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A little seed unto ages. It shall sleep amidst your tumults. My burden on Eriu is broken against you, the thing I crave Is a name forgot, and a secret place, and a far- off grave. My name I have left in Egypt. Unto an hiding place I bring the treasures of Yahveh that He shutteth from every face Till this season.

Not unto Dan are these, but 1 bring therewith The daughter of David, daughter of Pharaoh, daughter of Ith, A fount that Yahveh hath cleansed, anointed of Him from birth. Heiress of tribes and peoples scattered o'er all the earth. The furthest isles are her portion, the sea is hers as her dower. His head is crowned with the sun. His feet are wet with the dew As he leadeth them in the morning. This also ye may not learn : Ye are blind, but a ring in the snout, is plain that ye all discern. Behold her silvern crescent which marketh the daughter of kings.

A king that wrought evil gave it. Moreover, bracelets and rings Be hers of Tarshish from Ith of the Breogan out of his hold Wherein ye barter your herds and harvest for treasures of gold. Who is he that sitteth amongst you shall raise his eyes to their'-hem. Hither with her the Stone, — The Stone of the Kingdom cometh. It shall not be left alone Henceforth of her sons for ever.

I bid ye prepare her a home Wherein all shall be meet and ready that the feet of the Queen shall come, Yet not ask of me. I am left in Egypt a pillar to be Unto days and lands and peoples, when the Lord bears witness in me. I stand a sower, a ploughman. My God hath set me to plant. I shall not fail in His time. His hand hath holpen my want. Heed ye this work, and mark. At the end of days it is clear.

It is dim in the veils of the Ark. This also may not be broken, though men shall hide it away, It standeth in earth for ever, and ruleth the night and day. I know the wiles that ye plan! Elatha's mines are empty. His smelters handle the spear. His sails are gathered together that Eriu may dwell in fear. Ye are come as spies before him. Answer ye to his boast, That the men of Eriu be gathered to greet him on every coast. Though Ith out of Eber help him, and Elier out of the Gate. If Egypt indeed be with him, it is long that his host must wait. But come ye many or few our firbolgs have little fear Whilst Tuirbhi watcheth his anvils to furnish each with a spear.

By Caiseal the stones are strong that are piled upon Breogan's wall. Our gold is stored in the mosses, our oxen hidden away, Are ill to hunt in the mountains, and few shall be for a prey. Though he send the chief of his Milidh, surely we will not stir ; Though he send his champion to Jochad, ill shall it be with Ir. For Ir, his captain of strength, the wild boar rooteth a grave.

If he come to the land of Eriu, his ships shall burn on the wave Though Jochad his brother help him. And Elatha's men stood silent, nor answered they good or ill. But the bard of Jochad endured not. Ethan, Muiroideach's son, A youth, but a mighty singer that ever the oak- wreath won. Stand in the blast of the bellows, — Be ye all shaken therewith. Give your nose to the pincers, — So doth he lengthen it out.

Crafty the rings of Tuirbhi, — Gaily they hang in the snout. Bowed in the back is Tuirbhi. Doth not he squeal beneath it? She is blind beneath her forelocks. Shall Ir at his coming take her? Let laughter be upon Tuirbhi, — Go clothe his brawn with a smock. Clip his bristles to smoothness, — lest the men of Elatha mock. Those that have brought good tidings, — See in the hand of Sri.

Her horns are peace and riches. Set purple and gold upon him. She hath gems to teach the springtime, — veils to shelter the heat. Gold for the Autumn harvest, — Her light in Winter is sweet, Fair on the snow she glistens. Go forth to meet her, my soul. Her hands are slender lilies,— Her voice hath the cushat's note. Her lips are as winter berries, — Her foot hath a mouse's fall. Where she cometh joy awaketh, — -He riseth to festival. Three mighty kings are her sires — No king's son sits at her side. Oft have I heard, and loved it. Ah me, that a bard be slain By the coward deed of a churl, for a witchwife light and vain.

Each chief gave then a guerdon which matched with the giver's state. First Balor grandson of Net flung down twelve pounds by weight Red gold in tores and armlets. Heavy his herds- men's toil. With an ivory chessplay carved by cunning men to the mould Of kings with their chiefs and firbolgs. Such bard gift ne'er hath been gained As Ethan's, a hundred warriors plucked their cloaks till it rained A shower of their flashing brooches ; but Jochad his lord came late. Yet foremost, for Jochad was proud. His gold was little of weight. He had not oppressed his yeomen, yet he gave unto Ethan's hand A gift which was more than Balor's, and worth the half of his land, A brooch of red gold which wizards of Tursis had sprinkled o'er 78 THE BOOK OF TEPHI With a golden sand by magic, and out of their hidden lore Had heaped it in flowers and bosses, and mar- vellous stems of fern Where the eye was 'wildered in choice, and scarce had strength to discern ; Yet the whole was a sun in glory.

Now, once that glory was seen With Eileen fairest of women, she that was set as a queen O'er Elissa in fair Ar Galish, and fled to a further shore To carry the curse of Javan, and leave her tale evermore In the mouths of bards and singers. Now Jochad's sires out of Troy Won this when the city had fallen, a treasure without alloy In the eyes of all fair women, a spell compelling the eyes, A gift beyond price more precious than aught that the merchant buys. Then Ethan cried, " With a bardgift, lo, I am made a prince. Cover them all lest they blind me.

Let them be carried away. Let these be earnest of Eriu that the moon no more shall delay, But hasten her speedy rising. The edge of whose silver cloud Hath touched upon Albinn. Seek it. Ye men of Elatha speed With the greetings of green Eriu to welcome the chosen seed Of the Daogdoe, kings of Morias, that holy city of fate, Morias Fail of our fathers.

She mourneth its fallen state. Both in Egypt she mourned, and in Breogan, but tell her that warm shall be The hearth that is lit in Eriu, the greenest isle of the sea. Heaping out wealth upon them.

Then they brought the bardgift they bore From the chiefs and Ethan, and showed it. Now behold, the first of their store Was the wondergift of Jochad. Where graven idols of beasts have made Him of naught. His thought shall behold their ashes, and the wings of His spirit fly Before men's souls in their blindness to name Him eternally. So I changed the place of my jewels, my moon I set on my brow. And the turquoise lay at my throat where it wideneth out below ; But the sun of Eileen I planted deeply upon my breast.

When the father of Jochad fell, his babe and his only son Shared couch and cover and breast with Bres in the fort of the horn Of Albinn. So Bres well-skilled in that legend of mystic morn Gave forth its tale in our hearing, and I treasured it in my heart, Ere Elatha gathered his vessels and gave us speed to depart.

Now Elatha blessed the Lord beholding how David should wait The kiss of Joseph whose ploughing tarrieth long in the gate. But hateth the yoke and the plough for the field wherein she would lie Where the lion is in the gate. Yet the Engel shall draw anigh For the ploughing, and harvest shall whiten slowly up from the blade When the boughs of the planted cedar are over his head for shade.

Ere it grow of strength to return to the land of the strong free breeze. By its shores of grey-blue granite, its shores of blood and of snow. By all walls of its fertile garden fenced of the sea shall it grow. Therefore he painted his vessels, and set them with snowy sails. And bound green wreaths to their foreheads, and out of his merchant bales Brought scarlet and blue and white to flutter upon the mast And stripe their sterns with a rainbow to oaken planking made fast.

Then men of the silvery isle of Vect he chose for our band. An island of many havens that Heth under that land; And mixed folk out of the Domnan that dwell where the tors are red. Mighty men of the sea, fire-hearted, wary of head; And fisherfolk from the horn, the beard of the promised isle. A hundred ships had Elatha, and he gathered fifty and three With chosen men as their pilots, to make a con- voy for me, And the wealth of Egypt and Tarshish and that which Eriu gave. Two thousand and five Were the living souls of our navy.

Thou knowest our wasps of Eriu. Be thou but found on His side And His sweetness shall surely bless thee. We jour- neyed first to the North Beside the lands of the Khumru which deep in the sea jut forth, Till we came to their holy island, and were blessed of their ancient bards Who sang to their harps the night of our resting, but afterwards With a clear east wind ere dawn we went by a path that lay To the West, and brought us swiftly in sight of the fairest bay Whereupon I had looked.

By Edair our anchors and stones we cast, And the firbolgs of Crimthann swam with ropes to steady us fast ; And Crimthann came with his captains and stood to watch on the strand And shouted, and many bards sang welcomes of Eriu's land. And wrapped his sun in my mantle, ere smiling I raised one hand To my women, whilst out of the ship I was carried in haste to land By Ethan the bard, green-mantled ; and another that, clad as he. Throwing his harp on the pebbles, ran singing still through the sea. And raised up his arms imploring, till my women lifted me out To the seat they made with their mantles.

And this was beginning of joy and pain in the heart of three. I had not smiled upon Ethan though rich with his gift I came. And his was the highest voice of the bards that had cried my name. Tall and agile he was, but little he stood beside The bard with the crisp curled locks whose gaze was open and wide Out of frank blue eyes that feared not, and chanted lofty and loud In their chorus Tefifia Teia, and struck his harp with a proud Long sweep of the strong white fingers.

His song ran into my blood, And its voice is long remembered, as a lonely tower in a flood. Though Egypt's sun adore thee, Teia, My heart is as a hearth more strong. It shall hold thee, help thee, keep thee, Teia, It shall love thee from this first bright day, In its radiance fold thee, steep thee, Teia, When it flashes in the snowstorms far away. Green Eriu smiles to meet thee Teffia, Teia. Her bards are come to greet thee, Teffia, Teia.

With the homage of her love That thy crescent smiles above In the mirrors of the bay. My soul is yearning to thee, Teia. My hands are yearning towards thee now. Though Tarshish and Pensavel woo thee, Teia. Eriu shall not cloud thy brow. It shall fold thee, feed thee, fill thee, Teia. As the glory of the morn Shines upon thy crescent horn O'er the emeralds of the deep. They ceased ere they reached the land, and lo, he hem of my vest Had fallen out of my hand, and the sun that lay on my breast Flashed in their eyes, and they started apart ; but the stronger bore My form in his arms one moment, and set me as light on the shore As I might lay down some blossom, sweet-scented, which tenderwise My lips had touched ere I set it more far to gladden mine eyes.

Now the chiefs of that place and Ath Cliath cried my name from their lips, And a seaman's shouting rolled like thunder around the ships In the speech of the mingled peoples, but " Teia" was most their shout As it was beneath the rock of the Gate. Then girded about By a throng of bright-eyed women, green-tuniced and wreathed with green I was raised aloft on a seat, and carried like Egypt's queen By chieftains in double rank past Edair's piteous tomb, Edair, Eglaeth's daughter, that died in her husband's doom.

Up the steeps of the Pen to the Cahir of Crim- thann, chief of the fights. He and his chiefs went before us clearing with spears our road, Their helmets starry With sunset, red suns in the locks which flowed Far down on their crimson garments. Mine eyes were dazzled with these, And I turned and looked behind me, and found contentment and ease Amidst them that followed after, and foremost with golden hair Broad brow and clear bright vision, I saw the harper that bear Me out of my ship, and by him strode Ethan agile and dark.

With a flame of fire on his cheek, and fire in the eager spark Of his flashing eyes upon me. Behind them followed a mingled mass Of folk that wore scanty garments waving aloft in their hands Fair wreaths and branches of oak trees, or flut- tered on sticks gay strands Of woollens in tattered ribbons, as bright as a barley field When it whiteneth unto harvest and the husband- man guesseth its yield. My daughters, if ye set store To hear of a woman's presence, and the garments your mother wore At her welcome ; — little of stature, and slender of limb was I, Being white, not red of my colour, like a stalk of nodding rye.

My throat's thin ivory column poised 'twixt the wings divine About Pharaoh's wide blue heaven ; whilst the sun of Eileen beneath Took roses of rosy sunset. On the hems of my veil a wreath Was broidered with gold, and wings of shining insects whose name I knew not, sea-blue below, but lit with an emerald flame ; Which veil was long and fragile, as spun out of gossamer By fairy looms of the dawn ; and this was the gift of Ir Who had brought it out of Caer Hayo, and said, in a furthest land Of the East, witch-women wrought it in caves with a moistened hand, And withered their eyes in working its whiteness, whiter than wool Or fairest linens of Egypt.

Now in that girdle was placed A sprig of a herb of Eriu, three-headed on every stem. Cendrige, my people call it, and much it is loved of them. As the charm of their fair green island. Now this had been placed by the foremost, the bard on my right hand side, But I knew not the charm was with me till I found it at eventide When I couched in the booth by the fortress. But therewith tall and stately, and so we paced down the hill And out through the fair green grasses, with Bres still near at my side, And his cohort of captains by him wherewith he was wont to ride, And the bards behind us on ponies that sat with their harps to play And move us with mirth and music what while we went on our way.

Now Ethan was ever foremost, and sweetest of all was his song ; But I looked in vain for his fellow, with purpose that held no wrong Of repaying his charm with a golden ring, but I found him not. Marvelling wherefore he tarried ; yet my cendrige was not forgot When we came by an easy journey next morn unto Crofinn's croft. Here the chiefs of Eriu had portioned themselves their seat On the banks round the croft of Crofinn, and there each set him a booth, And they met on its central greensward where the level was clean and smooth For choice and converse amongst them upon Eriu's hap and its weal.

In a three weeks' truce wherein the tongue was lord of the steel Throughout all coasts of the island. Now this truce was for two days yet. When one short hour after dawn, through meadows that still lay wet With the dews I came to the croft as a queen with my following, For unto that day the island had never bowed to one king. Each tall landmark crowned with their strongholds stood, And the lords did that within them that seemed in their own eyes good. Now the cry of the land was bitter, for most of the chiefs wrought ill On their landsmen as on their foemen, and each by his strong-walled hill Held cattle plundered of either, until the forces which cling In clanship were severed amongst them, and the aires cried for a king To hush their feuds and to pluck the husbandmen from the mire.

And the bards of the land were with them to yield them their heart's desire ; But the priests of the gods against them. Yet some of the priests that knew The God of the Hebrews helped them ; but these were a chosen few. These that came in white garments. Had not my spirit bled Before such in the house of David?

How might I greet them here? I was weak, the might of the Lord prevailed over my fear. And I rode in His wrath against them. They sink to the nethermost hell. A flame hath descended on Zion. God sweepeth with wings of fire The House of His habitation. He sendeth hail upon Tyre. Zidon and Gath are broken, Ephraim led away, Samaria lieth fallen, and is as an heap this day Because men whorbd with idols.

Your dances and fires He hateth. Behold, the face of the Lord Is a sun that shineth in darkness, His tongue is a flaming sword. Let Criden and Baal be broken, devourers, and blind of sight And empty of help for all that sink in the womb of night. Yet the great or little prevails not when God ariseth in wrath.

With a pebble-stone from the brook he layeth the might of Gath.

Swift on my own swift speech Was Ethan's deed upon Criden, for all that the prophets teach Was known of Ethan, our Hebrew speech, and our father's deed. He smote as my father David. The Lord had answered my need. Now the image he smote was hollow, and held in a secret hold The gifts of the blind and foolish, their rings and the stars of gold Which the priests said went to his dwelling, but now his falling revealed From the hiding place of his belly, and scattered o'er all the field, And all were amazed and angered; and men called out upon Sri The son of Ezra their wisest, to interpret my word, and why I04 THE BOOK OF TEPHI Their idol was shattered before it, for silent amongst the band Stood Ethan, and none beheld when the stone flew forth from his hand.

Their eyes being set upon me ; and wherefore that image fell When my wrath was laid upon it not they that bear it might tell. Then Sri the son of Ezru, a lover of better things, Set forth my speech in their tongue, and the strifes of our former kings.

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How Saul the mighty had fallen when idols led him astray. And how from the house of David God's curse was taken away For a space, but was sealed thereafter. Now the priests were angry that heard. But the common people listened, and many hearked to his word. And some of the chiefs and the most of the bards. Sore were the priests of Baal, But the people cried out against them, and praised me that heard this tale, So their wrath kept silence before me, and turning they went again Till we passed the banks of Crofinn, and entered the little plain Wherein the chieftains assembled.

An hundred princes and eight Of Eriu waited my coming ; each with his proper state. Therein I rested at noonday, and ate in the failing light, But had little sleep thereafter, and watched the most of the night : For the looks of the priests misliked me, and the hungry eyes of the men Of Eriu searched upon me, as eyes of wolves in their den. Till my heart was water within me, troubled and sore afraid. Then long in the long night watches to the Lord of Zion I prayed To deliver my soul from evil, my limbs and breast from the grip Of a wolf, and the High One heard me, and caused not my foot to slip.

My sons, ye enquire of the Prophet. This sure word I bid ye to know, Mark well the way of the chosen, but seek not whither they go. Pause on their word and ponder though at times ye may not mark Their message. On their heads are ashes. Their garments are rent in woe. Lamentation is with them and terror, till the terror be overpast, For they grope after God in Tohu till they find Him and hold Him fast. I dwell not now on the thing which shall in this book be told, How hereafter dimly mine eyes should the Friend of the Lord behold. He sought not pleasure of greetings, or tables of wine and meat.

Or to Usten to mirth or music, or to sit in the highest seat, Or behold me in marriage garments : but set his feet in the way Of the Lord where'er he led him. This only therefore I say. That when we had left Pensauel, drawn nigh to the land of Gwent, He parted his ships from amongst us, and none knew whither he went With the sacred things of the Temple, and none may utter their tale. Of the sacred things I know not. The Lord stays not to discern The place of His habitation, whereunto my sons shall yearn In the days that dawn hereafter ; but lo, ye have seen the Stone, The Stone of the Corner remaineth.

It shall not be left alone. When Jacob knoweth his birthright therein shall his boasting lie, And in many lands and islands my seed shall have praise thereby. There was one beside the Prophet mine eyes were fain to have seen. The morn that I came to Crofinn, I watched for the cloak of green.

Perchance he guessed not. Perchance he might not attend. My place was set me amongst them, a seat upon Jacob's Stone Drawn thither by two white heifers, and draped around as a throne With a golden cloth of Zidon. Now this same day was an high day, the topmost peak of the year Is the night that follows after, when angels and souls appear Unto many, yet here the druids had mingled its boons with harms, And setting their hearts on women delude them with evil charms. The bow of their god they brought, That by this an arrow sent sunwards should name the king of his thought. So we all drew off a little to the banks and stood to see THE BOOK OF TEPHI How the highpriest bound his eyes, and drew the bow from his knee Where he lay supine, and the shaft sped upwards to seek the sun, But an East wind struck upon it ere the height of its flight was won And bore it beyond the circle where it fell full nigh to the ranks Of Balor, lord of the Islands, where he watched with his men on the banks.

But he gathered Eriu's tribute, yet gave its gifts unto none. Neither called he feastings or music. His heart was empty and bare, Though the strength of his limbs, and his beauty of face, and his golden hair Snared foolish matrons and maidens. Yea, deep in his heart was guile. And women loved and men hated his presence throughout the isle. Now the arrow struck through his cloak, and pinned it unto the ring A handbreadth from Nuadh's high seat, and many acclaimed him king. That was chief of the miledh of Eriu ; but the priests had marvel thereat If the shaft were within the circle. Moreover, they loved not Dan, Of whom was his mother, and whom he spake for in Nuadh's room ; Whose hand was severed by Sreng the son of Sennchan, whose doom Thereafter the scribes have written.

