anyhow,if l go this route, Aedan will be Eirik's grandson despite the separation of four centuries.l still have not decided if 'Myles' had the codex with him the whole time or had hidden it. lf the latter his foes,of which Cyrus was the chief, probably were zeroeing in on the hiding place ,forcing Myles to get it first.The ring protected him from it's tendancy to posses those who held it.Another of Menander's former followers is involved as the leader of the cult that stole the codex from Oxford in 1878 resulting it's pursuit by Jared Nicholson as cited in ALL HALLOWS EVE.That one dwelled in eastern Europe.[he had strongholds in eastern Bavaria, Slovakia and Wallachia in southwest Romania.]The latter two then lay in the Austro Hungarian empire.Of course the idea also gives me a character who can go almost anywhere and at any time between 1219 and 1624.
So far l've gotten to chapter 9 and page 108 of Payment in Kind.[probably 21-22,000 words.]l've got a ways to go but it's around half to two thirds finished.As a novel it will be rather short though perhaps a trifle long for a novella.But l'm going to try not to force it nor pad it.The original was 86 pages typed and double spaced but it used a different [if similar character] and was not set in an historical context.[Although the very first version l wrote over 30 years ago was set in this era but in England rather than Scotland.]Cyrus will only be revealed at the end of the story as the 'villain behind the villain', who instigated the witchhunter to get revenge on Myles family and possibly the ring.Since alterations are required in this adaptation even l'm not sure how the ending will play out.l can't wait to find out what happens.......
Although l need an epilogue/final chapter and have an idea for a new prologue the body of PAYMENT IN KIND is now done, 150 handwritten pages in 13 chapters.lt'll probably be 14 chapters plus the prologue, pretty short , by my standards.lf l let the hero survive he can finally move on the new adventures since dealing with this episode has been challenging me for a long time.He's got a new/old enemy to pursue who might catch him first if he's not carefull.But l don't know where he'll end up next.
l'm nearly finished retranscribing and editing PAYMENT IN KIND. [l ran out of room for the final chapter and decided to add some material at the beginning.] But as l near completion on that l decided to try a short story on the Eirik character as it's been ages since l did anything shorter than a novel.He or Aedan as wandering adventurers seemed the best choice to feature in it.lt will probably take place in the period between Eirik's flight from Scotland in 1187 ad and his participation in the Portuguese capture of the Moorish fortress of Alvor in June of 1189.That is just over two years before the time of SIGNET OF SOLOMON. He would be between 23 and 25 then.l'm leaning towards using his time in lberia [medieval Leon, Gallicia and Portugal.]Still, earlier stints in Norway and Denmark cannot be ruled out nor the brief stop in Sicily between June and September 1189.l'm also debating what the menace will be.But l have an idea for one that might fit the era and location.This will allow me to depict him before his entanglement in the larger epic that begins with Signet.l have some of the ingredients but l'm still working out the recipe.
lt looks like it will probably take place in 1188 ad.Eirik fled Scotland after the defeat of the rebel prince Domnall Mac Uillem by Lochlann of Galloway [whom Eirik previously faught in 1185-86.]]Lochlann [Roland in French] was a proNorman supporter of William the Lion of Scotland.Eirik had served Gillebride, Lochlann's antiNorman cousin and predece which was fighting the Englishssor.Domnall fell in 1187.Eirik headed to Norway via the Orkneys then, a fugitive rebel.From Norway he visted Denmark but found no 'work' there and so continued on to France [Paris] but a truce had been made in the summer of 1187.lbstead he found work as a guard on one or more penitents sentenced to take the Pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James at Campostela in northwest Spain [Then the kingdom of Leon.]He accidently missed the resumption of the war between Phillip Augustus of France and Henry 2 of England over the latter's French territories.[that phase began in June 1188.]So, the adventure took place near the pilgim's way to Campostella in Cantabria where a dreaded Basilsk was reputed to survive.[lt's ashes supposedly could transmute silver to gold....if one could survive to obtain them.]l suspect Eirik's pilgrim charge enlists his aid to find and kill the beast.....
Payment in Kind is finally done.l'de estimate it's around 38,000 words or a bit more, say 140 printed pages. [192 handwritten].lt consists of 16 chapters plus the prologue. [short and sweet by my usual standards].lt covers about three weeks plotwise from August 7th to August 28th, 1645. Where the hero, Aedan will go from there even l don't yet know.But he'll probably flee Scotland by some point in 1646 when the Royalists were defeated there.
