The Patchwork Warriors#15

The second half of CHAPTER 7, in which threads start to be drawing in tighter due to Migran and Trelli……………………….

 

 

Karlyn comfy in her perch, twitched and opened one eye. The night was still, clear and clean. Even Custoady Meradat was asleep. Fair enough. So just what was buzzing about, this time then?

She had the oddest notion about them pixie folk being mischiefs and flitting their wings in her nostrils.

They’d better not start arse-squeaking!

 

Dragged from a bothered sleep Trelli first thought the furtive noise at the door was Tumble the family’s self-important cat insisting, as was his wont, to some sort of nocturnal attention from her; his personal servant, but then there was a hoarse, desperate, pleading whisper which could only be Migran.

“What you want?” she hissed, too tired, cold and cross to be civil.

“Trelli, I must show you something,”

The doughty and indefatigable Cook Murtha had lectured Trelli at great length and with much disparaging about the inclinations sons of Households. Afore that the devoteds of the Libratery orphanage had explained to those girls leaving childhood behind of the natures of men and women. And neither source would have counselled her to be opening her door, but seeing as how she was still furious at Migran, she felt inclined to give him another taste of her displeasure.

“You get back to your room right now! Otherwise I shall raise my voice and call out ‘Oooh Master Migran cover yourself up! What do you intend with me!!’ And then you try and explain that to your mum and dad!!” the memory of that parting interlude still very clear in her mind.

Migran winced, some of his associates did seem to be allowed to be ‘affable’ to their serving girls, but his parents ever solid, honest and upright in everything but the family business had made it quite clear when Trelli had arrived that there would be no ‘taking advantages’. There had been more than one long lecture on morals and responsibilities. Anyway until these past days Trelli had been the only one in the house who had not treated him in a manner suggesting he was someone to be cossetted from a world that might gobble him up. She’d almost been a sort of friend-ish person. He could not afford to lose her respect and, well he had best not think about anything else! He did so wish to explain things to her though, so risking damage to his nose he edged his face into the gap between door and frame.

“But Trelli, it’s the oculator. It’s working better than ever, it’s at full capacity. When you see how wonderful it is at full extension, it’ll take your breath away!”

And promptly wishes he hadn’t phrased it quite that way. But there was a simply a ‘humph!’ and a terse instruction to wait while she put on shoes and coat to at least look she was about some sort of duties.

 

One candle was doing its best at illumination, yet Trelli’s attention was taken by the pale glow from the mirror’d glass set in the metallic box now upon on Migran’s desk. From the glass came a steady soft pale light, itself a background to a variety of shapes in a myriad of colours; each moving from one edge of the glass to the other, and thence to move off to another edge; the vibration she had previously felt now an audible steady hum.

“I’ve been investigating for some time,” she did not appreciate his whispering over her shoulder, far too close, but the sight of a construction once outside of her imagining now working stifled all manner of objections. At this silence Migran’s own confidence returned, fully certain he could win her support and assistance back “There have been patches of light and flitters of shapes, the occasion sound. But tonight I followed the code on that document you saw, I was really careful and delicate with the tuning,”

“Tuning?” she echoed, having assumed that was something to do with music, only to have Migran take hold of her arm and gently direct her to the desk.

“No, it’s all to do with the way the oculator is worked. There are protocols and standards. See that line of twinkling gems below the screen. Well those are gems which are attuned to the elemental tides, currents and strings which make up The Nanonsphere; it’s the place where all the energies and abilities come from to make this possible,” he eased her down on the chair; transfixed somewhere between fascination and horror Trelli gave way to the urge to know something more about this threat “You see those metal discs, three on each side, well those I can use to focus on a particular subject; right now you are seeing everything the oculator is party to,” he reached over her and turned the top right disc right ways, in response circular shapes began to fade, until only squares and oblongs occupied a green background, he turned the next disc leftwards, the shapes stretched until they resembled lines moving horizontally jagged and sudden interruptions breaking up their flatness “And now, listen carefully”, he worked the bottom disc and from a distance Trelli could hear small voices made harsh with crackling and hissing, scaring her with the feeling that people had been shrunken and trapped in there. Sensing her tense, Migran placed one hand on her shoulder “It’s alright. It’s alright. The oculator is letting us listen to other people using their own communication devices,”

Trelli eased at the touch, then remembered it was A Touch and shrugged his hand off.

“But it’s all strange,” she dared not raise her voice above the whispering “It’s like standing on the edge of the sea cliffs in the wild winds. You feel you could jump and fly, you nearly might, but you know it’ll be wrong,”

Migran was not really ready for a lyrical argument and Trelli truth be known was not sure where that sudden eloquence had come from. Far off she could hear waves playing out their song on the rocks, somewhere a gull was voicing out it feelings making her feel dawn could not be all that far away.

“I don’t know Master Migran,”

Why did that return of deference chill him?

“I just don’t know. I suppose you’ve done something some might think is clever, but it scares me. It’s not a good time to talk about this anymore. These things are best talked about in daylight. I gotta go now. It’ll be time to get up soon,” and swivelling from his chair, moving so fast he could only feel a brush of her arm, she was out of the door.

