Restorations - 1 (Introduction)
Tara, Late Summer, 2001
After the provocative young couple (and their associates who later joined them) sussed me out as Samadeya, it required two weeks of nightly sessions to relate the stories of Ireland's greatest heroine-queens: Catherine Ui Niall Meathe who became Cormac's Queen Catherine the Great, Katie the Horse Girl, Culmanic and High Queen with Cullin--both the first and the second Cullins being yours truly--plus Admiral Amy Rea and High Queen Amethyst Meathe. (Ed. Note: roughly as now told in Culmanic Parts, Navy Girl or Rea's Blood, and Tara's Mother, the first three volumes of The Throne.)
She wasn't satisfied. "There's a huge hole to fill between then and now, with all the details of the Irish throne for six centuries, how you became king so many times, why Pelik left Hibernia alone for a century, and... you said when you introduced the subject 'with someone who influenced Hibernia's course far more than I did in toto' which they three only did in their times. There's another, an ally who must be long-lived like you, regenerating periodically, and deeply involved in the affairs of the Throne. Who?"
Her man intervened. "Who is she, to be more specific? The Paladin? Is she real?"
It was my turn to be coy. "Are you having dreams, young lady?"
"Either that or I'm sharing them with whoever is. We cannot distinguish originator from eavesdroppers, and the dreams span centuries."
"Ah, the Paladin does indeed awaken. Suppose you relate their substance, I confirm what I can, then afterward help you determine which of Mara, Maeve, Nellie, Lacey, Tiffany, or Sheana is the Paladin."
"Some of those have been eliminated, and others share the dreams. Why those names?"
"Not hard to deduce from your recent activities."
"Why not Catherine Ryan?"
"I examined her DNA map after then Thomas Monde outed her as a clone of the Metan girl, Eider. She's not."
"All right, I'll ring the others in for subsequent sessions."
But enough of me. The major sections of this narrative will be tales of the throne, partly my stories, interspersed with the Paladin's awakening memories, but served up with plenty of independent historical material culled from other sources, including her now decyphered diaries. After all the legends, books, and fantasies around Samadeya, Pelik, and the Paladin, it's truth time. As for my secrets, they no longer matter.
--Samadeya (scribed Summer, 2003)
Here's where I slip in my two bits worth of intro, as Dad would say, hoping no one will notice. This book relates the must-read stories of the two most amazing people ever. Trust me. Of all people, I know.--Johnic, Tara Meta Ollamh, 2016
(Ed. note: "Johnic" systematically omitted all titles, preferring the anonymity of a Tara Meta Ollamh virtual academy identifier. That's appropriate for noble titles, but not the academic. Thus, we note that Johnic is Ollamh three times over, has several additional certificates, and is a senior TMO scholar.)
The Paladin, 2016
I scribe this comment with centuries behind on my road, an unknown number before us. By the time The Throne's first three volumes saw the light of day here and on Tirdia, the exigencies of prior scholarly publication were satisfied, six centuries' facts combed and set in a semblance of truth and order, the publishers took their interminable time, and translation into Tirdian English was made and checked, more than another decade has now passed.
It is interesting to reflect on my thinking in various "thens" compared with what I know now--see my contextual and concluding remarks. Suffice it to say that we began recording notes against dreams and documents with this book in mind mere days before our worst memory trauma, so with the occasional modern exception obvious enough in context, and certain alterations necessitated where we preferred well-attested period documentation over random returned recollections, my comments herein are largely jottings preserved verbatim from 2001--with minor edits--having their genesis in the throes of hard-fought memory recovery. I could speak more eloquently and chronologically today, but surely with less verisimilitude, so we retain them in their context the better to communicate our collective raw mental anguish.
The Paladin, Fall 2001
My good husband has been my staff and right arm through my mental trauma, as countless memories return and I piece together who I really am, what Ireland and I have been to one another these five plus centuries, what we must be going forward. Even the remembering thus far might have shattered me without him.
