One of my methods of research is to utilise The Akashic Records to access the lives of the people I write about in my novels. I used this resource extensively in the writing of TO DEFY A KING and I wanted to share some of these sessions with my readers.

What are the Akashic Records? I asked my very good friend and Akashic Consultant Alison King for the short version and here is what she says:

When people think, feel or speak, it creates a subtle electrical charge. For example, the brain's electrical activity (such as when thinking) can be measured by ECG equipment (in fact, it's a measurement of whether we're alive or dead).

The electrical vibrations we create all the time are discharged into the environment, where they are impressed onto a subatomic substance which is only just starting to come to the edge of scientific awareness, (think string theory and the environment that would suggest). An analogy of this process might be voice recording techniques, where the vibrations of the voice are impressed upon susceptible material, such as magnetic tape or digital receptor. Once the Akashic recording has been made, it can be read in a similar way to listening to a voice recording or watching a movie, with similar facilities to fast forward or rewind. The huge difference is, the Akashic Record is an organic structure, rather than 21st century technology; it therefore requires an organic reader, such as a human being, who can attune sensitively to the vibrations required. A mundane example of this would be, walking into a room, and being able to pick up on an atmosphere without knowing of any preceding events that have taken place there.

There's a lot more to it than this, but the above is the basic premise, and the below is the result: I hope readers will enjoy these insights as I post them.

Not every scene has gone into the novel, I have far too much material. This is only a selection, aimed at giving a taster. We honestly never know what is going to emerge and seemingly innocuous questions can lead to laughter, tears, and fascinating revelations.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

William Longespee

This Sunday in the run up to the publication of TO DEFY A KING, I am publishing some Akashic excerpts concerning William Longespee, bastard half-brother to Hugh Bigod and son of King Henry II.

I used this first excerpt in THE TIME OF SINGING (FOR THE KING'S FAVOR IN THE USA)
Readers might recognise it from the novel. This is where young William Longespee, first sets eyes on his half brother Hugh Bigod.

Alison: I’m with a very still person, or very still at the moment. His energy comes from the heart and it’s raying out from there. He has a very straight back and sits regally as if on a throne, with his chin up. Very straight indeed. This gives him the appearance of looking down on people. He has dark hair which is slightly wavy and thick. It gives the appearance of being darker than it is but I think this is because he himself gives the appearance of being very vivid. Everything about him is deep and rich. He has Ida’s eyes – soft and brown.

Ah, William has the advantage because he’s watching Hugh, who is playing outside. I can see him running, chasing something. It’s a ball game – rugby or football or something similar with manhandling involved. You have to grab the person with the ball to get it off him. Involves tussling and running about. Hugh is being pointed out to William and William looks. When he focuses he really focuses. You can almost see the line drawn between his eyes and the object. Oh, Hugh has lovely muscles William is watching him and seeing how good the lad is at the game and his lively tussle of hair. He’s quite different to William – unrestrained, very natural and has an easy-going mien about him. When the game’s over, he walks off the field with an easy air. William doesn’t approve of that kind of style because he’s been taught that his way is the proper one. And now he looks at his mother who his looking at Hugh with adoration in her eyes and he thinks ‘if she had brought me up, I could have ended up like that. Better the way it is.’

Hugh and Longespee had a very difficult relationship. Here is one of several incidents that caused the ongoing difficulties.

Alison: I can see a beautiful white horse and someone riding it. It’s got a cloth that goes down almost to its knees. That’s beautiful as well. It’s white with vertical stripes on. The vertical stripes accentuate the flare at the bottom and are almost like pleats. There’s gold fringing on the bottom – exquisite. I think these lines are blue - lovely. And then I saw another horse join it. It’s dark with a white flash on its nose. And Hugh seems to be standing watching. I can’t see how he’s involved with this. Just give me a few minutes to sort out what’s happened. It looks like it’s a race. Ohhh! Alison gives a sharp cry of distress. Gasps. ‘Oh God. This really gets to me because I hate it when animals are hurt. It’s really a bit worse than humans. What I saw was that the white horse was being raced against the dark horse. It was Hugh’s horse, a beautiful, beautiful horse. He lent it to Salisbury, and Salisbury was thrashing the life out of it and it fell at full gallop on both front knees. He was pushing it far too hard and riding it dangerously. It was only supposed to be a friendly little match. Salisbury just wanted to have a go and put it through its paces. Sigh. Long silence. Salisbury seems to have got away with it unscathed and just says ‘Oh, you know, Hugh, it’s only a horse. I’ll give you the money to get another.’ So the horse has to be killed? Yes.

