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Ray McCarthy

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I dug in to the 1990s archives and found this, 1999 start of a story. There is a different version. On file is a plot summary.
In principle of what @The Judge was saying and @Brain Turner, I'll not offer ANY explinations or excuses. Honest! I'll save all the comments for when I redo this from the start.

I thought I ought to post something for crit for a 2015th post

Except ...
My Daughter did the Irish Dialogue, she's "native fluent". I don't know any Irish. I think I have an idea how to do this better now, but see what you think. The only change I've made since 1999 tonight is a few commas added and hard CR deleted. Lough Gur and the Dolman is real. Google translate will do the Irish for you. (The current new WIP is going nicely, thanks for advice, about 30K words done.). Maybe there is no market for a bilingual book!

--------------------

Eilis watched the jackdaws trying to get the crusts from the rook. A hoodie crow landed and they all scattered. The crow clumsily took off with the prize. She turned away from them and looked across the lake to the hill. The thin cropped grass and brambles looked vivid and vibrant with the autumn colours accentuated by the late afternoon sunshine.

She ignored the coarse cries of the ducks and rooks nearby as she shouldered her pack and mounted the bike. As usual she had lost track of time. But perhaps I have a few minutes to spare to look at the dolman beside the road.

Even walking the Dolmen would not have been far from the lake. The carpark just outside the gates had only two cars left. It was later than she had thought. Already the rooks were gathering in the trees
toward the castle ruin.


Nevertheless, though she risked finishing the ride home to Caherconlish in the dark, she stopped a few minutes later at the Dolmen. Too late she realised that she didn't have the antiquity to herself. There was an older middle aged man and a young man or perhaps a teenager. She was about to mount and cycle on again when the American accent assailed her.

"Can you tell us about these rocks, Mzz?" The older man buzzed.

The dark skinned teenager seemed embarrassed and made as if to draw away.

Eilis groaned inwardly. "What do you want to know, then?"

"We wondered what it would have looked like originally," The older man continued. "I'm Frank K. Smith, this is my son Bill. I suppose you'd guess I'm from New Jersey?"

Eilis threw down her pack and sat on it facing the two men who sat on rocks. Silently they all stared at the Dolmen for a while.

"You just come to Ireland?" Eilis asked no-one in particular.

"I arrived from New York yesterday," Frank explained.

"I don't really know ..." Eilis temporized.

"But you do come from around here?" Frank suggested.

"Yes," Eilis replied, "but dolmens are a bit before my time."

"How old are they then?" asked Bill.

"Celtic Stuff," Frank offered.

"A bit older even than that." Eilis explained as she got up and walked round it a bit. "Even in the Golden age of the Bards, in Celtic times the origin of these monuments was lost in the mists of time and legend."

"So how old then." Bill asked impatiently as they followed Eilis.

"Older than Jerusalem, older than the pyramids even."

"Gee," Frank exclaimed.

"Originally, perhaps 6,000 years ago these stones would have been covered over with soil and grass. But some might have been in use over 3,000 years, Eilis explained.

"What as?" Bill asked.

"Well sometimes as burial chambers, sometimes, who knows?" Eilis continued as she walked around. "I must go, it's later than I thought, nearly dark."

Eilis walked across the grass to the road and stopped in puzzlement. It was now nearly dark.

"Anyone got a light, I can't seem to find the road in the dark." She cried out." There must be a storm coming for darkness to fall so quickly!"

Frank and Bill followed her. Just then a cloud moved and suddenly the landscape was lit by silvery light.

"How can the Moon be risen so soon?" Eilis muttered softly.

After a few minutes looking around they sat down on rocks near the Dolmen. The moonlit landscape had no trace of a road, hedge, ditch, bicycle or Eilis's pack.

"Well this is a bummer," Frank commented to no-one in particular. "One minute we are on the road to Lough Gur, the next here."

"I think we are still in the same place." Bill claimed. "We just misplaced the road in the dark."

"You know which way the car park might be?" Frank asked Eilis.

"I don't understand why we can't find the road, though," She complained.

