The Annals of Fear - References
by MRS Jeevas

"Because I'm never going alone to buy cheese again." Mello gaze held just a hint of menace. "Call it one of my little superstitions."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 2: A Mystery to Solve

In the bridge between 'Watari Pt 1' and 'Watari Pt 2', Mello went out alone to buy some halloumi cheese. His absense allowed Matt to leave and get into a lot of trouble over 'The Mario Clause'.

Skim-reading the details made it look like a Scooby Doo adventure. A ghosthunt.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 1: A Mystery to Solve

'Scooby Doo' is a Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon, which features a group of teenage dealing with the supernatural. Daphne, Velma, Fred, Shaggy and the eponymous dog, Scooby Doo, often set out to investigate areas haunted by ghosts, ghouls, vampires etc. Usually the end of the story involved the unmasking of a very human villain, who was trying to scare people away for his/her own dastardly reasons. The unmasking often occurred with the comment, "And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

The title of this chapter is also a Scooby Doo reference. It's a lyric from the theme song.

Mello didn't believe in subliminal messages in music. He also recalled a time when he didn't believe in shinigamis nor the ability to kill by writing in a notebook.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 2: Lambs

This is a reference to the Death Note and the presense of the Shinigamis, Ryuk and Sidoh, both of whom Mello saw previously.

Matt continued his boss fight, closer than he had ever reached before. The boss's hitpoints were almost drained and Matt still had a good supply of food and his special attack left. He fought on and three minutes later, the beast fell at his feet, scattering drops and bones.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 3: Méditation

I deliberately did't mention either the game or the boss, so that people could insert their own. It becomes more meaningful to the reader, if their imagination adds their own pixel nemesis. Therefore, whichever boss in whatever game you wish this to be, you are correct.

For myself though, I think that if I was writing this right now, I would have inserted Runescape's Nomad. That boss has continued to thwart me for weeks. When I actually was writing it, I had another Runescape boss in mind. That is the Corporeal Beast, which had only just been successfully soloed by a player. Here is the mighty Woox16 making Runescape history in September 2009:

That said, this story is set in 2011. There's probably much scarier bosses out there than the Corporeal Beast by then.

The quality was hardly Anne-Sophie Mutter, but the emotion invested into it bowled even her for six.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 3: Méditation

Anne-Sophie Mutter is a German violinist, who has won many awards during her career. She's considered to be one of the best violinists alive today.

That was after they had covered the Second World War in class at the institution. Operation Moonlight Sonata. The destruction of Coventry by the German bombers and the levelling of that city's Cathedral.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 4: Gethsemane

Operation Moonlight Sonata is a real event that occurred on November 14th, 1940. This was wartime and the English city of Coventry was home to a lot of industry, including munitions factories. This included the manufacture of bombers. The city was a vital cog in the English war effort. Across the North Sea, the German Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, was still reeling from the English bombers attacking Munich a week previously. He also recognised the importance of Coventry to the English. Hitler ordered 500 German bombers to amass and fly over there. Their remit was simple: destroy the city.

All through the night, the German bombers criss-crossed the night sky. From 7pm until 5am the next morning, the bombs rained down, constant and unrelenting. They dropped over 30,000 bombs onto 38 square miles of a densely populated city. The all clear sounded at 6.15am and the people of Coventry emerged in utter shock. 554 people were dead and nearly a 1000 were injured. 4330 homes were destroyed, as were three-quarters of the factories. Historic landmarks in the city centre lay in rubble, including the cathedral.

The aspect of all of this that's bothering Mello is the destruction of the cathedral, which resonates with his own history.

And Mello would die rather than let a Wammy boy seeing him crying for his parents. "Hillyer. Fucking shit."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 4: Gethsemane

James Hillyer was an orphan brought to Wammy's House. However, he was utterly traumatised by the death of his parents and didn't stop crying during his brief stay. The other orphans there treated this with disdain and, even years after James was removed, the word 'Hillyer' was used as a byword for crying for your parents. Amongst the Wammy House kids, this is a terrible and unforgiveable crime.

"Maja apparently saw herself as the new Tarja Turunen."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 6: Myocardial Infarction

Tarja Turunen is a Finnish soprano singer. She was the original lead singer of the symphonic metal band, Nightwish.

"The Swedes flew over and they all congregated on this manor. That's when it all goes a bit..."

Mello and Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 6: Myocardial Infarction

See previous reference to Scooby Doo. Matt is flippantly saying that this is the point when the story becomes mysterious with supernatural elements.

"Adda drove back up the motorway, parked up at a service station, then threw himself off the bridge into the Severn Estuary."
Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 6: Myocardial Infarction

Though not relevant to the story, this is my nod to Richey Edwards, of the Welsh rock band, the Manic Street Preachers. Richey went missing on 1 February 1995; his car was found parked at the Severn View service station. This overlooks the Severn Estuary and therefore has led to theories that he committed suicide by throwing himself into it. In reality, no-one knows what happened to Richey.

*wipes a little personal tear* :( I'm a massive Manic Street Preachers fan, from way back before that was fashionable. I grew up with Richey as my favourite (because I was a teenager and you're supposed to have favourites). I remember 1995 well, watching the news and grabbing papers for the latest information. My theory is that he disappeared and isn't dead at all. But that's really not relevant here. LOL

This isn't my only nod to the Manics in my stories. The song isn't at all relevant, but there's a lyric that is. 'Little Baby Nothing' is about a child prostitute, who is used by adults.

The lyric is:

All the world does not exist for me
And if I'm starving, you can feed me lollipops

It's where I got Century's 'quirk' from. All the Wammy kids seem to have one, so I had to think of something. He's the baby of the house, isn't he?

Mello felt like Adonis under a gaze like that. It pleased him.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 7: Puta

Adonis is a God in both West Semitic and Greek pantheons. I'm just going to nick the explanation from Wikipedia:

An extremely attractive, youthful male is often called an Adonis, often with a connotation of deserved vanity: "the office Adonis". The legendary attractiveness of the figure is referenced in Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac, which describes an unrequited love of the main character, Sarrasine for the image in a painting of an Adonis and a castrato. The allusion to extreme physical attractiveness is apparent in the psychoanalytical Adonis Complex which refers to a body image obsession with improving one's physique and youthful appearance.

They had apparently tried to have it demolished, but some authority, possibly CADW, had slapped a preservation order on it.
The Annals of Fear, chapter 8: Elvenpath

Cadw is a Welsh government body. Their role is to protect the built heritage of Wales, so they look after the historic buildings, abbeys, houses, castles etc.

"I'm not a Cardi!" Century gasped.
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 9: Machynlleth

In Welsh slang, someone from the county of Sir Ceredigion is called a Cardi. Century is from the county of Sir Gwynedd, therefore it's just rivalry between counties that's speaking here.

That said, Sir Ceredigion is an area full of rural villages and isolated hill farms. For people based in the cities of South Wales, a Cardi is unfairly seen as someone backwards, poor and prudish. However, Century hails from the extreme North-Western tip of Wales. It would be difficult to find anywhere more isolated and rural than Century's home town of Aberdaron. In short, if he's exclaiming in the South Welsh context, then he's being very hypocritical.

From the kitchen, Mello's voice rose. "I've even hidden the fucking guns! We've laid on a plate of buttered Welsh cake things especially for him!"

They all looked. Century's gaze dipped back to Matt. "Buttered Welsh cake things?"
Mello and Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 10: It Begins

Mello's refering to the Bara Brith, which Mrs Roberts had left for them in the kitchen.

Bara Brith

450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
300ml (1/2 pint) tea
2 tbsp marmalade
1 egg, beaten
6 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
450g (1lb) self-raising flour
honey to glaze

1. Soak the fruit overnight in the tea.
2. Next day, mix the marmalade, egg, sugar, spice and flour. Spoon into a greased 900g (1lb) loaf tin and bake in a warm oven (gas 3, 325ºF, 170ºC) for one and three quarter hours or until the centre is cooked through. Check from time to time that the top doesn’t brown too much, and cover with a sheet of foil or move down a shelf in the oven if necessary.
3. Once cooked, leave the Bara Brith to stand for 5 minutes, then tip out of the tin on to a cooling tray. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top with honey.
4. Serve sliced with salted butter and some tasty farmhouse Cheddar. Store in an airtight tin.
Recipe stolen from the North Wales Tourism website

Sometimes she's a beautiful woman, or an animal. Usually one connected with the Morrighan for obvious reasons."

Mello's eyebrows rose. "Do we need to know about Morrighan?"

Century and Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 12: Night Hags

Morrighan is an Irish Goddess of War. The connection there is death.

"Fascinating stuff in its own right, but nothing suggesting that we have Ceredigion's answer to the Amityville Horror."
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 14: A Little Welsh Flavouring

The Amityville Horror is a celebrated haunting of a house in Amityville, New York, USA. The experiences of the Lutz family were first made public in a book, entitled 'The Amityville Horror', by Jay Anson in 1977. Since then, the incident has been retold in several films and books, whilst also inspiring many more purely fictional spin-offs.

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville. Three weeks later, they fled the house, leaving all of their belongings and furniture behind. They reported that, in the interim, they had been subject to repeated sightings of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena; various family members had been possessed; physical objects had moved about; and there had been strong evidence of demonic influences. They didn't go back.

"It would have been in every Cymric legends guidebook this side of Offa's Dyke."
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 14: A Little Welsh Flavouring

Cymric = Welsh. Offa's Dyke is an earthwork barrier, built by the Mercian (Angle) King Offa in the 8th century, to keep the Welsh out of his country. Today it only roughly follows the border between England and Wales, because there's been several centuries more fighting since then. As a result, some previously Welsh towns and areas, like the Forest of Dean, are now stuck in England.

In this context, 'this side of Offa's Dyke' is Century's way of saying Wales.

Mello wrinkled his nose. "However, if we do get attacked by a hideous woman and pull off her mask, I won't be surprised to find Mr Roberts underneath it going, 'I would have gotten away with it as well, if it wasn't for you pesky kids.'"
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 14: A Little Welsh Flavouring

Yet another Scooby Doo reference. This is the catchphrase and usual circumstances for the end of a Scooby Doo episode.

"Yeah and probably the valuable antiques too. We've got an historian with us and he's been ooohing and ahhing over stuff, but he hasn't once picked something up and had us rushing to Sotherby's, has he?"
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 19: Clues and Conjecture

Sotherby's is a famous auction house in England. It's where the truly valuable, bordering on priceless, antiques get evaluated and sold.

"It's not exactly the Sistine Chapel."
Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 22: The Priest Hole

The Sistine Chapel is within the Pope's residence, in Vatican City. It's famous for precisely the reason Matt is namechecking it now - its ceiling. Mihelangelo painted the whole ceiling, between 1508 and 1512, with highly detailed Biblical scenes. Many of these scenes have gone on to be regarded as his best artwork, while also becoming internationally famous. They include 'The Creation of Adam', pictured below.

The Creation of Adam

Basically Matt's saying that he's got pictures on the wall, but they're very basic. It's not the ornate, awesome detail of the Sistine Chapel in there.

Some inner self grabbed at a childhood memory. It was a poster. Soldiers in full kit, marching towards the camera, holding their guns in their hands. They were slightly red and black, against a plain white background. The legend blazed out, 'Hrvatska vas zove!'
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 23: Lost

This is a real poster from the Domovinski Rat (Homeland War, or Croatian War of Independence). It's basically a 'Croatia Needs You!' poster, urging people to sign up and fight for their country.

Hrvatska vas Zove

He remembered having nightmares once about the Bendith y Mamau, because his Taid had told him how they stole children from their beds.
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 24: Elen Llwyddog, Helpu Fi!

Bendith y Mamau translates as 'Mother's Blessing', which is a bit of a misnomer, when you consider that they kidnap children. They are the nastier sort of Welsh fairies. The children are always replaced with a changeling, called a Crimbils. Both the Bendith y Mamau and their infant Crimbils are described as small and extremely ugly. The only way to get your own baby back was to torture the Crimbils to death.

"Zdravo Marijo," was as far as he got, before the shivering overtook him and he sat coiled into himself.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 24: Elen Llwyddog, Helpu Fi!

Zdravo Marijo is Croatian for 'Hail Mary'. Mello was attempting to recite the Ave Maria. This is a tradition Catholic prayer, beseeching the Virgin Mary to intercede with God on your behalf.

"Did you know that there's a cleft hill in Gwent that was purportedly split in two at the moment of Christ's crucifixion? If the events of the Middle East can impact there, I'm sure that a civil war in Eastern Europe nearly two decades ago could make it here just fine."
Nathalie, The Annals of Fear, chapter 24: Elen Llwyddog, Helpu Fi!

Nathalie is referring to Ysgyryd Fawr, aka The Skirrid. Gwent is a county in South Wales. Local lore is precisely as Nathalie describes it.

"Heh." Mello smirked, trying to appear more light-hearted than he felt. "Like Matt's going to let some GI Joe drive his car."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 26: Psychological Plague Dogs

GI Joe was an action figure, produced by the American toy manufacturers, Hasbro. There are several dolls of the same name, all relating to personnel in the armed forces. The popularity of the toy has led to comics, cartoons and films created around the mythical person of GI Joe.

Internationally, GI Joe is a slang term used to refer to American ground forces. Mello's betraying his American influence here, as the person he is talking to isn't American.

He returned to the room and emptied the Marks and Spencer's pyjamas on the bed, then used the bag to stuff full of Matt's shirts and a pair of jeans.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 26: Psychological Plague Dogs

Marks and Spencers is a well known brand store in Britain. It sells a variety of items, from household goods to food, but is particularly known for its clothing. It caters mostly to the middle classes. The clothing tends to be well made, but a little too pricy for the working classes. The upper classes would see it as downmarket. Despite a recent line in hippy type clothes, its reputation is for quite conservative clothing.

The room filled with the electronic tones of the Tetris music.
Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 27: Another Aftermath

Tetris is a game which can be played in many formats, using a range of consoles or other media. Matt is playing the PSP version.

Deontic took a deep breath. Her words came out sharply. "Did it happen to you, Mello? Did you have to fight against suicide?"

Mello took the chocolate from his mouth and his hand rose with all the dramatics of a ham actor, "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!"


"Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely. That it should come to this!"
Deontic and Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 28: Playing to Win

Mello's quoting Hamlet, in the play of the same name by William Shakespeare, act 1, scene 2. Hamlet spends most of the play depressed and suicidal, but this was one of his big moments when he came close to actually doing it. Hamlet wants to kill himself, because he's despairing of his world. However, he's a good Catholic boy and, by the tenets of his Church, those who commit suicide will go straight to Hell.

In other words, yes, Mello did feel suicidal down there, but he's not about to admit that openly to Deontic. Though, to be fair, he did answer the question...

Here's Kenneth Branagh, as Hamlet, doing the same speech, though I imagined Mello doing it a little more exaggerated, 'with all the dramatics of a ham actor'. He daren't do it with the real emotion. Deontic might get the hint.

Mello wore the faintest of smiles. "I'm sure there's a Darwin Award in there somewhere, Matt."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 28: Playing to Win

The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek commentary. As well as the website, there have been several books created. The awards are generally given to those who were killed doing something stupid. As they removed themselves from the gene pool, along with their lack of intelligence or common sense that led directly to their demise, then they indirectly strengthen the human race. By not being in it.

Mello is suggesting that Matt is too stupid to live.

Later on, Mr Roberts had had his map out. He was fairly sure that the road had been a Sarn Elen.
Mr Roberts, The Annals of Fear, chapter 29: The Rape of the Fair Country

The Sarn Elen was a road built by the Welsh born Roman Empress Elen. Many ancient Welsh roads are erroneously called a Sarn Elen, but she did only build the one. Mind you, it's an impressive road. It's 160 miles long, which means that it covers the entire length of Wales. It does pass through the area in which Century was running.

After the Empress Elen's death, she became referred as a Goddess in Wales. Elen of the Hosts (or Elen of the Ways) is the guardian of travellers.