Now Dian- cecht, wisest in art. Had moulded a hand in clay wherefrom might be hurled a dart ; And Creidna, the cunning smith, in silver fashioned the same. So now the hand of Nuadh flashed with a starry flame As he rode amongst his miledh, and many that loved him well Sware that the seat of Nuadh was grazed when the arrow fell.

The sins we have sinned to Baal shall yet at our gates be laid.

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His arrow hath pointed Bres, it hath fastened his garment's hem. In the folds of his cloak shall Canaan set fires in the booths of Shem. Seek we shafts that are truer. Is there not in our midst the bow Of strength, the shafts of the mighty? Where Dan goeth to and fro The bow of his judge is with him, It dwelleth amongst us here. The merchants of Gath and Japho draw back at its name of fear. Have we never a champion of Dan who may string its strength to his will?

Is the spirit of Sampson weak to speed the shafts of it still? He called for the bow of the mighty, and strain- ing back from my seat He bent it.

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Mighty the string wherewith that bow must be strung. Then swift to the circle's centre he sped him and laid him down. Setting his feet to the yew-mast. In a moment the shaft had flown Straight into air till we lost it, and then in a little space Straight out of heaven it descended like a beam of the sun on the place That was mine, the Stone of Israel, yet hurt not the Stone at all For the head's soft gold spread forth a sun at the arrow's fall On the grey white pillar of Jacob ; and joy upon all men came When they saw the altar of Bethel alight with that golden flame : And the priests of the gods bowed down, and covered each man his face ; THE BOOK OF TEPHI And the chiefs of Eriu moved in wonder before that place ; And Httle they spake, but set me thereon ; and lo, I had grace to speak In their tongue, and my heart was great, though my voice was little and weak.

The might of the Lord is known In shadow, but light is rising, and grace to a handmaid shown Who watched and prayed in the darkness. He leadeth her by His ford To sit in a fair green pasture, with sheepfolds and oxen stored. A shepherd was David my father. God gave him a charge to keep Which he brake not, to feed His cattle and sever the goats from the sheep. Me, that am David's daughter, he maketh a shep- herdess Who amongst the sheep of Eriu shall know none greater or less.

Is there one her word to gainsay? Let him dwell with the swine, for God hath sent us a Queen this day. But Sri smote straight upon him and wrought him a deed of harm. For he fell by the banks on his ancle, and his craftsmen bore him away, And his leeches bound him badly, and lame he went from that day. The one hath a silver head, But the other is somewhat crooked and beareth a bolt of lead. Like a star it glanced on the cloud, and then unto earth returned, Smiting an oaken settle which no man had used that morn But sideways lay on the ground, and grazed it, and cleft a horn Of silver therein, and smote into earth, and a question rose Of that seat but no man claimed it, its chieftain was not of those That sat in that day's assembly, and pain sank into my heart At that long carved cleft of silver, which stabbed with a sudden smart.

Bearing it into mire in the place of the swine behind, Wherein they lie to this day. If ye search, ye shall surely find. Now when they beheld this token many priests of the idol fled. Through revilings amidst the people, and tore their wreaths from their head. Gashing the flesh of their bosoms, and hid them- selves ; but a few Remained in the ring with Ethdan.

Then Sri that was wise and true. Though his knee had bended to Baal, cried out on the Lord for aid. We look unto heaven and see. Thou knowest our blindness, oh God. Sorely our sin we bewail. We are troubled of heart in thy presence, oh God. Thine angels vex us, thy saints abhor. Thou sendest us consolation. Thou hast chosen a day of the days. Thou, Lord, art a righteous King. Let our song be of sweet savour. But Baal avenged not aught, men seeking each a stone Wherewith to bury Baal, whose resting place is known Beside my house at Teamur.

Then Sri and many more Gazed nearly on the furrow which the second arrow tore In the oaken seat, and Ethan who departed for a space THE BOOK OF TEPHI Drew thither, and one asked him was not this his chieftain's place, And on that question Ethan raised to mine a face of flame Till my brow was veiled before him finding searching prayer and shame In the gaze he set upon me ere he answered to them "Ay, This is Jochad's seat and hitherto my songs were heard thereby. Thou dost know it. Some strange gladness half an anguish shook my bosom till I swayed Like to fall, but Sri upheld me and he set me in the shade Of the arched highseat of Jochad whereupon the arrow fell.

Grey eyes and fearless gazed be- neath a golden helm! So my soul's sun dawned upon me, and I rose up from my seat, Whilst the sun bowed down beneath me plucked a cendrige by my feet. White I stood as stands a statue when he touched the new plucked leaf To the withered at my girdle, kneehng still, but still the chief Of my stature, and the crescent which upon my brow had rest Was beneath the leaf he gathered when he set it in his crest.

Stark he knelt in homage pleading to my crescent where I stood Icy cold, till some strange Summer thawed away my Winter mood. Weak I grew and blind and dizzy in that new- born Summer drouth. And my hands stayed on his shoulders, and my hps just passed his mouth. My heart was thy heart, My will was thy will, When Sri and the priests spake with us, and bade our souls to fulfil The vow of the lips by vow of the soul and swear with the Soul In sight of the people and priests and scribes that stood to record Our oath of faith with people and priests and chiefs as a pair That God made first in the land, to have it in heedful care And seek not ourselves but Eriu.

Its oil had been pressed from the harvest of the garden o'er Kedron's brook Whereon mine eyes in childhood from my window were wont to look, Being perfumed with nard and cassia, most precious. In Egypt anointed queen Of the Hebrews. My throne in Jesse hath come to these hills so green For a little space, ere it wander, but wheresoever it roam Jesse shall seek and find it until he come to his home In the City of David wherein his sons shall rule upon earth, When the house of the Lord be builded with praise and blessing and mirth.

Then Sri, being moved, forbade that my hus- band's seat be with mine, And prophesied of us saying: "This shall be kept for thy line And for thee ; but he that is by thee standeth on Eriu's sward. It is his by birth, and hereafter, this island shall name him lord Of its people to be their leader, and shape their counsel in war : THE BOOK OF TEPHI But thou art of Isaac's children the guide and the crescent star, Wherein thy children shall shine, till the full round circle shall beam Of that orb wherewith the moon at her first appearing doth teem. He that is chosen amongst us, He shall be great in thee, And thy sons that shall be after.

Is not his lot to be A father of thrones and kingdoms? This is the name he shall bear. In the tongue of this people his title is Eochaidh OUothair, Eocaid, Sire of the Great Ones ; these sons of the land which is great Magh Mor, or of Og, the holy, that they learn of their own estate.

And yearn to the promise, and David bless them if this they know That holiness unto the Lord is their greatness wherein to grow. Spake with the Spirit of God which worketh in stones and air. And whispers by reedy waters, and moves in the mountain's shade, And knoweth the inward parts, and wherefore man's soul is afraid.

Now men marvelled much upon Sri, having feared him and called him wise And wary, but said that he feared neither spirit nor prophesies. Having taught as the scribes from rods, and the teachers from ancient rules. I beheld the people's wonder, and looked upon Sri and knew The mantle I oft had seen, and his word as a prophet true. And was glad in the Lord as my helper, whose word should be held of me As his who had led me from Egypt and helped my paths in the sea.

Whilst cold went through me which passed from heart unto finger tips ; But my husband smiled, and said, " My queen, yet thy servant's bride, Behold the chief of thine handmaids, my sister Maistiv, whose pride Is Dan, Achaia and Eriu, who in her give fealty to thee Of the silver stem of Jesse, the golden flower of his tree.

Then, straightly upon her word Had Jochad taken his breastplate and girt him- self with his sword And leapt to his horse's saddle with three that he had thereby. Who galloped the trail she told of all day till the midnight sky Was sprinkled with stars, and came to the spot where Bennan stayed His course with the setting sun, and three of his train were laid THE BOOK OF TEPHl Before them upon their onset, and one as he fled away Was stung by an arrow, but Jochad sought not further to slay.

Setting her safe on his horse, which weary, carried them back Unto Mulach, her house, but scanty of patience was he till their track Was westwards in haste to Crofinn, whereat much wonder had been, But now she wondered a sister had drawn him away from his queen. In these I might cast out fear Lest the queen lacked fitting service, or my watch of her light be near. Then smiled my husband in chiding, and raised him up in his place And kindly questioned his gaze, and said, " Is it well that thou The chiefest bard of Eriu to a yeoman of Eriu bow?

Thou castest down and thou raisest up. Our glory in death Is left to the bards that fill our ghosts with un- dying breath To rehearse our deeds to our children. Oh poet, make us a lay As glad as this hour is joyous, upraised as our hearts this day. I was cast in the mire till thy coming. I have broken the strings of my lute. I have sinned and done great evil, and how may thy servant sing? I give thee a bane of serpents. Take this as a charm to part Thy soul from venom, such magic is stored in my ruby heart. My mistress, my queen? Heart's blood I would wring thee Were this not too mean.

Thou hast bid me to sing My master, my lord. From thy servant, oh, king, Take this, the queen's ring, It is all of my hoard. This ring had its heart Of the Lord, the Most High. By its magic of art It shall throne thee apart In the midst of the sky. Thy place under heaven Is near by her seat, From dawn unto even Thy foeman forgiven Shall kneel at thy feet. The Lord, the Bestower, Gives gladness to thee. Betwixt higher and lower. He builds thee. His tower. For this isle of the sea, Whose lowly shall love thee. To thine honour give heed And thy manhood with man.

Being noble in deed Being chosen in seed Being princely with Dan. Yet the light of thine eye Thy knowledge, thy truth. Are faint in the sky When thy moon rideth high O'er the bosom of youth. The magic she maketh Is silvern and pure. From the heart that she breaketh A spirit awaketh With strength to endure. Receive this, my king, With sweet spirits well stored. The queen's heart, her ring, Save the lays that I sing It is all of my hoard. So fled the cloudlet away That in all the light of Summer had shadowed my joy that day.

