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Worlds of the Timestream: The Throne, Book 3: Tara's Mother by Rick Sutcliffe (Irish Fantasy/Christian)

Worlds of the Timestream: The Throne, Book 3: Tara's Mother by Rick Sutcliffe (Irish Fantasy/Christian)
 
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Tara's Mother is the sequel to Culmanic Parts and Rae's Blood, and continues the alternate history enmity of the long-lived Samadeya-Qayin, ally of the Almighty and check against Pelik-Qayin, who is something more than evil twin.

In Rea's Blood, Amy Rea, Samadeya's adopted daughter, and First Lord of the Admiralty, was shot down aboard her flagship Victory at Trafalgar. But two powerful look-alike women do emerge from the smoke and blood--Amy's flag officer Joane O'Donnell, and the mysterious Amethyst Meathe, who both play a vital part in Thomas Rourke's battle against the French despot at Mount Sainte Jean, near Waterloo.

Joane takes on prominent military role in now allied new France. But Amethyst still has battles to fight--first with lead enemy nation Spain, then with Ireland's own King Frederick and his would-be replacements back home. She takes over from her mentor as "The Mother"--High Queen of Low Tara, queen maker for several nations, and continues Amy Rea's battle against God's enemies.

Who are she and Joane, really, and will Amethyst and the band of brothers and sisters she inherited from Amy Rea live to see a new, better, and peaceful Ireland emerge from the ashes of war?

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Sample Chapter

Postprologue

The Throne was intended to be a single seventh volume in the editors' history of the Interregnum, the turbulent years following the 1941 deposition of James IV as High King of Hibernia and the Federated Worlds of the Timestream. It was to relate the stories behind the restoration of the Throne, accompanying this with background information on the history of the Irish throne and how it came to dominate the earth now known as Hibernia (Ortho to the Metans).

Little did Rhiannon and Lady Mara guess when they put to Lucas, Lord Caine, the famous ages-old Royal Archives encryption problem in an attempt to shortcut his path to Ollamh in mathematics, that he would not only succeed and win the Murdoch prize where hundreds before had failed, but in the process rewrite Hibernian history. Thus, rather than a thirty-thousand word exposition of that era involving perhaps three chapters, we were faced with winnowing material from over forty thousand pages of never-before read primary sources penned by the participants. Moreover, the fifteenth century collection included copies of two additional MS of great significance--a brief one from the eleventh century, and a longer one from the fourteenth, plus sufficient clues to locate the originals, held in a safe deposit box at Tara from about 1440.

Culmanic Parts, book one of The Throne, began with a never before published memoir of Queen Catherine on the founding of the modern Hibernian High Kingship by Brian Boru after the battle of Clontarf in 1014, when he placed crowns on the heads of the man who had just saved his life and the woman who had turned the battle. Catherine's early life, her role in the battle, and the details of the Brian's manipulations were previously unknown to historians.

The larger second portion, subtitled All The King's Horses is a fuller version of a popular play known in late fourteenth and early fifteenth century Ireland. Authenticated from other sources as penned by Katherine the Culmanic (Queen Kat), it covered her early years growing up in the home of Rufus Maynard, co-founder of the Culmanic method with King Cullin, her part in the re-unification of Ireland under a single crown, and the genesis of the scientific and industrial revolution the culmanics touched off.

The third and majority portion of Book one covered the early life and times of Amy Rea (b 1415), her education, re-casting of the Culmanic as "Science", and involvement with prominent figures of the time in the political and military affairs of Ireland under Cormac VI and Dermot I. It concluded with her induction into the Royal Army Naval Corps as a ship's officer upon her academy graduation in 1434.

Rea's Blood, book two of The Throne, picked the history up at that point, offering by means of her own journals and those of her associates, an intimate perspective on her life at sea, the battles that shaped her navy, her rise to admiral, and the final battle at Trafalgar, during which she was shot down on the deck of Victory and killed.

