A Date with the Druid, Part 1

It all started when Marie Ann Bailey, at 1WriteWay, agreed to allow D to interview her. He somehow got it into his head that one of her characters, Mary, was a suitable focus for his attention. After much begging–

D: A. 

A: Sorry. After much pleading–

D: A!

A: Fine. After subtly insinuating that perhaps he could entertain the lady for an evening, Marie and I granted D and Mary a chance to get outside our heads for a date. This is what happens. . . 

A Date with the Druid, Part 1

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

Mary stood in front of the dark wooden door.  The glass inset was opaque and tinted green so she couldn’t see through to the interior of the pub.  She took a deep breath, pulled her mirror out of her Louis Vuitton knock-off wallet purse, and took one last look at herself.  The streetlamp behind her set a halo about her short salt-and-pepper hair.  Her face was in shadow.  She sighed.

“Well, I promised her one date,” she muttered to herself as she clasped the door handle.  “One date … with a Druid.”  Mary pulled at the door, releasing heat scented with body odor and beer.  She wrinkled her nose and walked in.

The pub was lively, with nearly every round table filled with people eating, drinking and talking, seemingly all at once.  The bar before her was lined with every manner of backs and butts.  Most of those at the bar were focused on the soccer game playing out on a telly stuck high up in a corner.  The hazy yellow light of the dirty overhead lamps cast everyone and everything in a dull glow.  It seemed that no one had noticed her walking in, and yet she felt eyes on her.

Off to her left, there was a sense of someone watching.  She turned and there, in a corner, sitting alone but for a bouquet of red and white roses and a pint of dark ale, was he.  The Druid.  The … man … that Mary had agreed to meet.  He stood up as Mary approached the table.  Oh my, she thought, he’s taller than I imagined.

His hair was long and dark and, to her relief, he wore clothes, a long dark coat and pants.  Mary had only seen the drawing of the Druid on The D/A Dialogues and had been anxious that he would show up dressed, or undressed rather, pretty much as he was in the drawing.  The Druid looked down at Mary and smiled, his dark eyes peering into her blue.  Mary felt her knees ready to buckle.

“Hi! You must be D!”  Mary knew her voice was a bit too loud as she thrust her hand out in front of her.

The Druid’s smile deepened.  He took her hand but instead of shaking it, as he knew Mary expected him to, he gently turned it and kissed the top.  Her skin was cool, no doubt from the chilly night air outside the pub, but his lips were warm.  Mary shivered slightly with the kiss and firmly but slowly withdrew her hand.

D pulled a chair out for her and, with a slight nervous laugh, Mary sat down. God, I’m acting like a schoolgirl, she thought as the Druid took a seat to her right.

“What would you have to drink, my lady?”  He still had that all-knowing smile, as if he could read her thoughts.  Mary started to feel annoyed.  She was in love with Randy.  No Druid, no matter how tall, dark and well-muscled, could interfere with that.  Not to mention that he was much too old for her, several centuries too old.

“A glass of Chardonnay, thank you.”  She smiled back at him, revealing her perfect white teeth.  The Druid snapped his fingers, ordered another pint for himself, the Chardonnay for Mary when the server came.  Then he leaned in.

“I’ve heard so much about you.  You are more beautiful than my imagination allowed.  You remind me of a wench … I mean, a woman I knew, oh, a couple of centuries ago.  She was feisty, very independent.  But she could not resist me.”  He gave her a large smile, revealing his perfect white teeth.  Mary bristled.

“Really, I … is that a compliment, somehow?”

“Oh, indeed, my good lady.  Ah, here are our drinks.”  He paused to attend to the bill, and Mary was relieved that he wasn’t running a tab.  She didn’t want to have to deal with a drunk Druid.

“So how is it a compliment? I mean, really, we’ve only just met and yet you imply that I will not be able to resist you.”

The Druid leaned back in his chair, his dark woolen coat falling open, revealing his broad, toned, naked chest.  Mary grabbed her Chardonnay and took a big gulp.  I love Randy, I love Randy, she started chanting in her head.

“The only woman I know that has so far resisted me is A, and I believe that’s simply because I live in her head.  One cannot have an affair with a figment of one’s imagination. However …”  The Druid leaned forward and grabbed Mary’s hand.  “However, since we are both figments of imagination …”

Mary pulled her hand away so abruptly that she almost knocked her wine over.

“Nevertheless,” she said as she tried to steady her breathing.  “I am in love with someone.  I am not about to cheat on him.”

The Druid picked up the bouquet of roses and held them out to her.  “Has your lover ever given you flowers as beautiful as these?  Has his lips burned a kiss onto your hand, as I have.  Oh, yes, dear lady, I felt you shiver with that kiss.”

Mary took another gulp of wine.  She was going to have to have a long talk with 1WriteWay, her author.  She studied her glass, wondering why it was empty so quickly and, more importantly, how to extricate herself from this large, overbearing, egotistical hunk of a man.

Read on for Part 2!

