Why 'The Annals of Fear'?One of the major sources for Welsh history is the Annales Cambraie. There is also a book about the Mafia called 'The Anatomy of Fear'. I just put the two together. This is a story that is mainly set in Wales and will involve the Mafia. Well, Mello anyway.
The Annals of Fear Chapter 00 - PrologueThis is self-explanatory
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 01 A Mystery to SolveIt's a lyric from the theme tune to 'Scooby Doo'.
Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? We got some work to do now!
Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? We need some help from you now.
Come on Scooby-Doo, I see you... pretending you got a sliver
But you're not fooling me, cause I can see, the way you shake and shiver.
You know we got a mystery to solve, so Scooby Doo be ready for your act.
Don't hold back!
And Scooby Doo if you come through you're gonna
have yourself a scooby snack!
That's a fact!
Scooby-Dooby-Doo, here are you. You're ready and you're willin'.
If we can count on you Scooby Doo, I know we'll catch that villian.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 02 LambsI was listening to 'The Silence of the Lambs' OST at the time, so it's partially a nod to that. Mostly though it was from the saying, 'lambs to the slaughter'.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 03 MéditationMassenet's 'Méditation' from the opera Thaïs has a triple significance for this story. In the opera, Thaïs realises that her beauty isn't going to last as she gets older, so panics and embraces the spiritual over the secular delights. In the story, this was foreshadowed earlier in 'Lambs', when Mello looked in the mirror and worries about the fact that he has already lost his looks (he's wrong). Mello knows the story of Thaïs full well, which is why it was 'Méditation' that he played on his violin.
The second reason for this title is simply that Mello was playing that tune on his violin.
The third reason is that I was listening to 'Méditation', while driving around Aberystwyth, in West Wales, in the middle of the night. It was during that moment that I decided I was definitely going to write this story.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 04 GethsemaneIt's named for the Nightwish song 'Gethsemane'. That is patently about Jesus Christ, as Gethsemane was the garden in which he was arrested. Many of the lyrics refer to the Biblical recounting of that event.
However, Mello frequently gets conflated with the Messiah (in his own head anyway). With a certain kind of mindset, the events from his dream relate to his own personal Gethsemane. Especially as the Nightwish lyrics go on to describe 'another beauty loved by a beast'. Mello knows what it feels like to lose everyone and everything. He's afraid of losing everything again and being sacrificed for whatever great and noble cause that Watari can find for him next. He's afraid of losing Matt.
Forgive me for I don't know what I gain
Alone in this garden of pain
Enchantment has but one truth:
I weep to have what I fear to lose
But the love the pain the hope 'O beautiful one
Have made you mine 'till all my years are done"
The poetry within me is dead
Plus I listened to the song on repeat as I wrote this chapter.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 05 MullhyttanMullhyttan is a place in Sweden, where Mello ends up in this chapter.
I've never been to Sweden and, if possible, I try to avoid writing about capital cities and well-known places. That's mainly for a little more sense of realism. It's too easy to go for the capitals. When I'm writing about places I've never been, one of the first things I do is search Google images for pictures. I often then just describe the pictures. Someone had a FlickR account with some great images of a house in Mullhyttan, hence I went there. In fact, I described their house.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 06 Myocardial InfarctionThe posh name for a heart attack, which is how people were dying in this chapter.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 07 PutaPuta is Spanish for whore. Apparently the Spanish person in this chapter is a whore. *looks at Matt* True story?
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 08 ElvenpathI thought I was being so clever! This is the chapter in which Century turns up. So I named it for the first song on Nightwish's 'Century Child' album. I was so smug at my obscure hint there! Right up until it was posted on MangaBullet and Rochelle pointed out that 'Elvenpath' is the first song on 'Angels Fall First', not 'Century Child'.
In that case, this chapter is called 'Elvenpath' because that a song by Nightwish, who also had an album called 'Century Child'. *points* Look, there's Century!