"I can see the hills clear enough in the moonlight. The lake should be over that way."

"Let's go then," Frank suggested. "You lead, and maybe on the way we will find the road. Must be some kind of Halloween joke. I bet your bike is in the car park."

"Not Halloween," Eilis insisted. "Samhain"

"What's sawin?" Bill asked.

"Samhain," Eilis repeated. "An ancient Celtic festival."

"Saw-win," Echoed Frank.

"No, Samhain," Eilis repeated again. "Quiet. I want to think"

They trudged on through the low scrub in single file, Eilis in front and Frank in the rear. They passed through a thin copse and suddenly Eilis stopped. So suddenly Bill nearly bumped into her. Spread out in front was the lake, gentle ripples of silver turning in the slight breeze. The evening seemed warm for the end of October. Further on around the lake to the right there was a faint glow and snatches of noise carried in the wind like a party. Eilis looked over to the hill on the right. Instead of a ruined castle surrounded by mature trees the hillside was bare and the outline of a stone circle gleamed in the full moon.

A man approached them from the direction of the party or barbecue or whatever. He hailed them. But Bill and Frank couldn't make out what he said. If Eilis heard, she made no sign. She stood staring toward the hill with the Stone Circle. The man seems roughly dressed Frank thought.

Now less than a few feet away he spoke again.

This time Eilis turned and answered: "Bi ag caint nios moille. Nilim abalta thu a thuiscint!"

In turn the stranger seemed puzzled, and repeated himself much more slowly and clearly. "Cad is anim diobh? Car as a thainig sibh? Cad 'ta sibh a ndeanamh anseo?

Eilis pointed to herself and said "Mise Eilis," then pointed to the others in turn saying "Bill, Frank," Then she said "Fan noimeid!"

Turning to the Bill and Frank she said "I don't quite know how to handle this. He wants to know who we are and why we are here."

"Tell him we are here because we're lost!" Frank offered.

"He also wants to know where we are from," Eilis continued, "I have a kind of idea that might be harder."

Eilis turned again to the stranger "Chailleamar ar shli."

The stranger studied them for a moment and then barked "B'eigean diobh teacht liom!

Eilis motioned to the others to follow. "He orders us to come with him."

It was brighter along the path with the moonlight reflected from the lake. As they got closer to the glow and the noise they saw it was a small village inside a palisade.

"An bhfuil namhaid agat?" Eilis enquired

The stranger stopped and stared at her, then shook his head. "Nil, coimeideann an fal na hainmhithe fiaine amach."

Bill nudged her, "What's that about?"

"The fence is to keep out wild animals, not enemies," She replied.

The village was inside a palisade or fence of stakes on top of a dyke.

From the entrance Eilis could see seven or eight structures, houses or huts with thatched roofs and adobe or mud plastered walls. As they passed the nearest, she saw the walls were of wattle construction and smoke issued from a hole in the centre of the roof. A clear area in the middle had a communal cooking area and a well. To the left she saw a large pen with goats. Hens dotted the open space pecking at this and that. To the right some skins were stretched over poles, presumably drying or curing.

--------
 

tinkerdan

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Not sure how well this one will do or what the intent is: to amuse or frustrate.

My limited translators come narrowly close to what the character Eilis is interpreting but not all that clearly and though I tried several translators the result was always the same.--I suspect they are all connected to the same translating engine. The only clear translation was wait a minute.
 

HareBrain

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I quite liked the setting at the start (bizarrely, Jethro Tull's Jack Frost and the Hoodie Crow was playing on my PC as I read the first line), but the first main issue is that you have three people we don't yet know, and thus have no reason to be interested in, talking at some length about a subject we also have no reason yet to be interested in -- or about which we already know enough that the conversation begins to seem pointless. I guess most people might be interested to learn more about dolmens if standing beside one and experiencing it in the stone, but that's not the same as reading about them in a book. Almost always, a reader will be interested in well-handled information in a story if (a) the information is important to a character, and (b) that character is important to the reader, i.e. the reader has built up an engagement with them. Relying on the information being of direct interest to the reader is dangerous.

