The Curse of Conchobar: The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour.
Banished by one tribe. Condemned by another. Will an outcast’s supernatural strengths be enough to keep him alive?
549 AD. Raised by monks, Conchobar is committed to a life of obedience and peace. But when his fishing vessel is blown off-course, the young man’s relief over surviving the sea’s storms is swamped by the terrors of harsh new shores. And after capture by violent natives puts him at death’s door, he’s stunned when he develops strange telepathic abilities.
Learning his new family’s language through the mind of his mentor, Conchobar soon falls for the war chief’s ferocious daughter. But when she trains him to follow in her path as a fighter, he’s horrified when his uncanny misfortune twists reality, causing more disastrous deaths and making him a pariah.
Can Conchobar defeat the darkness painting his steps with blood?
The Curse of Conchobar is the richly detailed prequel to the mystical Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like inspiring heroes, unsettling powers, and lasting legacies, then you’ll love David Fitz-Gerald’s captivating tale.
Buy The Curse of Conchobar to break free from the fates today!
Excerpt Number 5, From Epilogue
This is a scene I call “It could all be just a dream.” It features the secret version of the Haudenosaunee creation story, as told by an aged matriarch. This is written in the first person, so “I” refers to Conchobar, who is talking about a vision he is having. Rowsheen is his daughter.
I can see an old woman and I can hear her voice. I know her story as though I have heard her tell it hundreds of times. She isn’t just old, she is ancient, decades older than Hole in the Roof. This ancient woman sits by a fire and her family is gathered around her, listening intently. The stars twinkle brightly against the dark blue sky and the light of a full moon casts a warm glow. A thin old man asks her to tell the creation story. A young boy, perhaps his grandson, sits by his side, eager to hear it.
She sits against a supportive rack. A thick bearskin softens her support structure, and another is wrapped around her, warming and concealing her body. I see her wince in pain as she settles her back against the rack. The simplest of movements can be painful for extremely aged people.
The woman begins, “Usually we tell children that the first person came from a giant turtle in the sky.” Her gaze is locked directly on the child and she ignores the presence of the others who are also listening.
Stoically, she continues. “In fact, it was a giant, floating island in the sky. It was shaped like a turtle. The shell was made out of a smooth, shiny, golden brown, rock-like substance. It was very strong. It was as big as our mountain. It floated in the sky above the earth. All over the island there were bright, blinking lights, as numerous as the stars in the sky, except that the lights were all different colors.” She stops to rest for a moment. Even quiet, her presence commands attention. I can just barely make out her dark eyes among the excess skin beneath her eyebrows. The dark maze of wrinkles on her cheeks and neck remind me of the bark of an old tree.
“At that time there was no land, just water everywhere. The people in the flying turtle wanted there to be land, in addition to the water.”
She paused again, then whispered in a raspy voice, “Usually, we tell children that Sky Woman fell to earth from a hole in the flying turtle accompanied by the tallest tree that ever existed. We call that tree the Tree of Life. We also tell children that birds caught her and gently lowered her to the surface of the water. She asked the animals to help create the land by scooping dirt from the depths of the water and spreading dirt on the back of a big turtle. Then the dirt expanded until all the land had been created.”
She is silent. Half a minute goes by. It seems as if she wants everyone to picture what she is saying. Just when I begin to think that she has lost her place in the story, she continues in a thunderous voice. I wouldn’t have thought that she could speak so loudly. “What really happened is that the people in the flying turtle made the land rise from beneath the water by shooting massive light beams from the bottom of their flying boat, light beams millions of times more powerful than the light from the moon. Bubbling, fiery red and black dirt shot up into the sky. Time hung agelessly for the people in the boat in the sky. Beneath them, the ground took many years to form. The earth shook, and mountains spit forth from beneath the water.”
She takes a couple of deep breaths and clears her throat. “A celestial named Sky Woman rode in a smaller floating boat which came out of the giant, flying turtle in the sky. It lowered her to the earth. She brought lots of things with her, in little containers that looked like they were made of frozen ice, only they were not cold, and they did not melt. She opened some of the containers and blew dust into the wind. Seeds.”
