Some Trivia For You

Hey guys. That was a pretty cool mask, huh? I gotta get around to hanging it up. I also have to stop playing Skyrim until the small hours of the morning, but oh well.

Anyway, the university semester is about to go back so I’ll soon be busy with studying again. Not as busy as last time, though, since I’m only doing one unit. Just as well, since I’ll probably be editing book five soon enough. The books are getting more complicated, and the second and third installments of The Risen Sun are particularly complex, so editing them won’t be easy, methinks. (I love that word. I try not to put Olde Worlde speech in my books, but I do enjoy using it in real life).

Anyway, seeing as how I haven’t put up any short stories for a while and that probably won’t be changing soon, I thought I’d offer up an interesting piece of background to the series. This hasn’t been revealed in the books that have been published. It will be included in the prequel trilogy I’m planning to write about Arddryn’s rebellion, but since it’s not a huge plot twist or anything I thought I may as well share it now.

Now then, those who have read The Fallen Moon may recall that the name “Taranisaii” allegedly means “of the blood of Taranis”, and the family is said to be descended from the legendary figure King Taranis. However, those who know anything about Welsh will know that “Taranisaii” isn’t a Welsh word, and doesn’t sound particularly Welsh either. But there’s a reason for it.

The name “Taranisaii” isn’t a real Northern name – somebody just made it up. And the Taranisaii family aren’t descended from Taranis, or anyone of importance at all. The family really began with Arddryn, who started out not as Arddryn Taranisaii but just plain “Arddryn the Weaver”. But after she became a griffiner and gained the admiration of other Northerners, she started getting above herself (as the rulers of Malvern at the time would have it) and wanted to give herself some kind of legitimacy that went beyond simply having managed to stumble across a lost griffin chick which she secretly raised.

Someone among her growing group of admirers, impressed by her tough nature, suggested that she was such a fine Northerner that she must be descended from the great King Taranis himself. Whereupon the opportunistic young Arddryn replied quickly with “Aye, I’m descended from Taranis. Taranis, aye, that was my ancestor!”.

And how do you pronounce the name Taranisaii? Why, it sounds like “Taranis-aye”. Arddryn adopted it as a second name for herself, and when it came time to write it down the crudely educated young Northerner came up with a spelling that looked impressive and left it at that. The rest of her family soon adopted the name as well (most likely because they wanted a share of the glory), but none of them revealed the truth about it. Arddryn lied about it to her young daughter Saeddryn, who grew up believing in the inherent power of the name Taranisaii and helped carry the idea further. Arddryn, you see, didn’t just want power for herself. She eventually picked up on the idea of creating a legacy – a dynasty of her own which would inspire all Northerners. A dynasty based on a lie, of course, but all legends have to start somewhere, and nowadays just being a Taranisaii is enough to impress other Northerners and make them inclined to follow you.

And if you’re wondering where I got that idea from, it’s quite simple: I got it from the Da Vinci Code. Or rather from some criticism of it I read, which claimed that if Christ did have children then their descendents would either be all dead now, or the blood would be spread out over thousands of people. The important thing here isn’t the blood, really; it’s the idea. It doesn’t matter whether Arenadd and the rest of his family are descended from Taranis; what matters is that people believe they are. In the end, it makes no difference.

There, I hope you found that interesting. I think I shall enjoy writing Arddryn’s story; in her younger years she was a real piece of work.

PS: And was Taranis even a real person? Yes. There were actually a few real Northerners way back in history who went by the name Taranis, and the legendary figure of King Taranis is most likely an amalgamation of stories about several of them, with some exaggeration and pieces of other people’s stories thrown in. There are plenty of Northerners about with the blood of some Taranis or other. And now you know.

Neato text ornament here