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Burning Embers

Burning Embers

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{Private} The Romans took over their land, but now fifteen years later with the return of their warriors, the Celts' burning fires have renewed with hope of freedom.

950 readers have visited Burning Embers since AvengerSpirit created it.

Introduction

The Roman Empire spread across the world. The Romans took no prisoners and enslaved the foreign peoples claiming they were bettering their society. Those who fought back against the Romans were destroyed. Everything the Roman Empire touched was destroyed and claimed for the mother land. Even lands thousands of miles away were not immune to the conquest.

The lands of Britannia, a land of three countries, but one little island knew a much of the tragic story of being apart of the great empire. The Celtic people were warriors who fought amongst themselves more than the Romans. When the single tribes tried to fight, many were wiped out. There were others whose leaders gave into the bribes of the empire and bowed to her whim. Their people were spared, but with another price. Every fifteen years a group of young boys would be enlisted into the Roman legion to fight for a term of fifteen years. The cycle repeated.

One Celtic tribe located in what would be one day modern day Southern Scotland fought against and yielded to the Romans. The tribe’s leader was defeated in battle against the Romans. His son was too young to take his place so the title went to the strongest warrior in the tribe, the Champion. The Champion stepped down against the Romans and took their bribe. Many of the older warriors had died off during the battles and only the younger boys who were still training were left.

The Romans took a handful of them to serve the empire for fifteen years. The Champion now had full reign of the tribe. Mostly only women and children were left alive. He received gold from the empire for ruling a Roman providence, but the tribe members felt him as a traitor. He did what he wanted with no one strong enough to stop him.

More than fifteen years had passed for the Romans did not count the months it took to get to one’s post and back as a part of their sentence. The boys who were taken from the tribe and survived their term have returned home as men, hardened warriors with a name for killing. They made their ancestors and the Celtic name proud even under the service of a vile empire.

Not everything is as peaceful or joyous as it would seem. More boys are going to be enlisted into the service of the Romans now that the old soldiers are home. But the tensions between the leader of Cantae and its people are high. With Roman soldiers coming into the tribe and old friends returning there is no telling what is going to befall the tribe whose fighting spirit has burned its embers for fifteen years under Roman occupation and the leadership of a traitor.

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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The Winter wind ripped through Cadeyrn's cloak, carrying ice and snow from the far Northern edge of the Roman Empire's territory, but Cadeyrn knew he wasn't fighting the Barbarians there anymore.
He was nearly home.
Between the heavy snow and the fifteen years he had been away, he barely recognized the surrounding land, but the column of smoke coming from the many wintertime fires warming many homes had appeared on the horizon yesterday morning.

"Hmm. I can taste that Ale and feel that fire now", Caelian, A fellow Cantae warrior and Cadeyrn's constant companion, said from beside the larger warrior.

All around the two men, was a scattering of Cantae Warriors and Roman Legionnaires on foot, followed by the Centurion and Officers on horseback. While the Celts were talking amongst themselves, nervous and excited about their homecoming, the Legion remained stoic and silent.

Cadeyrn eyed the Centurion, a man of average height for a Roman, who was still a head shorter and twenty pounds lighter than Caeillian, the smallest Cantae warrior in the group.

"What're you lookin' at?", The Centurion said in his language, something that in the 15 years of military service, Cadeyrn had fluently learned.

Cadeyrn simply stared at the Officer, who after a moment broke his gaze with the intimidating warrior. Even the Romans in their group had heard of Cadeyrn's fighting prowess. The Warriors of Cantae had made him their war-leader in the field of battle, only taking orders relayed through him.

Finally, the houses came into view, small buildings made of wood or stone, surrounding the Hall in the middle, the main building for celebrations and meetings.
The villagers must've seen them from a distance, because no sooner had Cadeyrn, who was leading the procession, crested the hill that held the village when the large group was swarmed by women and children and the village elders.

The only face Cadeyrn sought, was of a girl who would be just past her 20th winter, but he gave up the search as he realized he would probably not recognize her now.
The Warrior turned, grinning at Caeillian who was holding his little sister, now in her 20th year. The young woman was crying, and the other man even had a bit of moisture under his eyes.

Suddenly, the whole village grew silent as the Chieftain, Culthaine, strode out of the main hall. The Tribal leader despised Cadeyrn, and vice versa. He was a lecherous man, a dishonorable warrior who gave in to Roman rule. Now doubt he saw Cadeyrn, now a battle-hardened man, as a threat.

"Rejoice and rest for now! Tonight, we drink to our returned Warriors, boys forged into men!". He said, with obvious forced enthusiasm. The villagers all had mixed reactions, some ignoring the announcement, while others simply smiled and turned to their loved ones.
The Warriors all looked between each other for a moment, then their eyes turned to Cadeyrn who had his gaze locked on to Culthaine's, and behind them, the Legionnaires stirred, obvious tension felt in the cold air.
After a few seconds, Culthaine broke the contest and addresses the Legionnaires.
"Come, Great Warriors of Rome! You will all sleep in my home tonight!", to which the Centurion ,then he and his twenty men trudged through the snow, following the Chieftain.
The silence went on for a few moments as the chieftain left, but was interrupted when Cadeyrn felt a tugging on his leather and fur pants, to which he looked down and saw a girl no older than five years old. She reached up to him with her grubby hands. The Warrior smiled, and picked her up, bracing his arm under her rump.
"Now! Bring the ale and start a fire in the Hall! We've got a few stories to tell!" Cailliean all but shouted, to which the other men cheered, then they and the villagers headed for the Village Hall.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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The entire village was abuzz when the warriors homecoming. Though Sorcha was not a fool enough to believe that there was no sadness and tension. The young boys would now take their places. She just wondered how many of the boys who had left were returning. She despised the Romans and wanted them out of her homeland, but there was nothing she could do.

Her father had allowed her the day off so she could get ready once the tribe had learned when the warriors would be returning. Despite the cold, she had bathed and washed her hair. She was nearly frozen by the time she was done scrubbing the soot and smoke from her body and hair, but she felt clean.

