Ciaran Looks Back on the Perils of Childhood

Kid Ciaran_005
Ciaran as a Child

I can imagine the confabulation as Ciaran paints for Evaine a portrait from memory of what it was like to grow up in a castle full of vulgar men and unfulfilled women. What ordinary mortal could resist this curious child born under a cloak of secrecy and taboo? Who could avoid falling under the spell of his angelic appearance? What ordinary human would be immune to the speculation and suspicion that seemed always to hover around him? The unorthodox circumstances of his birth left much to the imagination and prompted many to question the legitimacy of his lineage. For some it might have felt safer to objectify and demonize him in order to avoid examining too closely their own sins.

“For years, everyone thought I was a girl!” he said, his voice brittle with indignation. “My foster-brothers dubbed me “Princess of Narberth” until I turned ten, when I at last developed the skill and the muscle to fight back. The ladies of the court fussed over me relentlessly. The nuns and the nursemaids used to chase after me with their hair brushes! Can you imagine?”

Keeping a straight face, Evaine pressed a palm to her heart, frowning at the injustice of it all. “How on earth did you defend yourself?” she asked earnestly.

Ciaran continued without pause. “Most of the time, I contrived to elude them,” he claimed, thrusting out his jaw with an air of self-importance. Adding an aside, he explained, “I knew all the castle’s hiding places. Whenever I spied one of them coming, I would scramble for the nearest hole-in-the-wall where I could keep out of sight until they grew weary of the search.”

“What happened when they found you?” Evaine wondered.

Ciaran scowled. “They sought to adorn my hair with ribbons and dress me in skirts!” he said contemptuously. “I complained bitterly, of course. But no matter how loudly I bellowed, the sisters would have none of it.”

He then commenced, in his most theatrical falsetto, to deliver a scathing parody of the dreaded voices of courtly female authority: “Sweet child, you’re just going through a phase.  All little girls like to pretend to be boys up to a certain age. You’ll see. Eventually, you’ll outgrow it. Now be a lamb and fetch my comb. That’s a darling. And please do try to sit still whilst I work the snarls out of your hair. Spun silk such as yours would be the crowning glory of most young ladies. Why you resist the necessity of grooming it is beyond me! Such abuse of one’s God-given endowments is an insult to the Lord!”

The Flamebearer Synopsis

Abandoned in infancy by his Faery mother, the young Cambrian lord, Ciaran ap Morgan, loses his beloved father to death at the hands of Norman Marcher barons when he is still a boy. Raised by his mortal uncle and trained as a warrior, he hungers for blood and glory, driven by a fierce desire for revenge and a restless, fiery spirit.

His destiny changes the moment he meets Evaine, the human girl he calls his “dark lady.” Despite his best-laid plans, he finds instead of longing for battle, he is beset with visions of love.

For the maiden Evaine, the future holds little expectation for joy. In a culture notorious for its glorification of war and long-standing devaluation the Feminine, she resigns herself to a life of sacrifice in a loveless union arranged by her family to deter hostilities along the border. The enigmatic prince breaks open her heart, awakening her to a promise of love she had never dared to dream.

As the preordained wedding approaches, the two secretly confess to a mysterious and overpowering attraction akin to the reuniting of souls, pitting the young lovers in a dramatic struggle against the tide of circumstances and events.  Do they dare defy the ruthless overlord, Lionel de Barre, to follow the path of their hearts? Are they willing to gamble everything on the strength of their fragile, newly-discovered connection and risk provoking a bloody war they cannot hope to win?

