First Fridays: Chapter Seven

Another Friday, another behind-the-scenes look at a chapter of Changelings: Into the Mist. If you’re new, you can start with Chapter Oneand be sure to pick up your copy of Changelings so you can follow along!

Seven

20141207_140911~2Growing up at the edges of Clew Bay – shadowed by Carrickahowley Castle and Clare Island – it was hard not to have heard the tales of Grania Uaile. The woman was a pirate, an unspoken chief, and the mistress of several strongholds along the western coast, Carrickahowley and Clare included. No one seemed to care whether the woman was real or not, not when the idea of her was synonymous with Ireland – with freedom – itself.

Sean once attempted to research the woman, to see if there was any connection to Maureen’s family. The nuns said Maureen’s father had done some work himself, but his records were locked away in Dublin.

At first, Maureen had gone along with his search – listening to his findings and helping occasionally – eagerly enough. But when infamous ancestor turned into a possible fiction, the research lost all its appeal for her. It did not matter that Grania Uaile inspired poets and rebels for four hundred years; if she was not real, Maureen was not interested.

“Did you ever find out if my father’s people were related to Grania?” she asked now.

“You do remember! Why did you act like that while we were walking, then?”

Liam and Tomás had left them alone in the small room beyond the wooden door, while they presumably went to fetch their captain. Sweet rushes covered dirt floors and filled dim corners. Dust motes danced on the streams of light let in by the slit of a window close to the ceiling.

She rounded on him. “And let them think we’re here to cause trouble with a pirate? Do you think I’m mad?”

“Do you really want me to answer that?” He rolled his eyes and she grinned at him.

“I overheard Liam and Tomás while you were loading the ship. They think we’re runaways, or spies. It was a mistake to say we were from Dublin.”

* * *

Grania and Queen Elizabeth

Grania and Queen Elizabeth

D: Is it, or is it not true that you once read a book that claimed Grania Uaile was a myth?

A: I think I’ve read several books to that effect, but yes, one does stand out in my memory stating Grania’s non-existence outright.

D: Care to share?

A: No. I don’t want to embarrass anyone –

D: And you don’t remember the name, do you?

A: No. It wasn’t a valid research source. I have a hard enough time remembering names when I’m supposed to! Of course, his line of thinking was not inaccurate, depending on the time.

D: That would be a double negative, A.

A: I am aware – thank you, D. My grammar check is having a field day with this post. As it is, while many people would have accepted the reality of Grania’s life – much like they accepted the ‘reality’ of the Good Folk – there was some serious academic doubt until the Articles of Interrogatory of 1593 came to light, proving her existence.

D: Do you think that will ever happen for me?

A: What, a document will surface proving, once and for all, that a time-traveling Druid helped two orphans fight a war between Man and Fae?

D: Well, when you put it like that, you make it sound so silly.

A: . . . and yet . . .

D: Just you wait, A. Just you wait.

Word of the Day

Rushes are grasses in the Juncaceae family. At one time, fresh rushes would be strewn on earthen floors in dwellings as insulation. The ‘sweet flag’ Acorus calamus was usually favored for this purpose, and was often called a ‘sweet rush’ although that specific name is from a  different order, and has medicinal uses (Ref: Wikipedia).

Side note: a similar question was asked on the SciFi Exchange about Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire

Devil’s in the Details

Maureen is related to Grania – although, not descended from one of Grania’s children, but rather from one of Grania’s kinsmen. Of course, there is a lot more than blood to tie the two women together, as they will discover as the story progresses.

It’s also worth noting that Maureen has a wild imagination. She’s adept at making up stories, and often has to in order to explain her and Sean’s presence. Sometimes, those stories come back to haunt her because all she has is her own memory of her studies and a certain brand of impetuousness, to guide her (no smart phones here, and even if she had grown up relying on one, they certainly would not have worked in the sixteenth century). Sean, on the other hand, remains silent and watches – Maureen might know the history and facts of a situation, but he understands people.