Tara's Mother, book three of The Throne, continues the story in the aftermath of Trafalgar, for the land war still ravaged Europe, and the problem of a wicked regicide on Ireland's supposedly righteous throne still must be resolved.

Again, we have available to us a rich supply of primary and secondary sources--hospital records, ships' logs, military dispatches, newspaper reports by embedded participants on two fronts, the diaries kept by Amy Rea's successors and students, including Amethyst Meathe, (also decrypted by Lord Caine), later reminiscences by their associates, and of course, the definitive works by Ollamh Seanacha Amyrea Walsh published after 1480. The latter have long been regarded as authentic, as Walsh conducted extensive interviews and correspondence with Amy Rea's closest associates (including her grandfather Torin Walsh), all but two of whom were then still living, and we still have the originals of her notes and working papers. Remarkably, though this material contained veiled references to "the secret" not a hint of its substance ever leaked into published materials.

As in our other histories, we offer this in a fictionalized narrative for popular consumption. See the authors' papers in Tara History and European History for the scholarly renditions and discussions of these papers.

Weights and measures have been rendered without conversion. As this is not a scientific treatise, it should suffice to keep in mind that the Belagic distances used before 1452, though having the same names as the later Hibernian universal measures (until the nineteenth century) and the almost identical modern Tirdian Imperial, were about nine percent longer than either, and that there was only one version of the Irish mile, not a separate one for nautical use.

Dates before January 1, 1260 are in the Julian calendar. Those after March 1, 1400 are in the Patrician calendar, identical to the Tirdian Gregorian calendar in the proleptic sense. Between those two dates they differ from the latter by one day.

Finally, some notes on translation. The Irish Gaelics of the eleventh, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries were quite different from each other, and vastly so from the modern language, considering the latter's heavy borrowings from Tirdian English and modern Babylonian. This created many challenges, and we may find that subsequent scholarly work will alter some of our best-efforts renderings, particularly of technical terms employed by the first scientists, or "culmanics" as they called themselves, for the private notes we have relied on sometimes contain words for which there is no match in the published papers of the day. We have rendered Christian, family, place, and ship names for the most part in modern Hibernian Gaelic form, which is in most cases close to some Tirdian English equivalent, but this is a challenge, in view of there being little consistency in the original spellings. Two examples: the Dutch name "Beatrijs" is rendered as "Beatrix" for both Gaelic and English, whereas the ship name "Coscar" is left in the modern Gaelic version, but translated to "Victory" for Tirdian English. However, some attempt has been made to preserve the diversity of Irish surnames, some of which had hundreds of spelling variations before the seventeenth century.

We have attempted to translate informal idiom to modern equivalents in both Gaelic and Tirdian English, but these are by no means literal. Readers should also keep in mind that until Irish Gaelic became ubiquitous in the seventeenth century, all scholarly work was published in Latin, and that every scholar had to be literate and well-read in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and the major European languages.

NOTE: Although The Throne as a whole can be thought of in a sense as Volume 7 of The Interregnum, the first three books of The Throne can be read without first reading anything in The Interregnum. However, this Book 3, Tara's Mother, is sequel to Book 2, Rea's Blood and Book 1, Culmanic Parts.

Offered in the Name of the High Lord of Heaven
Under the Patronage of the Crown
Dedicated to the Throne of Tara, Mistress of Worlds

by General Editors

Mara, Lady Meathe, General of the Army and Ollamh
Rhiannon, Academician
Nellie, Lady Hacker, Ollamh

And

Lucas, Lord Caine, Protector of the Throne, whom the Academicians hereby certify as Ollamh in Mathematics

Worlds Of The Timestream
From: A Guide For Federation Security Agents
by Patrick O'Toole
Tara, The King's Library, 1941 (rev 2005, 2010, 2012)

The Timestream is a spatio-temporal medium providing access to at least six known versions of planet Earth arranged in hexagonal fashion. Each has different histories and societies, some different geologies, but all have the same physical laws and chronology. Travel from one planet to another is via timestream vehicles developed by scientists of the Federated Earths (Hibernia and Babylon) from specifications transmitted by the Metans in 1791, though a few people may achieve the feat without such assistance. At critical historical points (nexi) on one of the planets, some crucial decision(s) results in two earths, with the same prior history, but differing subsequent ones. Major events on neighbouring planets in the timestream affect each other strongly, but not necessarily symmetrically.

