The sun shines gently over the rolling hills of ancient Ireland as you and the rest of the cruise ship passengers walk behind Dalton. You carefully watch the families before you react to the wonders all around you. Deep in your heart, you had always held a fondness for Ireland. There was something mystical about this place. It was almost as if you had always belonged this land but how could you? You were a true blue American born in a different century. Yet there was something simplistic about this place. A simplicity you had always longed for.
You sigh, clutching you satchel close to you. You would absolutely have to steal something from this journey. Dalton has said the ship had traveled to the 5th century. Just to think you could take something from this far back in the past with you is overwhelming. The cultural significance of an artifact that old, let alone the monetary value! But you had to be careful. You had never taken into consideration Tasha would have ever learned about the thefts. Everything would have gone smoothly if hadn't been for that insane couple who had chased the cruise ship after you had stolen the map to Atlantis. After that little incident, Tasha had contacted all the places the tour had travelled to. How in the world she had been able to do that was beyond you. Tasha didn't suspect you yet, but if you didn't cover your tracks well she might start to suspect you. No, you had to chose a family you could pin your adventures on and make that investigation last throughout the journey so you could continue to steal from every place you went to without suspect. What you needed was a naive family with kids who were aways getting into trouble. The long group hike you were taking from the Irish coast to your contact inland would provide the perfect setting for you to pick your scapegoat. The world needed to know about the places you were visiting and you were bound to let that happen.
|Aran, Ireland by talliskeeton|
Hello. My name is Caylith, and I live in Ireland. Well, I try to call it Éire, as my husband Liam does, and I even try to say a few words in Irish-Gaelic. Like Es tú mo ghra, aiam. I love you, Liam. . . .Um, where was I? Oh, yes, I live in a settlement called Derry. It’s a group of about two thousand little clayhouses, round with thatched roofs. My immigrants and I, fleeing from the Saxon invasions in Britannia, built this place along the swift River Foyle in the north part of this amazing land. We came here really on the heels of my friend Father Patrick. The pope in Rome sent him to change this whole country from the pagan beliefs of generations, to the glad tidings of Christ. Most of the change has been slow, I have to tell you. But gradually, even my own clansman husband and his kin have been baptized by my marvelous friend, even the family of the High King himself!
Come, walk and ride with me as I show you my bally--the little settlement that was named after the Gaelic word meaning “oak.” Here we are at the church. It’s a huge round clay-andwattle building with room for 150 people, all sheltered by the largest oak tree I have ever seen. Here’s where my mother and I, my husband and my friends attend the services every Sunday. Every so often, we call a folk moot, or assembly of citizens, to decide on important matters that affect our settlement and our people.
Let us walk down to the river, only a few hundred feet from the church You can see the
huge, dark rocks being pummeled and crashed by the currents of the Foyle, fastest river
in all of Éire. I often lie on a large flat rock near my own little house--called a teach--and fish
for brown trout and salmon.
Do you like my tunic? The Gaelic people call it a léine. Really, it’s no more than a long shirt
that I cinch with a belt or sash, and then I hitch it up to allow free movement while I ride one of my horses. The sleeves almost touch the ground, and they’re made up of several colors. Only the High King himself is allowed to wear six colors, including the unusual color of purple, to show his lofty rank. My own sleeves are saffron, yellow, green and rose, all little checks and squares.
Here, you can take this frisky mare--my horse Macha. I’ll ride my palomino pony NimbleFoot while we visit my darling Liam, and then our little house.
Our growing baile, the town of Derry, spread along the western shore of the swift
River Foyle. Cradled under trees and on the hills, small, clay round-houses with
thatched roofs sent their tendrils of smoke into the azure sky. Squares and rectangles
of well-tended gardens, green even in January, lay side by side with fields of brown,
dormant grass and bright winter wildflowers. Horses and goats milled around
poultry pens and wooden haggards filled with animal fodder. Here and there a
pottery kiln or a smith’s forge sent its own kind of smoke chasing the direction of the
Derry was unique among towns I had seen in Éire, for it was built along the river where the terrain was full of rounded hills, like maidens’ breasts, and low glens, and
even rather deep little gullies cut into the land in places where feeder streams had
run in days of old. Our workmen had been told to build homes using the landscape
rather than to cut away or fill in the terrain. The result was deeply pleasing to me. I thought about the settlements of Bath and Lindum in Britannia, the two towns in my former homeland I liked most. There was something compelling about living in such a wild place, a bally that clung to the errant landscape, its very streets meandering in
contour with the hills.
My beloved Liam and I were married not long ago, by Father Patrick himself. He works
every day but the sabbath, building a defensive trench around Derry. You can tell him
from the other workers quite handily--he’s the tall one over there, the one in the tight
leather britches, the one with auburn hair falling into his eyes. The one with the close
beard and sensuous mouth. . . .
Um, I should skip him for now. We’ll just ride on to the little house, a ways down the
path, through the stand of pine trees, here near the river. . . .
The house was plain and very small. It contained but two windows—one east, one
west. We had three benches and a table to accommodate guests. If more were
present, some of us sat on the floor. It did boast a large oak bed, fashioned by [my
old friend] Luke, built to rise almost two feet. In fact, the bed was so large that it had
to be brought into the house in three pieces and bolted together in place.
Other furniture included my own tiny clothes cabinet and two other pieces made by
Luke—a large chest and a large cabinet where Liam and I kept our clothing and
other personal belongings. A table near the bed held a water basin and ewer. Our
weapons were arrayed not in a rack but against a wall. Besides a round, stone fire
pit that stood in the middle of the teach, there was nothing more to adorn our tiny
Notes from author Erin O’Quinn:
You have just read a little of the background of my historical romance trilogy “The Dawn of
Ireland.” It’s a series of three novels about immigrants to fifth-century AD
Ireland and about the clansmen, cattle barons, druids and others who inhabit that
untamed land. Especially, though, it’s about a passionate young couple named Liam and
The books are as follows:
Storm Maker: http://amzn.to/O218y7
The Wakening Fire : http://amzn.to/N1Gc6C
Captive Heart: http://amzn.to/Qm8b1X
To read a bit about me and my other books, I invite you to visit the website of my
publisher, SirenBookstrand, at the following link: