A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 1 – Henry III (Part A. – The Major Minority)

As it will have been recalled in the previous volume during the 18th to the 19th October 1216 King John had died of peaches, cider, not washing his hands, Barons and taxation. But before and after that some pretty important events took place. (Dying of peaches, cider and not washing your hands would not have been pretty at all)

War with the Barons and French Nobility

John got into a war with many Barons who were angered by his tyrannical decisions to make them liable to tax. The Barons tried to gain the moral ascendancy by trying to claim this was The First Barons’ War; a casual view of English history will prove this was simply the First revolt to be given a title. To help them in their cause rather than hire lawyers and accountants they took the singular step of asking Louis, the son of King Philip (The Two and very astute) to be King of England. He and the Barons pretended that because he was grandson-in-law of Henry (The Two and very colourful) of England this was important.

Because John was generally useless at war Louis and the Barons initially did quite well seizing most of Kent (but not Dover) and also finding London. Here, he, Louis, was acclaimed but not crowned, because John still had the said crown. When John died William Marshal Earl of Pembroke having loyally and nobly served kings since Henry (The Two) rescued both by loyal and noble means John’s son Henry (who was but nine years old).  Even though it was done on the wrong day and in the wrong place Good William had Henry crowned King of England with help of a papal widget, which saved vital time spent trying to find a bishop. As the crown, obviously wouldn’t fit on a nine year old, they used a necklace. So impressed by this act were some of the barons that they recognised Henry (now a Three) even though they’d never met him, so were advised to look out for the little kid wearing a necklace.

As the papacy had been involved in the crowning (see: widget), it was only correct and proper that Louis was excommunicated, which meant priests, bishops etc could ignore or be rude to him without fear of retribution.  These, then became desperate times for Louis. Some Barons were in a sulk because Louis had naturally started to bring in other Frenchmen and not listening to the said Barons (sulking), so they naturally changed sides and his father (that’s Philip) was making fun of him for not subduing a constable who defended Dover. Thus, Louis sent one of his barons somewhere to find the supporters of Henry (The 3 x I) and bring them to battle. Marshal being a noble knight was only to courteous to oblige. This took place at Lincoln in May 1217, but was so poorly organised that neither side could agree on the date, and in the ensuing chaos one important commanding noble on Louis’ side was killed by a not quite as important noble on William Marshal’s side (being nine and not able to wear the crown; the king wasn’t allowed to take part). As was the convention of the day once an important commanding noble was killed, his side gave up and after an obligatory massacre or pardoning of the common soldiers the whole thing was over. By now Louis was in even more desperate circumstances and on learning that a vital supply of sandwiches had been captured by the forces of William (The Marshal) gave up and went back to France, just in time for his father to die, so that Louis could become The VIII, be horrid to the people of the South of France; and subsequently die in 1226 through not washing his hands.

At this juncture many of the nobility and subsequently their knights, lords, common folk etc realised they had nearly been taken over by France and as a resulted decided they should now all be English. This was greeted with much joy and acclimation. The Scots, Welsh and Irish also approved as it gave the Celtic nations someone to blame other than themselves for their mistakes, short-comings and especially in-fighting as one side could now be blamed as traitors, hirlings, rogues, etc.

The Years Of Henry’s Minority (without The French)

With the French, out of the way it became essential that royal authority should be resorted. Marshal (and a council) faced several problems.

Barons (naturally)

Some Barons who saying they had been loyal now felt they could do as they pleased, whereas those Barons who had not been loyal and were still alive, thought they could also do as they pleased because the loyal Barons were doing that, so who was going to stop Barons in general doing as they pleased? Anyway, they all would go scuttling off for their copies of Magna Carta if anyone complained too much.

Law and Order     

The judges were complaining about The Bench and after consulting with The Exchequer enough money was found to make a new one, this was of course The King’s Bench but judges could sit on it for him.