So went we in to the feast, where I sat in the highest seat Betwixt my husband and Maistai; and Ethan sang to the guests, And Sri gave blessing upon us before we went to our rests. I had heard his horse's tread And his wheels of iron ere dawn, and marvelled of what might move With that sound and quaked in the dark, but the bridegroom spake words of love Which builded my heart in strength, and spake of those things that I Might work in this land of the ocean, if the God of my sires was nigh Unto me as to Moses in Egypt.

And thus in this far off strand My heart might be cheered within me with sight of the Promised Land. Which Sri, son of Eschmun the scribe was set by me to record. With Aci, son of Alghuba, as herald to shout my choice. Or proclaim my goings before me ; for his was a mighty voice. My almost brother, for these were faithful unto the end, And helpful in my beginning ; also Nuadh, the brave old man.

Who all the days of his youth was chief of the host of Dan, And led the miledh of Erin, ere his hand was smitten in fight ; Being first to kneel at my feet; and that old man's eyes were bright And his strength not yet abated. He spake as a man of war, That his knees were stiffened with age before men, but queens led far And their followers never wearied ; so, smiling, I give him thanks For himself and his band of Dannites, and a cheer went up from their ranks.

It irked me much that his quest Was to sit in my sight before me, yet ill example had been. If one alone unquestioned might break the state of the Queen Being set in judgment on all men. Full soon my judgments began, For a chieftain of Crimthann's came with claims on a husbandman Whose few sheep wandered astray, and ate three days of his land Ere the aire found them. Then Crimthann standing forth from his band Claimed the sheep for the grass j but I said " the flock and the field Have titles, but know ye not that each hath its proper yield, Take ye three fleeces then, but leave the aire his sheep.

So Aci shouted aloud This judgment, and praise and laughter arose in the mingled crowd. Baring my thought unto God, yea, even as on my keees. A bard of the land stood forward, and bidding the chiefs regard His song, he chanted " the rights and due re- wards of a bard," And rehearsed " the rights and duties and proper state of a chief," And then "the customs of Eriu in all that re- gards a thief And the shames that await a niggard. But these watch-dogs bark in the sun, or snap upon flies, grown old. But Bres, their leadei" is watchful, he setteth his ships by the beach.

His jaws are ever open, he sucketh the tax like a leech. He storeth gold in his chamber, even in every house Of Bres is a treasure chamber, but therein never a mouse, For the tables of Bres are empty. I passed by a house of Bres Who sat in a broidered garment, and toyed in his wantonness Amongst the locks of his damsels.

Then sang I his wealth, and the mighty things That he wrought in fight with the Firbolgs ; after Edlai and Turild were slain ; And Nuadh wounded of Sreng might hardly the fight maintain, How he slew Mac Ere, and drove the Firbolgs, and compassed about Strong Sreng, till he gave him pledges. This land hath never in doubt The strength or beauty of Bres. By land and by sea we know Men fear him and women love him. Why then is his glory low? Save unto foolish maidens the welcome of Bres is cold.

Save for his own attiring the garments of Bres are old. Save on his shipmen's armour he spendeth little of gold. At his door is a couch of purple. On his door are bars of iron wherewith he guardeth his hoard. In his house is neither music nor laughter nor sound of feast. In his house a fierce hound snarleth but never another beast. In his house is neither aire, nor chieftain, nor scribe, nor priest.

On his hearth is one small fire, it roasteth a little food. By his hearth a stout wench turns it, and the smell of the meat is good. By his hearth one trencher is warm though he burneth but little wood. In his cave are rusty cauldrons that his mother once filled with ale. In his cave are rotting meadvats, for his bees and his honey fail. In his cave is a broken pitcher, and the whey in that pitcher stale. In his closet wine of Tarshish like molten gold of the mine. In his closet are precious vessels, and one was brimming with wine. For the bard a fragment of bone!

For the bard the pitcher of whey! For the bard a seat on a stone! For the bard a hovel of clay! From the bard sour whey, picked bone, cold stone, for a prince this day! It is reputed to be the first satire uttered in Erin ; and if so, is good for a beginner. The portion not in triplets is inserted as a con- venient introduction to the previous record of the niggardly Alcibiades of the Tuatha de Danan, to whom he belonged on the mother's side.

Elatha his father was not a Dannite, but a sea-king, probably in the first instance from the Spanish Bregia, and afterwards settled in Britain. For my present purpose, as I have represented him as looking to the gathering of the scattered tribes, I must consider him as a Simeonite or Gaddite by descent. Now cast I mine eyes towards Jochad who hearkened to Cairbre's song In sorrow, for greatly he loved his fellow that did this wrong, And therefore answered me not, nor spake when voices arose Crying for him and Nuadh.

Then watching these matters close My God gave help. Though I yearned that Jochad might lead, I knew His will was not to the spear, and only with need he drew The sword from its sheath in battle. Whereon the names of the captains of all the hundreds were found ; Yet Jochad's was set not with them, and this was done by my will ; For Jochad answered my glance with a brow un- troubled and still. Then the throng passed by before me, and each man carried a stone. Laying it as I ordered, but choice was with him alone Of the wand whereby he should cast it.

Saying he loved not to lead another band than his own ; And Balor's men were away; therefore his lot was bare, And the Breogan down in the South in that council had scorned to share, Saying they held their coasts, and payed neither tax nor tythe, Having armour and spears for all men, and hoping therewith to thrive ; So their princes came not to Crofinn. Little need was to count The stones, but the son of Eschmun reckoned a sure amount. Four hundred and six unto Nuadh, to Bres but fifty and three. And that night he rode to Pen Edair ; and this was beginning of all The strife that arose thereafter, and of many a brave man's fall.

Yet my soul rejoiced over Nuadh, to witness the patient man Who braved wounds and neglect in silence ride forth at head of his clan, Waving his keen bright spear aloft in one shining hand, And bearing high in the other the mace of his old command Amidst the shouts of the miledh ; and he rode by my seat to cry " O, queen, we are thine for ever. We die in thy name, Tephi. Their hearts are carried away. In love of my folk thenceforward I travail both night and day. But I have killed Ethan in the battle. Then turned we again towards Mulach where Maistiu would have us stay ; But e'en as we went from the North a little space on our way A thing befell which was evil, and showed the wrongs of my land, For Tethra the fomorc champion lurked with a savage band Of firbolgs in hills by the sea, and nought were we told of this For the coastmen helped the fomorcs, though knowing the farms should miss Many sheep and oxen and swine.

Sore was he loath to yield, But swordless and lone on the mountain ; and all of us angered sore At that word. Then bade I our miledh to search the hills and restore Our bard to our train ; but Jochad ever wary and brave Said " nay, yon hills and their quagmires should be many a miledh's grave Hunting these goats amongst them. These shaggy firbolgs will hide. Each with his pouch of stones at his waist on the mountain side, Where the horsemen may not seek him, and the footman climbeth aloft Till he comes to some mossgreen hollow where the footing is foul and soft.

Then cometh a stone from a crag, and its hurler creepeth away, Whilst the miledh if he be scatheless is stayed by water and clay. Myself shall seek after Ethan. At the last, I gave him my will That he went, though my heart was heavy. In a mantle of green went he. Barefoot with his harp before him, and his gar- ments scarce to his knee As a harper goeth unarmoured, and therefore unhurt of men, Alone in the heart of the mountains to seek these wolves in their den. Now their track was followed by Jochad till he came to a pasture wild Where Tethra was with the firbolgs, both man and woman and child, And they set their meats before him, and soon he arose to play.

Playing the gentraith swiftly till their heels were frolic and gay, And they drank and danced to the gentraith till after the sun was set. Then he changed the string of his playing, and the wildmen's eyes were wet At the plaintive sorrow of goltraiths, most mourn- ful his harp and slow Whilst he chanted the dirge of Clidna and many a tale of woe Till the eyes of them all grew heavy, and further they might not weep, So low he murmured the swantraith and soothed their souls into sleep ; i6o THE BOOK OF TEPHI Then gently playing he stirred, and murmuring still, untied The bonds of Ethan and left them, and played down the valley side Till swift on the moor they departed, and came to us ere the morn, Ethan silent and shamed, but like a thrush from the thorn Was the homeward whistle of Jochad.

Now all the hours of the night I had sorrowed upon and blamed them, but an hour ere dawning of light I heard the whistle of Jochad, and stood in the door of my tent And railed at my early waking, till Ethan followed my bent And we three had mirth together. Then said Ethan, " Queen, mistress mine. Ye be like and unlike together, but in likeness ye are divine.

And holy in all unlikeness : Being pure, ye are merry of heart. She made us a merry cheer. Her brow was open and happy. Her eyes were steadfast and clear, Yet often they fell upon Ethan, and as she sat by her warp t With her needle painting blossoms she loved the voice of the harp On the flowery banks beside her. A poppy bloomed in her mouth, Her eyes danced sapphire sparkles. A baal-fire gleamed in her hair Of ruby and gold and amber, for the woman was very fair. Skilled in the twisting of tiars or stringing gems for the neck, And her own was white as hawthorn.

Upon Ethan now was her cast, With spells to draw him beside her. Therefore it pleased her at last To send him a tryst in the beechwood; yet, 1 know not if he were weak And minded to Grisbane's kisses, but she doubted not he would seek Her tryst, and herself went thither. Bennan does not enter this tale at all, whilst the man beloved of Maistiu and Grisbane with such tragic results was Daire, son of Eocho Taebfhada, for whom I have no use elsewhere.

There I was minded to stay Whilst Maistiu plucking the filberts slowly went on her way Down the green glade before me most lovely and tall and fair, With all the flame of the sunset alight in her golden hair, When I hear a voice beside her, " My love thou art come full late," Then a sudden cry and a speech upraised in anger and hate, "He sends Bennan's leman to mock me, but ne'er shalt thou mock again.

