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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Juliana Series: Spring and Hallelujah.. Oh Shit: Or Bo and Rory Find Out Where the Queen (Just for fun)

ory had been alternately chuckling and outright guffawing ever since Bo's little sermon. He finally revealed to Bo that he did not think he had had such a good time and good laugh while sober since he and the O'Neill had left Eire for the first time, bound, or "doomed" as Shannon said, for Christenlande.

Bo smiled dubiously. "OK, what's so funny." He continued, "You think I set paganism or wicca or druidism or whatever back a few years with my sermon?"

Rory burst into laughter again and could not respond for a while. He was walking along the road occasionally tripping over his own feet and stumbling from trying to walk and laugh so hard. He finally could speak. "Paganism? Hell! Try Catholicism!"

Bo just stared. "I don't get it."

Rory snorted and went on. "Don't ye know that in our time priests just got up in church and did the mass without talking to the congregation? They were supposed to just stand there and listen as mass is sung. " Rory started to giggle, "I can just see... tee hee.. the priest's face.. ha ha.. next time those people.. tee heee hee.. shout out .. hah ha.. 'Amen Brother! Praise the Lord!'" Rory literally fell right down on the ground and clutched his stomach, rolling and choking with laughter.

Bo considered this mad monk making a fool of himself on the road and said, "Rory, my man, you are giving a whole new dimension to the expression, 'Holy Roller." Rory did not understand a single word but the comment only served to make it worse.

To a peddler gingerly trying to pass the two and give them a wide berth, Bo said, "What's wrong? Never seen anyone in religious ecstasy before?" The peddler gave Bo a terrified look and scampered away.

Rory slowly subsided and sat up. "Damn," he said.

Bo cocked his head by way of asking the Irishman, "What you talkin' about, Willis?"

Rory explained, I was after hopin' we could ask the next person we saw if we are in Affynshire yet..."

"Hey man, I like the way you talk and everything, but don't you get kinda tired of that music hall Irishman bit?" Bo asked his friend.

Rory stood and brushed off his cassock. "Aye, an' that I do. An' I have a strange feelin' that Shan is way more tired of it that I am." The accent softened and the language became more commonplace. "We just feel like we have to make sure everyone knows we're supposed to be Irish. The names ought to tell everyone that."

Bo replied, "Not necessarily. There are a lot of Irish surnames in .. well, where I come from. The city of Boston is full of them. So is the fire and police department in New York."

Rory took up his bundle again and slung it over his shoulder. They started off again. "Boston? And NEW York? Why new? I heard the town was in a Shambles, but why make it over new?"

Bo, generally quite literate, missed the reference and went on to another topic. "I know we didn't see any 'Welcome to Affynshire, hometown of the Queen of Christenlande' or anything."

Rory quipped, "Population: 2752.. 2751.. 2752 again. I hope."

A young girl came skipping out of a small cottage yard. "My child," Bo called, "Be this Affynshire?" The girl stopped and stared at the two men for a second, then shrieked "Mama!" and tore into the open doorway. A heavyset woman with a red face came to the door, her arms crossed over her ample bosom.

Rory bowed ecclesiastically and repeated Bo's question. The woman looked at them like they were utter and complete fools. She retorted, "Is the Pope leader of God's church on Earth?" She shook her head impatiently and went back in the cottage.

Bo asked, "I take it that means yes." Rory nodded.

It was a weary pair of ersatz monks that dragged their sorry butts through an inn door and planted those same butts on the benches at a table. A thin girl came out of a kitchen and asked what they wanted. Rory appraised her and asked, "What be ye'r name, darlin'?" Bo noticed he was back in character.

"Rose, sir."

"Bring us two tankards of ale, then Blushing Rose, " said Rory.

Rory looked at Bo and said, "I don't know if we'll learn anything more here, but we may as well rest a bit. "

Bo knew Rory meant how with the exception of the lonesome and long-winded man at the crossroads, the people they had asked about seeing Josephine had either given monosyllabic responses, "Aye, and "nay" and, with an outstretched palm, "Maybe".. well that was polysyllabic.. Or they had looked the pair up and down and gone on their merry way without comment.

The girl came back in with the tankards and Rory placed a copper on the table. "Sweet Rose, we are two monks travelin' through the land. We be after learnin' some tale of a Queen who came this way. Be ye knowin' of such a one?" He went back to his ale expecting nothing.

"Oh aye, she sat right where your friend the giant is sitting now."

Bo stood up abruptly as if he was actually sitting on the woman. He slammed his belly into the table and knocked it over onto Rory. He saw the man's ale go flying as he fell over backward onto the floor and lay sandwiched between the table and the bench he had been sitting on. But it was quickly apparent that the upset was the least of his consternation. He barked at the girl. "Here?! When? How long ago?"

She looked at the minstrel with an offended pout then answered his questions. Well, she be livin' in the town.. on a farm outside of it that is, until yesterday."

Bo probed, "Until yesterday. Then what?"

Rose looked up to his face and answered, "Well yesterday this man came looking for her and she left with him, on his horse."

Rory had extricated himself from the tangle of benches and tables and tankards and stood, drenched with ale, and looked at the girl warily. "This man?"

The girl said, "Aye. Tall. Bearded. Good looking. Nice horse."

Bo peered at Rory who had gone white as a sheet. He himself was curious, but saw this development as promising rather than worrying.

Rory stammered, "What did hee look like other than that?" The stage brogue was gone again. "Was he fair or light? Was he alone? Was he in armor?"

The girl's wistful look did nothing to answer Rory's question.. but when she went on he collapsed on the bench. "Aye, he were dark haired, with beautiful black curls. Dark eyes. He wore black leather armor. He was alone. He said his name... his name.. ah it was Sir Elerde!"

Bo breathed, "Well shit."

Out in the dooryard Rory sat on a stoop his head in his hands and utterly still and silent." Bo tried in vain to rouse the man. He cajoled and ask questions and tried to make jokes, but Rory seemed completely defeated. Bo finally begged in a little boy voice, "C'mon man.. tell me.. what's wrong?"

Rory finally raised a disconsolate face to Bo. "This is the worst possible news. Do you know how long I have been watching that guy, to make sure he doesn't get his claws into the Queen, into Jo?" He hung his head again. "That's why I was in monk's robes the other time. Elerde was there when Gaylorde usurped the throne and I was in disguise so I could keep an eye on him. That was right after I was hanged."

"Oh yeah, Shan told me all about that. Well it sounds like she went willingly. That's not good either, huh?" Bo inquired.

Rory moaned, "Noooooo. It's the worst possible thing that could have happened. That means she is off with him, as in _with_ him. That does it. A new chapter has been started. 'Faithful Forever' will now take place in fictional 8th century France."

Bo was too down to laugh at the ridiculously inaccurate title one of the authors had apparently come up with.. "Man, that's baaaad. Whatta we do?"

Rory muttered, "Kill ourselves."

Bo protested "Hey man, leave me outta that."

Rory gave him a morose look. "I didn't mean that. I guess we gotta go tell Lorin what we found out. I suppose they are well on their way to finding transport across the Channel to Brittany. They will have horses.. we have no chance of catching up to them." Rory stood. "Game over, man. Game over," he moaned.

Next: On and on

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About the author

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