Forests and Rights

Under William (The Conquer of course) and subsequent kings any common people found in forests without the king’s permission would have bits of their bodies removed. Because of the rise of the Common People and the uncertainty of the Crown (which still wasn’t fitting Henry’s head), in 1217 a special Forest Law was enacted which allowed free men to pick up wood, grass, bits of soil, dig holes and make ponds in forests although anyone hunting anything could be fined or imprisoned, unless they could prove they were a king (or a noble with a charter to do such things). Even more controversially Common People could even say what was a forest or not and whether the law applied there or not; as a result, there was much rejoicing by lawyers who once more saw no end of gainful employment.  Some nobles who fell into suspiciously obscure holes or ponds wanted that part rescinded, but the judges who were now seated comfortably on the Bench thought otherwise.

The Welsh


There had always been problems with the Welsh. They did not invade quite so much as the Scots so it was always a surprise and when they did it was only to seize Chester or Shrewsbury or make some careless Marcher lord look ridiculous. Then there was the geography, although only a very small country the Welsh had contrived to huddle up in the north or the south; the latter entering into alliances with English kings whenever it suited them and former being more inclined to seize Chester etc whenever it suited them. This was very confusing for an English king as he never knew who was who and anyway, unlike Scotland which was conveniently in the north, Wales is side on so you never knew where they’d come incursioning or seizing from.

Llewelyn -Impressive

Providentially for those looking after the kingdom for young Henry (and his necklace) at this stage had arisen one Llewelyn ap Iorwerth of the powerful family which ruled the northern kingdom of Gwenydd. For a while he was on good terms with John (The Bad King) and married Joan who was naturally John’s daughter. With this sorted out Llewelyn then proceeded to conquer all the bits of Wales which didn’t see things his way, even in the South. This entitled him to added on ‘The Great’ to his name or to be correct in welsh Fawr. He fell out with John but because of Barons and Frenchmen, John couldn’t do much about it. During post-John, Marshal and some less treacherous fellow nobles entered into an alliance and treaty with Llewelyn. This allowed Llewelyn to keep whatever bits of England he had, do as he fancied in Wales and fight any English nobles on his border (the latter clause was mischievously put in by the council as pay-back for the Barons not obeying the council).

This left Llewelyn looking more impressive than Henry III who was still too young and stuck with a necklace. Sadly for Llewelyn who was watching eastwards (England)  this would all end when some English (cleverly if you were English; treacherously if you were Welsh) invaded across the Irish Sea (from the West) with a lot of Irish Mercenaries.


Annoyed that the English kept calling him Alexander and a ‘II’ at that and not correctly ,Alaxandair mac Uilliam; he son of William (The Lion- as opposed to the Lionheart) claimed he wanted some thiefes back who were in England and marched all the way to Dover to tell Louis (The French) he would make a better king that John. When things didn’t work out he marched back and finding out some of his scots clans were naturally, revolting embarked on the far easier task of fighting and massacring them, so England didn’t have much of a problem with him.


Henry II and waves of Anglo, Cambro and High-bernian Normans had rushed into Ireland and  the Irish had been obliged to accept the King of England as their Lord. Because the Kings of England as well as Anglo, Cambro and Hi-bernian Normans couldn’t agree on anything they all slaughtered or deposed each other, until there were only Irish Lords and a few Cambro-Normans (who knew the rules) left. As the Normans on the mainland were busy converting to being English, the Irish Lord were able to take over, but instead claiming to be High Kings they hired themselves and their retinues to any English who were fighting each other, the Scots, Welsh or the French. This would prove to be a bit of a mistake.

The Usual Business

After William Marshal died in 1219 of age and being loyally noble (or nobly loyal- the medical records are not complete), the rest of the council settled down to accusing each other of treason, etc. Fortunately, in 1220 when it was found the crown would fit on Henry’s head The Pope arranged for him to him to have a proper coronation. The Pope then said it was just and right for Henry to be The III and it was a sin not to pay taxes to him AND give him castles.