Sorcha stared at her only formal dress, a deep rich blue with embroidering of gold Celtic knot work. She still wouldn’t get to wear it. Instead she turned to her dancing dress that she and the other dancers had. It was shorter to allow movement, but still long sleeved. Hers was a dark emerald green with gold trimming. She pulled out the dress and changed grateful for the thick wool stocking that would keep the exposed legs warm. She curled her hair and pinned it up with the matching hair piece.

She was nervous. It had been such a long time that she had danced for anyone let alone the whole tribe. They had never had anything worth celebrating until now, but some part of her felt as if this were a funeral as well. The Roman soldiers would be present as well and she wasn’t sure if she could be cordial with them or not. Best not to speak at all.

“You look beautiful as usual. Just like your mother.”

The young woman turned and glanced at her father. She smiled at him knowing that he was just trying to make her feel better. It would be the first time since she’d started working as a blacksmith that she’d gone into the village without being covered in soot from the Forge.

“Thank you.” She whispered as she grabbed her new cloak she’d traded a few weapons she’d made for and wrapped it around her shoulders.

“Wear your torc.”

Sorcha’s eyes light up and she headed into the shop and opened the small box that held her newly finished torc. She didn’t know her father knew about her project and she hoped that he didn’t know how she had forged it. Pulling it from the box, she wrapped it around her neck where it fit perfectly.

It wasn’t gold, but the pieces of scrap metal gleamed like silver from her forging. The ends were done in a small, tight Celtic knot work that shown just how long it would have taken a normal black smith to do. It had only taken her a few days forging it through her magick. But she never once mentioned that to anyone.

“His gift? Do not think I am an old fool. You have chosen to remain unmarried not because of lack of choice, but for him.”

“Papa, stop. He is a hardened warrior. He will probably not even remember me. I was only six seasons when he left. Fifteen long hard seasons have passed since then. I am no child nor is he.”

The old man left the subject drop, but Sorcha still went and checked on the sword she had forged for the warrior. Like the torc she hadn’t forged the weapon from any fire, but with magick. She hoped he would like it, but for now she had to hurry to the hall.

Sorcha left her home and headed through the tribe as quickly as she could. Oh, how she wished she could be with the main group who got the first looks at the warriors, but like all the other entertainers, she had to prepare. They would show off for the warriors while they and the tribe feasted and stories were told. They would get to eat afterwards. She was more worried because they were doing a piece she had helped created.



Sorcha entered the back of the hall where the other dancers were waiting on her. They smiled when they saw her. Like her they were dressed in similar outfits, but their colors differed. She saw she was the only one in green. Her face heated and tinted her cheeks a bright red.

“You’re taking lead.”

“Say again?”

“Lead. We decided since it was your dance.”

Sorcha gulped as she shrugged her cloak off and put her soft shoes on. The hard ones were in place for the change over part way through the song.

“They’re here!” Another one of the girls yelled. Everyone turned and ran over to the crack where the door was located that they entered and exited to the main hall from. Sorcha peeked through with them as they all got their first look at the returning warriors.

“They are so handsome. Maybe we should have waited to marry like Sorcha.” One of the commented.

“Why? Tonight is the only night she’s is not covered in dirt and grim. No man wants a woman who does a man’s job.”

The red head just shook her head as she played with the curls that cascaded down to her lower back. It felt so weird not having her hair as she normally did. Do not listen to them, Sorcha. Ma would be proud that I did not settle for what men were left or that I was taken in by the fake leader, the traitor. I am probably one of the only women he has not had because of the dirt and grim. I have remained clean. She sighed and she returned to the crack with the other girls as they awaited their turn to take the stage.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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The rest of the men sat at the front of the stage, drinking ale, laughing and a few were even singing. Caelian sat next to Cadeyrn, looking directly at him.
"You can show a bit more enthusiasm at being home. Drink a bit too much, take a girl home....".
Cadeyrn teasingly placed his hands over the child's ears, who was now sitting on his left leg. Completely oblivious, she simply grinned at the Warrior.
"Sounds more like your plans than mine." Cadeyrn said back to his friend.
Caelian laughed heartily.
"Right you are!", he said, grabbing the nearest woman and disappearing back into the noisy crowd.
Cadeyrn spared a glance at the Roman soldiers, who were still standing stoically to the side, drinking and a few murmuring amongst themselves.
His attention turned back to the stage as the doors opened and the troupe of dancers and musicians came out, immediately starting the entertainment for the night. Cadeyrn watched half-heartedly, taking in the faces of those around him, happy to see his men happy and home once again. It was sad to admit, but the Village held nothing for him anymore. He had no desire to start a family, dooming his sons to serve on the Roman Legionnaire Banners and run the risk of his daughters being viewed as nothing more than whores to their occupiers to serve their every need. Besides that, the one face he had searched for was either married already, or died somewhere in the hardships of the last 15 years.
Just as that thought crossed his mind, he caught a flash of red-hair, which in his tribe wasn't so common. Most of them had light brown or blonde hair. He looked closer at the features of the redheaded woman, a tug of familiarity followed by a surge of hope welled up within him.
It was her. Sorcha Ceardach, the Blacksmiths daughter though, all grown up now.

After an hour or so, the entertainment was now over. The Hall had begun to empty out as the most of the village people begun to go home and a few Warriors followed in suit.
Sorcha was making her way to the front door, no doubt to go back home or to the forge, so Cadeyrn had begun to rise to follow her out when he noticed a group of about six Legionnaires get up as well and follow Sorcha outside, lecherous looks and smiles on their faces.
Cadeyrn felt his temper flair and without letting anyone know of the situation at hand, and unfazed that he was unarmed, he followed the group outside.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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She couldn’t see all of the warriors through the throng of people who were coming into the hall. He’s here. She could feel it in her bones, in the air that she breathed. It was the same chest clenching sensation she’d had when he’d left over fifteen years before that she was having now. Repressing a gulp, she went over the routine with the other dancers before it was their go.

Luckily, she didn’t start on stage. Her back ups did. They were both wearing blue outfits; everyone else was a mix of colors. Knowing she had to dance lead and he was out there was enough to make her want to turn tail and head back to the safety of the Forge. But she knew that she couldn’t.

