It’s all down to this

“Do you want that?” she’d asked him before, expecting his answer to be no, not realizing that he would rather die, would rather be a sacrifice. “I have a friend in there – a dear friend that I betrayed – and I can tell you, he doesn’t want that. He didn’t want this. He would rather live. He would rather be far from this and live in peace.”

“Then he is already dead. There will be no peace so long as–”

She slapped him. He stared at her, silent, gingerly holding his cheek. Maureen clutched her stinging hand and fought the urge to shake him, make him see. 

 “And that is why you failed.” Her voice was low, savage. “Angry boys die for your vision, your lie. Sean will not be one of them; you don’t deserve his sacrifice.”

D: I was not expecting that.

A: Nor was I.

D: Did she really? I mean, wow.

A: Yup. Big grown-up moment.

D: I’m wondering if I recruited. . .

A: You picked the right one, D. But she needed her character arc early in order to serve as Sean’s witness.

D: Sure, character arc. I wonder how well she handles a sword.

A: D, where are you going? D?! You leave Maureen alone – you’ve done enough!

D: What? Oh. Certainly, A. Don’t mind me. . .

A: Watch it Druid, I control the delete button. . .

D: Empty threats, A. Empty threats.

The Druid Tells the Tale:

A: CN Faust has author services – and they’re awesome (A, what are you doing in my accolades? Stealing them, D. I want bookmarks! Then finish the bloody book, A! Fine…)

D: This one is mine! Epic poetry and mysterious beasts are my favorite things, and so I highly recommend the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  These are some spectacular poems. Get them!

A: A curious experiment is underway . . . http://seancookeofficial.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/bloggers-assemble-a-blogosphere-experiment/ . . . we joined up, because what could be better than us participating in some mysterious blogosphere experiment?! Not much, I say. Not much. (A, I’m scared. Oh, buck up, D.)

Claude – A Life in Four Parts

A: Alright, D – I’m just warning you now, this is in no way related to you. You’re not in the story, so you can stop berating me now, ‘kay?

D: What do you mean, A?

A: It’s about Claude the dog. He was a character in 24 Hours, a lovely little story written in turn by Ionia and Green Embers. I loved the dog so much, and bugged everyone about his origins that it was suggested that perhaps I should write it! And very happily, I did.

D: HA! That’s the way, folks! I have to wonder, however, why you are warning me. Is there some sort of problem with me not being in the story?

A: Wha—Because!

D: . . .

A: Because you always demand to know whether you’re in something? Because you always insist on. . .

D: A, A, A. You underestimate me.

A: . . .

D: I’m shocked and more than a little sad.

A: You are impossible.

D: I know.

The Druid Tells the Tale:

D: Go check out the Community Storyboard folks. Also, Ionia has some great advice on writing, life, the Universe and everything on Charles’ blog, the Legends of Windemere, and The MisAdventures of Vanilla just got even more interesting!!

Stealing the spotlight

. . . There was no moon, no sun, no point of reference. Only the mist was alive with light and movement, revealing his way even as it sought to disorient him.

Dubh walked faster, slicing a path through the haze. Although more than five hundred years had gone since he had passed this way, he remembered. He remembered the hut – a mere speck on the horizon – and he remembered the girl.

She was waiting. Niamh had grown to womanhood in his absence and she was waiting for him.

“Dubh an Súile,” she announced lightly. At the chime of her voice, the mists – the all-pervading mists that shrouded this world, that softened that which was not soft – bloomed with color. Golden yellow, blue and green danced within the current . . .

D: Oh, A. I knew you could do it!

A: Do what? Wait, do I want to know?

D: That scene – it’s new! I like it.

A: Gee, thanks, D. I think.

D: No, I really do. Finally!

A: You seem rather more excited than I would have expected. What’s up?

D: The sky. Birds. Is that a plane?

A: Helicopter. They’ve finally found me.

D: What?

A: You get to be obtuse and I get to be random. It’s a thing.

D: I thank the gods that you write better than you speak.

A:  You and me both! I repeat, what has you so excited, D?

D:  It’s a scene. About me. I mean, being a “god impersonator” is all well and good, but I’m looking for a little depth, A. Some substance. Gravitas!

A: Does personality count?

D: . . . Not as much as you’d like it to.

