Nightbane is the collective word for beings from the shadow side of Story. They have also been called "Banefolk," although some scholars object to the term "folk" as being too nice and neighbourly for creatures known to perpetrate acts of horrific violence.

Nightbane include such familiar entities as goblins, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, some giants (not all) and witches (not all).

Lesser known to people in our world are such creatures as:

mordog: large man-shaped creatures with doglike faces and bloodthirsty appetites. Many mordog look more ursine than canine. The name does not derive from "dog" in fact but from an Eld word meaning "plague," as these creatures were thought of as a plague upon peace-loving folk.

creech: smaller creatures of naked bone and sinew, with sharp beaks and claws

hogmen: as the name suggests, these beings are porcine in appearance, and are notorious for a taste for human flesh. Fortunately, they are not particulary intelligent (although they like to believe they are) and can often be outwitted by stratagems that wouldn't ordinarily fool a five-year-old child.

While any of these creatures should be considered extremely dangerous, they themselves go in fear of some of the darker, truly terrifying beings of the shadow side of Story. Such beings as reavers, dark angels, and deathdancers.

Having long been on the side of wickedness in the realms of Story, Nightbane have been recruited in great numbers by Malabron the Night King. Many of them worship him as a god, who has promised to make them lords of the Realm over all of the "good" folk. In recent years, however, a number of Nightbane (either singly or in bands) have rejected Malabron's authority and joined the alliance of free folk against him, thus disproving the age-old notion that they are purely evil by nature and cannot change.

Image by T Wharton

On giants 2


One of my all-time favourite giant stories is the one about the Irish giant Finn MacCool (Fionn Mac Cumhail) and his wife Oonagh outwitting a rival giant who has come to find Finn and challenge him to a fight.

In some versions this rival is a Scottish giant named Ben An Donner, in other versions he is Cuchullain, the mythical Irish hero transformed for the purposes of the story into a giant.

The gist of the story is that when Finn finds out this giant is coming to find him, he panics and pleads with his wife to get him out of trouble. Oonagh dresses Finn up as a baby and puts him in a cradle. When the rival giant arrives at Finn's house, Oonagh tells him Finn is out, and invites him in for tea. The giant is startled at this enormous baby, and wonders fearfully how huge Finn must be if this is his child. He reaches into the crib to tickle the baby and Finn squeezes his finger and nearly crushes it (or bites it off, in some versions). The giant gets up and runs off, not daring to wait around for the father if the baby is so strong.

I haven't done justice to the wit and comedy of the story here at all, of course. There are several published versions which tell the tale with wonderful words and pictures, such as Mrs. McCool And The Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale, by Jessica Souhami.