Alex grabbing Morfydd's hand and running, reaching back with his fingers stretched. His last word being, "Iestyn!"
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 29: The Rape of the Fair Country

Century's mother read 'The Rape of the Fair Country' by Alexander Cordell. She named her second youngest son after Alexander himself. The novel centres around a brother and sister named Morfydd and Iestyn. These are the names that she gave to her youngest two children. Iestyn is Century. His middle name is Hywll, while the father of the fictional Morfydd and Iestyn is named Hywel. Hywll and Hywel are pronounced the same and the change of spelling is deliberate. I like to shove in little details that suggest a backstory and, in my head, there was one here. It was that Century's mother read the books and chose the names, but it was Century's father who registered the birth. He hadn't read the books and Hywll is the more common spelling of the name in North Wales.

All of this blarb about names from Cordell books is included for its relevance in the next reference.

Century crested the edge, with the mountain rising high above him... He could see the soldiers now, down below, patrolling around the house with their big guns in their hands. He could see beyond them, that whole panaroma of darkness and the great, free, Welsh sky above him. His eyes drank it in; his heart filled with it. His beautiful country, violated now, but still waiting for him with the cry of ancestors. He started running, hurtling down the mountainside towards them.
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 29: The Rape of the Fair Country

This segment bounces off the classic opening to 'The Rape of the Fair Country'. In that, Iestyn Mortymer crests a mountain, at night, from which he has a panoramic view of the landscape all around him. But at the foot of his mountain is Blaenafon, which is heavily industrialised. It had mines and ironworks, plus a tightly packed community. The smoke, fires and incessant noise make it look like some kind of Hellish otherworld, but Iestyn Mortymer walks down the slope 'into the furnace glare where the drop-hammers were thumping.'

Iestyn Jones (Century) has soldiers instead of Blaenafon, but he and Iestyn Mortymer react in very similiar ways to their individual views. This is Century as Iestyn Mortymer. 'His beautiful country, violated now...' is a reference to the name of the Cordell book, 'The Rape of the Fair Country'. My thoughts here is that Century has come full circle. He was linked to Iestyn Mortymer at his birth, by his mother, if only in the fact of his name. Now he's in mortal danger from a heart-attack and he's inadvertently mirroring Iestyn Mortymer again.

The whole poetry of seeing the Welsh countryside as something spiritually sustaining, stabilising, comes from another Cordell novel. At least, in part, it's inspired by another scene. In 'The Song of the Earth', Mostyn Evans is at the end of his tether. It was the time of the Chartist riots. If you don't know your Welsh history, then you can pretty much blag any incident in it by saying, 'stuff happened in Wales, then the English came in and started killing people/repressing culture/taking over the land'. It's a recurring theme and the Chartist Riots were no different, but that's not relevant here. Mostyn is in despair, stunned by recent events and unable to envisage the next hour, let alone a whole future. But he reads a pamphlet, which contains a description of the Welsh by Henry V of England. It connects him to his past, his ancestry. The spark kickstarts a kind of hope,

'The excitement grew within me, stronger and stronger, and I began to tremble. In my great emptiness there came a new vitality, a strength that flowed through me. And I saw before me not a land of defeat and exploitation, but a land of triumph. I saw in the scarred landscape and the tunnelled mountains not a desecration but the glory of their wealth... It was as if I myself had become re-born, that the spirit of my country have moved in me, making me one with her in all her stubborn courage. And as she now stood purified by all the flames of adversity and was strengthed and refined, so was I drawing into me the strength nd determination of her greatness... (Mostyn leaves the mountain and goes down into the town, but he's still filled with these visions) ... And, standing there, jostled, shoved by the massing crowd, I seemed to see behind (the preacher) a slow rent in the clouds. And from this rent a glorious light began to shine. In this light I saw the torn centuries of the past and on a great stairway walked the lost generations of a land despoiled; the blinded, the maimed by iron. The scarred colliers of the pits I saw, the women haulers, the children of the ventilating doors: all these I saw clearly... And as the hwyl of the preacher beat about me, I turned my face to the sky.

Mostyn then sees his dead family and other loved ones, like visions in the clouds. He sees his Welsh ancestry moving like giants across the valleys and mountains, visible only to the right kind of eyes. It was this sustenance of Welsh history, general and personal, all wrapped up in the earth itself that I tried to invoke for Century. It gives him the courage to run down the mountain, towards the guns, despite all instinct and phobia telling him not to.

There is a private reference here too. Century is my failed Mary-Sue, insofar as he's Welsh, a vegetarian and an historian. He's got my colouring. Other than that, he took off on his own and he's nothing like me. My nod to acknowledging that he's not even nearly my Mary-Sue is to link him so much with the Cordell stories. Those novels are all set in and around Blaenafon, on the other side of Wales from both where Century was born and where he is now. However, my family come from Blaenafon.

The final link between Century, Cordell and me is this vision of the landscape. The reason that I love Cordell's narratives so much is that he appeared to see the landscape much like I do. No matter where I am, my imagination is superimposing the historical view over the top. I see the reality of the modern landscape, then my mind throws up the historical details and I almost see it out there happening now. Obviously, this is pure imagination at work (unless something supernatural is going on, then it's a bit more real).

I've written Century as someone who does the same thing. See chapter 24, 'His Mam had yelled at her Dad then, telling him no more stories, but, for Century, stories were the lifeblood filling his veins. They still were. He ran, but his mind soared above...' I don't think including this aspect of him is particularly Mary-Sueish. He's an historian. I think all historians see the world like this. We're the ones keeping history alive, vivid and almost tangible, a vibrant contributor to all that is right now; because otherwise the past is dead and buried and we'll never learn from it. That's like only ever reading the last page of all the great novels, or watching the last scene of a classic film, and never knowing the rest of the story.

And yes, I've stood many times on Welsh mountains and seen my ancestors in the clouds; or the wash of the last great Ice Age carving out the contours of the landscape; or the pilgrims, in their coracles, braving the ocean to Ynys Enlli; the deities formed in cliff-faces; the ironworks ablaze; the great battles and riots, the quieter rebellions, the steadfast private insurrection of simply living. I've stood in the courtyard of Hay Castle, built to keep out the Welsh, and laughed at the memory of the Marcher Lord who made it. I've looked up, in the streets of Caernafon, and smirked at the figurine of Edward I high on the castle walls. He was going to subdue the Welsh with this castle. He was going to destroy the culture. His figurine is missing a face, so many people have thrown rocks at it. The castle has Y Ddraig Goch, the Welsh flag, over it now. And I've visited the stately homes of all those petty English bureaucrats, who spent a working life-time enforcing legislation to wipe out the Welsh language. Cymru am byd! Yma o hyd!

Anyway, yes, I've written an essay over just one paragraph of story; but I hope it's given you some insight into the mind of the Welsh, the historian and Century. If it hasn't, I enjoyed the waffle anyway. >.>

"We flew via Bronglais! They took him in on a stretcher!"
Mr Roberts, The Annals of Fear, chapter 30: Something Was Wrong

Bronglais General Hospital is in Aberystwyth.

"I'd rather take on a pair of velociraptors."
Deontic talking about Mello and Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 32: Portents, Paranoia and Parenting

This is actually a private nod towards Miyamashi. Our RP involves time-travel and we once did have Mello and Matt having to fight velociraptors. They won.

Velociraptors were dinosaurs, who featured prominantly in the 'Jurassic Park' books and films. They're vicious and cunning, hunting in pairs. At least in 'Jurassic Park', they are adept at one of them distracting the prey, while the other sneaks up unseen to attack. Of course, Mello and Matt wouldn't dream of working in tandem like that... *snort*

"There were painted walls, but ancient paint. It looked like someone had tried to create Heaven on the ceiling and Christ with Mary on the wall. Century reckoned that was original, dating to when the room was made." He gestured to say that he trusted Century's judgement on such things. "But there was more in the room. There was like this bench thing serving as a table or altar."

"You've mentioned this before."

"I know. Stop being impatient, bitch." Matt smiled. "What I'm saying is that I concur with our discussion in there, that the room was originally a priest hole. It wouldn't have been big enough for a whole service, but certainly enough space for a priest and maybe one or two other people. Century would agree with that too. But more recently, it's been used for something else."
Matt and Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 33: The Metal Pig

Priest holes came in all shapes and sizes though; some really ingeniously hidden in the Catholic homes. They date from a time when it was illegal to be Catholic in Britain, so most of them were designed simply to hide a priest, if the roundheads came looking. The priest hole in my story is like the one in Boscobel House, in Staffordshire, England.