The Timestream

Notes:
1 All but those of Water World also call their planet "Earth".
2 Tirdia: introduced by patriotic Hibernians who objected to "Prime".
3 Constitutionally, Hibernia or Ortho earth is "Greater Ireland".
4 The continents of Tirdia, Hibernia, Para, and Desert are similar.
* member of the Federation of Worlds

Planets:

Tirdia (called Terra by its peoples, and Prime by Metans) is thought by scholars to be the original planet Earth from which others subsequently divided. It has more people than the others combined. The names Prime and Tirdia (God's world) are both due to it being the location of Christ's crucifixion. Since 1912, Tirdia has been the locus of major events affecting its timestream neighbours of Water World and Ortho (e.g., The Three Worlds' War of 1939-1945 was centred there.)
Capitals: London and New York are leading financial centres.
Currency: Many, though the American dollar is commonly accepted.
Language: Numerous, though English is widely spoken.
Government: Various forms, many nominally democratic.
Population: 6.1 billion.

Hibernia (Greater Ireland, or, per scholars, Ortho) divided from Tirdia in the long nexus, beginning at the crucifixion, and concluding with the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. From that latter point, Hibernia's Ireland became a stable kingdom, eventually making herself mistress of the entire planet, and, using Metan technology after 1791 becoming the administrative centre of her Federation with partner Para.
Capital: Tara.
Currency: Shamrock.
Language: Gaelic (Orthogaelic).
Government: Constitutional Monarchy.
Population: 300 million.

Motto: H.E.I.O.U. (Hiberniae est imperare orbi universo, i.e., Hibernia is ruler over the whole world.)

Meta (Builder's World) divided from Tirdia in the first nexus shortly after Adam and Eve were driven from the garden. Has one continental land mass, mostly agricultural excepting one small city. Meta manages the worlds of the timestream to prevent the Enemy (Satan) from having free rein.
Capital: Builder's City ("The City").
Currency: Credit. (electronic only; uses no cash).
Language: Metan.
Government: A council of elders chaired by the Builder.
Population: 28 million.

Babylon (also called Para or The Corporation) Formed in a nexus from Desert when Belshazzar repented. Babylon is the scientific and technological centre of the two-planet Federation (with Hibernia), both of which had their industrial revolutions well before Tirdia. The economy is controlled by large corporations whose CEOs form the planetary government.
Capital: Babylon for planetary matters; Hibernia's Tara for Federation business.
Currency: Terebinth.

Languages: Persian and Gaelic.
Government: A board of directors.
Population: 280 million.

Desert (so-called because of the vast radioactive wastelands covering Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) Originated in a nexus with Water World a few decades Ed. Note: per recently available Metan MSS, this has been corrected from "a few generations" after Noah's flood. Early scientific and technological advances led to nuclear war, and today the planet is thinly populated by nomadic tribes only in the continents elsewhere called the Americas and Asia.
Capital: Desert has no cities and few permanent towns.
Currency: Precious metal coinage and barter.
Language: Numerous; both continents have a trade language.

Government: elected warrior chieftains.
Population: (Est.) ten million.

Water World (or, Ocean) has no continents, just numerous scattered islands. It was formed in a nexus from Meta at the time of Noah's flood, and took its present form in a later nexus that divided it from what became Desert. Its two nations of Pacifica and Atlantica consist of several thousand confederated islands, each supporting one or more merchant/warships. These and the League of Corsairs (pirates) live in a semi-permanent state of warfare. Events of recent history have been strongly influenced by timestream neighbour Tirdia.

