Shine Cycle Character Profile: Aerin of Aldaria

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Aerin – Duchess of Aldaria, princess at large, knight, and bard. She consistently coaxes those under her into something approaching greatness, but always under-estimates her own abilities. Continue reading


Shine Cycle Character Profile: Anselm

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Anselm – Knight and bard. Personal bodyguard to and musical partner of Mary of New Bethany.

A tall, somewhat thin man with short, untidy black hair over his youthful, nearly always smiling face. He almost always wears armor, usually a breastplate, helmet, and greaves plus chainmail to cover the rest of him, and carries a sword at his hip. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Rosabel

This is the latest of an intermittent series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle.

Rosabel – Bard, princess at large, journeyman mage, and a Deputy Minister of State. She has studied music under various bards, the Power under Windstorm and Waker, and diplomacy under the King, to whom she is a high-level aide. Continue reading

Shine Cycle character profile: Adelaide

Adelaide is a bard and great-mage, in the Queen’s personal service, and a princess at large. She has the peculiar ability to break opponents’ workings targeting her and their concentration, which generally removes the necessity of doing damage to achieve objectives. Continue reading

“Taliesin at the Dance”

Each Friday I post a poem; this is from my series set in the Matter of Britain.

As my harp the music makes,
I stare across the empty space.
A single pair of eyes meets mine,
Speaks soft a beat, and then release.
My lips I part, I frame a verse,
The simple, subtle themes, but none too bold.
On that set’s second tune, she
Takes her own lute, and chants a rhyme.
Four dances later, my part done,
I case my harp and mark her place of stand.
When next we meet, no word is spoken yet;
Our tellings later differ as to what we do:
She, and one other, has it that she
Falls at my feet, seeing, awestruck,
Christ in me, as she had never known him truly;
I remember nothing such but bowing o’er her hand.
Blanchefleur her name is, when I ask,
A waiting-lady to Queen Guinevere.
She says nothing of her parents, and I do not ask.
Something passes ‘twixt us;
What, I cannot say, for it is beyond words.
For the first time I love another sound
More than I love music. We listen
To each other, neither speaking more
Than need be for the other’s voice.
We dance a set or three; time passes
Too swift for me to tell. When music fades
To tell me that my rest is nearly past,
My new beloved joins me in my place behind.
Our first duet; music and text
Both improvised about a theme
We know before but choose without a word.
When that first night is through, having
Danced every dance we did not play,
I part from Blanchefleur, and she from me,
Each to separate room, and wait for morning light.

I first wrote this poem several years ago, but much later than the bulk of the series (which I mostly wrote in high school)—I don’t remember more precisely than that. Between then and now, I suspect I made a few changes here and there, but nothing much until I began to prepare it to post today. For today’s post I made some small revisions, trying to improve the flow of words without changing the essential character of the piece. This is one of two or three poems in this series in which Taliesin’s position as Arthur’s court bard is relevant, so there are some minor things I tried to do with the rhythm.

In any case, as always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. You can also read other poems I’ve posted here on my blog.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.

Character Profile: Jeannie

On Mondays I post background essays on my fantasy series in preparation, the Shine Cycle, thus far largely character profiles like this one. The previous profile was of Catherine.

Jeannie – Bard, in the Queen’s service in the Imperial Service. She makes her music her primary vocation, with Imperial Service duties a hobby, and is well-known in academic circles for her mastery of piano, harpsichord, clavichord, organ, and lute, and her dedication to them even in the presence of Power-enhanced instruments. She served the Countess of Calahur for a decade and remains her close confidant. Continue reading