Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Convenient Stranger


The woman enthused about the Isle of Seeing, the legends of Gwyn ap Nudd and the kidnap of the spring maiden.

A Demeter/Persephone variant, thought Damie. Neither you or I, lady, are in much danger of being selected for that.

Legends, she mused.The bright snare of song and story. We want them to be true. We want heroes killing monsters and wicked men, defying the dark. We need it. Because of the dark enemy, the shadow evil, our deep fears, our desires and our defeats. No matter how they conflict with reality, no matter how ancient the tale. She was on her way to deconstruct a legend, to dispell the enchantment that bound it and - she needed to slay a few dragons of her own.

The woman proceeded to the Chalice Well, Avalon - Annwn, portal of the past and the future - Arthur and the forging of Excalibur.

A sword, the constant symbol. Damie glanced down at her case containing, besides that irritating envelope, the Conyers Conference material. The Conyers Falchion. A hack and slash weapon that looked like a cross between a meat cleaver and a machete. Real, not lost. Not time lost, lake lost, like Excalibur. The Conyers Family. Her own. Not only an ancient blade but also an ancestral one. Well, sort of, she amended, a lot of generations back.

Who was the scumbag connected with the Conference that LaViolette had been so evasive about on the phone? In fact Steve seemed to be somewhat suspicious of the Foundation itself...but the list of patrons included in her conference material listed the Brit Prime Minister...The plane's engines increased revs.

There goes my last chance to bolt, thought Damie.

The woman had left the Search for Excalibur and the Grail and was back with the Hunting Causeway and the Walks and ceremonies they intended to enjoy.

Damie allowed her mind to wander again over the Maytime cycle myths as she listened and nodded and shifted in her seat. The Green Man, Cernunous, Gawain and the Green Knight, Robin Hood...the Verdant One, the Riddle Walker, the Green Lady...

Damie wished they would get underway, maybe the woman would wind down and go to sleep and Damie could find out who all Steve's hole-and-corner business was about. She decided purple was a tiresome color... Shouldn't be long now, they were moving across the tarmac.

"and you have a very nice calm aura," the woman was saying, "a nice sea green."

"Um...thank you." When did this get personal? She'd let her attention wander too far.

Please, please, thought Damie, don't offer to read my palm or calculate my horoscope, or haul out your tarot cards or anything. She brushed at some dog hairs still clinging to her pants with one hand and covered a yawn with the other.

"You have a dog, I see, pets are very psychic, don't you think? the woman said. "What kind is it? What do you call it?"

"Mauthe Doog," said Damie, feeling naughty. Doog was about as psychic as a doorstop.
She paused. The reference went over the woman's head.

"Though usually I just yell 'Here Pup!'
He' Barghest." No reaction. "...part Baskerville..." Still no reaction.

The woman was all airy mystic and light then, fairies and romance, all peace and love. No blood and guts in her versions. Nothing grim or vicious, like rape and murder, only the safe half-truth. Gwyn ap Nudd, the Dark Lord, led the Yith Hounds on the Wild Hunt that tore men into bloody bits.

"...and part Bouvier. He's a Humane Society reject. The children got him for me after..."
Damie stopped. She hadn't meant to add that.


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Ric said...

Wow, you do get some interesting visitors.

Then again, this is an interesting site.

Story is going along well. A lot of info, a lot of stuff to fill us in on later. And, all very intriguing.

Robyn said...

Fabulous, Bernita. Your story's really hooking me, especially the part about slaying her own dragons.

My friend and I went past a metaphysical fair in a mall once. This earnest young man told my friend, "You have a really positive aura." She asked him, "Does that mean I look really gullible?"

I'm ashamed to admit we had some fun with him before I told him, "See you at the telepathy conference." At his blank look, I said sympathetically, "Oh...guess you didn't get the message."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

It's getting really good, but I think there was a joke there about the dog's name that went over my head????

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Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric,very, very nice to have a male perspective.
Oh Robyn, how could you resist? As Marshall McLuhan said "the medium is the message!"
Bonnie, it's a bit of an insiders joke. A Mauthe Doog,a bargest, is the standard spectral "black dog" of portent who haunts lonely travellers. Doyle based the Hound of the Baskerville's on the legends. She's a mythologist, she has a black dog. She offers it both as a clue and an idle test of the woman's knowledge.
Thank you,dear people.

Anonymous said...

I'm really liking the interaction with the lilac lady. I would cut back on the "telling" rather than "showing" sections giving exposition, though. I would try to weave them into the action more slowly.

Bernita said...

Jason, since the plane isn't about to be hijacked, there's not much scope for action at the moment.This is intended to be credentials establishment, and character development considering her rather peculiar area of expertise. I intnded to illustrate that by her thoughts, triggered by the fellow passenger rather than flat out declare them.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Well, color me...duly tested.

Although I understand 'black', I had no concept that there were standard spectral 'black dogs'. :-)

I guess I must "bone" up on my spectral analysis...yikes...I've gone off the deep edge!

Bernita said...

When I think of you, Bonnie, I understand what "pure gold" means.
The black dog haunt is pretty common, even my husband's family claims to be haunted by one.

Tsavo Leone said...


I wasn't aware that the 'black dog' ran as far as the Americas. There's quite a list of them in the UK (two of them being relatively local to where I live), going by a variety of names (Black Shuck being the one that I remember most from my childhood reading, and Bargest being a more recent discovery). It's commonly thought that they may, in some way, be related to the myths/legends surrounding Cerberus (Greek; allegedly from kerberos, 'demon of the pit'), Garm (Norse; serving a similar role to Cerberus), and Syama & Sabala (Indian; the four-eyed hounds of Yama).

If Bonnie is serious about wanting to "bone" up on the subject, might I respectfully suggest Wikipedia as a starting point.

Bernita: Thank you for your post on my blog. It put a huge smile on my face after a very rough day. I suspect I'll be putting in some quality time lurking here whilst I catch up with the goings-on in the Bernita-verse.

Bernita said...

Tsavo, you are very welcome, both here and "there." I meant it. I do not make idle posts.
And thank you for the perfectly lovely post here.