But it wasn't terrible all of the time. Now to an incident with Longespee getting on with his Bigod relations

Alison: I can see a carved pole and when I say carved I mean something like a banister post but much longer on its own, and two hands, one up here and one down there (indicates) and two flappy things that come off this carved thing. It’s a musical instrument – like a recorder. I’m just wondering what connection it is with Salisbury. Ah, Salisbury’s listening to it. It’s a woman who’s playing it. Oh, it’s very mellifluous to his ears, it’s very pleasurable. It’s a nice sound, it’s flowing. It doesn’t have any of the staccato sound of a modern recorder. It’s much more mellow. These flappy things are pieces of material that decorate it, like you’d see on a fanfare trumpet, but there are two smaller ones, one at the top and one at the bottom. Aaaah….Oh they’re singing. The people there are singing to it and it’s lovely. Ohhhhhh, Ida’s singing especially. And Roger! The whole family are singing, and it’s just gorgeous. Salisbury doesn’t really know the words but occasionally hums along to it and mostly listens. He only hums along when he’s moved to. It’s not as if he’s got an individual part. They’re all a group together and they’re all part of the performance, part of the experience. Bliss. This he’s never ever experienced before in his life. Nothing like this. He’s got this warm feeling in his stomach and it’s moving about in time to the music. Eventually his voice starts to flow and he really holds the last note fully with everyone else, in fact a little bit over because he doesn’t know the song, so he lengthens the note after everyone’s finished. And everyone’s amused and laughs and claps. In fact he gets an extra clap. It’s a nice experience for him.

Hugh and Longespee together in Ireland in late spring 1210.

Alison: Poof! I got a real sort of pushing in of the stomach which pushed the air out of Hugh. I don’t know what it means. It’s a friendly greeting from Salisbury - sort of ‘Hey there old chap!’

To which Hugh can just respond by patting Salisbury on his back and replying ‘Hey there!’ with what breath he had left. It’s a disarming and drinking session. Food. I can see a spit with fire underneath. It’s getting dark. It’s outdoors. I can hardly believe this from what we have seen in the past, but they’re getting on. They’re lying side by side on the ground, looking at the sky and talking. What their wives will be doing at home now and how they feel about their wives. Salisbury is saying to Hugh, ‘About this time of night I always think of Ela and what she’ll be doing. She’ll be combing her hair and taking off her jewellery and I’ll see her little cherub mouth smiling at me. And then I’ll see all the garment she has to put on. (put on?!) Yes! I can see really beautifully wrought things, but layers. He did have that kind of wry smile as if to say ‘what for?’ and a little bit of frustration. And then she will disappear out of the room. And when she comes back into the room I’ll be warm, and she’ll want to be warm as well. I don’t know if he’s actually able to explain this to Hugh but the feelings that Salisbury has is of her little body next to his. She’s like a little doll with all these layers of freshly laundered linen and her bare feet sticking out and they come out higher up than his where they are sitting because he is taller than her and she’s just lying entwined there with her head under his chin. He says ‘And that’s when I really like it. When I really feel I have a home.’ I get a real resonance in the stomach and a warm glow all through his body. ‘That’s when I know I’m home.’ His eyes water as he looks up at the sky because this is completely different, nothing like home with the hard ground, the open air, no comfort, men all around. Does Hugh reciprocate? Hugh is really sad and taken aback because he hasn’t got any of that now and he just says ‘I know what you mean.’ His feelings are mixed. He’s trying to salvage some of the good things and it’s as if his memories are going backwards and forwards to the good times and the bad times. He’s bringing his focus in very small to avoid that see-sawing of feelings. He’s just bringing it down to a close up of Mahelt’s hair and his thumb through it. He becomes wistful and they are both quiet. Salisbury drops off to sleep and Hugh continues looking at the stars until he too falls asleep.

In this excerpt, Ralph Bigod, Hugh's younger brother, has been captured along with Longespee following the disastrous Battle of Bouvines.