Priest Hole at Boscobel

This description of the wall paintings is based on those in a real 17th century secret chapel. The real one was hidden in Old Moseley Hall, near Wolverhampton, in England. The Moseley chapel is much bigger than that in the story, as it could contain a small congregation of about 10 people. The ceiling artwork was crude gold stars on a blue background, which could have been explained away and just being pretty. The Catholic imagery on the wall was covered up, when the service wasn't in session.

All of the paraphrenalia of Catholic mass, like the communion plate, the chalice, candlesticks, crucifix etc, were all made out of pewter. The next room contained a fireplace, where a fire was always kept in readiness. If the roundheads entered the house, then someone could rush to the box containing these items and throw them onto the fire. Pewter melts in fire, so there would be no evidence by the time the soldiers made it to the top of the house, where the chapel was located.

I used the decoration for the priest hole in this story, because I knew it was authentic to the period.

"We were sent to Yugoslavia. We relieved Gorskica... I was bored stupid, so volunteered to accompany some of the soldiers out with the metal pig."
Flight Lieutenant Lees, The Annals of Fear, chapter 33: The Metal Pig

This is my author's note from when I posted this chapter on MangaBullet.

People have looked in vain for Gorskica in Wikipedia and Google Earth. It doesn't actually exist. However, the events there are similar to things that really did happen in Yugoslavia at that time.

Britain is full of ex-soldiers who were in Yugoslavia and have now reached the end of their army contract. They're mostly on the dole, as Britain is currently in a recession and no-one has work. I am indebted to a group of them in an Employability Class, where I was also sent, who talked long and hard about metal pigs. The story recounted here, about the football pitch, is pretty much the story that I heard from two ex-army men, who had operated the metal pig.

Many of the details about the destruction of Gorskica were lifted from recounts of the destruction of Vocin. In particular, I read 'Anatomy of Deceit' by Jerry Blaskovich PhD, which can be read on-line here. Please note that the book includes extremely graphic and disturbing reports; and that these things happened to real people in a real location.

For the description of what happened in the Cathedral, I used eye-witness reports of the bombing of Coventry Cathedral. It, along with most of Coventry itself, was destroyed by the German Luftwaffe on November 14th 1940. Very fortuitiously for me, that means that we had the anniversary of it just as I was writing these chapters. That meant a documentary on the BBC from which I could pick out details about what happens when a Cathedral explodes.

Finally, Mello's history was first envisaged by Miyamashi in Twisted Religion. I just ran with it.

"May 3rd, 1994, we were attached to NATO..."
Flight Lieutenant Lees, The Annals of Fear, chapter 33: The Metal Pig

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a political and military operation, formed from several nations, originally to collectively stand against the USSR. Then the 'Iron Curtain' came down and suddenly Russian Communism wasn't a threat to the West. *Insert rant about how this was always more about protecting capitalism than anything else* NATO should have been disbanded there and then, as its reason to be had disappeared. *Insert rant about how profitable (monetarily, politically and imperialistically) NATO is for its member states; particularly America, as it gives them a valid presense in Europe* The member states of NATO didn't want to disband!

There's a lot of historical evidence to suggest that various governments pretty much fucked Yugoslavia up to preserve NATO and open up access to the Caspian Sea (which just happens to lead to oil! :o) Kind of, 'Oh well, Russia isn't going to bomb us anymore, time to pack and go home. Oh! Look over there! Shall we stick around just a few months more to 'help' Yugoslavia?' It didn't help that Yugoslavia had the largest standing army in Europe at the time, and it was Communist. Through a mixture of shit-stirring, then not intervening when they could have stopped the war, the member states effectively fanned the flames of the civil war into something much more prolonged and vicious. At the end of which, Yugoslavia had splintered into eight different countries; there had been an attempted genocide upon the Albanians and Bosnian Serbs; and, of course, the massive army no longer existed.

On the bright side, it did allow the likes of America and Britain to gain easier access to the Middle East and all that oil. Oops! Two Gulf Wars and an Afghanistan War later...

Sorry, I went off on one. The point is that NATO was in Yugoslavia and that's why Lees was there. This is also why, in the next chapter, we have:

Mello struggled to unfurl an arm, he reached up towards Matt. Matt took his hand and that encouraged Mello to scramble to his knees. He hugged Matt's legs, sobbing snot and tears into them. "NATO. NATO." He wept, but with no further detail than that. "NATO."

Mello mumbled something in his native tongue. There was a tense silence around him. He obviously misunderstood their discomfort and so repeated it, gasping out in English, "My family were not Ustaše!"
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 33: The Metal Pig

The Ustaše was a Fascist revolutionary group in Croatia. They founded in 1929, wishing to create a Croatian nation separate to Yugoslavia. Their name, Ustaše (or Ustashe, in the West, hence Lees's usage of that name), translates as 'rise up' in the sense of a rebellion. Until World War II, they were basically terrorists/freedom fighters, spending a lot of time blowing things up and assassinating Yugoslavian leaders.

When the Nazis invaded, during World War II, the Ustaše rose to power. They were the de facto government, running Yugoslavia as an annex of Germany, under the ultimate command of Adolf Hitler. The Ustaše were responsible for the Holocaust in Yugoslavia, creating death camps in which thousands of people died, including Jews, Serbs, Roma, political opponents and anyone rebelling against them. Their policies for everyone else included forced conversion into Catholicism. The Ustaše also established Croatia as a separate state within the greater Yugoslavia. When the war ended, the Ustaše were dispossessed and disbanded. Croatia was reintegrated into Yugoslavia.

In the 1990s, The Serbs were to use the experiences of the Ustaše and their death camps as a justification for the invasion of Croatia. This is the Homeland War, that killed Mello's family. The Serbian government pointed out that last time Croatia governed independently, there was an attempted genocide of the Serbs with between 300,000 and 700,000 killed. Though the Ustaše doesn't technically exist any more, the name became used as a derogatory term for Croatian nationalists of any political or ideological hue. The implication is that wanting an independent Croatia cannot be separated from Fascism and genocide.

Matt's own father had been a leading light in ETA and he hadn't known that until last year.
Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 34: Zombie

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) are terrorists/freedom fighters committed to separating the Basque Lands from Spain and France. They want Basque to be its own nation and sometimes resort to violent methods to make this happen.

"I broke the rosary." Mello half-shrugged. "Don't say anything. I was four. God was watching." He blinked the tears away, but more fell. A boot slid off his foot aided by the other. "When the bell crashed down, I think I nearly had a heart attack. It was the end of the world and my parents weren't coming for me." He wriggled the other boot off with his hand. Matt took the hint and started getting undressed himself. They were clearly going to bed. "The noise and the air. It was hard to breathe with all that dust, though I must have managed enough. I was screaming my head off."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 34: Zombie

Read 'Twisted Religion' by Miyamashi for the full story. I nicked it (with permission).

(Mello) was trying to remember if this looked like his own Žumberacka Gora, the mountains in which he had spent the first part of his life.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 36: Kings and Queens

Žumberacka Gora is a mountain range, which acts as a border between Croatia and Slovenia, though some bits extend into both countries. Mello obviously grew up on the Croatian side of them, in the town of Gorskica. (I can't spell Žumberacka correctly in HTML :( There's a little hat on the c. It works over the Z, but precisely the same symbol won't work over the c for some daft reason.)

Incidentally, in Slovenia, the same mountains are called the Gorjanci.

Mello hadn't flinched. He affected not to have even looked up, though it was obvious that he had. "Dr Jones, I presume."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 36: Kings and Queens

Century has got a PhD in History, so the honorific 'Dr' is quite correct. However, Mello isn't saying it to be polite. He's paraphrasing the famous greeting, "Dr Livingstone, I presume." In both cases, the greeting is a bit of an understatement in the face of trying circumstances.

Dr David Livingstone was a 19th century explorer, who disappeared in Africa. Several years passed and most people believed that he was dead. In 1871, another explorer, the Welshman, Sir Henry Morton Stanley, was tasked with finding Livingstone. Thus began an epic journey through the continent and into the depths of its jungles. Against all odds, Stanley did manage to find Livingstone.

