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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Stories: Sad News for the Queen's Family (Happened)

Summer 769

osephine and her cousins and the other men and women of the resistance force were camped around a low fire when Cingen appeared in their midst. The look on his face caused all smiles and laughter to abruptly cease. The eldest cousin, the archer Ruallauh, called to his brother, "Cingen, what news?"

One of the others stood to lead Cingen to sit down and got him a cup of ale. "My brothers, I have the saddest of news. You know I was seeing what I could learn near Keito Uxello. Our father, Earl Ceretic, is dead."

A soft sigh of sorrow emerged from all who sat in company. Cingen went on. "Ruallauh, my brother, you are now the head of our clan and the Earl of Keito Uxello and all our lands."

The archer sat still with his head bowed, his face frozen in grief.

Another man at the fire spoke. "Earl Ceretic was a great man, a champion of his people. Earl Ruallauh, you shall lead us as he did."

Cingen added, "I tried to go to our mother somehow to offer her my love and comfort, but I could not gain access to our fort. I did observe early in the morning however, and though I did not see Mother to speak to her, I did see the Breton Elerde and one other, deep in conversation." He looked at the Queen, who sat dressed in a cot and chausses like the men. "My lady, it was Rory McGuinness!"

Josephine looked up sharply. "Rory? What is he doing with Elerde? Of course, he must be spying. But what a risk, since others at the fortress would know him! Might he have been captured and being held?"

Cingen glanced uncomfortably at his brothers Ruallauh and Ioruert. Then he looked back at his cousin. "There was no appearance of distrust, my lady. The men seemed thick as thieves. I know not how to ask this.."

Josephine's eyes flashed. "{Nay, Rory would ne'er betray me. He has some purpose, which we shall know soon enough. Now let us not think of this but pray for our dear father, uncle and leader. In spite of the calamity that has befallen this land, I am grateful that I was here to see and honor him before he died. I can but hope that Rory is with my aunt to comfort her." She looked at Cingen again. "And you did not see Shannon O'Neill?"

Cingen smiled painfully. "Nay my lady, nor should I think to. 'Twas far too early for that fellow to have risen."

The Queen nodded. "Well, I hope that he did not come there, as I believe Elerde may recognize him from before my lord the King sent the Breton away."

Next: An Uncomfortable Reunion

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About the author

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