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George Harmon

Location: Dublin.

Bio

I am a Pagan practitioner, photographer, poet and writer. Up to now I have mostly written factual pieces on folklore, mythology and history. I have written poetry for some time mostly posted on allpoetry.com under the pen name libertywhite. Just before lockdown I started my first novel “The Chosen.” A fantasy of magic based on Irish mythology set against a historical background,. I hope to develop this into a series, bringing my love of Irish mythology to a modern audience.

Current project

I have just finished my first novel, “The Chosen.” and am already looking forward to starting the sequel. :

The year is 1798, and The United Irishmen are in open revolt against the forces of the Crown. A young witch and practitioner of the old ways is out gathering herbs and nervously listening to the sound of the heavy guns in the distance. She hears a branch crack in the woods and goes to the assistance of a wounded rebel. This act of bravery and compassion leads her to an encounter with the goddess Brid, from whom the girl receives the powers and immortality of The Tuatha De Danann, catapulting her into a new life of magic, danger, love and intrigue.

Taking on the name of the goddess she represents, Brid must move to Dublin and join other ‘Chosen’, like herself, to prepare to do battle with The Fomorians, the arch nemesis of The Tuatha De Danann.

The Fomorians have one desire – power, and a return to the dominion they once had, and they are prepared to use man’s greed, vanity and intolerance to achieve it. To this end they seek to unite the two parts of the broken ‘spear of destiny’, which in its complete form, is the ultimate weapon of power.

Brid, now in Dublin and accepted as Ard Bhanrion (High Queen) of the magical beings in the human realm, must unite the disparate clans of sidhe, werewolves, vampires and mortals, to ensure that the use of magic does not tip the delicate balance of power in a war-torn Europe and by extension the world.

“The Chosen” is a story of love, friendship and adversity, and a return to the old ways of magic and kinship set against the turbulent history of early nineteenth century Ireland and Napoleonic Europe.

Writing sample

The sound of heavy guns from New Ross, a couple of miles away, rang in Brigid Synott ears. The whole countryside seemed to be on fire and the glow of the flames from the town made her shudder. They were all the proof Brigid needed to convince her that a cloaking spell for her cottage must be performed that very night. She took small relief from the fact that she and her mother lived away from the town and were left very much alone. As herbalists, healers and midwives and followers of the old path, they were seen as witches. In Irish tradition this made them respected and feared, but not hated. Those guns, however, did not bode well for the croppies, and in this, the year of our lord 1798, the British attitude to witches was somewhat less benign.
At almost twenty-three and a stunning beauty with long tresses of rich auburn hair, wide eyes of deep chocolate brown and rosy cheeks, Brigid and her mother, who had retained similar beauty to the extent she could be taken for an older sister, would make fine sport for marauding redcoats. The charm she had in mind would make the cottage inconspicuous, in the hope that any soldiers would pass it by. How Brigid wished she had access to the powerful magic of the Thuatha De Danann to make it completely invisible. But for now, the urgency to gather all she needed to protect their cottage was brought home to her with every thunderous explosion which echoed across the countryside.
A warm summer wind rustled through the trees as she picked her way through the hedgerows, looking for the herbs she needed. Some, like wild rosemary, were plentiful, and some much harder to find. The distinctive purple flower of monkshood or wolf’s bane usually required a climb to higher regions, but she had found a crop nearby, which to her was a harbinger of ill news. As she harvested the extremely toxic plant, however, she needed no omens to inform her of dark times to come. She surmised that there were not enough healing herbs and potions in Ireland to heal the carnage, obviously being wreaked by those big guns.

Brigid looked up, startled by a crack coming from the nearby trees. Wind rustles the leaves, she thought, but only a foot cracks the already fallen branches. She immediately pulled her green cloak tightly around her and slipped into the hedgerow; in a lawless countryside the choice of what you wear could be a matter of life and death. She always wore a green hooded cloak when abroad during daylight hours, and black at night, so as best to make her invisible while she assessed the danger of any approach. Moving much more silently through the trees than her possible assailant, to her surprise she came across a wounded croppy, a rebel named for and immediately recognizable by his short, cropped hair. To her dismay she saw he had a musket ball wound to his leg, the smell from which informed her it was infected beyond repair and the leg would need to come off as soon as possible. Luckily for him it was a task well within the capabilities of Brigid’s mother. That, though, was not the difficulty, the dangerous part was getting him there, made more complicated and urgent by the barking of dogs in the distance. The redcoats were in pursuit of any rebels at large in the countryside.

