They call themselves “the Fiorgaels,” meaning the “First Irish” — or the “true Irish,” depending on your point of view. As Bronze Age Man spread throughout Europe, they fled before us, seeking a refuge from our violent ways. At last they came to Ireland, a cold, windswept island beyond the reach of most human seafarers. The humans who had already settled there were gentle folk who worshipped their strange new neighbors. Surely the last outpost of Europe will be safe for us, they said to themselves. They claimed the deep primeval forests, where they explored their Powers for centuries.
They were known as the Sidhe, the Sleiveen, the Sheoques or the Siog. The English called them “fairies,” and considered them to be silly peasants’ chatter. What did the Fiorgaels care, if the world thought they were a quaint relic of superstition? The more humans forgot about them, the safer they were.
But they were not safe. Humans brought murder and warfare across the Irish Sea, as they did to every corner of the planet. Still, the Winged People endured. They used their Powers to hide. They helped the just and righteous among humans, when they could. Tragedy surrounded them everywhere. As some of them had taken Human mates, there were a few people in Ireland who had a share of their Powers. A Church that arrived in Ireland with a message of Peace and Love ruthlessly exterminated every person who showed any trace of the Powers. Foreign conquerors persecuted and massacred the remaining Irish men and women who followed the old ways. The forests shrank.
Then the Famine came, and the last forests were felled.
The Fiorgaels must leave, as so many had, and find refuge in the New World. Yes, Mankind had taken murder, guns and slavery across the wide ocean, but there were still great forests where Men rarely went, and a proud, independent race still struggled to preserve their own lore and tradition. In such a place, the Fiorgaels could still Conceal themselves.
Perhaps you’ve walked through the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, and seen many short people with pointed features. Did you ever bike through Candler Park nearby, and notice the sign of the butterfly on so many houses? Then you’ve seen some of their children, the Part-Humans. The Fiorgaels themselves are not far away. They’re up in the quarry hills north of the city, but don’t go looking for them. They don’t want to be found.
They watch us, you know. They understand war, pollution, bigotry and greed. They understand these things better than we do, because they know we are Fallen. Sin and evil are our destiny. But they are not fallen. Still, they have grown slack and forgotten some of the old Powers. They no longer study the prophecies that foretold a great healing between Fiorgaels and Humans. If they did remember, they would be frightened. Any contact with us is terrifying to them — and they will prevent it if they can.
The pace at which the Humans are destroying the Earth, and each other, is quickening. Our technology enables us to see all hidden things, and our eyes are everywhere. Is there still time for the prophecies to come true? Is there still time to prevent the great destruction to come? Sam Murphy hopes so. But everything depends on the Child of the Earth and Moon, and the Gentle Scots Giant who must love and protect her.