The End of the Minority  

By 1223 and being a typical surly teenage, Henry took back the bits of England which Llewellyn had and then went around besieging English Barons who had been excommunicated by the Pope on the grounds of not paying their taxes and insisting on keeping their castles. In this he was aided by a loyal noble, Hubert who was famed for modestly accepting the job of being ‘just a clerk’.

With papal backing Henry was also allowed to massacre those who wouldn’t obey him as they were obviously heretics. Some evaded this by hiding in forests and pretending to be common, a few didn’t have to try very hard.

By the time Henry (III) was 16, truly fitted into a crown, he had begun to develop a reputation as being pious on the grounds of killing excommunicants, enabling everyone to be relieved he would not take after his father. Thus, he began to reign in his own shed.

In the next chapter, we shall look at the Reign of Henry III as an adult and what everyone thought about it.

A True History of The Isles (the ones off the west coast of France, that is) Volume 2 (or Vol. II)



Of Patchwork Warriors Part 2

Between them WORD and WP so badly messed up the previous post by turning narrative into gibberish that I have had to start again; thanks Audrey for raising the alarm.

(Worse thing was it looked fine when I posted it ‘something’ happened afterwards……I hate computers and computer programmes)



Many would have been surprised to find out that to Karlyn this situation was fun. She was enjoying herself immensely scaring folk with facial contortions and muffled exclamations. She hauled in breath through her nose to commence a truly wondrous snort at a hurriedly passing farmer

This mischief halted when she caught a tang of the hot pungency of fear, mingled with the aroma of oil on warm metal, much, much stronger than the one she’d experienced in that cosy kitchen; her mind buzzed as a busy hive

‘Ooooh by the way my nose twitches

                   I can smell little scared Whychies!’

Her further adventures into commentary and poetry were stilled by another scent swiftly following. This was a rare one, she was not use to clean smells, like someone had washed everything. Another odd thing was the way it made her feel sort of, well nice?

She twisted her head to look south and west, but the bulk of the horse was in the way. She supposed she’d find out more when she was let down.

In the meantime, she went back to upsetting folk.


There was a hammering at the door

“Medician Beritt! Urgent! Now!!”

“Oh ffffrib,” she muttered

One other female groan issued forth, followed by an unclean sock, lightly impacting on her face. Lareh had uncanny aim.

“G’wan Arketre answer the fribbin’ door and let me get back to sleep,”

“I only just got into bed,”

“Well Medician Arketre Beritt you can only just get out again,”

Lamenting the injustice of having a duty which everyone thought required no sleep the medician stumbled to the door and opening it peered into the ill-light of a shoddy candle.

“Yer?” she was not bothering to stifle her yawn and ill-humour until her eyes adjusted to the light and thence the signature dark grey short coat with three pockets on each side and a silver flag on each shoulder she then bothered to look up. “Oh Cap’n Dekyria, err, sorry. How can I help?”

“Serious injury just brought in,”

Short on information but not inclined to argue with a captain, Beritt was quick to grab her mediphsic box and naturally stubbing more than one toe hobbled out. While in answer to another ragged plea, closed the door behind her.

Although the officer was tall and with a start on her, Beritt was not long to catch up with a man whose right leg below the knee was of wood, the flesh and bone long since mouldering far, far away to the east upon the northern slovosskian border. As she drew level Dekyria looked down at her, slight bemusement upon a square face lined before the proper age.

“Bare feet and service night gown Medician?” he asked a tinge of humour there somewhere.

“If it’s urgent captain it might not wait for me to get into boots and uniform,” she patted a pocket in her thick uncomfortable service nightgown “I’ll put my spare socks on when the chance presents itself,” slight cough for deference’s sake “If I may ask captain; battle or accident?”

