Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

Image So for those of you who don’t know (and really, you should count yourselves very blessed if this is the case) I have a character named Valentine Capp.  Vosh to the people who really like him, Capp to those that want his head on a pike, and VAL-in-TINE to the people who are working with him and also want his head on a pike.  He’s a “finder” which means he goes and locates both people and objects for an employer. He doesn’t retrieve them, he just locates them.

Think of him as a tracker/archeologist/researcher and you’ve pretty much got his job description.  This dovetails with his  storyline arc/quest he’s meshed in rather well. Ah, but for that, well you’ll have to buy the book or short story collection.  I’m leaning towards a bunch of short stories that feature him moving towards his goal.  Keep checking back for updates.

Anyway, Valentine Capp has gathered a handful of admirers. So many in fact,  that in my Scribes group, he was set up to answer questions from his fan base. Now, right there, that is a scary sentence. Valentine Capp has a fan base.

Right, moving on from that shiver-inducing thought, time to interview ole’ carrot top.


Valentine  leans and sprawls over my table.  Gears, wires,  needle nose pliers, delicate  thin awl like things, clamps, several ‘third hands’ and other pointed and finely calibrated tools litter the workspace. He is bent over his metal arm, which has the outter housing removed and his nimble, left hand fingers are gently prodding wires into the mesh all ready there. He’s pulling a filament through  the spaghetti of connection with a metal hook no thicker than an eyelash.   His hair, brilliantly red as always, is cut close to his skull. I can see his pale scalp between the individual soldier strands. Is that why several people have asked about his hair recently? Is he going bald?  Are the hairs there not as thick as they used to be?  He looked up at me, large hazel eyes snapping with copper-green fire.

“I’m not going bald” he says  “And Millard can keep such thoughts to himself.  Soon as I’m done with this, ole’ Mill and I are going to have a long talk.”  I blink and hedge around the table, so the span of it is between us.  It’s always a little disconcerting when he knows things that I thought had been kept from him.  I’m not worried about Millard though, he can take care of himself without breaking a sweat. Though sometimes he has to break heads.

 “You know, ” I say after watching him pull out a soldering tool that has a filamental tip  “There are others who had questions too.  Other Scribes had things to ask you. It’s not just Millard who is curious. And, you know, Millard likes you.”  There is a grunt from  Valentine and he pauses, the tip of the tool glowing faintly and casting shadows of light on the reflective surface of the table.  “I mean, there’s Hannah” I plow onward. “She wants to  know why you are always in trouble?” I hold my breath and as he  continues to  solder.

“I’m not always in trouble” he said quietly, his gaze on the spaghetti of his arm. “But I go and find things. People sometimes don’t want their secrets disturbed. Not that I blame them much, everyone’s got a right to privacy. I try hard not to take calls that are going to invade personal space of a person. ” His mouth twitches faintly, showing a new scar on the top lip running to the side on the right.  “Elves, of course, aren’t ‘people’. But some of them are mighty fine, and right hospitable. At least in Elenath they are. ”

Tomorrow  is St. Patrick’s Day,  which will be celebrated by people getting drunk and acting the fool while wearing green and yelling “Kiss me, I’m Irish”. What does this have to do with St. Patrick?  Not a single thing, and that is what makes me so sad,  and more than a little angry.

Here are some things that the world at large will not tell you about St. Patrick; most likely because they don’t know themselves.

1.) Patrick of Ireland wasn’t Irish. He was Welsh, and the son of a Noble family

2.) Patrick of Ireland was taken  by Irish raiders when he was 16 years old.  He was stolen away from his grandfather’s estate.

3.) Patrick  of  Ireland was a slave  for six years.  According to Patrick he was “naked, hungry, abused, and in terrible want” during that time.

4.) Patrick of Ireland found Christ through suffering. Later he would write that when he was tending sheep as slave, he prayed to the Lord more than a hundred times a day.

5.) Patrick of Ireland was rescued by God’s miraculous intervention.  Patrick had a dream where the Lord told him what route to take, and when to leave his master. There was a ship going back to Patrick’s home, but at first the sailors wouldn’t take him aboard. After he prayed and moved back to where he had hidden/stayed in the harbor, they called out for him to come that they would take him after all. 

6.) Patrick of Ireland was not educated. He trained  as Bishop to take up orders in the church but the Lord interrupted his schooling and he never completed his formal education (he could barely write in Latin).

7.) Patrick of Ireland was slandered  by those in his own church. In several of his letters he writes to tell them that he isn’t coming home to answer the charges they have erroneously brought against him. They can figure out what he is (a Bishop or not), and when they know they can write and let him know.

8.) Patrick of Ireland spoke out about injustice he was very vocal about the mistreatment of women, children, and slaves in Ireland.

How do I know these things? Well for one thing I’ve read about Patrick in books like How The Irish Saved Civilization  by Thomas Cahill and St. Patrick of Ireland by Phillip Freeman. I highly recommend both. However, I’ve gone one further than that, I’ve read what Patrick said about himself That’s right, some of Patrick’s words remain today. The most common one you can usually find at the library is called Confessions of St. Patrick. Don’t worry, it’s not some true-crime tale (which is what I thought it had to be when I first heard of it ).  In Patrick’s day, when you wrote your  Confession it was your testimony you were writing. At that time, confessions were usually penned towards the end of a  Christian believer’s life with the intention of encouraging and exhorting those you were leaving behind. Rather a sweet tradition, I think.   Patrick also penned it as a last defense against those who were slandering him.

Here’s part that really struck home to me, I’ve taken it from St. Patrick of Ireland, and this is Philip Freeman’s translation of the Latin. I love the frank and earnest tone he gives Patrick. In Philip Freeman’s notes on his translation, he says that is really what he wanted to come across to the readers; Patrick’s Latin isn’t high Latin of the Church, it’s “street Latin” if there could be such a thing.

Here’s  Patrick, in his own words:

I am Patrick, a sinner. The most unsophisticated and unworthy among all the faithful of God.  .. .I am very ashamed and afraid to show just how awkward my writing is. I am not able to explain things in just a few words like those who can write briefly. My mind and my spirit can’t even work together so that my words say what I really feel inside….Listen to me well, all of you, great and small, everyone who has any fear of God–especially you wealthy landowners so proud of your education—listen and consider this carefully: God chose foolish little me from among all of you who seem so wise and so expert in the law and so powerful in your eloquence. He picked ignorant Patrick ahead of you all—even though I am not worthy—He picked me to go forth with fear and reverence—and without any of you complaining at the time—to serve the Irish faithfully.

St. Patrick of Ireland, pgs 144-145

Now, I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of Christian I’d like to meet, and buy a pint and the local pub.  He loved Christ greatly. His words and his life agree with one another, and he had no grand airs.  Remember this Patrick, not the too-serious saint you might see in pictures, nor the strange fellow beating a drum and chasing out the snakes (that never happened), but this Patrick.

This is Patrick of Ireland.