Excerpt from the forthcoming novel
© 2012 by Connie J Jasperson
Huw sat by his campfire unable to sleep, waiting for the dawn. Each time he closed his eyes, he saw the knife in his hand slitting Dwyn’s throat, smelled the blood spurting, felt the hot blood on his hands. In the breeze which had sprung up, he heard the strange gurgle of the man’s wind-pipe being cut.
He knew his life had taken an irrevocable turn, one he could never take back. I murdered a man, knowing full well what I was doing. I did murder and I will do it again, if I am able to. I will kill every Crow who had anything to do with my father’s death, if I am able.
Unable to stop thinking about the thing that he had done, he shivered uncontrollably, feeling nauseated. He needed to die, as Ned said. So why don’t I feel better about it? I thought it would ease my pain, to kill him. Huw’s mind was clouded with a red miasma. What I did was murder. But I did it and I would do it again! His voice broke as he spoke aloud, “I avenged you Balen! I avenged you, my father… but I will never be the same.”
Once again, Huw found himself sobbing his grief out, and this time he also cried for young Ned, and Ilene; and strangely, for the man he had murdered. “I would do it again, Balen. I would do it because it had to be done.”
When we write a tale that involves human beings, it is likely morality will enter into it at some point. What is our responsibility as authors, when it comes to telling our tales? Do we sugar-coat it and pretend our heroes have no flaws, or do we portray them, warts and all? For myself, I gravitate to tales written with guts and substance. Give me the Flawed Hero over the Bland Prince any day.
In ‘Huw, The Bard’ I describe a murder, committed in cold blood. I take you from what is the worst moment in eighteen-year old Huw’s life, and follow him as he journeys to a place and an act which, if you had asked him two months prior, he would have sworn he was not capable of committing. Sadly, this is not the lowest point in his tale. It is, however, the beginning of his journey into manhood.
Does my writing the story of this terrible act mean I personally advocate revenge murders? Absolutely not. Now I have lived for 58 years, and my view of life is that of a person with some experience of both the joys and the sorrows which living brings us. I believe no human being has the right to take another’s life, or do harm to anyone for any reason. Still, I write stories about people who might have existed, and who have their own views of morality. In each story I write, I try to get into the characters’ heads, to understand why they make the sometimes terrible choices which change their lives so profoundly.
I believe authors have a responsibility to tell the best story they are able to tell, even if they are only writing for their own consumption. This means sometimes I stretch the bounds of accepted morality, and make every effort to do it, not for the shock value, but because the story demands it. It is entertainment, yes; but more than that, I want the tale to remain with the reader after they have finished it. If I am somehow able to tap into the emotions of the moment, and bring the reader into the story, I have achieved my goal.
I am a mere grasshopper, learning the skills of story-telling. More than anything I long to be in the ranks of my literary heroes such as Tad Williams, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Orson Scott Card, great authors who describe terrible moments and conflicts of morality with such grace and understanding. With each tale I write, I grow as a writer. With each tale I read by those who have attained mastery of this skill, I am awed, and fired with the knowledge it can be done!