Who mocketh at Richis' daughter hath blindness, foulness and pain. So sank I down at the spot Deeming her slain, but she moved and said to me, " Touch me not Lest the poison work upon thee. Bring water," she whispered lowj And my mind flew swift in circles, debating hither and fro To stay or leave her defenceless, but quickly I kissed her lips. And praying quitted her side, to slip as a fawn that slips Through the brake till I found the open, and chanced upon Ethan near, Who [free and glad at a mark was tossing his hunting spear.

Swiftly I told our hap and returned. As a hound that flees At the stag, sped Ethan for water, and found us, and on his knees He bathed the poison from Maistiu in silence. Then was a mocking laugh Beside us. Or smile in thy smiles for ever. Too skilled was my mother's way Of mixing her charms to fail me.

At his feet she fell down dead. My children loved her and clung Round her knees for kisses and stories. Many tears both of old and young Water the flowers o'er Maistiu. Who prayed me towards softer answer. Much did my heart lean towards him. Were I not set as queen With Jochad my love, by Maistiu my chosen portion had been When I saw him lying before her with the dews of grief in his eye. And the Lord that knoweth the heart, hereafter shall tell me why. Crimthami undertakes to guard the western shore. Confusion is in the latid and counsel undecided. For Bres came unto his presence, and thus their discourses went.

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Said Elatha, " Welcome, oh Bres, but wherefore now art thou come When charge of the miledhs of Eriu forbiddeth thee long to roam. These promised him certain aid. And Corrgen only of Ailech refused the askings he made. Crimthann answered him not, as always his custom had been Unto men, but sent me a script wherein he named me as queen. And wrote, " Thou hast builded a throne if its base be the noble's will. But mind thee that over his serfs the Chief is the chieftain still. Bid me to fight with a chief, I will answer then at thy call.

But I wrestle not with my swineherds, nor throw with cooks for a fall. And she biddeth thee keep thy house against king-thieves of the main, Which is no ill service to Eriu, nor unbefitting a chief. Before this day the Breogan had little share In the deeds of the regions northwards. Strong were their men and tall, Their weapons mighty and many, their cashels fenced with a wall, Whilst their traders rich within them drew to- gether as one. Now Jochad feared that in Grsibane the hope of their peace was gone.

If their spears were against us Nuadh should be but a feeble strength ; THE BOOK OF TEPHI Therefore we called him from Emain and heard these matters at length ; And he spake of his miledh unpaid, save his own band the most were lax To practice, and many escaped ; whilst Bres had handled the tax Witholding their food and armour, and now few taxes were paid For the miledh, but many to Baal, the people waxing afraid At cursings of priests, and rumours of war ; yet the tax of gold Was paid to the fomorcs, but failed their thievish vessels to hold.

These had harried the coast of the north, and pillaged the island of Mod. Where they burned the house of Ogma, and beat his men with a rod. Whilst they set them to bind his timbers fair into many a raft, And bore them away to Lochlann each at the heels of his craft. Nuadh, though fieryhearted, told us no braggart's lies. Braggarts came thither to us, and most of the common folk And farmers believed that I by spells might lighten their yoke.

I know that the Lord is mighty with little or great to find An aid, but as queen mine office was all my people to bind In one, not kindle their strifes; so leaned 1 on Nuadh's word And on Sri and my husband Jochad, and sware I would lift no sword If other resource there might be. Much weighty discourse we had. The land being vexed with tumult, the hearts of the rulers bad. Now mostly we feared that Breogan might set themselves to our harm. If God be with us, the shields of the coastmen's wall Shall fail at my word.

Then Jochad and Sri beheld me and saw How my heart had hidden purpose, and my will unto these was law. Of the miledh of Bregin three thousand draw nigh from the southern main, And Crimthann shall be behind thee with the war-wolves of Pen Edair That are never slack to their hunting. Yea, surely they shall not spare.

Green Forest - B.A.S.P. - 1997

Called also son of the swineherd, called also son of the groom. It seems in Carnamatirech t thou findest but little room. Though he rout thee away from his trough, I fling thee food for the need Of thy mouth, three mouths in gaping ; of thy teeth ill ordered but great, That thy paunch which sags before thee may rise up in high estate. May it fill thy hunger, oh Dala, and stay the edge of that note Of famine above the hoarseness of crows which dwells in thy throat When thou singest the praise of Bennan.

I heard the sound of their cheer, And leaving my maidens alone, to the guard at our gate drew near. And beholding him driven away, enquired of wherefore he went, And saw him fall on his face as he drew to a broad-stretched tent Some stranger had pitched there at morn, but none came forth to his aid ; So I took a vessel of water, and ran, and was not afraid.

Then Ethan and Sri ran after, but I waved them back from the field. And came on its sward to Dala, and down by his corse I kneeled, And brake the fruit from his jaws, and cleansed them of blood, and poured A wine of the South therein that was given by Ith the lord Of Tarshish, sunlight and honey. Then after a space he woke, But his eyes were troubled and weary and never a word he spoke.

The breadth of whose breast was spacious, and scaled with an armour of gold, Dark bearded, yet white and ruddy, with features of princely mould ; And he spake, " Do elves of Eriu go forth in her fields by day To work their charms, and draw the soul from the lips and slay? So would I be slain if thou wiliest, but what is that potent charm Wherewith thou hast restored him? Wouldst thou work him a further harm? Went out with thine own five vessels to seek thee a home, and build Thee a house wherein to rule.

Try beating without the elevator, with the map zoomed all the way out the whole time, or the first level of The Kid 's warp zone without his double-jumping ability! Catherine , a game that's already hellishly difficult in its own right, later presents a set of four very long , even harder levels known as Babel. Each one requires that you reach the top before all the blocks fall away, similar to normal levels. However, these levels are all set on Hard.

This means that the floor falls away really quick and you can't undo any mistakes. Make a slight booboo in your strategy that makes it impossible to advance? Tough nuts. Very few people on either platform have actually beaten these levels, and they only get harder as they go. And the final level, Axis Mundi is flat out impossible to complete alone solo in Western regions, thanks to a bug in the game that renders it impossible to climb more than a few steps. Hope you can work two controllers or have a friend to help you. Croc : Legend Of The Gobbos has the bonus level Secret Sentinel, in which it is very hard to actually get any hits on the boss due to falling traps all around you.

Your health is cut in half, enemies do more damage, they become much faster, and even more aggressive and unpredictable. Suddenly, this once-placid little game becomes a Nintendo Hard piece of Platform Hell. While the "Extra" Distant Traveler stage of Dedede's Drum Dash in Kirby: Triple Deluxe isn't very secret, it does require getting gold medals or better on all three of the standard levels.

And sure, you may well have played the preceding songs near-flawlessly, but Extra throws you a lightning-fast song where you have to leap over giant Gordos while many of the drums that make up the floor are halfway to broken when you get there and will fall to pieces the moment King Dedede touches them, giving you only one chance at jumping high enough.

As if that wasn't bad enough, you only get 3 hit points instead of the standard 5, but with all the breaking drums, it probably won't matter anyway. Blinking while attempting to play it usually results in death. Much like the standard Arena, it's a Boss Rush against every boss and miniboss in the game with few healing items. The Arena is tough, but the True Arena is many orders of magnitude more difficult. All of the bosses and minibosses are souped-up versions of their normal counterparts that have massively powerful and hard-to-avoid attacks.

The bosses who were introduced in the hard versions of the normal game also show up here. Healing items are limited to about four tomatoes that restore pathetic amounts of health or a single reserve cherry every few rounds in Planet Robobot. In the between-round rest stop, you only have one ability item to choose from if you lost yours during the battle, as the other is the totally useless Sleep; in Planet Robobot it's an ability roulette.

Then you get to the end, and you have to face a Bonus Boss Galacta Knight, Galacta Knight again thrice , and Dark Meta Knight who uses relentless and wide-reaching attacks. Then comes the final bosses, which can stomp you into a flat sheet and dust the furniture with your remains, concluded with the final boss's Soul form , who excel at Teleport Spam and firing ridiculous amounts of projectiles. The game does not mess around in the True Arena, and it lets you know how brutal the True Arena is: the music is an intense guitar version of the normal Arena theme and the backgrounds are twisted and warped.

This mode's equivalent of The True Arena is the highest difficulty setting: Soul Melter, which cuts your health in half and pits you against every boss in the game replacing some bosses with their respective Underground Monkey , such as Yggy Woods instead of Whispy and ends with a fight against a souped-up Void Termina and then Void Soul. The final Dream Friend update laughs at the naysayers who thought Star Allies was too easy and decides to punish them with Soul Melter EX, the new highest difficulty setting for the Ultimate Choice.

You have much more health and better healing items now, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. You are now pit against all of the new read: much harder bosses introduced in Heroes from Another Dimension. On top of that, Morpho Knight gets a powerful EX form that never lets up and Void Termina is now fully awakened, with his astral-born soul now simply called Void. If you manage to survive the ensuing Bullet Hell that wouldn't be out of place in a Touhou game, you are rewarded with Classic Kirby as an alternate costume.

The Grannie levels in Mutant Mudds , which is hard to begin with. Often just reaching them is an ordeal, let alone finishing them. Grannie can use every powerup in the game at once, but in these levels, that's as much a curse as a blessing, as you'll need perfectly-timed combinations of rocket jumps, hovers, and long shots over loads of spikes and in the face of many, many enemies.

The bonus worlds in all of the Something Series.

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Something even advises you to complete the game before taking on the bonus world when you press the Switch Palace in World 4. When you enter one of these levels, you have to get your powerups taken away. The entrance to the bonus world is closed off in Something Else until Luigi gets all of the known exits and beats the game. It regularly hands out extra lives in packages of about 9.

You will need all of them. You will need to have your full measure of wind-bullet shooting, enemy-head jumping, ear-floating skill, and be able to perfectly chain them all together to get through them. One slip up, and it's a life lost. Sector Z in Iji. One hit point, full armor, and the enemies are Goddamned Bats to some degree.