Once it was her time, she came onto the stage and let the music take her away. Sorcha blocked out everything else that she could. The tribes people, the Romans, their Champion and the warriors whom they were dancing for. By the end of the piece she allowed herself to glance over at the warriors to see if she could play the face she was looking for. As the music came to an end and the sounds of the hard shoes they had all changed into slipped into a lighter tap, she finally glanced at the males fully. She didn’t even second guess herself.

The face was the same as it had been fifteen years before only grown into itself. But it was his eyes that gave him away. The young woman avoided eye contact as quickly as possible and exited the stage with the rest of the dancers. All of them were overly excited as they switched back into normal shoes.

“Hey, where you going, Sorcha?” One of the asked, as the red head as slipping her cloak over her shoulders.

“I need to pick up the warrior’s gift.”

“Only one, huh? Someone catch your eye?”

“Yeah, you finally thinking about marriage?”

Sorcha felt her face flush as she pulled the hood over her head. She just shook her head trying to hide her feelings from the girls who only wished to gossip. No doubt they would continue to talk about this for months. She had never once given a second glance at any of the men in the tribe until tonight, which they likely had seen. She didn’t care. She had waited fifteen years for him to return so she could fulfill her promise to him from when he left.



“When you come home, Cadeyrn, I will have you a sword made. It will be the best sword in all the village and maybe all the tribes.” Sorcha was only six years old at the time, the night before all the boys were taken away. The male in question was thirteen and the young girl she had no right to be talking to him, but they had often played together as they both shared the common fact of having no mothers.

Sorcha had no idea that one day she would learn her father’s trade or the magick that came along with it. But she meant to up hold the promise to the boy turned man and the one she had made to herself.




If he will have me when he returns I will be his wife. It was a foolish dream she had held onto for years, but she had kept to her silent word. She hadn't married even when she’d been asked, several times. She feared their leader asking because she knew he would not take no like the others had.

Leaving the back of the hall, she entered with the rest, many of which were exiting to return home. She decided to leave with the crowd. Taking a deep breath she stepped into the cold night air glad to be out of the heat for a few moments. She turned towards where her home and Forge was. The sword she had left wrapped in fabric as she didn’t have a sheath for it in the Forge to protect it. She hadn’t wanted anyone to steal it tonight before she could give it to the proper owner.

But something wasn’t right. Something felt off. She blamed it on her nerves about actually speaking to the warrior again for the first time since he had left. He probably does not even remember me. I am just a smith’s daughter. Fifteen seasons at war is a very long time and easy to push things from the mind. She sighed to herself as she tried to shake the feeling that something was wrong as she headed home to get Cadeyrn’s gift.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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Cadeyrn steadily, but carefully trailed the Legionnaires as they in turn, trailed Sorcha, sure that he knew what they were up to but wanted to catch them in the act to make certain.
The snow, and his experience in the field aided him in hiding the sound of his footsteps, allowing him to close a bit of distance to size up the soldiers, knowing he would have the element of surprise, but unsure if he should risk the venture to his horse to claim his weapons.
[iToo risky, Sorcha could get hurt. Perhaps I can take a Gladius or two if I act quick enough.][/i] Cadeyrn began to silently berate himself, knowing he should have at least brought Cailiean and the smaller Warrior's longbow.

Just as he suspected, Sorcha caught on to her pursuers, who began picking up speed as she turned to move between the smithy and a stone storage building. The Romans dropped the subtle act and began calling to her and whistling as they all but sprinted between the two buildings. Cadeyrn felt his blood boil and his pulse pick up. The Celt got a running start and clambered up the side of the stone building, which was a good 18-20 feet in height and shed his cloak from around his neck and shoulders, crouched down and moving swiftly across the building.
Looking down, he spotted the soldiers, who had Sorcha cornered but she appeared to be putting up a fight with the small dirk clutched in her hand. One of the legionnaires lunged towards her, and the knife skid off his metal helmet as she stabbed at him. He knocked the small blade away, to which Sorcha responded with a swift right hook to the mans jaw, knocking his armored head into the wall with a Clang!. The Roman cursed loudly and recovered quick enough to give her a stiff backhand with his gauntlet, knocking the smith's daughter to the snowy ground.