A middle-aged man hands the ancient grandmother a wooden cup of cool water. She wets her lips, swooshes the water around within her cheeks, then swallows and continues. “Sky Woman was pregnant, and soon she had a daughter. When her daughter was old enough to have children of her own, Sky Woman used the contents of the magic containers on her ship to create life within her daughter. Sky Woman’s daughter had twin boys. She named them Sapling and Flint. Eventually there were enough descendants of Sky Woman that she no longer needed the contents of the magic vessels to bring forth life.”
She rests briefly before resuming. “This is the secret story. It is the story told at Women’s Council meetings. This is the story known to the seers of our people. Sky Woman is our great-grandmother, ten thousand generations in the past.” She pauses before concluding. “We are descended from her. The Great Spirit sent her to create our people on this earth.”
The young boy by the fire tentatively asks, “Where is Sky Woman’s ship now?”
“I don’t know, but I would like to see it too.”
“What did Sky Woman look like?”
“I don’t know, but she is a part of all of us. I expect she looked a lot like we do,” the woman concludes.
The boy asks about the first men, Sapling and Flint. She tells him about their trouble getting along. “One was good. One was evil. Fortunately, good won out over evil as it does eventually because the Great Spirit is wise and benevolent. Though many times we do not understand the Great Spirit.”
The boy asks, “Where did the rest of the people on the flying turtle go?”
“I don’t know, but I’ve thought a lot about it. I think they were placed several different places on this earth, and then I think the flying turtle traveled on to other, far away places, dropping people wherever they could find a suitable home for them. Just look out into the sky at night. There must be lots of places where children are asking the same questions you are asking tonight.”
My family listens as I tell them this story. Rowsheen opens her mouth to ask a question.
I reach forward and place my hand on her ankle. “How do I know about the essence of trees, the powerful web of energy that reverberates from stone, and the cosmic tug that pulls us along? I don’t. It could all be just a dream. What I do know is that there is a God, whether God manifests as a tree or appears in the form of a wise old matriarch, or in some other manner. There is a higher power. Life is cyclical. It has meaning. We continue beyond the death of our vessels. Very few people are fortunate to be able to hear the voice of God. I have heard that voice and that is how I know that I was once Sky Woman, I am not just descended from her. Now you know me as your father, Conchobar. The old woman who will tell the creation story to her great-grandson will not be born for hundreds of years. Don’t ask me how I know that; I just do.”
I close my eyes and experience a vision in which time speeds by. I see a collection of future moments, and I’m taken from one brief scene to another.
In the first one, perhaps it is a year or two from now, as Rowsheen appears just a little taller and older. She enters the labyrinth and playfully hops from rock to rock. I follow her solemnly. After a couple of steps she stops and looks toward the center of the labyrinth. I ask Rowsheen if she knows who that woman is. She nods bravely, and it occurs to me that Rowsheen has seen her before. The ghost of Ferocious Wind proclaims, “I am Rowsheen’s angel.” Rowsheen nods vigorously, accepting it as fact. I think that she has heard it before. I feel an ache in my chest as it seems that Rowsheen is growing up way too quickly.
In the next scene, I see adults that look like they could be my children. There is a stone building set into the hillside at the edge of the clearing where we have built our home. Inside that cave-like structure is an inner tomb. I see these people carrying my body into the tomb. Then they conceal the tomb within the stone building. Finally they cover the stone structure with dirt. It almost looks as if the hillside is untouched by human hands.
Inside the dark tomb, time speeds quickly and I see my body turn to bones. I get the sense that hundreds of years are floating by in a matter of seconds. Then there is light. Someone has discovered the cave. It is the man I saw at the fire with the ancient grandmother and his grandson, the boy she spoke to. He is there too, only he is older.
More time passes, perhaps hundreds of years. I see dust growing thick on my skeletal remains. My bones have gone dry with the passage of time. Someone has found the hidden chamber. I see someone’s silhouette, peering into the tomb.
Who has discovered my bones? My vision becomes clearer. It is the man who tried to hang himself. The man who believed that he was kissed by God.
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David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.
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