Capitals: No fixed locations.
Currency: Precious metal coinage and barter.
Language: "The tongue" is universally spoken.
Government: Three councils of ship captains.
Population: 90 million.

Editors' Notes:
1. In the initial volumes of The Interregnum the principal events take place on Hibernia (Ortho) with some on Tirdia (Prime), some on Meta and single chapters on Babylon (Para) and Desert. Our history does not touch upon Water World until later volumes.
2. Even before the nexus of 2000 appeared to confirm the theory, some Metan scholars believed history had seen as many as three prior nexus-like events. They were therefore convinced that up to four additional earths would someday be found in the Timestream.

Return to Contents


 

Part I

Lost and Found

Chapter One

Courtesy of Royal Army records, we already knew that James Kennedy was a MIS (Military Intelligence Service) Colonel under the direct command of MIS General and Chair of the General Staff Clement Tighen. Assigned to Amy Rea as bodyguard, he served as bosun and fleet purser aboard Victory to and through Trafalgar. He was slightly wounded when prisoner Maria O'Hare escaped custody, but was one of two bosuns to survive the battle in which Admiral Amy Rea lost her life, and was then transferred to Belfast to operate an assessment and recovery office for RANC. Per his own writings and those of his staff, his real reason for being there was to locate and care for Joane O'Donnell, Rea's flag officer, who had been injured at Trafalgar, and shipped to Armaugh Hospital. Unfortunately, the escaped prisoner, Maria O'Hare, now known by him to be Marcie Caine, sworn enemy of both Amy Rea and Joane O'Donnell, had been sent to Armaugh with the woman she had once tried to kill. Both were suffering from severe life threatening head traumas, and Kennedy feared for the life of the woman he loved should Caine recover first.

--the editors

Jim Kennedy, Armaugh and Belfast, November 26, 1439

By the time he could responsibly leave his new office in Belfast and make the coach trip over to Armaugh RA Hospital, yet another week had passed since leaving Dublin and Amy Rea's funeral, but he was optimistic things were looking up. He was out from under the pretence of ship's discipline as a bosun, ostensibly assigned to the Belfast yards as Fleet Bosun RANC liaison while actually still serving as MIS operative for Tighen, and in both capacities having freedom to define his work. His staff included Bosun John Savage, Artificer Lew Jones, in addition to Midshipmen Sam O'Doule, and Al Maguire, all arrived with him on Victory, all seconded to his office, for the grand lady of the seas was now a battered near-wreck with little need for crew.

The five shared a large house on a farm property with Martin Kilbane, former cook for Amy Rea, who had mustered out and was working for the Travellers' Hotel in downtown Belfast, and with Brian Baxter, also mustered out and now doing freelance scribing for Belfast clients. Since all seven preferred to eat late, they had full advantage of the master chef after he finished preparing the hotel dinner.

The property was owned by Savage and Baxter, who'd pooled their prize money for the purchase, then persuaded Kennedy and the others to take up residence with them in the rambling farmhouse, the only stipulation being that they two had a sacrosanct locked workroom the others must refrain from entering. Two local couples shared an adjacent home and supervised hands for the farm--a mixed grain and cattle operation that had been in business for decades.

The rest of Victory's rump crew had been either paid off or mustered out, many here in their home town, or, and dispersed to other RANC ships. General Tighen remained in Tara, and the three officers who'd brought Victory home had all been reassigned.

At the office, Kennedy also had the services of up to two secretaries from the RA pool and whomever he needed of a second pool of injured seamen as messengers. The office had real work--determining which of the many crippled RANC ships now anchored or tied up on the military side of the port could reasonably be repaired and refitted for service, then arranging contracts to do the work. They also had a budget quota, beyond which they could do nothing.

We'll work our butts off, but at least eat like royalty, courtesy of Kilbane. But now to find my queen, and let's hope and pray she's in better condition than she was at Cadiz. Surely Armaugh has taken good care of her.

What worried Kennedy was that Joane had been sent there in the company of Maria O'Hare, her Palace Security-directed enemy. But O'Hare's brain is damaged and she amnesiac, so surely no threat.

He stepped off the inter-city coach outside the enormous RA hospital complex and stopped to watch the changes in progress. The nearly six hundred bed facility had a vast chasm beside it where the bones of an even larger building swarmed with hundreds of construction workers. Stands to reason. The sea war has just dumped thousands into the RA hospital system, and the land war has some time and many casualties yet to go.

He wasn't prepared for the chaos inside. The entrance foyer contained four beds. More lined the hallways in every direction. About half were jury rigged in two tiers as bunks. Staff bustled everywhere consulting clipboards and preparing drug doses on the run. The din was continuous.

A little shaken, he made his way to the information counter. Behind it sat three clerks working the teletalkies, handling a continuous stream of paper from the printers, annotating patient files, room assignments, and physicians' records. Even part of their space had been co-opted for two stacked beds.

"Yes, Bosun?" The duty clerk was short, sharp, and obviously too busy to take real interest in him.

"Kennedy of Victory to visit patient Joane O'Donnell, RA Colonel, wounded at Trafalgar."

The unimpressed clerk spun a rotary card index, flipped through several cards, and replied, "Sorry, no such person."

His heart leapt. "She's been discharged?"

"Nope. No one by that name has been admitted in the last three months."

A physician edged in beside Kennedy and tossed the clerk a file. He accepted it and started to turn away.

"No, wait. She was with another woman, name of Maria O'Hare. Once they were cleaned up, they would have looked much alike, almost twins."

The clerk grimaced harshly, set the file folder down, and spun the index a second time. "Nope, also none such."

He was frantic now. "But Cadiz sent them here. Where else could they have gone?"

"Don't shout at me Bosun, or I'll have the MPs remove you to a lockup. No such patients. End of conversation." He picked up the file and walked to the cabinets at the rear.

Kennedy stood there stunned for a few seconds, then suddenly realized someone was tapping him on the arm. He turned to find himself facing the physician who'd delivered the file.

"Colonel-Physician John O'Neil, head trauma unit."

"James Kennedy, late of Victory."

"The ship of legend. Well, I have ten more patients to deal with, but the RA owes her heroes more than what that man is prepared to give." He gestured toward the clerk, who was now arguing with one of his fellows over where to file a record.

"Can you find out anything he can't?"

"Better than that. I remember them precisely because they looked much alike--similar facial structure and hair. I examined both. One had a caved in skull, severe concussion, was conscious and functional, but profoundly amnesiac. The other had a mild head trauma, assorted other wounds, but was catatonic, severely battle-shocked. The RA wing of Belfast General sent them over because they were stable, needed surgery they couldn't get there, and required long term care."

"Yes, that's them. Joane O'Donnell is the catatonic one, Maria O'Hare the other."

"Your connection?"

"Officer O'Donnell and I are very good friends. I had hoped..."

"You're not actually a relative, and obviously not their superior officer."

"So you may tell me nothing more. Tell me, Colonel, what is your security clearance?"

"Four."

"I invoke it."

"Not possible unless yours is higher."

Jim Kennedy pulled a card from his belt pouch.

"An MIS colonel passing himself off as a mere sergeant. Impressive."

"This conversation is now MIS-protected, Colonel-Physician. Now, what do you know about the two women?"

"Very well." O'Neil lapsed into medical-professional mode. "They present rather different cases, though we see a lot of both these days. With the proper surgery to repair her skull and relieve pressure on the brain, O'Hare has a modest chance of a full physical recovery. The correct physical and mental trigger might release her amnesia even without an operation, though she won't live long without surgery."

"And the other?"

