In Heathen mythology, there are nine worlds.
Host and guest honour (behaviour) was important in
pre-Christian Heathen culture.
In Heathen mythology, Ragnarok is a series of events that
signal the end of the gods.
is a French endearment meaning ‘little
cabbage’. It’s used for children and lovers.
Brownie is the Scots name for a popular type of fay that
crops up widely in European folklore – the house dweller that tidies the house,
milks the cows and mends clothes or shoes. They are generally below normal
The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of
the British Army.
Houston, we have a problem
is a popular
misquote of a communication between an Apollo 13 astronaut and the NASA Mission
Control Center (Houston).
Greek Cypriot is the name given to people from Cyprus of
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974.
The double-headed axe was an important cult symbol in the
Minoan culture of ancient Crete. It is associated only with goddesses in that
culture. The symbol was used from the 1970s as a feminist and lesbian symbol in
North America and Western Europe. The word labrys is of disputed origin.
SAS officers tend to do a tour of duty in the regiment
whereas other ranks may stay for years.
(British slang) = A disingenuous act
intended to provoke a desired response.
The fehu rune is the letter ‘f’ and the first letter of
In Heathen mythology, Freyja's steed is a boar. The tale
of her riding him is in the Poetic Edda, Hyndluljóð
Miami has a large community of Haitians. Haiti is known
for Vodou. The Gede are the spirits of the graveyard. They are fond of
flamboyant clothes, bawdy language, sex, smoking and drinking.
The 1968 film Bullitt
car chase in
San Francisco. The one in The Italian Job
(1969) took place in Turin,
and Paris was the location in Ronin
(1998) and The Bourne Identity
Deers shed their antlers in the early winter in the UK.
New growth doesn’t begin until the spring.
In Heathen mythology, the goddess Freya has a cloak of
falcon feathers she uses to take falcon shape. See the Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal
Declan’s tee-shirt slogan is a reference to the popular 1997
science-fiction film Men in Black
Izzy’s vision is drawn from Sleeping Beauty
Firehome is my rendition of Muspelheim or Muspell, one of
the Nine Worlds in Heathen mythology.
(French) = sorry.
According to Christian folklore, an incubus is a male demon
who comes to women in the night for sex. Succubus is the female equivalent.
There are similar creatures in other mythologies and the folklore of other
William Blake wrote The Sick Rose.
All the better to eat you with
is said by the wolf
the European fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
The information about thornapple and aconite is true.
Little things please little minds
is a proverb.
The title is an allusion to The Stepford Wives
1972 satirical thriller by Ira Levin in which the housewives of Stepford are
replaced by submissive robots.
The tale of Black Vaughan’s bloodhound is Herefordshire
folklore and was probably the source of the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound
of the Baskervilles
. Black Vaughan’s heir married a Baskerville.
In Heathen mythology, a human being comprises many parts.
The fetch (ON fylgja
, Anglo Saxon fæcce
) is one. The belief that
a person sees their fetch before they die appears in later European folklore
There is a great deal of folklore in the UK of
supernatural black dogs.
The Vivian the Fay (La Fée Vivian) was loved by Merlin. Arthurian
legend and Breton folklore ties them to Broceliande.
Michael’s French transport options are accurate for 2010.
The tunnel is under the English Channel.
Simon is exaggerating. The oldest English title is Earl
of Arundel, which dates back to the 12th
century. There have only
been thirty-six earls.
Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking Glass and What
Alice Found There
. The White Queen says “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam
yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
Bibi is an affectionate term for one’s paternal
grandmother, used in south Iran.
In Islamic and pre-Islamic folklore, the jinn can possess
people and often take the form of a black animal.
In Islam, Hadith (Sahih Bukhari 4:533) states “Cover your
utensils and tie your water skins, and close your doors and keep your children
close to you at night, as the Jinns spread out at such time and snatch things
away.” Sunan Abi Dawud 6 (Kitab Al-Taharah) states “These privies are
frequented by the jinns and devils. So when anyone amongst you goes there, he
should say: ‘I seek refuge in Allah from male and female devils.’”
Bismillah is the first word of the Quran. Hadith (Tirmidhi
606) commands a Muslim to say Bismillah before entering the toilet for
protection from the jinn.
Simon refers to surat (chapter) 23 (sūrat
l-mu'minūn) of the Quran, verse 97.
In Heathen mythology, Ran is the goddess of the sea.