A: Believe me, D. You have gravitas. Even a little panache. But this scene is to introduce a smidge of background. I couldn’t have you showing up as Commander Declan—

D: Still hate that name.

A: You don’t have it for long; Maureen will recognize you.

D: Thank heaven for small mercies.

A: Can I continue? I couldn’t have you showing up as Commander Declan without a little bit of history – not real history, your history. You were a bit too mysterious to me, so you were an enigma to the story.

D: Well, enigma no more, I have a back-story!

A: Oh, that was bad, D. Even for you. It’s not funny, and I don’t think it makes sense.

D: I know; I picked it out of your brain. You’re welcome.

A: That’s just swell.

“. . . But first you must find them,” Niamh repeated, taking her hand away and rising. Her insistence struck a deep chord in Dubh’s belly. “You must bring them home, before–”

“Niamh, since when are you concerned with the fate of mortals? I know my duty, and I will do it, but this urgency . . .”

“They must be tucked up in their little convent school before he acts. They are a risk – your history is not safe with them blundering about out there. You led them through, Dubh; it is your duty to finish it.”

“You know where they are, don’t you?”

“I do, and I wonder at how they got there. . .” 

Monday, Monday

Is this the true face of D??

D: Oh no. No, A – who is that?

A: What do you mean, D? Can’t you tell?

D: You must be joking. A, please tell me you’re joking.

A: Does this mean you don’t like it?

D: If you mean to tell me that this is m—

A: (Giggling) Sorry, D. I couldn’t help myself. (more giggling . . . now it’s laughter. . . minutes pass . . . still more laughter).

D: Thank heavens. Hello? A? You can stop that now, A.

A: I’m sorry, D. I needed that. No, that is me. With a mustache. At my birthday party.

D: Before or after the sangria?

A: Before. . . just.

D: . . . I fear for you.

A: Thank you, D. Your concern is touching.

D: I see you’re not writing tonight (ahem) . . . do you have a reason for calling me out of the ether?

A: Goal setting.

D: You? Do you have goals?

A: Lots – and most of them are none of your business, Druid! I mean writing goals. I failed at most of them this week. Holiday weekends tend to do me in.

D: Okay, I’m listening, what are your writing goals?

A: Well, last week, I wanted to complete Part 2 by my actual birthday (which is really this week). That’s not going to happen because I realized my entire mechanism for getting Sean and Maureen to Dublin from the west coast was flat-out wrong, and had to re-write two chapters to make it right.

D: I could have told you that.

A: No, you couldn’t; you weren’t even there, D. If you had been—

D: Okay, okay, I get it. So no Part 2 – did you do any writing this weekend?

A: I did; I wrote two small fiction pieces based on prompts and a short story about Sean and Maureen, that are on the Community Storyboard, fixed the two chapters and drafted two other short stories. It’s been very productive, just not in the direction I intended. This week I’m making focus my keyword, and perhaps moderation, too. I want to finish two more chapters, which will put Sean and Maureen in the heart of the conflict in Dublin.

D: And?

A: That not enough for you, D?

D: . . .

A: Fine. I have to update this blog with some added features to keep things organized and maybe write some more things that aren’t part of the Out of Time universe. Writing for the Community Storyboard was fun. I haven’t done that in a very long time.

D:  Congrats, A. Expanding your universe and reasonable goals that might not make you crazy . . . er.

A: Cheers, D!

D: Are we going to do our accolades tonight, A? Or are you still recovering from sangria?

A: Cheeky. Nope, I wanted to congratulate  Charles Yallowitz for the publication of his book of poetry, the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  Fantastical creatures, beautiful poetry and incredible cover art – this book has it all. Check it out.

D: Since poetry is more my venue than yours, A, allow me to share the Community Storyboard’s poetry prompt: creature creation.

A: Are you sure that’s not my territory? I could call you the creature or monster of my mind.

D: Nice, A.

A: I do what I can. And that is all for today. I’m going to say goodbye to my long weekend with an hour of British spies. Good night!

“. . . When Eoghan confronted us – when he said his name – I knew where we were, Sean. It was a deep, complete knowing. I know this time, I know this war–”

Sean snorted. “Yes, you do.”

“Politics aside, Sean McAndrew, I knew what we had to do.”

“What’s that?” Curiosity overruled his frustration.

“Save him.”