When I realised that I'd messed up, I did briefly consider changing the title to 'Bless The Child', which is the real first song on 'Century Child'. I didn't because 'Elvenpath' had a double meaning. In the MMORPG Runescape, there's an area called Tirannwn, which is populated by elves. All of the placenames are in Welsh. The in-joke is that elf country is Runescape's answer to Wales. Therefore, if you're on the elvenpath, you're going to Wales. Can you see now why I was initially so smug with this chapter title? Just a pity that Nightwish didn't use the tune on 'Century Child'. :(
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 09 MachynllethMachynlleth is a place in Wales, where they end up. It was once the administrative centre of Wales too.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 10 It BeginsHighly unimaginative chapter title. There's no hidden meaning. It simply just means that the trouble in the house is beginning for them.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 11 Primrose Path to HellHere is where you discover that I mostly name chapters as I post them. This is often first thing in the morning, while I'm smoking my first fag and drinking my first cup of tea. I base Matt on how I wake up in the mornings.
Now that Rochelle had pointed out my mix up with 'Elvenpath', I thought it only polite to actually include a real reference to the album 'Century Child'. 'Primrose path to Hell' is a lyric from 'Slaying the Dreamer' from that album.
But why 'Slaying the Dreamer' instead of any other song off that album? It's a very, very obscure nod back to 'December' by Phil Rickman, which is one of the major inspirations for this story. Let's just say that the dreamer in question is Welsh.
So awake for your greed
As you're slaying the dreamer
Swansong for the Wish of Night
God it hurts, give a name to the pain
Our primrose path to hell is growing weeds...
... Gather your precious glitter and leave me be
The Great Ones are all dead
And I'm tired, too
I truly hate you all!
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 12 Night HagsGwrach-y-Rhibyn; Mallt-y-Nos; bean-sidhe. They're all name-checked here.
Incidentally, Mallt can be translated into English, but I didn't want to distract from the story by doing so within it. Mallt is Welsh for Matilda. There's no hidden meaning to me having Matilda of the Night in there, when I'm Matilda too. That's just her actual name.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 13 Not AloneThey aren't alone in the house.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 14 A Little Welsh FlavouringIt's a quotation from the chapter itself. Century says it,
"But the main thing that's bothering me is that it's like someone's got a mix-match of legends. Bit of Welsh folklore, is it? Well, then, let's take the river of Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, the Cw^n Annwn entirely, then add a pinch of the maliciousness of Mallt-y-Nos, and bake for an hour within a wrapping of good old-fashioned poltergeist activity. It's not Welsh. It's Welsh flavouring."
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 15 Some Great, Almighty TestDeontic thinks this, so it is a quotation. I came very close to naming it 'Bad, Old World', as that line did remind me of a lyric from there. However, I then listened to the song and had to squirrel it away for a later chapter.
She shook her head mutely, still watching the couple by the door. She couldn't shake the feeling that she had somehow been set up or else she had lost in some great, almighty test. The feeling grew stronger as she saw Mello smirk. Then Matt turned his head and his smile seemed distinctly malicious.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 16 MadnessAnother uninspired chapter title. They are all going a little mad round now.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 17 Lay Me Down to SleepThis is named for the children's prayer.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Should I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
It's pretty much the best they can pray for at this point in time.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 18 InterludeIt's the interlude between Deontic and Century leaving and coming back. But it's also a moment where Mello and Matt get to be alone and nothing too terrible occurs.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 19 Clues and ConjectureUnspired chapter title is uninspired. I really should think about having to explain them, when I'm choosing them.
It describes what's happening in the chapter and it's alliteration, which sounds nice.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 20 Source RoomThey've found the room where all activity is originating.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 21 Priest Hole*points to the priest hole*
I didn't say they were good chapter titles!
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 22 LostA nod to Blairbender, who was telling me, in Skype, that the excitement in her life right now is 'The Annals of Fear' and a television programme called 'Lost'. I don't know anything about the latter, as it's an American show and I'm British. I just hope that it's not too inappropriate! LOL
Anyway, this is me merging all of Blairbender's excitement into one place.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 23 Elen Llwyddog, helpu fi!Translated from the Welsh: 'Elen of the Hosts, help me'.
Within the context of the story, it's just something that Century's grandfather told him to say. He's not a Pagan, so it has no deeper meaning for him. We do have to wonder about Dai Roberts (Century's grandfather) though.
