§An Strainséir§Mature

The small fishing village was small . It supported a population of about 200 and growing. The people were highly suspicious of strangers, and fiercely protective of their own. Just like any other growing town.

Then, a lone figure came to town. Nobody saw him, for he arrived just as the sunset, the time when mothers would call their children in for supper and the men would finish their working day with a few beers in the pub. 

He was dressed in a dark cloak with a hood over his face. His chest was covered by a strong leather jacket and he wore two iron-tipped boots. He walked differently, with a grace no normal man should have. A small bulge on his side indicated a bag of some-sorts.

Nobody saw him. He was as quiet as the shadows he cast upon the ground. Strangely, his shadows seemed to be shifting, as if they were alive. He didn't seem to notice. It was natural to him.

He was hungry. It had taken him a few days to traverse the terrain in the countryside. He would rest here for the night and regain his strength. Hopefully, no one would give him any trouble. 

The Stranger walked through the village, his eyes darting back and forth, looking for a sign that read tavern. He was rewarded when he saw a building with a sign on it saying;" The Old Sailor". He walked towards the door. Just before he opened it he paused. Was it a good idea? To come into a village. His kind weren't allowed. He chuckled at this thought. They didn't know what kind he truly was.

He composed himself and opened the door. The heat rushed out at him, making him close his eyes. When he opened them again, he realised that everyone in the room was staring at him. The bartender, the drunkards at the back and the working men sitting at the tables. 

The Stranger walked slowly over to a vacant table, as far away from the other people as possible, and sat down. A good few pairs of eyes followed him. A few people started to talk to themselves, in a hushed whisper. 

He breathed in slowly. He could hear what they were saying. "Who is he?" "Where is he from?" "We don't need his kind around here." "An Outsider."

He ignored the snide comments and focused as the waitress came over. He noticed that she seemed uneasy. "Anything you'd like, sir?' she said cautiosly. "Water and some roasted chicken,' he replied quietly. His voice was strong and his words meticulous. The waitress nodded and walked away as fast as she could. 

He reached for his bag. It was a small little satchel. He opened it and reached inside, aware that people were still watching him. He found what he was looking for. It was a small little ring, golden in colour with a large red ruby on top. It reasonated with power.

He heard a sharp intake of breath and looked across the room. One of the men who had been whispering was looking at the ring greedily. The Stranger slipped the ring on his right index finger and let his hand rest on his lap.

He didn't need to hear the continued whispering to know what they planned. He smiled to himself. He needed some exercise. The waitress came over with his food and drink. Once she deposited it on the table she hurried away, faster this time.

The Stranger was just beginning to eat his roast chicken when the men made their move. One went towards him while two others went around, flanking him. He prepared himself for what was to come. The first man reached him and pulled out the chair in front of him before sitting down.

"Nice night innit?", he said in what he probably thought was a friendly manner. The Stranger swallowed before replying. "I suppose so, I didn't really notice,' he said back. The man grunted, his eyes flicking over The Stranger's shoulder to where his two henchmen were taking up position. The whole tavern was silent. All eyes were on the ongoing situation.

"Got a name, sir?' asked the man. The Stranger looked at him from under his hood. " My name is Bradan,' he replied. "Bradan eh?' the man said. He coughed forcefully into his hand before continuing. "Well Bradan, we're a small village, and we don't like your kind because you're a scummy lot,' he said.

Bradan put down his fork slowly before pushing his hood down. His face was that of a young man who was just after reaching adulthood, with messy brown hair and a small brown beard. But it was his eyes that the man found himselft staring at. His eyes were of the deepest ocean blue. They showed a vast knowledge and intelligence. But as well as that they showed something cold. Something dark. A deep, undying hatred.

The man shook his eyes and then sat back. "See, we don't like scum, and as such we tend to get rid of it when it comes to our village,' he said, with a cocky smile on his face. That was the signal for his two friends, who grabbed Bradan by the shoulders. Then all hell broke lose.

Bradan shoved himself back into his attackers as well as knocking the man over with the table. He fell to the ground with the two men and was the first on his feet. He reached down and grabbed one of them by the throat. With unnatural strength, he lifted his victim up into the air. The man gasped and choked for breath. Bradan smiled coldly and whispered one word. "Sracadh". The man's body exploded, showering blood and guts on everything.

There were screams and yells of horror as people panicked and ran for the door. The man he had talked to was crawling away as fast as possible. Bradan leapt towards him, grabbing his foot and hurling the screaming man at the wall. He hit it with a muffled clump and fell. 

His other attacker had staggered to his feet, coated with his friends innards. In a moment of blind courage and desperation, he flicked out a knife from inside his clothes and charged Bradan. Bradan put his hand out.

The shadows came alive as dozens of black hands grabbed the man. He screamed in agony and fear as they began to pull. Bones snapped and intestines were ruptured as the the hands pulled their victim apart. As soon as they were finished they melted back into the shadows. The third man was lying with his back against the wall, gibbering with fear and disbelief. He whimpered as Bradan walked towards him. 

"Whuuh...who....who are you,' he said, tears running down his face. Bradan knelt down to face him. "Who am I?' he said. He chuckled and then stood up. When he spoke, his voice changed to that of a one which reasonated with power. " Bradan na Duibhe, Mac Crom Cruach, is ainm dom,' his voice thundered throughout the village. The man screamed in terror. Bradan clicked his fingers. A spark of flame appeared in his palm.

He grabbed the man with his free hand, lifting him up. He the man was sobbing with despair. Bradan put the flame close to the man's mouth. The flame shot in to the gaping hole. The man shuddered and gasped for breath. Smoke drifted from his nostrils and his mouth as the fire burned him from within. His eyes rolled back in his head as he he jerked back and forth. Bradan let go of him and the smoking carcass that was once living fell to the floor. 

He turned around, surveying the carnage. "Crom,' he whispered. His form began to change. It grew smaller. His skin grew rougher. Two large fangs appeared in his mouth. A tail sprouted from his back. Once the transformation was finished, a great, gleaming serpent was there. It's silvery scales shone like the moonlight. The serpent hissed, flicking it's tongue and then slid quickly through the blood and out through the open door, into the night. He was gone before the mob that had formed reached the tavern.

Furain an t-aoigh a thig, greas an t-aoigh tha falbh.                                                                        

 An Strainséir- The Stranger.

Bradan= Bray-Dawn.

Bradan na Duibhe, Mac Crom Cruach is ainm dom= My name is Bradan the Black, The Son of Crom Cruach.

Sracadh= Rip/Tear.     

Furain an t-aoigh a thig, greas an t-aoigh tha falbh= Welcome the coming, speed theparting guest.

Crom Cruach is/was a god, originally worshipped in Ancient Celtic Ireland. Wikipedia Link for it is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crom_Cruach


The End

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