Fianna: Rebirth

Fianna Domhan

Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Fenian History

The historical Fianna Éireann (Fianna of Ireland) were small, semi-independent warrior bands made up of landless young men and women. Living on the fringe of society, they largely survived through camping, hunting, fishing, and foraging. The Fianna were often supported by donations from local lords and families, and at times offered services—most notably protection of person and property—in exchange for food and quarters.

The most notable of these were led by Fionn mac Cumhaill, a rígfénnid ("king fennid") recognised when he’d slain a fire-breathing man of the Sidhe called Aillen. Following dubious accounts of his death (or, some say, simply a long sleep), numerous factions, political and otherwise, throughout the land’s history have laid claim to the title. Few, if any, have lived up to the legend.

Now, under the leadership of one of the world’s preeminent heroes, the rebirth of the true fianna is at hand. The Fianna of the World.

“Legends never die.”

Why do people run when things get tough? That’s easy – you can become someone else, wherever you land, right? Who’s gonna know the difference? So why stay? Why set yourself up for more failure? For more pain? Also easy – because we don’t know how to do anything else. So why stay? Why open yourself up to all the bad you tried to leave behind? ‘The only variable you can control is yourself.’ You can forget who you are, or you can be who you want to be. That’s why you stay. You stay for a second chance.

After her defeats at the hands of Ezra Strix and his confederates, Abigail Aensland disappeared from the world. She took her mother and very few allies, and fell away for more than a year while a doppelganger was stationed in their home to draw eyes and avoid suspicion. Then, in peace she could seek out what she needed to avenge her family to the man who arranged for the death of her father and tormented her mother—her entire family line, for generations.

The lance was called Gáe Buidhe and was said to possess the ability to strip the life and even kill those deemed immortal. But a single tool would never complete the task. So she called in her favours.

Venezuela. Gothic City. The Himalayas. Los Angeles. London. All the world round Aensland has travelled, committing herself to acts of heroism from the age of 18. And all the world round she has cultivated a network of allies and admirers more than willing to give themselves to a worthy cause in aid of the woman who’d done much for the world itself. Her goal: to create a coterie of pure unity around the world, to give it the strength to protect the True Virtues. Embodied from within, given form in the age-old call-and-response, the essence of these ideals is as follows and begins,

Glaine ár gcroí.

The call is answered:

Neart ár ngéag.

And then, together,

Beart de réir ár mbriathar.

Structure - "The Strength of our Limbs"

No Caption Provided

Much like the Fianna of legend, there is no rigid structure among the groups. Some insist on directly democratic rule. Others decide upon a small council of sorts. Some may even settle on a single wise or charismatic leader to guide. But while each fian runs itself more or less independently, each fénnid(member) acknowledges Abigail as Ríonfénnid (an old Gaelic term meaning, literally, “queen fénnid,” used to denote a female leader) and when called to, each member and each band answers to the Daughter of Diarmuid herself. However, there are no compulsory memberships. Participation is based entirely on voluntary aid and anyone may leave at any time. As well, in recognition of the extreme potential of tyranny of the majority—and in ultimate recognition of freedom itself—no member is compelled to act in a group’s venture, even should a vote be cast and the majority decide upon a course. Following the disaster that was her tenure as Raysh al-Shaytan of the League of Shadows and accounts of the death of Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, aside from recognition of the Ríonfénnid there are two principles from which deviance is absolutely intolerable:

  1. No children in the field - anyone under the age of 18 is to be kept from any contact which could endanger them.
  2. No member of any fian may act in betrayal of any other.

The size and composition of each band varies. Larger cities tend to have larger fianna, and demographics play a part in what kinds of members there are. However, though some members are drawn from the Shogunate of Venezuela, others from the group once led by Nikademus, and various other walks of life, all members – whether human or mutant, magus or not – are expected to work together just as well.

Methods, Tactics, Etc.