Historical Footnotes

Statue of Grace O'Malley in the Westport House grounds

Statue of Grace O’Malley in the Westport House grounds

Grania Uaile is one of *my* most favorite ancestors, too – and I have some Wild Geese in the family tree. The following is taken directly from Changelings’ Appendix: Fact vs. Fiction. My apologies for the length; much of what follows pertains to the situation in which Grania finds herself as Maureen and Sean’s temporary guardian. This also explains why it was a mistake for Maureen to say she and Sean were from Dublin.

Grania Uaile was indeed the Pirate Queen of the Irish seas. She was born in 1530, daughter of Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille (Owen ‘Black Oak’ O’Malley), the chief of the O’Malley clan. In 1546, she was married to Donal O’Flaherty, who was heir to the O’Flaherty titles. They had three children, Margaret, Murrough and Owen. Grania returned to her family’s holdings when Donal died, taking with her a significant number of O’Flaherty followers. This was the start of her independent fleet.

In 1566, Grania married her second husband Richard “Iron” Burke. Popular history states they were married under Brehon Law, ‘for one year certain,’ and at the end of the year, she dismissed Richard, but kept Carrickahowley (Rockfleet) Castle, where this book is set. However, contemporary English records state they remained together – or, at least, allied for a common purpose – until Richard’s death in 1583.

There was one child of the union, Tibbot. Captain John Bingham raised Tibbot in his household as a hostage – a practice common at the time, not only to ensure the ‘good behaviour’ of the hostage’s family but also to ensure the Anglicization of the next generation of Gaelic leaders.

Politically, Grania submitted to the English Crown with Burke in 1577.

Despite said submission, she maintained her fleet and seafaring activities, and supported a number of uprisings among the Gaelic chiefs as England’s power sought to supplant their own. The prison stay she mentions when speaking with Sean took place in 1577-1579 thanks to the efforts of the Earl of Edmond (Limerick) in an effort to prove his loyalty to the Crown.

In 1584, Sir Richard Bingham was appointed Governor of Connacht. He and Grania played a cat-and-mouse game via the various rebellions the broke out in response to Bingham’s attempts to enforce English law.

In 1586, Bingham’s appointed lieutenant and brother, Captain John Bingham, confiscated Grania’s horses and cattle, and murdered her eldest son, Owen. Saved by her son-in-law, Richard “Devil’s Hook” Burke, Grania fled to Ulster, where conditions were more favourable for her various enterprises. Bingham was eventually sent to Flanders and Grania returned to Connacht to resume her activities there.

In 1588, Queen Elizabeth pardoned Grania, but as that was the same year Bingham was reinstated as Governor of Connacht, and was still bent on curbing Grania’s power, the pardon had little effect. The Queen also interviewed Grania via the Articles of Interrogatory in 1593. The two women finally met in September 1593 at Greenwich Castle, in England.

Although Bingham did attempt to intervene, Queen Elizabeth took pity on an old, seemingly helpless woman. Grania’s remaining sons were pardoned and their lands reinstated. Grania was also granted her own personal freedom to act and ‘prosecute any offender’ against the Queen – which meant she could still ply a trade by the sea, so long as her enemies and the Queen’s enemies were the same.

However, as Bingham continued in his position of Governor and curtailer of Grania’s activities, he was able to circumnavigate the Queen’s orders regarding Grania’s ability to eek a living out of the sea.

Despite Bingham, the Nine Year’s War that pitted Grania’s son Tibbot against her onetime allies in The O’Neil and The O’Donnell, and an impoverished west coast, Grania persevered. She was still an active seawoman well into her sixties, as much out of necessity as desire. Nevertheless, she finally laid her body to rest in 1603.

On with the show

A: No, D. Don’t do it.

D: What?

A: Don’t make me choose between you.

D: A?

A: I mean it, D. This is work.

D: But I—

A: No, I mean, they pay me. I have to.

D: But–

A: It’s the Show, D. I have to go; I’m scheduled.

D: A, you can find time.

A: You don’t understand, D. It’s. The. Show.

D: . . .

A: Bead&Button. The Show.

D: I don’t think—

A: The Bead Show, D. The Bead&Button Show, the biggest in the world.

D: But why?

