The Oracle Speaks

[page back]

How bewildered is he? And aye, he more than half believes himself enchanted, as if the youth’s Keltoi looks are the sign of ancient, half-savage magic that has torn the heart from his breast. Yet Soran -- sweet, confused, bemused Soran! -- is far from the halfwit; he knows the truth.

He recalls well enough how he chose the Zehefti, seduced him and overcame the arrogant pride … and how the hunt was hard won. Faunos gave nothing freely: Soran worked to earn every caress, every kiss. Spellcraft was never thus for the enchanted one, whose falling would be made easy and glorious, a tumult of desire.

Today, every mane of copper-red hair, every long-limbed youth, every green-eyed water gypsy makes him see Faunos. Every day the wanderers come into Vayal looking for work, the chance to labor for a day and earn a few honest coins to refurbish a boat or buy the fripperies for which this city is so famed. Our silks are the finest, our jewelry the grandest, our food the most delicious, our houris the most delectable.

But none of them is Faunos. Soran watches the common folk from the terraces bellow the palace while Helios rides his blazing chariot to the zenith of noon, and on -- and the crowds gather for the games. They stream in from the palatine, with their bondsmen and parasols, prized hunting dogs and painted amphorae -- all for show, each trying to out-do the other and be noticed at court.

None of their display interests Soran. He had one consuming thought: Where is Baobo, with news from the waterfront? Has the mongrel let a ship escape? A single ship would be enough, sneaking out of the bay while the soldiers stand idle. Soran threatens beneath his breath, monstrous curses which Baobo has doubtless earned in his long and contemptible career.

Yet ... if Soran would but walk into the temple of Mayat -- shuck his cloak and sandals, enter bareheaded and barefoot, humble as a common man, which is the way of my house -- he would step into the chill embrace of marble and crystal and might call upon the Oracle.

He never thinks to speak with Iridan, and beyond the vault, which is prison and tomb, Iridan can only watch the travels and industries, the joys and sorrows of men.

O, that I were mortal flesh! Or that I were truly dead, the ashes of my bones scattered upon the waters, the part of me that is moonlight and stardust and pure thought cast upon the ocean of the air, to wander where I will.

And would the Oracle speak plainly, if Soran were to enter into the House of Mayat, humble, even contrite, and petition for my knowledge with pretty words?

Mayhap I would … mayhap, I would not. The chore of making mortal lives easier is not mine, for I will not have it, I reject it -- I who was punished like the vilest criminal, and was innocent!

Go, then, sweet Soran, whose mind is filled with doubt, whose heart belongs to another, and whose limbs move, today, without real purpose or will, from task to task. Go thou, and hunt down a dream. Find the Zehefti youth -- he is still on Atlantan soil. Find him, and discover the feeling of suffering, as others have suffered in the name of Imperial Vayal.

Witchfinder. Witchtaker. The words strike dread into the hearts of even the most brave. And how would Soran feel, should he learn that he spent his passion upon a witchboy born from a line of kings far older and more magnificent than his own line? Would Soran care, when his pulse races at the imaginings of a white marble villa set amid olive groves, above the bay, and Faunos for his pleasure, captive upon silk sheets!

The crowds gather for the games and he listens to their idle chatter. They speak in hushed tones of Zeheft and of Ilios, and he hears terror in their voices. Many of them have come from the temples of Gaya and Volcos and Aeolus, where they paid for prayers, candles and joss. Priests will be singing long into the night, begging the gods to hold the contagion away from Vayal, lest the City of the Sun darken with plague, like the crow-shadow that has settled upon Ilios.

The ruins of Zeheft are filled with the dead and already stinking. All the long island lies between this shambles and Vayal, but when fear is rife, distance is never far enough. Soran hears all this and thinks only that the doom of Zeheft will make his task easier -- for Faunos cannot return there.

No one will approach the old city now; the west is deserted, and Faunos will be simpler to find. Soon, Soran promises himself. In a matter of hours it will be Faunos on warm crushed silk, crying out his pleasure in the moonlight where he vowed to dance to the glory of Selene. He will dance still, Soran thinks with dark satisfaction -- but it will be the kind of dance performed by two, upon cushions, while the white face of Selene dwindles into the west.

Turn page to Chapter Twelve...

Return to Chapter Eleven...

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.

Aricia's Gay Book Shoppe

Aricia's Gay Book Shoppe
Every title hand picked, many of them already reviewed AG's Gay Book Blog -- hundreds of books and movies spanning a couple of decades, celebrating gay publishing and filmmaking!


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...

The commercial break:

The NARC novels are now at Amazon!

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.

Locations of visitors to this page