I have completed 40,000 words of this novel, with help from Jonathan Stone and the Scottish Poets James L.S. Carter and Scott F. Here is a draft excerpt.
CHAPTER 1: TRIANGLE OF LOVE
I am Vanessa, the White Witch of the Esk Burn and a reader of minds for Catherine, the All-Seeing Eye, who resides with Fortuna, the Roman Goddess of Chance and Fortune, on the Star of Vespasia. The Etruscan witches of Lothian originate from Cramond, and their European forbears pre-dated the Roman republic. They worship nature, and collect herbs and spices to cure the animals, the birds, and the people. Many Christians persecute us and say bad things about us, because they want to control mankind while abusing nature.
I bring you a comic tragedy of a saga which focuses on the Christian knight, Sir Richard de Liddell. It is about the kaleidoscope of enigmatic souls who entered hither and wither into the contrasting phases of Richard's life, which move wither and hither between the high ground and the deep depths, and about the manner in which his fortunes were affected by divinely inspired chance in ways that will make your hair bristle in horrence.
Beware, ye citizens of the future, of a dire warning from the Vates themselves! Do not feel tempted to visit the scant remains of the House on the Holy Trinity on Scotland's Soutra Hill under any circumstances. Why not? Because the black eschar dust which causes the dreaded sheep's sweat is still mixed in the soil. The black eschar dust which killed so many patients in the great medical hospitals on the Soutra remains there until eternity. waiting to destroy any poor soul who might besmirch his hands with it.
Sir Richard De Liddell adored his wife the Lady Ingibiorg who he met outside St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall on Orkney in 1430. Ever since that first stroll around the ancient stones of the Ring of Brodgar, he'd adored the way she walked, the way she talked, and the way she stalked through the gardens of Hungus House hunting the mice, grass-snakes and ferrets.
Sir Richard cherished his squire Cedric de Porthos who he met while on a tour of duty of
Gascony in 1435. He cherished the way he rode, the way he strode, and the way he recited rich ballads from his childhood in the Pyrenees.
Lady Ingibiorg loved her husband Sir Richard for his manliness, his prowess, and his dedication to the Scottish realm. She cherished Cedric for his impertinence, his dedication to his friendships, and the way he leapt feet-first off his pony Augustus onto her doorstep.
Cedric loved Lady Ingibiorg for her kindness, her beauty, and her willingness to cook cakes and dainty pastries to tempt his palate and his mind. He adored Sir Richard for everything he was.
Such was their Scottish-Orcadian-Aquitanian triangle of love, a love which transcended all human desire, a love of which all the ancient gods, whether Greek, Roman or Viking, would have been envious.
During the Summer of 1436, the passions became more intense, and the Roman goddesses banqueted on their gilded couches and held their breathe.
'Twas during the early hours of St. Achilleus's Day during September 1436 that Sir Richard set off southwards astride his battle horse Xanthos for the evocative slopes of the Soutra Hill, from his higgledy-piggledy, curiously designed house on Queen Maud Walk in fair Embro. Sir Richard was accompanied by his French squire Cedric de Porthos who was riding his new pony Augustus with the eagerness of precocious youth.
At age twenty-six, sandy-haired Richard was now becoming a touch more brawny and thickset, but he well remembered the Halcyon days when he was as lithe and clean-limbed as black-haired Cedric. Richard was such a prankster in those days. He once spent a night in the Canongate Tollbooth, after decking Squire Mackay's clothes line with petticoats and pretty knickers. This caused an almighty radge between the worthy squire and his wife, and a riot among the ladies in the street.