Keywords: Transformation
Species: Mythical, Human
The Mark of the Divigon

	This story came about after hearing tales from my father 
about the Divigon living in the loch near the farm in Ireland.  In 
case you don't know, a loch is basically a lake, but they don't 
call them lakes, they call them lochs (pronounced lock) (and spelt
loughs as I discovered in 2001 on a trip)  And yes, 
the farm, loch, and locations all exist.  As for the other bits in 
the story one can only hope...

                 ---------------------------------------

The Mark of the Divigon
by Wolphin


I wondered around the isolated loch, not paying much attention to 
anything specific, mainly lost in my thoughts.  The green hills of 
Ireland rolled off into the distance.  Up on one hillside there 
was a clump of trees.  I knew that hidden beneath them was the 
farmhouse where my father had spent his holidays.  His father was 
born in the ruins that could be glimpsed to one side and his 
father had build the house.  Countless generations of my ancestors 
had lived within a short walk of this loch, while today my family 
is spread out across the globe.

It was strange to think I was following in some long dead 
relative's footsteps.  This place was so isolated.  There was only 
myself, the gently sigh of the wind and a constant murmur of small 
waves breaking on the shore.  The only sign of civilisation was 
the cluster of trees on the hillside.  From here you could not see 
the road winding over the back of the hill.  The old stone walls 
looked more like they had grown from the land rather than been 
built.

I reached the point where the stream trickled out of the loch and 
down to the sea.  The coast was quite close and, when the wind 
blew from the right direction, you could hear the muffled roar of 
the breakers. 

Leaving the loch I headed uphill, through the heather towards the 
crest.  It was only a short walk and once at the top I could see 
for miles.  The overcast sky painted the land in muted greens.  
Grey granite rocks stood like sentries, guarding the coast.  The 
waves crashing against the shore blowing up a fine mist which was 
slowly making its way inland.  

Smiling to myself, I marvelled at the stark contrast of this land 
to my native Australia.  I could almost picture a leprechaun 
skipping through the greenery, selkies mixing with the seals on 
the islands and other phantom creatures waking from myths and 
legends.  For a moment I held my breath, desperately hoping 
against hope that my scientific scepticism would be proved wrong 
and indeed there were such creatures hiding in the world and they 
were about to show themselves to me.

Alas, as on other occasions, nothing manifested itself.  The wind 
continued its relentless sigh, the waves continued to crash 
against the shore and twilight approached as the golden glow of 
the sun slipped below the horizon.

Pulling myself to my feet I headed down to the shores of the loch 
and back to the house.  Twilight was something new for me.  In 
Australia we have night and day.  The transition takes about 
twenty minutes.  In Ireland they have the twilight.  Day ends and 
the night seems to hang back for a while, sometimes for a long 
time before sudden sneaking in on you.  Going dark at ten at night 
took a little getting use to, but now I was enjoying it.  

It allowed me to explore during the day, then still get back 
without having to use a light.  It was quite easy to see, sort of 
like looking at the land through a dark pair of glasses on an 
overcast day.  

Trudging through the heather back to the house, I caught a glint 
of metal from the ground.  Moving my head around in the poor light 
I managed to pinpoint and home in on it.  Parting a clump of 
heather I peered down at a half buried piece of metal.  

Breaking off a twig I teased it out and brushed it against my 
shirt to clean it a little.  It looked a little like tarnished 
sliver and had a pattern embossed or engraved across it, but more 
than that, I could not make out.  Shrugging to myself, I pocketed 
it and continued to the house.

Eymond opened the door for me.

"The long lost cousin returns," he announced with a grin.  "Have a 
nice wander?"

I nodded.

"Yeap," I replied.  "Just down around the loch, then up the hill."

He nodded.

"A nice view from there.  Tomorrow, we're going into town at 
around ten, you interested?"

I shook my head

"Sounds good," I replied.  "I'm off early tomorrow, probably 
around dawn.  I'm hiking up to Gweedore, I suppose to be meeting a 
friend, but no guarantee.  That should take us a couple of days, 
then I'll drop back here on my way through to Dublin."

He nodded again.

"That's right," he said.  "Don't ask me why you're going to 
Gweedore, I don't know what is special about that place."

"Well," I said with a grin.  "Neither do I."

We had made our way into the kitchen and Eymond automatically 
threw another lump of peat onto the fire and gave the pot simmer 
on top of it a slow stir.  I moved to the sink, drew out the piece 
of metal I had found and began scrubbing it under the running 
water.

