Let the god times roll
cathal ap morrigan
Cathal was conceived on the eve of a great battle. His father, Donovan, was visited by a beautiful woman that evening. The woman wore a thick cloak of raven feathers which mostly hid her from view. Donovan, distrustful of this strange woman, asked who she was and what she was doing here. The woman responded with a small story, telling Donovan how she had journeyed to the camp of his enemies and offered them the same thing she would offer him now – yet they had declined.
Now worried more than before, Donovan gripped his heavy flail tighter and asked for the offer. The woman drew back her hood, revealing eyes like that of a wolf and hair that matched that of her cloak. Long fingers touched the roughened, bearded cheek of the warrior and told him quite simply. If the man lay with her he would be guaranteed victory in battle tomorrow. Her appearance at once frightened and stirred Donovan – and it was only with reluctance that he agreed to her terms.
After a night of passion, Donovan awoke the following morning to see the woman gone.. He dressed and stumbled outside to see that there was some truth to the promise of, what he now believed to be, the sorceress. His men were whipped into a roaring frenzy and shouting to be unleashed. Donovan himself felt a rage of his own growing and gave the order to attack. The army of berserking warriors fell onto their enemy, biting and tearing and slashing and hacking.
When no other enemy presented themselves, the rage began to subside and Donovan found his forces victorious against a foe greater than themselves.
It was only nine months later that the Sorceress appeared to Donovan again, this time carrying a swaddled bundle in her arms. She entered his house as easily as she had his tent from the camp, startling the man and the woman he had claimed as his wife. The Sorceress set the bundle down on the table in front of them, revealing a sleeping child within. Pulling her hood back she commanded Donovan to watch over their child, that he would not take the name of his father but would forever bear the name of his mother.
Donovan, outraged, demanded to know why he should do any of this. The Sorceress smirked and told him her name. Donovan and his wife blanched, and hastily agreed to raise the young Cathal.
Donovan raised Cathal more out of fear than love, though the years slowly began to shift the man’s opinion as he witnessed his boy’s feats of strength – and decidedly more vicious side. From a child he grew into a young man with the flowing hair and wolf-like eyes of his mother. His fingers grew into sharp nails and his teeth lengthened just slightly into something approaching fangs. Frequently, Cathal could be found either drinking and brawling or on the very edge of the woods – just staring into the forest.
One day, Cathal marched into his home and told Donovan he was leaving. He didn’t say where. Didn’t say why. The young man grabbed spare clothing and money he had been earning in brawls, and left. Donovan chased after his son, only stopping when Cathal marched into the woods at the edge of the town – woods no one dared enter. Sorrow filled Donovan’s heart and he returned to the village, bereft of the son he had grown to love.
Six years passed and a warrior in dark plate emerged from the woods. A heavy flail strapped to one side of a massive stag’s barding, while a long lance was held upright in the knight’s right hand. Women backed away in fear and men rushed to the edge of the village with whatever weapon they could grasp clutched in hand. The knight slowed his horse to a stop, glancing down to look at them through his visor. “Tell Donovan Morrigan and her Son thank him for all that he has done.”
Cathal, the knight, bowed in his saddle before turning the stag and sending the beast off at a swift gallop.
Since then Cathal has rode around the world, seeking out whatever battle he could – fighting under any banner as long as he had the chance to fight.