Although it is not critical to the story it's worth noting that l used the modern Gregorian calendar dates in the novel as my sources used them for the Battle of Kilsyth and the total eclipse/Blood moon at the beginning.But in 1645 England still used the Julian calendar and l believe a new year based upon the vernal equinox.Scotland surely did the same though some Catholic highlanders might've known of the Gregorian system. Having faught on the continent Aedan would've at least heard of it.Thus, if the story takes place between August 7th and 28th in the Gregorian system it was 10 days earlier in the Julian, July 29 to August 18th.The latter is the dating most or all of the characters would follow. Also, Montrose and what remained of his force were surprise attacked at Phillipbaugh on September 13th [Gregorian].His defeat there put him on the run and doubtless Aedan too.lt was Sept. 3 'old' style.Either way it was about 2 weeks after my tale ends.The captured king ordered Montrose to cease fighting on July 31st, 1646.[Gregorian]or July 21st old style.Montrose fled to Norway on September 3rd, 1646 [probably August 24 or 25 oldstyle].l'm assuming Aedan went with him. Either way he fled Scotland between the end of July and early September in 1646 a year after the novel.
Congratulations on completing "Payment in Kind". I haven't had any time for writing lately as I have been focusing on promoting my current 3 novels. I'll be first in line to buy yours as they come out.
Thanks for the kind words.lt may be getting close now.As clear from the above, nitpicky chronologis that l am, l've been refining Aedan's chronology and Eirik's as well.At least Eirik's dates are all Julian as the Gregorian calendar did not yet exist as it did in Aedan's day. l've decided to use May 17th as his birthdate , which l guess makes him a late Taurus.That enables me to tell his age at later points when l know relatively precise dates.l can now plotout his movements with fair accuracy until the end of KEY TO THE SEVEN SEALS in August of 1191 ad.He was forced into servitude by the Norman conquest of Dublin in 1170 at the age of six.His biological father, Dublin's Norse king, Askulf was slain in 1171 when Eirik was seven, though he was never an acknowledged eir.[Askulf was captured trying to regain Dublin and executed.]A rebellion against the Normans broke out in 1173 ad allowing Eirik and his family to escape to the lsle of Mann and on to Galloway in Scotland. lt was then semiindependant.William 1 of Scotland aided in a rebellion of two English princes against their father, Henry 1 in 1173-74.[One of them Richard the lion hearted.]lt failed at the siege of Alnwick castle in northern England which William besieged.Henry forced William into an ornerous treaty.Eirik was nine to ten here.Galloway was divided between two rivals then, one proNorman the other proNorse/Gaelic.The latter besieged and slew his rival in 1174.His rival's son, Roland fled to the court of his friend William.But Gilebrighte/Gilpatrick had tried to obtain full idependance with the support of Henry of England.That involved the former's son. Donnchad, becoming hostage to the English king. Donnchad was handed over in 1176.Eirik witnessed it at twelve.The Norman conqueror of lreland died the same year but already Henry had enforced his youngest son, John on lreland in 1175.But the prince did not visit until about a decade later. Roland returned to attempt to sieze Galloway with king William's blessing in 1184.That upset Henry who wanted Donchad as his puppet there.Eirik was now nineteen to twenty and faught against Roland.His stepfather, Sigurd died taking a poisoned arrow meant for Eirik that year.On Jan.2,1185 Gilebrighte was slain but his faction faught on under one Malcolm. A Blood moon [total eclipse] was seen on May 1st, 1185 fortelling doom. The next month Malcom was deafeated. At twentyone Eirik fled north to lnverness to fight for a rebel prince there called Domnall MacWilliam. William of Scotland sent Roland to deal with the rebel, who was defeated Momgravis moor in Moray on July 31st, 1187.Eirik was twenty three and once more on the run.He headed for the Orknies which were still claimed by the Norse then though the Scots disputed it.From there he sailed for Norway where he helped hunt whales that winter.Another blood moon on Sept4,1187 heraled the fall of Jerusalem to Salidin and soon crusading was in the air in Europe.The spring of 1188 Eirik saught work as a mercenary in Denmark but found none. So, he passed south through Frisia and Flanders [now parts of the Netherlands and Belgium.Finally, whilst in Paris he hired on to help guard a Pilgamidge to the shrine of St.James in Gallicia, then part of the kingdom of Leon.lrish legend said the Gaels came from Gallicia originally.On the way to Leon the pilgrims passed through Navarre, home of the Basques.[who believed their first lord came from lreland....]The shrine at Campbostella was one of the premier holy sites in western Europe then.The yet to be written encounter with the Basilisk occurred in northern Leon during the pilgamidge. Eirik was twenty four.Next he entered the service of Sancho 1 of Portugal in latter 1188.He faught in the capture of Silves in the Algarve [southern Potugal.]The Moors still ruled there and Silves was their local capital.lt fell to the Christians the June of 1189.Fearing a boring peace Eirik joined a DanoFrisian fleet that had helped take the city. lt was headed for the holyland on crusade.Eirik was twenty five.[The Almohad dynasty from Morocco helpe the local Moors recapture Silves in 1191 but Eirik was in the holy land by then.Another blood moon signaled Henry's death and the ascession of Richard in Feb.1189. He was to pass through Portugal in 1190.Also in February, William, the Norman ruler of Sicily died and was succeeded by his nefew, Tancred.But prince Henry 4 of the Holy Roman empire [eir of Frederic Barbarosa] disputed Tancred's claim as his wife also was a potential eiress in Sicily.Tancred recalled the Sicilian fleet from the siege of Acre in the holyland. The DanoFrisian fleet stopped at Sicily on their way east and in 1191 Richard stopped there too becoming embroiled in the local war.[he gave a version of excaliber to Tancred as a peace offering before continuing east. With Richard was his bride, Berengaria of Portugal.Henry 4 vowed revenge on Richard and got it on the king's journey home from the crusade in 1192.Eirik and the DanoFrisian Fleet reached Acre in early Sept. 1189 and there he stayed untl late July of 1191 shortly after the Crusaders took the city [he was by then twenty seven.]Frederic Barbarosa died in June of 1190 heading through Turkey toward the holyland, drowning in an attempt to coss a river in flood.So, Henry 4 was Holy Roman emperor when Richard had gotten to Sicily.Richard also seized Cyprus from a rebel Byzantine prince before arriving at Acre in June 1191.The cult of the quasi immortal Gnostic sorcerer, Menander, got the Signet of Solomon from Eirik's party in August 1191 and the codex was completed. lt supplanted the older scroll.They could finally free and resuurect Menander after 829 years.[since his 'death' in the summer of 365 ] Using a blood moon in summer of 1197 the cult did release and revive Menander.Eirik was then thirty three and dwelled in Constantinople where he was married and the father of a son, Gabriel.[born in 1196.]ln the ensuing struggles two great quakes devastated Syria in 1201-1202.Saladin died in 1193 and Richard was in captivity in Austria and Germany from 1192-94.John tried to take the throne of England but failed.Tancred dien in 1194.Henry 4 got Sicily at last. He forced a heavy tribute upon Constantinople in 1196 but died the following year.Eirik had become one the famed Varangian guard in Constantinople. Menander helped manipulate the would be Crusaders then gathering in Venice for an attack upon Egypt which was vulnerable with Saladin's successors squabbling.He helped turn them towards Constantinople instead in 1202. The Crusaders put pince Alexios 4[or maybe 5] on the throne in 1203. But he was unable to pay them what he's promised. So, they besieged and took the city in 1204 [April],savagely sacking it.lt was the first time a foriegn enemy ever captured the city in 879 years.....Eirik was thirty nine soon to turn fourty.He and his surviving family were forced to flee the slaughter. Since Menander had turned his eyes to Europe so did Eirik.Their final meeting was to take place on August 29, 1219 the 22nd anniversary of Menander's release.Eirik was fifty five and Menander 1186 years old.Eirik used the fabled Sword of Attila to impale Menander's heart.lt did what no mortal blade could've but it's tip broke off in the process.Eirik gave up the extra life force that restored his life in 1191 to save the wounded Gabriel.Then he died. Gabriel got the Signet from Menander's corpse but one of the sorcerer's chief followers stole the codex and fled with it.Gabriel pursued the thief.Menander's other servants gathered up his body. They knew it could be resurrected if they could remove the tip of the sword and regain the ring and book.Gabriel knew it too and though too weak to defeat the whole cult felt he could potentially get the book back. As the wearer of the ring only he was immune to possession by the codex.Tragicly, the cult regained the book 400 years later and with it revived Menander. But without the ring it was not true life but rather undeath.To free himself of the restrictions of his condition, Menander [now calling himself Cyrus de Wynter] chased Gabriel down to obtain the ring.bUT IN THE STRUGGLE THE SHIP THEY WERE ON SANK OFF SCOTLAND in 1624.Gabriel washed ashored and was nursed by Margaret MacClaren, whom he married. They were Aedan's parents.The codex washed up too and was found by Lillias Ruthven, eiress of a disgraced noble house.Accused as a witch she used the book's power to gain revenge though it ultimately lead to her own destruction in 1645.Cyrus survived because he was undead.He saught out Gabriel for the ring and vengeance but believed the codex lost at sea.They faught and Margaret was nearly killed as a bystander along with her unborn child.Gabriel slew de Wynter with his walking stave of holy wood.To save his wife and child Gadriel surrendered the life force that had kept him going for over 400 years.Before dieing he warned his wife that de Wynter might return if the stave was removed. He gave her the ring.Cyrus was interred at the crossroads in hopes he's lie still but the stave was withdrawn unwittingly.During a blood moon in August 1645 the blood of a murdered innocent brought him back again.He went off in search of the ring and revenge.[on Margaret and Aedan.]Such in broad outlines is the tale.