"Your lady? Her head injuries were not nearly so serious and are mostly healed. Brain maybe a little scrambled. The X-rays indicated a number of broken bones now healed, some from a while back. We did remove three musket balls that looked like they'd been there a while. At this point, there's little physically wrong with her, and no external sign of head injury, though one was mentioned in the file. Mentally, it's a different story. We couldn't do a complete psych evaluation in the time she was with us, but I'd say she's deeply trapped inside a series of mental and physical horrors. I've only seen a few other cases of battle shock as bad, and none worse. All were institutionalized, and none have improved, much less recovered. Less serious cases, given time and much care, have occasionally shown slight gains, but the victims report headaches and nightmares, usually for the rest of their lives. Many suicide as soon as they begin to realize their condition."

Oh, Lord of Heaven, let me help them. Surely I can love Joane back from her Hell.

"So why is there no record of them at the desk? Where are they? Can I see them?"

He shrugged. "Can't answer the last two questions, though the first is easy. Neither name was in the RA database, so they were refused admittance."

"Refused? General Tighen could vouch for Colonel O'Donnell, and I'm sure Palace Security would for O'Hare." Though they'd have to break her cover to do it. Wait. Of course. O'Donnell is supposed to be dead, so wouldn't be in the current database. And O'Hare was a pseudonym for Caine, so also unknown. If only I had been able to get here earlier.

O'Neil waved a hand at the chaos around. "That was three weeks back. As I told the other officer who enquired last week, you can see what things are like--worse even than Belfast General. We already have five hundred per mille more patients than our design capacity, and I'll wager the nine hundred bed addition will fill in weeks. No one would have considered checking to that level on behalf of either. After initial assessment, I was informed they were classed as civilians and inadmissible, then I was reassigned to other evaluations. I never saw either again, though I did find their files in the trauma unit later. Apparently the folders were accidentally left behind when they were refused."

It took Kennedy a few seconds to process this. "Wait. Who enquired?"

"He didn't give his name but I recognized him from our school days as John Carty--goes by Albert, his middle name. Don't think he realized or cared who I was. Always was a pompous weasel. How he got a commission is beyond me."

"The Lord's son." That palace toady was here looking for them a week ago? If he's found them, he and Maria would make short work of Joane. "So they were sent off without any papers? Where?"

A voice came over a speaker then, "Physician O'Neil to the head trauma unit with dispatch."

"Sorry Kennedy, I must go. Since they had no money, you'd best try the paupers' ward in the civilian wing over at Belfast General. The civilian hospital here in Armaugh is quite small and couldn't take cases like theirs, so they'd have transported them back to the coast."

* * * * *

But the next morning when he presented at Belfast General, he learned little more. The military wing had initially processed the two under the names sent with them from Cadiz, and transferred them to Armaugh. They had no further record. The civilian wing had papers for two unidentified civilian women with head injuries admitted November fourth from Armaugh, registered without papers under the anonymous names of Patty and Jane Meathe, examined, then released on their own recognizance two days later.

The charge assistant on the pauper's ward provided slightly more, "'An I recall, one of the pair was sharp and functional, just couldn't remember anything of her past. She took a panic when she saw some fella nosing around asking about them, hushed us all, and hid they two in a closet. Then, when he left, she signed the both out. Extremely protective of her silent twin she was. Fed and clothed her, cleaned her, led her about by the hand, talked to her constantly, nor mind she got no response."

"You have no idea where they went?"

"Sorry, none. Belfast is a big place these days."

It had to be Carty that came here. Why would Maria O'Hare dodge her ally? And why would she be protective of Joane when she spent years hunting her as an enemy, tried to kill her more than once? 'Course, if she doesn't know who she or Joane are, only vaguely recognized Carty, and saw his queries as a threat without actually knowing him either... When I do find them I'll have to be extremely careful not to spook them.

But, enquire as he might over the next several weeks, the trail had ended. He learned nothing more.

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