Sunday 24 January 2010

While writing the next chapter, wherein Malcolm and Cubby meet King Malcolm III of Scotland, I had to take a step back and figure out exactly what is the history between Malcolm III and the clan of Black Colin. That led to figuring out the history of the clan itself.

I haven’t written up a “History of Scotland according to the Colins” as I did “A History of England according to the Hwalas”, but I did write biographies for the leaders of the clan, from Black Colin on down.

I ended up integrating the clan’s history into the [Wikipedia version of the] history of the Kingdom of Strathclyde — an ancient British kingdom that includes southwestern Scotland and Cumbria, namely the clan’s current stomping grounds, plus Lothere and its environs. 

In 945 Dynfwal — also called Dumnail or Domnall — the so-​​called “Last King” of Strathclyde, was killed in a battle on the moutain road that leads out of Lothere past Thorhold. The pile of boulders that covers his body is literally at the edge of the village where Egelric grew up, and the lake where Egelric’s dad taught him to fish is where Dynfwal’s sons threw the royal crown to keep it out of the hands of the Scots. I thought that was a pretty cool coincidence, plus, you know, Black Colin’s father was supposed to have been named Domnall…

So I made up the story of how Black Colin somehow got the crown (or a crown), claimed he was the long-​​lost son of the dead king, and went north to demand his kingdom from the current so-​​called long-​​lost son, Amdarch… who I decided was one of the fearsome red-​​haired Clann Conngalach. And when Amdarch said “Oh no you don’t,” Black Colin just up and killed him and said “Oh yes I do.” So now I have a lovely explanation for the blood feud between the families. :-)

I’m not saying Black Colin really was related to the former king… he was one of the Sidhe, right? More likely he got the real crown from the bottom of the lake through some magical means, and decided to put it to use in this way by pretending to be of royal blood. (It also makes me wonder whether they came from Lothere originally, since the crown was there, and if so, is that why Egelric’s grandfather came to Lothere years later? Is that where his prodigal great-​​grandfather was heading when he left Galloway forever with nothing more than his wife, his knife, and his ring?)

Anyway, after Domnall’s death, the following historic “kings” of Strathclyde are named Mael Coluim mac Domnaill and Owen the Bald. By pretending the chroniclers got the names a little bit confused, I was easily able to integrate them with descendants of Colin. I gave Black Colin’s son Aed the nickname “the Bald,” which is written “Mael” in Gaelic. So “Máel Coluim mac Domnaill” is simply a confused form of “Mael mac Cuilén mec Dhomnhaill” (that is, “The Bald Guy,” son of Colin, son of Donald). And “Owen the Bald” could be “Áed the Bald” as well, since Owen is Eógan in Gaelic, and the 11th century name Áed was written somewhat similarly to Eógan in later centuries. So I decided those two men are actually a single man: Black Colin’s eldest son Áed (964 — 1018).

The other historic King of Strathclyde of note for our purposes is named Malcolm, son of Owen the Bald, which would correspond to our Máel Coluim mac Aoidhe (986 — 1055). How convenient for me! So I integrated the real Malcolm’s history into our character.

Finally I had to figure out how and why Malcolm III had Old Aed’s father killed before his eyes. You can read that in his father’s bio. Really ouchy story. All I can say is: Caedwulf, that was a really, really dumb move you made there.

This is not a nice guy:

Not a nice guy.

Still… This is the guy who killed Macbeth! With a sword! (As Pinknose would say.) How cool is that? :bunny: