Dear readers, tonight with us is an eleven year-old girl who was born a princess, but was then forced to grow up in the wilds of 5th century Britannia, fighting not only the barbarous Picts, but also a malevolent spirit bent on taking away everything she had left. She is here to tell us about her adventures, including the most remarkable friend a child could ever want!
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I was born in the Kingdom of Môna, which is made up of two islands. I really don’t remember it well, because I was born…well, Domie always said “simpleminded,” but most people said I was either “stupid,” a “moron,” or even worse.
Oh, I’m sorry. Who is “Domie?”
His real name is Domelch, but I always called him Domie…once I could call him anything, I mean.
You couldn’t talk?
Not very well. It was all part of being stupid, I guess. Domie raised me and took care of me after my father…went away. Everyone always says it that way to me, but they really mean he died.
What about your mother?
She died too—when I was born.
Sooo…you were a princess, but you’re not anymore?
My mother and father were the King and Queen of Môna, but with them gone, my stepmother, the new queen, just wanted me out of the way so my half-brother, Elian, could grow up to be the king.
I see. Let’s talk about something happier. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
My father gave me a doll that was supposed to look like my mother. I carried it with me everywhere, until I lost it. I got it back though!
That’s nice. How did you get it back?
My friend gave it back to me in a cave.
A cave? Who is your friend?
I call him “Talorc,” after my father, Talorcan. <whispers> I don’t tell many people this, because they already think I’m an idiot, but you’re nice, so I’ll tell you. Talorc is a dragon!
What do you do now?
Well…I couldn’t stay in Môna. A bunch of people wanted to light me on fire for some reason, so Talorc rescued me and flew me away.
Where did you go?
Lots of places. No one wanted either of us in any of them though, so we finally just kept going north. That didn’t work out so well either.
That’s remarkable! How did you survive?
Talorc let me have some of his food that he caught for himself, and Domie taught me how to hunt rabbits before he…before I had to go away. So I ate a lot of raw deer and rabbit!
Well, couldn’t your dragon friend light fires for you?
Talorc didn’t even know he could, at first. Then, when he figured it out, his flame made the meat taste terrible. Besides, by then I’d already learned how to make fire on my own. I didn’t burn myself too badly, either.
Where is Talorc now? I don’t see him. Or…are you the only one who…?
NO! <laughing> You’re silly, so I’ll try not to hurt you, all right?
Ummm…what can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Which one? Fighting Picts north of that big wall? Learning how to shoot fish in a pond without taking off my own hand? Scaring mountain goats off cliffs and hiding from the people who live near our cave? Or selling stuff to people who think I’m just a mindless savage and singing in inns and castles and…and… Oh, I know! How about trying to keep that creepy but handsome king from trying to get me into his bed! That took some real work!
Wait…what? What creepy but handsome king? I thought you lived in a cave with a dragon.
I know. It’s a long story. But it’s almost over. I just hope that someday I get to go back to Bronách, Seachlann, and especially Cassán.
Who are they?
Friends of mine, from way up north.
But “especially” Cassán? He sounds like more than a friend.
<shy smile and a shrug>
What did you think when you first started living in the wild with only a dragon for company?
Well I’d really only just started thinking then, really.
That’s right, you were born simpleminded. You seem normal enough to me.
Thank you, but I still feel really stupid a lot of the time. Anyway, when I first met Talorc, my head began to hurt really badly. I thought I was going to die, it hurt so bad. Domie and ‘Wena did too.
<ignoring that question> Once the headaches went away, I could talk and act almost like normal people, but I could hear what Talorc thought! And he could hear me too! I guess I acted pretty weird then though, which is probably why everyone wanted to light me on fire that one night when…well, that night.
So you can hear each other’s thoughts?
Can you hear anyone else’s thoughts?
No, just Talorc’s.
I would think that would be pretty scary for a little girl.
It was pretty weird at first, but not really scary. I can see what he sees, too! And him, me, too…I mean…
I think I understand. So what does scare you then?
Hwch ddu Gwta. Definitely!
Hook the what-a?
Gwta! <laughs and pronounces it “goota”> It, I mean she, is a pig demon that taunts me in my dreams. I don’t know why, but I think it…she…wants to kill me.
Okaaay…let’s get happy again, hmm? What do you see the future holding for you? Something good, I hope?
<shrugs> I don’t know. I just want to be normal like everyone else. Before that though, I know I have to do something to help my stepbrother Elian.
The one who’s going to be King of Môna instead of you being its Queen?
Uh-huh. It’s all because of that creepy but handsome king again. His name’s Pedran and he wants to take over Môna, but that means he has to kill Elian. I don’t really want to go back to Môna…I mean, they wanted to burn me there, right?…but I always liked Elian, so I guess I should try to help him.
That shouldn’t be too hard, with a fire breathing dragon for a friend.
Hah! You haven’t read these books, have you?
Talorc and I stopped being friends when I found out… <crosses her arms> I can’t really say why. Let’s just say we’re not friends anymore.
I see the problem then. Well, can you share a secret with us, something you’ve never told anyone else?
But won’t everyone know it if I tell you?
Good point. How about just a little one then?
All right. Hmm…how about this? My friend, I mean “ex-friend,” Talorc? Well he’s a dragon, and dragons have treasures, right? I think I know where his treasure is.
And what will you do with it if you find it?
<laughs> Read the books! I’m not gonna tell you everything!
Okay then. Thank you very much for talking with me, Your Highne–, I mean, Cerys. It was a pleasure.
Thanks! For me too. Now I have to go find a way down into Pedran’s dungeon, if you don’t mind.
Guy Donovan has worked on both television and feature films as an animator and storyboard artist/designer for Marvel Films, Hanna-Barbera, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, and Warner Bros Feature Animation, amongst others. He now lives with his family in North Dakota, USA, and works a non-creative job in return for a steady paycheck. He turned to writing to preserve his sanity, which led to his current obsession with 5th century Wales, in which his ‘Dragon’s Treasure’ series is set. Currently, the first two novels of that series, ‘The Forgotten Princess of Môna’ and ‘A Cold, White Home’ are available as e-novels while he whittles away at the completion of the series.
Next week we will be hosting an an ordinary woman leading a quiet life – single mother, herbalist, heathen witch. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.