The word rang
through her mind like a beautiful melody. It was all she remembered.
skies, she stood inside a circle of stone giants, the earth vibrating beneath
her feet. Touching the weathered stones sparked a familiar sensation inside
her, and she knew this place meant something special to her once. Light mist
swirled around the powerful stones like restless serpents. In her mind’s eye,
she saw cloaked figures moving and chanting inside the circle. Their rich,
joyful voices were lost to her now, the once sacred stones abandoned.
moved on, wandering the countryside. The clouds parted and summer skies greeted
her with a smile. In the distance, puffy white and gray clouds floated against
a bright blue sky the color of a robin’s egg. A gentle breeze tousled her hair
and the fresh scent of summer, of things fresh and new, brightened her spirits.
Swallowed by rolling green hills clothed in a light mist, she walked without
knowing her destination, pausing when she came to a break in the hills.
Below her sat
clusters of roundhouses and fields surrounded by raths. The earthen walls
surrounded the homes in a protective embrace. Farther away, a jumble of forest
and pasture land rolled to the horizon. Beyond this stretched mixed landscapes
of low mountains, vast bogs, and dense woodlands. She descended the hills,
passing families moving their cows and sheep to the summer pastures high in the
All around her,
the earth sang of life. Milk and honey flowed freely in the summer months.
Shimmering fields of wheat sprouted from the well-tended earth, its green
grass-like stalks gradually changing to a ripe golden color.
It was all
familiar and yet foreign to her.
She watched all
of this taking place around her, the men, women, and children going about their
summer chores, smiling, grateful for the blessed time of rebirth. They passed
by her with nary a glance in her direction.
It was as if she
did not exist at all.
around her exuded happiness, sorrow filled her heart, and she wandered the
countryside without purpose, lost and alone.
Beltaine's Song is the second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy, set in Dark Age Scotland. A mix of history and mythology, it is filled with spring themes of new beginnings and loss.
For each of them, spring's song has a different meaning.
Now king and queen of the powerful kingdom of Dal Riata,
Aedan and Domelch have more than just Cailleach's wrath to contend with. Aedan
struggles with being a king and being a husband. Domelch struggles with her
beliefs, trying to be the Christian woman Aedan wed, but her heart still thrums
with the voices of old gods. They must battle earthly foes—enemy kings and
traitorous allies. For the first time, the arrival of spring heralds the sound
of a harsh battle horn as their foes close in. Through all this turmoil, can
their love survive?
Gartnait, the first-born son of Aedan and Domelch, has lived
in secrecy most of his young life to escape Cailleach's wrath. Fostered in
Fortriu, he has earned his first mark of manhood and on his way to becoming a
formidable warrior. He grapples with the awakening of his true destiny and the
meaning of the appearance of a beautiful maiden in spring only he can see. Does
she mean to harm him? For him, spring brings with it the promise of new love and
the thrilling sound of the battle horn, putting those he cares about in danger.
“Even those who can see
the future cannot be certain that the future they see will not change. One
small ripple can change the future.” –from Beltaine’s Song
The story of Cardea (now
called Domelch) and Aedan mac Gabrain continues…Reading this book makes
me ask, again, why humans inflict such suffering on each other, and why we
cannot stop fighting each other. Why is it so difficult to truly forgive
someone? The ending of Beltaine’s Song is a tear-jerker (my mind decided to
play the theme song from Braveheart). And I wonder: can one really find peace
I’m looking forward to
Book 3, Winter’s Requiem. Review by Jane Li
Multi-published author Kelley Heckart lives in Arizona with
her musician husband, dog and a number of backyard “pets.” Her stories reflect her passion for ancient and medieval
time periods, storytelling and the supernatural. Inspired by the ancient Celts,
her tales are filled with fierce warriors, bold women, otherworldly creatures,
magic, and romance. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and
practices target archery. She can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/