Cadeyrn released a bellow of rage and leapt from the roof, clenching his fists together as he fell on the soldier, clubbing the back of his unprotected neck and laying him low, face down in the snow. Before his victims fellow's could react, the larger warrior whipped the short-bladed gladius from the Legionnaires belt, and stabbeded him through the shoulder blade and into his heart. pulling it out and brandishing it in spinning circles as a challenge to the other four Romans.
One of them reacted rather quickly, lunging at Cadeyrn and stabbing at his center mass. Cadeyrn reacted with reflexes unexpected of his size, turning to the side and catching the Soldiers sword arm between his larger bicep and abdomen, trapping it and jamming the tip of his gladius at the base of the Soldiers helmet, instantly killing him as he severed the smaller mans brain stem. He then released him, allowing him to fall to the ground as he turned to the remaining three, who for all they were worth, looked rather hesitant.
The hesitation only lasted a few seconds before all three of them charged him.
Cadeyrn answered the rush by taking a step forward, planting his booted foot in gut of one of the Roman soldiers, sending him into his comrade who was bringing up the rear and effectively turning this into a brief one-on-one match.
The remaining soldier was foolish not to fall back and wait for his two stunned friends, instead coming in with a well-aimed slash at the Celt's throat, to which Cadeyrn simply leaned back, evading the slash and countering with a thrust. The Roman proved that perhaps he wasn't a fool as he deftly parried the thrust, his blade pointed down and followed through with a diagonal over head slash when he brought the weapon around from the parry, never pausing. But Cadeyrn proved to be his better, catching the blade on his own and pushing it up with little strain, using one arm against the soldier's two. He then gripped one of the Roman's wrists with his free hand, pushing it up even farther to make more room for his next strike, which was a headbutt directly into his opponents nose.
On impact, there was a sickening crunch and a spray of blood on Cadeyrn's chest , neck and face as the Roman reeled back. He didn't get far before Cadeyrn leaned forward and grabbed him by the top of his armored chest piece, pulling him forward while simultaneously thrusting with the gladius, impaling the Legionnaire and picking him several inches off the ground before tossing him off the blade and against a wall.
About the time the Roman hit the wall, the two other Soldiers had fully recovered and were again coming after the lone Celtic warrior who readied himself to meet them. The three exchanged blows with their gladius's, steel ringing on steel mixed in with cries and grunts of exertion, all in all, probably attracting much attention from Romans and Celts alike in the village.
Cadeyrn received a few stinging strikes, drawing blood on his chest and arms but nothing serious, all the while doing just as much damage to his two opponents and still keeping them at bay.
Finally, the Warrior found an opening. He parried a hard thrust, throwing one off balance and struck him in the jaw with a hard left-hook spinning through the strike and knocking him out cold. Cadeyrn recovered just in time to narrowly dodge a slash aimed at his head by the other Roman soldier, ducking underneath the arcing blade and coming up with a counter attack, slashing upward and opening the Roman's throat from collarbone to chin, spilling blood all over the snow and Cadeyrn's arm.
The Celt finally turned toward Sorcha. "This won't be allowed to go unanswered. Find a place to hide outside of the Village, I'll come for you whe--". The warrior was interrupted by a shout of surprise, which when he turned, appeared to be coming from a Roman Hornblower. The young Roman raised the signal horn to his lips, shortly before Cadeyrn's Gladius sailed through the air and struck the man in the gut, a bit short of the original mark due to the Gladius not being balanced for throwing and thus allowing the Hornblower to scream in agony, carrying an alarm just as loud as the horn that fell from his hand as he fell to the ground.
Soon after, the shouts of the rest of the Roman cohort began to close in.
"Sorcha. Make your way to the Hall and alert my men of what has happened. They will take up arms. Go!", He commanded as he picked up two Gladius's from a couple of other fallen Romans and took up a combat stance.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
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Now it was certain something wasn’t right. This many people shouldn’t have been heading off in the same direction as she was. The Forge was put further away from everything else in the off chance that a fire broke out. Sorcha repressed a gulp as she now knew she couldn’t chalk the feeling up to simply being nerves. Her heart was starting to pound in her chest as she turned around corner.

That was when she started hearing things. They were calling out to her. She in turn, only tightened her grip on the clasp of her cloak. Her other hand was inside of the cloak where she kept a small weapon. She didn’t want to use it because she wasn’t very good at it, but she knew if it came to it she would not go down without a fight. This is why I never left the Forge without being covered in grime. She thought to herself.

It didn’t take things to go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. Sorcha found herself with her back to a wall and facing Roman soldiers. She repressed a gulp as she brought her knife out and held it in front of her. She knew there was no way she was going to win this, but she wasn’t going to give them the honor of making her unclean without so much as trying to fend them off.

The scuffle began and ended before she really knew what was happening. She knew she’d struck out at him twice. Her hand still hurt, though she knew her strength was more than a common woman due to her work, it hadn’t even seemed to faze him. The next second, her head as spinning and she was lying down in the snow. The young woman felt something trickling down the side of her face. She ignored it as she glanced over at the Roman. She spat at his feet before searching for the weapon.

Sorcha still had once trick up her sleeve. If it meant relieving the truth of what she could do, then she would do it if it meant her life. When she found the knife she reached out for it searching for the feelings she had when she used her powers. She could feel them rising. The Romans had another thing coming if they thought this was over yet. That was when she finally heard something. She knew she hadn’t attacked anyone, so what was causing the noise?

Glancing up, the red head caught sight of the man as the heated battle began. Neither side was pulling punches and the woman held herself together as she watched the Roman soldiers die. This was real. She’d never seen someone die before, but a small part of her was glad the Romans had met their end. Through the darkness she could tell it was one of the warriors who had just returned home. But why were they following her as well? Her mind wandered to the stories she’d heard of warriors returning home and acting much like the Romans did. The thought made her sick. A Celt who betrayed his kind…

That was when she saw who it was. It was impossible to mistake him for anyone else. Cadeyrn. Sorcha’s breath caught in her throat as she watched him move. All the stories they had heard about the warrior were true. He was an impressive sight in battle. He would never betray his tribe. Not after everything that happened fifteen seasons ago. He is not here to hurt me as they were. He is protecting me. She managed a weak smile to herself. That was when the impressive sight of a man turned towards her covered in his own and Roman blood.

She stared up into his eyes as she listened to his words. He didn’t sound as if he had lived fifteen years speaking another language. She had thought his Gaelic would have been hard to understand, but she understood every word he was speaking. She started to shake her head before she caught herself.

“He will not allow…” She started to say before she trailed off hearing the same thing as he did. She glanced over before turning her head from the sight. People dying were one thing, but she had never seen a battle zone like this since she was six years old. It brought memories up she’d rather have not remembered.

Sorcha looked back over at Cadeyrn as he stood ready to fight again. Repressing a gulp she slipped into the Forge only a few feet off. She went over to the table and picked up the sword wrapped in the extra fabric. She pulled it out and headed back outside as quickly as she could. She stopped beside him and held the weapon out to him.

“It is yours. I promised this to you many seasons ago. I kept my word.” She managed a weak smile. It was the best blade she’d ever made. While she had wanted to give it to him under better circumstances, now was as good as any. He was going to need it if he was to continue fighting. Her heart was still pounding in her chest as she left him with her gift to do as he had commanded her.

Running through the tribe, she didn’t get many looks as most of the people were still at the hall and those who were out were avoiding the Roman force as much as possible. When she finally saw the hall, she felt a bit better. She stood before the door staring into the crowd trying to catch the eye of one of the soldiers. When she did, she fought to find her voice. She had to get help to Cadeyrn.

“Cadeyrn is fighting the Romans by the Forge.” She said as loudly as she could. It got the response she wanted as the other warriors jumped to their feet grabbing their weapons. The few Roman soldiers who were still there started to follow them only because all of the warriors were leaving in a hurry, not that she thought they understood her. She didn’t see if they were killed out right or allowed to go or not. Her green eyes were locked onto their Champion who was staring back at her with venom dripping.