Alison: There’s a lot of discomfort in the solar plexus stomach area. He’s feeling very uncomfortable and miserable. Chin jutting out, the left hand thumping his thigh. He’s keeping very alert. He feels vulnerable. He’s watching everywhere. He’s using the skills of the battlefield in the situation although he hasn’t got his weapons. He feels very vulnerable without his weapons. He’s still in a killing frame of mind and trying to work out ways to kill people. He’s expecting to be killed himself as well. Does he think being Salisbury’s brother might help him out here? He’s got no preconceptions. He’s seen things on the battlefield he wouldn’t have expected. At the end, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can still die. Alison looks for Salisbury. They’re not close together as in side by side; there are a lot of people there. Salisbury is ahead and to his right. When he thinks of Salisbury, he gets another kind of expression on his face. There’s an element of ‘we didn’t quite make it, an element of feeling that he’s let Salisbury down, although there’s a part of him that knows logically he hasn’t, because it was beyond his control, but emotionally he still feels that. It’s not exactly that he’s let him down, that’s part of it. It’s more that he didn’t do enough. He doesn’t feel he’s done everything he should have been able to do. But there again, if he had, he might have been worse off than he is now. Ah! I think it’s about the actual surrender. I don’t think Salisbury was as willing to surrender as Ralph was. Ralph took it as the sensible thing to do, the practical thing. Salisbury was more about what was the right thing to do, the noble thing to do. Does Ralph expect to be ransomed? I’ll need to go further forward. This is just after the battle where everyone is milling about and being sorted out. Ralph’s seen some captives just being stabbed in the stomach and killed just in the sorting out process. Because they weren’t important enough? Yes. Ralph waits his turn. He knows that at least he won’t get stabbed in the stomach. He’ll be hanged or something if they want to get rid of him. They won’t do it straight away, and anyway he’s got his mail shirt on. He doesn’t know if Salisbury will want to own him because of their disagreements. He’s not sure of his standing with Salisbury, and a younger son of a big household doesn’t always warrant good treatment. He’s thinking maybe he should have fought on. He’s looking down at the ground as he’s thinking this. He’s demoralised. It’s damp, but quite warm. Feels like misty rain. He doesn’t care about himself. He’s going to be herded down into some dungeons with some other minor nobles and Salisbury shouts out for him. ‘Hey, he’s my kin.’ They say ‘Which one?’, so Salisbury points him out and they bring him back. He stands alongside and just behind Salisbury. Ralph’s feeling quite numb. He’s given up. He was prepared to just go into oblivion into that dark dungeon. He feels like a nobody, a servant to Salisbury. Feels like depression.

Salisbury however is bearing up well. He’s talking to the guards on an equal basis and even being witty and making a few jokes to make them laugh. He’s saying ‘If you would only give me my sword back I would show you how to do this particular manoeuvre. They reply ‘You won’t catch us on that one!’ Underneath though, Salisbury feels gutted.

He’s let the side down, his noble heritage. It’s terrible for a king to get captured, terrible for the country, and he’s so close to being a king (i.e. the son of one and the brother of one) that it’s not good. He will act nobly in the situation. Such as this has happened before. He will act nobly to his compatriots. He feels it’s up to him to keep up morale. He wants generous quarters and he’s expecting clean sheets on the beds. They’re saying ‘That will all be in good time, sire. Meantime you can stay here.’ So they’re left outside for a long time – in fact all night. They have to call for water for the people who are ailing – for their own wounded. Salisbury is trying to think through the situation, but it’s not one he has much control over. I got the words ‘The ransom will be bloody.’ I don’t understand that. Debate ensues. I am getting the information that the ransom will be in blood as well as money. The price is blood. He’s facing it very realistically. Very grittily and he’s determined. He’s bolstering up the other people, keeping up their spirits. He’s trying in his own way to send down hope and extra provisions to those worse off than himself, those in the dungeons.

The Relationship between Longespee and William Marshal Junior in 1216

Alison. William’s got a smile on his face and he’s looking to the right towards William jnr (Will). There’s a window behind Will and Salisbury is saying ‘Hey lad, come over here and we’ll have a game of dice. So he does, and it’s not just Will who comes over but several others who were with Will. They’re playing something a bit like snap where they get two together and bang them down and cheer and get excited about it. They get to a point where they’re even. Will’s about to shake the dice again when Salisbury puts his hand on him and says ‘That’s where we’ll leave it.’ There’s food and drink coming. It’s a mealtime. You know how Salisbury likes things to be perfect and jewel like and beautiful? Well he sees Will in that role. He’s like amber. He’s like a wrought piece of work. He’s like a proper courtier. Salisbury thinks of him in terms of him (Salisbury) being the royalty and Will the courtier. It’s that kind of perfection for Salisbury. It makes sense to him. It fits in with his way of seeing the world. When they go to have a meal they have a finger bowl and Will’s manners are immaculate. So are Salisbury’s of course. Salisbury appreciates that about Will. They can be on a level with things like that. They can have a laugh. They share the same sense of humour which is not too silly, it’s quite manly, quite proper. Will’s ready to go along with Salisbury, he’s not ready to make waves. However he’s not a pushover, he’ll say what he thinks, but he defers to Salisbury. Actually they got on very well on a personal level. They can share their thoughts which have quite a lot in common. When they’re looking at a situation they often see it in the same way. So the expression in the eyes of each person would be very similar as they’re looking at the same thing.

There are several more excerpts, but since they are woven strongly into the fabric of the novel and might cause big spoiles, I'll leave them in abeyance for the moment. As it is, readers will find many of the above moments woven through the storyline of TO DEFY A KING.

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