The blood moons seem predictive rather than directly coinciding with events.That in May 1, 1185 was over a month before Malcolm's defeat.The one in Sept 4, 1187 was prior to Jerusalem's fall on Oct.2.Henry 2 [not 1, my error] died in July 6th, 1189 a few months after the Feb. 19,1189 eclipse......
after Falcon's Aerie [all hallow's eve/blood moon] and The Protector l had wanted to do a female villain. l got one in first Signet of Solomon:key to the seven seals and another in Payment in kind.l also wanted to try out a female fighter.l haven't managed that yet.l'm debating between the Eirk and Aedan stories. But Eirik's love interest may end up as a magic user though that does not mean she could not fight as she did a bit in Signet.[she was raised as a bit of a tomboy by her warrior father, who was a member of Byzantium's Varangian guard.But in Payment l'm left with the quandary of what to do with Shawna whom Aedan rescues from the witchhunters.lf he leaves her alone in some town or village she's liable have to resort to thievery or prostitution probably both.At best she might be taken on as a servant somewhere.Aedan is not the type to leave her without warning.Whether he is or not he'd feel responsible for her and having lost his family realizes his loneliness for the first time.But taking her along is awkward for him as a mercenary.Montrose defeat so soon after the novel ends makes settling down a more risky and difficult prospect.There's not much time to marry her off before Aedan leaves Scotland but within a year it's possible. Killing her off is easier still though a cheap way out.After a little research l think it might be worth a try to train her to fight.ln the age of pistols and fencing it might be more plausible than with heavier weopons and armour.Scotland had it's share of feisty ladies so if l can think of further plots it might be feasible.Then she could go with him when he leaves Scotland in 1646, probably for Sweden. [via France and the Germanies as NORWAY WAS RULED BY DENMARK THEN AND BOTH WERE HOSTILE TO SWEDEN.]I could then depict her evolution since she wouldn't begin as an experienced skilled warrior.l guess it depends upon me finding plot for their further adventures.Romance may or may not develope.She looks up to him but he's rather used to living inside his own head and might be reluctant totake advantage of her dependence on him. We'll see l suppose.
Eirik heard the pounding of the horses' hooves before he saw the riders approaching.As he was amongst trees on a hill above them they did not see him.He raised his right hand to shield his bright blue eyes from the morning sun. The mist had yet to be burned away by the new day. Dampness clung to everything. The men were Normans, by their peaked helmets, long teardrop shaped shields and the heraldic symbols on shield and the tabbards they wore over their mail hauberks.Eirik recognized the raven of Aelfriche de Gavin.The half Saxon lord de Gavin was a favorite of Lochlann, rival cousin of Gillebighte, whom Eirik and his father and uncles served.Lochlann, who preferred the French form of his name, Roland, was a patron to the Norman and Flemish mercernaries that maintained Willaim the Lion upon the throne of Scotland.Gillebrighte had thrown the Norman scum out of Galloway,in favor of the native Gaels and their Norse allies such as Eirik's father, Sigurth.A former Jarl of the late Norse king of Dublin,Sigurth had brought his family to Galloway after the Normans conquered the city and slew it's ruler, Askulf. Seeing them Eirik cursed under his breath, his fingers tightening about the leather bound hilt of his sword.There could be no good reason for them being there.Roland was in virtual exile at king William's court up in Stirling.His 'pet', de Gavin aught to be there too not riding fully armed into Galloway.Sigurth and Eirik's uncles, Colum and Padriagh were away fighting for Gillebrighte.Could the bastard, de Gavin, have discovered that and so chosen this time to strike? lt seemed likely. Sigurth had insisted that Eirik remain behind, though at eighteen,he'd gone on campaign before.Yet, on those occaissions one or both of his uncles stayed behind so as not to leave their home and families unprotected.lt had been Eirik's turn this time.While,his mother and aunt Ethne were strong, brave women they could not hope to stand up to bands of armed raiders, like de Gavin's men. His heart racing Eirik hurried down the far side of the hill towards his home.lt was his duty to protect his family while Sigurth was away.He had to get there before de Gavin's men did.Aeslynn, his mother, was with child and so more vulnerable than usual.At her age the pregnancy had not proven easy.Ethne would doubtless be preoccupied tending her sister.Eirik's long powerfull legs carried him swiftly down the slope. The cottage came into sight.He did not slow down as he approached it.The place was a simple building of rough dry stone with a high pitched roof of thatch.Smoke, from the fire within, rose lazily from the opening in the roof at one end.His horse stood in it's nearby stall and sheep wandered about not far away, grazing.The few household servants could be seen going about their morning tasks, his younger cousins playing in the yard, unaware of the approaching danger. "Normans!"Eirik called out to