Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Happy St Patrick's Day
So engrossed with far too many things on my plate these days, (anyone else ever have days like this?;) I realized that I have a wee bit of Faery magic to share with ye on this special day! The daily quote is one that precedes my story, set in Ireland, 1947. It is the story of man who upon meeting a faery at a tender age, dedicates his entire life to his belief and love for her, realizing it is his belief in her existence that keeps her alive.
I share this duet anthology with the very gifted Isabo Kelly. And the story of how we came to be in this duet together is as serendipitous as the magical stories!
Here is a bit of the opening chapter of
Tirnan'Oge By A. McIntyre
William glanced up with his usual cynical expression and shook his head as if he couldn’t believe that Roan still held hope of the stories being true. “You’d have to show me proof, Roan McNamara. Solid proof.”
Proof? “The legends of the old stories weren’t created from proof. My Granda says that they are born of the heart and soul of our country, of years of magic and things that cannot be explained. He said they are like a giant fabric woven together by the passing down from generation to generation. Has your own Granda not ever told you these things, William?” Roan was frustrated that his friend wouldn’t share his beliefs, as if he were blind to the very idea all together. There was no possibility in William’s life, it was all about the here and now.
“What sort of proof would you expect?” Roan scoffed. “You know as well as I do that faeries are dangerous. One false step and you could be swept into a gallitrap.” Roan haphazardly tossed a stick into the lake, wishing in the next second that he’d not challenged his friend. William was not the type to back down easily. In fact, the more dangerous the challenge, the greater he encouraged it. It was an attribute about his friend that both frightened him and caused envy.
“Let’s see. I s’pose there are a few ways you could go about this.” He crossed his leg over his knee and stared into the endless blue afternoon sky. A smile crept over his face. “You could take something from one of the faeries. You know a piece of clothing or a working tool.”
“Yeah, like I could walk up to a faery ring and take something as easy as you please.” Roan gave a short laugh, secretly hoping his friend would see the absurdity of the idea and perhaps drop the entire thing.
“Or there is another option.”
Roan’s lips were suddenly as parched as his throat. How long had it been since morning breakfast? Surely the sun and swimming had caused the problem. He licked his lips and cleared his throat searching for any leftover moisture.
“Aren’t you a wee bit interested in your other option?”
Roan’s palms began to sweat. A cool, clamminess crawled up his forearms. His inquisitive nature was forever getting the best of him. “What other option, then?”
“That’s m’boy. Forever the curious type—it’s what I like about you, Roan.” William grinned as he walked up beside him.
“Or what?” he repeated with a sternness in his voice. Roan’s agitation rose with anticipation of the challenge that was sure to emit from William’s mouth.
“You find a young faery spirit—what do they call those, again?” William’s face scrunched up in thought, but the slight telltale sign of a smile remained on his face.
“Sighoge.” Roan mumbled under his breath hoping his friend wouldn’t snag the word too quickly.
“Ah yes, that’s it!” William pointed a stubby finger toward Roan’s nose. “Find one of those and kiss her.”
“Are you daft? Do you think they just litter themselves about for all to see? Haven’t you listened to any of the stories?” Roan frowned at his friend and headed back up the bank without a response.
A hand clamped down on his shoulder.
“Am not.” Roan didn’t turn around for fear that William would see the fear in his eyes.
“Then do as I ask. If faeries, or more specifically Sighoge, do not exist, then there’s no harm done. I will once and for all, allow you to free yourself from these ridiculous thoughts of your childhood. I’m doing you a favor, really.”
“And what if they do exist, then you’ll believe me? Or at least you’ll believe that they do exist, anyway, and stop bloody teasing me all the time about it?” Roan spun toward William, seething with the anger of his bruised pride.
“Sure.” William shrugged. “If you can handle what legend says about kissing a Sighoge.”
Yet another challenge loomed over Roan’s head at the reminder of the myth. His gaze caught the steely glare of his friend. “They say that a man who kisses a young faery spirit is lost forever, that the madness of love will fall upon him.”
William patted Roan’s shoulder twice and grinned. “Ah, I wouldn’t worry too much. Chances are, you aren’t likely to spot a young faery spirit around here for a very long time. My Da’s geese have surely scared them off by now.”
Roan stuffed his hands in his pockets and stared at his feet as they walked the rest of the way back to town in silence. They’d sneaked out of the last class of school for the second time this week and had to get back before the final bell. Today, William decided to tell the teacher they’d fallen asleep at the last recess and the bell had awakened them.
Unsure what was dancing in William’s head, Roan knew that the vision of a beautiful, young faery dancing in his would haunt him the rest of his life—or at least until he could prove William wrong.
“My Da’s watch!” Roan made a sudden stop in the middle of the dirt road. “I left it at the lake. Go on, I’ll be there soon as I can..”
“You’ll be late, Roan,” William called after him.
“I can’t leave it,” he replied his feet propelling him back toward the spot on the bank where they’d been.
The priceless heirloom was given to him by his Ma on his eleventh birthday. She’d taken ill and was unable to work and so gave him the watch from the few left after they’d buried his Da. Four months later, they buried his Ma.
So engrossed in his thoughts, he missed the flat stone jutting up at the edge of the road. Down the grassy hillside, hurled over and over, he careened toward the large oak tree and the steep ravine below. His body bounced once and then once more, before coming to a sudden stop.
Roan lay flat on his back, his head spinning, eyes closed, and nauseous, trying to regain his scrambled senses. After a moment, he opened his eyes.
Peering at him, studying closely his face was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. Her eyes, dark blue and shimmering, held a depth unlike any he’d ever seen. Her skin, pale blue as a Celtic moon, fairly glowed with an ethereal radiance. And her mouth—
Roan’s gaze drew in the shape of her mouth, lips that held the dew of a misty morning and pink as a perfect rose. It was a stirring sight for his pre-adolescent dreams.
She tipped her head as if she knew what he was thinking, but she said nothing.
Roan swallowed hard, not wishing to make any sudden moves lest he frighten her. He was frightened enough for the both of them. Just the same, he wasn’t ready to go mad just yet.
“Please—” Roan found his voice. “Whatever you do, don’t kiss me. I beg of you.”
A wisp of sadness crossed over her pale silvery blue face before she leaned back and smiled. To Roan, the effect was every bit as beautiful as a precious and perfect spring morning.
Perhaps he’d spoken in haste.
Faery Song (June 2008, Crescent Moon Press) E-book, Trade paperback