A: I’m in customer service, D. It’s expected. There’s a registration desk with my name on it. It is my duty.

D: Oh, duty! Well, then A, forgive me. I didn’t understand. Under the circumstances, I grant you dispensation.

A: You’re not the pope, D.

D: And you’re a heathen, A.

A: . . .

D: . . .

D: Enjoy the night off, A. I expect two times the words and effort out of you tomorrow, however.

A: Um, about that. . .

D: Tomorrow, too? All right then, fine. On Thursday–

A: Yes, well. . .

D: And Thursday?

A: How do you think I keep myself in flash drives and bandwidth, D?

D: Flash drives and what? I will never understand you. Fine, abscond from your duties. I’ll just go hunt down some unsuspecting—

A: D, behave yourself. No unsuspecting anything while I’m gone.

D: Impossible woman.

Good, she’s gone. If you are a beader, this show is very . . . well, I’m not a beader. I’m not even sure what a beader does. Does it involve a loom? My mother did beautiful loom-work. Well, hello, A. What are you doing back so soon? Forget something?

A: Yes, you apparently. Don’t bore the good people, D. Tell the tale and be done with it.

D: Task-master. I feel honored that anyone deigns to read these words, and now it is your turn to honor the special people in your life: Green Embers now features song dedications, and Petite Magquie has something she calls Poetrics, which are lovely.

A: In that vein, visit Andra at the Accidental Cootchie Mama and read her series honoring her journey back to see her Grandmother’s home. It is beautifully written and poignant.

D: Say, A. Do you know how to do anything poignant or artsy?

A: Um, I can sew a button or, you know, write. But beyond that? Bead? Loom? What?

D: Maureen makes so much more sense now.

“. . . Grania has enough to do without playing nursemaid to a lass who doesn’t need one. She did try to teach me spinning once, but that was a miserable failure.”

Sean laughed. “Spinning? You mean, spinning wool? You?”

“It was a bit of a disaster.” Maureen made a face, remembering. “I felt a little bad that I was so awful at it. I think spinning is the one domestic thing she really enjoys. The sound is soothing enough, I suppose. She did hint that if I wanted a life after seafaring, I might want to learn something domestic.” She looked up, meeting Sean’s eyes. “I think I’d rather take my chances convincing Grandfather about University . . .”

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!

Out of Time: The Race

A: Hey, D – Look at what we did!

D: And this is. . . ?

A: Our short story on The Community Storyboard! It’s a deleted scene from my book.

D: Am I in it?

A: Well . . . you’re mentioned.

D: . . .

A: It totally counts, Druid. This Community Storyboard is a great place, D. I’m glad we’re part of it. They even have a Thursday prompt. It’s a lot of fun!

D: I still think I should be mentioned more.

A: (Eye roll) I’m not going to win with you today, am I?

D: Nope.

A picture is worth. . .

Temporary LogoD: Who is that in the bubble?

A: Not telling.

D: It’s supposed to be me, isn’t it?

A: Maybe.

D: I’m not sure how I feel about this. Hey, wait, why do you look so. . . I don’t know. . .

A: Unhinged, crazed, ready to tear out my hair?

D: No, that seems normal for you. I was actually going to ask what was in your hair.

A: Oh, that. That’s a pencil.

D: And it’s in your hair because. . .

A: Defense.

D: . . . Really?

A: Yup. I keep ‘em sharp, see. Sure, having one in my hair means I can hang up my hat as a pencil stealer, but D, they’re not just pencils. They’re mini implements of death.

D: . . .

A: I have the scars on the back of my head to prove it.

D: I’m surprised you’re allowed to leave the grounds of the asylum.

A: You and me both.

 . . .The clanging of metal on metal overwhelmed Dubhal’s words. Bingham, taking advantage of the distraction, struck Dubhal’s sword with his own. Dubhal growled wordlessly but managed to retain his grip on the claymore.

“That woman is afraid to fight me, eh?” Bingham sneered, dancing lightly around Dubhal, taunting him with his blade. “Well, how about I just cut through each man she throws my way until she’s ready to fight? How many of you can there be?”

