Lugh facing the fomorian Army
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Picture from the videogame Mortal Online

The Second Battle of Mag Tuired was an attempt of Crom Cruach to obliterate the Tuatha Dé Danann during the Second Titanomachy.

After the Tuatha Dé conquered Ireland from the fomorians during the First Battle of Mag Tuired, the latter had to live in hiding, forcing them to crawl under mounds or hide in the depths of the sea…places that quickened their bonding with Patala and Crom Cruach.

The Titan saw in the fomorians' distress an opportunity to get rid of the Celts once and for all, which would have brought him closer to destroying the Aesir. And so he talked some fomorians into joining his cause. A few answered the call, but most of them were loyal to their King: Balor, who was hesitating to give in to the Titan. Raiding and looting was one thing, but an alliance to Crom Cruach would mean the end of his own rule and no coming back. But Balor's Fate was already set on its track, his jealousy towards Cian had seen to that.

On the Celt's side, Lugh and the other leaders of the Tuatha Dé foresaw the war coming and therefore prepared themselves in consequence. When Lugh heard Balor's sons - who murdered his father Cian - were wandering Celtic lands with the permission of neither Balor nor the Tuatha Dé, Lugh took the opportunity to con them…and made them useful before he would decide of their Fate. Thus, he decided to ask them to bring him back powerful artifacts, artifacts Lugh was planning on using during the upcoming Battle. Balor's sons managed to retrieve all the wanted artifacts but were badly wounded when retrieving the last one. Lugh then smiled and understood his vow of vengeance was fulfilled. He took the artifacts away and let his uncles die while they begged him to be healed.

Hearing of his sons' demise, Balor entered a grieving state of fury and frenzy and decided to join Crom Cruach and align all of his scattered kingdom with the Titan, an action which would eventually turn his subjects into titanspawn - with the exception of a few loose fomorians, not keen to sacrifice their free will for some vengeful warfare.

Hundreds of thousands of fomorians and other spawns of Crom Cruach were approaching the battlefield, Crom Cruach himself leading them into battle followed by a gigantic Balor and a trail of withered and corrupted ground. Before them was standing a handful of Gods: Danu, The Dagda, The Morrigan, Lugh, Ogma, Dian Cécht, Lir and the High King of Ireland Nuada "Silver-Armed", ready to defend their lands until death.

As the titanic forces were running towards the Celts, Danu enclosed the battlefield into a maze of creepers stretching for kilometers. As the battle was raging, the powers of Druidism and Augury were creating unbreakable natural defenses and traps within the maze and Lugh's artifacts were providing a source of power. For months the battle raged on, screams shouted out to the skies and towering plants growing and dying in a matter of seconds, with neither of the sides seeming to take the advantage over the other. It looked like the World had gone mad, all its cycles broken and playing all at once. The Day was eclipsed before baffling glows of light came to lighten the battleground up, the living were dying and the dead were rising, trees were growing and withering all at once. The Celts were holding on and the titanic army was pushing and pushing again in an attempt to swarm the Gods. Until Balor uncovered his third eye.

Balor's third eye was his weapon of mass destruction. It was always covered with seven cloaks to keep it cool. In order to unleash its power, he had to take the cloaks off one by one. When Ogma disarmed the fomorian king, the latter unleashed the eye's terrific power. At the first cloak removed, ferns began to wither. At the second, grass began to redden. At the third, wood and trees began to heat up. At the fourth, smoke came out of wood and trees. At the fifth, everything got red hot. At the seventh, the whole land caught fire

Lugh about to pierce Balor's eye
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Art by Ionus

Balor's first victim was Nuada, who was burned alive, turned into ashes instantly, almost vaporized. Lir tried to stop the blast by turning himself into an absorbing pool of water but the heat ray passed through the God, turning him into a scattered mist. In order to survive and keep his own essence together, Lir had to remain into a liquid state, which cost him a tremendous amount of fatebinding and thus turned him into a Titan of Oceanus. Lugh, assisting on defeating the foe, took the opportunity to throw his spear piercing Balor's eye from behind his skull. Screaming out of utter pain, Balor moved his head all around, turning to ashes his own army and Danu's maze in the process. When Lugh beheaded the fomorian king, the location where its head rolled off turned into a burnt-off hole in the ground now called Loch na Súil - the Lake of the Eye.
Most of the remaining forces having been vaporized by Balor before its death, Crom Cruach acknowledged his defeat as the fomorians still alive were fleeing the battlefield because of their leader's and friends' death. But Crom Cruach was not done yet and was decided to deal a final blow to the Celts before crawling back in Patala. Disguised as a harmless fomorian, he sneaked up to Danu, who was with Dian Cècht healing the wounded and trying to revive the dead. From behind, Crom Cruach slit Danu's throat with a knife infused with his own corruption power, which spread quickly in Danu's ichor like a venom. Dian Cècht, after wounding the Titan and forcing him to retreat at last, tried to save the Goddess, in vain. The Tuatha Dé Danann had just lot their Mother.

Mourning and healing, the Tuatha Dé Danann went out victorious from the Battle, but also had to face crippling losses. Lir, the God of the Sea, turned Titan; Danu, the Mother Goddess, was slained; and Nuada, the High King, was turned to cinders. Headless, the Tuatha Dé Danann had become a shadow of itself and, when the Aesir proposed them a vassality under the Norse, their choices were limited and thus, after the Concordat of Stonehenge was signed, they joined the Norse Kingdom.

But the Celts' vassality, acquired through tragic circumstances, is not to be considered permanent…