Sorcha held onto her cloak with her left hand a bit tighter trying to find the nerve she needed to move away. Her breathing was coming in short gasps and she nearly jumped as she felt a hand touch her shoulder and someone whisper something in her ear. Finally she turned away from the deadly gaze and followed the warriors back to Cadeyrn. She knew it was dangerous going back, but after seeing the look from their leader she was sure it was less dangerous to be at a battle than at the hall. That was when she noticed the blood at her lips. She stopped running as she reached up and pulled her fingers from her face. They came back red with blood. She clenched her hand into a fist before she started running again. This wasn’t the home coming anyone had expected.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach
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Cadeyrn dropped his main-hand gladius and took up the master-work that was the celtic broadsword and tested in his hand.
And incredible peace of work, he thought to himself, and was about to reiterate verbally to Sorcha, but when he had looked up, she was already leaving, and the crunch of feet on the snow was growing louder.

There he stood, Cadeyrn Caelliannach, the war-leader of the Celt Auxiliary, and rightful heir to the the title of Chieftain, standing against a cohort of the Legionnaires he once bled and shed blood for.
The Warrior spread both of his arms and shouted a challenge, to which the Romans answered in a charge.
Cadeyrn had two slight advantages in the alley way. These legionnaires had brought their large, rectangular phalanx shields, creating room for only one to two soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder, and the second was Cadeyrn's superior reach with both arm length and the length of the new blade he had been gifted, giving him more reach than a Roman with a gladius, and about equal reach to a roman with a spear.
He lunged a leg forward, swinging his broad-blade out in a horizontal arc and catching a Romans shield on the edge and a bit angled in, hooking it and causing the arm attached to it to sling out wide, creating an opening to which he exploited by thrusting with his gladius, impaling the soldier in the throat. The shorter weapon wouldn't come back out, so Cadeyrn was forced to release it just as the other soldier chopped down at his forearm, narrowly missing it as the Celt pulled his limb out of the way and retreated a few steps back.
The Roman followed through, lunging forward and attempting a shield bash, to which Cadeyrn answered in kind by ramming his shoulder into the already moving shield, his weight and strength winning out and causing the soldier to stumble back into his comrades, albeit at a small cost as Cadeyrns shoulder and upper arm went numb from the impact.
As the soldier recovered, Cadeyrn gritted through the pain in his injured arm, and took his broad-sword in a two-handed grip, bringing it over his head and swinging it back down just as the Roman brought his shield up in defense.
Shocking to both the soldiers and the Celt, the sword actually cleaved the Roman tower shield and the man behind it nearly in half.
The Romans, to their dismay, watched as the now incredibly intimidating Celt slid the blade out of their blood-gushing comrade before he fell to the already scarlet snow, obviously hesitant now.
The distraction cost them their lives.
A small shower of spears and arrows hit the Cohort just before a miniature tidal-wave of howling Cantae Celts slammed into them from the rear, totally taking them by surprise. The Romans in the front recovered and proceeded to attack Cadeyrn, who did his best (and albeit successfully) fended them off, receiving light cuts from blades and shallow stabs from spears, and in return inflicting crippling, if not fatal wounds to his attackers, the Broadsword shattering blade and spear, hacking armor to bits and cleaving shields with every swing.
After creating some breathing room, he heard his name being called and looked up onto the roof of the forge just in time to catch his shield as it came tumbling towards him from the hands of Caelian.
"Put that thing on before you hurt yourself!", he called out just before losing two arrows in a split second at a couple of Pilum-chucking Romans who had spotted him on the roof.
Cadeyrn slid his arm into the shield, turning his attention back to the skirmish taking place inside of his Village and jumping back into the fight. The Legionnaires were caught between a lone Celt in the front and a small horde in the back, both sides taking heavy casualties with no where to go, and those who decided to climb one of the two buildings on both sides were quickly grounded by a spear or flying arrow.
After the other Celts joined in, the whole battle lasted a handful of minutes, but the small army had little time to recuperate, for the rest of the Roman Century, about 40 more men had come up behind them and had enough time to form a Testudo , or Tortoise formation, with the Romans inside a block of moving shields covering the front, back, side and top. The Cohort had turned it into a Porcupine formation, the shields remained but they stuck the Pila spears out of the formation to impale any attacking Celt.
Cadeyrn eyed the formation cautiously. He knew the only way to break a Porcupine formation was with either Calvary or siege equipment, unfortunately, they had neither, so it was up to the last plan he wanted to go through with.
They would take them head on.
This tactic was employed by the Germanic tribes. They would charge the Formation, aiming between the spears as to not get impaled and try to find a chink in the four walls of sheilds, attempting to stab between the gaps in the ranks and push forward to break the formation, but then Cadeyrn had a better idea.
"Spears and shields in the front!, Archers on the flanks! Find an opening and strike, form up!". After he shouted the commands, the Celts with the traditional tower shields formed a frontward wall, the spears point out towards the slowly advancing Roman formation.
"Charge!", the War-leader shouted, sending his men into a fury as they ran forward, keeping the shield-wall connected.
The shields on both sides collided, the roman formation faltering against the fury and power of the Celtic shield-wall as both enemies began stabbing Pila and Lancea spears at each other.
For a few seconds, neither side was giving in, but then two Celts dropped almost simultaneously on the wall, enraging their fellows to fight harder.
Finally, a man named Aenghus standing next to Cadeyrn stabbed hard with the Lancea, evicting a cry of pain from the wall as the Roman he struck fell, creating an opening for a split second in the Roman Formation. And that was all it took. Soon the opening widened as Cantae Celts poured into it, striking down surprised Romans, and ultimately sewing chaos into the Roman Cohort. Both the Celt wall and the Porcupine collapsed, the battle of strategy becoming a bloodbath the Celts were more familiar with, and soon after, the battle was over and the head of the Centurion was brought to Cadeyrn's feet.
The warriors began moving about the battle field, finishing off injured Romans and helping their own as the Village folk came to take the wounded.
Cadeyrn, caked in both his blood and Roman sat down, sliding his shield off and planting his prized weapon in the ground, but his rest was interrupted as Culthainne, the "Chieftain", finally appeared.
"You arrogant bastard! What have you done?". He sputtered, his face crimson-red in outrage.
"What you could not". Caelian answered, as Cadeyrn continued to stare out at the carnage.
Culthainne looked to Caelian, then turned his attention back to the silent Cadeyrn.
"You should have died that night with your whore of a mother".
At that, Cadeyrn's eyes took on a dangerous look and he stood, throwing his shield to the ground and picking up his broadsword
"Aimhlease will taste the blood of a traitor tonight", Cadeyrn said, giving the Weapon a title, the name meaning "Bane". He hoped Sorcha was around to hear the proud name he had given the product of her craft.
Culthainne's eyes bugged out of his skull.
"Wha--".
"I invoke the right of Challenge.", Cadeyrn interrupted him.
"What right do -you- have?". Culthainne shouted.
"He is of noble blood!" someone shouted from the crowd, to which murmurings of agreement swept throughout the villagers and warriors.
"And who would dare pledge their metal to yours?", Culthainne asked, giving the crowd a warning glare. It had no effect, for every single warrior raised their weapon in the air.
Culthainne had no choice but to duel Cadeyrn, otherwise risk being overthrown by principle alone, something the Cantae would be more than happy to do.
He growled and drew his Claymore from his back-sheathe, a weapon three times the weight of Aimhleas and much longer.
"Make peace with the Gods, Cadeyrn", he said, to which his opponent simply stared at him, then the two Celtic Warriors attacked.