“How many of us are willing to fight for Grania Uaile?” Dubhal’s tone was amused and he gave Bingham a jaunty bow. “You may have to go through the breadth of Ireland to find out, m’lord. . .”

Many thanks to the child (hereafter known as TC) for putting up with me and posing for an impromptu photo shoot. TC isn’t D, but he does a pretty good job looking like a moody Druid in a hood. Thanks, kiddo! For more pictures from the shoot, visit the D/A Facebook page.

Bring out your dead

“. . . Good evening to you,” Maureen began, her voice ringing out in the stone church, cool and authoritative. Grania had taught her well. “I trust you are well. Was that you in the graveyard?”

It took a few seconds for the newcomer – his dim outline all that they could see of him – to change tact and acknowledge Maureen’s question.

“That depends on who you are, and why you want to know.”

“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Maureen countered. Together, she and Sean moved from behind the altar and gained the ground between the pews and its raised dais. 

“It isn’t that we care, particularly,” Sean put in, intuiting the direction of Maureen’s challenge. “It’s just that as you are likely not supposed to be out there, and we are obviously not supposed to be here, it would seem that your question is a bit presumptuous. Unless, of course, you want the authorities involved.”

The young man chuckled and started towards them. Sean stepped in front of Maureen, wary.

“I like how you think, but how do you know that I’m not one of these authorities you mention?”

Maureen snorted lightly. “Because you would have begun with that, Master Gravedigger . . .”

D: Master Gravedigger? Really, A?

A: What? She just came from the 16th century.

D: It’s not that, I like the name; I’m picking on your use of a gravedigger in general.

A: D, he’s a Fenian, and he’s digging up the guns he hid in the cemetery – which Sean and Maureen will discover soon enough.

D: Digging up guns in a cemetery – that’s macabre, even for you, A.

A: It’s not macabre, D, it’s sensible. Little-used cemetery = perfect hiding spot for decrepit guns that are just as likely to kill their wielder as the person said wielder is aiming at.

D: Sensible, huh?

A: Hey, I didn’t sink the Aud! I’m just telling a story, D.

D: I know, but it just seems to me that the female pirate was better equipped than these boys.

A: She was. But, despite that she defied the Crown by aiding a number of rebellions, she didn’t have annual parades held in her honor. Grania sparked imaginations, D, but these boys lit the fire – or rather, their deaths lit the fire. I understand they weren’t too popular during the Rising.

D: Causes are dangerous, A.

A: Depends on who is following and why, D. You of all people should know that. What cause were you fighting when–

D: Now, A – that was 1300 years ago.

A: And yet, we’re still finding reasons to kill each other.

D: With decrepit guns hid in a cemetery.

A: Exactly, D.

“. . . Runaways? Again, Sean?” Maureen ground out between her teeth. He shrugged. It was a useful lie.

“Enough,” she muttered under her breath. Sighing with a mix of exhaustion and frustration, Maureen stepped up to the young man.

“Seeing as none of us should be here, perhaps we should make this a bit more congenial. I’m Maureen O’Malley and this is Sean McAndrew. And you, Master Gravedigger, you are?”

“I’m Eoghan Ballard. Pleased to meet you, Miss Maureen, Sean.”

Maureen’s heart sank. She knew that name. . . .

It’s all in your head

“. . .You’re sure it’s tonight?”

“Aye. I’ve counted the nights, Maureen. It’s tonight.”

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing we’re in port, then.” Maureen looked at Sean and mustered a grin. She didn’t feel really glad. In fact, she had argued with the Dubh in the letter on countless occasions, citing this reason and that why they did belong in 1584 – 1585, now . . .

D: Is this a thing?

A: Pardon?

D: A thing, you know. . . a thing.

A: . . . .

D: Gods help me, I’ve been in your head too long, and I’m starting to express myself like you.

A: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

D: . . .

A: Fine, I’ll stop being me. I understand, but I don’t know what thing to which you are referring.

D: It’s Maureen. She’s arguing with me. In her head. Is this going to be a theme for you? Are you trying to spread the crazy around?

A: I would think you’d feel honored, having someone else chat with you in their head.

