for one moon.
Solas, not knowing that her husband and King could be capable of such deceit or evil was touched by the gesture and began to use it immediately.
As she combed, her powers began to grow weaker and as they did she began to age rapidly. The time that she escaped in her eternal love story was finally catching up on her. Claddagh recognising that Solas was at her weakest reached into the chest of his once beloved and removed her still beating heart. Acting quickly the King drew from the Magicks of The Old One and preserved the heart of his Banshee in an eternal state of beating.
Solas still sitting at her dresser, watched on as her one true love placed her heart into a glass bowl and covered it with her crown, his once loving hands drenched in her blood. The only thing keeping her alive, was the last of the Faerie Magick in her blood and with her last breath she opened her mouth and wailed.