|— Hereford resident —|
|Personal motto: (unknown)|
|Full title||His Royal Highness Algernon Uain O'Rourke de Hanley, Lord of the Uí Briúin Breifne, Marquess of Wye|
|Place of Residence||(unknown), Hereford, Worcester|
|Affiliations||Regent of the Kingdom of England|
|Account created||1 November 2006|
Demise of A Crime Lord, A Demagogue, A Prince, As told by Populist:
The Populist is in Tir na nOg. The tale of his final trek is told here. However, that tale may be told in many ways, and others may have there very own reflections and recollections, such as may surely yet be recounted as Eoghann's musings in the tavern persist below...
Eoghann reached for his drink again, after telling his drinking companion the tale. 'And so ye say that yer father was Prince e'en all the while a criminal?' Eoghann sighed. 'Sir, criminal is such a very harsh word. Athair was never convicted of any fault, nor tried.
He turned to his companion. 'As father described, there was a family, community, to the Wolves. The County did not protect him when he moved to Hereford from Warwick. Dark Devil did. My father was determined that the County remain a home for them
'He provided them intelligence, and they provided for the County defence. Yet there was more than that. He felt among friends. He was a devout Aristotelian, and he firmly believed in that faith - yet he would not betray friends who defended him and his family'
'I heard yer tale,' said the drinking companion, 'an' yet it seems to me rather fanciful. Ye say you saw your father speak to ghosts, and fall into the mist. Yet, did the Wolves not release a statement noting that they kidnapped him?' The young man did not even look at his companion when he replied, 'O there's a story left untold there, my friend. Indeed, Innana did release that statement. All of Cornwall was up in arms that the Wolves would dare to have abducted the Prince Regent.' He now looked at his companion, and sized him up and down. 'My father was bent and lame, but highly skilled in the martial arts of his homeland. His hands were large enough to crush your head. No one would have abducted him easily. Few would ever have dared. However much pain the man was in, he still took pride in the physical pain he could cause people. He would, as Prince, join the Duke of Worcester hunting men on the roads to beat them until bloody flesh pudding. No, sir, were he taken against his will again, he would have killed the culprits or have been killed.
'No, sir, he was himself a Wolf, and some say their most hidden asset. Many suspected, but few truly knew. He was not abducted by them, but had rather set about to take his leave. He hoped to follow delusions that were quite real to him, and let Inanna best explain his absence as she could. Sadly, he took ill as he took the roads under cover of darkness. When he left the Wolf camp, it was not as a prisoner, but as an ill man seeing visions unable to find his way through the wilderness. I was with him with when he was finally found by Sir Collen of Caen and Lady Morningstern. Valiantly, they tried to bring him back to health, but while with their departing army he fell into coma. My father had, it seems, lived life enough and gave up the ghost in order to pursue one. It broke my heart, and yet he seemed relieved when he released his death rattle. All he was ever truly conscious of when he left the camp was of the quiet life with his wife he left in Ireland. That is the reason I have returned. I'm here to find where she was put to rest after the fire. I couldn't stay
'I coud not stay to see to my father's funeral. Nearly all who would have been in attendance truly knew him not, and did not understand. My father lived two lives at the cost of his mind, and he was already dying from the wounds he had inflicted on himself.'
Indeed, in his latter days, the Prince was not a pleasant sight. His back a patchwork of scars since applying to himself the switch he used in Hanley Castle, his pulse erratically damaged from his experimentation with foxglove, his knee so badly damaged from years of his abusive treatment of his old injury, his bloodwork anemic from how he caused himself to bleed frequently, how the man stood at all must have been a wonder to many. However, he was one who could stand strong and tall even in his state most severely damaged.
The more clearly disabled he became, the stronger vision he projected. However bent and lame to have needed others to help him walk even a step, others saw but the voice that he could project - and the bass to his timbre shook windows and walls. Between that, and the very size of his hands, he could frighten and fill with awe whomever might be his audience. However furrowed his brow, however yet increasingly wrinkled his crowsfeet and forehead, his eyes - black as tar - could pierce an onlookers soul and compel any to take a step back. The more he seemed in pain, the more powerful he became... and more dangerous.
Wantonly he would, as both the Duke and later the Prince, rob on the roads any he felt had done wrong to Worcester. Wantonly he would, as both the Duke and later the Prince, use every trick and confidence game in the book - even sincerity - to pry the most hidden of doors open to his eyes and build what had become an extensive international intelligence gathering network. Wantonly would he profess Worcester deprived and outmaneuvered in trade while he quietly built what was then the largest warehouse of iron in all England.