D: It’s not that, A – I’m just wondering if I’m going to have to start taking appointments.  How many more people are going to be requesting an audience? Shall I hire a PA to take the calls?

A: . . . If I have to stop being me, could you stop being you?

D: Ha!

A: And no, it’s not a theme, and I’m not feeling lonely for other crazy company (that’s what I have you for, after all). Maureen has little recourse but to argue with you in her head – you disappeared, remember? Remember how you left them with the pirate, in the 1580s, with just the one instruction to wait 4 months before they tried to get home? What is with you and leaving them to their own devices? What happens next is your own fault, D, just remember that.

D: Oh, I do, A. I do. . .

. . . Sean wasn’t eager to leave either, not eager to go back and be a grocer’s apprentice, his days ruled over by the sisters of St. Cormac’s parish. He did not want to leave Grania and her men; he did not want to miss the respect he saw in his fellows’ eyes. Yet, what he told Maureen was true. Dubhal – Dubh – had said to go back to 1958, had said that they did not belong in the sixteenth century. In Sean’s innermost heart, he believed Dubh. He knew it was true.

Sean rested a hand on Maureen’s arm, jostling her ever so slightly.

“It’s time, Maureen. It’s time to stop arguing with that letter. We have a life–”

You have a life.”

Sean snorted derisively. “Aye – shop boy.”

“That’s only until next year, Sean. Then you’re going to University, and I’m . . .”

The bunnies made me do it

A: I think I should go outside and write.

D: No. Bad idea. I think you should stay inside.

A: But it’s spring, D. The flowers are blooming, despite the fact that it was snowing just the other day, and the birds are chirping, and the bunnies . . .

D: Which is precisely why you need to stay inside, A.

A: Because of the bunnies?

D: I think you misunderstand me on purpose.

A: Maybe.

D: No A. No birds, no flowers, no springtime – you need to focus. Stay inside. You’ll also burn under the sun and I’m not going to have you writing under the pain of sunburn.

A: I’ll wear my big hat—

D: Besides, springtime means Beltane, bonfires, merrymaking—

A: D? Calm down, D. First of all, this is America. This is Puritan country; they don’t do bonfires and Beltane, or merrymaking. . . not until Memorial Day.

D: Not even little bonfires?

A: Well, we have fire pits for our backyards, and barbeques.

D: And the merrymaking?

A: Do yard games count?

D: . . . No wonder you need me in your head. Puritan country, indeed. I don’t even want to ask about Beltane.

A: I wouldn’t. You’ll just get depressed.

D: Fine. Go outside. But if you get a sunburn—

A: Yes, D. Whatever you say, D. See ya, D!!

“. . . Careful with that one, I nearly had to kill her to get her off the bloody ship; she bit me!”

“Oh, poor lad; what do you expect, cavorting with pirates and rabble? Do you need the surgeon to look at you? Is it likely to fall off?”

Maureen kept her eyes closed listened intently. Both men were speaking English, but only one was familiar. Galen had been aboard Grania’s flagship; she had avoided him every time she saw him, and luckily had never shared work duties with him. She didn’t like how he stared.

“Bugger off, Jamie,” Galen cursed, somewhat moodily. “Just make sure she’s bound before she comes to. I’ll not be the one responsible for her attacking the Governor of Connacht when he comes to inspect her.”

Jamie was gentle enough as he bound her arms and legs to the small stool where Galen had dumped her, and Maureen had a feeling he knew she was awake.

“That should hold her – don’t worry, Gale, you and Sir Bingham are safe from the wee lassie, now.”

“Galen O’Flaherty,” said a voice. Maureen held her breath. “Not only did you not warn us that Grania O’Malley’s flagship travelled with two galleys, thereby outnumbering us, you also saw fit to snatch a lass in Grania’s care, and expose yourself as a traitor in the process. That was not the plan, boy. . .”

The importance of blending in

“. . . My lady,” Dubhal intoned. Sean could hear the respect for their captain in his voice.

“Master Dubhal,” Grania returned. She turned her attention to Sean. “I’m sorry, Sean, Maureen was not on either ship. Both had been abandoned by the time we reached them, anyway – all vital crew had been evacuated and Maureen wasn’t among the survivors . . .”

D: Why are they calling me that?

A: What?

D: Dubhal. It’s not my name.

A: It’s an assumed name. You’re a time-traveler; blending in is important. I felt Dubhal was better suited for the 16th century than Dubh an Suile.

D: But–

A: And it means something close to “dark stranger. “ I thought, what with the lurking, and the general weirdness that is you, that it fit.

D: You are ridiculous.

A: Thank you.

D: Wait! Wait, wait . . . what are they going to call me in Part 2?

A: Commander Declan.

D: . . .

A: Blending in, D, you’re blending in.

D: You are still ridiculous.

A: Cheers, D.

 . . . Sean realized that Grania’s news only confirmed what he knew in his gut. “They took her with them,” he said, his voice low.

“Aye, that may be; she wasn’t among the dead, either.” Grania paused, and Sean could see she was trying to form her words as carefully as possible. “But we don’t know why; they may have misused her, or they—“

“By taking her, they’ve misused her,” Sean said hotly. He felt Dubhal’s restraining hand on his shoulder, forcing him back and Sean realized that he was nearly on his feet, his hands balled into fists . . .

Once more into the breach

D: A, you know, you really ought not to dance.

A: I know. Two very confused left feet – I can’t help it, D. I’m excited!

D: I can see that. You’re looking for me to ask why, I take it?

A: It would help. I’d stop dancing if you did.

D: Fair enough – why are you so excited, A?

A: I’m excited to write Part 2, D! Actually excited.

D: I’m feeling like this should offend me, somehow.

A: Everything offends you, D. Let me explain. I was happy to start this project – surprised actually, since I could finally see you and understand your story. I was satisfied with my writing, and I was giddy when we started this project on the interwebs. I was pleased when I completed Part 1 and edited it enough that it wasn’t too cringe-worthy for my dear friends/editors/readers who are kind enough to tear it apart for the greater good.

That was yesterday morning, D. And then I went out into my sleeping garden and proceeded to get my first sunburn of the year (yay sun!). And all day, Part 2 threaded itself through my mind. And I was excited – so excited that I stayed up until 1 am writing an outline that I’ll rip to shreds today, but has good bones.

I’m excited, D. I want to write this story. It’s been a really long tme.

D: Congratulations, A. I still feel as though I ought to be offended, but I’m also proud of you.

A: Is it wrong that I’m worried now?

D: (Sigh) I’m proud of you because I know how you feel about the 1916 storyline. You were a callous young woman with no knowledge of the world beyond books when you first wrote it. I like that you’re looking at it again, as a mother, as someone who’s lived a little bit more, and changing it. I’m far more comfortable being a part of it; I feel like I am finally part of the story.

A: I’m looking for the compliment in that, and I think I found it. . . so, thank you?

D: You’re welcome, A. . . By the way, are we going to have more introspective forays like this?

A: Oh, hell no! Don’t worry, D. I can’t do this every day. . . remember, deep as a puddle. I promise to keep it to a minimum, so long as you keep up your end of the bargain.

D: And that is?

A: Snarky comments, never-ending second guessing and a ruthless honesty that keeps me on my toes.

D: Almost sounds as though you like me, A.

A: Don’t let it go to your head, Druid. We still have 2.75 books left – a lot can happen!

D: I have been warned. . . but you do like me.

A: D. . .

D: You admitted it – you like me!

A: Seriously, D – how old are you?

D: 1300 years old and male. You like me. Ha.

A: I give up.

October the Ninth, Year of Our Lord 1584

Sean and Maureen:

By now, you may know who I am. It is yet only the beginning of the tale, and believe me when I say that it is a tale to be told. But I’ll not commit it to paper – not yet, not when the end has yet to be written.

You will have questions, and one day I will do what I can to see that they are answered. I said I would do what I could to see you both safe, and despite that she’s a pirate, and now consummate enemy of Sir Richard Bingham, Grania Uaile is as safe as you could hope to be – for now. . .