Interview With Another Royal – Young Will

I had so much fun interviewing King William of Coldthwaite and his lovely wife, Jael. If you missed it, you can read it here. I was on my way out of the castle, when who should I run into—literally—Will Morgan. Yes! Young Will from The Lady of the Haven. He is as handsome as his uncle, the king. *Sigh*

So of course I had to ask him a few questions. He walked me to the landing—you can only get to Coldthwaite via boat this time of year. Or in this case, Dragonship. I’m also a close friend of Benabi’s. If you’re ever in the Mediterranean, you absolutely must visit Milos (pronounced mee-los btw).
Back to the subject: Young Will/Will Morgan.
Even with a slight limp from his injury in the first book, he is dashing. He’s not quite as tall as the king and is slighter of build. His dark hair is tied back, and he keeps his mustache and beard neatly trimmed. He has a wonderful smile, and he smiles often.
So after I bumped into him (the lighting in ancient castles is atrocious!), I introduced myself. He was dumbstruck. Happily, that was short-lived, or this would’ve been a mini interview. He bowed over my hand and kissed it. Oh shivers!
Me: So, now that you’re all grown up, you’re known as Will Morgan, but many of my readers would recognize you as “Young Will.” Were you glad to put that name behind you?
Will: The name and the person, Lady Betty. I’ve no wish to be that young man again. Always last and left behind, daily struggling with my own weakness.
Me: But your patience and perseverance paid off, I believe.
Will: I wish I could say twas true, my lady. I murmured and complained enough to challenge the Hebrews on their desert trek. It was mercy, more like, and being in the right place at the right time.
Me: That’s certainly true of your first meeting with the Lady of the Haven.
Will: Aye, tis true. (He chuckles)–Eh … she had us all fooled, she did. I thought for certain it was a young lad I was dealing with. She looked like a street urchin. I was that surprised when I found out there was a female under all that filth. And a lady at that.
Me: We’d made the landing by now. I craned my neck to see the top of the sails, unfurled for a last check before we set off. The emblem of the dragon spitting fire always impressed me. In an age of handcrafting, these beautiful silk sails tended to be spot-on. Each identical to the others. Will noticed the direction of my gaze.
Will: Impressive, aren’t they? And fast, too.
He steps aboard then turns about, and before I could follow him down, takes my breath away (literally) by clutching me about the waist and hoisting me aboard. No easy feat, I promise you. I clamp my hand over my lips to suppress a giggle.
Me: Thank you, kind sir.
Will: (Bows) Tis I, who am in your debt, madam.
We were just in time it seemed. A few moments later, a couple of burly men weighed anchor and the ship began to move. Beneath the place where we stood, men wrestled with oars, turning about. I peered over the side to witness the fruits of their labor. When I glanced back up, I found Will in the bow, one hand shielding his eyes, the other upraised, saluting someone who stood on the upper terrace of Coldthwaite castle. There, a long white scarf unfurled. Lady Jael, no doubt. I moved to his side.
Me: At one time, I believe you had quite a crush on that lady.
Will: (Turns about to gaze at me, a slight frown creasing his handsome brow) Crush? Like killing a bug?
Me: (I laugh) Not quite. I should have said, you were at one time, enamored of your aunt. Before she was your aunt, of course.
Will: (Blushes) Aye, my lady, you alone would know that. Idolized her, somewhat, I did. She saved my life. (Smacks his thigh) And my leg.
Me: I smile and gaze upriver. Our destination: Corwinder-by-the-Sea, a place of rugged beauty; Will’s home.
Are you happy to be going home?
Will: Always. Happiness abides there for me. And I’ve a brand new crop of raw recruits to train. So yes, my lady, I am happy. (The smile returns, lending credence to his words).
We stand side-by-side in the bow. The freshening wind off the river is invigorating. For a moment, I’m tempted to reenact the scene between Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Winslet, but it is only a fleeting thought. I wouldn’t want to do anything to alienate the dear lady who waits for him in Corwinder. I won’t mention her name. That’d be a spoiler for those of you who haven’t read A Gathering of Eagles.
I’m planning to stay a couple of days in Corwinder, then I’m off again, this time in a much smaller vessel. Headed to the Falls of Verani, along with a certain Roman missionary, the only non-Rogan who knows the location of the disappearing trail. Well, except for me, of course.

Image Credit: Galleon Sail Ship Clip Art from (by papapishu)

Buy Links for Jael of Rogan Novels

Interview With a Dream

And now, my interview with the King, William du Frain, of Coldthwaite:

Me: Welcome to my blog, Your Majesty.

