Recently while reading a review of Shadows at Nightfall I saw that that particular reader had caught on to one of the major mysteries of the series and a source of tension for Jason during much of the book: who is Cinaed the Storyteller?

When Jason first meets Cinaed he’s just an old man telling wild stories in a little inn Cinaed owned. Over time, however, he comes to wonder if he’s much more, because the story Cinaed tells mentions Sir Meredoch MacCowell who went by the alias Cinaed. Sir Meredoch did so to preserve anonymity, and Jason couldn’t help drawing parallels between the personalities and character of each man. The problem with linking them is that Cinaed the Storyteller would have to be over 400 years old to be the same Cinaed as from the story.

With his world upended, Jason is willing at first to take leaps, eventually wondering if a still older Cinaed from the Lowlands history, Cinaed of Tislatna, might be the very one regaling him with adventurous tales, which would make Cinaed at least 2500 years old!

Cinaed the Storyteller of Black River Inn, Brackenburgh from Quest of Fire: The Gathering Dark by Brett Armstrong.
Here’s an early sketch of Cinaed the Storyteller at Black River Inn, Brackenburgh.

What does it matter who Cinaed is? For Jason, the Knights of Light, the Quest of Fire, and the High King of All Realms are still on the edge of fantasy. At once too marvelous to be true and too terrifyingly real in his life. If Cinaed did prove to be 400 years old and all the more if he’s the original heroic Cinaed that is regarded as pure myth by most, then suddenly he thinks it will be safe to believe it all and his role in everything makes sense. Being drawn into this Quest by such a being would help to ground the wonder of it all into reality. It would also raise so many questions about who Aria, the storyteller’s granddaughter and Jason’s girlfriend, really is as well. All of it would also make Jason’s involvement seem precipitous, monumental, imperative. In short, Jason himself would be special.

So, what is in a name? Depending on who is behind the name it changes everything. Much like we can, Jason’s motivations from and convictions about Cinaed and what it means for him end up going askew and losing their nobility. But the notion that the veracity of a fantastical reality is grounded in the nature of the person at its heart is an important concept for our world as well.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[a] by which we must be saved.”— Acts 4:12 (ESV)

Our world has a still more marvelous Person Whose identity is imperative to understand. God walked among His Creation as a man, suffered and died to secure atonement for the rebellions of mankind against the Creator. It is made still more astounding by the return to life by the God Man of His own will. We are taught that relying upon those efforts and yielding to and accepting the Name to which these acts belong, Jesus Christ, will result in our own spiritual, and eventually physical, resurrection. In the name of Jesus Christ restoration longed for from the beginning will become a reality. Such an incredible thing wholly rests upon the One Name and the One Who alone is worthy of all the honor and glory and praise (Revelation 5:9-14).

Who we are makes sense and becomes intensely precious when we recognize Christ for Who He is and trust that as marvelous as it may seem, it is—He is—real and true.



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