My homage to Alan Le May’s, The Searchers, as envisioned by John Ford and John Wayne, is evolving. Now progressing under the working title of ‘The Restless and the Godless’, the title reflects the character of the two main protagonists.
Naythan is the restless one of the title, newly released from his commission in the army of Rosewall, the king’s forces having met defeat at the hands of Arthur Blackrose (a story for another day, though you can find a potted history within the Tales of Rhoderica section of this website). He is a conundrum of a man, torn by the honour of the trained sword and his unwavering hatred of the Southren. As the story begins, we do not know the source of this hatred, but it finds a target in the form of Neils, half southren-half human adopted son of Old Man Marne. The bitter exchanges at the outset of the tale set a tone for Naythan’s troubled character. As the story unfolds, his interactions with Neils provide a barometer for how far Naythan has succumbed to the darker leanings of his character.
Morgan, Naythan’s nephew and travelling companion, is the godless one of the title. His faith is shredded one day at the start of spring, when the unthinkable befalls his frontier family. Both men will wrestle with their inner demons as they give themselves over to a quest that at times seems futile. The passage of miles and the occasion of dire threat are strangely welcomed by the two partners of the trail, who find a useful companion in the constant fatigue and fear of death, as it affords them no time to dwell on the events of the recent past.
The ‘Reckless and the Godless’ also fills in a period of history of Rhoderica before the adventures of Rulnik and Torbad, the Wolves of Winter, and introduces a landscape to the south of the arena of action outlined in the first three ‘verses’ of the Song of the Elves.
Until next time, ‘up the Restless Ones!’