 

 


Shakespeare Glossary

Basilisco-like:
(Nares: “This is in allusion to an old play, entitled Soliman and Perseda, in which a foolish knight, called Basilisco, speaking of his own name, adds, Knight, good fellow, knight, knight. And is answered immediately, Knave, good fellow, knave, knave”)
Childishfoolish like a child
Dagonet-a foolish knight at the court of King Arthur
 Drivelling-doting, foolish

Folly-fallen-grown foolish
Fool-The gerund –ing, substantively, == jesting in the style of a fool
Fool’shead-the emblems of a fool on the head
Fool-born or Fool-borne?foolish from the birth, or tolerated by none but fools? (O. Edd. always borne, never born)
 Foolishwitty; wise in folly and foolish in wisdom

Fop- subst. a fool, a dunce
 Foppish-foolish
Gratillity-a word framed by the fool; corrupted from gratuity?
Greenly-novice-like, sheepishly, foolishly

Idiot-a stupid person, a natural, a fool

Idiot-worshipper-one who worships fools

Idle-headed-foolish

Impeticos-a word coined by the fool, meaning in pocket or something like it
Jester-a buffoon, a licensed fool
 Lean-witted-stupid, foolish
Lout-subst. an awkward and foolish fellow, a bumpkin
Louted-made a fool of
Mad-headed; Mad-brained-wild, foolish
Madonna-the address used by the fool to Olivia
Motley-a fool
 Motley-minded-having the habits, though not the dress, of a jester; foolish
Nuncle-the customary address of a licensed fool to his superiors (Nares)
Pantaloon-an old fool; a standing character of the Italian comedy
Party-coated; Parti-Colored=dressed in a coat of divers colours, like a fool
Peevishfond wayward or silly and foolish
Ride-to treat at will, to tease, to make a fool of
Unfool-to make satisfaction for calling one a fool, to make the reproach of folly undone
Unreasonablenot agreeable to reason, absurd, foolish
Wildly-inconsiderately, foolishly
Wiseman-(spelt as one word in O. Edd. and accentuated on the first syllable) one not a fool or a madman

The Flamebearer Preface

This is a work of fiction. I have drawn from time-honored Celtic and medieval romances, and other western European mythologies, and while elements of these traditions permeate much of my writing, I have let my imagination weave a story which reflects my personal vision, rather than adhering to exalted legend or chronological fact. I do not claim to be a writer of historical fiction so much as a spellbinder, inviting the reader into a world where fantasy and reality gradually become indistinguishable, where the veil separating the ordinary world from the realm of Faerie disappears.

The drama unfolds against the backdrop of the Norman conquest of Wales, an effort which surprisingly lasted several hundred years. As French and English authority spread throughout the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, occupation and insurgency dominated the times. Lance and sword ruled the “marches” – the constantly shifting border regions dividing the established Anglo-Norman power structure from the untamed, (and possibly “ungovernable”) natives.

Many claimed the land itself, with its misty remoteness, its winds and its vast stretches of moorlands dotted with strange stone monuments to antiquity, bred anarchists and poets. Religious superstition, coupled with widespread belief in witchcraft, sorcery, and other sinister forces that threatened to undermine one’s faith and sanity permeated all of society, affecting common folk and nobility alike.

Where possible I have given Welsh (or least distinctly Celtic) names to my characters, and have chosen to use the native spellings, rather than the Anglicized versions. I’m pleased to provide a pronunciation guide for readers who are unfamiliar with this ancient and beautiful language.

This is primarily a love story, a personal quest undertaken by two idealized, yet deeply flawed and vulnerable characters. To risk entering the mysterious territory of passionate devotion, erotic intimacy, and emotional honesty is perhaps the greatest uncertainty either of them will ever face. In telling their story, I aim for the highest romantic ideal, while scrupulously observing the raw imperfections, doubts, fears, lusts, and complexities of an unfolding relationship.

Can enchanted soul love survive the thrilling yet perilous journey into the fires of intimacy, while the ordinary world seethes with violence, ignorance, inequality and greed? I imagine every lover hungers for such perfection, but so many forces align against its earthly attainment that we ultimately despair of finding it anywhere but between the pages of a romance novel. In the end, if we truly believe, perhaps we’ll find it within the fragile boundaries of our own beating hearts.