"Action to match our speech"

This blending structure, while unlikely to completely eliminate tension, aims to align the Fianna with the unified vision Aensland adopted from her father and mother. And to ensure ability gaps are filled where needed. Relatively inexperienced magi and mutants have the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable and experienced practitioners. However the humans among them, while comrades, also learn to face threats the likes of which they may not otherwise face outside of life-or-death situations, and are better able to prepare for actual confrontations without the looming threat overhead. Many of these fighters served close and at a distance with Aensland in the Venezuelan resistance following the nation’s capture by Anthony Stark. Others are League of Shadows loyalists who still feel that she is the last rightful bearer of the title Raysh al-Shaytan. Expert combatants by any right, they bring with them experience as well as other skills to share with allies. These include stealth, espionage and subterfuge, tactics in guerrilla warfare, knowledge and use of toxins, engineering, and many more. While each fian acts semi-independently, travel and exchange of information is conducted freely among members. This especially includes regular bi-weekly status reports as well as information exchange following major events to account for successes and gains, losses, active areal conflicts and resources and more, enabling smarter allocation of manpower and resources when necessary.

There is no standard equipment. Each band uses tools tailored to their individual members, the circumstances of their environment, lifestyles, and the kinds of enemies they are to face. General trends are capable tools which are handy but not obstructive. (E.g. vehicles for general travel which don't attract undue attention, cosmetically "normal" for an area, but which may be customised and functionally enhanced in some ways.) Allowing members to express themselves individually ensures each is comfortable from the start, and usually has experience with whatever their chosen vocation; however, with some less disciplined bands, the lack of structure may mean members (particularly the inexperienced or headstrong) of the fian don't complement each other as well as others; however, steps are taken to correct these cases as they appear.

"Ordinary" people

As has become their way, Fianna Domhan make it their habit to continually adapt to circumstances around the world. Not only do different tactics serve differently in different areas; but they must take careful observation of enemies in order to discern what the enemy knows, so that by the time an enemy recognises the pattern, the pattern has already changed. This is partially achieved by the scrying eyes of mutants and magi, as well as financial, social, and technological savvy including support from the Aensland Estate and (secretly) corporate giant Avalon. But one of the principle means of achieving this is garnering a deep intrinsic understanding of the area and the people within it. Most members don't move to join a fian, because they don't need to. Most often, a fian is constructed within communities of which one is already a part, pending approval of the Ríonfénnid. Members do not wear uniforms or have fixed requirements for operational bases. Instead, they continue to operate within their normal lives and act on an as-needed basis. This allows them to not only fight opposition via physical threat, but to attempt real change from within their communities regardless of whether or not the day has a singular, tangible enemy to face. Yet by operating within a degree of the cultural norms and social mores of their area (as much as their ideals will allow), fianna take care to avoid being seen as a destructively disruptive force by the better society around them―except, of course, to the proper targets. And by meeting wherever is needed on a case by case basis, a fian makes it additionally difficult to track movements or gain more valuable information even should someone manage to discern a particular member's identity and affiliation with the group.

Gairm Slógaidh - Call to Arms

Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the Samurai...all shared the lone ideal: the honour of strength, because it is strength that makes all other values possible. Nothing survives without it. Who knows what delicate wonders have died out of the world for want of the strength to survive? Civilisation's highest ideas―justice―could not exist without strong men and women to enforce it. Indeed, what is civilisation but simply the honour of the strong?

Dord Fiann
Dord Fiann

Forming a united band from disparate individuals and factions is not an easy accomplishment. To maintain them, as many and simultaneously as one, it is not enough that one man has done wrong and must be punished. While an understandable emotional response, for a collective this large Aensland understood full well that her vengeance alone is not a valid motive. More than that, Fianna Domhan exists for protection. Of person and property. Of the weak from the strong but unscrupulous forces that would do them harm. It exists to lend its strength for preservation of the values and virtues of society which are noble and just, and the betterment of those which are not. Her original vision to transform the League of Shadows, which she once headed as Raysh al-Shaytan, into a force for good—a failure from start to finish—she attempts to actualise by starting from the ground up.