After the ending and credits in Rockin Kats , Muggsy suddenly appears and challenges Willy to a rematch, with Willy having to go through the hardest bits of platforming in the game first to get to him. Mega Man Unlimited has Yoku Man's stage. You know those infamous disappearing and reappearing blocks that have been the bane of many players' existence ever since Mega Man?

Well, Yoku Man is the mastermind behind those things, and his stage has them scattered throughout the entire level over bottomless pits and spike traps, along with disappearing and reappearing spikes, blocks that become enemies that chase you until they die, reality-distorting prisms that blind your vision of the terrain around you, and the entire second half is one giant maze that sends you back to the beginning if you go the wrong way.

You have to hit practically every speed star, rocket, and blue crab, as well as do major tricks off every skateboarding ramp, and if you fall off the edge or crash even ONCE, there's almost no chance of you winning first place. Even if you do everything right, you'll probably win by the skin of your teeth. Special mention goes to S, an absolutely brutal Auto-Scrolling Level requiring precision jumps across moving platforms whist being swarmed with Goddamned Bats , mastery of most of the game's projectiles and rigourous memorization of the level to complete.

And you'll probably have to complete this one before some of the earlier secret levels, as the reward you get from it is almost required for even accessing them. Both Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog have a super hard mode as a reward for getting all A-ranks. Some of the downloadable super-hard mode stages in Sonic the Hedgehog are pretty brutal as well, especially the ones where you play through the level in reverse order.

All of the optional stages in the Xbox and PlayStation 3 versions of Sonic Unleashed begin with medium-hard and go up from there. All of the downloadable stages kick things up a notch and are all comparable to the infamous Eggmanland. This includes Windmill Isle and its tutorial stage. The last few Special Stages of the classic games will almost always be the most difficult of the bunch. For example, Special Stage 5 of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features rings that are on the sides and ceilings, and the game never explains how you're supposed to get to them.

Crash Bandicoot : Crash Bandicoot has three kinds of bonus levels, reachable through collecting sets of tokens through the level. Tawna's bonus levels are breathers, where the player can collect extra lives and save the game or get a password. Brio's bonus levels consist of much more challenging jumping puzzles, with bigger rewards to match.

Cortex's bonus levels are the absolute worst, with absolutely devious platforming challenges. The first requires No Death Run until the platform that takes you to them, and are accordingly brutal, usually overloaded with traps or jumping sequences requiring lightning reflexes and nanosecond timing. Gem Paths require to collect a gem of corresponding color or all of them and have similar difficulty as Death Routes.

Both Cortex Strikes Back and Warped also have secret levels accessed by finding a secret entrance in other levels or doing enough of time trials which usually fit this trope too. Case in point would be Area 51? The Wrath of Cortex has secret levels too but they are way easier. Sane Trilogy released Stormy Ascent as Downloadable Content , which is so hard that it was Dummied Out in the first game and that's saying something.

It is a revamp of Slippery Climb, already one of the hardest levels in the game, except everything is taken Up to Eleven : Extremely fast platforms, bouncing off birds, spikes everywhere, erratically-moving platforms, Surprise Slide Staircases , platforms that move in and out very quickly, long stretches of constant action, and few checkpoints. Reportedly, even the level's designer had trouble with their creation, and one of the dev team's best players lost 60 lives going through Stormy Ascent.

Each gem level requires getting the gem shards in previous levels, and are each based on the level type the shards were found in. You'll need to have fast reflexes, use every single powerup the game gives you, and have a lot of patience to beat them all and unlock the true final boss, N. Tropy, who may be one of the hardest bosses of the Crash series to date.

LIMBO 's Brutal Bonus Level is unlocked after you find and squish 10 hidden eggs throughout the game not all in one playthrough, thankfully. The level is not simply difficult in that it throws more deadly shit than usual at you, instead it takes the same minimalist, artsy approach that the rest of the game does. Everything is completely black, save for your character's little glowing eyes, bouncing up and down.

You have to dodge giant blade traps and solve puzzles purely by sound. NightSky has a reward for collecting all the bonus stars hidden throughout the game, a final chapter called "Slightly Nonsense," which features some real challenges that force you to battle and exploit the environment physics every step of the way. This chapter includes, among other things, a level where you can only get around by working the anti-gravity power on and off, trampolines, and surfaces where the friction and impulse physics are intentionally wonky.

In the NES version of The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, you can grab a no-carrot sign that sends you to one of four special stages, all of which are far more difficult than even the hardest of the normal stages. Beating one gets you three extra lives, but losing one sends you back three levels. Super Monkey Ball : To even reach the Extra stages, you must complete all of a difficulty's stages without continuing.

Clear Expert Extra without continuing and you get to the Master stages. And if that wasn't enough, in Super Monkey Ball 2 , clear those without using a continue and you get the Master Extra stages. Ori and the Blind Forest : Definitive Edition 's newly added Bonus Dungeon has many zones that make the main game look like child's play. Some of the sadistic obstacles include platforming over insta-death Spikes of Doom in a Blackout Basement while carrying a light orb that precludes double jumping or other acrobatic maneuvers, rotating quad death laser traps , gauntlets of Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom or Laser Hallways with a very narrow timing window to Charge Dash through, and an Indiana Jones-style boulder race on steroids.

Good luck playing through it in One-Life mode. Wonder Boy 's Area 8, unlocked by collecting all of the Dolls and home to the True Final Boss , is far more difficult than the rest of the game, and if you run out of lives, there are no continues, my friend. Celeste has "B-Side" versions of the story levels , which are unlocked by finding each level's respective cassette.

Each B-Side version requires a strong mastery of one's platforming precision and understanding of the level's primary gimmick. Completing all of the B-Side levels unlocks C-Side levels, which are shorter but even more difficult. The incredibly-long Chapter 9 is also on the same level of difficultly as the B-Sides, being unlocked after completing Chapter 8. Twenty waves of increasingly tough enemies, the later of which include Mantis Traitors, Soul Twisters, the exclusive Volt Twisters , and a long stretch of fighting Armored Squits and Battle Obbles while walljumping above Spikes of Doom that gives you no chance to heal, culminating with the God Tamer boss.

The Godmaster expansion pack takes this trope Up to Eleven with the Pantheon of Hallownest, a Marathon Boss Rush against suped-up versions of all of the base game's bosses, plus their Dream counterparts, Nightmare King Grimm from the Grimm Troupe , and a few new bosses not seen in the vanilla game, culminating with the Pure Vessel and Absolute Radiance, the prime versions of the main game's Final Boss and True Final Boss , respectively.

There are no checkpoints , so if the Knight dies, it's all the way back to square one. Puzzle Game. Boulder Dash has difficult intermissions before checkpoint levels that you may start on. They are individually Nintendo Hard , and while they don't cost a life if you fail them, you get kicked to the next level without a chance to retry it. On the other hand, the third intermission is unwinnable on PAL systems. The advanced chambers in Portal , adding a twist to straightforward levels by introducing or removing level elements to complicate the solution. The Professor Layton games have Layton's Challenges, a collection of 15 post-game puzzles typically five sets of three puzzles each unlocked by completing certain objectives in the main game.

Worse, the very last puzzle in every game is, without fail, a diabolically difficult slide puzzle. Last Specter makes it even worse by making the final puzzle two slide puzzles in one , with absolutely no hints for the downright evil second puzzle. Miracle Mask gives a slide puzzle for its second last puzzle, with the final puzzle being different from usual: It's supposed to be a harder version of what was faced in the Azran Chamber, but being it's just stepping on buttons, it's really not as hard as you would imagine.

Droidquest , the Java port of Robot Odyssey , added a sixth level with even more insane puzzles than the Nintendo Hard fifth level. Originally, you could only get there after collecting a number of secret items in association with the original Developer's Room , but the latest version introduced a portal straight to the sixth level. Kuru Kuru Kururin has three bonus levels in story mode when you finish each of the other levels without getting hit.

These aren't very difficult though. The real Brutal Bonus Levels are the 5 mini-levels you unlock in challenge mode by finishing each of the 50 normal challenge levels without getting hit which is quite a feat in and of itself. The Witness : The Underground Maze, unlocked by activating all eleven lasers, turning on a hidden switch at the top of the mountain, and then solving an otherwise-deactivated panel inside the mountain.

It contains easily the hardest puzzles in the entire game and includes The Challenge, a particularly nasty set of panels activated by a record player that plays classical music. In addition to all of them being randomized and extremely difficult, you have to finish the entire series before the music stops ; let the music finish or pause the game and you have to start the entire series over again.

Your sanity wishes you the best of luck. Third Person Shooter. In Splatoon 2 's Octo Expansion, beating all levels with no skips grants the player access to a fight against Inner Agent 3 ; all Agent 8 has is an Octoshot and Splat Bomb, while the opponent has unlimited ink, constant specials, a faster and more powerful weapon, knowledge of where you are at any time, an aggressive AI, and the ability to dodge-roll at any time.

Oh, and there's no checkpoints, so losing at any one of five phases sends you all the way back to the beginning. Once you do manage to win, Your Reward Is Clothes! All you get is a virtual Golden Toothpick. Racing Game. These are the 7 most ball-bustingly hard tours in the entire game, with Rubber Band A. The seventh and final tour is billed as so difficult that players on the development team could only clear it twice within 60 days and is compared to climbing Mt.

They are strictly a challenge for top players seeking to absolutely complete the game , as they offer no rewards, not even a cutscene. In Wipeout 3 , you can unlock four untextured bonus tracks. The first three are fairly easy. The fourth is also fairly easy unless you play on the highest speed class, In that case, if you haven't been playing the game since it came out, forget it. The Lakeside stage in Sega Rally Championship Besides being longer than the other three stages, you need to be first by the end of Mountain to access it, which in itself is hard if you're playing on an arcade cabinet with the difficulty on 'Arcade'.

