Monday, May 02, 2016
Monday Musings: A Beltaine's Song excerpt in honor of Beltaine
“I give you the branch (of victory),
Said the crow to the old woman;
You are as old as the old grandmother,
Long ago, who ate the apples.”
‘From Legends of Saints and Sinners’
Eireann, AD 559
The word rang through her mind like a beautiful melody. It was all she remembered.
Under cloudy 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.
Sighing, she 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 mountains.
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.
While everyone 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.
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/
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Otherworldly tales steeped in myth & magic.
Labels: Aedan mac Gabrain, Beltaine, beltaine's song, celtic historical romances, celtic mythology, celtic romances, Dark Age Scotland, kelley heckart, Monday Musings
Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.