Friday, 21 June 2013

A Ballad for Midsummer by Prince Elphin of Avalon

Prince Elphin of Avalon
A year long in Avalon Arthur slept
While his queen in fairest Camelot wept,
And a damsel with the Sword of Light
Fought shadows summoned by the evil knight.

A single jewel Arthur left with his queen
When he rode to battle on Camlann’s green;
Mordred’s axe cut the fearless king down
The day a dragon stole Camelot’s crown.

A stranger came on Arthur’s Day
To claim the maid of Morgan Le Fay
So Camelot’s champion rode out to fight,
One boy and his lance against a knight.

In Dragonland the crown lies hidden
Where Mordred and his men have ridden,
And druids of old breathed their last
Keeping the secrets of Pendragons past.

Arthur’s knights rode out at first light
With Sword and Lance both shining bright,
To hunt the traitor who killed their king
In valleys shadowed by the dragon’s wing.

Arthur’s great army fought on the plain
But their horses stumbled in the rain
Attacked by dragons, their blood ran red
In mist-bound valley their captive fled.

The thief lured Rhianna from the hill
Through valleys where ancient stones stand still
And enemies lurk in shadowed wood
To catch a damsel with their muffling hood.

Dragon riders of great renown
Were those who wore the Pendragon crown.
The Jewel of Annwn shines far and wide
Yet its smallest stones do secrets hide.

Darkness was Rhianna’s fate
Buried at Annwn’s ancient gate,
Where ghosts and shadows haunt the hills
And river of death from the rockface spills.

A finger of rock did point the way
To mountain high at close of day,
Where deep inside the dragon’s hoard
Harp and Lance shall find the Sword.

Fire blazed from every druid hill
Calling men afar, their blood to spill.
Over the sea Mordred’s army did ride
While the living drowned on its ghostly tide.

Camelot stood against the flood,
Her walls surrounded by lakes of blood
And ditches filled with demons dread,
When a damsel rode back from the dead.

A traitor sits at the table round,
Prince of Camelot, as yet uncrowned.
But only the true and rightful heir
Shall rule the knights who gather there.

Two Lights shone bright in Camelot’s hall
Where a dark knight sat among them all.
When Sword is set against the Crown,
Then shall Mordred be struck down.

That night they built a funeral pyre
To burn the traitor in cleansing fire.
Arthur's jewel to the Crown restored
May bring back Camelot’s rightful lord.

Read the full story in Crown of Dreams, Book 3 of the Pendragon Legacy, out now in hardcover from Templar.

More about Rhianna Pendragon and Prince Elphin at:

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

To Iain Banks – from your secret fan

Some of Iain Banks' SF books
One of my favourite SF writers Iain Banks has died from cancer, aged only 59. I thought it about time I wrote him a fan letter, so here it is.

Dear Iain Banks,

I had a dream last night where I was dancing on top of a high building, but everyone I knew was setting out on a long trek for the horizon. Although I had been enjoying myself, panic seized me, because my friends were all going to leave without me if I didn’t follow them. I prepared to jump off, then looked down and panicked again – the building was much higher than I’d thought, and there were a lot of strangers camped below, packed together like sunbathers on a beach so I couldn’t see a clear space to land. I rushed around the roof, checking all sides, and with every second the building grew higher and the people I knew got further away.

Then I spotted a small piece of empty sand, and (feeling a bit sick because by that time the roof was really high) made a leap for it. Part of the wall toppled down with me, and I worried about it crushing the people camped below as well as breaking my legs when I landed. Then I was down, perfectly balanced with knees bent to absorb the impact, the sand thankfully soft enough to cushion any bruises. Which is to say I survived the fall. I woke up at that point, needing to write this farewell letter to you.

I think you must be one of those who has gone to the horizon. And though you never knew me and will never read this letter, you did once sign a copy of your book “Excession” for me at Hay-on-Wye, inspiring this shy new sf/fantasy writer to follow in your footsteps.

Here’s the proof:

It turns out you were only 8 years older then me, and that is too young to die. Why is it that I am still here, able to dance on the roof whenever I want? Whereas you, who should still be up there dancing for your legion of fans, has left on a journey where none of us can follow?

Rest in peace, Iain Banks. I am still reading the books you left behind.

Your secret fan,

Friday, 7 June 2013

Suffragettes over at the History Girls...

I've just written a post at The History Girls about Emily Davison, the suffragette who died under the hooves of the king's horse while it ran in the Derby 100 years ago. She was campaigning on behalf of Votes for Women, since in those days women had no say in the running of the country. (Muse: Would you believe they still won't let unicorns vote?!)

You can watch a video of the race and read more about Emily here:


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