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A Wee Scottish Fantasy

Discussion in 'Completed Figures' started by harrytheheid, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    ALBA - 12th FEBRUARY 1058
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    On the battlements of an ancient tower, a still figure dressed in antique armor and wrapped in a muted cloak contemplates the barren landscape far below.
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    Others behind, indistinct in the murk, clad in thick wools and furs, attempt to warm icy hands and stamp frozen feet.
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    "The Roman priests tell me the Old Gods are gone from Asgard, and Valhalla is no more. So why do the heavens flare and black clouds thunder as if Valkyries still fight Mortal Heroes in endless battle overhead?"

    "Just after Sámhaainn, with my husband not yet cold in his grave, The Usurper, Ceánn Mhore, sent an envoy with embroideries of gold thread, jars of sweetmeats, a length of scarlet silk, and an insane proposal for my hand."
    "So, a queen is indeed a desirable prize. As in board games, so too in dynastic games."
    "But my honor is not for sale – and I prefer our soft Scottish wool over smooth Oriental silk."
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    "I myself wrote the reply, though my Ængáleish letters are even worse than my Latin scrawls. Few words were needed anyway. I sent the gewgaws back, along with my answer – and the envoy’s preserved hand in place of my own. Though I do confess; it was a deplorable waste of fine vinegar."
    "But I kept the bolt of silk; it makes the walls of my privy seem warm."

    "In the Ængláeish tongue, Ceánn Mhore means Big Chief, two words that may well suit The Usurper; as the two I sent did not! Or so the priests tell me."
    "His uncontrolled rage at such short and sweet reply might have had the good fortune to cause an apoplexy of the blood, and may yet. Menaced by threat of a marriage I will not contemplate, I intend to send another message that I hope will enrage him further."

    Queen Gruoch, lately wife to the King of Scots, Whom ye have foully slain,
    Chooses to remain in her simple tower, In fury and disdain,
    Come ye chapping at her door, Her answer will always be the same.

    It is a dare of course; and yet we shall see what he might dare.
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    Gruoch ingen Beoedhe mac Cineadh is the first Scottish Queen whose name appears in surviving records. Her father was a Prince of the royal blood and could trace his ancestors back to Kenneth MacAlpin, who had united the Picts of Alba and the Scots of Dalriada during the mid-800’s.
    Truly she would have been a prize indeed for those reaching toward an empty throne in the, still almost-Norse, Alba of the 1050's.

    Her first husband was Gillecomgain who married Lady Gruoch in 1030. They had a son, Lulach, born in 1031. However, the following year Gillecomgain died in battle along with 50 of his men, which suggests a raid by Vikings based in Orkney. But, there was another powerful warlord in the North of Scotland who had everything to gain from Gillecomgain's death.
    Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaich) now stepped in -- and expediently married the widow. So somewhat "conveniently", he now found himself connected by his alliance through marriage to an alternate royal house of Scotland.

    In 1040, the ruling monarch, Duncan I, was killed in battle with MacBeth, who then had himself crowned as High King of Scots along with his wife Gruoch as Queen of Scots in her own right.
    Their reign ended in 1057 when MacBeth was slain by forces of the Earl of Northumberland allied to Duncan's exiled son, Malcolm Canmore.
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    Macbeth had been dead some seven months when his stepson and successor Lulach, the last High King of Scots to be interred on the Isle of Iona, was killed in an ambush, thus ending the dynasty.

    From the Irish Book of Kells
    Do marbhadh Lulách mac Gillecomgain, Ard-Rí na Albainis, i cáth ag Essie i Strathbogie ag Malcolm mac Duncan, ar Márta 23, 1058

    Lulach son of Gillecomgain, High King of Scots, was killed in battle at Essie in Strathbogie by Malcolm son of Duncan, on 23rd March 1058

    Canmore was subsequently declared king as Malcolm III. He was crowned at the royal town of Scone on 25th April 1058.
    During his reign, and highly influenced by his Saxon Queen Margaret, the center of power in Scotland shifted from the Norse/Gaelic north to the southern area of the country.
    The ultimate fate of Queen Gruoch is lost in the mists of time.
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    For more info, see this link;
    Martin64, Kevtk135, arj and 19 others like this.
  2. MoboSchreuder A Fixture

    Wow beautiful work and painting

    harrytheheid likes this.
  3. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Yeah - it was a fun project that took about three years from start to finish.
    I'd do those eyes on the axe guy just behind the Queen a bit differently now, but oh well....
  4. Warren SMITH PlanetFigure Supporter

    Excellent paint work, very well done..(y)
    harrytheheid likes this.
  5. blaster Active Member

    Very good storytelling. All in great context. A couple of the gents seem mesmerised by the Amazon... Rgds Victor
    harrytheheid likes this.
  6. Dolf Active Member

    Excellent! Very nicely done diorama, great painting work and a very interesting story! (y)


    harrytheheid likes this.
  7. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi Dolf,
    It's part of the introduction to a 7,000-word short story I wrote for an on-line Fantasy magazine way back in 2015.
    I had originally intended to spin a more or less standard "Brünnhilde the Valkyrie" yarn, but had become increasingly fascinated by the historical "Lady MacBeth", whom I'm convinced was used for the character of Morguase in the later medieval Arthurian romances.
    The background of murder, plot and betrayal, plus references to the Norse Jarldom's in Orkney and the far north of Scotland, together with the Celtic-Gaelic and Anglo-Saxon clash of cultures in the years leading up to 1058 proved irresistible. It's a tale of dark foreboding with hints of witchcraft, as the old Celtic religion of Columba was already under attack by that of Rome.
    The Columban church was finally eradicated by Malcolm Canmore's second wife, the Hungarian-born Saxon, Saint Margaret Ætheling, who was canonized for her efforts in 1250.
    Dolf likes this.
  8. Dolf Active Member

    Hi Harry,

    Thanks for the follow-up! (y)

    I always learn something new from your posts and your knowledge about these (to me at least) totally unknown stories. As it is often said, knowledge is power ;) There's also a popular old saying here that goes kind of like this "knowledge doesn't take no space" (to which I often add "and it doesn't take any extra weight neither") :joyful: So in the end, I believe knowledge is always a good and positive thing, which contributes quite a lot for our own Evolution :happy:

    Keep up the great work!


    harrytheheid likes this.
  9. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Thanks Warren.
  10. theBaron A Fixture

    Great diorama and story, Harry! I like that combination of the story and the physical images to illustrate it.

    Shouldn't she have red hair, though? We all know that Celtic queens are all redheads. Unless TV and movies have lied to us...

    harrytheheid likes this.
  11. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    :facepalm:....Doh....:wideyed:....Yeah, you're right Brad....:shy:
    i. 25-May-2018.JPG

    Here's her sister then....
    Fig 09. They consider the desolate landscape far below. All seems well – for now.JPG

    theBaron likes this.
  12. theBaron A Fixture

    Years ago, the History Channel ran a piece on Boudicca, and in one shot, they had this redhead standing on the war chariot, camera shooting up from the ground in front of her, the actress backlit against an otherwise black background, wind machine blowing her auburn locks all over. It looked like something out of a rock video.

    Of course, the History Channel long ago gave up any pretense of presenting history...


    A PS-I got my Tatiana figures from Chronos yesterday. The castings are very nice, and I look forward to painting them.
  13. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Yes, that Tatiana Romanov figure is a particularly well done sculpt and I look forward to seeing how you paint her uniform.
  14. DEL A Fixture

    Absolutely love the way you take, on the face of it, unrelated figures and turn them into a cohesive narrative.
    It's a genuine talent (y)
    Anyhoo here's another wee Scottish Fantasy
    harrytheheid likes this.
  15. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Cheers Del.
    I do derive a kick out of dreaming up these, perhaps, "unlikely" scenarios.
    It's fun, and even gets pretty rewarding when people like yourself can actually "see' what I'm doing.
    Got a lot of similar stuff in the pipeline; and they'll get done in their own sweet time.
    PS. Luv your very own Wee Scottish Fantasy....:love:....wish I'd known her way back when....:love:
  16. amarok1969 Member

    Great diorama and beautiful work. :)
    harrytheheid likes this.
  17. RonW Member

    True story or not, but I most certainly like this grouping, which tell a story no matter who looks at it.
    I love the variety of figures, poses etc.
    Besides, the painting is top notch!
  18. NeilW Well-Known Member

    He Del, is she off a can of Sweetheart?

    I remember them from many many moons ago when I used to visit family in Glasgow: amazed to see that they still do them!

    (BTW: the pics a great ref for the lace, buckle etc)
  19. John Bowery A Fixture

    Excellent and great painting and display.
    harrytheheid likes this.
  20. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Cheers John.

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