He looked over my shoulder.

"What's that?" he asked.

"I don't know," I replied.  "I found it on the hill on the way up 
from the loch."

As the dirt was removed we both peered at it. 

"It looks almost like a broach or something," Eymond ventured.

I had removed all the dirt and gently dried it on a towel before 
moving to under the light to study it.  It was metallic, about two 
inches in diameter, but with rough edges, almost like tendrils.  
Each tendril formed the edge of a complex Celtic pattern which 
entwined itself about a symbol engraved into a small patch in the 
centre.  I was guessing, but I don't think it was silver.  It had 
a silvery sheen, but also glimmered a greenish blue if flickered 
against the light.

Eymond drew in a breath when he saw it.

"Nice," he almost whispered.  "Very nice.  I bet someone was 
annoyed when they lost it."

"I bet they were too," I replied.  "Do you have any idea what it 
is?"

He took it from me and studied it carefully.

"Hmmm, no marks on the back," he muttered to himself.  "Plus no 
where to tie it on to anything."

After a while he handed it back. 

"No idea," he said.  "I was going to suggest a broach, you know, 
the sort which they use to use to hold their clothes together, but 
there isn't any way to fix it to anything.  That would mean you 
would probably have to either have it embedded into something or 
carefully tied on.  Either way would be pretty risky.  That is 
probably how whoever lost it."

"What about the symbol in the centre," I enquired.

He looked at it again.

"It looks like a mark of a house or a clan," he began.  "Probably 
the sort of thing someone had on their saddle to impress the 
people they were trying to kill.  I'd say its a couple of hundred 
years old."

He smiled.  

"Congratulations, a real piece of Irish history."

I grinned and stuck it in my pocket for future study at a later 
date.

That later date turned out to be about a hour later.  I was 
looking through the bookshelves and found a number of books on 
runes, symbols and marks of Ancient Ireland.  Saying goodnight to 
Eymond I headed up to my room and laid the books around my bed.

Slowly and methodically I began to identify the centre symbol.  It 
took a great deal of searching, but eventually I managed to track 
it down.  According to this ancient text it was the Mark of the 
Divigon, whatever that was.

After sneaking in a few more trips to the shelves without waking 
Eymond I discovered what the Divigon was.  According to a book of 
Irish myths, it was a creature similar to the bunyip of Australian 
mythology.  A deliberately vague creature, seemingly invented to 
scare children away from dangerous places.  

For example, in one town the children were warned not to go near 
the river because of the Divigon.  In another town it was the 
steep cliffs, yet another had a Divigon inhabiting the islands 
offshore.  

One infuriating thing was the lack of a description.  There was no 
mention of what the creature was suppose to look like.  Was it big 
and hairy?  Did it slither on scales?  Another thing which annoyed 
me was the seemingly conflicting reports about what the creature 
was suppose to do.  Yes, all reports agreed that it was scary 
monster, but in some reports it saved people, while other cases 
had the people dragged to their doom.

However, one thing I did not find any information on was why was 
its mark embossed on my piece of metal. 

Yawning, I piled the books on the floor.  Any more research would 
have to wait until morning.  

That night I dreamt of strange beings lurking in the undergrowth 
of Ireland.

I was up early the next morning, bag packed and ready to begin my 
hike I wandered down the stairs to join Eymond for breakfast.

Over tea and toast I asked him if he had heard of the Divigon.

"Oh sure," he answered.  "A lot of us folk in these parts know of 
the Divigon.  It is drummed into you as a child.  'Don't go near 
the water or the Divigon will get you.'  It never stopped us mind 
you."

He grinned.  

"Why do you ask?" he enquired.

"Oh," I replied.  "Its just something which I stumbled across 
looking through some books last night."

He nodded and we spent the remainder of breakfast catching up on 
family gossip and getting hiking trips.

A short time later, I hoisted my pack and disappeared across the 
heathland.  Eymond had said that if I kept on moving this way I 
would have it pretty easy.  There were only a few farms in the way 
and the owners did not mind you marching across them as long as 
you did not disturb anything.  

If everything went according to plan I would meet Michael the 
following day at a pub.  Failing that, I was suppose to stay at 
the pub and drink to his absence.  Michael was great on drinking, 
that is why I half did not expect him to appear.

The day was uncharacteristically warm and in a few hours I found 
myself shedding layers as, for the first time, the sun shone down 
on me.  Around midday I stopped for lunch.  It was a simple 
affair; bread, cheese and a drink.

