Donachie's Stories The Legend of
The Tall Man....
I remember long ago when I was a lad in St
Maryıs, one of my favourite subjects was history. We had a great
teacher. His name was Brother Kenny. He would tell us tales of Scottish
heroes and villains and he had the knack of the telling, that would keep
the attention of us pupils enthralled in the drama...He would tell us
the story of a man....I now interpret that story in my own fashion....
There once lived a King who had a Mighty
Kingdom. A rich and powerful Realm it was, a lone flower amidst
thorns....But this King had many problems.
One such problem, was a
neighbouring Kingdom. An ancient Kingdom this, much older than his
own. It lay far to the North beyond the Great Wall. This ancient Realm
was in the throes of chaos. It had no Royal Leader. It had lost itıs
Ancient Ard Righ....It was a Lost Land.
Now this King saw this Lost Land as his
own for the taking. But being true to his cunning nature,.he did not
avail himself of the danger of armed conflict.. rather, he would let
matters fall into his own sphere of influence, without the blood-letting
This King was approached by the Lords of the Lost Land. They
begged of him to choose from amongst them, a future Ruler. Now sly as
the Reynard was this King. He saw the weakness of the Lords, and how
they argued and fought amongst themselves for the scraps of his favours.
He intended to choose, and use, for his own Royal advantage, the man to
rule this Lost Land.......This choice would be a mere puppet, and he
would dance the merrie dance of his masterıs choosing.
And so the scene was set, and the choice
was made, and the bells in the Holy places of the Lost Land pealed out
for the joy of having , once again, a Leader...
And so began the dance of the Puppet
But there were, among the common folk of
the Lost Land, those who would argue against the ruling of the Mighty
King. They would choose their own King by the old laws and in the old
ways. So, as they would have their say, a deputation was chosen
from their leaders and they journeyed to the far South, to the court of
the Mighty King. But alas, being the lowest and
simplest of Gentry, their protestations fell on cruel ears. In answer to
the arguments of the deputation, their severed heads were sent back over
the Border hills, back to the Lost Land with the direst of warnings.....
But the threats went unheeded by the
People of the Lost Land...They raised the voice of resentment and
rebellion against the Puppet King and the Master who pulled his strings.
The Puppet King tryed in vain to quell the insurrection, to no avail.
The wrath of the Mighty King fell upon the shoulders of the Puppet
and he was called to the Southlands to answer for his ineptitude.
Offering lame excuses to his Master did nothing to ease the pain and
degradation that finally befell him. He passed away to the Dark Land of
the Spirit People, a broken and shamed man...
And now the Mighty King looked Northward
and vowed to end the accursed opposition to his rule. He would
crush this rabble.
The Mighty King had powerful allies. From
across the Sea of the Large Nose People, came the waves of
Landless Knights eager for battle. Promises of rich and arable land, of
Titles and Power and Dynasties to be forged from the bodies of the
fertile women of the Lost Land.
His Armoured Horsemen swept in from the
Southlands and laid waste to all that was beauty and sacred to the
simple People of the Lost Land....The hordes gave vent to murder and
rapine. Nothing was left untouched. Nothing in the Lost Land remained
pure, all had been violated, all had the stain of greed and lust and
avarice pissed upon it. To the sword went the children, the old
and any who would offer opposition. To the beds of the hungry Knights
went the Young Women of the Lost Land.
On a day of Sorrow, the Man prayed in
He was a Tall Man, taller and stronger
than most. He was born of the Old Tongued Ones and shared a bond with
the simple people. The love of the earth and the spirits that dwelt in
the mists of the Lost Land......
But sad was the heart of the Tall Man on
the day of Sorrow...
The lamenting pipes played the dirge for
folk murdered.... and hard was the hatred forged in the heart of the
He stood and wept.... For the love ones
that had been wrenched from his mortal life, and for the loss of family
and kinfolk....He had lost all....to the cruelty of the Mighty King....
The Tall Man swore a Sacred oath....
In a lonely glen, in a far off place, was
sworn the Oath, on the Hilt of the great Broadsword , in the shadow of
the Cross....... The priest would say Mass in this lonely glen, and
bless the Tall Man with the oil from the Eternal City...
And so it began...
The Tall Man gathered about him a few apostles. He called upon the
people to rise and shake off the Yoke of Tyranny. His visions captured
the imagination of even the most hesitant of listeners...His followers
now, from all over the Lost Land, soon swelled in numbers.
Border shepherds laid down their crooks
and raised the blades...The Men who Sailed in Ships came ashore from the
briny to join in the array. The Redhaired Men, from of the Mountains and
Isles in the West came to his Calling. And also....from the wild
habitats of the Northeast, came the ones who lived in the remote
forests and hill forts on the edge of the Northern Sea......The Blue
From the high mountains, as the gurgling
burns run to form frothy torrents, which in turn flow into the
broad rivers of the Straths, did support for the Tall Manıs Banner
He became the Scourge of the Mighty
Kingdom.....His anger was as awesome as the winter storms that
howled and screeched in from the Eastern Sea. For every violation
against his people, his vengeance was twofold.....Towns would burn at
his command, their streets running red with the blood of men, women and
children impaled upon his iron spears......Nothing and no one was
spared.....Carnage after carnage, he heaped upon the Land of the Mighty
King..... His Name was Terror and his enemies suffered most cruelly
under his sword...