Did I mention that the time limit only gives you about 2. Any bonus course in the Jet Moto series, especially Nebulous in the second game. Most of the Driving Missions in Gran Turismo 4 , especially the final one. Also, Sebastian Vettel X challenge on 5. It's hidden throughout the game until you reach Level 30 even the trophies are a secret until you acquire them and it's one of the most difficult challenges in the series.

End of the Beginning of the End

Real Time Strategy. The third Bonus mission in Battalion Wars where you play as the Solar Empire, forced to fend off Bombers with no Anti-Air support for the majority of the mission, then finally given three fighters Rhythm Game. Not all of Guitar Hero 's bonus levels are necessarily harder than the regular ones, but some definitely are. Rock Band 2 has "Visions". Then there's the DLC. Plus it seems some music is being written specifically for the game on RBN. It's so brutal that one of the best players in the world was happy just to have passed it without No-Fail mode, and it took until December — over 5 years since the song's release — for a Full Combo.

Special mention goes to Slipknot 's "Pulse of the Maggots. The Bemani series is fond of these. Later DDR games change this up a bit more, swapping out the non-recovering lifebar for a Challenge Lifebar with a variable number of lives on it and having the One More Extra Stage be even more difficult than the Extra Stage. Yes, we're looking at you, Pluto Relinquish! X2 takes this even further ; meet certain requirements and you go to the Replicant-D-Action folder for the extra stage.

There's a total of six songs, all of which are hard Anti-Matter, New Decade and Possession are almost twice as hard as the other 3 songs! And then there's Valkyrie Dimension If you can actually clear it on Another the hardest normally available difficulty on the console version, which itself is brutal, you unlock an even harder Black Another chart for it. See it here - the left side is Another, and the right side is Black Another. Elite Beat Agents and, by extension, its Japanese sister series Osu! Ouendan 2 has bonus levels that you unlock by reaching certain score levels.

While the first two usually aren't too tough, the last one in both games is usually second only to the final stage in terms of difficulty. The kicker is that, once you unlock them, they become mandatory for all other difficulties where you haven't reached that song tier yet.

Cytus has the Chapter L DLC, a set of ten songs with some of the most brutal charts in the game, with the songs themselves ranging from four-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half minutes each. All of the songs being rated 9, the game's maximum difficulty, on easy should be a good indicator of what you're in for.

The difficulty was so high that it managed to generate enough fan backlash to make Rayark release an update that toned down the charts, but the original ones are still playable as hidden songs. Some of these are pretty tough, but Lockstep Lockdown in particular has the game tell you "Look, this one's tough. In short, it's Lockstep one of the DS game's hardest games involving keeping the beat and switching to an offbeat pattern every so often played four times in a row on the three-life system which, mercifully, replenish between stages getting faster and faster with each stage.

The Binding of Isaac : Sheol is a literal hell, with wickedly hard monsters and Satan as the final boss. Wrath of the Lamb adds The Cathedral, a harder inversion of Sheol, and if you beat that while carrying the Polaroid, then you go to the Chest, where there is a boss in every single room. Rebirth adds the Dark Room if you beat Sheol while carrying the Negative, which follows the same rules as the Chest.

Doom, the Roguelike carries a few, if you're willing to follow the red stairways: The Mortuary follows a simple formula: Take a big room, add over a hundred corpses, and release the Archviles. It's enough to challenge anyone, to say the least. If you're not geared for melee, stay the hell away from the Unholy Cathedral. If you completed the Arena, the Chained Court will become one, what with the huge, boss-tier Archvile trying to fry you.

Dungeons Of Dredmor has a surprisingly easy to access bonus level: Diggle Hell. Mistype a wizardland code and enter the red, glowy portal and get ready to meet every single variety of diggle in the game, from the lowliest to the harbingers and even some exclusive to the place, and get dogpiled by them. It also holds a Bonus Boss , for those who like their unfairness with a dash of mercilessness. Dwarf Fortress 's Adventure Mode has divine vaults, created by a deity responsible for bringing a demon up to the mortal world, in order to keep the demon's true name safe.

The secret inside is guarded by possibly the strongest things in the entire game , armed to boot with the second best metal after Adamantine.


Purity Forest takes it a step further and destroys any items in your bag when you enter. It also resets your IQ to zero, taking away all of your skills, and prevents you from bringing in any teammates to help. The game calls it a test of wits and intelligence rather than power, but it fails to mention the colossal amount of luck involved. Each of them have different entering prerequisites and brutally strong enemies.

In Zero Isle North you won't gain any EXP from defeating enemies; the enemies in the first floor are in level 50, and by the end of the dungeon they will be in level In Zero Isle East, your level will be reset to 1, and you can only bring 16 items. No Monster House here, though. However, like all Zero Isle dungeons, the scattered items are the best in the game.

Destiny Tower has similar prerequisites to entering Zero Isle South: you can bring items, but you temporarily lose your IQ skills in exchange. Also, you can't be rescued in these dungeons and the enemies in these dungeons are not only strong but also have high IQs; however, they each award extremely nice gifts at the end or in the middle. As you march on Zero Isle South you can find the exclusive items for some legendaries, and as you move through Zero Isle East you can collect some rare exclusive items too. Like the above examples, they both have 99 floors , reset your level to 5, remove all your Team Skills, prevent you from taking in items or money, and have a hunger mechanic in place.

While you can challenge Slumbering Cave with a full party, Path of No Return requires you to challenge it solo. Path of No Return throws everything at you: it has more traps than safe space, Monster Houses are everywhere, you can't see more than a few spaces after a short while, most floors have weather that prevents passive healing and possibly damages you, supplies are ultra-limited, enemies' AI is seriously ramped up, and usable things are too expensive to buy.

Shoot Em Up. Gauntlet : Dark Legacy has one bonus stage per world, that consists of trying to nab 25 coins in a maze before time runs out. Your reward for beating a bonus stage is a secret character; the secret characters have stat alignments similar to the base characters Medusa excells at Magic like the Wizard and Sorceress, for example , but with more intriguing physical designs and overall higher stats. The problem? The bonus stages range from antsy to teeth-grindingly brutal. Some of the more egregious examples include: a two-in-one literal Bonus Level of Heaven and Hell where you're locked into unintuitive control physics not used anywhere else in the game, and you cannot go back for any coins; a deliberately-confusing psychedelic maze; a space station where you must use teleporters that don't always work perfectly, all in time limits that can generously be called 'fatalistic'.

Your punishment for losing is to re-appear in the stage where you found the bonus entrance, but the bonus door will be gone, and you'll need to replay the stage for it to appear again. Considering some of these bonus doors appear very close to the end of lengthy stages, the player is wedged between quite the rock and hard place. Extra Stages in Touhou feature bullet patterns on par with the game's own Lunatic difficulty.

The bosses have a large number of Spell Cards to dodge through, and they are immune to damage from the player's bombs. Perfect Cherry Blossom , the seventh in the series and the second of the Windows series, goes one step further by also having an even harder Phantasm stage, which pits you against Yukari Yakumo, probably the toughest Bonus Boss of the entire series.

In Imperishable Night you can unlock Last Word spellcards, which can each take hundreds of attempts to defeat. The second game in the series, Story of the Eastern Wonderland has a similarly difficult extra stage in Evil Eye Sigma a flying demon tank piloted by the local first stage boss , which is absurdly hard for entirely different reasons, most notably due to the game's larger hitbox and lack of modern conveniences like focusing. Namely for the fact you have to fight 2 Bosses back to back and timing out Gengetsu's last spellcard will give you a more vicious assault afterwards.

The extra stages of Phantasmagoria of Flower View instead give the opponent AI invincibility for a set time and make both the player and AI a One-Hit-Point Wonder , turning the game into one of survival until the invincibility wears off and the Artificial Stupidity wins the game for them. The arcade version of Gradius III has a couple of optional hidden levels accessed at the very end of the game by letting yourself be hit by one of Bacterian's otherwise easily-dodged attacks.

While these levels are not necessarily that much more brutal than the rest of the itself brutally-difficult game they're in, they still throw you a curveball in that all of your powerups, speed-ups included, are taken away upon entry to these levels. There are only a small handful of powerups at the beginning of each of these stages, which have to be used for speed-ups, therefore you usually just have only your standard gun to take you through the whole level.

Should you get to the end of one of these levels, you are not rewarded in any way other than the small handful of points you may have received in getting through the level; you simply get placed back in the "main" game with all your powerups taken from you again, just for good measure to take another shot at Bacterian. The Gorge in Death Smiles. The Mega Black Label upgrade adds the Ice Palace, which is a bit more beginner-friendly than the Gorge especially if you're using Sakura.

One life, no continues, very long. Abmneshi The Prophecy has the Invisible Stage, which is selected by pressing left with the leftmost stage already selected; It contains Sirisai, a rather nasty Bonus Boss. The Hope archive in Child of Eden. Inverted in Image Fight ; there is an extra level you're dumped into if you don't kill a high enough percentage of enemies in the first five stages, called the Penalty Area. In it, you must fight a fleet of very difficult enemies, with all of your powerups gone AND no powerups available within the stage.

Score chasers will throw one of the stages to get to this stage and reap points for killing enemies, but the high difficulty of the stage means it's ill-advised and you're mostly better off trying to just meet the Border quota. Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours rolls the ending after you complete Suriaha, but if you complete all missions up to it, you'll unlock Kyokkuho, a stage gauntlet that can easily take an hour to complete and culminates with G. Since this is CS Mode, you have to do all this on only three lives; lose them all and it's back to the start!

Simulation Game. Jedi Starfighter has the unlockable bonus missions "Jango Fett", "The Lone Gunship" and "Advanced Training", all of which are far harder than most of the levels that you'll find in the main game. The Trauma Center series has X missions which are unlocked after the completion of the main story. These are operations against souped-up versions of the boss pathogens, with more aggressive attack patterns and vitals that plummet even faster. New Blood also adds Challenge missions — operations on multiple simulated patients. The difficulty itself is not as intense as the X missions, but the Chain breaks if the player gets anything short of Cool on any action, demanding perfection for a good score.