A couple of other points. You use an awful lot of "saidisms". If you're not aware what these are, they're words used in place of "said", with the intention either of giving more information or variety, but which tend to stand out way too much and become intrusive, eventually creating an unintended comical effect.

"You just come to Ireland?" Eilis asked no-one in particular.

"I arrived from New York yesterday," Frank explained.

"I don't really know ..." Eilis temporized.

"But you do come from around here?" Frank suggested.

Don't be afraid to use "said" almost all the time. It's a word the reader tends not to notice.

I would also urge you to get to grips with dialogue punctuation. The lines quoted above are correct, but many of your others aren't. There's a useful discussion starting with this post:

http://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/51521/page-2#post-1302950

Hope this helps a bit.
 

Ray McCarthy

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@HareBrain
Thanks. I hope my recent writing has come on in the punctuation dept. Thanks for the other pointers.
@Brian Turner recommended:
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes
Jack Bickham
Which I bought and read. It emphasises too about the saidism. On the new writing I'm trying to put said always and then just change just some leaping out on reading draft. I shall re-read the book and post up a review.

The last modification dates on the files were in 1999, the dialogue was missing commas entirely, so I did shotgun a few commas in before posting!


-I suspect they are all connected to the same translating engine.
I think it's all Google based on EU documents (Google's brute force rosetta stone). Thanks for comment. Obviously for general market it won't work having more than tiniest amount of a language like Irish.

The plan was to do a really bilingual book for the Irish market. I think now, I'll write it all in English and get my daughter to do the Irish (Gaelic) bits (almost all the dialogue after the start) and submit both versions to Irish publishers, maybe for schools.
 

tinkerdan

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One note on said-isms beware of the said-istic side or what might be referred to as the knee-jerk reaction.

In my first effort I was over-enthusiastic with replacing everything with the allegedly almost invisible word of said. By the time I finished I started getting complaints of people bleeding from eyes, ears and nose from all the said-s. I have since moderated that with descriptive narrative that helps sort out who is speaking and throw away most dialogue tags when possible. Said is not invisible when it shows up with every piece of dialogue and that is compounded when you tend to use a lot of dialogue.
 

HareBrain

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Said is not invisible when it shows up with every piece of dialogue and that is compounded when you tend to use a lot of dialogue.

That's very true, and especially true when it gets into a rhythm. I've found that three or four lines on the trot is fine; beyond that you need to find some other way of varying it, like actions and so on.
 

The Judge

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If there are only two speakers then once you've set up who is who, you only need to include one dialogue attribution every four or five lines just to keep things straight, though it's often wise to break up long conversations with actions which can be used in place of attribution anyway.
 

Avid Scifi Fan

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The different language is a nice touch, but I wouldn't keep it that way for too long. It works from Bill and Franks POV because they don't understand it, but Eilis clearly does.

As a reader, I don't mind the reading the stuff I can't comprehend for a little while while a point is being made. I just wouldn't want the whole book to be like that. I recommend changing to a view from Eilis after a few bits of this dialog. With her full understanding of the language, it can return as normal speaking until the others learn the language (if they ever do).
 

Ray McCarthy

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I think when I re-write this I'll scrap the man and boy, just have Eilis. So all the explanations of Dolmans will be gone.

Walking wrong way round special place at dusk on special day of year and special year, she is transported to the "Otherworld" Manannán mac Lir transported the "Tuath Dé" to. They were never the Tuatha Dé Danaan, that's a later name added by the monks because in Irish the Israelites were called Tribe of God, which is Tuath Dé. There was no pre Celtic "Danu".

So also Eilis discovers a snag about coming back, as traditionally time is different speed in the Otherworld.

With only having Eilis, I'll not bother with a Bilingual edition as the real person Eilis was based on is now twice as old and not so good at Irish any more! The "Tuath Dé" vanished out of Irish history 2,500 to 3,700 years ago according to which source you read. Interestingly they can't have built Newgrange etc, as that is now known to be much older than thought. About 5,200 years old! No-one puts the arrival of the tall, blonde & red haired "Tuath Dé" at more than about 4,000 years ago max (Likely about 1950 BCE). Possibly they came from Norway. Some gold collars and some carving is all that's left.