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Though she had avoided most of the battle, she was able to see exactly what the stories they had been hearing really meant. Everything said about the Cantae Celts was true. A smile of pride spread across Sorcha’s face. Until she had come into contact with someone she had been running from. Their current Chieftain. He wasn’t as stupid as he appeared and figured out she was cause of all this.

The man had ordered two people still loyal to him only because they too had profited from his exchange with the Roman to keep the red head under guard. If she tried anything they had all rights to kill her. Still under guard, the young woman had made her way to where everyone else was gathering, the remains of the battle.

She could see Cadeyrn from where she stood and her sword. When she had enough nerve to look at the bodies, she could tell which kills were Cadeyrn’s simply from the texture of the wounds caused by her sword. She managed a weak smile to herself knowing she would eventually have to explain to him why that weapon alone could do all that damage while others she had made herself could not.

Sorcha cast her gaze to the bodies of the dead Romans. She felt her chest tighten and she held onto her cloak with her left hand even tighter as the image brought back the memories she had repressed since the warriors had left.



“Stay here and hide.” Sorcha’s father told her as he placed the small child in of the nooks and crannies of their home. His face was strained, but he had to help his tribe. He wanted the only thing precious left to him protected. The young girl shook her head before being reprimanded by the man who quickly left.

Sorcha crept out from her hiding place and into the Forge as it was connected to their home. Though some of the windows and cracks in the wood she could see some of the battle. Her green eyes widened as she watched her first deaths. That was when she heard something. She turned around quickly only to see Cadeyrn looking for a weapon he could use.

“Do not go.” She pleaded with him as she stood in front of him. “If you go off to fight and die… who will play with me then?” Even though their was seven years separating the two of them, he a teen and her only six, he had taken her under his wing, played with and protected her. He was one of the only ones in the tribe who did.

Cadeyrn had explained why he must help, but still the young girl didn’t understand then the calling to protect what one loved. She hugged him tightly before showing him to where her father kept the finished weapons. She watched them through the cracks run off. She sat crouched down holding onto the fabric of her dress tightly in her left fist, barely able to breathe through the fear and worry.



The memory was sharp as if she had just lived it the day before. The scene before her now was much the same as it had been that day. Only it had been more Celtic warriors who were lying on the battle field never to rise again. She had learned that day that the gods decided when it was someone’s time to go back to them. Even if she didn’t like it, she had come to terms with death. The death of her mother four years prior and the eventual death she knew would come to those she loved and herself. But she always knew she still feared the dying part.

Sorcha smiled as she watched the tribes people coming together for Cadeyrn, though most of them were still afraid to go against their Chieftain only because he was still in power. The young woman shook her head knowing that the young warrior would win, but killing the man now wasn’t going to solve anything. If he does die there is a fifty percent change that these two guards will kill me to avenge him or they may not. I cannot risk that. Nor lose any leverage we might have with other tribes… Because we will not be able to win with just us…

As the two Celts attacked each other with only the power that came from the eternal force of hate, the woman’s eyes widened. Her heart was beating again. Yes, she had all faith in the warrior, but now was not the time to be doing this. All of this because of me… That thought alone made it hard to breath.

“Cadeyrn!” She yelled from where she was standing under guard.

“Shut up.” One of the men said, but did nothing else yet.

“Do not kill him! We need him alive!” She yelled again hoping he would understand. He might have had fifteen seasons of war experience, but she had spent most of that time trading with other Celtic tribes. Some of whom were still fighting the Romans; others who like Cantae had given in. They were all ready to fight, but she knew from her experience with all of them that they would have to band together. Most Celts opposed the idea so she had never once voiced it to anyone, but telling the warrior her idea soon might prove of value if he didn’t kill off a trump card they could wield.

One of her guards told her to shut up again before he took the hilt of his sword and hit her in the back of the head. Sorcha’s vision swam as she collapsed to her knees. She angled her head up to watch Cadeyrn hoping she had gotten through to him. Enough blood had been spilled in one night. It would not be long before other Romans learned what had happened and came to take out the tribe. They didn’t need to waste effort now. Simply getting the traitor out of power would be good enough, that and keeping him under guard.