Trauma Team exchanges the X missions for the Specialist difficulty, which allows the player to tackle any operation mission with a similar intensity. Strategy RPG. While the main story of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was criticized for being uncharacteristically easy , the bonus dungeon Lagdou Ruins started out considerably harder than the end of the main story, and by its last few floors was unabashedly sadistic.

The fact that you had to complete ten floors in a row with no saves in between didn't help matters unless playing the game in an emulator , nor did the fact that most of the characters had low magic resistance and the latter floors were full of long-range casters that could twoshot them from across the map.

The Melkaen Coast map, unlocked after Chapter 19, isn't exactly cakewalk either. Oh, and sometimes it can feature the much hated Fog of War. Ignoring the fact that it's DLC , so Nintendo would have you pay them to torture yourself, there are a lot of factors that would encourage you to become a eugenicist just to beat it. The premise is that five battles take place in a row with no breaks between. Falter on one of them or run out of time and that's it. Can stack with critical hits damage dealt times 3.

Always activates. Can't cheese your way through this one! In fact, the difficulty for this says it all. The maps in the store are rated for difficulty using a star system. Apotheosis' rating? Then you play the Secret Path for it which will probably send you into the nearest mental asylum. This 10 floor dungeon houses some powerful enemies and thanks to the fatigue mechanic you are actively discouraged from battling them. And most dungeons have Mila Idols where you can easily restore fatigue, recharge the Mila's Turnwheel , and serve as "bases" so you can save your game.

Thabes Labyrinth doesn't , meaning you have to do the whole thing all at once , and you need a healthy supply of provisions if you get into too many fights. Hypogeum of Tears to Tiara 2 , unlocked after clearing the main game. The game is automatically put on Hard Mode, and the original Rewind option so vital to the normal game is disabled. Many of its levels are designed to swamp you with opponents straight from the start, with special setups that allow various long range magic to 1HKO with you hard-pressed to reply in kind. And while the regular game can be cleared with your team at around the early level 50s, Hypogeum require you go grind to level 90s and the final floors are still very hard with your entire party at max lv Disgaea games always have these; the post-game is where the real challenge is.

Considering the games' Absurdly High Level Cap ; you'll need well under to beat the main story , these are usually Level Grinding fests. Many will have you acquiring new party members from previous games in the series or other NIS titles. The real Brutal Bonus Level is typically against Baal or Pringer X, bosses with devastating attacks and stats in the upper stratosphere. Pringer X has an ability which nulls any skill that has been used on it, meaning you can't spam your most powerful spells. Secondly, they have obscenely high damage and health which is 21 million.

Another mention goes to Baal in Disgaea 4, who has a passive ability that will instantly kill your characters as soon as you place them on the map provided they aren't strong enough to survive the damage. Disgaea D2 upped the ante by letting your characters absorb these stats whenever they killed an enemy in the Land of Carnage, and then added Rasetsu Mode to make those stats go even higher. Disgaea 5 added its own change—- items found in the Land of Carnage aka the Carnage Dimension have greatly increased stats, although their Item Worlds will have immensely powerful foes.

Strategy Game. In order to access it, you have to play through the Campaign and choose Sami for every Green Earth Mission barring Eagle's introduction early on of course. This is noted to be quite difficult, as Sami's Green Earth Missions are easily the hardest of them it doesn't help that she's not nearly the terror that she is in later games either , but it pays off in more ways than one; not only does it give access to Rivals , it also places Eagle as the 3rd CO in the Final Battle, along with an entire squadron of air units to start off considering the closest airport is neutral and well near the middle, this is a HUGE plus.

On the flip side, if you play Rivals in the already painful Advanced Campaign , you're basically doomed to be playing the map for a long time. Every game in the Kingdom Rush series has bonus levels that are unlocked after the main campaign is beaten. Each and every one of them is far more difficult than the main campaign and requires very careful planning to succeed, mainly because several of the new enemies they introduce are Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders. For example, the first one places you in a room with every single miniboss some even duplicated , Chain Chomps, and every piece of cover is an explosive box that can give any status ailment from burning to petrifaction.

Beating the Brutal Challenges unlocks the most powerful equipment in the game for all your characters. Survival Horror. The custom night in FNaF2 has several preset modes you can complete to unlock toys that sit on the desk in the game while you play. Five Nights at Freddy's 3 has a bonus Sixth Night, but does not feature a Custom Night, since unlike its predecessors you only have one animatronic, Springtrap, to deal with.

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 has multiple versions of this. It has the standard Night 6 and Night 7, the latter of which is also called Nightmare Mode and your antagonist throughout Night 5, Fredbear, is replaced by a more aggressive black pallette swap called Nightmare. The Halloween Update adds in additional options for custom nights, such as Blind Mode, Mad Freddy Where Nightmare Freddy becomes a threat more quickly , Insta-Foxy Foxy is always in your closet , and All Nightmare dealing with Nightmare the entire night instead of from the halfway point onward.

They can be activated alone or in combination, meaning it's possible to have All Nightmare Blind Mode on yourself. While Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location didn't initially have a Custom Night it did have a bonus level, but it's more a Nostalgia Level , one was later included in an update. Beating various versions of it unlocked significant information about the Aftons. Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator also initially did not have a custom night. One was being planned, though, and this ended up turning into its own game, known as Ultimate Custom Night.

A fanmod named Five Nights at Vault 5 features the Ultimate Night, unlocked after the "official" five, with all five robots being present and with the terminal alert frequency cranked up to max. Wick allows you to play 5 am if you've unlocked all the collectibles from the previous hours. Western RPG. The answer? You aren't, trust us. Unless you figure out that it's actually a Puzzle Boss.

Oh, and that encounter is considered second worst to the Final Boss of the level. At this point, you had the option to take Dave's Challenge: a small dungeon with no safe spots that's crawling with every monster you hated fighting in the main game, as well as a few resurrected bosses. Dark Souls has a few, but the best is the Painted World of Ariamis. While it's not full of Bottomless Pits or excessively trap-happy, it's full of very, very nasty enemies and several excellent items.

If you want to get everything out, you need to fight through buildings full of fire- and toxin-spewing undead, rats that inflict toxin, terrifyingly powerful Crow Demons, an undead dragon, a pyromancy-loving phantom, and a basement full of Skeleton Wheels - some of which are fought in narrow hallways.

Even worse, once you enter, you can't leave until you open the exit at the end, which is easier said than done. However, the best example of this is the Frigid Outskirts, a Brutal Bonus Level inside another brutal bonus level. You are trapped in a snowstorm that makes it nearly impossible to see around you. While blinded by the storm and trying to find your way to the end, you are constantly ambushed by respawning lightning-spamming Ice Stallions and Faraam Warriors What lays at the end of this madness?

A boss fight against Bonus Bosses Lud and Zallen. Your reward for all this punishment is the Ring of the Living - which allows you to camouflage yourself by removing the glowing outline in phantom form. Dark Souls III has not one, not two, but four Bonus Levels : First of all, we have the Smouldering Lake , which contains the massively difficult Carthus Sandworm and a giant crossbow shooting at the player.

Below it, there's the Demon Ruins, implied to be the last remaining chunks of Lost Izalith from the first game , a labyrinthine level filled with tight spaces and narrow corridors and some really good loot. It's rather short and can be explored rather quickly, but every single enemy in it is incredibly hard-hitting and can tank through a lot of the player's attacks, especially the Consumed King's Knights near the end. The area's boss, Oceiros, also qualifies as That One Boss for many.

Directly after the Garden is the Untended Graves, a dark version of the Cemetery of Ash, the very first level. While the enemies are nothing the player has seen before, it's home to Champion Gundyr , one of the hardest bosses in the game. And just after him are respawnable Black Knights with ultra greatswords.

And finally, we get to Archdragon Peak. Absolutely packed to the brim with snakemen that can effortlessly stunlock, parry and dodge the player's attacks and have a metric ton of HP on top of very dangerous homing fire attacks and the larger variation with the chain axe can hit with the axe for huge damage outside of the lock-on range, for added fun. And not shortly after, the level introduces summoners that can spawn Drakeblood Knights, who are Lightning Bruisers to the core and Havel the Rock. Just to make matters worse, there's a dragon miniboss in the main path of the level and it ends with an open area filled with a couple dozen of the aforementioned snakemen.

And should the player endure this, the main boss of the area is The Nameless King , which is universally considered to be the hardest boss of the game. The area is irradiated to hell and back, and is swarming with Deathclaws and Irradiated Marked Men, the latter of which are much tougher than normal Marked Men and regenerate their HP thanks to the radiation.

This area is not required to complete the main quest, but there are two warheads here, which must be detonated as part of the Warhead Hunter achievement. Completely optional, it contains a selection of the nastiest monsters and traps found in the game, whose Power Levels grow much faster than your party can keep up with it, forcing you to actually leave and Level Grind somewhere else just to be able to get to the next dungeon floor.

Wide Open Sandbox. Terraria has several examples, but the best is the Hardmode Dungeon. Unlike the rest of the world, the Dungeon doesn't enter Hardmode after the Wall of Flesh bites it; rather, you have to kill off Plantera before it happens. Once it does, though, watch out. If you enter, you can expect hordes of skeleton soldiers, skeleton mages, skeleton ninjas, SWAT skeletons, and Paladins with four digit HP and attacks that can outdamage Skeletron Prime.

Later updates to the game have introduced the Moon Lord, your "reward" for defeating all four Celestial Towers, which are your "reward" for defeating the Lunatic Cultist, who is your "reward" for killing all the Cultists who spawn at the dungeon's entrance. All except the initial Cultists make the Hardmode Dungeon denizens look like pushovers. Fortunately, the Cultists are passive and harmless until attacked.