I love the medieval period and like many before me, believe it lends itself perfectly to a touch of magic and the paranormal. When writing Rain, I wanted to merge the medieval world with my other love, fairytales.
The village of Farran is based on a small medieval village. The populace is tied to the land, the seasons, the will of its overlord and its church. In the middle ages the population was divided into three distinct groups or ‘Estates’ – those who fought (royalty/nobility), those who prayed (the Church) and those who worked (basically everyone else). The three estates were inter-connected and their survival depended on each other. Without the peasants the lord’s land would not have been worked and harvested, or the Church given its tithes.
I wanted to use village life as a backdrop to the story. The heroine, Nuri is not a lady from the castle or keep but an artisan. She is connected to the village but lives outside from it. Unlike the villagers who work the land, Nuri paints devotionals and journeys to fairs outside the village bounds. The three main characters can all be seen as outsiders to the village.
The Church influenced the lives of the medieval population enormously. The Church held the keys to heaven and the majority of Christendom followed its teachings. Heaven could be achieved by piety, good works, following its doctrine, observing the saint days and paying for your dearly departed to get out of purgatory (yep, purgatory was a medieval invention).
Here’s a little fascinating fact - the Church prohibited marriage (and sex) during the holy days of the year. Marriages were banned during Lent, Rogationtide, Advent, saint days, Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Clergy had encouraged the idea that saint’s days had a supernatural aura and emphasised that a sin committed on a holy day was worse than one committed at any other time. Now, if you add up all the days that you weren't allowed to marry or have sex... I think you are looking at over five months.
Needless to say, where some would adhere to the rules... others would not
So Nuri longs for the freedom to live her own life but she is confined by the opinions and edicts of the village and church.
And I hope that by joining the medieval period with a little magic, I’ve managed to create a lingering love story and a dark fairytale.
He hovered high above the ground as the heavy rain ran over his lithe body. As each drop hit his skin, he revelled in the exhilaration of the storm as it swirled around him. With one deft movement his gray wings sent him soaring upward, where he spun and spiralled in the damp, cold air. There, he hovered until a small movement from below caught his pale, ice-gray eyes. His interest snared, he swooped lower and saw with amusement that a small village lay below. It sat on the side of a river, in the shadow of a great mountain. As he flew closer, he saw its inhabitants running to and fro in a vain attempt to escape from the storm. The smoke from their hearth fires, which burnt so brightly in an endeavour to warm their tiny cottages, curled in the air and wafted up to where Maras flew. In the smoke he could smell ash, herbs, and the aromas of roasted meat, yet almost immediately the rain dissipated the odour and replaced it with its own cool sweetness.
Once, long ago, Maras had been interested in these fragile beings. From afar, he had watched and studied their lives and peculiar habits. Intrigued, he had made the mistake of walking among them. Some had shown promise, but overall he had found them petty and cruel – and after forming this opinion, he had shied away. Now they held little interest for him, although he did find some enjoyment watching them scuttle about in the rain…like little dark beetles or ants.
A crack of thunder in the distance drew his attention. The tempest started to move away from the village and up the mountain – and Maras would follow it.
On the mountain, high above the village of Farran – Nuri is caught between heaven and hell. Two men fight for her love and her soul. The first is Maras, an elemental being that follows the storms. Nuri knows that he is not human, he’s something more. She believes he is her beautiful fallen angel. But he is transient and is bound to the elements and their love may be as fleeting as the storm itself. And Brother Erebus, a pious monk whose tortured soul is twisted by his desire for her, will do anything to protect her soul from the silver haired devil, even if he has to crush her body to do it.
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