Life in the fast lane

“Why didn’t you stop her?”

The words touched the dread clawing at Sean’s throat. He couldn’t stop the tide of angry, panicky words. “I couldn’t! She clubbed Sir Nathan in the head! She’s helping them and she’s refusing to leave – she’s so deeply enmeshed in this that there is no talking to her, no reasoning with her.”

“Because you insist on using reason.” Dubh grabbed him by the shoulders. “This is not a reasonable war. These men and women are full of emotion and passion. They sing about martyrs and blood sacrifice. This is danger and love and Maureen is throwing all that she has at it. Use it; speak to her. You are stronger than this, boy.”

Sean spread his hands out in front of him, wishing they held some answer. Emotion? He had that, but Maureen was past listening. He’d lost his chance.

“No, you haven’t. You haven’t even begun to fight for her. I can’t do this, Sean. None of us belong here.”

Sean felt a finger of foreboding slide down his neck. All the questions he wanted to ask, like where Dubh had been the last two months, dried in his throat. Dubh was scared; even amidst Bingham’s men, Dubh had not shown fear.

D: 2 months? You let 2 months go by?

A: I let? You’re the one calling the shots, D.

D: I know, but 2 months?! No wonder.

A: They’re 15 – well, Sean is 16 now, but still, what did you expect?

D: (Bloody teenagers). Okay, so I may have allowed things to get out of hand, but how do you reckon it was 2 months?

A: Simple math that made my head kind of hurt because I took it too far. Did you know that because you spent a generation away from the hill that you spent 60 days in Tír na nÓg?

D: Wait, A. Slow down. You used math?

A: Yes. It hurt.

D: I can see that. Back to the two months . . . ?

A: Oh, yeah. 24 hours in Tír na nÓg equals about 6 months for us. I’d say you spent about six hours chatting and travelling when you visited Niamh. That puts you at 1.5 months, but then you still had to integrate yourself with the uprising and get your bearings. It’s an approximation.

D: I did not spend that much time chatting.

A: Then what were you up to, D?

D: You’ll find out.

A: I am not going to like this at all, am I?

D: You might. You seem to have an appreciation for the epic. You may even enjoy yourself.

A: That’s pushing it, Druid, and you know it.

D: Yes, but I can always hope, A.

A: You keep hoping and I’ll keep writing, how about that?

D: Can’t argue with you.

A&D: For once.
A’s telling the tale today, baby!

Slow down a little with Kate Shrewsday and vote for her to be a Penguin Wayfarer – then she gets to wander on foot across Britain. I recently discovered Kate’s page, thanks to Andra at the Accidental Cootchie Mama. Kate’s musings on her world make me smile. In order to help her realize her dream, click on the following link and vote for Kate (the only Kate on the page): http://www.ajourneyonfoot.com/  (Can we come, too? Not our journey, D. But I—I’m working on it, D. Between you and TC, if we don’t get over there eventually, I’m toast!).

D: Thunder stealer.

A: Do you have anything better, Druid?

D: No. I’m going to go mope in my corner.

A: You could always lurk back to your corner.

D: I refuse to dignify that with a response.

A: Cheer up, D. There’s always tomorrow.

Celebrate good times

Sean thought he understood. Maureen – proud, fearless and free – had been captive to a crazed, driven man. She’d been unharmed, but alone and afraid in the dark. Now, she was bareheaded in the sun, a pistol at her hip, fighting back. Nothing he could say would ever change her mind, but he couldn’t participate.

“You know if you do this, the army will round you up with the rest of them – if you aren’t killed first.”

“No, I’ll get out before they do.”

“Where will you go? Jenny’s won’t be safe.”

“No, but other places will be, Sean. What about you?”

She was saying goodbye.

“I’m getting out, Maureen. I can’t stay here – I doubt I’d be welcome at Jenny’s anyway. The army is going to lock this city down and I don’t want to be trapped here when they do. I’ll telegraph Gerry when I get to Kildare, see if he can put me up for a bit. I’ll wait for you there.”

Maureen didn’t say anything to that, she just nodded and slipped her arms around him for a quick hug. And then she was gone, her message – her mission – clutched in her hand.

D: What does that have to do with celebrating, or good times?

A: Nothing, I just liked it.

D: I see . . . then what are we celebrating, exactly?

A: 100 follows for the blog, 98 of which are not related to me.

D: And the tweeting twitter bird, how many on there?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A: 125, and only 2 of those know me from the outside world. Plus, we’ve been doing this pretty regularly for two months now.

D: And you haven’t stopped writing in six months. That’s a record for you, A.  I might have to do an epic poem in your honor. In the original Pict, of course.

A: And I haven’t killed you yet, which is remarkable, all things considered.

D: I admire your restraint.

A: You should. I started this whole thing as a way to productively procrastinate, and begin learning and developing a platform for the book. I think that goal is doing pretty well – it’s a perpetual goal, of course, but I’m happy with the progress. It’s also Father’s Day – for a whole two hours yet here – so I wan’ted to send out Father’s Day greetings to all the Dads, Step-Dads, Grand-Dads, Moms-who-are-Dads: everyone. Even you get in on that love-fest, D.

D: How so, A? I was more the child’s sire, not the man who reared him. Circumstances.

A: Still, I think eventually you did well by him – or at least his many-times-great grandson.

D: That is a spoiler, A.

A: Indeed it is, but Happy Father’s Day, anyway, D. Now, if you–

D: Not so fast, A – speaking of goals?

A: Outline part 3. Add some pages to the blog and acknowledge some award nominations. Oh, and drag out the treadmill. We declared a truce over my birthday weekend, but it’s time to enter the fray again, I’m afraid.

D: Is there a war against the treadmill of which I am not aware?

A: No, the war is against my sagging–

D: I’m sorry I asked; I don’t want to know this. Go to bed, A – it’s well past time!

A: Cheers, D!

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: Head over to that virtual marketplace (the wonders of this modern world) and buy Charles’ book, Beginnings of a Hero, now for .99 cents.  It is a suitably epic read.

A: In honor of Father’s Day, I present to you a riff on the role of women in Star Wars: The Smurfette of Star Wars.

D: You have odd ideas about tributes, A.

A: I know, but it was funny and thought-provoking. Plus, I love Star Wars.

D: Fair enough.

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.

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. . .”