King William of Coldthwaite’s dark hair is pulled back, tied at the nape of his neck. He’s dressed in an indigo tunic cinched at the waist with an intricately carved leather belt. Highly polished black leather boots end just below the knee of his sueded leather britches. He wears no crown, but a rather large sapphire glints from its gold band on his right pinky. He exudes strength, eyes sparkle with life, and the smile … be still my heart … 

King: I am honored to be here, Lady Owens.
Me: You don’t really have to call me … Nevermind. I kind of like being addressed as “Lady” and wow, he’s handsome! Ahem. How would you describe your Queen, sir?
King: (Smiles) Jael–beautiful in every way–God’s gift to me. She … is as strong as any warrior I’ve fought beside. Though not in the physical strength, of course. I quite depend upon her, you see.
Me: She is famous in the Kingdom of Coldthwaite (pronounced Cold-thrate, by the way) and beyond for reasons that defy explanation.
King: (Dazzling smile) Thank you for pronouncing the name of our fair kingdom correctly. But then, I suppose you are an authority (glances over his shoulder). My queen would not like me to talk about it, even with you, Lady. But her gifts are quite unique, yes. There was one time … I was deliberating what my next step would be in battle. I feared for our lives and thought I may never see her face again. When suddenly there she was, kneeling before me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was so real, I reached out to touch her, but there was only emptiness. I could see her, and she spoke to me, but she was actually miles and miles away. She told me exactly what I needed to hear.
Me: Were you relieved, when you realized she was not actually there?
King: (Nods) Aye, indeed I was. I had no desire for her to be in such a dangerous situation. And of course, later on, when I heard what happened to her­­—well, you remember it, I know. A frown creases his forehead. His gaze sweeps the room then returns to my face, accompanied by a knowing smile. He gives me a wink. I have a confession. I worship the very ground she walks on.
Lady Jael: Blasphemy! You take that back!

I nearly jump out of my chair at her sudden appearance in our midst. Even knowing her capabilities as well as I do, I am not prepared for this. But what fun! Can I get her to talk to me?
The portraits I’ve seen of her do not do her justice. In person, she is lovely. She turns her azure eyes on me and suddenly, I want to slink away. But she gives me a very polite curtsey then a most gracious smile.
Lady Jael: It is you, isn’t it?
Me: I … I don’t know … er …
King: Yes, my love, it is she. Allow me to introduce Lady Betty, our beloved author.
A servant moves quickly to provide a chair for Lady Jael. She nods her thanks to him, and perches on the edge of the seat. After he withdraws, she gathers my hands in hers.
Lady Jael: Dearest Lady, thank you so much for hearing my call, and telling my story.
Me: Oh, I’m honored to do it. I just hope I’ve done your story justice.
Lady Jael: Glances at King. Oh, you have. We love what you’ve done for us.
Me: I would like to ask a question, if you don’t mind.
Lady Jael: Of course. Ask anything you wish.
Me: What does it feel like to disappear? Lady Jael arches her brows.Oops, I know what that means.
Lady Jael: “Except that.”
When the king has a sudden fit of coughing, I turn to look. Just as I thought. He’s laughing. I turn my attention back to Lady Jael. I am determined not to mess up this opportunity.
Me: I beg your pardon, Lady Jael. I meant no disrespect. She gives a gracious nod.
Me, again: What are you willing to share about your life? Something your readers don’t know about you. She’s still holding my hands. She lets them go and relaxes in her chair, a faraway look in her eyes.
Lady Jael: I remember my mother.
Me: Do you? I never knew that.
Lady Jael: I was only a few summers when she died, but I remember. She was lovely, with black hair and eyes like sapphires. She was a healer, too. It’s how she met my da. But she didn’t heal him, she worked her healing on his da, my grandpere.
Me: I see. That’s really interesting. Even the King seemed surprised. He sat forward in his chair.
Lady Jael: And there’s one other thing … I was not the firstborn.
My mouth drops open. This is something I never suspected.
King: I never knew this. Why have you never said anything?
Lady Jael: He was taken, before I was born.
King & Me: (simultaneously): Taken?
Me: You mean he died.
Her gaze pierces my soul. “He was taken. This is all I know.”