His hands in every pie, his ears in every guild, his eyes on every Council, he came to know what many planned or plotted long before they could launch it - and his very own plots and plans, plots within plots, and plans within plans, worked with a more frighteningly bold and stunning success than he truly had ever dared imagine. He began a trade in information, disclosing only what he could warp or shade to most, exacting a telling toll on several of his confidantes in what he had omitted. Yet, to gain information from others, he needed but ask
Depending on station or location, what he trusted in one, or feared in another, he could tell the most convincing of lies and he could set others against each other via the selective relevation of certain truths. He was a highly skilled spy because he was a highly skilled diplomat, and he was an extraordinarily gifted extortionist because he was an extraordinarily gifted legislator - yet furthermore, he found that he could not possibly be the one were he not in fact the other. He was syncretism incarnate. He was the nexus.
He was all of these things indeed, and more. He was an Inquisitor depended upon for his uncanny capacity towards "unmasking" Wolves for the Church, nevermind how those Wolves had unmasked themselves already. He was a Knight of the Phoenix who dispatched armies to combat the Wolves, nevermind how he relayed information to the Wolves about troop movements and plans of attack. He was granted admission into the Cornwall Red Guard to sell his National Army plan, and promptly relayed to the Wolves information that only the Guard would know thusly sowing seeds of discord into that organization. He had unmasked a Bishop as a spy within the Wolves, the very double agent who preceded him as he who was in essence the Wolves of Sherwood spymaster. He had integrated the Wolves, as Duke, into the very fabric of County Worcester's defence structure.
He had, as both Duke and then Prince, found all of these things to be necessary. These deeds help cement for him unparalleled and unprecedented powers in office. These deeds, although not always traceable to him, afforded him a not inconsiderable amount of political capital through which he kept armies surrounding County Worcester from invading, through which he was able to compel a national Charter for the House of Parliament, through which he negotiated the first County Concordat, and through which he negotiated the first County pact with the Kingdom of Alba. By having insinuated himself into some of the most sensitive of positions, he was able to command a national party structure. By cooperating closely with the Wolves of Sherwood, he was able to secure for himself an intractable lock on political power. The criminal spymaster thusly became the powerful Lawgiver
Yet, it was not without a cost that he lit the candles he verbally accosted at both ends. It was not without a cost that he played both sides of that fence upon which he saw the most vivid of hallucinated streams of blood. He felt that the reigns of power, however skillfully he manipulated to take them, however well he managed to wield them, were but a terrible imposition upon him. He felt a calling to rise to power, to - he believed - save a people from themselves and their very worst inclinations. Yet, in having replied to the call to power, he very often surrendered to his own worst inclinations himself. He wept quite often for losses imagined, and losses quite real. One true loss for him was in how he felt convinced that his establishing a criminal empire rendered him undeserving of the loving arms of his betrothed. For the widower wooed a beautiful emigre from France in County Worcester, merely to find that his plots and plans prohibited him from committing his life to her. This was the most severe self-flagellation of all...
He loved her. How he loved her! She was his samhradh buidhe, his golden summer, who long ago had enchanted him by stepping on his feet at a dance. For such a dance forever from that moment on he yearned. Her touch, her voice, her words were for him as the Sun
He sadly, however, felt always fearful, that he may be judged if she knew the truth. The darkness in which he stood, and how he kept so much of himself from light, seemed at a terrible odds with one who once blind had by the hand of a Saint her sight restored.
He therefore kept a distance that tore his soul apart. He furthermore felt his strong feelings for her betrayed the bright and shining love the widower had for his wife. If he was conflicted over many things, it was in this that so much of the conflict took root.
How she stood by his side throughout the whole time as he drowned his demons in drink and kept his distance, he would never know. He knew but that he could not truly be deserving of that happiness that a life with her had in store. For he was scarred and dark...
He was violence. He was madness. He was woe.
Eoghann could not believe his eyes as his father so horribly convulsed after his fall in the woods. The elder man's skin was cold and clammy. His pupils were dilated, his pulse erratic. He heard his father scream his mother's name, and then watched his father strain to pull himself up by his shillelagh. He spoke of ghosts within the mist, and appeared now to be conversing with them. Eoghann gave up long ago hoping to make sense of his father's ramblings when under withdrawal from alcohol. He heard his father have violent arguments with walls and candlesticks.
Yet there seemed to this unearthly discussion some modicum of sense. His father took an accounting of his life, the good and the bad. This was a man who managed to move a nation, who led armies, and insinuated a Kingdom wide criminal operation into the very heart and fabric of civic infrastructure. This trembling, scarred and tormented addict effectively managed counties and a country. This delusional, depressed and hallucinating cripple won hearts as even a despot, and with but his voice commanded from others awe, respect and even some element of fear
Eoghann helplessly watched as his convulsing father collapsed again, eyes rolling into the back of his head. He set over his father woolen blankets, and endeavored to make him as comfortable as possible in an unforgiving woodland. He would soon hear the death rattle of one who was as a legend, and here he would see that legend at its end. Tears streamed from his eyes as he heard his father's last gasps of 'Lubin,' and 'Aislin'. He was about to turn his head when he felt his father grasp his hand. 'Even here, even now,' he thought, 'my hand is nearly crushed by the strength in his.'
'Eoghann? Is that you?,' his father said. 'Aye, yes, athair, your son is here.' Tears were visible in his father's eyes. 'Eoghann, O Eoghann, I thought you lost in the fire, but you have rescued me from these barbarians. Eoghann, O Eoghann, I thought you were dead, but here you are. My name lives on after me.'
Eoghann wept as his father drifted into the past, and held the elder man until the end.
Fe-fiada, Tír na nÓg, an Taibhse: The Mist, the Never Land and a Ghost, As told by the son
From beyond the veil of the fog as the Prince made his way towards Cornwall a voice was heard from beyond Tír na nÓg, the land of his fallen fathers. 'Always were you my Prince, my love,' said Aislin, a dream as was her name indeed, a taibhse now.
And so followed he the will of the wisps, she for whom he heard a bean sí sing her caoineadh, a lament for his lost love and lady consumed by flames, by flames, flames to rival those of Bríg who did herself invent the caoineadh when she wept for Ruadán...
Here then is told the tale of how the Prince, once Prince Regent of England, now sadly lost, once Prince of Thieves, now dearly departed, a tragic man, a tortured man, and every secret's reservoir, disappeared into Fe Fiada, the Mist and joined his fathers in Tír na nÓg. A young man in Ireland recounted the tale. for young Algernon Eoghann O'Ruairc, who has now made his home in fair, beautiful Erin's arms, was there... Young Algernon Eoghann saw his late father's despair. He saw his broken father depart into the mist, to fall into the land the mist veils, the land wherein the bean sí dwell - at the precipice of which the young man would sing his own caoineadh as he weeps for lost Prince Algernon Uain O'Rourke...
'Aislin, Aislin,' he heard his father scream. 'Your memory forever tortures me.' So tortured was young Eoghann as well, for he remembered also his late mother's screams on the terrible day he was first separated from his father by fire
'Aislin, Aislin, please come back to me.' Yet, the spirit only shook her head. 'Dear husband, another cares for you now.' Tears streamed down his cheek as he croaked his next verse. The deep bass to his range was erased in his whimper
'Aislin, Aislin, I dare never to return to her now.' His body shook as he now choked on the words. 'Everything that is her faith, the bright light that restored sight to her, was by me betrayed in the darkness of what I was capable of'
For how could he continue to stand with any pride before she who took so hard to heart the sermon to walk barefoot the rocky path? Here was a man who marched to conflict, managed County resources, ruled a Kingdom, and yet in a bizarre cowardice could not admit to being the mysterious 'Populist'. He led the list of Allied Independents even as he penned the political platform of their nemeses, the Populares. 'I was a master spy for the Wolves of Sherwood, Aislin, an entity declared anathema,' he said. 'My mind could not know peace by the side of even one so dear, knowing of how my very life and so much of what I have done has betrayed everything for which she stands... I died in the fire that took your life, Aislin'
Eoghann recounted the conversation in a tavern at the great emerald isle, staring down at his bread and beer throughout the while, when he looked up with tear strewn eyes at his dinner companion. 'Do you recall the tale of Ruadán, for whom the Source for Fire composed her first caoineadh? I can tell you, sir, that every word of it is true. Ruadán was the master spy whose occupation in espionage ultimately compelled his demise.'
He sighed. 'I miss my Father, for he was Ruadán...
'And Aislin, dear Brigit for his caoineadh...'
His father had been into Fe Fiada before, sinking into the blue. The High Admiral, his Chamberlain, thought that he had been ill. Yet no more hallucination was it to the Prince. It was entirely too real for him, and witnessing his father's exchange with this will of the wisp, young Eoghann now that much knew. His athair had been at death's door before, but now before his eyes could Eoghann see for himself the spirits the Prince talked to. There, right there, his mother stood...
His mother stood... and his mother cried. 'I have watched thy torment, my Prince, and how you tore your soul apart. You commanded the Warwick and then the Hereford Guard. You became Public Prosecutor, Trade Minister, then Sheriff. All the while, you lined thy pockets e'en as ye helped thy county grow. You begged, stole and cajoled the largest stores of iron in all of England, and then ye cried poverty for more...
'Ye were deacon of one, and then two - two parishes - in two dioceses. You joined the Holy Inquisition, and crushed a Bishop for telling the truth about your leaking intelligence. You created an unstoppable political machine that could have kept you reigning as His Grace, the Duke, until Apocalypse. You controlled one political party with an iron hand, even as ye penned the platform - and coined the name - of its competitor
'Captain in the Knights of the Phoenix ye became e'en as they quite yet unknowingly hunted you. You coaxed the Cornwall Red Guard open their doors in the midst of your very own criminal network's campaign against them. As Prince, you made the Regency more powerful than in ages before, demolishing county laws, unleashing armed forces, and crushing nominations to the superior Court. You ruled with an iron hand!
