Thursday, November 5, 2009
Welcome, Cornelia Amiri
With Thanksgiving soon upon us, it’s the time to think of thankfulness. I am thankful for my publishers, who have given my books a wonderful home. I am thankful for being able to write my stories and give my heroes and heroines life. I am thankful for the reviewers and fans, who love and support my work, you make it all worth while.
My characters have a lot to be thankful for. In my latest book, Queen of Kings, Macha Mong Ruad is thankful for an elderly woman she meets along the road. The woman gives of the little she has to aid in Macha’s s scheme to stop Dithorba’s sons attempt to steel her crown. Here is an excerpt:
Macha formed a plan in her mind as she coursed past swaying trees, across the green, earthen beauty of Erinn. Yanking the reins, with a “tsk” and a “whoa,” she halted her mount in front of a round, roughly hewn thatched hut. As she eased off her saddle, a shriveled crone greeted her.
“My lady, welcome to my humble house. I have little to spare, yet I freely offer that to you, Queen Macha.” She bowed her gray head.
“My thanks, old mother.” Leaving her mare to graze, Macha followed the hag into the round house. “Do you have any rye dough to spare?”
“Dough? Why yes, I am kneading some to bake a loaf for my meal.”
The old crone took the dough from a kneading trough on a table the size and shape of a stump near the wall and handed her the lump.
“Have you naught else to eat?” She felt a tinge of warmth in her heart for this kind soul, alone and without.
“A bit of watered stew, you are welcome to it.”
“My thanks, old mother, but dough is all I need.” Macha rubbed it into her skin for a peeling effect. The layer of rye dough felt heavy on her face. It made her skin feel tight. As she ran her fingers down her face, the dough skin felt like thin parchment.
“My lady, you look like a leper now.”
“As I wish, I travel in disguise to take my foes by surprise.” Macha cocked her head. “Good crone, can you tell me where the sons of Dithorba are? It is said they camp nearby.”
“My lady, I have heard they are hiding in the woods, that way.” The withered woman pointed out the direction.
Macha hugged the hag. “One such as you, who has had so much toil, deserves an easier time as crone. I leave you this gift for your kindness to me.” She pointed to the black iron pot hanging above the center hearth, a small, shallow pit covered in ash and firewood.
“Yes, I called on Morrigan to bless it, and so she has. Good woman, from this day forth it will never be bare. As soon as you eat from it, the pot shall refill with food again.”
“Bless the dark goddess.” She wrapped her arms around Macha’s neck in a tight hug.
Bidding farewell to the kind hag, she threw back the leather door flap and left the round house.
Later in the story, the elderly widow comes up again, as the hero Nath expresses thankfulness to Macha for helping the old woman. Here’s an excerpt:
“What say you? Nath, you barely know me.”
“I know someone who knows you well. A person who knows your heart.”
“Who do you speak of?”
“You are known far and wide for your beauty, your cunning, your great mind and your wise rule of Emain Macha. But my queen, you are secretive with your heart. However, I met a woman who benefited greatly from it.“
“Who would that be?”
“An old woman in Connacht. She has no one to care for her, yet she never goes hungry. It is what she told me about you that brought me here.”
A tear formed in her eye. “How did you know of her?”
“I rode by one day, near winter, and saw her roof needed thatching. I stopped to fix it. When she offered to share her fare with me, she told me of the magic cauldron—and the even more miraculous queen who gifted her with it.“
“Nath of Connacht, champion to King Nia Mor! You, who slay countless men in the king’s name, stopped and fixed an old woman’s roof before the snows came?”
“My king’s foes are my foes. I will kill an enemy before they kill me. But an old woman alone is no foe of mine.”
“So, you have a soft heart, too.”
“You must swear to tell no one.”
“I will keep your secret if you will keep mine.”
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. For more information on my books, please visit MySpace and