On November 10th, 1871, Stanley arrived in Ujiji, Tanzania. Livingstone had turned up there the day before, but was due to move on. His servant, Susi, ran up to him to declare that another Western man had been seen in the town, so Livingstone went to see who it was. Stanley had been on what many considered to be a wild goosechase, with no hope of a successful conclusion. He had encountered loads of disasters, including tropical diseases, the desertion of some of his indigenious guides and the death of his stallion from an insect bite. He had spent months travelling through difficult terrain over many thousands over miles. However, with perfect understatement, Stanley simply shook his hand and said, "Dr Livingstone, I presume."

By using such an understated greeting, Mello can pretend that he's not at all surprised and he knew all along that they would bump into Century here.

"Yeah, and I heard the White Eagles destroying Gorskica.
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 36: Kings and Queens

The White Eagles were Serbian paramilitaries, during the Homeland War in Yugoslavia. They were formed in 1991-1992, initially as an official add-on to the Serbian army. However, they acted more as mercenaries. When on trial for war crimes, at the Hague, one of its members, Vojislav Seselj, reported that the White Eagles grew 'out of control'. It has never been successfully established how closely the Serbian government directed the White Eagles during the war. Some commentators believe that the White Eagles were totally independent, working parallel with Milosevic's government, but with no actual ties. Others believe that the White Eagles were fully controlled by Milosevic. But while the official government had to be seen to be acting legally (to a flexible definition of 'legal' requiring some serious justification in some circumstances); the White Eagles could do Milosevic's bidding outside of national and international law. Seselj testified that they were a 'volunteer' group.

Mello states here that the White Eagles were the paramilitaties who attacked Gorskica. In reality, the White Eagles were responsible for many attrocities, including the almost identical destruction of Vocin (which is why I named them for Gorskica), with the torture and murder of its Croatian population. They also embarked on an ethnic cleansing of Višegrad, murdering 3000 Bosnians, regardless of their age. In Foca, they blew up all of the mosques, before rampaging through the town, entering homes, and killing all the Bosnians that they could find. The women were raped first. In Gacko, they killed many Bosnians, before establishing a concentration camp and directing all other Bosnians there. There were many other such things in other cities, towns and villages too.

After the war, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia placed the White Eagles under the doctrine of the Joint Criminal Enterprise. This means that, legally, each member is personally responsible for his/her actions during the Homeland War. For example, one of the White Eagles, Mitar Vasiljevic, was charged with six counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of violations of the customs of war. He pleaded not guilty, but was convicted. His sentence was 20 years imprisonment, which was reduced to 15 years upon appeal.

The members of the White Eagles are sometimes called Chetniks, though this is a derogatory term, akin to referring to a Croatian as Ustaše. The Chetniks were a Serbian national paramilitary group, during World War II, who actively opposed the Ustaše government. However, the Chetniks also had a policy of ethnic cleansing.

The exact number of Bosniak, Croat and other civilians murdered under the direct command of Mihailovic's Chetniks has never been established. In his book Crimes Against Bosnian Muslims 1941-1945, historian Šemso Tucakovic' estimated that out of 150,000 Bosniaks who lost their lives in World War II, some 100,000 were murdered by Chetniks. He also listed at least 50,000 Bosnian Muslim names directly known to have been killed by Chetniks. According to World War II historian Vladimir Žerjavic, approximately 29,000 Muslims and 18,000 Croats were killed by Chetniks during World War II. Žerjavic's figures have also been cited as too conservative and figures of up to 300,000 non-Serbs have been suggested.
~ Wikipedia

It should be noted that some White Eagles self-identified as modern day Chetniks. So not all of them would see the name as an insult.

"Kings and queens of promise." Century replied. "Childen of a lesser God, between Heaven and Hell."
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 36: Kings and Queens

Century is quoting lyrics from the 30 Seconds to Mars song, 'King and Queens'

Century coughed, "Was that the version of Thaïs where she kills God and goes out shopping for a new pair of shoes?"
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 37: Reprise

In Massenet's opera, 'Thaïs', the eponymous heroine wrestles mentally between secular delights and her everlasting soul. The famous 'Méditation' is the moment when she makes her big decision. Thaïs ultimately gives up her worldly possessions and joins a convent. God won.

Century's commenting that Mello's version doesn't quite have the same spiritual passion.

"A demon!" Melloyelled suddenly. "From the Greek daimo-n, meaning a higher being. An avatar; an angel cast from Heaven as the Fall of Satan; a flyer in Castañeda's shamanic experience. A fucking demon. Do you need me to spell it out?"
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 39: Trifling with Gods

Carlos Castañeda was a Peruvian visionary, anthropologist and author. He wrote that he came under the tutelage of a Yaqui shaman, named Don Juan Matus, who showed him what reality really is. His 12 books describe the interaction between our world and nonordinary reality. In short, we're all prisoners of entities, who keep us in a state of hallucination, so we can't see them. We are basically their slaves, as they feed off our life force. Some of his books are dedicated to raising our self-awareness, so that we can see what's really there. The flyers, in Castañeda's vision, are entities that keep us miserable and paranoid, in order to sate themselves on our energy.

Castañeda eventually settled in Los Angeles, USA, where he lived with three women (his witches). They each cut all ties with their families and, after Castañeda's death, they disappeared. Eventually the remains of one woman were uncovered, but the other two remain missing.

There are very mixed receptions to Castañeda's work. Some see him as a true Shaman or, at least, a philosopher with incredible insights. Others point to discrepancies and contraditions in his testimonies. His books were originally published as anthropological works; but recently the publisher has re-categorised them as simply 'non-fiction'.

They would have to open the wardrobe door and walk straight through it in order to climb the stairs. It had already been nicknamed Narnia.
The Annals of Fear, chapter 43: Into the Trenches

Narnia is a fictional otherworld; it is the major location for 'The Chronicles of Narnia', a series of children's books written by CS Lewis. In 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', Lucy discovers Narnia after hiding in an old wardrobe. She pushes through the fur coats hanging in there and is surprised to find that the wardrobe goes further back than anticipated. She keeps moving further into its depths, until she finds snow on the ground under her feet. Suddenly the hanging coats end and Lucy finds herself in the magical world of Narnia.

Century took a sip of water. "Mello, did you put those presents down from Sion Corn?"


"Two Christmasses in a trot, when I was little, I had presents waiting under the tree from Sion Corn. Then I grew up and he stopped coming."
Century and Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 44: Histories

Sion Corn is a folkloric figure. He visits Welsh children every Christmas Eve, while they are in bed. If they've been good, then they can expect to find presents waiting for them, when they awake on Christmas Day.

"So it's a Dementor." Century clarified.

"A what?"

"Harry Potter."

Mello frowned. "I haven't read it."

"You should."
Century and Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 44: Histories

The Harry Potter stories are written by JK Rowling and enjoyed by people of all ages. They have also been made into a series of successful films.

In those stories, the Dementors are magical creatures, who guard the prison, Azkaban. They are blind, soulless entities, who feed off the emotions of living creatures. They appear as tall, wraithlike beings, who manipulate their environment to become cold and dark. Merely being in the vicinity of one can induce feelings of hopelessness. Their worst attribute though is their 'kiss'. The Dementors can suck the soul out of the mouths of their prey.

Incidentally, first aid for a mild contact with a Dementor is to eat chocolate. Mello would be just fine. He's probably got a built in immunity given the amount of chocolate that he eats.

"I thought I was your princess, Toad." His kiss was harsh, penetrating. He drew away, grabbing up the clawhammer with a flourish. "So where's this fucking Rainbow Road?"
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 45: On Rainbow Road

Mello is quoting lyrics from Sam Hart's 'Mario Kart Love Song'.

"Because the Bean Sidhe is ours to start with, fucking thieving, Welsh bastards, taking her across the Irish Sea."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

Bean Sidhe is a Gaelic entity. The words are pronounced as 'ban shee', hence the common name for her in English is banshee. She part of the fairy world, with her name translating as 'woman of the fairy mound'. The Bean Sidhe appears to humans in one of two guises. She's either a shrivelled, elderly woman, with a terrifying face; or else she's a beautiful, young woman. However, she's more often seen than heard. Her most well-known role is to appear outside the home of someone about to die and simply scream. She tends to only come for the Irish; with some versions of her lore stating that it's only for the leading families (monarchs, nobility, people like that).