Well, this calls for some research. And maybe, just maybe … another story …

Prelude to a Gathering of Eagles: The Apostle, Part II

Crispus, a young man of Roman birth stayed with Patrick until the end. He looked after the old man and learned many things from him. More than anything, he longed to see the lands that Patrick had seen. From this elderly teacher, he learned the Anglican language and even wrote the last few missives that Patrick sent across the Great Sea. 
As he lay dying, Patrick said to Crispus. “If you go to the North young friend, take the scrolls with you. Any that you can bear to part with, leave with the young Prince William. He was greatly interested in them. He will ascend to the throne after his father. He will rule well, because he has a heart for God.” 
     A fortnight after Patrick joined his forefathers, Crispus boarded a sailing vessel to cross the Great Sea. He carried the precious scrolls in a large chest, which he had borne upon his own shoulders thus far. As the sun set and darkness descended, he stood on the deck and watched as the stars made their appearance. His soul swelled with the excitement of his journey. Something wonderful awaits.

     The Verani ran smooth and sleek as a mirror. An early morning mist lent an ethereal quality as Crispus looked over the vast basin. Strange sounds filled his ears as indigenous birds lifted their voices in concert. He sat down on a rock and closed his eyes.
     “Heavenly Father, I thank you. You have sent me to such a place, its wild beauty far surpasses anything I have ever seen. I pray that I will be ever vigilant in my calling, to feed the flock and further spread the message of the gospel of Christ. I thank you for your guidance and protection as I walk into the unknown.”
     A loud splash followed by an odd creaking noise, woke him from his morning meditation. An old wooden flatboat plied into view. It seemed too old and rickety to be navigable. The man who guided it was equally old and rickety, and as he approached, he grinned, revealing a mouth devoid of teeth except for one right in front. He seemed a jolly creature and Crispus warmed to him at once.

“Be ye a goin’ t’other side, man?”
“I am if you will take me.”
“Aye—fer a small sum. Have ye any animals ‘n such?”
“Just a pack mule.” Crispus pointed to a yew tree several feet away. “He’s tethered, yonder.” 
“Good. Takes two trips fer more ’n one animal. M’boat’s a bit skewy these days.”
Crispus arched his brows. This was going to take about as much faith as Peter walking on the water. He brought his mule forward and stepped carefully into the boat. The mule balked at first, but with the boatman’s help, he managed it. The old man cast off and then tossed a pole to Crispus. “I’d welcome a bit of help, be ye of a mind.”  
“I am happy to help.” If that will speed our journey. The leaky vessel seemed none too steady.
After a bit, the old man glanced back at Crispus. “Ye ain’t from around here, ere ye?”
Crispus shook his head. “I am not, good sir.” 
“Where ye goin’?”
“I am seeking a place to make a brief sojourn, until I get my bearings. Then I will continue to the coast.”
“Well, since ye be not from these parts, I will tell ye—ye’ll want to go west when ye reaches the far shore. Don’t ye go east to the rocks. 
‘Tis a cursed place.”
Crispus straightened. “Cursed?”
“Aye, allus has been.” He settled in, to rest a bit, while he told his tale. “Many years a family dwelt there, by name a Rogan, but they was a odd bunch. They met a bad end, they did. It’s a strange and mystical place, some say. Only ones at ever was able to stay there, was them Rogans.”
“It’s to the East, you say?”
“Aye, pressed up hard agin the Dolor Heights.” He removed his hat and mopped his brow with his forearm. “Ah, Dolor—now there’s another cursed place—though I hear tell things is better of late.” He grinned again. “Vah done smiled on them again, I reckon.”
As the meaning of the man’s words became clear, Crispus nodded his understanding. The man’s speech was a difficult to understand. Probably a different dialect of the same language Crispus had learned from Patrick. The occasional word thrown in was unmistakably of Hebrew origin, like the word for God, ‘Vah. Crispus squinted into the far horizon. These must be the ones of whom Patrick spoke! Or perhaps they were the ones descended from the Hebrews? The flatboat hit against the far shore. He steadied himself with the pole. 
The old man chuckled. “Ye done all right.”
  Crispus handed him a coin and nodded. “I did not catch your name.”
“I gave it not. ‘Tis Jeb—short for Jebuel—I be named fer some long ago, long forgotten pater.”
Ah, it is the Hebrew, then. “Well, good day Jebuel, and may God bless you.”
“And you, young gent. Mind what I say noo, get ye west.”
“Aye, sir,” Crispus said, but he fully intended to do just the opposite. He found the idea of a cursed piece of ground absolutely fascinating.