Damhan-Allaidh

Damhan-Allaidh, also known as The Spider, was a Scottish wizard living in Brittany in the 8th century. Notorious for having discovered principles of magic based on blood magic and sacrifice, his rites gave him access to magic unknown to the Order of Hermes. He refused to join the Order and obey its Code regarding mundanes, and the Order declared war on him. Most of the magi attempting to destroy him were Flambeau and Tremere, who suffered a humiliating defeat at Carnac. Knowing that the Order would only step up its attacks against him, he fled to Scotland, where the Order had (at the time) no followers and he could gather the local magicians to his side.

The Order spent the next several years preparing for battle against Damhan-Allaidh. A few foolhardy magi tried to defeat him on their own, but the Spider's network of spies were always able to alert him, and he destroyed the magi handily.

In May of 814, Pralix of Tytalus arrived in Northumbria, along with three-score grogs and several Flambeau, Tytalus, and Tremere magi. Even though he was vastly outnumbered, Damhan-Allaidh (along with his Giant allies) attacked Pralix's forces on the shores of Loch Oadh. The grogs were destroyed, and the only surviving Order magi were Pralix herself and Ignes Festi of Flambeau. (The battle ended when the giants started fighting amongst themselves, allowing Pralix, Ignes Festi, and the handful of surviving grogs to make their escape.)

Pralix then started recruiting local wizards from among the Scots and Picts. She found the local wizards, as a rule, weaker than Hermetic magi, although there were exceptions. Chief among them was Brude Deathless, a gruagach who had already started to rally the gruagachan against Damhan-Allaidh. Pralix convinced him to join her army, and he brought many gruagachan with him (including his own children and grand-children). Other magicians gradually joined them, and she recruited many warriors from among the clans. The next spring, Pralix felt she was ready to take the the battle to Damhan-Allaidh. She sent shapeshifters ahead to find Damhan-Allaidh's whereabouts, and set the others to making magical weapons, armour, and other items. In May of 815, she learned that Damhan-Allaidh was hiding in the Highlands, near Loch Ochy. Her forces moved north, with wizards on the flanks and in the air to avoid a repeat of the ambush at Loch Oadh. Along the way, Brude Deathless and Ignes Festi had a falling out and Brude left, taking most of his gruachan with him. After some consideration, Pralix decided to move on without them, trusting in the measures she had put in place to deal with the Giants. The two armies clashed at Loch Ochy, with the Giants starting the battle with salvos of boulders. Pralix was ready, however, and her forces were able to deflect or destroy the boulders. Ignes Festi and other fire-based wizards erected walls of fire before the Giants as they charged, which stopped or drove away most of them. The battle wasn't one-sided, however, as Damhan-Allaidh had spent the intervening months preparing as well. His spells cut a bloody swath through the magicians, many of whom weren't as skilled with their Parma Magica as the Order magi were. He also had human allies, who accounted for many casualties in Pralix's army.

Pralix retreated once more, but with fewer casualties than before. She had only lost about a third of her wizards, but her mortals allies had suffered devastating casualties. She retreated to Loch Leglean, where they built a small town to shelter her and her followers. In June, she sent a message to Brude Deathless to apologize for Ignes Festi's behavior; Brude replied that he would only return if he and all of Pralix's followers were granted the protection of the Order of Hermes. After much argument with Ignes Festi, she agreed. This decision caused Ignes Festi to leave, vowing to have nothing to do with Pralix and her band. Coincidentally enough, he quickly crossed paths with Damhan-Allaidh, and the two fought. The battle ended with Damhan-Allaidh wounded and Ignes Festi dead; his remains were thrown over the wall surrounding Pralix's village. On the night of the winter solstice of 815, Damhan-Allaidh used his greatest weapon on the wizards of the Order: the sluagh, the undead of the Highlands. The spirits swarmed Loch Leglean, attacking the wizards. While not even a dozen wizards were killed, the confusion allowed Damhan-Allaidh to escape, and he made his way to the Welsh Marches. Months of searching by Pralix's wizards finally tracked his location. In March of 816, they moved south, picking up wizards and warriors along the way. On March 21, the two armies met for the last time, and Pralix was victorious. The battle is known as the Battle of the Great Light; as the sun set the magic forces unleashed there created a false sun that shone over the battlefield. The supernatural allies of Damhan-Allaidh fled, leaving him to his fate.

Damhan-Allaidh's body was laid out for cremation after the battle, but his body disappeared during the night, and the guards were killed in a most gruesome fashion. Brude Deathless then told Pralix that Damhan-Allaidh was rumored to have placed his soul in an external container, and that as long as his soul was undisturbed, Damhan-Allaidh could not really die. It was never learned if the rumours were true; although there were scattered sightings of Damhan-Allaidh, none were ever confirmed, and he is generally believed to have truly died at the Battle of the Great Light.

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