He looked to the still open door, to the chair and back to the screen, hands clenching, teeth set tight.

And no thoughts about how he was going to sell this to his parents and brother.

Instead after closing the door, he returned to his desk.

“I will fly Trelli. You’ll see. I will,”

 

Dekyria had been pondering on whether he should let Bleymore sleep for a little longer for the man’s body’s sake, or whether he should indulge in a mug of coffee and an interlude of his own repose and even whether Medician Beritt should be given some consideration, when Pillor dutied to survey all possible manner of permutation cried out.

“Everyone to your oculators! Those white light are on their way in!!”

All thoughts of coffee were swept away.

“Wake up our guest Ledgewick! Gerimor find the Medician!!”

“Suppose she’s got an emergency Captain!” Gerimor had been on the unsympathetic end of Beritt’s treatment for Particular Boils and subsequent lecture on Cautionary Behaviour after a visit to a travelling brothel. He was a little scared of her.

“Then they can die for a good cause! I want her here and now!!”

The Patchwork Warriors # 13

The Patchwork Warriors# 11

The Patchwork Warriors # 12

 

 

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The Patchwork Warriors #14

The first half of CHAPTER 7. Something of the LifeGuards , Medician Deya Beritt and the elemental force at work in the world. (This is where the author-me-struggles to balance, information, background and narrative with characters…and doesn’t have any fun at all!!)………………………….

 

Whereas this journey of discovery had been interesting and with some satisfaction, neither Dekyria nor his small command were content with the knowledge that they were possibly witnessing a series of echoes.

Echoes from places which had no locations, and were thus spontaneously appearing. This would have had some grim reasoning if there were the signatures of Fourth Realm indications. These however had a purity to them. Fileman Zanten possessed of a certain whimsical humour had suggested they might have to give consideration to existence of little pixies after all. Dekyria might have found this slightly amusing if he had been unable to rid himself of wondering if that were possible?

Leaving out the suggestion of small fairy folk Dekyria had discussed the sighting with Major Gellgrachen, The latter anticipating Drygnest’s request for more information at such a sighting and the need for minimum of communications to maintain the measure of secrecy, Dekyria was allowed to pursue the matter with all available resources.

 

“He’s still afflicted with shock and unsettlements to his being Captain,” Beritt reported on being asked for a medician’s opinion “He should be afforded a time to feel at peace,”

“Would that we were a sanctuary for weary bodies, minds and souls Medician. However, Master Bleymore’s return to comprehension and so able to be of assistance is necessary. Do what you can with all haste Medician,”

Beritt’s own opinion that it was a translator and not a medician who was required. She kept her opinion to herself.

 

The man’s second day under LifeGuard custody started in the last thousand of the Deep Night Watch. His nervous restlessness and clipped uncertain manner of speech both settled at her approach. Her brief friendly asking after his health, polite request to stare into his eyes, place two fingers on his upturned wrist and count; set her hands lightly on his temples, and count, ask if he’d slept, then an inconsequential chat about the springtime while she mixed up a harmless looking drink which he took willingly; all this would end with a suggestions that if he felt the need to sleep, he should and maybe The Captain to could up a small cot in a corner of the constantly occupied realm of the ‘owls’ and he would thus not be alone.

She hoped she’d got the mixture just so. The Captain would not be pleased with a sleeping Master Bleymore, just a very relaxed one.

 

After the fourth visit, Bleymore indeed agreed to her suggestion of a bowl of light vegetable soup and a small portion of bread, which she brought back with prompt service worthy of a noble’s serving staff. Bleymore managed a smile, and nervous swift gesture Dekyria reckoned to be of gratitude and the efficacy of her mixing of substances. It was only when she was out of the room did she give way to a long yawn.

“Never mind the medician,” she muttered “It’s a well-known fact they don’t need sleep, all part of their fribbin’ training,”

 

“She’s very kind,” Bleymore said a quarter way through the meal. Dekyria took advantage of this change from the previous litany of short, nervous and oblique statements of fear and warning.

“One of the best medicians I have ever met,” Dekyria was truthful in this “We had an incident mid-winter,” he paused, intentionally “A flaw in a device. There was an explosion. Tore open a man’s leg from ankle to thigh. She was there like a hawk, staunching blood, administering soporific, speaking with authority to the man and anyone she needed to assist, even managed to sew up the leg. Then sat with him for four days unless called away. He’s stuck with a hell of a limp, but he’ll live,”

Bleymore managed a slight smile

“A device? Would that have been an Ethereally charged device?”

Call it what you will, just speak to me Master Bleymore’

“I could not confirm that,”

Bleymore understood

“There is much danger with The Ethereal, as long as it’s natures and origins remain unclear. It’s why my chosen preference was for observation,” and returned to the soup, Dekyria bided his time, watching his own Oculator, which was currently not showing much of interest. He had been hoping for a convenient appearance of the new lights, but of course that would be asking for an unheard of collaboration from the Astatheia. Just be glad of the fellow talking and carry on with his meal.