them, slightly out of breath from running."They are Lochlann's scum....hurry, gather up the children...hide as best you can. See to my mother and aunt.l shall...confront the ruddy bastards." Even then he did not stop.Ducking he entered the cottage.At over a fathom in height the door was too low for him. "What bring ye' home in such a state?"enquire his aunt with concern. "Take yourself and mother into the pit."He responded."l will cover the door with a matte and the bed to hide it. Norman raiders are coming.They will be here within minutes."As he spoke he grabbed his leather gambeson and mail tunic, donning them as swiftly as he could.They were better armoured than he but it would have to do. Ethne immediately nodded in understanding. She lifted the door to the small hidden room below the cottage, helping the semi conscious Aeslynn down the ladder."teach the curs a lesson!"Ethne forced an encouraging smile as she lay her sister down gently upon the floor of the pit.'"show them what it means to threaten Sigurth's household." "Aye, that l shall!"Eirik called down to her.So saying he put on his helmet, his pale blond hair still flowing out beneath it.The rim and heavy nose piece placed his eyes in shadow but they blazed from the darkness fiercely.Eirik lowered the door to the hidden room and quickly covered it with a woven matte from elsewhere on the floor.Then he lifted the modest bed on which Aeslynn had lain and set it atop the matte.Before leaving the cottage he took up his round shield in his right hand, unsheathing his sword with his left.He was as ready as he would ever be. Stepping through the cottage door he observed the Norman horsemen riding towards the yard.Their mail and helms glinted in the morning sunlight.He noted that their faces were grim yet confident.They expected no serious opposition, with the majority of the area's warriors elsewhere.They were proud men, used to getting what they wanted from those they considered peasents and savages.Though the local warriors could be fierce they were undisciplined and their equipment relatively poor and primitive by Norman standards.Serfs was all the locals were cut out to be. lt was time they learned that..... " Halt!"Eirik cried out in his deepest voice."Why come ye here armed as if for war?This is Sigurth's holding. You have no right here.These are Gillebighte's lands not those of your lord, Lochlann. l tell you now.Begone...or face the consequences."Eirik scowled at them, his feet planted wide, ready for battle if need be.He gripped the shield strap tightly and pointed it at the leader of the horsemen with his sword. "Who are you to give orders to me, peasant?" snorted de Gavin derisively.He was taller than most of his men though were he not on horseback Eirik would easily tower over him.A mail aventail hid the Norman's medium brown hair though his trimmed beard set off his green eyes."Since when are serfs allowed to wear armour and bear weapons?" "l am no serf, Norman.I am Eirik, son of Sigurth, who owns this holding.These be my lands not yours.Ye' an' your kind be not welcome here.l have told you.Begone...now."Eirik grimaced restraining his temper as best he could.ln the unlikely event they followed his commands he would let them depart in peace.But if not they would remain in pieces. He would see to that happily. "Eirik then are you?"Snickered de Gavin."An here l thought we faced at least a true warrior, if but a barbarian one.Step out of our way boy! Bow to your betters.You are hopelessly outnumbered.Since you are scarce more than a mere stripling l might be convinced to forgive your lack of proper respect if you do as l say." "Young in years l may be."Eirik almost snarled the words."But approach further an' we'll see who be the stripling.Leave now and perhaps l shall spare ye'."he added with a nasty chuckle."lgnore my words an' ye' will dearly regret it.Tha' l can promise ye'." "Dolt!" de Gavin frowned deeply."You've signed your own death warrant.Take him down!Three gold pieces to the one who brings me his head!"
Ethne held her sister's hand gently, wiping the perspiration away from her forhead.Aeslynn's eyes fluttered, her breathing heavy.She moaned softly, only half conscious. The conditions in the cellar were not ideal for a woman in Aeslynn's condition.lt had been a difficult pregnancy.But Ethne would do her best. lt was far from the first pregnancy that she'd helped with, though poor Aeslynn had lost too many children in the birthing. Ethne was younger than her sister, though already a widow twice over.Her first husband,Malcolm had been slain by the Normans when they invaded Dubhlinn thirteen years before.The family managed to escape from lreland three years later during a rebellion against the new Norman overlords.Ethne's second husband, Brodar,was a jarl of the Norse king of the island of Mann whence they initially fled.Tragicly, after surviving numerous battles and the family's settlement in Galloway Brodar was lost at sea four years earlier. Aeslynn was weaker and in more pain this time than in her previous pregnancies, her pale skin almost translucent,her beautifull face gaunt.Shadows ringed her luminous azure eyes.Gray now mixed with her long chestnut hair.Though it had yet to touch her own auburn locks Ethne wondered how much longer that would remain true, given the way things