“Can you walk on that?” Brigid asked the young soldier, kneeling down beside the stricken rebel.
The handsome man in his twenties looked up and smiled “I must be in the hands of the angels – and a beautiful angel at that”. No sooner had he the words out, than the searing pain informed him he was still very much alive.
“Away with you, you must be delirious’ she rebuked, smiling nonetheless as she set about assessing the damage. The croppy forced a painful smile.
“If I am then it’s a beautiful delirium.” he replied weakly.
“You are in no condition for flattery, or courting, if that’s what you’re at, we must get you out of here. Now can you stand?” She retorted in mock rebuke.
“For you I could run” he replied.
“Well even if you can hop, that would suffice, as long as we distance ourselves from those redcoats” Brigid smiled.
“You will receive no argument from me my angel”, the croppy replied. “Might I inquire as to the name of my beautiful delirium?”
“Brigid”, she informed him. “And your’s?”
“I’m Rory, and I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance Brigid” he said with a politeness, which belied their current predicament.

The rebel winced and coughed and Brigid, although finding this mock attempt at flirting endearing, knew they must move, and quickly. Despite her slim figure, she was a strong girl, not unused to heavy work and capable of taking the weight of the wounded man. The main challenge, however, was going to be the traversing of the large open field between them and her cottage. If the young couple were caught in the open, then only a small stone circle provided any hiding place. More accurately, and unusually, it was actually a stone square, with four corner standing stones and what looked like an altar stone, but in any case, it still provided insufficient cover from mounted soldiers with hounds. Covering her nose and mouth with her free hand, Brigid couldn’t escape the thought that you wouldn’t need hounds to track the smell from the putrid wound. Halfway across the open field her worst fears were realized as suddenly some dogs broke from the tree line, meaning that soldiers would soon follow. Brigid was in no doubt that a known witch being caught assisting an enemy of the crown could not expect any mercy and she was full sure that they would dispense with the niceties of a trial and hang her from the nearest tree. Her only chance was the standing stones, which she knew were wholly inadequate.

She made it to the circle, propped the wounded soldier against a standing stone and, panting with exhaustion, waited for their inevitable discovery. Rory slid down the stone until he was sitting at it’s base. Barely able to speak, he implored Brigid to leave him. “My race is run, Brigid, so you must save yourself.” But the baying of the hounds growing ever closer told Brigid that even if she had been inclined to desert her patient, that time had passed. She must simply now await her fate. Pondering on her short life and the things she would now never get to do, and her mother waiting in vain for her return, she looked up, and was startled to see the almost translucent image of a beautiful woman standing near the altar stone. Brigid noticed that the dress of this enchanting vision was ancient in style, light green with a dark green cloak, with ivy embroidered in gold all around the edge. On her head she wore a silver coronet with the symbol of the waxing, full and waning moon. Her vision smiled reassuringly.
“Have no fear child” she said gently “They will not find you here”. Despite the lady’s words, Brigid felt the fear rise in her throat as the hounds came bounding towards the circle, but just as they neared the circle a large raven landed on the tallest stone. Bizarrely the dogs seemed to stop in their tracks, then whimpered and turned tail. The mounted soldiers in hot pursuit had similar difficulty as their chargers reared up and showed fear at approaching the circle. The officer in charge ordered his infantry men to check out the circle. They approached, peered in right at Brigid then turned, saying there was nothing there. Brigid watched in trepidation as they rode off in the direction of her cottage but the fear for her own safety was now replaced with fear for her mother. To her astonishment, however, they rode past the cottage as if it wasn’t there.

Gathering her thoughts, Brigid turned her attention to the mysterious lady, who remained, unflinching, throughout. And to her surprise, Brigid saw that the large raven had disappeared, to be replaced by a second woman, every bit as beautiful as the first, although altogether darker, with her raven black hair hanging down over a scarlet dress, over which she wore a black cloak lined in scarlet. Her coronet was gold and black and it bore the symbol of a five-pointed star, in the centre of which was a raven in flight. Her eyes and lips were as black as her hair, and her skin as white as alabaster. With all the strange events, Brigid had totally forgotten about the wounded rebel, until she saw him standing in seemingly perfect health beside the newcomer.

“How did you manage to heal such an infection so quickly?” Brigid asked the first of the two visitors.
“Let me explain”, the lady in the green dress began. “I am the Goddess Brid, the healer for who you were named. But I am afraid that your young friend was beyond even my powers of healing, and his battle is done. This is the Lady Morrigan.” She said, gesturing to the newcomer.

“D-do you mean The Phantom Queen, the washer at the ford!?” Brigid stammered, fear rising.
“Fear not,” the dark lady smiled, speaking for the first time. “I am not here for you. Your companion has been mortally wounded in battle and I come to take him to his well-earned rest. But be assured, your paths will cross again, and, so you may recognize him in his future incarnation, I am going to mark him with my sign”. With that Morrigan touched the croppy’s neck with the pommel of her sword and left a waning crescent moon mark upon it. “He will now carry my mark throughout his remaining incarnations so you may know him”. Brigid asked if she meant she would remember the mark in her future incarnations. The Morrigan smiled “Oh you are much more important than that” she said, “but I’ll leave that explanation to your sponsor.” With that she enveloped Rory with her cloak, immediately returning to raven form and flying off towards the west. Brigid looked down to see the lifeless body of the young rebel. A tear rolled down her cheek, but she was unsure if it was a tear of sadness or joy

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