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Cadeyrn turned to nod at Sorcha, but his eyes became wide with rage as she was struck. Cadeyrn opened his mouth to shout, but an arrow whistled by him and took one of the guards in leg. Before it even made contact, a second arrow was already in the air and hit the other guard in the arm before they were both apprehended by a score of Cadeyrn's war-party.
The Celt warrior watched as Caelian, the one who shot the twin arrows with deadly speed and precision jogged to the downed-Sorcha and tended her head wound, giving a nod to his leader, but his eyes widened in fear.
"Cadeyrn!", his friend shouted.
On instinct, Cadeyrn spun and raisedAimhleas, the smaller blade taking a blow from Culthainne's claymore as it came down in an arc to cleave the Warrior's head.
Cadeyrn leaned his face back, his chin taking a nick from the tip of the greatsword, but it sliced deeper into his chest as Aimhleas was knocked down by the sudden force of the blow. Cadeyrn stumbled away, his chest bleeding, but nothing life-threatening.
The warleader reached behind his back, sliding his warhammer from the sheathe, and spinning both it and Aimhleas in tandem as he began circling the Chieftain.

"I'm amazed that you made it to Champion before my father died. You always did fight like a coward. I'll make sure when I defeat you, that you're name will be forever branded with the symbol of a traitor and a coward". Cadeyrn said calmly, successfully drawing Culthainne's ire, warranting an attack.
Culthainne bellowed in rage and charged Cadeyrn, thrusting his claymore out. Cadeyrn parried and spun around Culthainne and the thrust, completing the agile spin by swinging his blade out and slashing across his opponents shoulder-blades.
Culthainne grunted an arched his back, turning quickly to face Cadeyrn as the more agile fighter backed away to gain room.
"Your years of being a tyrant have made you slow and complacent, worm. Luckily, those days are at an end". Cadeyrn said again, his face calm, but his voice had a cold-edge to it. Any onlooker with half a brain could see this was a strategy, one Cadeyrn's men knew he employed against opponents he knew he could easily aggravate into attacking.
Yet again it worked, and Culthainne bellowed and charged.
The chieftain swung the claymore downward, but Cadeyrn intercepted it this time by crossing his warhammer and Aimhleas just above his head.
Culthainne grinned and kicked snow and dirt into Cadeyrn's face, following through with a savage kick to the other warrior's gut.
Cadeyrn grunted and back pedaled, wiping the snow and dirt from his eyes.
Culthainne thrusted again, just as Cadeyrn cleared his vision. The blow was aimed at the War-leader's heart, but Cadeyrn flicked his wrist, bringing Aimhleas up to parry the thrusting claymore.
He was a bit too slow. The blade, though knocked slightly upward by Cadeyrn's parry, still sunk at least an inch into the shoulder of his blade-arm.
Culthainne, now at an advantage, charged forward with the tip of his blade still buried in Cadeyrn. It was all Cadeyrn could do to back-up as quickly as he could to keep the blade from running through his shoulder.
the edge of desperation creeping into his tacticians mind, Cadeyrn twisted his body and the tip of culthainnes massive sword was pulled out and himself put off balance. Cadeyrn took the opportunity and swung the warhammer down with all his might straight onto Culthainne's shoulder, resulting in a sickening POP!
Culthainne howled in agony, his right arm going limp and dropping to his side, but Cadeyrn was not finished. He swung Aimhleas around over his head as he sidestepped the stunned Chieftain and brought it down at an angle, hamstringing Culthainne's right leg.
Culthainne went down on the knee of his injured leg just before Cadeyrn, who was now behind him, lunged past his left side and struck the back of his uninjured left-leg behind the knee with the warhammer, sweeping it off the ground and dropping the traitorous-Chieftain on his back.
Cadeyrn planted a boot on either side of Culthainne's supine form, staring at his defeated opponent for a moment before driving Aimhleas through his shoulder and into the ground, pinning him in place.
Culthainne howled once more as Cadeyrn put his weight on the blade and leaned towards the Chieftain.
"You have been defeated. Through the grace of Sorcha Ceardach, you still draw breath, but once you have lost use to us, your head will be mine".
With that, Cadeyrn struck his temple with the hilt of his warhammer, knocking Culthainne out cold in the snow.
Calm again, the Celt sheathed Aimhleas and his warhammer and began walking towards his cadre of men and Sorcha.
He nodded at Caelian as he scooped Sorcha up easily into his arms.
"My friend, take the traitors to the tribal barracks, set a watch and tend to their wounds. Gather the other men to start a patrol and guard the town. Kill or capture any Romans you come across". Caelian smiled and nodded at his friend and leader and began setting to the tasks he was given.
Cadeyrn looked down at Sorcha, cradled in his arms.
The Tribe was safe for now. His men would see to that.
Now it was time to catch up with a long-lost companion.

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Despite everything that she had seen so far that night, the retaliation from Cadeyrn’s men wasn’t something she had expected. Sorcha’s vision was just beginning to stop spinning around her when she felt the air fluctuate around her on both sides. Hearing the cries of pain from her guards, she knew what had happened, but she had never believed that the tribes people would be attacked when if they were following a corrupt leader’s orders.

She hated anyone getting hurt on her behalf. People had died tonight because of her. The thought only left her throat tight and chest restricted. It felt like she could barely breathe. She never wanted any of this to happen. But nothing could go back to the way it had been after the sword had been drawn. War was coming again.

As Caelian came over, the young woman insisted that she was fine, but like Cadeyrn, he didn’t accept her answer. He made sure that she wasn’t bleeding or any other damage. He helped her to her feet just before she heard him yelling at his leader. Turning her head quickly she saw the Chieftain behind Cadeyrn. Her heart started beating rapidly in her chest and her eyes widened. Her left hand gripped the side of her dress to the point her skin was turning completely white.

Sorcha was holding her breath as she watched the two warriors fight each other. She wanted the madness to end. Resisting the urge to run into the middle of the match, she pulled her right hand down from her chest. She gripped the other side of her dress in the same tightness as on her left side. Her whole body was shaking in effort to keep her still. What made everything worse was that their current leader played just as dirty in fighting as he did in the way he lead their tribe.

But when it came to Cadeyrn getting hurt, the woman couldn’t stand it. Her feet moved forward before she stopped herself from doing something she knew wasn’t wise. Everything changed when she saw the blade in the man’s shoulder. Her eyes widened more and she gasped as her chest tightened further to the point that she knew she couldn’t breathe anymore. She started moving forward again, until a firm hand grabbed her shoulder and kept her in place. She knew exactly who it was without looking. Caelian was only looking out for her and they both knew no one could interfere as it would cause Cadeyrn to forfeit the fight and accept a loss.

