Friday means it's time to give those supporting secondary characters a bit of the limelight!
Sometimes a booked guest has mitigating circumstances and doesn't manage to pop in and that what's happened today. Ill health isn't always something you can plan for but adapting to the situation is what writing is all about.
I've a lot of really fine secondary characters in my novels who should get a turn under the spotlight and my Tyrnan would have been featured at some point anyway because he really is a lovely character.
My trio of kids in The Taexali Game- Aran and his twin friends Brian and Fianna - first meet Tyrnan in quite perplexing circumstances. The Rubidium Time Leap function, developed by the twins father for a Virtual Reality game, spectacularly sends them back to A.D. 210. Though, at the point they meet Tyrnan they have yet to work out where they are, and what era they have been sent to.
Tyrnan is terrifying at first sight when they encounter him in the forest of Bendauch. He's the personal guard of Seonagh, the local 'Taexali' chief's daughter and a 'princess' of her tribe, and takes his guarding job seriously. The unexpected arrival of my trio of adventurers is suspicious. Tyrnan frogmarches them to Balbath, the local roundhouse settlement. Tyrnan doesn't trust them because the enemy is roaming the lands, the enemy being the Ancient Roman Emperor Severus who marches to Taexali territory with 30,000 legionary and auxiliary troops.
This Tyrnan isn't so fierce but he is watchful!
Gradually my teens realise that the fearsome Tyrnan is actually looking after them as well as Seonagh. The following is an extract from the novel - at the point when an auxiliary cohort of Emperor Severus attacks Balbath. A major problem at this point is that Aran is treated as an adult and has been sent off with the adults of Balbath to a nearby copse where a Beltane sacrifice is taking place. The twins are still regarded as children and are in a vulnerable position of being inside the hillfort along with all of the Balbath children, protected by a minimal guard since attack by night is not expected!
Aran finds himself in a very difficult situation but help is not far off...
Where to go now was his next question? Where would he find the twins? He raced towards the children’s gathering place, yet could see that Orla and Seonagh had had no luck there, because they charged back towards him. The clamour of weapons got even louder, the battle cries of the Celts fierce and terrifying. Aran knew that the senior Balbath warriors must now be defending the main entrance but Brian surely wouldn’t have gone there.
A sudden screech rent the air.
Aran knew that particular howl only too well. She wasn’t screeching out of fear, but out of sheer fury. Running between two roundhouses he could see her frantically kicking up at a single Roman soldier who was bent over her, his sword poised and ready to strike. Brian dangled from the soldier’s back and pounded away at the auxiliary’s helmet with his free fist, trying to dislodge it, his other arm a vice around the auxiliary’s neck. Little Caitlinn cowered nearby in a huddle of skins and cloaks.
Thank Taranis it was just the one soldier, though he thought it was unusual there was only one Roman auxiliary in the vicinity.
Aran daren’t use his spear this time because he’d likely kill Brian or Fianna. Instead, he whipped out the long knife from his pouch. Brandishing it in front of him, he charged forward, shrieking his own challenge. The soldier whirled around, attempting to dislodge Brian as the man forced himself upright to investigate what the howling was behind him, Brian’s arm still wrapped around the Roman’s neck. Aran watched as Brian slipped off and rolled away, the momentum tipping the auxiliary backwards. Aran lunged with his long knife, the blade heading for the soldier’s bare arm.
Th…whomp. Huumm. Twaaang!
This time it was Aran who felt the singing passage of the spear go right past his ear. By Taranis, it was terrifying! The contents of his stomach lurched up as quickly as he’d lunged out with the long knife. Once again, Tyrnan’s spear hit the mark, but this time not the ground. The Roman soldier lay pinned to the earth; the spear a direct hit through his throat, having precisely landed between the long earflaps of the helmet. The Roman Auxiliary’s death gurgle was a feeble blood-bubbling mutter since the man truly didn’t know what had hit him.
Aran slumped to his knees willing himself not to vomit—though he was so close. The soldier beside him, prostrate and pinned to the ground, was likely dead but he couldn’t bear to check. A rush of something like gratitude flushed through him because it hadn’t actually been his blade that had killed the Roman soldier. Not his. It had been Tyrnan’s spear.
What if Tyrnan hadn’t turned up? Aran’s stomach rebelled for real as he puked up the contents of his stomach with a few violent heaves at the side of the soldier. As the last of the vomit emptied out, he knew he would have driven his long knife into the Roman auxiliary if it meant that Fianna would be safe from the Roman’s gladius, the sword now lying alongside the body. Playing in a game, killing the enemy seemed so easy but in real life it was sickening. When he’d stopped heaving, through the fug of his shock, he eventually heard the plea beside him.
“Hurry.” Tyrnan urged them all as if nothing of note had happened. “Get away from here.”
Adrenalin kicked-in in good time as Aran struggled to his feet. He swiped a hand over his mouth before he passed Fianna one of the spears, and a sharp little knife. He felt in limbo: a place where he imagined all that had just happened. Brian lurched to his feet and picked up the gladius, as though fighting a Roman soldier was an everyday occurrence. It was all incredible.
None of them commented on the fact he’d just heaved his guts up.
Tyrnan scooped up little Caitlinn, and they rushed towards the nether. He followed on still rickety legs. As they approached the exit Seonagh and Orla headed towards them from another direction, their cries of relief and joy a delight to behold when they caught sight of them.
“By Taranis, I am so pleased you are all safe!” Orla bawled her head off.
Only when they were well up the hill did Tyrnan relinquish a silent Caitlinn to her mother’s arms, ordering them to rush to the safety of the woods.
“Seonagh and Taexali warrior, Aran!” he cried. “You must defend the people of Balbath who shelter in the Sacred Grove. There may be only a few branded warriors up there, so the care of those up there lies in your hands. Do not fail them.”
Tyrnan sped off back down the hill leaving Aran open-mouthed.
I hope you enjoyed this taster. If you haven't yet read The Taexali Game you can buy it HERE across the Amazon network, or you should be able to read it FREE with #Kindle Unlimited.
Till our next Secondary character pops in, enjoy the weekend and the week ahead.