from Dawnflight by Kim Headlee
Today we have Gyan with us to answer some questions. Thanks for stopping by and let's begin!
What is the meaning of your name and banner?
I am Gyanhumara nic Hymar, daughter of Hymar and her consort, Ogryvan. My mother, whose name means “song,” named me her “rarest song,” for I was fated before birth to be the only daughter she would ever bear. Those who do not ken the Caledonach tongue call me by many other names: Vennevria ... Guanhumara ... Ganora … Gwenhwyfar ... Guenevara ... Guinevere. I am none of those women.
I am Gyanhumara.
The banner under which I fight is not my own but my clan's: Na Calamaig h’Argaillanaich, which is called in your tongue the Doves of Argyll. Our storytellers tell us of Clan Argyll’s first exalted heir-bearer, who lived countless generations ago. Argaillean was fierce and strong and true to her name, which means “our tempest.” For her valiant battle against those first despised Ròmanach invaders she chose the doves, for they are the fastest of birds and the strongest for their size. Argaillean and her army had to be fast and strong to defeat the Ròmanaich. She chose two doves to show unity between her and her consort, between her and her clan, and between her clan and Caledon. The silver on the banner represents the natural coloring of doves, but Argaillean also chose it in defiance of the Ròmanaich, who prize silver for their finest armor and adornments. The midnight blue field against which the Doves of Argyll fly represents the vast eternal realm of the Old Ones…or Heaven, as I have learned to call it.
I also proudly fight under the Scarlet Dragon of Arthur the Pendragon, but I shall defer to him for the explanation of its meaning, if he so chooses to share it with you.
Do you feel that you have lived up to it?
I am not certain that I understand your question. My father taught me to always perform my best, regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes my best effort is good enough, and sometimes it is not. If there is any shame to be felt in failure, it is from not putting forth my best effort. Thus far, I have yet to feel the sting of that shame…except, perhaps, in the choices I have made in dealing with Urien, the man who has become my enemy. I fervently pray those choices will not bring harm upon my people or my consort’s, though I fear it may happen someday.
Your position to choose a consort placed a large responsibility on your shoulders. At any point did you wish it never fell to you?
I was born to be the Exalted Heir-Bearer of Clan Argyll. Thus I have been trained for this sacred duty my entire life. Does a lion wish it had never been born a lion? There may come a day when I might regret having to wear the mantle of this responsibility, but it is not this day.
Where do you believe your independent nature came from? Do you feel losing your birth mother when you were born fostered that independence?
To my everlasting sorrow, I shall never know what my life might have been like had Hymar lived to guide me through my childhood. Nor can I begin to guess. Guessing is for those who are unwilling to let the past be past.
If I act, as you say, in an independent fashion, it is most likely because I learned to think for myself, to form judgments upon my observations of situations and make decisions accordingly. My father bequeathed this skill to me by allowing me from the cradle to make my own choices—good as well as bad—and learn from them. I feel blessed that my consort also bestows this freedom upon me, though these days I must exercise especial care in my choices, for their consequences might yet prove to be widespread indeed.
What thoughts ran through your mind while you were in captivity?
It must be difficult to imagine the depth of the disgust, the rage, the powerlessness, the loathing, the uncertainty—and, yes, the fear—of being imprisoned by one’s enemy unless one has experienced it firsthand. I did not trust the Scáthinaich. Even though my captor had promised that no harm would come to my person, this did nothing to alleviate my fear, though for pride’s sake I did my best to bury it. I feared for Morghe’s safety too, despite there being no love betwixt us. No woman deserves such a fate.
All of those thoughts built and built, like floodwaters behind a dam, threatening to drive me mad from the strain of holding it all in…until the face of my rescuer, the man I love to the core of my being, appeared over the edge of the ridge where I was being held prisoner. The sight of Arthur’s face at that precise moment, I think, did more to propel us toward our shared destiny than all of our previous encounters combined. But I was too engrossed with reveling in the glory of his presence to care about destiny that day, I can assure you.
You experience a religious conversion in the part of your story that you shared with us. How do you foresee that affecting your future?
Recall that I spoke to you of my choices and the consequences thereof. Here is yet another example. While I am no seer, I do know that I must tread carefully among the men who control the spiritual destiny of my clan. They possess the power to strip me of my rank and my life. I would be a liar to claim that I seldom consider this possibility…or that I do not fear it. And yet in the next breath I tell myself that I must not fear, for such a thing cannot come to pass unless the One God so decrees it. If this happens, then I must trust that it is for the greater good and accept my fate willingly, in spite of my misgivings and fears.
But I do pray that it shall never happen.
What advice can you give future warriors faced with decisions torn between loyalty and love?
One is loyal because one loves, deeply and without reservation. How can there be a sundering betwixt the two?And if a sundering of loyalty does occur, then perhaps the love was never present from the start.
There are future generations who may say you were only a myth. How would you respond to them?
Your word myth is unknown to me.The Caledonaich have stories, and we have tales. The latter—which the Ròmanaich call fables—are invented to convey lessons and concepts for the purpose of teaching our children while entertaining them too. In these lessons we include tales of the Old Ones, though by Caledonach law only priests are permitted to utter the sacred tales. Our storytellers, trained from birth to possess vast unerring memories, are charged with the duty of preserving the stories of clan lore: births and deaths, marriages and annulments, battles and alliances, times of poverty and times of prosperity. The stories are passed from one storyteller to the next, with no variant of even the smallest word, such that the deeds they describe ring just as true today as they did on the day they occurred, many generations before.
My deeds have begun to be added to Storyteller Reuel’s collection, as they will continue to do until the day my death-lament is sung. One day, Reuel will pass them to his successor, and so on. For as long as even one Caledonach storyteller lives, my true story will be spoken.
On the day that even one person conceives the belief that I never did exist, whether it be one generation hence or many—on that dark day, be it from Heaven or from Hell, I shall sing the death-lament for my people.
Those are all the questions we have today. Thank you for stopping by!