The fianna are linked by the Dord Fiann. Historically, this was a war horn whose ghostly, wailing cry was used to stir the blood of the Fenians for a battle, and to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies. More than that, the dord allowed communication and direction among large ranks of war-frenzied men; by blowing different notes a signal could be given to press forward, retreat and regroup, mount up and possibly more. For the challenges of the modern world and its ever-evolving threats, Abigail's fianna are linked by a private network called "Borabu" and carry a device named for this instrument. They come in many forms - a watch, an earpiece, a pair of glasses, and others. And just as the classical dord, they serve variable functions as global communications devices allowing members to reach one another just as well across a city or across the planet. Between individuals, across groups, or among a single fian. In addition to verbal communications there are short-hand signals, distinguished by variable emitted sound, which are used to communicate messages only understood by trained members of the fianna. It was said that a blast from Fionn mac Cumhail's borabu could summon warriors from all parts of Ireland. The same is true of Diarmuid's Daughter; though she commands a much larger force with which to strike upon enemies worldwide.

OOC

I don't do this that often so my familiarity with the norms is...iffy at best.

  • This is a concept/faction existing in CVnU. Standard rules apply.
  • They operate many places worldwide, but not everywhere. If you wish to use them for something, ask nicely. I [probably] won't bite. However, if you are attacking, expect the potential for retaliation.
  • Same deal in case of membership. Ask nicely.
  • No godmodding. Selling is required, though not exceedingly strict and I'm leaving a bit of wiggle room to take a bit of pressure off the NPCs thing, at least here (as long as we're not made to look inept).
  • For questions and things, on me.
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Echoes of the Past

The Aensland Estate - London

The room was but dimly lit by a sparse arrangement of scented candles along the walls and one on the dresser near the king size bed. The smell of lavender filled the air. Emilie lay with her eyes closed under a violet comforter, mostly still but occasionally adjusting herself in her sleep. Lying on her side, one of her arms rested over the cover. As dim as the candles itself, Abigail's good eye rested on the soft-breathing woman for well over an hour now. Its fixation, the stump at the end of the wrist where there should've been a hand.

No Caption Provided

She still hadn't been eating well, but despite her gaunt features there was a certain sagging quality to her face. Dark, heavy bags had begun to form under her eyes. Since their return to London she remained restless but still hardly slept. Insomnia was starting to take its toll on her body and mind. Throughout the days and nights images flashed in her mind, waking nightmares of circumstance even when she couldn't sleep. She'd see a figure breaking into the manor to separate them yet again, to take her mother. A different figure most times but there seemed to be a pattern. First it was Charlemagne. He'd caught her unaware, just as he had the first time. The next time it was Ali. Then an odd, never before seen figure, a living silhouette possessing the body of a large man with the antlers of a stag. After that she thought she was prepared, but she had the pattern wrong. The next time she saw Ivana but Ivana didn't do kidnapping. Ivana just slit her throat. Each time she swore it was real—she could feel it happening, but even her relief was tempered beyond help.

It was real enough.

"Not exactly the reunion you were hoping for..."

"—!!!"

Abby started awake with a gasp and only then realised she had nodded off. Shit! She hit the floor. Her hand shot for the ruby lance Gáe Dearg, acting on instinct. It shimmered faintly in her grasp. Her head whipped this way and that, first at the door where four guards stood just inside - they seemed completely oblivious - then toward the source of the voice.

He stood in the window, a man of average height with a lean muscular build and broad shoulders. His skin was deathly pale, standing in stark contrast to his chestnut hair, and caused the sprinkling of freckles on the bridge of his nose, faint as it was, to stand out very clearly. Clad in what appeared an old leather armour, he was clearly a warrior and, she presumed, was there for a fight. There was a familiar quality in his jaded viridian eyes. By then she'd seen it more times than she could count in many of the foes she'd faced off with; though it had only recently become recogniseable, when she saw it in herself - the eyes of a killer. The same weary, restless quality as hers was in his. A life on the run, or searching for something. Protecting? Lastly, she noticed a small but distinguishing beauty mark on his forehead, just over the corner of his right eye. Through all of these things, he felt familiar, somehow; though she was certain she'd never seen him in her life.

Wide-eyed, Abigail blinked twice. She shook her head, then slapped herself in the face to an emphatic report and a sharp, stinging pain. Not a dream. She looked over to the bed. Surprisingly, Emilie hadn't awoken.

She stood defensively over the bed, torn between questioning and outright attack.

Who are you? How did you get in here? What do you want?

She tried (old habits), but couldn't even get the words out. "Wh-..."

The intruder spread his arms wide in a mock-welcoming gesture and responded with a smug grin, almost as if he'd read her mind. "I think...on some level you already know that?"

That accent...some kind of Gaelic? But the recognition was only partial. It wasn't remarkably distinguishable or familiar to any she'd had much experience with, but Abby could pick out a few small bits, extrapolated from some of the incantations her mother used when casting spells.

It's ancient...And like that, without a conscious thought the answer pushed past her lips in a whisper. "Diarmuid..."

Then he had to be an ally, right? He was her ancestor, he had to be on her side...Right? Yet her grip held firm on the lance.

"Are you a spirit then? What do you want?"

He pushed himself from the wall and took a few steps. "I want a lot, to be honest. But first and foremost, I want to show you what you need. Though I think you might already know what that is too." In a roundabout way, his head inclined and his eyes turned toward Emilie. The eyes met Abby's and realisation set in.

"No." She shook her head.

Par for the course. "Look ye miserable brat, ye've got problems galore. The quiet life don't suit ya. They won't let ye 'ave it...Not as long as they live. An' even if they did they were genna keep on doin' what they wanted, and your conscience is gonna eat at you for it." The wraith shrugged. "I know you've heard it all before so I won't waste a lotta time with the rhetoric. But lookit yer poor mother. My child...Think about what they did to her. And know that I—that you—can't afford to let people like that stick around. That's why we're here in the first place. All of it, yer Charlie-boy, Ivanka, and the others. Her fecking hands, they cut 'em off and eat her fecking hands, the sick fecks!"

As he spoke she felt her own anger rising, at the mention of each name, of each image evoked in her mind. She wanted to let him win her over. If not for her own sake, for her mother's. But she admitted, shamefully so, to herself, that she couldn't be certain it was worth the eternal damnation of her soul. (That is, if she even had a chance left.) Even for her mother...the idea terrified her.

"If ye fight for ideals, you'll only ever be able to save ideals. Know this. You have to accept that it's impossible to save everyone. If y'won't even risk the life of one person, you won't save anyone in the end." He knelt directly across from her now, his hand meeting hers on the lance. "You c'n make it up with yer god later but this ain't a debate sweetheart."

Abigail was unbelieving. She squinted, her head tilting slowly to a 45-degree angle. "But...why? Why do you care? Why do you hate these people? What do you want?"she repeated, exasperation rising in her voice.

"I don't hate anybody." He waved her off, and his mood seemed a lot more sombre then. "Most of all? I guess...Fate was just too cruel. I'd like a chance to do it over. Just a taste, from this life, of the loyalty denied me in my last. I'd rather not see the bloodline me and Gráinne started die out because of idealistic ineptitude.

"And I want you to revive the Fianna. A true Fianna, not like those others. Charlatans. Here our mutual interests manifest action." Diarmuid pulled up on the lance, dragging Abigail upright along with it. "Get your boy. The Son of Cain. Either we have use for the dog...or a vendetta."

With that he seemed to vanish in a brilliant flash of light. There and gone. Abby looked around. She was no longer holding the lance; it wasn't even there. Her mother was undisturbed. Her guards stood watch, unmoving. Their expressions were completely unperturbed. As if they hadn't seen any of it.

I've got to start getting more rest.

