In Scotland finding his roots, Gil resurrects an ancient, murderous link to Guinevere, known to Scots as Vanora, and King Arthur of the Round Table.
When nightmares become reality, Gil must fight for his life against the real King Arthur, a man quite different from the tales of his chivalry and honor.
E D Skinner’s Ancestry
Elizabeth “Bessie” Watson is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. Along with her parents and siblings, she emigrated from the Lang Logie tollhouse in Scotland to Guelph, Canada in 1855. There, she married George Skinner, an English-emigrant to the same area. Her Skinner-named descendents led, after several generations, to myself.
A few years ago, I travelled to Scotland to find Lang Logie. Several of the scenes in this story are derived from that experience.
Nearby artifacts include Arthur’s Stone, one of several such places in the United Kingdom, and Vanora’s Mound, the unique burial location for Guinevere, known in Scotland as Vanora.
Caveat: The pub that serves Gil far too much Scotch does not exist. It is a pure fabrication.
A cold, wet draft made Gil Watson close his eyes and hunch his chin inside the heavy collar. The fabric chafed but held its shape from the crudeness of its weave.
“Slut!“ a voice barked in front of him.
Gil opened his eyes.
Five paces out on the stone-paved floor, a short, red-faced man stood with bunched fists on hips amidst a mess of tables and half-eaten food. Rust speckled his chain mail above mud-streaked leather boots. Deep lines struck across his forehead and bracketed his frown, but his eyes burnt with an unmistakable and deadly hatred.
A step behind him, four others in similar armor waited, their expressions also hard, committed, and ready for battle. All five wore white tunics with a large red cross atop their armor. Each person wore a leather belt with a sword scabbard around their waist. The four in the back had plain metal hilts, while the man in front had a silver hilt with red and blue jewels.
Gil ran a hand up to his forehead, the black stone in his silver ring glinting with the fire. He brushed back what he thought would be a loose wisp of grey hair but discovered instead the jet-black mop of his youth. He patted its thick waviness, reveling again, after so many years, at its sensuality.
A melodious woman’s voice came from Gil’s left. “My dear Arthur, you have us at a loss, your return—premature?—so soon.”
Gil turned his head to look, and his mouth crept open.
Cascading tresses of coppery-red hair tied back with opalescent white pearls swirled around her head. She had a long, straight nose, a prominent chin, and high cheekbones like some Roman statue. Her pale and glowing complexion bested the oyster baubles in her hair. Dressed in a full-length blue gown under a red jacket with embroidered white lace, she sat on an elegantly carved wood throne on a red pillow with silver tassels.
Her blue-green eyes flared at the filthy entourage in front of them.
“Alas,” she said, putting a hand to her nose, “the proof of your haste befouls the room. Pray, move to the hearth so it may draw away the evidence.”
Gil lifted a hand to hide his amusement. He liked this woman’s spunk.
He shifted in his seat and noticed he was sitting on a royal purple pillow with gold thread, and on a slightly taller wooden throne.
The armored man sneered at the woman. “Foul bitch. Castle whore. Polecat of bedchambers.”