Thus Spake Iridan

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The cruelty of men is the plague that scourges this world, and none are more cruel, nor more blindly stupid, than the freemen of Vayal. In their ignorance, they believe every tale told to them by upstart priests who are no less ignorant, no less stupid, than themselves. Superstition has suffocated this land since the time of blood and fire, when the Old Kingdom was toppled. What price the quest for Vayal’s glory?

He runs like a deer, sweet Faunos, and does not even realize how the Power throbs through him even now. The curse of his forefathers is mending his bones, healing his wounds, while he flees for his liberty, if not his life.

So -- run, Faunos Phinneas Aeson, the last and fairest student of my old master’s pedigree. The fools will betray thee, they will hunt thee, but when has thou ever trusted men? Ever hast thou shunned them, and so cannot be played false by them.

Like a gazelle in the highlands, he is soon lost among the olive groves and vines which ramble away up the hillside, and he knows the shortest trails. There is a pounding in his heart and head, but the Power still pulses through his veins, nothing will stop him while there is a slightest chance of men seeing where he fled.

In his heart is the spark of dream, and it calls him a coward for his flight. But what should he have done? Would he stand before them while the mob gathered, and fight? The scene would have come swiftly to blood, and the law of Vayal would have called it murder.

Iridan, Oracle, whispered into the ear of sweet Faunos --
Run, boy! Be like the wind, without a backward glance!

Across the hill now, he splashes through a stream and stops there for a moment to drink. Sheep and goats peer foolishly at him, knowing nothing of the terrible business of men. In moments Faunos is moving again, scheming and planning for how he will move Galen, and where they will go.

He thinks to build a litter that can be dragged, and he will take the old man down to the water gypsies. He reasons that by now Keffek, the mercenary old camp master -- who would sell the services of his mother and siblings for a bit of silver -- will have vanished with the tide, and a different camp will be pitched below the dunes. And he is right. The water gypsies move constantly, which is very much to Faunos’s purpose.

Sharp as the wolf, his ears are cocked, listening out behind, but he hears nothing. He wonders if the physician and the carter were frightened enough to send for the soldiers … the ride to Vayal is a three-hour ordeal down the highroad, changing horses a dozen times at the taverns, exhausting one beast after another in the pursuit of speed.

With every step he prays to Helios and Gaya, to Selena and Hados, for a boon. He has fled like a coward, could the villagers not leave it there? Yet he knows they cannot. Their dread and superstition are fathoms deep -- they fear for their children, their crops, their animals, as they have been taught.

How many times have they heard this half-truth -- that the witchboys of the line of Diomedas can blind their eyes, turn their flesh to stone, alter the unborn of humans and beasts into the abomination, wither their crops in the field, fetch in the storm that destroys every house and inundates the land with salt water, rendering it barren for years.

And alas, a sparklet of truth lies buried deep within the dread of superstition. Each seventh son of line of Diomedas is born with the Power; but no scion of that great house was ever left to fumble through the learning alone, and wreak harm.

There is a truth which not even the great teachers, like Galen … like Iridan, may the gods one day take mercy upon him … can deny. The Power is blind and senseless. Like the wind of Hurucan and the wrath of Volcos, it would sweep away the sinner and the righteous at one time, if it were alllowed to.

But the senses and wits are provided by the living vessel in whom the Power is born, in any generation. Compassion and decency are the qualities of the host, and for twenty years a single mentor devotes his or her life to the tutorship of the youth

In all the centuries, never has there been a time when the Power was perverted, distorted, darkened by vile passions. Never has there been a witchboy whose heart was mean or cruel. Knowest thou not the one great truth? The Power itself fetches ancient magic into the seventh son of the seventh son, and it might be Diomedas himself, reborn.

knows all this, but does not yet feel it. Knowledge is like a verse he has read, an image he has seen -- dancing in memory, but not yet known to the heart. Many lessons must he learn, yet, before Galen would have called the tutorship complete; and those lessons will not be easy.

Behind him, headed east on the physician’s best horse, the carter lies flat over the withers of the sweated, straining animal. At this pace, he will be in Vayal while the fires of sunset still blaze in the west, over Zeheft. The carter knows where he is going, for he is an old soldier. He marched and fought for Vayal, quit the legion with twenty years’ service complete, and the gratuity to plunge into his trade. He is headed, straight as an arrow, for the chambers of Baobo, his old captain.

As the afternoon ages and the whole island begins to compose itself for evening, Iridan’s shade follows the priest, Druyus, who shadows the steps of Soranchele. Filled with anger, simmering with resentment for his great father, Soran has played better than he has in years.

His victory on the ball court is the talk of Vayal, and Druyus’s hot, dark eyes are fixed on the lithe, naked body for which he has lusted so long. In Soran’s mind, one thought foments: Baobo’s hunters will find Faunos very soon, perhaps tonight. His pulse quickens at the notion that he might have Faunos in his arms once more before the stars of midnight have finished their wheel about the pole.

Neither Soran nor Druyus, Baobo nor Faunos himself, yet knows that a man is racing toward Vayal, leaving a string of lamed horses and angry stablemen behind him.

Soon, Soran. Only wait, now, and ignore the hungry eyes of Druyus. O, men can be cruel -- and Soran knows more of Druyus than the priest might like. The vile one courts favor with Azhtoc, and Soran has come to hate him almost as much as Iridan despises him.

Peace, Soran – his time will come. Who knows this better than Iridan, Oracle?

Turn page to Chapter Fifteen...

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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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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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