Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gawain rescues Angusel from himself in Ch 11/Sc 2 of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay c2016 by Kim Headlee.
One of the hallmarks I developed for my Dragon's Dove Chronicles series was the invention of a proto-Gaelic language for my Pictish characters, such as Angusel (Lancelot), complete with grammar and spelling rules. 

I chose this challenging but satisfying route because I found it was a great trick for getting into a character's mindset. And with more than two dozen viewpoint characters to manage in a single novel, I (and my readers) can use all the tricks I can lay my hands upon!

Several such terms crop up in today's excerpt from Raging Sea.

Three of them relate to cultural identifications:  Caledonach ("Caledonian;" i.e., Pictish), Ròmanach ("Roman"), and Breatanaich ("the Brytons;" i.e., Britons). The "-ach" suffix indicates group membership of an individual or serves as the generic group representation, and the "-aich" suffix is the plural form.

The "-aiche" suffix in Caledonaiche turns the group term "Caledonaich" into the word for the Caledonian language. I apply the same suffix elsewhere in the series to create Ròmanaiche (Latin) and Breatanaiche ("Brytonic;" i.e., the P-Celtic form of Gaelic, also known as Old Welsh).

Belteine is my invented Caledonaiche term for the more commonly known Beltain or Beltane (May Day) holiday, inspired by Scottish Gaelic boil (“passion”) and teine (“fire”). In this case I elected to modify boil to put "Belteine" in line with its Breatanaiche equivalent. The word Criòsdail, the adjectival form of "Christian" that's applied to objects rather than people, I lifted straight from Scottish Gaelic without modification.

In every case I try to make these terms be obvious to the reader from the context, but I do include a glossary at the back of each book for reference!

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b | Sc 3c |
Chapter 11: Sc 1aSc 1b | Sc 1c |

Raging Sea Chapter 11, Scene 2
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Angusel stood staring at the rack of swords in First Ala’s section of the armory, trying to recall where he had paused in the inspection when the realization that this was the day of Eileann’s bonding ceremony had overwhelmed his thoughts.

Truth be told, nary a day had passed since their meeting in the Caledonach ward of the Manx field hospital when her sweet face hadn’t shimmered into his mind’s eye. And he could never forget that heavenly voice. In fact he dwelled upon Eileann almost as often as he dwelled upon… another woman.

He glanced at Gawain, who pointed with his stylus to one of the swords. “That one’s next.”

“Right.” Angusel lifted it from its peg, ran a gloved fingertip down its blade, and replaced it on the rack. “Two small nicks, but it’s still serviceable.”

Gawain made a tick in the appropriate column on his clay tablet. “Is something ailing you? This task is taking far longer than the spears did yesterday.”

The tolling of the bell at the Criòsdail temple, muted by distance and stone but undiminished in meaning, proved Gawain’s observation correct. Farther down the line, other optios were finishing the last of their notations in preparation for departing the armory. “Go worship your god, if you must. I’ll get Drustanus to help me finish here.” The newest member of First Ala might not be able to translate a Ròmanach military treatise, but he could be taught to tally weapons easily enough.

Gawain uttered a low whistle. “Your mind really is someplace else. Today’s the day we’ve all been excused to attend the Beltain festivities, remember?”

Aye, now that Gawain had mentioned it. Belteine—which the Breatanaich called Beltain, and it meant “passion fire” in their tongue as well as in Caledonaiche—was the last rite in which Angusel ever wished to participate, especially today of all days when the kindest lady in two realms would forever become lost to him. He gave his head a short shake. “I’ll finish the inspection by myself, then.” He reached for the tablet.

His assistant raised it overhead. “No, you won’t. Sir. You might not be welcome to celebrate among your people, but nobody said you can’t celebrate with mine.” Gawain covered the tablet with its thin wooden slab to preserve the marks, stowed it and the stylus in his knapsack, and crossed his arms through the straps. “Come. I’ve already made arrangements with a pair of lusty lasses, so there will be no trouble. For either of us.”

Angusel surrendered with a small, forced grin, hoping with all his heart that the Breatanach passion-fire activities would prove sufficient to purge his mind of… the other women.

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