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Lancer's Inheritance - Diarmuid's Gifts

Tools of the Cursed Bloodline

Gáe Buidhe: The Golden Rose of Mortality

Gae Buidhe is a lance 1.4 metres in length (115 cm shaft, 25 cm blade) with an appearance as if it were made of solid gold. Once wielded by Diarmuid, it was one of his four treasured weapons, purported to inflict wounds that can never be healed, not by magic nor any other means save for one – wrapping the wound in a one-of-a-kind talisman cloth. Acting as a tourniquet, when the violet cloth is placed and then removed from an inflicted wound, healing is almost immediate. But without this specialised item, even shallow wounds made by the lance can become life-threatening. In a normal human, for example, even a seemingly shallow cut to the cheek would take a far worse toll than practical with any other weapon, and would eventually bleed out.

Gae Buide is equally effective on humans, demons and gods alike, including those designated immortal. Legends say Gae Buidhe was able to separate beings from immortality, though the means were never exactly understood even to its wielders. Some suggest a literal severing of any being from its state of immortality; others, a mortality curse so potent it could affect even gods and abstracts. Or perhaps a combination of the two. Many of these tales are hard to trace, however, as they were oft passed by word of mouth well before ever being written down.

Once the lance was located, Abigail set off with Vincent Harrow to retrieve Gae Buidhe from its resting place with the body of Fionn mac Cumhaill.

Gáe Buidhe (with the talisman cloth)
Gáe Buidhe (with the talisman cloth)

Gáe Dearg: The Crimson Rose of Sunderance (of Exorcism)

Gae Dearg is a lance measuring 2 metres in length (170 cm shaft, 30 cm blade). It's been said to appear as if it is made of a pure ruby, or perhaps the crystallised blood of some deity or other high power. Its primary property is called sunderance, wherein Gae Dearg will pierce, split, disrupt, or destroy any barrier its blade comes into contact with. Powerful telekinetic barriers, magical barriers and bounded fields, unorthodox elemental shields, and even those called unbreakable; any may fall before the Crimson Rose.

Gae Dearg also bears a defining secondary property, giving rise to its epithet, "The Crimson Rose of Exorcism." By its nature, Gae Dearg completely rejects all magic, and all forces and energies of a mystical or "unnatural" nature. All such forces are disrupted if not completely dissipated upon contact with the lance. This includes any enchantments one might attempt to place upon the weapon itself; as such, the source of Gae Dearg's esoteric power is known to very few individuals, but that source is surely something greater than magic.

Because of this property Gae Dearg renders mystic enchantments, attacks, projections and other enhancements useless. Inwardly it manifests on the lance as an inability to cast any enchantments, damage, or otherwise affect it through paranormal means; outwardly, on other objects, it would be well-said that the lance severs all ties between the stricken target and its power/energy source, whatever that may be. Or, in vice versa, an item or person acting as an energy source or connection would have all bonds severed from its recipients. This includes possession, telepathy, mind control, and possibly even mystically bound contracts, at the behest of the wielder. Armour or weapons made of pure ether may as well not exist at all when faced with Gae Dearg; it would pass right through - including the Priestess's armour. This is also true of enchantments or mystic properties inherent in other items. Enchanted steel becomes mundane steel (for as long as Gae Dearg's blade is in contact, and prolonged exposure may remove the enchantment permanently), a being boosted by an outside source (artifact, souls, etc.) can no longer derive power, and so on. Gae Dearg also acts effectively as a counter to attacks of a mystic nature by this same principle. An attack such as conjured fireball, stricken like any other target, would fizzle out; an opened portal would dissipate; and so on.

Gae Dearg poses a particularly increased risk to those deriving power from unorthodox energies within themselves. Exorcising their very own strength from their bodies, the lance could be used to drive demonic spirits out of a place or person, or to kill them. An enemy empowered by such forces as the lance counters can be struck even while in a state of intangibility.

When Abigail reunited with her mother after an absence of more than a year, Emilie was seen wielding the crimson lance, Gáe Dearg. She would later allow herself to be captured to facilitate a safe escape for her allies, but left the lance for ally Vincent Harrow to give to Abby, who still possesses it.

