Iridan Speaks

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How does he walks in beauty, like the slow, sweet hours of night! Is Iridan so completely dead that all taste and nuance of the flesh have been forgotten? Ha! If they were, sweet Soran would stir the memory, awaken the animal magics of lust and desire. And Soran is keenly aware of the power of his charms -- so like his father, long ago.

Half a thousand houris have serviced him at the mere snap of his fingers. A word from him, and the most lissome, lovesome concubines in palace and temple would cast off the silk and spread for him, all the while calling this blue-eyed angel the prince of paradise.

And yet he walks alone, even here. As he has sampled the wares of courtesan and concubine and passed on, now he passes through the wanderers’ camp, where the gypsy ships are drawn up on the sand. He appraises the dancer, harlot and sailor, the minstrel and juggler, and no face, no body, quite meets what he wants tonight.

The black racer is tethered, grazing saltgrass up on the dunes, where a boy will watch over him for a coin, and Soran steps into the pool of the torchlight. Spark fly upward, caught in fire-drafts, and beyond, the night is blue-black, humid, cool, and curiously calm now. The storm has settled. The Zeheftimen are long gone, and as always the water gypsies are intent on their revels. They have seen too many lands drowned at the whim of Hurucan to mourn for another, and to them Zeheft was just a port, a place to do business, take on food and water, before they vanish with the tide.

Soran knows them, or at least their kind. The Nubiye, tall, lean and dusky, with dreadlocked manes and scarified bodies. The Hecala, small and swarthy, astute in the market, courageous on the sea. The Incari, nimble, quick and bold, copper-skinned and brown eyed, with coiling tattoos and the arrogant manner of men who know they own the sea trade. And the Zehefti, with their red hair, golden skin, Keltoi blue and green eyes -- outcasts already, even in their own land.

O, if I should sing of the Zeheftimen, whose line began with Diomedas and ends with Faunos, I would sing of woe, of the sorrow of a defeated people. I have seen the many ages of mankind, and when the priests and scholars of Vayal ask me what I know, I speak in riddles, tormenting them with glimpsed half-truth.

I could tell thee how the serpents coil beneath the sea, and how the oil a hundred burning lamps fired the great pavilions of war, in battle camps where the Atlantan and their mercenaries contested the Empire...

But no: sooner would I speak to thee of passion, for Soran walks tonight like the raven-haired son of Helios, who knows everything of the pleasures of the flesh, yet knows no smallest detail of love. He races in where even Furies would not tread, laughing as if life is a game. He sways to the music of the gypsy harpers, drinks wine from the lips of an Incari boy.

Does Soran know, he is begging to be seduced? Perhaps. But not for a moment does he guess who shall pay the price.

Iridan has little left save watching and dreaming away the sad hours. I watch the battering storms that year by year pound the islands of the Empire to rubble, and yet I know the truth. It is not the wind and wave that break higher, with the wrath of Hurucan and his divine brothers. It is the fury of Volcos and his cousin demons, deep within the earth which pulls the New Kingdom down to its doom, a surely as the old was razed to ashes.

One day Soran will learn all this – but not tonight. These few, sublime hours are for self-discovery, bittersweet as the half-ripe fruit that dances on the tongue and then gripes the belly – like luscious wine which seduces the nose and punishes the head.

The firelight enfolds him like lovers’ arms. The music fills his senses and his heart quickens as he searches for the one he wants. He knows the face and form already, though he has not yet seen these limbs, these eyes.

Just a single night, he thinks – one night, to prove himself a man, as killing the leopard and bedding the legion of courtesans have never done. Ten years ago, he rode his father’s chariot home and wore the leopard skin like a cloak; that night, he relished the tender flesh of the girl from Aegyptos, the boy from Incaria, the gelding from Kush, but in the morning he did his sire’s and brothers’ bidding as always, like any bondsman.

Tonight is his own, and he is light headed with the joyous freedom of it. He is of age, and hunting for a mate of his own choosing.

O, young men’s sports are these, young men’s glorious follies … and poor Iridan, Oracle, is even now vulnerable to the pangs of envy for youth, for life and beauty. Shall I speak the truth, for once without rhyme and riddle?

On this night, as no other, I envy my sweet Soran as he makes his way to the flickering heat of the gypsy fires. I envy even the prickle of his nose as he breathes the aromatic smoke of cedar and spruce, the tang upon his tongue, as he tastes the sweet, heavy wines of distant lands. And I envy all Soran shall soon have, though as yet he has no thought of the future … and if he did, mayhap he would turn tail and flee!

