Sunday, August 23, 2015

Warrior Hearts—Tales of the Picts

From the land of the Picts, spring two tales of ancient tattooed warriors, wielding longswords in the fight for freedom and love.
The fate of Caledonia rests in the hands of the Warrior and the Druidess. But Brude is not about to marry a druidess, never mind that his blood boils for her and he can’t  stop thinking of her. Can Brude and Tanwen put their differences aside and fulfill their destiny? 
Bethoc aims her bow at King, Kenneth Mac Alpin, but she misses her mark. To save her life, she is forced to wed the king's cousin, Malcolm. Just as the Scot  Warrior and the Pict Princess begin to forge a bond, Malcolm must reveal his incredible secret and choose between two worlds: one with Bethoc or one without.

Warrior Hearts is a box set of two novels I wrote about the Picts: Druid Bride and The Scottish Selkie. It is 0.99 on Amazon

The two novels in the box set WarriorHearts are about the Picts. They inhabited and ruled over Caledonia (Scotland). There is a lot of mystery and controversy about the Picts. There were many things that were different about them compared to the tribes of England and Ireland.
These are some things we do know: The Picts permanently tattooed themselves. The poet Claudius Claudianus said, "Venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis, Quae Scotto dat frena truci ferronque notatas Perlegit examines Picto moriente figuras.” Which means, His legion, which curbs the savage Scot and studies the designs marked with iron on the face of the dying Pict. That is why the Romans named them Pictti which means painted. That is where we get the name Pict from and they were also called the Cruithni. We don’t know what they called themselves.
We know nothing of their language thought it does appear to have been different than that of the English and Irish Celtic tribes. It is a lost language, although a team from Exeter University believes symbols on the Pict standing stones show characteristics of written languages instead of just images or designs.  But to date no one has deciphered them, if the symbols are indeed a written language.
Another thing that is different about the Picts is they were a matrilinear society so Pictish kings were not succeeded by their sons, but by their brothers or nephews or cousins as traced by the female line.
The Romans never conquered the Picts or their land. In fact in 122 AD during the rule of emperor Hadrian a wall named after him was built to keep the Picts out. Yes, the mighty force of Rome not only never conquered the picts, they hid from them behind a big, brick wall.
By 410 AD the Romans had completely pulled out of Britain and guess what happened then. The Picts started climbing over the wall and raiding as well as increasing their piracy along the British coast. And that was when Vortigern hired the Jute War Lords Hengist and Horsa and the age of the Saxons in Britain began. But that’s a whole other story. I actually wrote about that in the box set Swords and Roses and the individual books, The Celtic Fox and The Celtic Vixen.
For now, lets move up to 9th century Scotland when The Scottish Selkie takes place. Kenneth, his Gaelic name was Cinaed, and his brother Donald and the Pict earls were very real. An even stranger fact is during the long reign of the Mac Alpins’, rumors abounded of selkies among them. This is true.
The legendary massacre depicted in the first chapter is known as Mac Alpin’s treason. Kenneth’s move to unite the Picts and Scots under his rule is seen by historians as a great advantage to Scotland for it prevented the Vikings from taking a hold on the country like they did in Ireland.
Donald reigned after Kenneth and both ruled wisely. Kenneth is often considered the first king of Scotland.
He did move the Lia Fail from Dalriada to Scone where it remained until King Edward I took it as a spoil of war in 1296, seven hundred years ago. He fitted it into a wooden throne and English sovereigns have been crowned upon it ever since. In 1328 in the Treaty of Northampton the English agreed to return the stone to Scotland, however it was not until 1996 the stone of destiny was returned and transported to Edinburgh Castle where it remains.
In the fragmentary Annals of Ireland a verse has come down to us from ages past lamenting Kenneth Mac Alpin's death, and showing us how beloved he was. “858, Cinaed son of Alpin, King of the Picts, died. It was of him that the quatrain was said— Because Cinaed with many troops lives no longer, there is weeping in every house; there is no king of his worth under heaven as far as the borders.”
Some recent Pict discoveries were made in 2015, when archaeologists excavating a remote sea stack near Stonehaven believe they discovered a Pict fort. Also archaeologists from National Museums Scotland and Aberdeen University’s Northern Picts Project unearthed more than 100 pieces of late-Roman and Pictish hacked-up silver, coins and jewelry. The find includes a Pictish silver chain and a carved stone depicting a sea eagle. Items from the hoard are on display at King’s Museum, Old Aberdeen Town House, High Street, Old Aberdeen.
As I said, I love the Picts and I am thrilled to be able to transport readers back through the mist of time with my writing so they can get to know a little bit about the lifestyle, the beliefs, the bravery and the beauty of the noble Picts. The Romans called them savages but you and I know better.


jean hart stewart said...

Love your books as well as your blogs, Cornelia. Thanks for educating me a little more...

Fiona McGier said...

My late faither, from Glesga, used to say that the Picts did nae really paint themsels blue...they just turned that color from swimmin' in the North Sea! Before the current climate change made the water warm enough for even sharks to swim up there, it used to be the gold standard for coldness, and only the bravest would attempt to plunge into it.

Aye, the Picts were a strong people. My ancestors, which makes me proud.

Tina Donahue said...

I love the sound of this, Cornelia. :)

Cornelia Amiri said...

Thank you so much Tina, Fiona, and Jean I really appreciate the wonderful comments. Fiona, I love the story of the Picts turning blue from swimming in the cold North Sea. That's so charming. Each of you made my day. Thank you.