But after a short time Dekyria felt time to move the conversation on.

“I can agree with that,” and made much of staring at his mirror’d waiting for the man’s reaction. Eventually emboldened by Beritt’s meal and soporific, Bleymore carefully edged closer.

“May I?” he asked.

And we have a start!’

Dekyria agreed; just the simple pattern of pale waves of light green indicating a certain amount of very minor activity about a hundred myles away.

“It’ll be another observer,” Bleymore offered “Possibly spying on someone else working for a lord or higher noble, maybe?” he sniffed “They’re being a bit obvious,” he pointed to a shade of blue at the top of the wave “That will be the target. Also obvious,”

“Agreed. We’ve been keeping any eye on them, just in case it’s a fabrication for a subversive exchange of information,”

Bleymore fidgeted, lacing and unlacing his fingers, glancing from one direction to another, before he drew a little closer to Dekyria, an index finger pointing to the mirror’d surface, his voice low, cautionary.

“You see on the lower area a thin line of orange which transmutes finally into the green?” Dekyria hadn’t noticed, one of those activities it takes a fresh pair of eyes to catch. “In my experience that suggests a pressure, one being caused by the influence of the demonic Fourth Realm. Not a rupture yet, but this careless activity could wear away the boundaries, y’see?”

“Really Master Bleymore? Would you say that’s a new development? Because it’s not one we’ve been alerted to?”

“Aspects change. That much I know,”

“Then thank you for your commentary,”

The man smiled briefly then shied away back to his table and the remains of his meal.

“I dare not stay too long at a screen. They might see me. They know of me, you see. This is why I fled here. The closest of sanctuaries,”

And he turned his face away to the wall.

‘Scraith! Sometime soon we’ll need you again Beritt. But timing. Timing,’

A Writer’s Gotta Do What A Writer’s Gotta Do

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

 

 

 

 

Performances that just don’t grow old!

So I was just sitting back and thinking about music and moves. These are ones which do not grow old or stale

Fox on The Run- Girlschool

Initially a hit for Glam-rock band Sweet. UK all-women metal band took hold of it and whipped around and around. Now I know videos don’t compare to Live, but there again, you just have to sense this outfit were having a lot of fun doing this, and what’s more just didn’t care. They weren’t pretty-pretty, they played the guys at their own game and rocked. Interspersed with shots from their live act, this just lives and breathes the spirit of a band full of life and vigour. Off the Album Hit & Run 1981.

 

 

Candles in The Rain – Melaine

To the uninformed and shallow Melaine had something of a cutsey-lil’ girl with a gee-tar reputation. Which of course was dreng (see ‘Farscape’). This is she, live with the formidable Edwin Hawkins’ singers striding out with a 6+ minute version of this Woodstock anthem. Starts off quite slow(ish) but by 3mins 25 secs she lets it rip and her voice shakes the roof. The most important fact is to bear in mind this was live before a 1970s Dutch audience; back in that time Dutch audiences were selected for being staid and sober (the Dutch had a reputation for it in Europe- the hippies in Amsterdam didn’t count), but take a look at this video towards the end and see she’s got them clapping, swaying (a bit) and smiling. Here’s a performer owning the whole show and 40+ years down the line….. she still does!! 

 

 

Rubberband Man – The Spinners

Back in the mid/late 1970s I could grumble at a record at the drop of an empty cigarette packet. However, for some reason I could stand the Spinners (or Detroit Spinners in the UK, on account of our own folk-based Spinners), and this song hung in the back of my memory for many decades and a while back I decided to view it on Youtube. Anndd got it live on a 1970s TV show. Well! this is such a fun song. Philippe Wynne just singing out as clear as spring water and not only are supporting vocalists Bobbie Smith (tenor), Henry Fambrough (baritone), Billy Henderson (tenor/baritone) and Pervis Jackson (bass) bringing in their own wall of sound, but look at those moves! The girls adding the cool layer being the Sigma Sweethearts. The whole just builds up to one glorious joyous interlude; you just have to love the rubberband dance; how they worked that out! This is toe-tapping, head-nodding, sing-a-long time. Happy music at its best

 

 

Enjoy folks!

A True History of The Isles Part 10 – The Fall of The Britons

 

With the death of Arthur (King), or someone who might have been Arthur (King) or some people who put together were something similar in terms of power & prowess of Arthur (King), The Britons were in a parlous situation as the fashionable trend amongst nearby folk was to invade.

The Picts and those confusing folk who came from Ireland, the Scots of course did this the easy way by trampling around and over Hadrian’s Wall, which due to government cut-backs (some things never change) was under-staffed and in need of repair. However, the channel still called the Mare Germanicus by educated people was positively heaving with folk arriving from the mainland. There were a rather plain speaking people called The Franks, but they didn’t stay long as they had to go back and invent France. Three peoples quite organised geographically from north to south as The Jutes, Angles and Saxons having heard that Arthur (The King) or Arthur (The Collective Noun) had simply become legendary decided to also try their luck once more.

At first all did not go as planned because of Ambrosius Aurelianus. He claimed he was the Last of The Romans. As The Saxons were often employed by the Romans they became dreadfully confused and naturally lost The Battle of Mount Badon; this was most unfortunate for them as they’d already lost it to Arthur (The Legendary King). Some British bards were making things worse by suggesting that Ambrosius had been there before Arthur (The Whoever) anyway.

They did however then have a stroke of luck with Vortigen who upon becoming king employed The Saxon (and possibly The Angles) to fight The Picts (and possibly The Scots and The Jutes). Vortigen was to be later condemned for handing over Britain to the Saxons but to be fair he was only consulting the roman rule book and Doing As The Romans did; but since he was not in Rome at the time this was bound to fail. Things might have sorted themselves out but for the arrival of Hengist & Horsa who were either brothers and Saxon Warlords or a firm of Corporate Lawyers. In view of the speed in which they overwhelmed the Britons the latter is likely, particularly as they knew all of The Angles; Vortigen was thus obliged to resign without benefit of a pension package. At this stage his son Vortimer turned up. He was likely a man of large girth as he pushed The Saxons back and might have saved Britain had he not been poisoned by Vortigen’s saxon wife Rowena who aside from being a pagan was the first wicked step-mother; either that or an excuse to cover up the lack of British leadership. Vortigen tried to be king again, but on being told he was probably not a person but just a title gave up and retired to Wales, which had just been invented. (ahead of France).

Thus unable to stop the invaders progress The Britons has no option but to retreat and face up to the fact that they would have to re-invent themselves if they had any hope of not going the way of those Beaker Folk (though some, it was suspected were still lurking about Stonehenge and having tremendous fun just misleading everyone with tall tales – probably about 120 feet in some cases). Thus the once Celts, once (in some cases) the Britons became as follows:

Irish: This was because no one had really thought to bother them much and so they had remained quite Celtic. So apart from some entrepreneurial types who had naturally opted for piracy the Irish had become rather established, and could prove at the drop of a ballad that Arthur (King or Legend) had had nothing to do with them. Thus they set their lives to the pursuits of culture and each other’s cattle, sheep, etc. And it might be noted, possibly invading The Isle of Mann, which truth be known had been minding its own business.

Scots: Having successfully ensured that no one really knew who lived beyond Hadrian’s Wall, the folk there picted upon the notion that Scottish had a more lyrical tone than Pictish. When they thought about the latter it sounded rather peevish, which would not suit warriors, which again sounded better than bandits and cattle-raiders and sheep rustlers.

Welsh: Upon successfully moving everything worth moving beyond the rivers Dee, Severn and Taff Gwynedd, Powys, Dyfed and Seisyllwg, Morgannwg and Gwent emerged as independent Welsh kingdoms. Since these folk had access to much of the acquired culture (that which was not burnt by the Saxons, Angles and Jutes) of some 500 years they set to concentrating upon the noble pursuits of song, poetry, myths, attacking each other when not looking and of course peering across the Dee, Severn and Taff to keep a look out for a chance to snatch back land, cattle, sheep, etc

Cornish: Actually deserve a mention, because they were also Britons. They would have actually been welsh but for The Battle of Dyrham in in 577AD, which was won by the Saxon cheating and launching a surprise attack. This effectively separated Cornwall from Wales and quite rightly the Cornish thought they would manage quite nicely by themselves; this was proven when they got back at the Saxon at Hehli in 722AD, the location of which The Cornish kept to themselves so that the Saxons couldn’t get back at them or find their cattle, sheep etc.

Aside from the above two memorable dates: As bards never troubled themselves with dates, the surviving druids were whiling away their times carving out the runic versions of ‘Told You So ‘and the few monks, priests etc were more occupied with staying alive no one was yet keeping an accurate historical record. However, it can be assumed that somewhere about between 550 AD & 634 AD (the latter date is an estimate inserted to make this seminar look good), what we recognise now as England was effectively under joint-management of the Angles & Saxons; the Jutes having been expelled for protruding into business which did not concern them.

Thus The Isles as we know them today were sort of organised out. Saxons and Angles strutting about like they owned the place (which in most cases they did); while Welsh, Cornish, Scots and Celts honed some weapons, rustled, squabbled over who was a king but more importantly invested in Culture. (the employment of which always proved anything that went wrong was always the fault of The Saxons or Angles and naturally a traitor)

All might have sorted itself out but for The Vikings, who we will be looking at in the next seminar.

A True History of The Isles- Part 9 Arthurian Notables

A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1

The Patchwork Warriors # 13

This is the other half of CHAPTER  FIVE…featuring more of Trelli and Migran….I confess I just love this pair….

Migran hovered in his own doorway, apparently transfixed in surprise or horror; which one it was hard to say, as his expression kept lurching while fitting anger into the mix. Trelli dropped the lid in surprise without being swift enough to get some fingers out of the way, the resulting pain adding a fuel to her own shock, resulting in an unexpected small fire of indignation.

“I might ask you the same Master Migran!” she blurted back. In her time in the orphanage the devoteds had been intense in teaching that if you knew it was wrong you should say so and not fear the consequences; the old lessons coming to the fore she strove on. “I knew you were up to something! Telling me those papers were to do with tax laws when there was not a jot of legal piffle in them! I don’t know what this is Master Migran, but it smells wrong and looks worse!!”

That said, she sat back, nursing injured fingers between opposite side and arm, but keeping her disapproving scowl fixed on him.

Used to being lectured by father, advised by mother and cheerfully joshed by his brother, Migran was somewhat taken aback at his last refuge of supremacy being in a state of rebellion. Thus chagrined into immobility he remained exiled upon the borders of his own domain, and so reduced to pleading for some sort of acceptance or comprehension.

“Trelli! Let me explain things to you!” since she didn’t snap at him he felt he could step into his own room and close the door. “It’s not as bad as you might think it is! It’s all very simple really!”

Trelli remained scowling and despite his squeak of protest once more lifted the lid of the desk and peered in and promptly set an accusing and troubled look upon him.

“Is this one of these stormingdiddle things?”

“The Stommigheid,” he replied trying to inject a level of injured dignity and ending up sounding peevish “The authorities teach us falsehoods. It is not foolish or dangerous, it is a wondrous gift we can use!”

He advanced, she stiffened, closed the lid and seemed intent upon repelling him from any attempt to reclaim his property; he halted and tried to sound reasonable.

“I have worked for three years on this, from scraps of information and bits and pieces I came by. I can use this to scan the Oakhostian, listen in on others using their devices; give father and my brother an edge in the business. Of course it might take some explaining so I will have to be cautious,”

“Cautious!” she’d never felt so bold to speak back so, but if tax fraud was not bad enough, here was Migran fooling about with forbidden things “Do you think this” she rattled the desk lid “Is being cautious! Folk get found out y’know. The Custodians get called in! You need to stop this now!!”

Suddenly possessed of the irrational idea that a small maid was wont to have a hammer somewhere about her person and was going to take it to his oculator Migran found his own sort of boldness, which since he wasn’t actual that bold came out in a more furtive way.

“Well who are you going to tell Trelli? Are you going to admit to breaking into my room and rummaging through my belongings? You might get the grim sympathy of a Custodian for doing the Good Lord God’s work, but there will be no one in this town who would trust a servant prone to sneaking about the place. We all have secrets y’know,”

Trelli, at being intimidated so suddenly lost the last shred of proprietary,

“Don’t you threaten me Migran Hrendel!! I’m not doing your rotten ol’ paperwork anymore!” she snatched into the one draw and pulled out the copy of “The Lustful Revenge of the Scorn’d Princess N’Y Hishleal of Old Roder” waving it with all the force of a battle flag. “And as for this-this!” she threw it down on the floor, and randomly kicking the said volume sent it skidding under his bed. Not familiar with the concept of irony she saw nothing amusing in that and was set to storm past him. As he was still of a dither and stuck halfway betwixt door and desk, she ended up, close and staring up at him “So you’d better change your ways and your notions Migran Hrendel!”

There was a pause, a quizzical expression and she looked down, gasped made a sound half way between a snarl and snort

“Do you mind stepping to one side!!”

Having suffered the social shock of being reduced from Master Migran to Migran Hrendel twice in short succession and because of her waving of the butter knife at him he obeyed.

Thus she rushed past uttering sounds of outrage.

Leaving Migran a bit puzzled at details of her exit, but then he became very aware of his own physical state.

Trelli had never had that effect on him before, and her in such a wild and angry mood too!

He slumped on his bed confused and wished for impossible things to turn up and put it all right.

 

Dekyria was letting their guest, captive or acquisition; call him what you will continue to doze, hunched up in a corner of the captain’s domain. Currently Dekyria’s attention was upon the reports from his Owls.

Each one had observed a series of bright pinpoints of white light moving swiftly from left to right across the bottom of the mirror’d surfaces of the oculators. Further examination suggested they were all the same event. This was noteworthy as each of the file were observing different regions of the central southern coastal lands. An event which imposed on all oculators should in theory be a large, and thus in the physical sense likely to be not just disruptive but also destructive. So something very small, but very intrusive, without being disruptive?

Alternately maybe not yet disruptive.

There were people at Drygnest who studied theory and possibilities and were wont to quote surviving snatches from or speculate upon the legendary tome ‘Numbers Where There Are None’. Dekyria was sure they would have been enraptured to have witnessed this. While he?

Just had to guess, wonder and watch

His attention turned upon the sleeping figure.

“Now. Can you explain this. Or are you part of it?”

 

The Patchwork Warriors # 12

The Patchwork Warriors # 12

This is the first half of the (current) CHAPTER FIVE, introduces the last of the major characters and begins to set the scene for the first major confrontation

 

“Oh Trelli! Time to come upstairs!”

Housemaid Trelli sighed and stopped cleaning the spoons. Of course with The Master and Mistress out of the house Young Master Migran would be taking, advantage of their absence. She knew this was all wrong and there might well be consequences, but what could a girl from an orphanage do? She was lucky to have a steady job and a roof over her head.

Up three flights of stairs and there straight right to the Young Master’s bedroom, door open and him standing there with a big grin on his face, gesturing to the bed.

“Are you ready Trelli?” he asked with a wink.

“Yes Master Migran,” she replied fatalistically.

“Well there you go,” he said.

Gesturing to the untidy pile of letters, notes and invoices upon his bed.

“You are so very good at filing Trelli; I don’t know what I would do without you. Father thinks I do all this by myself,”

Trelli smiled, indulgently and kneeling at the bed swept up the hillock of documentation, then settling into a cross-legged position on the floor began her usual methodical approach; invoices and bills to the left to be itemised, recorded and totalled, his own notes and scribbles of course in the centre, to be filed for his perusal and finally to the right her favourite, the information he had come by or in rare instances she had passed to him.

Migran having closed and locked the door was now seated at a desk examining Trelli’s previous organisation of the invoices and bills. By means only truly understood by himself he transferred household and family’s mercantile expenses and incomes back and forth to suit the never ending endeavour to reduce the family tax burdens. Unlike his elder brother Presidge he had not really inherited his father’s grasp of knowing what and when to buy and then sell to the best advantage, which included the skill of making folk feel they really should purchase at that time whatever it might be. His talents lay in the arts of numbers and in consequence to compensate for being in the shadow of his brother’s affable but nonetheless dominant personality, Migran had studied the vagaries of arcane tax laws.

Dear little Trelli worried about breaking any laws, which of course being a cautious little brown mouse she would; but he did not see things that way. He was not breaking any laws, as such, simply taking advantage of those vagaries. All in the cause of his true goal and that was an entrance into the shadowy world of the Jordisk. Although he felt they were making too much of the mysterious and dangerous part of their calling. Observations and evaluation was quite enough and he was making progress, true some family funds had been syphoned off, but he reasoned these were simple investments for the future; after all what business man wouldn’t be gleeful in knowing what was going on across the whole Oakhostian?

“What’s this Master Migran?” Trelli asked holding up five pages pinned together and looking very yellow, she sniffed them “S’ very old,”

Migran was not usually given to swift movements but surprised her by the speed of his exit from the chair to her side, hand taking hold of the five pages.

“Ah-Oh. Glad you found that. It’s an,” a pause she felt too long “Old document! And, it’s to do with,” another slight pause then the words spilled “Old tax laws which might still be in existence and can still be useful!” and he covered his withdrawal with a proliferation of expressions of gratitude to her for finding it.

Trelli reckoned on there being more than old papers.

 

She was ever grateful of being in a kindly household and having a secure job, she did not want anything to spoil that. Like many folk who are grateful of their lot in life she had a highly developed sense of purpose to maintain the said lot.

 

Three whole days of waiting for the fifth day of the decan; Ghitanixday and half-day when the more fortunate of the serving folk had a whole afternoon to themselves, and their ‘betters’ not wishing to be out-done also indulged themselves, with out of house pursuits. Trelli was scaling the stairs. Four years of dutiful service had made her familiar with all of the house’s little quirks and foibles; in this instance knowing that the lock to Young Master Migran’s was not secure, and if you jiggled a butter knife under the catch, just-so then it would ignore the rusty old mechanism and dutiful slip upwards. Not something she would normally even think about but…

After the two years she’d been his unofficial clerke she’d learnt something of the language involving taxes and it was all to do with ‘persons’ enacting, engaging or instrumental-ing. Until she had seen those five pages she’d never read of interfacial forces, or progressive capacity ratios; whatever they were. In matters taxation all the figures went in columns and did not have letters in the middle or with curved lines about them. She had a feeling he was dabbling, dabbling beyond his depth, and she did not want that sort of trouble coming her way. She could be implicated and from what she’d overheard when the family were at dinner that was not a good thing to happen to folk. And even if not implicated he would be and implicated folk brought ruin of their families with servants losing jobs. She liked Migran, he was a kindly, busy sort, but sometimes she felt he rushed without looking.

And she had to admit she was currently doing something similar, but justified her action under the expedient of, as The Master was fond of saying, ‘Being Alert to Possibilities and Potentialities’

The catch clicked, and she eased into the room, eyes upon the desk she stepped very carefully so as not to disturb any of the new batch of papers which would be awaiting her administrations. The desk was the one part of the room she was not allowed near, if she was in the room he was always between her and it. If she was asking to come in there was a lot of clicking and locking sounds before being allowed to enter. Securing things was all well and good, if you kept the keys in a secret place, but even blocking her view the sound of metal upon porcelain had on previous occasions given the game away and thus the inkwell not looking inky had to be the place and so lifted its cover.

She was rather pleased with herself, three small keys sitting at the bottom, she fished them out with a knitting needle and carefully set to work; firstly upon the cupboards on each side; more papers and a book with the lurid title “The Lustful Revenge of the Scorn’d Princess N’Y Hishleal of Old Roder”.

Five pages in, Trelli felt her face very hot and her palms very sweaty indeed; she’d never known such things were even possible between people. She steeled herself to put it back and to carry on with the search, even if her imagination was now intruding upon her resolution. She drew breath.

 

Karlyn begged the pardon of the bumble-bee she’d been chatting with; she tugged at her shirt and wrinkled her nose.

“There’s another one clean one? But all fuddled with cooking and dusting? That’s interesting,”

She mused down the road they. It was coming from the same place as where they were headed…

 

Trelli with new steadfastness continued her investigation upon the desk. The draws upon the left held two thick volumes, the contents being some more of those complex arrangements of figures, symbols and words. Whereas she could recognise the individual words the contexts left her quite perplexed. This much she could figure, there was a similarity between the content therein and that upon those five old pages. The sight was very unsettling, nervously she drummed finger upon the desk top, and heard a distinctly hollow sound, shifting a few sheets of tax work to one side she uncovered a keyhole, and not stopping now forged on to carefully work the lock and gently, very gently lift up the desk top, now obviously a lid and peek inside.

Something of a metal box shape, glinting, a faint shadow of her face suggesting an inlaid mirror. Nothing she’d ever seen before, and being a servant in a mercantile household allowed you to be familiar with all sorts of shapes, sizes and devices, but nothing with…

Small, glinting gems?

She dared not raise the lid higher for fear of causing something to happen; what she wasn’t sure but was certain it might. Nevertheless, both curiosity and an urge to keep her job secure found her reaching inside through the narrow gap to touch a metallic surface that seemed to modestly quiver beneath her touch. Once again whereas she didn’t have a clue just what it might be, she was fairly certain it was wrong and…

“Trelli! What in little hell!!!”

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

The Patchwork Warriors #6

The Patchwork Warriors # 7

The Patchwork Warriors #8

The Patchwork Warriors #9

The Patchwork Warriors #10

The Patchwork Warriors# 11

The Patchwork Warriors # 13

 

The Patchwork Warriors# 11

This the other half of the ‘Villains’ Chapter and where the author continues to foray (heroically)  into his nemesis(es)  lands of Plot development and Villains with Character……

 

“There had best be good reasons for this,” Grand Duke Karutorm announced, directing his volume and purpose at Mage Belacheli “I have important duties in my own lands,”

There was a swift exchange of looks between the grand duke and Silc. Karutorm’s swift attendance from one end of the empire to the other being possible through the elidian’s network of empire-wide contacts in the river transport companies and cartels; themselves funding a deliberately bewildering array of mechanical and Stommigheid powered craft so vital to imperial trade and transport that no one cared to investigate.

“I do hope it is good news,” drawled Merthyl “My little groups are getting most weary of The Blasphemous Rites game with nothing to show for it. I mean to say, where is the true fun in torturing a translator to death? Once they work out they’re being martyred they get positively sanguine”

Silc wasn’t really sure if the little bastard had made that up or it was a genuine complaint. Either whichway Merthyl had been saving it goad Belacheli in front of Karutorm. For what reason Silc couldn’t make out, he considering himself sane and all.

Anyhow Belacheli’s high and rasping voice was soon drawing any casual attention his way.

“This last Twenty Days of Torment. Seven times three have I enacted The Blood Hazard and each time in the final death screams did the sacrifice become conduit from the Fourth Reams and pronounce soon would the barriers be broken and they would return!”

Silc directed his attention to Belacheli, index poised on left hand to count off as Silc began to speak in apparently quite respectful and enquiring tones

“Sage Belacheli. In my experience of folk facing death undress, they’re inclined to either,” he counted off ” scream their innocence, swear to betray everyone they know, plea for mercy, divine intercession, or if of sound character give vent to defiant obscenities and possible hauntings. Can you explain this variation to me?”

Merthyl smirked; Uraxch giggled, a scowl from Karutorm stifling this; Belacheli took a degree of comfort from his assumption of respect from Silc.

“As the soul is taken to be prey within the Fourth Realm do come the voices of the Lords and their servants as they use the last shreds of life within the body. Thus do they impart important information upon those they consider worthy,”

“Oh, I see. Thank you Sage Belacheli,”

Karutorm seemed no more impressed than Silc felt.

“Summon The Helmsman!” he called out, voice echoing.

The Helmsman was already at the door.

He stepped forward in solemn and head down respectful pose; Silc approved, let them feel they are truly important, particularly Belacheli, standing quivering and dithering, with his parchments, all stained at the edges.

“Helmsman!” he called out in a high grating voice “We command your observations!!”

The Helmsman, as expected bowed his head in acquiesce, his response came with all the plain solemnity and respect these people expected.

“I can of course only speak from my own observations upon the Mare Laten, and these, sirs are just often snatches. You will appreciate the attention to my post must be constant, for the changes in the currents ever despatched by the Wardens of The Deep are contrived to snatch the unwary journey folk and so drag them down into the Sunken Cities where they will be bound in crushing servitude at unknown tasks. Caution must also be given for the mindless beasts ever seeking to wreak out their unstoppable horrors rending with myriad limb, tooth and claw,”

He paused, judged he had emphasised quite enough the perils of navigating the manse, then went to the task at hand.