Those who die at sea go to her hall in the afterlife.
What Declan says about the original Kallisto and the
Kallikantzaroi comes from ancient Greek myth and more recent Greek folklore.
The word lycanthropy comes from the Greek words for wolf
(lukos) and man (anthros). The name of the mythological King Lykaon may derive
Black Ops is a military term for the use of propaganda in
Ancient Athens held a festival to Dionysos every winter.
The Heathen festival of Yule may have been observed for
twelve days in England. The 9th
century Laws of King Alfred
number 43 gave freemen the right to take twelve days at Yule.
In 2010, Turkey was officially a secular state.
What Declan says about the recent history of Cyprus is
Revenge was important in ancient Athens and possibly
other Greek city-states.
Declan’s quotes are always real.
(Latin) = buyer beware, which means the
responsibility for checking the purchase is suitable and sound lies with the
The SAS generally address senior ranks as ‘boss’.
Slainte mhaith (Irish Gaelic) = good health. One of
the standard responses is slainte mhor (great health).
In Heathen mythology, Loki Laufeyjarson is unique for
having a matronymic surname rather than a patronymic. Laufey is his mother. He
is named this way several times in the Prose Edda.
Islay and Speyside are types of Scotch malt whisky.
In Heathen mythology, Hel is both a goddess and the ruler
of a kingdom that bears her name. She is Loki’s daughter. The wolf Fenrir is her
brother. See Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34.
Famagusta was the main tourist city in Cyprus before the
Turkish invasion in 1974. Varosha was the modern tourist area. It was fenced
off and entry was forbidden to the public. It was still a ghost town in 2018.
What Dirk says about the history of Karmi and Cyprus is
Apostolides v Orams is a landmark legal
case decided in the European Court of Justice April 2009. It enabled British
courts to enforce Cypriot judicial decisions upholding the property rights of
Cypriots forced out during the invasion. The Court of Appeal in England decided
in favour of Apostolides in January 2010. Cherie Blair (wife of Prime Minister Tony
Blair) represented the British buyers of the property.
District 6 in Cape Town was razed from 1966 to 1980 and is
left unbuilt as a memorial to the destruction.
The difference between canid and felid physical senses is
true, as is the feline psychology of being attracted by movement.
There is a dance of the clockwork doll in the ballet Coppelia.
The Welsh is authentic. In the Welsh pedigree books, Thomas
is described as lord of Hergest, Blethvaugh, Nash and Llaneinion.
The information about Thomas Vaughan and his family (here
and later) is true. He and his wife are buried in St Mary’s Church in Kington. The
folklore about the ghost Black Vaughan comes from The Folklore of
Herefordshire by E M Leather.
The Marches are English counties which border Wales and adjoining
areas of Wales.
Siôn Hir (Welsh) = John the Tall
The story about Elen Gethin shooting her cousin is true. She
married Thomas Vaughan and had a family. There are indications it was an
In 2010 the Departmental Gendarmerie was known as the
Whites. A chef d'escadron (known as commandant in the urban police) is roughly
equivalent to a superintendent in the UK police force.
An arrondissement is a French administrative area,
usually a subdivision of a commune (in a city) or a department (roughly
equivalent to a UK county). The Departmental Gendarmerie is organised by
arrondissement. In Brittany, the HQ is in Rennes.
Westhope Common exists as described although there is no
chair for Odhin. The Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons are in south Wales.
Jahannum is the Islamic version of Christian hell.
Ifrit are held to be the most powerful jinn.
The meaning of Halim is true.
Umai (also Umay) is the chief goddess in Tengriism (the
old religion of Turkey). Umai is her Turkish name. She is a protector of women
The quote is from Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Ladies,
which ends: For the Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady/ Are sisters under their
The temperature of a body is one of the leading factors
in determining the estimated time of death. The commonest formula is that a
body loses 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit per hour.
In Heathen mythology, Odhin has one eye and wears a
Prat (British slang) = someone who acts stupidly.
The story about Lykaon is from Greek mythology. However,
he and his sons were transformed for the rest of their lives. The nine years
penalty was imposed on any man changed into a wolf at the sacrifice to Zeus
Lykaios. See Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 2. 1 – 6
I’ve twisted the story about his daughter, Kallisto. The
bits from Greek mythology are that she was seduced by Zeus, transformed into a
bear, bore a son named Arkas and was hunted as a beast. I created her second
son, Kallilykos. The name is a mix of Kalli + lukos (wolf). Kakolykos means bad
Hergest Court was a centre of Welsh culture in the time
of Thomas and Elen Vaughan. Thomas is responsible for the preservation of the Red
Book of Hergest. It is the basis for The Mabinogi, the greatest
single book of Welsh mythology.
