Death or Freedom, A Legendary Tale by Clagh O’Mugnahn, True Son of Dunland

To you, my humble reader, I bid welcome and congratulations. You have the pleasure of reading one of the finest works of literature ever to be produced in the world, and certainly the finest in Gotha. For it is I, Sebastian de Aquila, who the people acclaim as none other than the most infamous charmer, poet, dandy and impeccable lover of Costa Luceste; whose penmanship and swordsmanship is unparalleled, whose poise and grace is unmatchable, and whose sonnets and ballads woo the noble ladies of Aquila.

Alas, my humble bibliophile, I cannot once again steal the show, as I did to Gottfried von Laatzen in the summer of 600. Instead I will narrate to you the description of a man who, after sharing an evening sharing glasses of wine and flagons of dark ale, I have come to admire as a man of action, of tenacity, of effrontery, and of intrepid spirit. He calls himself Clagh O’Mugnahn, which he has disclosed translates to “Stone, descendant of Mugnahn,” in Gothic. It is a fitting name for him as he is by trade a miner. You may be tempted to cease your perusal of this document upon learning that the subject is but a common man, but I bid you to continue, as I have seldom met a soul as gilded as that of Good Clagh. And it is known that great deeds often stem from humble origins, as I portrayed in my critically acclaimed drama Blacksmith of Wood.

That night, as the ale and spirits cascaded, Good Clagh regaled me with the origination tale of his surname. It seems that long ago in the Age of Heroes there was a Good King Caomhán and his loyal knight, the seminal Mugnahn, who lived on the island of Íomhair, on which Good Clagh and his house still live. Good King Caomhán’s rule was wise and just and the people thrived under his jurisdiction, but those from without began to grow envious of Íomhair’s growing bounty. All of these ne’er-do-wells coalesced under the banner of Nathair, a sea-captain who had set his sights on possessing fertile lands. The bannermen of Good King Caomhán and Cunning Nathair met on the field of Réimse Glas to decide once and for all who the Lord of Íomhair would be. At this point in the telling of this tale Good Clagh must have had enough dark ale to kill a lesser man, and yet he still continued though I admit that I may have misheard some of the names given in his account due to my own battle with the spirits of the bottle. Continuing on, Good Clagh details how, at the height of the battle, Good King Caomhán is fighting furiously with the Cunning Nathair but ever so slowly, the Good King is gaining the upper hand. Then, just as it seems that the Good King is about to deal the finishing blow, Cunning Nathair transforms into a giant winged blue serpent, who is hereafter referred to as Nathair Gorm. Nathair Gorm regains their advantage, and the Good King is struck low by Nathair Gorm’s devilish form. The men of Íomhair, suffering greatly against Nathair’s Invaders, begin to buckle at the sight of Nathair Gorm and they begin to flee. It is at the point that the Great Warrior Mugnahn, previously defending his lord’s life against the Invaders, shouts a challenge of single combat to Nathair Gorm. The conditions are thus; if Mugnahn dies, his people shall be free from persecution. If Nathair Gorm dies, the Invaders shall turn back and be exiled from this land. Possibly incensed by his recent fortunes and amused by the absurd proposition that the Invaders would agree to the outcome one way or another, Nathair Gorm accepts. These two titans clash and Nathair Gorm is taken aback by Mugnahn’s ferocity. Mugnahn fights with the strength of twenty men, and bit by bit, he is able to pierce Nathair Gorm’s armored hide enough to deliver the final fatal blow. The Good King’s men cheer and Nathair’s Invaders are shocked by Mugnahn’s ferocity but move as if they mean to continue the battle just as it had left off, that is until they look upon the visage of Mugnahn, who has stripped bare and bathed himself in the blood of the defeated Nathair Gorm. The sight was too much for Nathair’s Invaders to bear and they turned and fled back into the sea from which they came.

It is my opinion that such an outlandish tale cannot possibly be anything but a child’s fable, with a narrative structure similar to Certainty Of Eternity, but Good Clagh told the tale with such impassioned zeal that I could naught by be impressed. Having at this time been into our cups for some while, I bid the Good Clagh good night and slipped silently into a slumber, but I hope to have the pleasure of dining with the True Son of Dunland once again.

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