Unlike Century, I am a Pagan. Elen of the Ways (aka Elen of the Hosts) is, to me, a powerful Welsh goddess. She looks after travellers in much the same way as the better known St Christopher. I once lost control of my car, on ice, on a steep hill. It was a residential street, lined with cars, trees and lamp-posts. A cat ran across the road and I did an emergency stop to avoid hitting it. The car hit the ice and suddenly I was careering out of control down this hill. It was all so fast. I did my best to steer, but my attempts to brake were only making it worse. Faster than it takes to write, I knew I was about to die. The probability of me even making it to the bottom without hitting something were slim, but, at the foot of the hill was a T-junction, that opened onto a main road. I would be hurtling out into traffic.
I just remember gripping that steering wheel and screaming, 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn'. Then I was at the bottom. I was the centre of the main road and there was no traffic coming. I was able to regain control of my car and park it up at the side of the road. Even now, I dread to even calculate the odds of surviving that. I still believe that Elen of the Ways helped me out there.
However, I'm not here to evangelise. I tried not to write a story that relied upon the reality of Elen to work, as I understand that the majority of people reading it won't believe in her. I do. Simple as that.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 24 Search and RescueUninspired chapter title. The local policeforce and the RAF have been summoned by Watari. They are searching for the Wammy kids and rescuing them where they're found.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 25 Psychological Plague Dogs'Plague Dogs' is a story by Richard Adams. It's about two dogs, who have escaped from a laboratory, where they have been experimented upon. It's feared that they have contracted something like bubonic plague and are now spreading it around the countryside.
Mello, Matt and Deontic have contracted something psychologically damaging from the house. They could be spreading it to those at the barracks, in the same way as the song is spreading suicidal feeling across cyberspace.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 26 Another AftermathVery uninspired chapter title.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 27 Playing to WinHal watches the teaching of Wammy's House in all its horrific glory. "No." Mello winked. "We just play to win."
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 28 The Rape of the Fair CountryThis is unequivocably the wrong chapter title. I knew all along what I was going to call it, but didn't know the exact wording. That was fine, because I have all of Alexander Cordell's books on a bookshelf behind me. 'The Rape of the Fair Country' is his most famous book. The main character is Iestyn. This is not a coincidence. It's not a coincidence in the story or in the storytelling. I named Century after Iestyn in 'The Rape of the Fair Country', so did his mother. If you look at the names of his siblings, you have the two eldest children, then you get a boy named Alex. Followed by a girl named Morfydd and finally a boy named Iestyn Hywell. Mrs Jones had been reading 'The Rape of the Fair Country'. Alexander is the author. Iestyn is the protagonist and Morfydd is his very fiesty sister. Their father is named Hywell. I didn't have to look any of this up, because the book is a classic. It's one of the most amazing books that I ever read.
Unfortunately, it's also missing. I bimbled across to get it out and it's not there. I have every other book that Alexander Cordell ever wrote, plus a biography and a tourist guide to 'Cordell's Country'. My own family came from Blaenafon, this is personal history. I think I must have lent 'The Rape of the Fair Country' out at some point and it never came back. The reason that this chapter was so late being submitted that day was because I was frantically searching through my own vast library looking for the book, then resorting to trying to find quotations from it on the internet. No-one's done that! *cries* I did find this album though, which I'll wait until August to ask for it for my birthday (unless I finally get a job in the meantime). If you want the pronunciations of Morfydd and Iestyn, they are there. He pauses a lot between reading paragraphs, so stick with it.
Anyway, thoroughly thwarted in what I was going to quote (the scene when the ancestors stride like giants across the mountains), I eventually had to make do with the utterly dissatisfying 'The Rape of the Fair Country'. It's the title of the book and that's the best I could do. I wish I knew where my copy was. :(
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 29 Something Was WrongWell, something was wrong. *nod nod*
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 30 Tetris'dIt's Mello's theory that Matt solves cases like normal people play Tetris.
Mello laughed. "Oh God! I love you, Mail. The daft thing is that you really mean that, while saying the words like something you read in a novel. You've got this whole Mello shaped hole in your puzzle and you're trying out shapes to fit into it. It's cute."
