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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shannon Meets heather, Part 1

To begin the series of stories about how Shannon met Heather, how their marriage fell apart, how Shannon had new hope and how that hope was dashed and how he dealt with it, we start with a series of stories featuring Shannon, Heather, and their friends in Aur in Scotland.  I hope to use these stories as the basis for part of a seequel to An Involuntary King, but these stories originally took place in the timelline of the novel.  Ignore that.  Translate them into happening outside that timeline.

< Map showing Ayr in white.  Lawrencium is just south of Hull.

Shannon sat in front of the little cottage of the friend he had made in his many travels. Sean, who had been a soldier wounded badly in Christenlande' s 766 war with Mercia, and who now shared his rousing singing as an itinerant minstrel like Shannon, had invited him to come with him on his long trek back to his home in Scotland to spend some time. Sean who longed for nothing so much as to return to his beloved wife Emily. The man and wife were in the cottage now, rekindling their love, while Shannon obligingly kept the wee ones out of the way for a while.

A light voice startled Shannon out of a reverie. It was feminine and spoke in Scots Gaelic, but he knew enough to recognize the inquiry, "Who are you? Where is Emily?"

The Irishman looked up at a slim girl, probably no more than 17, with chestnut brown hair and steely gray blue eyes. She leveled a look of suspicion at him with her pretty but serious face. She was dressed simply as would befit a woman of her village.

Shannon stood and made a courteous bow. "Shannon O'Neill, at your service. I am with Sean. He and Emily are getting.. reacquainted.“

The girl's face relaxed. "Sean's back? Emily has so looked forward to that. His long absences are very hard on her."

Shannon gazed at the girl. He gestured for her to sit by him, but she resisted the invitation. He sat anyway. "May I be asking your name, darlin'?"

She pursed her lips. "An Irishman, I hear from your accent. I suppose it can't hurt to tell you my name. It's Heather."

Shannon pulled his lute from behind where he had been sitting and started to pick out a melody, crooning her name quietly as he did.

"Another minstrel," Heather said with a sniff.

"You be after not likin' minstrels?" Shannon's smile was teasing.

"Nay, they make women swoon, then have their way only to go on to other villages and other women," she snapped.

He put his lute down again and considered her. "Sean has been like a monk, in spite of me best efforts to lead him astray. And at least now his dear wife need nae worry that he will be killed in battle."

Heather replied, "Aye, I hope that is so. But he still goes off for months at a time, leaving Emily here to keep the farm." She cast a look at the cottage. "Well, I have work to do… I will come back later. Will you be here?" He nodded and her reaction told him she was less than pleased to hear he would be. He shook his head at her retreating figure, but his interest was piqued. He would get to know her better.

Next: Shannon Meets heather, Part 2

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About the author

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