were going. "lt...lt will come soon...."Aeslynn half whispered, wincing as a wave of pain passed through her.She gripped her sister's hand more tightly."l can feel it, Ethne.lt must live...it has to.Sigurth and l have waited so long...tried so hard...l always promised him a boy of his own..."Her eyes were moist. "lt will be fine, Aeslynn."Ethne lied, though praying her pessimism proved wrong."God willing.l know Sigurth desires a child.But he has a son in Eirik.He will love it whether it be a boy or girl.Has he not said so many times?" "Oh, l know what he says" Aeslynn sighed wistfully."He does not want to hurt my feelings. He is a good husband.But l know him, Ethne.He loves Eirik and is proud of him.But he's always known Eirik was Askulf's son though we never speak of it.He accepts Eirik because he knows l had no choice when Askulfmade me his mistress.lt was the king's right.But Sigurth has ever hoped for a son of his own blood..." "Do not speak of such things..."Ethne put a finger to her lips tosilence her sister."He has raised Eirik as his own.He is the boy's father in all ways that count.Askulf never acknowledged Eirik.lt's no use talking about it now, with Askulf long dead and his kingdom in Norman hands." "l know, l know." Aeslynn shook her head wearily."l'm greatfull to god that Sigurth did not cast me aside after Askulf took me...nor even after the Norman bastards did.He would've been within his rights to do it.He is a better man than ever his king was." "l supoose it no longer matters."Ethne shrugged." With Askulf dead and his house fallen there's no more reason to hide Eirik's blood.While there was still a chance of driving the Normans out, perhaps.But no longer.Besides, Askulf never acknowledged any of the welps he or his brothers sired." "You are right."Aeslynn agreed sadly."Eirik should've been a prince of Dubhlinn.Now, that can never be... nor would it likely ever have been.That day is past.My son must earn his way in the world without a title or wealth to ease his path." "What good did a tile do for Askulf when the Normans captured and slew him?"Ethne observed pointedly."Eirik is better off without one." "lt is sad that Eirik shall never see our home, Ethne."Aeslynn heaved a sigh. "Much as l loved Eirin and have grown used to Galloway l miss Hy-Bresail.l wonder now, sometimes if we were right to leave it.Father was so insistent...so desperate to wash away the stain of Seithanun's sin." "l don't know."Ethne shook her head in uncertainty, remembering."lt's all so long ago....another life.Poor father couldn't bear the disgrace.Our brother was his eir.He felt so responsible for Seithanun's Theft of the sacred sword.He blamed himself for his constant grumblings against king Lugh.He never forgave the slaing of our cousins, the sons of Tuirean.Father thought he should've senced what Seithanun was up to.l'm sure our brother would've taken the king's spear as well as the sword had it been within father's charge. Father was convinced we were disgraced for all time unless we brought Seithanun to justice and retrieved Nauhda's sword.Without that you know we had no future in Hy-Bresail, Aeslynn." Aeslynn clenched her eyes shut recalling that time."Much luck we had in recovering the blade.Father was lost to us almost the moment we set foot in Eirin. Without his knowledge even had we the sword we could not return home. Only father knew how to open the portal." "lf only he'd taught us the secret."Ethne nodded."He assumed that there would be plenty of time and his bitterness made thoughts of returning far from his mind.Father forgot how swiftly time passes here on the hither shores.He believed that we could retain our full gifts here.Yet, we are as mortal as any others in the outer world, even if our fading gift allows us a modicum of grace. But not enough...nowhere near enough." "lf....if l do not make it you must tell Erikof the sword, our father and...Seithanun."Aeslynn insisted urgently."He must know my fireside tales were true...he must find the sword, where we and father failed.Someone must be there to face Balor when he rises again, in whatever form.l sence the time is nigh.His followers will find a way to release him.Seithanun hoped to be the champion to defeat him but ambition and hatred twisted out poor brother. Eirik...my bloved Eirik must choose the path on his own.Yet, he must know it is there to be chosen." "lf needs be l shall tell him."Ethne promised, endulging her ailing sister. "Though l intend to see to it that you have the opportunity yourself." "Eirik will be the one, Ethne."Aeslynn coughed another spasm of pain wracking her body."l'm sure of it. Fate wrought his birth.Did not Askulf always boast of his descent from the gods of the north, despite the disapproval of the priests?" "Aye" Ethne chuckled warmly."That he did, the loud mouthed drunken bastard.Sometimes l think he actually believed his own boasts.At others he seemed just to want to anger father Brian. He certainly did that.Father Brian used to call him the son of demons. Askulf enjoyed that...." As she spoke Ethne noticed something.She frowned.A burny oder....Fire!The cottage above was in flames.What could she do?She could not left the cellar door with both the matte and bed atop it.There was no other way out.Aeslynn was too weak to be moved now.They were trapped!
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2014 8:51:18 GMT -5 by werewolf
As de Gavin withdrew several of his men rode forward to attack Eirik.The first of them was also the biggest of the Normans.He wielded a heavy looking mace in his right hand.Raising his shield Eirik did his best to fend of the blow.The steel headed mace rained down upon the leather covered wood.Eirik's shield shuddered violently under the impact.He doubted that it would endure another. Eirik gritted his teeth,swinging his sword up to meet that of the second attacker.Paarying his opponent's sword he quickly diintangled his blade and thrust at the man's gut.But his foe twisted his torso and Eirik's sword merely skated across the mail, cutting only his surcoat.Sigurthson cursed lividly. Another crashing blow from the first man's mace created a visible crack in Eirik's shield.Hissing in frustration he aimed it at the man with the mace and flung the shield at him , releasing it's grip as he did so. The shield flew straight at the Norman who was too surprised by the unexpected move to get out of the way.lt struck him hard in the chest,the dull thud of flesh mingle with the crunch of bone.The man grunted, a stunned look frozen on his face.He topple from the saddle like a felled tree, dropping his mace.Landing on the wet grass in an awkward sprawl he lay still. Before the Normans could recover from their surprise at the turn of events Eirik pulled out the dagger at his belt and threw it in one fluid motion.The knife sunk into the second man's throat.Blood began to spurt and the man's eyes widened in disbelief.He gurgled, grasping futilely at the air.Then he too fell from his horse, dead before he hit the ground. Thinking quickly, Eirik ducked to pick up the fallen man's sword.Although primarily a left hander he'd early on been forced to learn to weild a blade in either hand.lt had been considered 'wrong' to use the left hand so it had been tied back until he could use his right nearly as well.Only when he grew too big to coerce did his teachers give up on making him use only his right hand.Times like this were the only ones that made him greatfull for that training.lt gave him a unique advantage. With his new blade Eirik warded off the third attacker, jabbing him in the leg which was not covered in mail as most of the others were.He wore only a long sleeved mid thigh length mail hauberk similar to Eiriks.The man cried out in pain and surprise, collapsing from the saddle.He lay on the ground moaning and was nearly trampled by his own horse. Gritting his teeth in fury de Gavin cursed loudly at his men in French.Eirik didn't fully understand the words but he recognized the tone of voice.The smattering of French he did know included several of the terms de Gavin uttered.Eirik almost grinned at the Normans discomfort. lt was embarrassing for de Gavin.One halfbreed cur, not yet twenty winters old,had defeated three of Aelfriche's men!The first of them alone aught to have been enough to deal with the savage.Were he to find out Lord Roland would not be pleased. "Enough of this!Slay him fools!"de Gavin shouted angrily. "The rest of you set this hovel alight.Show these foul peasants the price of defiance.LEAVE THIS ONE'S HEAD FOR HIS FATHER TO FIND..." "Perhaps l'll send your head to your precious Lochlann!"Eirik exclaimed in response.He lunged at a fourth man, knocking him from the saddle.After a brief awkward adjustment he settles into the saddle himself, his feet fing the stirrups.While not a born cavalryman like the Normans Eirik knew how to ride a horse if need be.lt might equalize the battle somewhat.... Despite downing four of the enemy there were several times that many left.To his horror he saw some of the Normans set their arrow heads aflame which they proceeded to shoot into the roof of his family's cottage.Though the dampness of the morning hindered the spread of the fire it failed to stop it entirely. lt was useless!No matter how hard or well he faught he was only one man. He couldn't stop the bloody bastards.The flames crackled sending smoke high into the morning sky.Were it not for the Normans he and the servants might be able to extinguish the flames or rescue his mother and aunt failing that.But if the servants came out of hiding they'd be captured or killed.Eirik could not ask that of them .lt was up to him and him alone....
There seemed only one option left to him. He might not be able to slay all the Normans. But he could potentially 'behead the serpent'.lf de Gavin were taken out the chain of command might well collapse.At least so Eirik prayed. He had no choice save to try...... Signaling the horse with his knees Eirik charged at de Gavin, his sword raised high. To hold the reigns he'd been forced to abandon the second blade.He faught the urge to howl, hoping to engage the Norman before the man realized he was the target. Aelfriche' did not immediately perceive that Eirik was coming at him directly.But it soon became clear and de Gavin whirled his mount around to meet the attack.Having lost the element of surprise Eirik cursed in annoyance."Die, Norman pig!" he cried aloud. Eirik aimed a slash by his sword at de Gavin, who only barely managed to dodge it.The Norman's eyes reflected his surprise.Despite Eirik's success up to that point, de Gavin had never expected to be attacked personally.lt should've been an easy raid against unarmed peasants yet had gone horribly wrong so far.The boy's audacity startled him.Eirik aught to have already been dealt with.lnstead he was threatening Aelfriche' himself... Seeing that his opponent was temporarily frozen into inaction Eirik saught to take advantage of it.The Norman was too well protected by his armour and shield to offer many vulnerable targets.But unlike most nobles de Gavin wore only an aventail attached to his helmet not a full mail coif.lf he still had his dagger Eirk would've thrown it at his enemy's exposed throat. But he didn't.So, he took the only option remaing to him. With lightning speed he hurtled forward, swinging his blade in a deadly arc at his opponent's face.The shadow of the sword fell ominously across de Gavin's features.Aelfriche' stunned gaze tracked it in timeless terror unable to react in time to ward it off.Steel sliced through the metal rim of the helmet, driven by the power of Eirik's blow.The nose piece was sheared clean off, the blade piercing the flesh and bone beneath.Blood spurted, instantly blinding the Norman commander, who screamed in agony. The blow carried de Gavin backwards.His horse reared up,Aelriche' tumbling from the saddle.Eirik pulled his own mount away to avoid getting entangled by de Gavin as he fell.Aelfriche's landed hard on the wet grass and mud below, his men staring on agape.The fallen baron's horse cantered away, still startled. Savage as the blow had been de Gavin's helm slowed the blade enough to save his life.Without it his skull would've been split open.But he did not move nor make a sound, rendered unconsciouss as much by the fall as the damage done by Eirik's sword. The other Normans stared uneasily at Eirik uncertain what to do next.Unknown to their foe one of the slain men was deGavin's right hand.With both gone there was no clear chain of command amongst them.Moreover after watching their comrades fall, one by one they were not anxious to engage Eirik without de Gavin there to goad them into it. The acrid smell of smoke distracted Eirik, reminding him of the predicament of his mother and aunt.His eyes were inadvertently drawn to the flames licking at the thatched roof of his family's cottage.He had to do something!Time was running out if it had not already.Every second waisted upon the Normans put his mother and aunt closer to a fiery death....
