Sawney Cronin

Junior Corporal Sawney Cronin

Dwarf, junior corporal at Aruam Castle, first appeared in chapter 10 of Shadows in the Stone

A crow cawed nearby, and Sawney looked up. A woman, dressed in multiple layers of colourful clothing, approached the front gate. Her long, dark copper-coloured hair contained loose strands, braids, strips of leather and twigs. Her brown dress ended at her knees where pants covered her legs until they disappeared into tall boots.

Entrance 02She stopped near Sawney and peered up, her vibrant green eyes searching his face.

“Can I help you?” he said, attempting to maintain his composer with her standing near.

“Leaving.” She grinned. “Thought you needed to know.”

“You’re passing through the gates?”

“Again.”

Sawney reached for the ledger. “Name please.”

She giggled. “Cute as always.”

Confused, he said, “Your name is Cute?”

She winked. “Two moons ago, I was Interesting.”

“Your name?”

“Told you to call me what you wished.”

He scratched his head. “What is your real name?”

She placed a hand on his forearm. Rings and bracelets decorated it. She leant forward and whispered, “Willow, my charming castle guard.”

“Do I know you?” Sawney searched her face for familiar features. She appeared human but not completely. He drew a deep breath, and the fragrance of dried herbs filled his senses. He shook his head, and his surroundings grew brighter as if clouds moved away from the sun. “Willow.”

She beamed and squeezed his arm. She removed a twig of dried leaves from her hair and stuck it in the button hole of his vest. “This will hold your wisdom for a fortnight.”

He sniffed the twig, and his thoughts fell into order. “Where do you journey today?”

“Into the distance of your forgotten memories.” Her smile faded. “Then I shall return, so we can meet as strangers again.” She adjusted her rucksack and stepped way. “Until our next encounter, my loyal Sawney. Remain safe.”


Castle Keepers Vignette: Almost five years has passed since Isla was kidnapped and Bronwyn left Maskil in search of her. In many ways, not much has happened; the inhabitants of the Land of Ath-o’Lea have continued their daily routine. But if you look deeper into the individual lives you’ll see much has changed in little ways.

The Castle Keeper vignettes provide a glimpse into the time betweenShadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. You’ll have already met many of the characters, but some you will meet in Scattered Stones.

These vignettes won’t be complete stories, only 300 words of a moment. I consider them exercises in writing and editing. I hope to write two a week and post them on Mondays and Thursdays as we lead up to the release of Scattered Stones, the second fantasy novel of the Castle Keepers series, on May 6, 2016.

The collection of vignettes will be organised on the Castle Keepers Vignettes page. On the first of each month, I will post the schedule of the characters I will write about that month.

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2 thoughts on “Sawney Cronin

  1. Darlene, when I write these vignettes, I usually spend a day or two thinking about what sort of information I’ll reveal about the story and how the character will reveal it.

    When I thought of Sawney–if you’ll remember, he was in the search team that set out to find Isla; he was injured in the dragon attack and was sent back to Maskil while the others continued on–I wondered about his state of mind. I know how he acts in “Scattered Stones”, and I wanted to build on that here. Interacting with another person would reveal his problem.

    That’s when I found Willow. While I was thinking about her, I was looking at headstone history–there I found her name and purpose. While I was writing her into the vignette, I was listening to my new Zac Brown Band CD–there in a song, I found her power. I threw these things into my wild imagination and out came an amazing character who revealed herself to me.

    Willow will definitely be in our future, and her relationship will Sawney–well, you and I will have to see how that plays out. She won’t appear in “Scattered Stones”, but instead introduced in “Revelation Stones” (which already has several chapters written).

    Thank you for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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