We two are making a great team, and plan to keep each other young. He's the best thing that's happened to me since...well, I'm not sure. Even after all the memory pain thus far, my recollections start abruptly in mid-1492 and fuzz to hot smoky nothingness before 1960. Yet, my earliest memories of growing up (in this version of me) are long after that. What happened before and between?
I'm afraid to learn the missing end pieces, because when I try, all is flames. Have I been through hell and back? Twice? But we're closing in on complete mental restoration. I'll need my man when the breakthrough comes--perhaps tonight. Alone isn't within a cannon shot of an option.
A few months ago, dreams of a previous life stretching back to my 1492 awakening were vague, fragmentary, unordered, infrequent--only gradually gaining coherence and order, the occasional one painfully stark. Still, they claimed little credibility until one delivered a cypher key, allowing Lucas to unlock one of the second set of journals stored in Tara's palace archives--those following Queen Amethyst's day and that we now know extend through 1958, when the stash abruptly ceases.
I still wouldn't have believed it, but evidence piled up until we dreamers knew Samadeya's identity, and we stormed his defences, as he notes above. By the time of those nightly recitals and cross-questioning, dreamers and partners numbered over a dozen strong.
In his "spare" time, Lucas single-mindedly decyphered the Admiral Amy Rea and Queen Amethyst Meathe journals, providing the grist for the first three volumes of The Throne, earning him Ollamh in Mathematics. But the latter Paladin documents were more securely encoded with a different class of key, spanned a far longer time, and unlocked vastly more secrets.
We eventually extracted confirming elements for some of those histories from Samadeya, but at first only gradually was I forced to admit one of us dreamers knew those sixteenth (and following) century events, because she'd been there, done them. Over many months, more decryption keys came to light, and we read additional volumes to corroborate the returning memories. Very early conclusion: the "Paladin" wrote them all before experiencing reset to infancy. Latest conclusion after much as yet unfinished trauma: "She" am I.
But there was much initial confusion, for not only were they not chronological, the dreams were shared among several, we unable to tell who originated, who eavesdropped. Most of us had mystery about our beginnings, and some dream sequence participants either died, or could be ruled out as the Paladin.
I won't continue my "predecessors'" policy of hiding the Paladin's identities--there's little point after my esteemed ancestor "the deathless one", a.k.a. "Old Man", or "The Trickster", agreed to openly out himself in these pages as Samadeya-Qayin (alias Ben Qayin, Cormac Meathe, Cullin I and II, several other High Kings, Carlan Rea, General Tighen, etc...often went by Sean).
From the first nexus, he was the repentant version of Cain, and God-appointed protector of his people against the unrepentant one--Pelik-Qayin (alias Frederick Monde, Albert Canon, several more High Kings, etc.--often went by Joshua, Jack, or John--self-appointed enemy of the Lord of Heaven and the throne of Ireland we two protect.) They two battled many times (think Joshua and the Amalekite king, Thor and Odin, numerous depositions of Ireland's High King with extreme prejudice, etc.), and in the conflict, one or both usually got reset. This is not reincarnation, but regeneration, similar to what the regrow cocktail does to trigger cells to stem status and restore a severed leg, just a wee tad more dramatic.
This most recent half-century plus has been sorta the other way around, though I cottoned to Samadeya before I did to myself. Initially I worried that, despite events, Pelik might read this material in translation, and return to Hibernia when the century for their wager had expired in 2012 to attack. But Lucas convinced us he'd altered the game. Besides, I've learned my lessons and fully trust the Lord of Heaven will deliver me--through death yet again, as he sees fit.
The two Qayins had by modern times a six millennia existence, dwarfing my mere eighty plus per mille of that span I currently recall. I cannot shake the evil suspicion that when I discover what happened in my most recent reset, I'll also learn the details of 1492, and how far back I really go. Cleopatra, Queen of Sheba, Mary, Ruth, or... Sorry, I shouldn't verbalize fantasies. Samadeya is little help in sorting this out, though I am obviously his descendant--exactly how so remains unclear as I dictate this to Aileen over the ML (ed. Metalibrary), for he claims he first had ken of me as Lilian Paladin in the early 1500s and neither he nor she knew anything of me before that. Can't tell if he's truthing. After all, he was tight with Ireland's two greatest modern prevaricators--Jack Devereaux and His Donalship Sean Reilly--and they were amateurs by comparison.
