Conferring with Susan, my editor, this morning, her advice to me was to top off my sanity tank by letting go of the nooze and working on my book all day. I’ve been doing that, and I feel saner already.
My current villain, Ysbott the Snake, fleeing a well-earned execution, has found a young girl named Qeqa living all alone in a strange, uninhabited sector of Lintum Forest. How has she managed to survive? She claims she’s been protected by “gnomes” who are only visible when they choose to be. It’s got to be a lie–but how else could she be living there? She’s strong and healthy, well-fed… and she just might turn out to be a more dangerous character than Ysbott himself.
You can’t spend much time with the Lady of the Lake without encountering a pre-Christian tradition among the Celtic peoples that certain lakes, ponds, and bogs were sacred places endowed with spiritual energy. Celtic chieftains threw valuable items into those pools as sacrifices. Kings sometimes sacrificed their finest swords.
Might Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, have been recovered from such a place? That would certainly explain why people believed the sword to have special qualities. I think that might resonate with anyone familiar with Japan’s sword tradition.
Well, the landlord’s done mowing the lawn, so I’ll go back outside for another session with my book.
(Can I get this post written before I have to go to the supermarket? Well, let’s try.)
In ancient days when Rome wallowed in its ruin and records were but poorly kept, if at all, there was said to be a Lady of the Lake who gave King Arthur his sword, Excalibur; and when Arthur died, it had to be returned to her.
For old-time Celtic peoples on both sides of the English Channel, certain ponds and lakes and bogs were considered holy places, mysterious places, places of power; and precious things were thrown into the water as sacrifices–swords, helmets, golden cups and cauldrons, and sometimes a prince or a princess, too.
There was probably more than one Lady of the Lake. What was she? A pagan priestess? But why should Christian kings and knights consult a pagan priestess? Was she mortal or immortal? She may have been a scholar: literacy would have been a rare gift in those days. We are talking fifteen hundred years ago, or more. And of course she would have precious swords: kings and chieftains had been tossing them into the lake for centuries.
How did the Lady of the Lake come to be responsible for raising and instructing Lancelot? How came she to fall in love with Sir Pelleas? Was she a witch? Was she Merlin’s pupil, who later turned against him because he had conceived an unlawful passion for her?
These are mysteries that are probably going to stay mysteries, try as we might to unravel them. But who knows what other discoveries we will make along the way?