Like the Vanir and Aesir tribes of Scandinavia, they later have become deified.

In reality of course a Modern Irish speaker couldn't manage even 300 AD Irish, though at a pinch some 500 AD (But English speakers would be flummoxed by 15th C mostly). Hebrew speakers could possibly cope to an extent with 3,500 year old Hebrew, though "amulet" now means cushion. They wouldn't cope with 1st Century as Aramaic is too different. Modern Hebrew speakers can't translate book of Daniel, but can translate books on either side.

Yes, I know loads of people have done this sort of story, from bored Irish Monks in 6th C to Stephen Lawhead today.
 

jastius

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The Irish in it wasn't bad. I caught the gist from other things I've read and didn't bother googling on the read through, you could mostly understand it.. So it isn't bad. If its a book, then a glossary with words and phrases would make it acceptable. I have seen that done a fair bit.

I understand that the whole american tourist thing was a throwaway for expositions sake, but I couldn't discard all companions for eilis entirely. Otherwise you might run into the same difficulty I noticed when you were switching points of view when Ellis was thinking and observing...
Of course you've probably figured that out by now.. But what about a snotty know it all american kid on a motorbike that deliberately tries to make her angry, get a rise out of her I believe is the slang.. Acting completely irreverent towards everything on purpose, until she has to help him, because he gets himself in trouble.
He thinks the rock was supposedto have something to do with whoopie Goldberg and star trek the next gen.. Or something. He is the one laughing at her beliefs and walking widdershins around the rock, daring the gods. Because he rode all the way out there to look at a stone.. And while he was getting there he nearly runs her off the road because he is roaring along. She is trying to get photos of the birds and plants.. Or even the sunset, and he hangs about causing more trouble because she is fun to bug.
So she can get upset with him for starting the trouble.
 
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Ray McCarthy

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Interesting idea.
Though why / how is an American kid loose in rural Limerick with a Motorbike?

I hadn't thought about the aspect of what Eilis actually believes, I had her pegged as a typical modern secular Limerick Irish Girl that was at the Coláiste as they speak Irish very well there, a rare secondary school where only English lessons are not in Gaelic. So purely a background of Catholic upbringing.
I don't believe I've ever met anyone that has "belief" in the old Gods. Of course we have neo-pagans and superstitious Catholics whose conception of various Saints is in reality a veneer over the old Gods (i.e. St. Bridget was a real Christian, an Abbess about 450 AD in Kildare, but most of the stuff around "her" is nothing to do with the real one, but the pre-Christian god Brigid of the Tuath Dé, daughter of the Dagda). People are a bit odd about Fairy Thorns.

For my "world building" I'm deconstructing all the stuff about the Tuath Dé:
Layer 1: All the 20th Century fiction and Neo-Paganism
Layer 2: The 17th to 20th C. stuff, started by the English guy with the adopted Irish name.
Layer 3: The stuff added by Monks, who appear to have invented Danu (doesn't seem to exist in in Pre-Christian Celtic Pantheon) and renamed Tuath Dé to Tuatha Dé Danaan because "The Israelites, the Tribes of God" when translated to Irish became referred to as Tuath Dé (=Tribe or people of God).
Layer 4: Pre-Christian Celtic Diefication (c.f. Scandinavian real Tribes of AEsir and Vanir, become Gods, Odin, Thor, Freya etc).

