My story ‘The Hound of K’n-yan’ will appear in A MYTHOS GRIMMLY, an anthology featuring mash ups of folklore and the H.P. Lovecraft mythos.
I have long been fascinated with Cúchulainn, the Irish hero from the Ulster Cycle. Cúchulainn was infamous for his ríastrad, a battle frenzy that would transform his body into a hideous fleshy mass that was invincible. With that as my folk lore, I knew I had a tale ripe for the Mythos.
One of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories is ‘The Mound’, and as I researched Irish mythology I was stunned at how the two worlds overlapped. The original term for the faery, aos sí means ‘people of the mounds’!
A foundational book of Irish mythology is Lebor Gabála Érenn, ‘The Book of Invasions’. It describes the different waves of beings that settled Ireland, starting with the Titan-like Fomorians. They ruled until the Tuatha Dé Danann arrived in a dark cloud. They battled the Fomorians, intermarried, and eventually relocated in the bowels of the earth. Their new home was Ildathach, ‘the multi-colored place’; a perfect match for Lovecraft’s ‘blue-lit K’n-yan’.
Of course, beneath K’n-yan there is red Yoth, and deeper still lay blackest N’kai. In the lightless cavern of N’kai the formless spawn of Tsathoggua dwell. The elder races were known to conduct twisted biological experiments, grafting strange flesh onto their slaves.
Cúchulainn was no Disney character. He slew hundreds of men and women, friend and foe alike. He murdered his father-in-law and killed his son. He was literally a one man army, Rambo without the fine-tuned moral compass.
His nickname was siabartha, ‘the distorted one’. In the heat of battle he would hulk out by imploding and turning inside out. In this terrifying state, no edged weapon or spear point could harm him.
Was he really a champion of Ireland, or a killing machine sent by an elder race?
Check out the full story in A MYTHOS GRIMMLY from Wanderer’s Haven Press this December. With 25 original works by Joseph S. Pulver, William Meikle, Peter Rawlik and yours truly.