Will Mary yield to the … charms (?) of the Druid?  Will the Druid find him with wilted roses and a glass of Chardonnay thrown in his face?  Will either character ever speak to their authors again?  Let us know what you think, dear Reader.  Where should this story go?

Old Hand’s voyage to Ireland Part 1

While A is away, the blog still gets to play. Please welcome a swab on the Old Hand, from A View from the Wheelhouse.

Blinded by spray, I grabbed the weather rail as the north wind collided with the ebb and turned  Saint George’s Channel into a churning mass of breaking seas. We beat westward until the conical shapes of the Skelligs rose out of the Irish Sea like the Tall, Shining Ones of ancient Celtic lore.

McWhirr peered through the wheelhouse windows.

“Looks like there’s some dirty weather knocking about.”

A wall of black cloud bore down on us from the northwest.

“Aye Captain, it looks forbidding enough. Should we shorten sail?”

“Shorten nothing lad, this is just the fair wind we need to make our offing. Better get some shut-eye, we wont fetch the Blaskett’s before noon.”

Though hard pressed, Old Hand was holding steady, and for an old salt like McWhirr, it was but a pleasant Sunday sail. The crew had, perhaps too hastily, volunteered to guest blog on D&A Dialogues. So here we were sailing through some of the most treacherous waters in the world; where Atlantic gales hammered the coastline into fantastic stone megaliths, in search of some Druid prince with a name you could hang your oilskins on.

I lay on the pilot berth below as the rush of water along the hull eased me into fitful sleep. I seemed to float in a a gray haze that hung low over the water. A hooded figure in an ox-hide boat came out of the fog and hailed across the waters:

“C’d M’ile Failte.”

C: Are you D?

D: Yeah. Are you McWhirr?

C: No I’m only a swab on Old Hand. Katie said I might find you here.

D: Why have you come?

C: Well, on a rash impulse I signed on for the voyage. What’s all this about time travel anyway?

D: It all comes down to awareness of intent.

C: Come again?

D: A warrior from the Sidh must have respect, awareness of fear, wakefulness at all times and total confidence.

C: Is it true King Arthur is asleep below some hillside waiting to return and right wrongs?

D: More to the point: are you awake?

C: Of course I’m awake.

D: Do you know that all directions-each way-point along the course you sailed to arrive at this particular point on the globe-extend into eternity?

C: What does that have to do with anything? I thought this was about dialogue.

D: You only want answers that conform to your conception of the world-to your mental habits. The Druid warrior must give up all these up as so much flotsam on the sea of infinity. He must give up everything-even his death.

C: We almost sank off the Horn getting here and you go all esoteric on me. Can’t you just give me a straight answer?

D: What do you want to know?

C: Is it true that Parnell never died, but awaits the hour of return?

D: More to the point: who are you? The way your always going about McWhirr. We know he’s a stiff-ya don’t have to go on and on about it. In fact, McWhirr doesn’t even exist outside your mind.

C: Of course he exists. He’s at the helm now.

D: Are you sure?

With a loud smash the ship made a sharp lurch to starboard.  I jumped from the pilot berth and, on mounting the deck, beheld a dismal scene-the wind had risen to gale force and the steering station was abandoned!  Old Hand was being relentlessly driven by the foul tide toward the jagged rocks to leeward…

 

To be continued – A View from the Wheelhouse will be back on July 18 to continue his story!

The lurker

“. . . What do you think, Dubhal, will he live?”

“His head will hurt for a good while” a man replied from the shadows behind Sean, his voice a gruff rumble. “Here, chew on this.” He reached around and shoved something into Sean’s open palm.

Hearing the voice, Sean realized the man – Dubhal – was the warrior with the claymore. Sean moved to turn around, to question him, but Dubhal evaded him, bowed over a large chest, its contents clinking as he rummaged through it. . . .

D: You’ve been watching too many vampire shows.
A: What? I don’t watch—
D: He can’t see my face, ever.
A: He’s not—
D: All I do is lurk.
A: But—
D: I’m a lurker.
A: . . .
D: Seriously.
A: Okay, but if Sean saw your face, he’d know who you are . . . were . . . what. . . you know what I mean. And I don’t watch vampire—
D: Oh yes, you do. You know what I’m talking about.
A: . . . Well, you can get a little pensive.
D: There’s nothing wrong—
A: And you are both Irish.
D: Excuse me; I’m Pictish and Frankish by birth—
A: And Irish.
D: Only on my mother’s side, and that’s half Scots anyway.
A: . . .
D: . . .
A: Lurker.

. . . Sean watched as Grania injected purpose back into her ship and crew. Activity followed the sound of her voice, her cohorts eager to restore the fleet’s routine. Sean turned to address Dubhal, to thank him directly. The man had slipped back into his cloak and his face was once again in shadow.

“You’re welcome,” Dubhal said quietly, not waiting for Sean to speak. “I have my own reasons, but I will do what I can to see Maureen returned to us.”

Then he was gone, melting into the activity trailing Grania. Sean shook himself and looked at Owen, puzzled and unable to pinpoint why. Owen shrugged and jerked his shoulder towards the hatch. There was work to do. . .