“What? Maureen, you’re mad–”

“Hear me out, Sean. If I’m right, that boy out there goes to Dublin soon and gets himself killed fighting in the uprising on Easter Monday. He had a family here, probably a sweetheart. The Ballard farm doesn’t exist in our time . . . they—“

“Maureen, that happens. Say we convince him to stay. What is to stop him from joining the movements in Galway? He could just as easily die there, too. Besides, no one knows why he went to Dublin. I don’t think we should interfere . . .”

The history lesson

. . . Although she had been a captive, she had been safe – protected from a superstitious crew by a near-crazed nobleman. Grania and Sean had risked everything in the attempt to rescue her, and the reward was Bingham’s increased campaign to destroy native Irish power in the west. Word had already arrived of the sweeping changes he intended to make, changes that would rob Grania’s son-in-law of his rightful claim as leader of the Burke clan. The reward for their courage had been paltry, and more was to come, she knew it. Maureen felt a deep anger at the injustice . . . 

D: And did it? Did more come from Bingham?

A: Um . . . Well . . .

D: Come on, I didn’t stick around. I want to know what kind of havoc we wreacked.

A: You always wreak havoc, D.

D: And your point. . . ?

A : (Eye roll) Yes D, more came from Bingham. He . . . he really wasn’t all that pleasant, so far as Grace O’Malley and her cohorts were concerned.

D: Well, they were pirates, A.

A: Her son wasn’t. Her son-in-law wasn’t.

D: I think I may be sorry I asked.

A: He got his way in the end. He was responsible for her son’ murder and fouled up the leadership system – he was generally disruptive. It wasn’t pretty. But! He was sent to Flanders for his pains.

D: You mean, he was caught?

A: Not so much caught as the Irish started taking offense at his tone. They filed suit after suit against him—

D: And I thought American’s were bad.

A: Well, we do have lots of transplants.

D: Figures.

A: Of course, Bingham managed to put himself back into power, and even managed to thwart the Queen’s edict that Grace get her fleet and cattle back.

D: So everything he worked for, everything he set out to do, he got.

A: Almost. Grace was pretty canny herself. She kept her hand in until the day she died. She and Bingham – they were chess partners.

D: You make it sound almost nice, A. Sounds more to me like Grace was a pain in the arse.

A: Same could be said for Bingham.

D: Aye, but you’re the only one among us that has an O’Malley in her family line.

A: That’s not tr—

D: Spoilers, A! As I was saying, I’m starting to see the family resemblance.

A: Oh! Thanks, D. That’s the nicest—

D: A – A come on, I didn’t—

A: No, D. That really was swell. Thank you.

D: I have my moments.

A: Yes you do.

Introducing the D&A Shout out

D: The what?

A: Shout out.

D: What?

A: Shout out, D. Accolades, introductions, etc.

D: . . .

A: Oh come on, D. You are a druid – I can only imagine that Bard training was part of that.

D: You imagine correctly, for once.

A: And that means you tell the tale, Druid. We are telling the tale.

D: . . . Okay, you have me there. Tell away, A.

A: Well, we have The Community Storyboard. This place is excellent, and there are some really lovely writers and poets sharing their talent. Check them out! There was a weekend prompt on pearls . . . I even thought up a quirky little tale for that one.

D: Am I in it?

A: I only wish you were in it, D.

D: I don’t think I want to know. Don’t forget the Rome Construction Crew (RCC). . . did you really have to tell people why you failed at writing for 10 years?

A: Yep. It’s all about support D – in order to do that effectively, one must be honest.

D: I suppose . . .

A: And, there’s the MisAdventures of Vanilla – there’s a call for characters if any writers are interested. This is a great on-going story and everyone really should check it out!

D: And finally, we have awards, but as ever, Miss A is tardy and has nothing prepared. I think we’re making a page. Don’t worry, I’ll mentally torment her until she gets it done. I’m good at that sort of thing.

A: Thanks, D. In the meantime, we’d like to send a huge thank you to Mike at The Eye-Dancers and Patty at Petite Magique for the “Tag , you’re it” award and the “Most Influential Blogger” award. Thank you so much – you are all so very kind and wonderful!

D: Is that it?

A: Yes, that’s it – now, to commemorate the holiday, work in the garden and celebrate.

D: What are we celebrating? Can I come?

A: My birthday D. 33 this year.

D: You really do like 3s, don’t you? Weirdo.

A: Cheers, D!