"We know about fucking ghosts in Galway. The bog's full of the starving and there's a Hungry Field just down the round."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

Between 1842 and 1852, there was a potato blight in Ireland. This disease only affected potatoes, which shouldn't have been too much of a problem. Unfortunately, potato was the staple part of the diet of the majority of Ireland at the time. The humble potato contains so many nutrients that it's the only food in the world that you can eat exclusively without dying. True story. Though it is better to supplement it with a bit of dairy. Many of the lower classes, in Ireland at the time, went their entire lives eating nothing but potatoes and buttermilk. Now the blight is a problem. To make matters worse, epidemics and pandemics swept through the country. Chlorea and typhoid were the two big ones. Already weakened by the lack of food, thousands more people died.

This dark period is usually called the Irish Potato Famine. I beg to disagree. Yes, there was a famine, insofar as millions of Irish people were starving. However, there was other food being produced in Ireland. It was being shipped to England, under armed guard. Therefore, this is more properly called the Irish Genocide by the English. The Anglo-Irish history is a catalogue of the English invading and taking over, then being kicked out again. During this period, England was in charge. Therefore many of the land-owners were English. They took this opportunity to evict their tenants because a) they couldn't afford to feed them; and b) it was more profitable to keep sheep to graze on the lands that the tenant homes were on. This left thousands of Irish people not only starving, but now exposed to the elements, thus causing an even greater death toll.

By the time it was over, an eighth of the population of Ireland had starved to death, while another 2 million people had emigrated. Some came to England, but the majority sailed to America, Canada and Australia. Whole villages were deserted and, in some cases, massive tracts of land were depopulated. The loss of people was so great that, even in the present day, the population figures still haven't recovered in Ireland. There was also an irreparable blow to the Irish culture, as those who died or left tended to be the Gaelic speakers. During that decade, the country turned from mostly Gaelic speakers and culture to mostly English speakers with an Anglicised culture. Gaelic nearly died out completely, but has fought back.

Fenian's home county of Galway was one of the hardest hit. It was almost exclusively populated by Gaelic monoglots, many of whom emigrated en mass or died of starvation, typhoid and chlorea. Ironically, Galway Bay is known as one of the best fishing spots in Ireland, however the harsh conditions of the winter of 1846-47 made sailing impossible. Due to the rocks and other seabed detritus in the bay, people had to row out 25 miles before they could start trawling; and in bad weather, this was downright suicidal. The fisherman ended up selling their boats, nets and baits, in order to buy food in order to survive. This, of course, meant that come finer conditions, the people starved while the fish swam unmolested in the bay.

Like other areas in Ireland, Galway's landlords tended to be English. Most of them evicted their tenants. An example is Ballinglass, a village which had sixty-one well-maintainted tenant houses. All of them ensured that their rent was paid up to date, even if that left them without food. Also the tenants had, in their own time and under their own direction, reclaimed 400 acres of bog. This automatically became the property of their landlady too, as it was on her property. However, in 1847, their landlady, Mrs. Gerrard, had the whole village evicted. 76 familes, amounting to 300 people, were simply turned out. Mrs Gerrard called in the sheriff and the 49th Infantry to ensure that this happened. The houses were demolished in front of the gaze of those who had lived in them and the tenants were told to go away. That night, they slept in the ruins, but the next day, Mrs Gerrard called in the infantry again and the people were driven off the land. Those in the neighbouring villages were told that the same would happen to them, if they took these families in. It eventually did happen to them anyway, but that's by the by. The land was put to sheep-grazing and made Mrs Gerrard lots of money.

*looks at all I've written so far* Oops! Can you tell that this is one of my 'subjects'? I did a whole project and presentation on the Genocide for my Masters. *cringe* Ok, I'll hurry it up.

Much of Ireland, and certainly in Galway, is taken up with bog. Many evicted tenants from all counties ended up living in the bog, basically digging holes in the soil to offer some protection from the elements. This is an exposed, soggy environment, so naturally a huge proportion of them died. There's no food there and chlorea thrives in stagnant water; even if they did get protection from the elements. At the edges of the bogs were the potato fields, but these were filled with black, diseased stalks. They also smelt really bad. Not relevant. Ok... *hurries to get to the point*

I've never personally been to Galway, but I've known three different people, in three different parts of my life, who have. Two of them come from Galway. All three have told me the same stories. First, there's the bog, which can be a very intimidating place, particularly at night. People drive through that lonely place and see things from their car window. The most common phenomenon that I've heard is that it's the ghosts of the starving. They're glimpsed on the roadside, staring into the car as it passes. They're also heard, in moans and tears. People investigate, assuming that someone is hurt and needs help, but they're led further and further into the bog, with the sounds always just a little further on. One woman, who I spoke to, is a witch. She will travel hundreds of miles out of her way to avoid crossing the vast bog, even in daylight. She just shuddered and went very quiet when I asked her why. When I pressed her, she got upset and requested that we just change the subject.

The second legacy is the Hungry Fields. I first heard of this one from an old Galway man, in an English pub. I've since had it confirmed by the other two people familiar with Galway, with each of them telling me the same story. People will step into a field, because it looks like a shortcut. What they don't realise is that this once was one of those foul-smelling fields, filled with dead potatoes, because these days it's just grass. They intend to just walk the few yards to the next fence, then leave it, continuing on their way. It doesn't work like that. They can never seem to find the exit, even if they can see it a short distance away. They step towards it, but somehow miss and have to retrace their steps. This goes on and on, until someone finds them or they die of exposure and exhaustion. It's like a spell has them in its thrall and they're doomed to just keep on wandering.

I asked the witch about this. Why? I mean, the starving were kicked off it, so why is that energy there? Her theory was that it's the curses of the Aislings. After all, the only person likely to be in that field after the evictions would be the landowners. Let them feel what it's like to be exhausted, wandering exposed to the elements. Makes sense to me.

So yes, Fenian knows about ghosts, because he's from Galway and therefore knows about the bog and the Hungry Fields. Sorry about the waffling. -.-

Fenian laughed. "Kiana's a fucking witch, from a ancient line of Aislings. I wouldn't mess with her."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

An Aisling is an Irish wise woman. She's a psychic, who would often be called in to see to the sick, ailing, pregnant and dying. Basically, the Aisling was the village witch.

"... as they found out that Cymru isn't just a land of song and sheep-shaggers; it's got its dark side too and nothing darker than the slopes of your mountains."

"What?" As an afterthought, Century added a few more question marks.

Fenian gave a hollow cough, "At the very least, it's full of fucking slate."
Fenian and Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

Fenian's namechecking all of the stereotypes about the Welsh. Cymru = Wales.

We're all supposed to have great singing voices. Ok, I'll admit to never having met a Welsh person who couldn't sing. Even a pub sing-song generally turns into a full-blown choir, complete with tenor sections; I've seen it happen. Several times. And I've been told that I have a good singing voice myself. :D

We're all sheep-shaggers. There's a lot of sheep in Wales. There's also a lot of secluded countryside. I've personally never had sexual relations with a sheep and I don't know anyone who has. At least, no-one who has admitted to it!

We export a lot of slate. That's more of a fact than a stereotype, but yes, it's true. There are several slate mines in Wales, including some very big ones in North Wales. At the height of the British Empire, Welsh slate was being exported all over the world. These days, it's mostly exported to England. The slate in the ground does make some of the mountains look dark. Slate's black, you see...

"I could show you some 19th century crofts, whole fucking villages deserted for the coffin ships."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

You really don't want to get me started on the Irish genocide again, do you? Ok, I'll aim for succinct this time.

The 19th century deserted crofts are the result of forced evictions.