Though more than reluctant to believe it at first, I now know, and you also, if you've read The Interregnum or the Amy-Rea/Amethyst Meathe stories thus far in The Throne (to which this is somewhat a sequel) that whenever one of the Qayins gets killed, he resets, the degree of which depends on how badly his body was maimed. Sometimes, (e.g. Ben Qayin--see The Builder) the Lord of Heaven reorganizes sufficient remnant as a young man. After severe dismemberment, some portion instead becomes an infant. The process follows Heaven's rules, though the exact details are unclear to us mere mortals. And, Pelik experienced a new rule with Lucas' help. In any event, memories return around an apparent age of mid-twenties-ish.
In my earliest turn-of-the-sixteenth-century Paladin persona, I learned (remembered?) I was apparently of their select company, that my general task was keeping Old Man Samadeya from overly many inconvenient deaths--and the consequent years of hiatus--acting as his conscience and shillelagh when he would have given up (whenever his wife died), finding him a new partner betimes, and generally looking after Irish interests in the big- and little-picture--as God provided insight, grace, and ability--yes, and dealing out, or assisting in same, of the occasional more-convenient-to-Ireland prejudicial temporary termination to Pelik-Qayin. When I became jaded, proud, unloving, or otherwise strayed from my task or deserted my post...well...you'll see.
It isn't that we few exceptionals don't experience death. We do--they on countless occasions, I enough times, and close to it more. It always hurts. Moreover, even in a partial reset, our bodies don't grow back identically due to environmental and perhaps random factors--plus whatever the Lord of Heaven, life, and people throw in for good measure. Not everything is genetics. Are there other such people? We aren't sure, though Samadeya shared a suspicion of one. None impinge on these histories.
See, none of the recollections I've accessed thus far include recovery from a complete loss-of-memory reset, so this one--a real lulu right back to newborn and growing up all over again--throws me hard. Samadeya, though he previously believed I could, like they twain, reset from death, had no idea what had become of me until we told him. I am apparently too unlike any previous me, and mayhap that's planned.
The gradual and scattered return of memories over the last months, particularly the last few nights, might have driven me mad were it not for my man's support. O.K. I now know he's not my first husband, (though he is to this version of my body, if I may put things delicately) but he's God's best for me, and has zero jealousy.
These Paladin tales are organized chronologically, though they didn't come to our collective dreaming minds thus, and we won't commit to publication until everything is thoroughly verified. In many parts, we will render the plain text of the relevant journals previous I's once kept, fact-checked against contemporary sources, conventional histories, and Samadeya's own cluttered recollections. We're pretty sure we can get this right, but take full responsibility for any errors. That's what second editions are for. We plan to tell mostly the stories of others with whom my lives intersected, either as they later related them to me, and/or as I scribed them in aforesaid journals.
Romantic that I am at heart, most will be romances--of a sort. All are stories of the taking and re-taking of the throne of Hibernia's Ireland, a slice of a few centuries from the aeons-old battles between Qayin-Samadeya and Pelik-Qayin, and my part in some. Samadeya, though making valuable contributions to continuity, flatly refuses credit as co-author of any finished work.
We have the advantage of centuries of others' historical research to make emendations to what previous self thought was true, so shall present what we believe are facts in place of opinions or errors in perception by the previous me while I was committing events to diaries. Thus, this last volume of both The Throne and The Interregnum, though in one sense my story, isn't about the Paladin. Call her/me an interested spectator most of the time, a meddler the rest--excepting the start and present. Sigh.
In the canonical manner of a story cycle, we will intersperse two key narratives--of Karina Tansey, to shed light on events leading up to my late hiatus and offer fresh perspectives on the first battle of Glenmorgan, and of course, our insiders' account of the traumatic events of recent months. It'll take years to finish all this.--The Paladin, this portion scribed early fall, 2001