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Scatach, The Shadow Maid.


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#1 Raptor

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:03 PM

Scáthach (pronounced "Sca-ya" or "Sky-ya")

Scáthach ("Shadowy") is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.

Scáthach's instruction of the young hero Cú Chulainn notably appears in Tochmarc Emire (The Wooing of Emer), an early Irish foretale to the great epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, in which Cú Chulainn is honour-bound to perform a number of tasks before he is found worthy to marry his beloved Emer, daughter of the chieftain Forgall Monach. The tale survives in two recensions: a short version written mainly in Old Irish and a later, expanded version of the Middle Irish period. In both recensions, Cú Chulainn is sent to Scotland, which is called Alpae in Irish, a word literally meaning "the Alps" (from Latin Alpa), but apparently used here to refer to Scotland (otherwise Albu in Irish). Cú Chulainn is sent here with Lóegaire and Conchobor, and in the later version also with Conall Cernach, to receive training from the warrior Domnall (whose hideous daughter falls in love with the hero and when refused, promises revenge). After some time, Domnall assigns them to the care of Scáthach for further training.

Cú Chulainn and Emer fall in love, but her father Forgall forbids the union until Cú Chulainn has completed his warrior training. Cú Chulainn and his friend Ferdiad travel to Dún Scáith, where Scáthach teaches them feats of arms, and gives Cú Chulainn his deadly spear, the Gáe Bulg.

Cú Chulainn begins an affair with Scáthach's daughter Uathach, but accidentally breaks her fingers. She screams, calling her lover Cochar Croibhe to the room. Despite Uathach's protests, he challenges Cú Chulainn to a duel, and Cú Chulainn dispatches him easily. To make it up to Uathach and Scáthach, Cú Chulainn assumes Cochar's duties, and becomes Uathach's lover. Scáthach eventually promises her daughter to him, without requiring the traditional bride price. Scáthach also grants Cú Chulainn the "friendship of her thighs" when his training is almost complete. When her rival, the warrior woman Aífe (Aoife is the Irish spelling), threatens her territory, Cú Chulainn defeats her in battle and forces her to make peace. Scathach and Aife are twins, but they fight for Cu Chulainn's love and become rivals. Aífe also sleeps with Cú Chulainn, producing his son Connla, who Cú Chulainn kills years later without realizing their relation.
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#2 CactusJack

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

Outstanding tale Chilli, Thanks

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#3 Grendelmor

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 06:22 PM

I love those tales. Conall Cernach is supposedly the founder of the Moore (O'Mordha) clan in Ireland, which is believed to have spawned the same House of Muir that exists in Scotland to this day. The Moores that, in America, claim Irish heritage,(myself included), come from the Irish O'Mordha family.

On a side note, my youngest daughters middle name is Emer, after Cu Chulainns wife, but we spelled it Ayver, to get the pronunciation right.
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#4 CactusJack

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 06:49 PM

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Dun Sgáthaich (Fort Of Shadows), Isle of Skye
Looking northwest across Loch Fishort to the Cuillin Hills

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#5 Raptor

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 05:19 AM

Great find there, Larry. Cheers for posting it.

Grendelmor, Muir forms a large part of my bloodline, & one I'm very proud of.
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#6 Grendelmor

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 03:35 PM

:grouphugg: We might be family! (at least distant cousins). Wish I could find an inexpensive Muir tartan kilt... I don't think my wife will go for my spending the scratch for a "rare" tartan right now...
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#7 Raptor

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 01:07 AM

Same. All my kilts are Gordon but I'm after a Laurie, a Muir, & a Dyer. One day.
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