"Arthur’s Stormriders may boast of their sacrifice but they do not hold a candle to that which is made by the Silverhands. These Tuatha De Danann literally and figuratively give up their right arm as a sign of their dedication to their race and to their Realm. When they come of age they undergo a procedure which results in them emerging with a silver arm instead of one of the two arms of flesh they had before the procedure began.
Whether their arm is replaced by the silver arm, transformed by it or covered, none can say since nobody has ever seen one of these arms separated from a Silverhand. They truly have a love/hate relationship with The Depths. Every Silverhand lives for the day that they can either destroy that place utterly or find the final resting place of Nuada. Silverhands make great melee type players but their silver arm does also allow them to be great miners. BTW, don’t ever ask a Silverhand if they “need a hand” in jest, you won’t like the reaction."
“Your early trials have gone well young one,” said the grizzled instructor to the male Silverhand, “Your training has been the best that I’ve seen in many decades. Be proud of yourself.” At this hard-won praise the trainee smiled broadly, for such a compliment was rarely given. “But not too proud,” cautioned the instructor, “For an excess of pride is what led whom we honor to a terrible, yet profound, destiny.
Recite for me the tale as you have been taught.” With that, the old instructor lowered himself to the ground, his back now resting comfortably against the base of an ancient oak. The trainee, looking more nervous than he had during his trials, began to sing.
Once of a time there was a young warrior named Nuada who thought himself invincible on the field of battle. His sire had gifted him a rather unique magical sword. Nuada practiced from the barest inkling of dawn’s light until it was so dark that moonlight reflected off his blade. He relished any opportunity to test his prowess. He sought out and challenged the greatest warriors in the known lands.
The blood and occasional destruction that accompanied such trials were but a minor nuisance to him. For decades, Nuada defended his people against all enemies, no matter their origin. He made no exception for those within our realm. Even after he was crowned King, Nuada always took the lead in battle, never relinquishing his place at the head of his army. Sadly his victories fed his ego, and as our lands swelled so too did his pride.
Late one summer’s day word came to Nuada that an old enemy had returned to once again threaten the Tuatha Dé Danann. He had defeated this enemy once and it angered him that they should return to waste his time; for he would surely defeat them again. He scoffed at their threats, shirking the advice of the leaders of the High Courts who had urged caution. The Courts warned Nuada that the enemy must have found a new ally or weapon for they wouldn’t otherwise be so brazen.
Stories had reached their ears of a place called “The Depths” and the strange and powerful creatures therein. The leaders believed that their enemies had visited that place and returned strangely empowered. Nuada was unimpressed by such rumors; he vowed to cleanse that place once his foes relinquished their lives to his blade. He had ever kept his lands clear of abominations; he thought to himself, these so-called “Depths” would be no exception.
As the days passed, the Tuatha Dé Danann prepared for the invasion. As the first frosts settled upon their nights, an off shore invasion force was spotted by the Realm’s scouts. Summoning the Wild Hunt, Nuada vowed to descend upon the invaders and defeat their leader in single combat. He would then mercifully send the entire force back to their own lands, with a warning. The Courts hadn’t a chance to reconvene before Nuada and the Hunt rode out. They raced to the shore, the fire-wreathed hooves of their steeds never seeming to touch the ground. After a few days and nights of hard riding, they reached a towering overlook from where they could watch the invaders come ashore under cover of night.
Never before had the Tuatha Dé Danann faced such a sizeable force, even Nuada was surprised and troubled by their numbers. Nuada’s unease increased when, from within the camp of invaders, he sensed a traitor. A Tuatha Dé Danann man was down there, he was sure of it. Then he knew, it was Bres, a former friend of his. Bres had left the Tuatha Dé Danann to seek power elsewhere and now he was standing on the shore with the enemy! Nuada’s swollen ego was hurt by this realization and he grew furious. He vowed to slay Bres for this betrayal of his people. Standing tall beside Bres in the invader’s camp was a strange, one-eyed statue. Nuada had heard rumors of this statue; it was called Balor.
Flying down from the cliff with the Hunt at his back, Nuada called out a challenge, daring their leader to come out and face him in single combat. Much to his surprise, Bres bravely answered his challenge. Striding out of the ranks of the enemy, Bres seemed greatly changed from the Tuatha Dé Danann youth Nuada had once called friend. His body, while still belonging to his race, was changed subtly. His aura which was once bright and true, appeared dark, misshapen and it radiated a cold, evil light. In his right hand, Bres bore a black obsidian blade. Seemingly alive, its shape shifted slightly in the moonlight.
At first Nuada attributed this to the flickering light thrown by torches, yet he could feel the sword’s aura, it was shifting and dark. It was alive. Bres, seeing that Nuada had noticed his sword, informed him that this was just one of the surprises he held for Nuada. Bres bragged about how he had gone far into The Depths and had emerged more powerful. His sword was but one of the treasures he had earned. Bres boasted that these treasures were more than a match for those pitiful trinkets held by the Tuatha Dé Danann, including Nuada’s sword. Without the customary bow and honorifics, Bres charged Nuada and the battle began.
Taken aback by Bres’ claims as well as his lack of honor and respect, Nuada began the fight at a disadvantage, yet his years of hard training afforded him time enough to regain his composure. Slowly and surely, Nuada got the upper hand on Bres, driving him ever backward toward the sea. With each sound blow delivered, Nuada’s confidence grew; he knew the battle was over yet Bres seemingly did not. As each blow landed and forced Bres to retreat, he simply smiled. The smile turned to boisterous laughter as Bres felt the foam from waves lap his sandaled feet. Their duel continued for hours, Bres taking each blow from Nuada but not yielding any further land to him. Bres was as one of the stout Ironwood trees that ringed Tír na nÓg, unphased and unyielding even during the storm of Nuada’s most furious attacks.
As dawn broke the two warriors still battled ferociously, yet Nuada felt fatigued. After landing another particularly strong blow, Nuada slipped, he was indeed weakening. As if Bres had been waiting for this signal, his laughter became maniacal and he taunted Nuada. Bres dared him to try harder, telling him that he wasn’t even sweating yet. He laughed at Nuada’s weariness. As Bres’ taunts grew harsher, Nuada fought fiercer but could not find an opening to strike a truly punishing blow. As the sun rose over the towering cliffs, Nuada’s fatigue became more evident. Bres took the offensive then, driving Nuada back to the cliffs, his blows passing through Nuada’s defenses and finally, through armor. With each strike, Nuada felt a cold chill surge through his body at the point of impact.
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