Today I have a special guest who is honouring my hearth with his presence (in his parlance).
Sit and be welcome Brennus and as we are not so far after Samhain, Happy New Year to you. May your past efforts see you through the dark months.
I was fortunate enough to meet you in The Beltane Choice but for my friends who don’t know you would you care to tell them about your rôle in that tale?
I will be very honoured to tell your friends how I found myself in an invidious position in The Beltane Choice – the tale of how Nara of the Selgovae ensnared my older brother Lorcan. Readers may gasp in horror and say that it was Lorcan who captured Nara. That is certainly true, and as a witness, I can attest to the fact that he did capture her physical body, but she is the one who has grasped Lorcan’s heart. It also has become obvious to me that Nara is deeply in love with my brother, but you asked what part I play. You may require some background for that, and in finding it out I hope you will appreciate that I am known at Garrigill for my clever weaving of a story! So, to my tale…
As you likely know, my Celtic tribe – the Brigantes – have been long time enemies of the Selgovae. A mere stretch of high hills separates our rugged landscape, but there have been many skirmishes with them over the centuries since the damned horse and sheep stealers have oftimes crossed our boundaries.
Not quite true for Nara, though it was on one such recent raid by warriors of the Selgovae that my oldest brother Arian was brutally slain. My father, Tully of the settlement of Garrigill, has many sons born to him – Lorcan is second and I am fourth. When Lorcan went with his band of warriors to avenge the death of Arian he encountered Nara, a Selgovae warrior princess, unattended and easy to capture.
My brother Lorcan is normally the skilled mediator and negotiator for the Brigantes and realised the use he could put to Nara’s captive state. In normal circumstances, the Selgovae would never sit around the hearthside and talk with us, but times are not normal for all Celts of northern Brigantia. As I speak in AD 71, the Roman Empire drives its legions forward step by bloody step! Lorcan intended to use Nara as a marriage bargain to make treaties with the Selgovae, since all of our tribes must stand together against the Roman invaders.
All seemed easy for Lorcan. He successfully gained the word of Callan of the Selgovae to stand firm alongside us, but Lorcan had not foreseen the stipulations that Callan would put on a marriage of Nara to a Brigante prince. Callan is the most devious chief I have ever met – and also the most un- fatherly man towards his own offspring. As the most likely next chief of our tribe, Lorcan could not possibly marry Nara and fulfil Callan’s demands.
I remember now, Nara had to have a Brigante son of a chief as husband.
Aye! That left me to be her hearth-husband. I am the tribal champion, and as fourth son, I am not likely to be chosen as the next chief of Garigill, therefore I could be the one to fulfil Callan’s demands.
I do not love Nara of the Selgovae; even though she is very beautiful with a comely body I would not mind sampling a taste of. Yet, I must do as my tribe dictates. I wish no conflict with Lorcan, since I bear great love and respect for my brother, but I must also do my duty so Nara and I were officially betrothed – a hand fasted marriage planned to follow on later at Nara’s Selgovae home of Tarras.
Yet, no matter how well laid the plans, they do not always transpire. The lands of my southern Brigante brothers were invaded by the Roman IX Legion. Full battle, rather than local skirmishes, involved all Brigantes. Many warriors of Garrigill died when the Celts of the north faced the Roman army on the lower slopes of Whorl hill. I had no fear of going to the otherworld: all brave Celtic warriors embrace a glorious death, but no warrior wishes his time on earth to be over.
Do you mean your god Taranis called you as a proud warrior to the otherworld? This is confusing since you sit here alongside me today.
No. In this instance, Nancy Jardine- you correctly name her as my scribe – orchestrated her writing in such a way that battle with the Romans at Whorl was not favourable for me and my marriage to Nara did not happen. Honours due to me did not come in her book named The Beltane Choice. In that I am lost to all.
What can you mean?
I realise this may sound strange to your ears. I seem lost to my family at Garrigill, but after the battle at Whorl I am as though reborn.
I heard that your scribe Nancy Jardine is releasing a new tale about your tribe. Is this what you are referring to?
I am pleased that you now ask that, since I am at liberty to divulge some secrets to you. Nancy Jardine takes me into the realms of a new me in After Whorl-Bran Reborn. I was in my brother Lorcan’s shadow in The Beltane Choice but my smile is now wholehearted since the next two books in Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series have me at the heart of them! I will be a man changed from how you saw me in The Beltane Choice, but my adventures continue- though under my new identity as Bran. I will not rest until I fulfil my duty to enlighten all Celts of the north to the insidious threat these Roman soldiers place upon our culture. I am pleased to be able to tell you that I will journey far and wide across northern Britannia, seeking answers and proud brave warriors who will resist Roman domination.
Thank you so much.
It has been my great pleasure to join you.
Perhaps you or one of your clan would care to come back and visit my hearth nearer Yule when we could talk about the festivals.
I will ensure that some of us will certainly do that, and will delight in celebrating with you!
Bright blessings on your journeys.
Nancy Jardine lives in the fantastic ‘castle country’ of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband. She spends her week making creative excuses for her neglected large garden; doesn’t manage as much writing as she always plans to do since she’s on Facebook too often, but she does have a thoroughly great time playing with her toddler granddaughter when she’s just supposed to be ‘just’ childminding her twice a week.
A lover of all things historical it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.