Although retitled and edited here and there the story is finished.l now call it "A curse and a prayer".lt is about 13,300-400 words.lt now begins with Eirik's fight against the Norman raiders rather than his initial sighting of them.lt ends with his departure from Galloway in early 1185.[which l changed from the summer of that year.]Like Payment in kind it is a revenge tale and an origin of sorts.
Congratulations on finishing your tale. I sure hope one day to get to read them all in their entirety, instead of the bits and pieces you've sent me over the years in our correspondence. I've always enjoyed the previews of course but it always makes me want more.
Omen: Get in line, I have been working like crazy also. I have two major projects I have to finish and hopefully everything slows down. Haven't had time to log into the board... I actually miss it. It feels good popping my head in to see what's going on.
Aug 3, 2017 11:16:19 GMT -5
The Muse: time to get stories rolling again!!!
Aug 3, 2017 16:15:48 GMT -5
The Muse: *POKES OMEN...wanders off looking for Redmage and Magister while mumbling to self.."Now where did knighthood get to....?"
Aug 3, 2017 16:24:51 GMT -5
The Muse: Wednesday!!! Yay! Halfway back to F R Y D A Y!
Aug 9, 2017 14:29:33 GMT -5
Magister: Ive been lame, but ill be making it a point to be on this forum daily! We will rise it from the ground I've let it rest on for too long, to the skies of everlasting geekdom!
Aug 10, 2017 17:11:23 GMT -5
The Muse: woooo hooooo!!! Geekdom rising!!
Aug 11, 2017 21:08:09 GMT -5
The Muse: Woohoo hoooooo! Friday!!!
Aug 18, 2017 11:18:58 GMT -5
The Muse: Gearing up to deal with Hurricane Irma....scratch that...packing to leave town!
Sept 5, 2017 22:45:14 GMT -5
The Muse: Survived the hurricane...as did Omen, Redmage and Magister although they dont have internet yet. How did everyone else in the southeast fare?
Sept 15, 2017 16:10:18 GMT -5
g40t90yes: Good Morning. Now I am no political activist, but with is going on in today's activist world, I have a question. Last Sunday Vice President Pence walked out of a Colts Football game because the Players took a knee. I would like to read your View about this
Oct 11, 2017 7:50:37 GMT -5
g40t90yes: Continue. Now The NFL Owners (Jones-Cowboys, Ross-Dolphins) are going to demand their players stand for the Anthem. Again just thinking out loud. Couple of weeks ago Owners (Jones) knelt with players. Now you are pulling back. Why??
Oct 11, 2017 7:54:40 GMT -5
g40t90yes: One more thing. Some people view The NFL Draft and NBA Draft as a modern day or fashionable auction block for black young men. Thoughts!!! Please.
Oct 11, 2017 8:04:49 GMT -5
The Muse: Im sure there are going to be a lot of thoughts on this...why not start a thread on the topic under the "chat" board. It will be easier for everyone to read and comment on it there. This shoutbox is kinda cumbersome to have to scroll through to read stuff.
Oct 11, 2017 17:15:26 GMT -5
The Muse: Where does the time go?
Nov 7, 2017 9:26:16 GMT -5
Omen: I don't know... some say time goes around in circles - for me, its just a dreary long squiggly line, in some places in its a smile, in others... its not.
Nov 8, 2017 0:02:19 GMT -5
The Muse: Sunday's are for cooking.... Let's do this!!
Nov 26, 2017 13:45:55 GMT -5
The Muse: Monday....yay
Dec 4, 2017 11:47:42 GMT -5
The Muse: IT'S s Friday!! Staring in the face of almost two weeks of down time. This is WAY overdue. 😛
Dec 22, 2017 11:12:47 GMT -5
dakoolah: Happy New Year!!
Jan 1, 2018 17:38:08 GMT -5