The 'coffin ships' were usually all that the poverty-stricken Irish could afford to emigrate on. Some had no choice in the matter, as their landlords, instead of simply evicting them, would escort them under guard to a 'coffin ship' and pay their fare to get rid of them. You can guess the condition of these ships by their nickname. They weren't luxury, five star liners. Many of them weren't brilliantly sea-worthy, so some did sink halfway across the Atlantic. The captain and crews didn't lay on a gourmet restaurant as part of the travel amenities. The passengers were expected to feed themselves. As most of these passengers were starving when they arrived, then they didn't have enough food to see out the journey. It was a common occurrance to have to throw a corpse overboard, because they'd died of starvation mid-voyage.

Also these ships were hotbeds of disease, so you could easily get typhoid ripping through the entire lot of them. This was made worse by the fact that there weren't any toilets or facilities for washing. There was a lot of exposure to vomit and human excrement, especially where people had been ill or were seasick. Even if it didn't manifest, those on board could easily be carriers. There were instances of 'coffin ships' arriving in Canada, only for the authorities there to refuse to allow anyone to disembark. They would be stuck on the dock, while the captain and the city officials sometimes took days to negotiate terms. This wasn't getting them access to fresh water or food.

If the captain couldn't persuade the Canadians to receive the Irish, then they were set for another voyage. The usual destination now was New York. The Americans didn't tend to turn them away, so thousands flooded into the slums of Manhattan. Once in America, though... *stops* I'm waffling away and well off topic... >.> *shuts up* You know about 'coffin ships' now: death-traps of the sea, which might get you to a new life or might kill you. Pretty much as a 50/50 chance.

Like the Land of his Fathers had let Century down. That stabbed at his spirits, sinking them. He muttered, "Y gwir erbyn ar y byd."
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 46: Bad, Old World

'Land of my Fathers' is a common poetical name for Wales. In fact, the Welsh national anthem is 'Land of my Fathers'. Personally, my mothers were involved too. I have evidence.

'Y gwir erbyn ar y byd' is an ancient Celtic battle-cry. It is said to have been used by Boudicca in her rebellion against the Romans. It was also used by the druid on Ynys Mon, when the Romans attacked there too. It translates as 'the truth against the world'. It's not something that modern day Welsh armed forces use, but Century's an historian.

Does anyone still use it? *checks Google* Ah, yes. Poets. Historians. And a politician in 2009. It's one of those Romantic, history laden, evocative phrases. Not at all as Boudicca used it, which was more in the sense of 'kill the bastards'.

Matt smiled back at him. "But we aren't up against Don Corleone now."
Matt, The Annals of Fear, chapter 48: Queen of the Damned

Don Corleone is the Mafia Godfather in the Mario Puzo novel, 'The Godfather', and a trilogy of films based on the Corleone family. He was the most famous fictional Mafioso, until Mello came along and stole the prize.

"It's a pity that I didn't come on my bike. My biking leathers and helmet are practically armour in themselves. It would have saved you having to go out looking like the Tin Man."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 48: Queen of the Damned

The Tin Man

The Tin Man is a character from American children's book, 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', written by L Frank Baum and published in 1900. It has since spawned several films and stage adaptations.

The Tin Man was a man... made out of tin..., who lived in an otherworld called Oz. He joined the quest, being led by Dorothy, to visit the Wizard of Oz, on the basis that their wise and magical benefactor might give him a heart.

Mello watched Century out of the corner of his eye; then carefully took the chocolate from his mouth and laid down his pad. "So this is the great Welsh soul." Mello huffed. "This is the legacy of Owain Glyndwr for all his fancy parliament buildings up, wherever it was that we met you." He saw Century bury his head in the pillow. Mello nodded, then his voice rose, fierce and strong. His hand up and whole body posturing. "Do not go gentle into that good night!" He struggled to his feet, making a performance of the verse. "Old age should burn and rave at the close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light!" He caught Matt's smile and Deontic's bewildered blinking. Mello strode forward, a gloved fingertip beneath Matt's chin. "Though wise men at their end know dark is right, because their words had forked no lightning, they do not go gentle into that good night." Matt's grin broadened and he mouthed, out of sight of Century, 'clever man'. Mello span around, pointing the same finger at Century, who had emerged from the pillow. "Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Mello had landed on his knees beside Century, his gaze piercing into the Welshman. He grinned. "Or is that just for the South Welsh? The North not being quite so passionate."
Mello, The Annals of Fear, chapter 49: Do Not Go Gentle...

This is Mello in full swing with his competitive genius. He already knows that Fenian kept Century sane in Wammy's House by invoking that Celtic warrior spirit. Mell9o might be a Croat, but he knows his literature and some history. It's time to out-Fenian Fenian.

Owain Glyndwr was the 15th century ruler of Wales. He successfully managed to liberate Wales from England and keep her separate for fifteen years. Wales had been conquered by England in 1285, Glyndwr was the first person since then to achieve independence for the country. He claimed the title of Prince of Wales (the first and last Welshman to hold it, all the rest have been English, including the present day Prince of Wales, Prince Charles). Wales maintained its independence for fifteen years, before Henry V of England owned us. :( While the Welsh were looking to the land border, Henry V took his forces to Ireland, then sailed across to Wales and attacked from the sea. That's surely just cheating?

Owain Glyndwr was never captured. Despite losing his army, his home, his possessions and everything but the clothes on his back, he was never found. Henry V offered increasingly more lucrative bounties; enough money to elevate a poor family into the nobility and keep them there for generations. But the Welsh hid him. Even with the offers of titles to go with the money, Henry V was never so much as given a lead, let alone the man himself. This does mean that history lost him though, as his whereabouts weren't public knowledge at the time and there's no written documentation telling us. However, in 2006, a direct descendent of Glyndwr spoke up. He said that it was family lore that Glyndwr spent four years in hiding, going from house to house across Wales. Finally, he took ill and, in his last days, was smuggled to his daughter's house in Herefordshire, England. There he died and was initially buried in the grounds of the house. The English authorities seemed to be closing in though, so, undercover of darkness, his body was exhumed and reinterned somewhere else. We don't know where.

The important bit is that the English couldn't prove that Glyndwr was dead. As long as the Welsh thought he was alive, they kept on resisting English rule; the certainty of Glyndwr's death would have broken that great spirit. Even today, there's a legend that if Wales is threatened, Owain Glyndwr will come and save us. *looks at the catalogue of disasters in Welsh history since then, all with a distinct lack of Glyndwr arriving* How big a threat precisely does he want before he comes? Just wondering...

However, Mello had reached the end of his historical knowledge about Owain Glyndwr, so had to quickly change tactics. Dylan Thomas is one of Wales's great poets. He always turns up in those 'Great Welsh People' books and magazine articles. He's a national icon, so even if his poetry was shit, he would encapsulate something very Welsh. Just by turning up. Fortunately, his poetry is amazing. Good choice there, Mello.

His most famous is also the most appropriate to Century's situation. 'Do Not Go Gentle...' I've already reproduced that poem for the 'titles' section, so if you wish to read it, go and look there. The poem was written in anger, as a reaction to the imminient death of Thomas's father. Thomas wasn't ready to be without his dad, but what could his dad do about that? Really? The whole situation also made Thomas face the reality of his own eventual demise. It's an extremely poignant poem and there are about a billion versions of it on You Tube, if you want to hear someone deliver it. I'm not including one, because I couldn't find one I liked. They all seem to be so focused on enunciating every word, that they're missing the utter passion, fury and despair of the poem. This is not how Mello did it. He might have spent other parts of this story being a ham actor, but in this performance, Mello delved into his own burning emotion. The way he said it in my head was stunning. I couldn't match that with any petty, look-how-well-I-can-talk version on You Tube. I did find one version with Dylan Thomas himself reading it out. That was also depressing. I didn't know that he sounded so, well, English. Upper middle class English at that. And he also didn't put the emotion in. I backed out disillusioned and depressed. Hence you haven't got a version embedded here. And you won't have one, until Mello uploads his version.

Mello's final comment here, about the South Welsh being more maybe more passionate than their compatriots in the North, is pure fluke. He knows that Century is from North Wales; while Dylan Thomas is from the south. That's why he said it. What Mello didn't know is that there's an intense rivalry between North and South Wales. By saying that, Mello is flaming an indignation in Century that carries him that little bit further out of his hopelessness. As he set out to spark that Celtic warrior spirit, then that was a good thing to say there. Even if it was teasing and Mello didn't realise what he was saying.