The Pentagram was an identity symbol and philosophical
foundation for the Pythagoreans. The classical elements are assigned to the
points. These refer to the concepts in ancient Greece of earth, water, air,
fire, and aether (or spirit in some modern occult practices).
infra dig (Latin) = beneath one’s dignity.
‘This is a wand’ is a play on the quote “That's not a
knife… THAT's a knife” from the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee.
The Seal of Solomon is the signet ring attributed to King
Solomon in medieval Jewish tradition and in Islamic and Western occultism. It usually
depicted as a hexagram (star of David) although sometimes in pentagram form. The
ring gave Solomon the power to command jinn. There is no Lesser Seal.
In the medieval feudal system, the demesne was all the
land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his personal use.
Ap/Ab (Welsh) = son of.
Withal (archaic English) = in addition.
Oyer and terminer (British legal term) = a royal
commission empowering a judge to hear and determine criminal cases. Thomas
Vaughan had the power in 1467, in North Wales.
A cantref was a medieval Welsh land division. Each
cantref had a court.
Threescore (archaic English) = three twenties (sixty).
King’s forest = Forest of Dean, which was a personal
hunting ground of kings.
Hafren (Welsh) = River Severn and Gŵy
(Welsh) = River Wye.
Fletching is the fin-shaped aerodynamic stabilization
device attached to arrows, traditionally made from feathers.
Elen Gethin erected an alabaster tomb for her husband and
herself in St Mary’s Church in Kington. It is still there.
Petit jury (British legal term) = trial jury.
Assizes were periodic courts held around England and
Wales until 1972. Their main work was to try criminal cases.
In Greek mythology, Cyprus is Aphrodite’s birthplace.
Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was sacked by the Muslim Ottomans
in 1453, fifteen years before Vaughan’s death. Saracen was a term for Muslim
Arabs during the Crusades. It was later extended to cover all Muslims.
Villein = serf or someone tied to a particular farm.
Euripedes’ Bacchae is an ancient Greek play about Dionysos.
Fenella Fielding appeared in Carry On Screaming!
in 1966 with a famous scene in which she asked if she could smoke.
Ghazi (Arabic) = raider. Katir (Arabic) = a
dangerous person of significance.
In European folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp is
an atmospheric ghost light seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs,
swamps or marshes. Also known as jack-o'-lantern
Medieval guilds could impose punishments on those who violated
Goodwife was a polite form of address for women in
England from around 1325 to the 18th century.
The practice of taking snuff didn’t become popular in
England until at least a century after Thomas Vaughan died. Snuff boxes appeared
later than that.
In Heathen mythology, Loki took the form of a seal in a
fight. (Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 16).
The falconry terms are true.
In Greek mythology, Euio was a cry used in Dionysiac
revels. Maenads were the female followers of Dionysos. They wore crowns of vine
leaves. Dionysos was usually accompanied by leopards and satyrs. The Dionysiac
rite culminated in the maenads tearing apart a living animal and eating it.
Good hunting! comes from The Jungle Book by
Bulls were sacrificed to Dionysos. He is linked with bull
n’est-ce pas vrai? (French) =
isn’t it true?
Non, ma cherie. Jamais pas (French) = no, darling.
Sobranie cocktail cigarettes are multi-coloured.
Alfar (Icelandic) = elves.
ménage à trois (French) = a domestic arrangement
in which three people have joint romantic and/or sexual relations.
Je ne pense pas…(French) = I don’t think…
Ayah (Hindi) = nanny. The term comes from the
British Empire when British families hired local women as a female servant or
European folklore contains many tales of the fay taking
France conquered Algeria in the 19th century.
Despite independence in 1962, Algeria remains the second-largest French-speaking
country in the world.
Tréhorenteuc lies in the heart of Broceliande.
Broceliandais (French) = the inhabitants of
Bretons have a separate history, language and national
Bien sûr (French) = of course.
Breizh (Breton) = Brittany.
Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point
(French) = The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing. Written by
Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician.
Swinging is sexual activity in which those attending a
swingers event have sex with each other without regard to existing
In British/Irish Celtic mythology, fairy animals have red