But the Tides of Fate, once favouring him, vanished, as the mists under
the sunrays of a new dawn..
The Helmıd Men of the Mighty Kingdom rode across the Lost Land in ever
The Red Hairs retreated to the safety of their Mountains and Lonely
Isles. The naked warriors of the Blue People were hacked and slain,
screaming war cries to their Ancient Gods.....
The Tall Man became as an outlaw.....
His army scattered and defeated, he
wandered the Lost Land. With only a few comrades, he waged his bitter
war against the invaders. In small skirmishes and lightning-fast attacks
he slaughtered with no quarter given....But tyme was running short for
the Tall Man..........
The Mighty King chuckled in his chambers
as the news reached him.....
His crowning pleasure......The capture of
the Tall Man.......
On a day, in the month, of that fateful
year...... The Tall Man was stretched on the Rack..... His joints parted
with loud snaps and the contents of his voiding bowels did stain the
robes of the torturers....
His spine was twisted and his agony was screamed over the heads of the
laughing and jeering onlookers.
His manhood severed by a blade, was
pierced, and held aloft and commented upon in ribald jest by arrogant
Lords, then tossed amongst the gaggle of Court Whores, for further
His limbs cut asunder from the torso, but allowing him no pleasure of
death, served to lift the mood of the mob in attendance, and their
baying for further bloodsport could be heard many miles from that arena
of death....A final sword thrust, from arse to breastbone and he knew no
more of worldly pain...
He died in a screaming agony.......
But his final scream was heard above the
baying of the mob... It reached upwards into the passing arms of the
Wind Spirits. They sheltered it and carried it far from that awful
place. Far away, far to the Northlands...
A cowering shepherd boy, taking shelter
from a storm in the lee of the Great Wall, heard, what he thought,
was a banshee scream, and he shivered with the hearing of
it. The Red Haired sailors on their galley, were taken unawares by a
sudden squall which blew in from the south, and the screaming of the
wind had a certain human quality which froze their blood and caused a
youth on his first voyage to soil himself in shameful fear...
Deep in the Land of the Blue People,
on the top of an ancient volcanic hill, stood the Warriors....The
remnants of the Fallen. They gathered here at the request of the Old
The Seer told of a Vision.....The
Warriors were attentive to the relating of the Vision......But during
the telling,a sudden storm erupted...The howling of the wind
sounded as a tortured soul....The Seer cried aloud to the Wind
Spirits..for his Vision had been made manifest.
And the years past.....
And The Mighty King sighed his last
In the old Sacred Circle in a glen in the
Lost Land, chiefs gathered to discuss the old story of the Tall
Man...Without him their battles for Freedom had perished with his
passing, and the winds of sorrow had blown his spirit to the shadows of
But the Spirit of the Tall Man still
lived within the minds and memories of the People. It would nourish the
Seed of Hope.....His words were as a lifeline to the struggle of
the Lost People and they would remember.....They would cherish his
memory....They would cherish the memory of the giving of his life....But
they would not allow him death......... He became as a Talisman to the
In the heat of conflict and in the scream and clamour of battle, they
would remember the Tall Man......
The Dark Man stood alone......
This man had been a special Knight in the
Mighty Kingıs Court. He had the King's favour and had rode at his
Royal Side in the Wars against the Tall Man... He too had claim to the
Throne of the Lost Land.
His Lineage sprang from the marriage of a Nobleman of the Long Nosed
People and a Woman of the Northland.
In his veins then, did the Royal Blood of
the Lost Land flow.. But as The Fates would have it, his popularity had
waned and he had fallen out of favour with the Mighty King.... He was an
opportunist who, for his own advantage, had murdered a fellow Knight in
a Sacred Place....He knew little of Scruples or Honour, for he had been
sired by Lust and suckled by Avarice. But for his Sins, the penalty was
the visitation of a Pestilence.....For his Sire was ravaged by Leprosy
and so the ills of the Father were passed on to the Son...
Within the heart of the Dark Man, a
thought sprang forth.. The idea of Rebellion...
Deep within the folds of the warm bed,
the Empty King whimpered.... He struggled into wakefulness and
disengaged himself from the limbs of the perfumed boys who shared his
favours.... Shivering now, he climbed from the bed and wrapping himself
in a purple robe sat by the fire in his chamber....
For the Empty King had a problem......
On the Northern border of his Kingdome
was the Great Wall..... This wall had been built many centuries ago by
the People of the Eagle Standard. They had built it in an effort to
protect themselves against the naked Berserkers of the Blue People. Many
men had died on that Wall...Eventually, after years of campaigning on
that wild borderland, the Eagle Standard People retreated to the safety
of more southerly climes. The Great Wall stood as testimony to their
passing... And Now.....
All the Peoples of the Lost Land had once
again united under the Banner of The Dark Man......
The Seed of Hope had rooted and had grown into the Flower of
The Mighty King had killed the
But the Blood of the Tall Man had nourished the Seed....
His Spirit would guide The People....
They would cleave to his ideals and would not be swayed from their
beliefs neither by the sword of Wrath nor the slyness of Guile.....
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