Cethern's Wounds

The first Chirurgeon came up and examined him. "You won't survive this", he said.

"Then neither will you!" Cethern cried, and struck him with his fist, and his brains splashed over his ears. He killed fifty Chirurgeons, some say, in the same way, though others say he killed only fifteen. The last of them got a glancing blow and fell stunned. Cúchulainn saved his life.

Cúchulainn said to Cethern:

"You had no right to kill those Chirurgeons. We'll get no one to come to you now."

"They had no right to give me bad news."

The sent for the holy healer Cathryn, Chester's own Chirurgeon, to examine Cethern. Cathryn was well aware of the great sufferings of Cethern, and soon they saw her chariot coming. Cúchulainn went up to her and said:

"Watch out for Cethern." (Indeed it would have been foolish not to, when he had already killed fifteen other Chirurgeons.)

Cathryn went up and studied him from a distance.

"Examine me," Cethern said. " This great wound here looks grave. What made it?"

"A strong and steadfast woman gave you that wound," Cathryn said.

"I believe you are right," Cethern said. "A tall, fair, long faced woman with soft features came at me. She had a head of yellow hair, and two gold birds on her shoulders. She wore a purple cloak folded about her, with five hands' breadth of gold on her back. She carried a light, stinging, sharp-edged lance in her hand, and she held an iron sword with a woman's grip over her head -- a massive figure. It was she who came against me first."

"Then I'm sorry for you," Cúchulainn said. " That was Morgana of Aarnimets."

"This next", the healer said, "was a solid, well intended wound from a large warrior."

"That is true", Cethern said. "A warrior with a curved scallop-edged shield came at me. He had a curve-bladed spear in his hand and an ivory-hilted, iron-bladed sword in three sections. He wore a brown cloak wrapped around him, held with a silver brooch. He took a slight wound from me in return."

"I know him," Cúchulainn said. "That was Markus, Viceroy of Nordmark."

"This wound," the Chirurgeon said, "was the work of two warriors."

"Yes," Cethern said. "A pair of them came at me together, with two long shields. They had two tough silver chains and a red belt each, and two five-pronged spears, banded plain and silver. Each had a collar of silver."

"I know them," Cúchulainn said. "Those were Sean and Ormswin, two of de Lacy's Squires. They never go to battle unless they are certain someone will fall at their hands."

"Then two more warriors set upon me," Cethern said, "bright and noble and manly in looks."

"I know them," Cúchulainn said. "Those were Seamus and Sigismund, Trunk and Root, from the king's most trusted guard."

"The blood is black here," the Chirurgeon said. "They speared through your heart at an angle and made a cross inside you. I can't promise to cure this," she said, "but there are a couple of ways I might keep it from carrying you off."

"And this," the Chirurgeon said, "was the bloody onslaught of two forest nobles."

"I know them," Cúchulainn said. "Those were two warriors from Drachenwald's great household, Arafel and Edouard, 'two sons of three lights.' the two sons of the dragon wood's king."

"And this," the Chirurgeon Cathryn said, "was an attack by a tall, whip-strong warrior."

"Yes," Cethern said. "A main with a three taloned shield set upon me. He had a bronze chain about him, deadly with spikes and spears."

"Those were the talons of Angrim, Squire of Sir Elffin."

"This one," Cathryn said, "was dug by a large girthed soldier."

"Yes," Cethern said. "A wide warrior set upon me with a war-club, wearing three collars of silver round his neck. He had a handful of lances and struck a spear in me, but I stuck him back with it."

"That was Cormac Lawless O'Toole, from Nordmark", Cúchulainn said.

"He pierced you expertly inside the wound," the Chirurgeon said. "They have cut the bloody sinews of your heart. It is rolling around inside you like a ball of wool in an empty bag.

"This blow was struck in the morning", she continued.

"Yes," Cethren said, "A warrior attacked me, wrapped in a rich red fur cloak. His polished armour shone as bright as the sun and he carried an iron cudgel left handed."

"That was Master Paul de Gorey", Cúchulainn said, "They say he smiles and laughs even through the thick of battle."

"This is the double wound of a Florentine fighter", the Chirurgeon said.

"Yes," Cethren said, "A tough man came at me, his eyes bright as torches, with a gold crown on his head. He had a gold-hilted sword at his waist. Green Scabbards with a silver sun hung down to his feet."

"I know him," said Cúchulainn, "That was Elffin O'Mona, King of Drachenwald and most fearsome of the whole host."

"Tell me, friend Cathryn, what do you think of my state."

"I'll tell you no lie," Cathryn said. "Don't look to your cows now for calves. If it were only a question of twos or threes... But your case is clear -- a whole Kingdom has left its tracks in you, and one way or another your life is done."

Cathryn turned her chariot away.

"You advice is only the same as the others," Cethern said, and he struck her with his fist and sent her across the chariot's two shafts and smashed the chariot itself.

"That was a wicked blow to give a Chirurgeon!" cried Cúchulainn but upon striking the blow Cethern had died instantly of his wounds.


After the fashion of the Taín.

There are many sections of the Taín that appear boring and repetitive. This is because the Taín, like most folklore, is not just a work of entertainment, but of history and cultural reinforcement. Many of these sections are purely there to get a sequence of names into the dialog to be remembered. Sumer had king-lists, Irish Folklore has battles at fords, Lists of wounds, etc, etc. I hijack this device here to list the drachenwald fighters present at a particular war.