My Lady, My Love

    This is a short writing exercise in which I borrowed liberally from another work, revising and paraphrasing the content while adhering to the lyrical style of the original piece. The original text is from a book entitled The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson, in which the author demystifies the complexities of the archetypes and clearly outlines the steps of a Virgin’s Journey to realize her dream.  I was deeply moved upon reading this passage for the first time and could not help relating it to the Male and Female lead characters in my fictional romance, The Flamebearer. The purpose of this exercise was to try on the prose style of a writer I admire by applying it to my own content and genre. *Disclaimer: I am in no way attempting to pass off Kim Hudson’s writing as my own. The piece serves as an exercise only and is not designated for publication in any of my books.

Ciaran & Evaine_04_18_2017_007
Original Illustration by Cabbie Glass created and rendered in Daz Studio

 

As I go into her, she pierces my heart. As I penetrate further, she exposes me, lays my soul bare. By the time I have reached her moist, exquisite center, I am weeping openly. I feel I have known her all my life. She reveals truths to me and these truths are revelations, and with each discovery I am transformed. Each time I go inside her I am reborn like this. Her healing washes over me, her wounds penetrate me, and I become aware of all we have allowed to come between us. Now my body reaches for hers, and in the body’s language, we speak effortlessly, and I learn that she never fails me in her presence. . .

This woman is my sister, my lover, my wife. Through her grace, her silent courage, I feel how loved I am. We admire the strength in each other and remember all we have lost, all we have suffered, all we know, and we are stunned by this beauty. We vow never to forget: what I am to her, what she is to me.

Welsh Language Pronunciation Guide:

Celtic Fire

The Welsh language uses a few letters not found in English

Consonants: As in English, with a few exceptions:

  • The Welsh “c” is always hard, as in “care
  • “ch”, as in the Scottish “loch” or the German “bach
  • “dd”, as in the English “them
  • The Welsh single f, a soft “v” sound, as in the English “David
    The Welsh “ff”, as in “farm
  • The Welsh “g” is also always hard, as in “garden.”
  • The famous Welsh “ll”, something like “thl
  • The Welsh “rh”,  something like “hr”
  • The Welsh “s” as in “sin
  • The Welsh “th” as in “thistle

 

Vowels: Roughly as in continental languages:

  • a: father
  • e: met
  • i: pin, sometimes like the “e” in “me
  • o: not
  • u: pin
  • w: as in “book”, but consonantal (as in root”) before vowels (except y) and in
  • Gwylim, Gwenllian, Gwydion
  • y: sum; (Cymru); sometimes as in “slid” (Gwydion)

Diphthongs: Usually as a combination of two vowels:

  • ae, ei, eu, ey”: tiger
  • aw: out
  • oe: oil
  • wy: dewy. Following g or at the beginning of a syllable: win
  • However, gwy: gooey

The emphasis is generally on the penultimate syllable

  • Ciaran: KEA-rn (don’t forget to trill the “r” in both first and last names)) ap MOR-gun
  • Cei: KAY
    Robyn ap Gryffin: Same as in the English Robin ap GRIFF-in (ap means “son of”)
    Ifanwy: e-VON-wee
    Evaine: e-VANE
  • Bach: as in Johann Sebastian
  • Gwylim: Goo-WILL-im (William)
  • Rhiannon: Rhee-ONN-on
    Tomas: TOM-as (Thomas)
    Gwenllian: GWEN-thlee-an
    Dafydd: DAV-ith; pronounced as in lavender (David)
    Hywell ap Gruffydd: HOW-ethl ap GRIFF-ith
    Iolo: YO-lo
    The Bruce: Just as in English, but with a pronounced trill
    Bwcca: BOO-ka (rhymes hookah)
  • Bri Leith: Bree-LAY-th
  • Caer Blaen: Kire Bline
  • Narberth: Just as it looks
  • Castell y Arberth: The Welsh spelling; Cas-TETHL ee AR-berth
  • Deganwy: Deg-ANN-wee
  • Gwynedd: GWIN-eth