Interview: “Fighting the Morrigan’s Hand” by Meyari McFarland

Aravel stood at the bow of the Harmonious Song, studying the twin cities of Yuzuki and Masumi in Chinwendu. Halfway around the world from home, Aravel didn’t expect to find an old enemy stirring up the same stupid strife from home.

But Delbhana Cahan had married into the Ito and turned them against Aravel’s cousins in the Damura so it fell to him to fix the problem.

No matter what the cost.

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“I wish you greetings, cousin of the Dana Family line of Aingeal of Aingeal City,” the Dock Mistress said. “I am Damura Kamiko, Dock Mistress of the Trade Docks of Masumi City of Chinwendu, fourth daughter of the third son of the lady of the Damura.”

“I thank you for your greetings, elder cousin Tamura Kamiko,” Aravel replied. “I am Dana Aravel of the line direct of the Dana Family of Aingeal of Aingeal City, second son of the first daughter of the first daughter of the Dana Clan. This is Dana Colleen, my Grandmother’s fourth daughter’s second daughter who will be handling the trade and paperwork for Minoo while we are here. I would visit with our relatives at the bequest of my Great-Uncle Jarmon who was first son of Tamura Tau, who married my Great-Grandmother Anwyn and founded our Clan with her in Aingeal.”

Kamiko’s eyes went wide. She licked her lips and bowed very slightly, conveying her worry quite well without saying a word. Aravel pressed his lips together and let his eyes smile just as much as they wanted to while bowing back just a bit deeper to say that yes, of course she could ask.

“One would hope that the visit is not formal,” Kamiko said.

“One would be quite right to worry about that,” Aravel replied so brightly that Aunt Colleen snorted behind him and the two attendants shut their eyes and pressed their lips together so that they wouldn’t visibly show amusement beyond what was appropriate to their rank. “If the visitor were of greater age. A visit of one below the age of maturity is, of course, never a matter of great formality. And this one,” he gestured towards himself with a bright grin that made Kamiko swallow a laugh, “is not yet of age in either Chinwendu or Aingeal. Thus all formalness is avoided and pleasantness can abound for all.”

That did get a laugh, not just from Kamiko but from a passing sailor who’d naturally eavesdropped on the conversation while carefully not meeting anyone’s eyes. And from the Harbor Mistress, a stern eighty-some year old woman who was broad of shoulder, narrow of hip and flat of bust as most Chinwenduese chosen-women were. She shook her head, coming over to stare at first Aravel’s insignia and then at his face for a long moment.

“It has been long since the Dana have sent a formal representative to the port,” the Harbor Mistress said to Kamiko but she was really talking to Aravel.

Introductions would be required if they were to speak directly and since she was wearing green and brown, that would mean going through the whole rigmarole of determining exactly where the Dana ranked in Chinwenduese politics today. Versus yesterday or tomorrow or last year. Not worth the bother for anyone, honestly.

Kamiko hummed and nodded, staring thoughtfully into the distance while rocking on her heels. “One forgets how old the eldest son of Damura Tao is now.”

“One could be very well excused for that,” Aravel said as if talking to the air while Aunt Colleen smothered a laugh in her fist. “Because Dana Jarmon, eldest son, has never admitted to being older than fifty-five even though he has seen seventy-nine summers.”

That made both Kamiko and the Harbor Mistress splutter laughs as they pretended not to hear him. Kamiko nodded sagely, eyes sparkling with laughter before she managed to regain a properly formal expression.

—from Fighting the Morrigan’s hand by Meyari McFarland

The Interview

What inspired you to write the Matriarchies of Muirin collection, which Fighting the Morrigan’s Hand is a part of?

A long time ago, when Stargate Atlantis first came out, I was hugely frustrated that they didn’t spend more time exploring the city. I wanted to see alien cities with all the differences! I started noodling ideas of alien cities and that combined with a conversation I was in on LiveJournal about gender roles, how society’s rules shape our bodies and our perceptions of ourselves, and how power expresses itself in our lives, clothes and interactions.

After a while, it coalesced into Muirin, a world where aliens lurk under the sea (keeping me from the alien city exploring I wanted to do, darn it), women rule and men stay home to take care of the house and children. In petticoats. Because petticoats are, in so many ways a symbol of power, authority, and who gets to have it.

What do you enjoy about weaving elements from mythology, legends, and folklore in your own writing?

Myths, legends and folklore have such depth. They call on a history that goes back hundreds and thousands of years that’s been continually reinterpreted and recreated generation by generation. The stories stay the same and they change at the same time. The resonance they bring is like standing next to a Buddhist temple bell as it’s rung at dawn or dusk. You feel it right down to your bones and you know that there’s something more. How could anyone resist that?

If you could be a fantasy creature for a day, which would you choose, and why?

Dragon! Because dragons are amazing and awesome and fierce and beautiful and I love them. I wouldn’t want to go back to being me again after a day. Unless I couldn’t read or drink tea. Then I’d be much more willing to go back to normal.

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’m working on several things currently, depending on what’s inspiring at the moment. I have a contemporary m/nb romance set in Japan that’s based off a trip I made to Japan. Everything that shows up in the story is something that I saw or did personally. I have a Fantasy Regency mystery with magic, cursed books that go blank, and a mama cat moving in at the most inopportune time. And I have the second in an apocalyptic Fantasy series where people’s souls are getting stolen in the middle of a world-destroying war with hidden mages who take over people’s bodies. I think they’re all fun, which is why I’m writing all three of them instead of just one at a time.

About Meyari

Meyari McFarland has been telling stories since she was a small child. Her stories range from SF and Fantasy adventures to Romances, but they always feature strong characters who do what they think is right no matter what gets in their way.

Her series range from Space Opera Romance in the Drath series, to Epic Fantasy in the Mages of Tindiere world. Other series include Matriarchies of Muirin, the Clockwork Rift Steampunk mysteries, and the Tales of Unification urban fantasy stories, plus many more.

Find Meyari

Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub

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