Tir na nOg: An Introduction

Tír na nOg, a once mystical city that sat within a vast valley on the island called Nambria, held its fair share of glory days. In fact, the city had never known otherwise. Its stone white walls were visible from miles around, and the city always seemed to hold a special glimmer of light, making it easy for travelers on the island to find. However, travelers on sea had a most difficult time locating the city and the isle of Nambria because a dense circle of fog always surrounded its waters.

The island’s shores had seen the footsteps of many great heroes, but disease was one attribute that never graced the land. Its mountains were tall and lush, with landscape from the brightest of greens to the blackest of pitch, and agate rocks shimmered when the sunlight struck, creating a beacon of stars the likes of which equaled those in the night sky. On the northern shore, white sand stretched for miles along the coast, and at the island’s southern tip, the sand turned black as obsidian with flecks of copper and gold reflecting throughout the day and night. It was the land of the sídhe, the Fae, and whosoever set foot on the island would never experience illness for as long as they were there.

But dark days had come to what many called the land of eternal youth, and with them, death and disease. The reigning King of Aplasia sought to make Nambria a part of his empire, and he would stop at nothing to achieve his goals, even if it meant killing Nambria’s Queen Niamh, if she would not take his hand in marriage.

Niamh, of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the last of the reigning Fae, ruled as Queen of Nambria for many years, and was to wed the King’s brother Xavier, but on one particular bright and sunny day, a messenger brought forth news of her love’s murder. The King of Aplasia, Zachariah, brought his armies to Nambria that same day, and darkness fell over the lands. The city’s glimmer died, the land’s green landscape froze, and Niamh left her city with her wolf guardian Xion and a small army to escape in hopes of defeating Zachariah another time. She now resided in the island’s mountainous regions, never staying in one place too long, for Zachariah would find her. However, Niamh always knew when Zachariah was close because she could see him approaching in her mind.

Nambria had a diverse population of people. There were the Fae, who had left the emerald isle known as Éire long ago, after an invasion, as part of their surrender. By the time Zachariah came, most of the Fae had left Nambria as well, or had intermingled with the humans, where a good portion of their traits eventually died out of the line. Farmers and cattlemen lived on the plains, tending to their fields and livestock; and the common folk, who had escaped the emerald isle with the Fae, lived peacefully under Niamh’s rule. There were, of course, always those perceived as troublemakers, and they were the darker side of Nambria that none wished to admit existed. However, those dark-natured men kept the island safe from neighboring lands wishing to take Nambria’s riches. As a warrior in her own right, Niamh understood them well, and let them live under their own terms, so long as they did not harm anyone on the isle, which they had yet to do. Nonetheless, it did not stop the rumors that flew between the men, about Niamh’s cold heart, as Zachariah’s control grew. Some would say that the ice and snow covering the land was a direct result of Niamh’s loss, but they were none the wiser for thinking such things when they did not understand Fae magic.

Zachariah’s arrival surprised these darker men, as with the rest of Nambria, and none could take action fast enough before the attacks began. If Niamh’s mourning had not distracted her, she would have seen the impending darkness coming, but no man knew that she had mourned. It was something she did not allow anyone to see, lest her people think their Queen was weak, and it was the reason they spoke of her cold heart.

Cael, a legend amongst his kind, was tall and handsome with hair as black as the night sky and eyes as green as the most vibrant emerald. He also lived on the island, born and raised there, but quests for hire took him from his homeland many times, and sometimes for several moons. Cael had never met the Queen of these lands, but knew the rumors well, for his brothers spoke of them often. When Zachariah arrived with his armies, Cael was in another far off land, performing his duties to kill a king who had threatened a neighboring country. Upon his return, he found the frozen landscape, and shortly thereafter, a new quest that would bring him to kill one of his own—a Nambrian.

In Cael’s mind, gold was gold, and he only assassinated those who were worse than he was in their morals and greed. In truth, as tough as Cael liked others to think of him, Cael’s heart was pure, and his morals high. He just so happened to be very good at killing people. An unlikely hero, some would say, but Cael would dismiss the term.

Ice and snow covered the island of Nambria for many moons, and Niamh did not quite know how to save her people and her lands. Until one day, a vision came to her, and with it, an assassin.