“Across the horizons we have espied storms of blood red, riven by lightning flashes of iron; seen peaks torn apart by those mighty energies, then against the lurid yellow and orange flames released by such monstrous destructions witnessed shapes moving. From my secure distances I could not vouch whether these were single towering beasts or vast hosts gathered; though the sightings did indicate at each time they moved with a single direction and seeming purpose, to halt and in a great agitation fulminate against places unseen,”

Although he did not dare exchange direct communication of any sort with Silc, The Helmsman did observe a faint twitch of approval upon the man’s mouth, for what reason he wasn’t sure, anyway his attention was directed upon Merthyl, naturally lounging in pretence that the whole business was nothing he’d not encountered before, but nonetheless….

“Why must all this be so distant Sir Helmsman? Where is your boldness?”

A deep grunt of annoyance and swift chopping motion of one hand indicated Karutorm was not sharing Merthyl’s view of things.

“Considering your claims and accounts of your exploits Merthyl I would have thought that question unnecessary! It is not obvious we must hold this manse in a delicate balance, at the Jagged Borderlines, far enough in to avoid detection, but not so far we risk ourselves!” The Grand Duke did not wait for any reply but turned instead to the mage “I trust this information is sufficient for your interpretations?”

“Oh indeed!! Indeed!! These indicate that the Fourth Realm’s princes do marshal their powers and armies, seeking to rend apart the barriers between our lands. It behoves upon us to play the part I have ever predicted and corrode those schemes and devices placed here by the weaker sighted and timorous in denial. Only those who are of strong purpose and ready to accept the Inevitable Order will prosper in this time!!”

By this time The Mage’s face had become reddened, spittle was flying off of his lips, his breath began to turned ragged, and without further words he sat down, though still managing to maintain a bright glare in his gaze. Silc had seen more entertaining and longer rants and he was none too sure if Belacheli actually had any plan to offer. To judge by the shifting of The Grand Duke Karutorm’s weight, and his clasping of hands he didn’t either.

“Mage. You must seek further congress with the Fourth Realm and discern where they may, ah, appear. Lord Merthyl; Master Uraxch this is the time when you must bring all the influence you hold upon these sons and daughters of noble houses; there must be dissatisfaction at the Grand Oaken throne spread, by any means. Master Silc, I trust you know best how to exploit such situations,”

“I do believe I’m the only one he’s not giving orders to. An’t that cosy?”  

With that the Grand Duke rose and departed.

At once Uraxch and Merthyl set to grumble and making poor jokes about the way he had treated them; Silc simply made his own sardonic farewell and also quit. Not only were there things to be done, but there would be folk who wished to speak with him alone.

 

Not surprised that Young Boskie was first out of the shadows

“Nice performance there lad. Very dignified. So what didn’t you tell them that I should know?”

“We don’t want to encourage this Mistah Silc. It’s not just boogie-boos out of tall tales. My team and me managed a few closer looks using our imaging. And from what I seen I don’t think this Fourth Realm bunch are much for caring about gratitude or collaboration. And they don’t look like they can be controlled neither! If they get through, then we’re all for their lunch!!”

“That’s why I’m here Boskie. To take advantage of it all before it gets too hot. Oh, old Karutorm and his north eastern lot can have their rebellion and set up their own independent realm, though why they fancy that being so close to Slovosskia is a mystery,” he cleared his throat “For the present, anyhow. The thing is, this type of danger if used properly can rattle a lot of folk and The Blaggatinian gets free without any costly rebellions with our lead old Elinid at the lead! It’s a great opportunity. You just keep me informed, that’s all,”

 

Silc paused for a brief swig of peppermint cordial to settle his stomach before the uncomfortable lurch to his innards he suffered as he walked down the short passage way from the borderline back into the Real World.

Belacheli appeared, Silc caught himself from thinking ‘As if by magic’.

“I need virgins!” rasped the mage, Silc maintained a straight face, on account of knowing the back ground to this request.

“My good Sage Belacheli. We’ve been over this before. By their very nature virgins tends to have families that care about them and your requirements are far too extensive. That many young ‘uns will cause upsets, which will lead to difficult questions. Ones that I can’t afford. You’ll just have to make do with the prison sweepings I’m sending you,”

“I require a pure terror. My lords will savour this and be grateful! These are not times to anger them Master Silc, they are learning to reach out again,” Silc detected the usual gleam of fervour seemed to be dulled a bit. Was that concern on the old man’s face?   He obviously needed a bit of pushing, see what else might be learnt from a bit pf panic.

“No virgins Sage Belacheli! Am I clear on that? And don’t you try getting any yourself; I’ll learn about it, and we will have to have words with The Grand Duke, and you know how stiff-necked he can be!!”

Silc then stalked off.

Wobblers!

But useful ones, if goaded the right way.

His stomach lurched.

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

The Patchwork Warriors #6

The Patchwork Warriors # 7

The Patchwork Warriors #8

The Patchwork Warriors #9

The Patchwork Warriors #10