As quickly as it seemed like the warrior could lose, the tides turned and Cadeyrn went on the offense. Sorcha turned her head away from the violence. She didn’t need to see what was happening. Hearing it was enough to know exactly what was going on. When she heard her name, she turned her head back to see her childhood friend bending over the sword she had made him embedded in the Chieftain’s shoulder and the ground below him. While she knew what he was doing, much more so than he did, she knew that if the tides were ever to turn, her head would be under the sword as the first target.

Cadeyrn turned to face her and Sorcha wasn’t sure if she was still alive. She was sure she had stopped breathing a long time ago. Somehow she managed to grip the sides of her dress tighter. Her hands had gone numb, but she didn’t even notice. As the warrior came over to her and picked her up, cradling her in his arms, she could finally breathe a sigh of relief. It was so odd to feel safe and protected in the arms of someone as fierce and lethal as Caderyn.

She turned her head up to the man to see him looking back down at her. Her head was pounding from the hit. She knew she would be fine in a few hours if the knot on the back of her head was any indication. She could still taste the blood at her mouth from the earlier fight she was in with the Romans. It felt so long ago, she couldn’t even remember how she had gotten it. Most likely when she had been punched to the snow, but everything seemed to blur together.

Sorcha’s green eyes looked into Cadeyrn’s and she found it impossible to look away. She’d spent fifteen years waiting and wondering if he was alive and what condition he would be coming back in. She had spent hours in secret making the warrior’s sword completely from magic and not a forge. She was afraid to tell him, worried about his reaction. This was the first time they were going to be talking since his return. His saving her from the Romans and then the fight, but they hadn’t really talked to each other. She was six when he left. He was thirteen. So much had changed in fifteen years. She was nervous. She had loved the man since she was a child. Held onto her belief he would come back and things would go back to the way they had once been. Now it was time to see if her childish fantasy was right or not.

Then she remembered something. He was hurt. He was bleeding. “Cadeyrn…” His name came out as a whisper as she reached up to his shoulder with her cloak to put some pressure on the wound hoping it would stop bleeding. “You are hurt. I can walk on my own. You need to be looked at.” She didn’t want him hurting himself more or taking more care about her when it was easy to see he was the one who needed more attention.

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“Cadeyrn…”.
His name came as a whisper from Sorcha's lips, followed by a light pressure on his injured shoulder.
Cadeyrn looked down at the edge of the woman's cloak, pressed against the bleeding-wound and looked into Sorcha's eyes.
“You are hurt. I can walk on my own. You need to be looked at.”, She continued.
Cadeyrn wiped away a smear of blood from the side of her head with his thumb.
"I insist you let me carry you. I am taking us both to the Druids", Cadeyrn said gently.
"We can both be tended to and talk before I gather my men for a War-Council".
He looked back down at her and smiled.
"I'm sure there is much you wish to know".

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Despite his words, Sorcha continued to use her cloak to keep pressure on his wounds especially if he was going to be stubborn about not letting her walk. He was just hurting himself more, but that had always been one of the things she loved about him. Cadeyrn had always put everyone else above himself.

The gesture of wiping the blood from the side of her temple gave her pause. She’d almost forgotten about the wound. So much had happened since the warriors had returned and in a short amount of time. The feast, her dance, and the fight with the Romans by the forge. She fought against them as well as she could, but it was the battle she watched afterwards that made her forget about everything else.

There would be retribution against them.

I wish to go with you.
She thought to herself as she looked up at him in the same moment he looked down at her. Her smile was much more sheepish than his own.

“As I am sure there is much you wish to know as well.”

She went silent as they neared the Druids’ section of the tribe and came to one of the healer’s homes. She was surprised that he still knew his way around or where people lived. Fifteen years had passed. The man was remarkable.

The Druid saw them and urged them inside. Sorcha waved him away from her. The warrior needed more help than she did. She sat back and watched him work, staring mostly at the mass that was her childhood friend. He was right, they had a lot to talk about, but she didn’t even know where to start.

“I… thank you for saving me.” While she still could have attacked them with her magic, she wasn’t sure if she could have fended all of them off. Had he not been there, she would have lost the battle she’d been fighting since she came of age.

She didn’t even have to ask if he liked his sword. She had seen it in the way he wielded it and the way he spoke as he named it. She only hoped she didn’t have to explain why it was so much better than any other sword the forge had ever produced.

And she didn’t need nor want to ask about how life had been after he’d been taken by the Romans. He had survived and returned home. Which only the present to talk about. She wasn’t sure how he would react to anything now. While he proved he was a Celt and loyal to his tribe, he had still been raised by the Romans from his teenage years into his manhood.

“What are your plans now that all the Romans in the tribe are gone?” He had listened to her when she told him not to kill their leader, so she was hoping that luck would continue and he would tell her things. Maybe then she could increase her chances of getting into that council meeting. His warriors hadn’t been in the tribe for fifteen years. They would need people there who had lived her. And she was hoping she could work herself into that group. She, even more than her father, knew of the other tribes from trading with them. Who better than to talk to them about their plans to defeat the Romans? They trusted her, not strangers.

“They will come for us once this spreads back to them. They are not kind in punishment either. If we are not strong enough to face them, they will kill all of us. Not just leave us as slaves to their empire as they did before.” She eluded to the last fight when the Romans came fifteen years when his father had been killed and he had been taken as their fighter. The day all of their lives had been changed forever.

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Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach

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Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach
Cadeyrn Caelliannach

I left a boy, and return a man forged in the fires of war.

Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
Sorcha Ceàrdach

"We were once a proud people. We should not bow our heads in fear and servitude."

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Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
Sorcha Ceàrdach

"We were once a proud people. We should not bow our heads in fear and servitude."

Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach
Cadeyrn Caelliannach

I left a boy, and return a man forged in the fires of war.

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Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Caelliannach
Cadeyrn Caelliannach

I left a boy, and return a man forged in the fires of war.

Character Portrait: Sorcha Ceàrdach
Sorcha Ceàrdach

"We were once a proud people. We should not bow our heads in fear and servitude."


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