"'For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.'" Above the house the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn screamed again and Century flinched. Mello stared at him. "'All the water in the Wye cannot wash your majesty's Welsh blood out of your body. I can tell you that: God bless it and preserve it.'"

Century shook his head in disbelief. "I never thought I'd hear you coming out with this." He swallowed, reaching again for the water that Matt rushed to provide. Century glanced at Mello and ventured, "'Thanks, good my countryman.'"

Mello was equal to the quotation. "'By Jesus, I am your majesty's countryman, I care not who know it. I will confess it to all the world.'"
Mello and Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 49: Do Not Go Gentle...

Mello is still plundering his literary memorybanks for any mention of the Welsh. Here he's quoting from Shakespeare's 'Henry V', from Act 4, Scene 7. King Henry V and his army are standing amongst the carnage of a battlefield, where he emerged victorious. He's just done his famous, 'then call we this the field of Agincourt', speech. *Inserts totally irrelevant observation that the victory was in large part to do with the fact that Henry had just reconquered Wales, so he had the benefit of the Welsh longbowmen. Even more fortuitous for him, he had the benefit of Welsh longbowmen, who had a vast amount of experience in battle, on account of having just spent 15 years fighting the English. Just saying.* Literally just done the Agincourt speech, when one of the Welsh captains, Fluellen, comes over for a chat.

Shakespeare, the bastard, then has Fluellen telling Henry about how wonderful Edward II was; and how admired he was in Wales. (That would be Edward, whose Dad conquered Wales in the first place; then stripped the Welsh nobility of their titles and named his English son, Prince of Wales. It's the dad, Edward I, whose face has been knocked off the figurine on Caernafon Castle. Shakespeare lies.) After some more canting, Henry V comments that he is also a Welshman. This is strategic on Henry's part, as it prompts Fluellen to proclaim happily that he is Henry's countryman! Yay! (And this is set in the immediate aftermath of Glyndwr...) As for Henry V being Welsh, this is technically true, as he was born in Monmouth Castle, which is in Wales. However, he was born into the English royal family, in a conquered Wales, in an Marcher Lord castle built there to subdue the Welsh. Does that actually count?

Who cares? The ensuing speech gives the Slavonic Mello an opportunity to declare himself an honorary Welshman tonight. Considering that the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn is outside, hunting only the Welsh, then this could be viewed as brave or stupid. However, it manoeuvres Mello into a position where he can claim that he is a Celt. It provides Century with solidarity and makes Fenian (or the lack of Fenian) totally irrelevant. It's strategic placement of himself into somewhere with a chance of pulling Century through. Go Mello!

Here is the speech in its Shakespearian context, with Ian Holm as Fluellen and Kenneth Branagh as Henry V. The 'for I am Welsh' speech starts around 3.07, but he actually says it at 4.01. Ian Holm isn't actually Welsh, but his Welsh accent is pretty good here.

"I've been looking at the Annales Cambriae and..."
Century, The Annals of Fear, chapter 49: Do Not Go Gentle...

The Annales Cambriae translates into English as 'The Annals of Wales'. It's a collection of documents, stories, histories etc, all written before the 10th century. All together, they comprise an invaluable source for learning about the early Welsh history.

Also, they provide the 'annals' part of the title of my story.

A vegetable flew through the hair towards her lap. Deontic automatically caught it. "A leek."

Matt grinned. He already had one jammed over the fork of his partially unzipped jacket. There was a rogue leaf dangling over one ear. Standing at the end of the coffee table, Mello had just caught his leek and was pushing it into the top pocket of his leather jacket.
The Annals of Fear, chapter 51: Epilogue

Back in the day, armies didn't wear uniforms. You could step onto a battlefield and just about make out which side the leaders were on, because of their banners/flags and, later on, their surcoat. However, for the mass of ordinary fighters, it was a bit more difficult. With both sides dressed more or less the same, you couldn't be sure whether you're supposed to kill the dude in front of you or else watch their backs for them.

Somewhere in Welsh history, there was a battle in a leek field. Some bright spark suggested that all of the Welsh fighters uprooted one and displayed it prominently on their person. That would cut down the risk of 'friendly fire' and made decisions on in the heat of battle much easier. If he's wearing a leek, protect him; if he isn't, kill him. Precisely when this battle was is mired in legend. Some reckon it was amongst the druids, around 2000 years ago; others say that it was during the Saxon wars, when the Welsh were led by St David, during the 6th century. It was certainly being worn for battle in the 14th century, but was already established by then as a symbol of Wales.

Mello and Matt have orchestrated the wearing of the leek at Wammy's House, involving Deontic too, as a mark of respect to Century. They're just relieved that he's still alive, so it's all warmth, friendship and the camaderie of having survived something traumatic at the moment. It harks back to Mello stating, in the house, 'for I am Welsh'. Which is actually also where he got this idea from. In the same dialogue, from Henry V, Act 4 Scene 7, it's Fluellen mentioning the wearing of the leek that prompts Henry V to declare himself Welsh in the first place.


Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty know, to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do believe your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy's day.


I wear it for a memorable honour; For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.

"Hold on." Fenian scowled. "Why are we so convinced that they were crap at the ritual? The way you're talking with breachs and fucking whatnot, things coming through, it sounds like you need to call Torchwood. It's Wales, under their jurisdiction."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 51: Epilogue

'Torchwood' is a British sci-fi drama. It's a spin-off of 'Dr Who', which features one of the Doctor's ex-companions, Captain Jack Harkness. The premise is that there's a massive rift in time and space, smack bang in the middle of the Welsh capital city, Cardiff. This rift causes all kinds of preternatural events, from accidental time travellers, to alien visitors, to the awakening of otherworldly beings, to sparking abnormal behaviour in the local population. Torchwood is the covert department set up to monitor rift activity and deal with any of the fall-out from it.

Fenian is quite right. The house would be the perfect case for Torchwood. They have the facilities, resources and expertise to investigate it; and hopefully neutralise its threat. The only downside of this plan is that Torchwood is fictitious. Therefore they're going to have to rely on the Wammy House alumni instead, as they are real.

"I know about the psychology of fear." Fenian snapped. "Though why you're looking to demons, I don't know. It sounds more like the Tuatha Dé Danann to me." He pointed to the area in the report describing Deontic's urge to drown herself in the river. "Like here, top of page 5, that reminds me of this lake near where..." He paused, marshalled his thoughts and plunged on, "Gort in Galway, Eire. People have reportedly had an overwhelming urge to throw themselves into it and drown. That's the bewitchment of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The house was probably built on a fairy pathway or something."
Fenian, The Annals of Fear, chapter 51: Epilogue

Tuatha Dé Danann turn up both in Irish mythology and their ancient historial records. Their name translates as 'people of the goddess Danu', so they are variously considered to be the Irish fairy-folk; or one of the earliest human tribes to populate Ireland; or a folk memory of the Ireland's first deities, before they were replaced by another pantheon, who then became ousted in turn by the Irish conversion to Christianity. Some of the names within the Tuatha Dé Danann are very tenacious. For example, the goddess Morrighan and the gods/heroic figures, Lugh, Aengus and Manannán mac Lir, all pre-date their pantheon. It's very possible then that they were adopted by the incoming Pagans, because that way it was easier to convert the indigenious people. In the same way as the Irish goddess, Brigid, ended up becoming St Brigid the Christian, because neither Pope, Holy Trinity nor the Mother of God was going to prise the Irish away from their goddess. But if they can convert and keep her, all good now. Where do we get baptised.

In many cultures, the original Pagan deities ended up demoted to fairy folk, as Christianity took hold. By the time a few generations have passed, all that remains of the old Gods are bits of stories and names. They couldn't possibly be divine, on account of there only being one God, so they must be fairy. That sort of thing. Thus it was with the Tuatha Dé Danann; and this is the sense in which Fenian mentions them. They are the fairies in Ireland. The belief in the little people is secretly quite strong, even in modern day Ireland. The story that Fenian tells of Gort is a true one. He could easily have mentioned instead the road that got rerouted, when word got out that it ran through a fairy mound. None of the builders would touch it. That was within the last decade, as I remember seeing it on the news.