The Tuath Dé may have come from Norway between 1800BC and 2000BC, they were not gods, and then 1700BC or as late as 450BC displaced (likely most intermarried) by the Milesian Proto-Celts. Celts are small and dark. But Ireland and Scotland has pre-Viking Scandinavian Blonde & Red Hair and Blue and Green Eyes, maybe these are Scandinavian origin Tuath Dé. Celtic stories about them are about the same level as Marvel Comics. The Tuath Dé became conflated with the Sidhe (dwellers of the Mounds). The Mounds, esp. Newgrange etc are all far older (1,000+ years!) to than any possible arrival time for Tuath Dé. Since the Tuath Dé were not even called Tuatha Dé Danann before 5th C, any connection with Tribe of Dan, or the Danae Sea peoples known to Greeks is a fiction promoted probably initially by British Israelite and similar groups, in any case the time lines can't be made to match. There is no doubt the Sea Peoples, the Phoenicians did trade to Ireland, but later than Tuatha Dé, with Proto-Celts (who were all around the Southern Europe coasts, Cornwall, Brittany, North Spain etc)

Then adding back my own fiction that instead of Manannán mac Lir taking them to the Sidhe (the Mounds), he takes them to another World entirely.
 

jastius

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Rich kid avoiding college by Backpacking around Europe by motorbike? In imitation of Ewan Macgregor's trip and documentary. .. Wants to see where macgregor started his trip from.. Then the stupid kid doesn't even understand the difference between Scotland and Ireland? Its Eilis's opinion that he should be hurrying back to his college so they can thump some knowledge into him because most of the time he doesn't seem to have the sense to pour rain from a boot.
Steeped in the american culture of waste and excess, he has no idea that his actions or opinions might be offensive to a different culture...

And I don't know how Irish kids are about it, but once I have my backpack strapped on, I leave it on except to get something out of it, or when I am sitting upon a bench where I can't scooch forward or sideways. Its too much bother to unbuckle and rebuckle and seat correctly if there is a good sized load in it... And when its light on gear I can forget its on. (My bicycling one has two seatbelt like straps, across the chest and a padded one at the waist, to correctly hold the pack so it won't shift)
 
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Avid Scifi Fan

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Adding to what justius said, the lone kid may work better if slightly older to make the independance more believable (college exchange student or young adult exploring the world).

See where you want your story to go. Maybe having an antagonist along with provide points for exploring the scenery, explaining things to the reader, adding relationship opertunities, etc...
 

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The section started off well but soon lost me if I’m honest. Eilis meets two complete strangers and is not in the least concerned when odd events start happening. It doesn’t feel real, so I didn’t engage with it mate, what can I say. You need to get closer to the character and think about your set up more. Dialogue needs to feel natural, which it didn’t here. A lot as per HB to save a lot of typing.

Mix in actions, scene setting, emotions and character thoughts – keep the reader on the move and vary writing tools - very useful for trying to avoid “saids”.

Do a word search on “the”, and see what you think. I personally think you are over using the word “the” and it needs tighter editing.

I saw some very nice descriptive writing on show, so it’s far from all being negative. Keep at it lad, what doesn’t kill you and all that.
 

jastius

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As for wandering around limerick, maybe he mixed it up with Liverpool and wanted to see where the Beatles came from? :D
Though having an ancestor that came from in the general area is a more usual scenario. Perhaps his family came over to see where granny or great uncle was from?. His parents could be back at a bed and breakfast or touring some kind of museum he was not keen on seeing, so he took the motorbike they had on the back of the camper van the family had been traveling in and went on his own sightseeing trip as soon as his parents were out the door?? Or 'borrowed' the motorbike from someone to do with the place they were staying at?

Could be hiding from the draft if it was the sixties, though..
But that backpack around Europe thing is still popular.
 

Ray McCarthy

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My original translator supplied this comment and translations last night:

"It certainly looks like basic school Irish rather than real talking."
(Well she wrote it like that then!)

"Bi ag caint nios moille." Talk more slowly.
"Nilim abalta thu a thuiscint!" I can't understand you!
"Cad is anim diobh?" What are your names?
"Car as a thainig sibh?" Where have you come from?
"Cad 'ta sibh a ndeanamh anseo?" What are you doing here?
"Fan noimeid!" Wait a minute!
"Chailleamar ar shli." We lost our way.
"B'eigean diobh teacht liom!" You have to come with me.

The boy's father could be the boss of USA company in Shannon or Galway (I've actually known one, they have to get work Visa too, just like anyone from Africa or India.)
 