Turn page to Chapter Nine...

Return to Chapter Eight...

About Legends...

This story has its roots in the 1980s. About the time I signed with GMP, I was kicking around the idea for a massive novel -- the problem being, I had no time to develop it. At the time, one of my "literary friends" was Lane Ingram, who passed away some years ago. When Lane volunteered to develop the narrative from my storyline, I was surprised and very agreeable; and a version of it was circulated on a small scale, to a very appreciative audience!

Lane had no aspirations to be a professional novelist, which meant writing was fun, and remained fun, while I did battle with "style" and "technique." And then one day Lane was gone, without leaving much of anything to mark the place in the world which had once bee occupied by an individual who was large in every sense of the word.

Let's change that. I'm bringing LEGENDS "to the screen" in a form which preserves as much of Lane's input as I possibly can, while at the same time properly developing it, bringing it up to full professional standard ... cutting and trimming, correcting the errant, though enthusiastic, amateur ... polishing it to the professional sparkle you've come to expect from Mel Keegan.

LEGENDS will be Lane's memorial. Here's to you, kiddo, wherever you are: enjoy.

Ebook screenreaders:

Downloading LEGENDS and reading from the computer screen? Join the club! Most people are stuck in the same situation ... and it's a right-royal pain. At this time, MK also is still trying to make the transition to one of the ebook screenreaders. The price of most of them is still high, but in the course of shopping around, Mel has found two that are coming under extremely close scrutiny. The Bebook and the Sony look like being the best deals at this time. In due course, we'll be reviewing them right here. Mel Keegan has decided it's going to be one of these two -- but they're very comparable, so ... take your pick. Either one would be perfect for reading LEGENDS, or other digital novels.

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The art appearing on this site, illustrating elements of this novel, is by Jade, my cover artist from DreamCraft.

Soon you'll be able to order prints, treeshirts, mugs, mousepads and a lot more, featuring this artwork and manufactured in the US by

The portfolio is still growing, and a gallery is online. Return to this page now and then to see new addition...

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Research Tales

A great deal of research for this novel was done, and subjects Atlantean most often begun with a study of the Trojan wars.

Why? Because the iLiad is one of the very oldest bodies of writing which is also extensive enough to be useful. The problem with the iLiad is -- unless you're fluent in Ancient Green (and who is?) you'll be working from the translations ... and the "disagreement" between them is counfounding for one who's not a Homerian scholar!

The solution? Track down a book that translates the translations -- gets them out of the rich, ripe, flowery language of poetry and into a solid historical context. And in this, MK lucked out. Such a book exists: The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. It reads like a novel, and if you wanted something to get your teeth into ... perhaps after watching the movie, Troy, or after reading Legends -- this is the book you've been looking for.

There's another very scholarly work, The Flood From Heaven by Eberhard Zanger, which "deciphers the evidence" and places Atlantis at Troy! Now, Legends is about five thousand miles from Zanger's work (literally -- due west!) but having said that, Zanger is to Plato what Strauss is to Homer, and the work was extremely helpful.

Now, working even further back through time, you want a "scholar" (and note the quotation marks on that word) who spent a lifetime researching (ouch!) Atlantis. And again, MK lucked out, because there is such a man. A very brilliant man by the name of Ignatius Donnelly, whose "pop-science" book, dating from 1882, is still in print today, in several editions! It's thorough, it's astonishing, and it makes ... quite a case for Atlantis. Not that anyone believes in such things. Right?

There are also some good documentaries on DVD, if this is altogether far too much reading!

And of course, if you want to get into the spirit of the thing (!) you can always put on Troy and let Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana and company provide the inspiration! Speaking of which, have you seen the director's cut? Highly recommended.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: Legends is copyright 2009 by Mel Keegan. Please do download the whole novel, which is in HTML format, compatible with your screenreader, PC or Mac. However ... please don't gift it to your friends. Instead, give them the url of this page and recommend that they download it for themselves. The reason is simple: author's income is earned via the adverting on these pages. If they're not loaded, nothing is earned. MK has bills to pay too, and for your cooperation ... thank you kindly!

Note that Legends is NOT covered by the "Creative Commons." This work is the intellectual property of Mel Keegan. If you would like to use parts of it elsewhere, please contact MK via this blog.

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