Matt's mouth gaped open. "What?"
"Romance as Tetris. I love it and I love you for trying it."
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 31 Portents, Paranoia and ParentingNice alliteration?
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 32 The Metal PigBritain 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.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 33 ZombieThe Cranberries's song 'Zombie' is about people assuming that all Irish are terrorists/freedom fighters, when most aren't actually directly involved in the Troubles. The sentiment can be applied to the Croats and their struggles.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 34 Lost and FoundWhether they are currently lost or found is all a matter of perspective.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 35 Kings and QueensThis is from the 30 Seconds to Mars song of the same name. I'd only just personally discovered them, so I was listening to them on repeat at this point. Plus Century quotes from the lyrics. It can vaguely be applied to the Wammy kids.
We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell
Into your eyes
Hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives
Through blood and pain
In defense of our dreams
Plus, on a personal level, 'The Children of a Lesser God' is a film about deaf people. I'm partially deaf myself. It just appealed. :p
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 36 RepriseWhen a tune recurs it's called the 'reprise'. Mello's playing the same tune that he did in chapter three.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 37 Past FavoursMello's calling in favours earned in his Mafia past.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 38 Trifling With GodsSidoh's official theme song is 'Trifling Stuff'. I was going to entitle this chapter that, but thought it would be too obvious at a glance who was going to turn up. Instead, I hinted at it.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 39 Checks and BalancesMello is trying to check on the damage that he's caused, then balance it out with whatever is needed. How successful that is, is questionable.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 40 ReportsVery uninspired chapter title. They are reporting back on their findings/conclusions.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 41 TruceAnother uninspired chapter title. They call a truce in the on-going Wammy House civil war.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 42 Into the TrenchesThis is a reference to World War One, when people going into the trenches tended to not come out again.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 43 HistoriesThey share some of their personal histories.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 44 On Rainbow RoadThis is a lyric from 'Mario Kart Love Song' by Sam Hart.
You be my princess
And I'll be your toad
I'll follow behind you
On rainbow road
Protect you from red shells
Wherever we go
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 45 Bad, Old WorldI had been waiting to write this chapter since chapter 15. I just had to break Century enough to make it work. The reason it's so beautiful is that Justin is the English version of Iestyn. Originally, I was going to have the conversation being with Salvo or Chrissie. At the 11th hour, I altered it to Fenian. It wasn't just because he gets a load cheer from his rabid fangirls, whenever he shows up. It was more because it fit the lyrics better than Salvo or Chrissie did.
This is the first time that I've written a chapter based solely on a song. But for those who love Fenian, he's only here because of the song. :p
'Bad, Old World' is by New Model Army.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 46 Pure EvilGwrach-y-Rhibyn is giving them a sense of pure evil in her gaze.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 47 Queen of the DamnedI wrote the majority of this novel whilst listening to Richard Gibb's score soundtrack to 'The Queen of the Damned'. This was mostly my homage to that, though it also describes Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, or maybe Deontic.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 48 Do Not Go Gentle...
A classic poem by the great Welshman, Dylan Thomas. Mello learned in the chapter 'Histories' that it was Fenian's bombardment of Welsh patriotism, which kept Century's spirits up in Wammy's House. Mello is doing his best to be Fenian now, because he knows that, if Fenian was there, Century might not be so close to death now.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
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.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
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.
The Annals of Fear - Chapter 49 Nos Da CariadiauTranslated from the Welsh: Goodnight darlings. Cariad can be beloved one, love, darling, sweetheart etc. It's a term of endearment. Cariadiau is the plural of cariad. It can be said to friends, lovers and children. To whom precisely Century was saying it to isn't stated.
Century dropped to his knees and stretched inside to replace the jar that was missing. "Amddiffyn." He uttered, in lieu of knowing the correct words to say. 'Os gwelwch yn dda." Then he lay flat on his back amongst the sharp yew leaves and breathed deeply of the fresh, Welsh air. His eyes fluttered shut, as Mello and Matt leaned over him. "Nos da, cariadiau."