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Your actual dialogue is great and I suspect as a result you'd get away with hardly ever using any tag not even said (I discovered said isn't invisible when you use it in Chapter Six for the first time). Also you use names an awful lot - the text flows better when you use he, she, it when possible. And look for ways to cut words down. (however feel free to ignore me if it's a dialect thing) EG:

"Just arrived?" Eilis chewed on her gum, unable to avert her gaze.

The one on the left, Frank, didn't change his expression either. His mind seemed far away from here. "From New York yesterday,"

"Don't know ..." She shrugged. Maybe he was wishing he was back there. She wasn't sure she'd be here if she could be in New York.

"You from around here?" This time he looked at her.

"Yes," She slouched lower in the seat and chewed a bit harder. "but dolmens are a bit before my time."

"How old are they?" Bill, the one on the right.
 

Ray McCarthy

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Alice watched the jackdaws trying to get the crusts from the rook. A hoodie crow landed and they all scattered. The crow clumsily took off with the prize. She turned away from them and looked across the lake to the hill. The thin cropped grass and brambles looked vivid and vibrant with the autumn colours accentuated by the late afternoon sunshine.

She ignored the coarse cries of the ducks and rooks nearby as she shouldered her pack and mounted the bike. As usual she had lost track of time. But perhaps I have a few minutes to spare to look at the dolman beside the road.

Even walking the Dolmen would not have been far from the lake. The car park just outside the gates had only a motorbike and a car left. It was later than she had thought. Already the rooks were gathering in the trees toward the castle ruin.

Nevertheless, though she risked finishing the cycle home to Caherconlish in the dark, she stopped a few minutes later at the Dolmen. Too late she realised that she didn’t have the antiquity to herself. There was an older middle aged man and a young man or perhaps a teenager, the biker. She was about to mount and cycle on again when the American accent assailed her.

“Can you tell us about these rocks, Mzz?” The older man buzzed.

The dark skinned teenager seemed embarrassed and made as if to draw away.

Alice groaned inwardly. “What do you want to know, then?”

“We wondered what it would have looked like originally,” The older man continued. “I’m Frank K. Smith, this is Bill. I suppose you’d guess I’m from New Jersey?”

Alice threw down her pack and sat on it facing the two men who sat on rocks. Silently they all stared at the Dolmen for a while.

“You just come to Ireland?” Alice asked no-one in particular.

“I arrived from New York yesterday,” said Frank, “Bill is the son of a friend.”

“I don’t really know ...” said Alice.

“But you do come from around here?”

“Yes,” Alice replied, “but dolmens are a bit before my time.”

“How old are they then?” said Bill.

“Celtic Stuff,” insisted Frank.

“A bit older even than that.” Alice explained as she got up and walked round it a bit. “Even in the Golden age of the Bards, in Celtic times the origin of these monuments was lost in the mists of time and legend.”

“So how old then.” Bill asked impatiently as he, followed Alice “Older than Jerusalem, older than the pyramids even.”

“Gee,” Frank exclaimed. he hadn’t moved from his convenient rock ‘seat’.

“Originally, perhaps 4,000 years ago these stones would have been covered over with soil and grass. But some might have been in use over 1,000 years.”

She walked around again, Bill not far behind.

“What as?” Bill asked. “These bare rocks would have been a Fairy mound then.”

“Well sometimes as burial chambers, sometimes, who knows?” Alice continued as she walked around. “I must go, it’s later than I thought, suddenly very dark.”

Alice walked forward and hit into something.

“Anyone got a light, I can’t seem to find the road in the dark.” She cried out.” There must be a storm coming for darkness to fall so quickly!”

Bill turned on his torch.

They were in a cave which had a poor copy of the Dolman.

“Well this is a bummer,” Bill commented to no-one in particular. “One minute we are on the road to Lough Gur, the next here. Must be some kind of Halloween joke.”

“Not Halloween,” said Alice, “Samhain”

“What’s sawin?” said Bill.