'How charismatic the most potent criminal in the land...'
'Is that what you hope to hear from me, my love?
Poor Eoghann has seen afflicted his father before, how the old man had days when he could not even stand, a lame man whose knee constantly cried out in pain since sustaining an injury during his brutal abduction.
Yet he never, never, saw his father collapse like this. 'Aislin, Aislin, be thee now the Dullahan? Have ye traveled on horseback through Cornish mist to call my name and crush me?' He barely speak the words as he cried.
'Nay, my love, I, your wife, am bean sí, hear to sing your caoineadh. Twice saw ye the mist, and I can bear your tortures no more. Think ye that I have recounted thy sins? I spoke your mind, and that is all I did.
'Let thy life of self-flagellation have its end. All that I have said you were. More. You struck the corrupt bargain of Royalty before you with UrShak. You joined with the notorious Hell's Masters. You named a Wolf your Prosecutor
'Yet look at how many lives you touched. However the heretic, you baptized many. You brought light into the lives of the couples you married. You performed what was only the second rite of Confirmation in England -
'Confirming the son of a Saint in a ceremony that has become of the Confirmation in England a template. If ye danced with those declared by thy Faith anathema, your contribution to that Faith was still quite immeasurable
'An if'n ever ye thieved, extorted and used public office to line thy pockets, ye forged a national army for thy Kingdom, created for the House of Parliament a Charter, launched the first national Embassy for your land
'Ye protected and defended your King's laws regarding Justice, even creating a new court of original jurisdiction. Ye were the cause of the first Aristotelian Concordat adopted in England. Ye did institutionalize the free practice of religion
'Some would say you rescued the Regency, helping forge national identity. You preserved for that office a strength and dignity. You demonstrated that it was not a paper tiger, but an office of untapped true power
'You survived and thrived a man, not a monster, catapulted by circumstance to precisely that point where thy past, in all that ye did and ever dared, made inevitable. Who you were made ye what you would become
'Were ye not a Wolf, ye would not have been a Duke. Your criminality was what made your remarkable public service possible. Were ye not a Wolf, ye would not have been a Prince. Your criminality therefore made England stronger'
The son could see the creases and crow's feet deepen as a great hand gripped the weapon of the legendary uisce bata, that most primordial of European martial arts to match the first language ever spoken.
That face, a face aged beyond its years, a face that roared, a face that wept, the face of a man who saw war, loss and tragedy. That face attempted a nation in the name of an unusually syncretic spirituality.
He saw the man rise, and heard him groan, understanding how the pain was surely terrible. Some wounds never healed. However, the wound he sustained in the fire was what truly scarred him, the fire...
For that fire was what claimed his wife, the bean sí now beside him. Yet now she was here, having pursued him through the mist in Somerset and Cymru. She was here to sing his keening, and carry him away -
To carry him away to Tír na nÓg, forever.
Where, when and how young Eoghann witnessed this could never be definitively said. His drinking companion doubted him. Who wouldn't? The very notion of such a man turned what most construe to be logic fairly well on top of its head. Yet the man, ironically, did exist, an Irishman to whom English nobility were vassals, a Crime Lord who commanded the national armies, a distorted lens through whom an audience saw what it wanted to see, heard what it wanted to hear - just as he himself saw raging infernos and streams of blood that no one else could see, heard entities that no one else could hear. The man was no less implausible than the story that his son conveyed, a demagogue whose voice could open doors and whose pen so very often spared him certain end, and yet a man who had screaming arguments with walls and candlesticks. 'Indeed he followed a will o wisp into magical mists,' Eoghann defiantly proclaimed. 'Indeed he debated with the bean sí. Yes, he most certainly did indeed speak with ghosts, and he channelled the gods, I believe. Not one impossible fate eluded him, including Tír na nÓg'.
Perhaps madness ran in the family...
Perhaps madness ran in the family....
By what beyond madness would the youth release the private letters of his father revealing secrets that England never was intended to see? By what beyond madness would he pen letters arguing with Regents and speaking of the victims of his father's conartistry so disparagingly?
'Why, the madness of that toxin ye might as well inject in your veins'
The young Mayor heard a candle say that to him mockingly, laughing through the shadows cast by the flickering flames. 'How dare you?,' the young man screamed. 'You haunted him. Him! How dare you haunt me?'
The flickering candle laughed as Eoghann saw blood run down his office walls, and as the flickering flames ignited fires in his office... 'No heat! No heat! How can any fire rage if it radiates no heat?'
He rubbed his eyes, and looked again. 'I warned you, my son, and so did Tigernan.'