Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Old Stories, Heather Arrives at Court, 768 AD

Though in the final cut, Heather did not make it into the novel, she does show up in some of the stories I wrote in preparation for the novel and, who knows, could find herself in a sequel. The story I developed for latterly is that her mother had been loved and left by a traveling bard, Heather being the result. When Shannon comes along and pays court to her, it is all she can do to avoid falling in love. We will take a break from the old stories next to give you the story of how Heather met Shannon.

hannon picked up his lute with pride, and carried it over to a bench in the corner, and sat down. While others in the Great Hall listened in silence, he plucked each of the instrument's strings to see if they were in tune.

Sean had just sung a funny little ballad about a mouse, and before him, Tramtrist had sung a ballad about his namesake, Tristram of Lyonesse. Now Shannon touched the strings of his lute, ringing forth a melody of sweet joy. Then his voice joined the lute, in a song he'd written himself. The song was beautify, emotional one; it was coming from his heart and he sang it to Heather.

Lawrence looked down to find the Queen's eyes gazing up at him. They felt the song, as did Percy and Jocelyn. Sean's thoughts flew to Emily, an Tramtrist and Bette thought of happy years to come. Virginie looked soulfully at Shannon, while her brother glared in disapproval. Erik sat, unmoved.

A steward entered, and knowing the company wished no interruption, he signally to the King that a party of travelers had arrived. Lawrence nodded, and turned again to the minstrel. A moment or two later, most heads turned to the door, where a few travelers, the major being knights, entered.

Josephine notice one man who Sean greeted warmly, not as tall as Sean but nearly his twin. Then her eyes fell on a young woman, hardly more than a girl, with long dark tresses, dark eyes, and a frightened look.

The woman was rather small, and her skin was pale. Her clothes were not of good clothes were not good cloth, but they ere bright and pretty. She followed the man to Sean, and darted her eyes about the room.

Lawrence looked startled but pleased, Sean greeted her cheerfully with a hug. But it was Shannon's reaction which told the Queen who it was. He'd stopped his song abruptly and was staring, surprised and a little frightened.

Heather looked around and caught his gaze. Her yes. Shown with tears, and love. She went toward him slowly, and he backed up. But with a strangely sure look on her face she stood by him and smoothed his hair. Sitting won, she took his hand and looked to the door where a maidservant entered with two young children. At three, Seamus looked more like his father than ever, and not even a full year old yet, Deidre didn't look like him at all. The Queen nearly gasped, the baby looked so like the young woman at Shannon's side, dark haired and dark eyed.

Jo thought gently happy thoughts of the couple's reunion. Shannon now began to smile. The Queen felt in her heart that the tie between her and minstrel loosened with smile he gave his wife. But suddenly she felt I tighten again when Heather did something that hurt Josephine's soul as a woman. Lawrence's grim look showed shock too, when Heather shunned a kiss as Shannon leaned over to place one on her lips.

Shannon frowned and looked up at Josephine. Others had noticed this, too. Christophe didn't seem surprised at Heather, and smirked. In fact, he rather approved. Virginie was puzzled. Sean looked as if he'd expected it, and the other exchanged glances.

The Irishman stood, and seeing Christophe's look, and knowing the Gaul's moral philosophy, shouted, :Come over here and keep this woman company! Your morals should live very happily together!" Then with a glance at Josephine, he stomped toward the door in a rage. He stopped by Sean. "Oh sure now, didn't I tell ye? She knows love is only for the makin' of babies!"

Then he swore in Gaelic and stomped out.

This week: A diversion into more recent stories of how Shannon and heather met.

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .