|Raging Sea: Reckonings |
by Kim Headlee
FREE on Kindle Feb 16-18, 2016!
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Those who aspire to greatness must first learn servanthood.
Stripped of kin, clan, country, and even his identity for having failed the most important woman in his life and her infant son, Angusel begins the arduous task of rebuilding his life and reclaiming his honor. The path he treads is fraught with uncomfortable revelations, unexpected reconciliations… and unavoidabble reckonings.
Gull gave Angusel a measuring stare, glanced at the skies—which had remained calm, and the temperature was behaving itself for once—and reached a decision. â€œElian, the wood caan keep. Our wee lion cub needs a woman. So do I, truth be told.â€ He picked up his sword.
Over Angusel's embarrassed, What! soared Elianâ's hearty laughter. "I suppose you know just the place," said the centurion with a grin.
"Of course. Don't you?" Gull shot back. When he got no response, he continued, "How long has it been for ye, auld boar?"
Elianâ's grin soured. He pivoted on his wooden leg and stomped inside the cottage. Without looking back he said, "None of your cac-licking business. Take him, then. Just don't be all day about it." The words faded with distance until the last few were almost inaudible.
Learn more about Angusel (a.k.a. Lancelot) from Raging Sea: Reckonings.
For having failed the most important person in my life, and her infant son, I am no longer known by my birth name, Angusel. I now call myself Aonar a Dubh Loch, which in your tongue means â€œAlone from the Black Lake.â€ It is a fitting name for the condition of my soul.
I am a soldier in the Dragon Legion of Brydein, an officer of optio rank. This is the lowest rank in the officer corps and carries no command authority. This rank is bestowed upon couriers and spies. As an optio attached to the Fifth Turma of the Manx Cohort, I have been called upon to perform both types of service.
- Level of schooling, or self-taught
For the better part of two years, as a condition of my being held hostage by the Pendragon to ensure that my mother would not again attack the Pendragonâ€™s people, I studied with the monks on the Isle of Maun. In spite of my hostage status—and the fact tthat the monksâ€™ lessons were not the favorite part of my dayâ€”I now look back upon that time with wistful longing.
I was born under the sign of the Lion, in the month known by the Romans as Junius—or June, as you would say—in the year numbered by Christian reckoning as 479. My people do not bother to label the passage of years, nor do they bother with the remembrance of birth days.
The place of my birth—an earth-and-timmber fortress named Senaudon atop a high stone promontory—is now covered by a massive stone construction called Stirling Castle in what is now Scotland. It grieves me that the invaders I fought so hard to repel have lent their name to this land, and that my people, the Caledonians—or Picts, as the Romans insisted upon naming us—are all but lost in the mists of time.
- Currently residing in...
Because I was gravely wounded in my last battle, the renowned healer Prioress Niniane has granted me permission to heal under her care at Rushen Priory on the Isle of Maun.
- Favorite type of pet
If by â€œpetâ€ you mean an animal of which I am fond, I possess a deep affinity for my warhorse Stonn. He has saved my life in battle countless times. I also like cats, and they me, though there is no one special cat in my life at this time.
- Favorite place to visit
There is a large rock just off the Manx shoreline near the priory where I go to escape the pressures of my life, and just sit and think. At high tide, itâ€™s completely surrounded by water, and it makes me feel at one with the â€œraging seaâ€ that is my namesake.
- Significant other
Gyan, the most significant woman in my life, I can never be with in any romantic sense, for she is married to Arthur, the man she loves with all her heart, and he her. I would sooner take my own life than cause any harm to befall their relationship. Recently I met another woman, Eileann, who was kind to me beyond all reason or expectation, even though I am an outcast among our people. Eileann is as beautiful and gentle a soul as any I have ever known, and I consider it an honor simply to know her. Whether she and I are destined to be together someday, only the gods know.
- Most important goal
The one thing I yearn for with all my soul is to reclaim my place as a warrior at Gyanâ€™s side. Since the moment I met her, all I've ever wanted was to be her champion and protector. That honor was stripped from me when I failed to save the life of Gyan's infant son, a failure that shall haunt me for the rest of my days.
- Worst fear or nightmare
My worst fear is that I shall never earn Gyan's forgiveness, for without it, I can never achieve my most important goal.
- Favorite food
With my food choices being dictated by what rations of meat and ale are offered to soldiers in the Dragon Legion, I do not give thought to what might be my favorite… though a hot, juicy slice of roast porkk does sound tempting just now.
- Wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between?
Before the failure that caused me to be stripped of kin, clan, country, and purpose, I was Oighre Albainaich Chaledon—that is to say, the Exallted Heir of Clan Alban, a prince among my people, with all the wealth and privileges that title entailed. Now, I own nothing more than the clothes on my back and the armor and weapons stored in the armory on my behalf.
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
What is a lottery? For me and everyone I know, the casting of lots is not something that is won, for the consequence usually entails having to perform an unpleasant duty, such as mucking the stables.
- Secret desire or fantasy
I dare not speak it, lest Arthur overhear. He would eat my heart for breakfast, and then use the rest of me for target practice. I believe that my heart is of more use to him—and her—where it it is.
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About the Author
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter haaving been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem too be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight 1st edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends for nigh on half a century.