I was making good time as well, so I decided to rest up for an 
hour or so and enjoy the view.  Leaning back on my pack I pulled 
out my mysterious piece of metal and stared at it again.  It 
definitely looked like some form of jewellery.  Vainly, I held it 
up as a necklace, then as a bracelet and even as a broach, but 
nothing seemed right.  As an idle thought I lent back and placed 
it on my forehead as a head piece.

It was slightly curved and easily stayed there, feeling warm and 
smooth against my skin.  I smiled and fantasised myself going into 
battle, the mark of the fearsome Divigon emblazoned across my 
head, my opponents cowering in fear.  I was always one to over 
dramatise.

Holding my watch up, I decided to continue my trek.  Reaching up 
to remove the piece of metal I was alarmed about how it did not 
want to be removed.  In fact, it seemed to be stuck to my skin.  
Pushing and prying it hurt.  Not sure what had happened, I 
rummaged in my pack for my mirror.

Holding the mirror up to my head I drew in a sudden breath.  The 
piece of metal had begun to burrow into my skin.  That is probably 
the best description I could give you.  The centre symbol still 
stood out, but each of the tendrils was under my skin.  I could 
see it spreading outwards, leaving a web of tiny trails which were 
beginning to snake across my head.

It did not hurt and in one way I was fascinated by it.  However, 
in another, I was horrified.  At first I tried to pull out the 
small piece that was still above the skin, but the rest of it was 
too far ingrown.  Pulling at it felt like I was pulling my skull 
apart.  Changing to a different tack I tried stopping the tendrils 
from spreading.  At first I pressed a finger down in their path, 
but they just burrowed underneath it.  Then I tried grabbing a 
tendril, but that did not work either.

At this stage, they had covered all of my forehead and were 
working their way down my face.  Each tendril began to split and 
spread out on its own.  The speed of their covering increased as 
they grew.  I watched in a mixture of awe and horror as they wove 
down my arms and across my hands.  Lifting my shirt, I watched as 
them moved down my chest and along my legs.  Shrugging off my 
shoes, I was just in time to see the last of my feet entwined in 
their grip.

Then everything was still.

Tentatively I poked at the ridges under my skin with a hand.  They 
were soft and yielding, but matted together and unable to be 
separated.  At first I thought they had just covered my body as 
they pleased, but as I stared at my hand I became aware of a 
pattern.  Once you knew what to look for, it was obvious.  It was 
some strange Celtic thing, very similar to the entwined pattern on 
the piece of metal which started all of this.  

The piece of metal!

I grabbed my mirror and started at my face once more.  What looked 
back was quite bizarre.  It was still recognisably me, but this 
pattern radiated out from my forehead, covering everything.  As 
far as I could tell, only my eyes looked human.  

This thought went through my face and, being a young male human, 
it naturally lead to the following thought of "What about 'down 
there'?"  Undoing my belt and pulling down my trousers exposed the 
effected region. 

I let out a groan.

That too was covered.  The same Celtic pattern ran its entire 
length in small ridges.  I poked at it.  It felt relatively 
normal, I guessed it would still work.  Grinning to myself I 
thought of those condoms you can buy that are 'ribbed for her 
pleasure.'  None of that for me from now on.

It was about then that the pain hit.  It began at my forehead.  A 
sharp pain which began to spread.  The tendrils seemed to be 
channelling it across my body.  I looked down at my hands to see 
the patterns under my skin beginning to glow.  They began as red, 
but quickly faded to a white, which grew in intensity as the pain 
increased.

At first I fought it.  Closing my eyes and willing it to go away, 
but it refused to subside.  Instead it became unbearable.  
Hoisting myself to my knees, I lifted my head and screamed in 
agony.  My scream echoed across the baron hillsides and as it 
faded, so did the pain.

I collapsed to all fours and slowly opened my eyes.  The first 
thing they saw was a silvery green hand clenching at the dirt.  My 
eyes travelled up the arm of the hand and found it attached to my 
shoulder.  Gone was the familiar pink human flesh.  Instead, my 
skin was now an almost metallic looking, very light green.  The 
flesh had also vanished, replaced with the tendrils which had 
implanted themselves under my skin.  Twisting my head around, I 
noted it was darker on my back, but lighter on my chest and 
stomach.  That was when I also noticed my clothes had disappeared 
along with my skin.

I lifted one hand and studied it carefully.  The pattern had 
formed itself almost into, for lack of a better word, interlocking 
scales.  I poked at it with a finger.  It was sensitive, I could 
feel both it and my finger, but also strangely cool and smooth.  

I was twisting my hand around, watching the pattern dance over my 
body when the next stage hit.  This is very hard to describe.  At 
this point I suppose I looked liked a painted human.  The next 
stage changed all that.

I first noticed it on my hand, probably because I was paying it so 
much attention.  The tendrils which ended at each finger tip, 
suddenly intertwined and grew out from my fingers, creating very 
wicked looking claws, which darkened to a polished grey.  Ridges 
began appearing up my arms, I felt something happening to my now 
bald head and I reached up to feel ridges spreading over my head 
and down.  As they reached my lower back, a thick tail literally 
emerged from the base of my spine and extended for several feet 
behind me.  

I looked down at my legs and watched similar talons emerge from 
each toe and another from my heel.  The muscles in my legs seemed 
to writhe grotesquely under my skin as the change progressed 
towards my newly formed tail.  As it reached my groin, I watched 
the tendrils suck my member into a well protected sheath which 
emerged from nowhere.

Next I felt my face twisting.  Turning once again to the mirror I 
watched silently as my nose and mouth pushed outwards, forming a 
muzzle.  This forced my eyes to either side and I had trouble 
focusing on the small piece of glass.  My tongue split, but I had 
little difficulty exploring my growing fangs with it forked.  My 
ears slid towards the top of my head as a pair of horns emerged 
and curved backwards, down my slightly elongated neck.

Behind me I felt more movement and a pair of silvery wings 
sprouted from my back.  As they grew to full-size I spread them 
and surveyed the green grass of Ireland with my silted orbs.  
Feeling the change complete, I opened my eyes and let out a true 
roar of triumph.  Crackles of magic lacing like lightning across 
my skin.

I was contemplating my new body and what to do next when a bright 
point of light appeared a few metres away.  It grew quickly, 
forming an arch about my height from which a human head appeared.  
It was definitely female, with long flowing blonde hair which 
cascaded around her shoulders.  Noticing me, she smiled.

"Greetings," she said in a lilting Irish accent.

She moved forward and I suddenly noticed that from the waist down 
was the body of a horse.  She was a centaur.  

"Errr, hi?" I managed to mumble out of my new, but strange mouth.  
My voice was deep, but mellow and it seemed to fit my new shape 
very nicely.

She ran an eye over my changed form.

"Oooh," she said with a grin.  "I don't think I've seen one of you 
before.  Can I ask what you are?"

That caught me a little off guard.

"Ummm, a Divigon I think," I stuttered back.  "But I'm not sure.  
It just sort of happened while I wasn't paying much attention."

She giggled.

"No," she replied.  "You made it happen."

I must have looked a little perplexed because she continued.

"Mystical beings, supernatural creatures and magic have all but 
gone from this world.  Instead, humans have rationalised 
everything with their science.  We were in danger of being wiped 
out my physical laws, so rather than become vague memories, we 
left."

She gestured to the glowing arch and beyond.

"Here we have our own universe, governed by our own lore.  Most 
humans like to think it exists, but few ever manage to find a 
entry point to it.  You are one of the ones who have."

"I did?" I mumbled.

"Of course you did silly," she grinned.  "Just have a look at 
yourself.  Your entry point was that trinket you found, coupled 
with a longing.  Do you look like something that belongs in the 
world you just came from.  Or do you belong in the world of magic, 
long forgotten creatures and myths?"

She paused and I thought it over.  She did have a very valid 
point.  I was about to answer when she continued.

"Imagine yourself at a fork in the road," she said.  "One fork 
leads back to your human existence, the other leads on to the life 
fitting your new form."

She smiled and backed into the portal.

"The choice is yours," she said as she faded from view.

For a moment I stood on the barren hillside, thinking it over.  
Then, my mind made up, I turned and stepped though the glowing 
arch, disappearing from one world forever.

         ------------------------------------------------

	And as some seriously useless information.  The story my 
Father told me about the Divigon was he was told it inhabited the 
loch and not to go near there.  Naturally, everyone ignore it and 
always fooled around on the waters edge.  One day my Father was 
down there fishing and a duck floated by on the surface.  Suddenly 
there was a boil, a splash and the duck disappeared...

After that he was never sure if the Divigon was a myth or not...




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Sheep go baa; Cows go moo.