Gáe Dearg
Gáe Dearg
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Visions of Foreboding: The Catalyst

[People who've seen this already know what it is. I just wanted to put it somewhere I could keep it.]

Abigail walked, alone in her mind. The desert stretched for miles in every direction, sand in dunes and declines as far as the eye could see. The sun glared, blinding and white, overhead; yet the desert felt no warmer than the streets of London on a cloudy day. Curious, but it wasn't an idiosyncrasy Abigail minded; the black tank top and cargo pants she couldn't remember putting on were hardly fitting attire for such a thing.

The repetitive sound of her boots shuffling on the sand had long ago lulled her into a state of sleep on her feet. Abigail was lost, somewhere in the desert, and her mind was lost somewhere else entirely.

Where was she going? Where did she come from? And...why? Why was she there? Looking for something? Someone?

The Shogun's face, head partially shaven, flashed in her mind and she recalled their most recent encounter.

"F*ck you Abigail."

Her heart spiked and she felt her body tense all over. It irked her just as much to remember as when she'd heard it. She felt the anger rising again, but just as quickly matched with...remorse? But why?

It's the strangest thing. One moment I was ready just in case I'd have to drive an arrow through her eye, the next...I couldn't stop wondering. "What happened to you? What made you this way?" It was just this...overwhelming sorrow...sympathy.

There we go again. I thought I was out of sympathy for the devil. In that moment, after the way she spoke to me...

I used to feel that way; I used to wonder. About Charlemagne and his reasons. That only changed when he took my mum.

What did I do? What is wrong with her?"

Oh, Abby," a familiar, distinctly southern Wales voice called from behind. She whipped her body around and opened her mouth to speak but Alyssa gave no time.

"I'm not being funny, but you've just got to...try to understand. What it is is, she may not be normal, but she's still a person. People don't usually just do things like that. You and I aren't so different, and she accepted me."

"Alyssa, you were fodder. Look what followi—"

"Come on now, London, we both know that's not what it is. What is a 'terrorist?' What's the difference between them and the blokes you stop from snatching purses?"

"It doesn't matter Lyss. You had no business being with her, she's a psych—"

"You're not listening!" she snapped. "You're not dense; come on now, stop being stupid. You know what this is, more than anything?" She began to circle Abigail, pacing around her as she spoke. "You're not mad that she's a killer, you've dealt with those before. You're not mad that she may not like you. Nothin' special. You're mad that she said that to you, that she disrespected you. That's what's new here. Ivana—all of your enemies—before, no matter what happened between you or how much you hated one another, there was a degree of respect involved. Until then."

Abigail stopped walking. Alyssa kept circling.

"You may not agree with the ideology but you can't deny there's a valid reason for her actions and beliefs. Grow up an outcast, the fringes of society with nothing but fighting your whole life, what would you expect to happen? I'm not asking you to condone the killing or agree with the hatred, but for the sake of everyone you wanna help, you'd better be ready to try and salvage that weak-ass alliance of yours. Otherwise, next time she gets like that..."

She stopped out front, leaned in close. Took a breath, and regarded the archer with grim countenance, piercing with her icy blue eyes.

"Otherwise you'd better be ready to take your first life or die yourself."

If words could take physical form, those may well have taken that of a class 100 mutant, punched her in the stomach, wrapped off her throat and pounded her chest like a drum.

Abby bolted upright, breast heaving in desperation as if she'd been deprived of air her entire life; body wrapped in cold sweat and a clinging sheet, the additional residue of her dreams.

Gravely close to a heart attack, she knew.

"Damn." She scanned the empty bedchamber, its ornately decorated walls and doors. Guards stood directly on the other side and all around the locale. They brought her no comfort, no security. No safety, not when her mind and body were bigger threats than most outside forces.

"That dream..."So vivid...

So cruel.

She stood and walked across the room. A towel from a wall rack, wrapped around her body. A light knock on the door. "Eyes," she called to the other side, signalling the legionnaires to avert them on her way to the bath.

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