“Samhain,” Alice repeated. “is an ancient Celtic festival.”

They walked on through the exit into a tunnel in single file, Bill in front. It was getting very cold and lighter They passed through a thin slit in the rock and suddenly Bill stopped. So suddenly Alice nearly bumped into him. Spread out in front was a vista of snow covered mountains in bright sunshine. Alice looked over to the hill on the right. Instead of a ruined castle surrounded by mature trees the hillside was bare and the outline of a stone circle stuck up out of snow.

“Toto, I don’t think this is Kansas,” said Bill.

“I’m a fool,” said Alice, “to have been walking around that Dolman this exact time of year at dusk, with me having the second sight according to Granny, though I never beleived it.”

“You know where we are?”

“Not exactly,” said Alice, “but it must be the the Otherworld Manannán Mac Lir sent the Tuath Dé to.”

They leaned against the cliff wall.

“I heard of the Tuatha Dé Danann,” said Bill, “They are the Shee, live in the Mounds?”

“Lots of people think that,” said Alice, “but it’s nonsense. The Celts defeated the Tuatha Dé and nearly a thousand years later the Christian Monks changed their name to Tuatha Dé Danann. The Sidhe are not Tuatha Dé, it meant mound, Newgrange is maybe 1,500 years before the Bronze Age of the Tuath Dé.”

“But I’ve tripped and fallen,” said Bill, “I’m hallucinating all this, I’m just making up what I imagine you are telling me.”

“I don’t know if the second sight,” said Alice, “the An Da Shealladh is real, but this is real, I’m real. I’m sure if you do something stupid and get killed, you’ll be dead. Right now we are missing. Your friend Frank will be thinking we ran off together. Later they will realise my bike and your motorbike are still there.”

“He’s my Dad’s friend,” said Bill, “this feeling of cold is because I’m unconscious.”

“You’re nuts,” said Alice, “we need to find help if we can’t go back. Loan me your torch. We need to go back.”

Alice was sure it was real. She knew the second sight, according to her Granny, never was the future, not in her family, and rarely a remote vision, but as to what it might be, Granny had never said. Mum had forbidden discussion of it.

They walked around the miniature copy of the Dolman in the inner cave. Nothing happened.

“Probably it needs dawn or dusk, or something else,” said Alice, “or this is one way.”

“You don’t know because this is my imagination,” said Bill, “I’ll wake up in hospital.”

They went outside again. Alice wished she had her pack.

“Look for any smoke,” she said.

In the direction of the stone circle was a faint smudge of smoke.

* * *

A youth approached them from the direction of camp fire. He hailed them. But Bill couldn’t make out what he said. If Alice heard, she made no sign. She stood staring toward the hill with the Stone Circle. The man seems roughly dressed, Frank thought. Now less than a few feet away he spoke again.

This time Alice turned and answered: “Bi ag caint nios moille. Nilim abalta thu a thuiscint!”

In turn the stranger seemed puzzled, and repeated himself much more slowly and clearly. Alice thought he said: “Cad is anim diobh? Car as a thainig sibh? Cad ‘ta sibh a ndeanamh anseo?

Alice pointed to herself and said “Mise Eilis,” then pointed and said “Bill.”

She addressed the youth again, “Fan noimeid!”

“I don’t quite know how to handle this,” she said, “he wants to know who we are and why we are here. He also wants to know where we are from. I have a kind of idea that might be harder.”

Alice turned again to the stranger “Chailleamar ar shli.”

The stranger studied them for a moment. “B’eigean diobh teacht liom!” he said.

Alice motioned to the others to follow. “He orders us to come with him.”

“Why are you speaking a different language to Bill than to me?” he said as they walked. “The one you are speaking to me does sound slightly more familiar though.”

“What?”

They stopped and looked at each other.

“Watch my mouth,” he said in what seemed like English, “I’m a Magus, we are using Telepathy. If I’m not mistaken you are a Magus too. But dressed strange and speaking no dialect I’ve ever heard. Are you from Eriú, in our old world? Though we never called it Eriú.”
 
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