He placed a finger to his lips, leaving Beritt to ponder on the paradox of someone making all that noise and drawing attention then insisting on secrecy. Two years, three lunations, one decan and two days in the Imperial LifeGuard Regiment and she still could not understand officers’ ways. This one being in charge of the ‘owls’ of the Observation file made the business all the more puzzling.

A sudden swing to the left and then a descent down stone stairs had her wishing she’d taken a few moments to put those socks on; this chilly passage way was a long trip to one of the three cellars. What the frib were they doing putting an injury case down there? There was a perfectly good-

She nearly missed her footing at the sound of the thin wail. If the injury was that bad she was not so sure she would be able to heal the sufferer, just aid them to peace. Outposts did not have doctors or physicians, that was for the grand folk at Drygnest. Drafty little stone keep outposts got medicians and The Blessed Lady Captain help this particular poor medician if she could not work the required miracles.

As they came closer there was a scream. Beritt had had some experiences of screams in her career of patching up damage or easing folk out of this world; she had a notion the one she’d just heard was more out of terror than pain; pain caused long, almost angry outbursts, this one was too high and shrill; suggesting more of a mind than a body in torment.

“Keep up the pace Beritt!”

          ‘How could a man with one and half legs of flesh and bone swing that quickly down a stairway? and that with its own sort of attendant pains and discomfort too. Not that he’s ever asked me to attend to it as he should. Officers!’

At the foot of the steps there was just about enough for one pace and there was a door, progress made all the more difficult by the presence of two troopers. Trex with his usual lazy smile, Myrrek, always doleful, but both sharing a tense alertness which made Beritt inadvertently retreat until she banged her bare heel on the stairs; Erzns’ men. Sergeant Erzns’ file never said anything about their activities, you could get banter and you would get sweeping generalisations about how the LifeGuard should be run but never any detail. Naturally you knew they did more than scout and secure the area from interlopers and the Just Curious.

One more loud, chilling scream of fear.

“I’m hearin’ Third Hell’s worth of pain in there!” Beritt asserted; her sense of service overwhelming any respect of rank “They been torturing someone cap’n and gone so far that y’all want me to patch ‘em up!”

The trooper with the lazy smile winked at her in approval, she did not feel in the mood for any sort of compliment.

“Nothing of the sort medician,” the captain said, wearily he jerked a thumb to the door “In here is a fellow who has been messing about with business he should not have and got in far too deep. You are going to see what happens when someone is careless with The Astatheia,”

For an instant, her body would not move. Even smoothed out by the LifeGuard’s own idiosyncratic official term for The Stommigheid she was still prey to a deep sense of agitation at the mention of the stuff. Not even her two years being in the religious atmosphere and analytical philosophy of the Devoteds of the Libratery had eased her instincts.

Beritt took in a deep breath; yes, she knew this was one of the reasons why the LifeGuard had the keep; Outpost Dorigen as a Station of Observation. To watch the four princedoms of the Southern West. Dekyria’s ‘owls’ usually kept themselves to themselves in their own room with its metal boxes, winking lights and mirror’d surfaces with more lights. There were the requests for ‘something to help with a head pain’, the cause of which you never asked about. So, you didn’t really know what they got up to. This flurry of recollections being swept out of her head when the captain nudged her in through the door and closed it behind them.

They’d taken a lot of trouble to put as much light as they could; they’d even brought in some decent bedding for the fellow to lie upon. You could almost call it comfy. Not that the man was in any condition to appreciate it, Erzns lean and hardened by years of service held him by the waist, while his fileman Creylan grasped the shoulders and was speaking in his trademark everyday way, trying to infuse some sort of calm into the writhing figure. Two others stood by and shook their heads.

The man was not listening to anyone. Beritt had witnessed this sort of stare before; the look beyond the people in front of you, the stare driven by the fear that was running rampant through your head. She’d met it with silly lads who’d not meant to kill someone in a tavern brawl, with soldiers who had their first or one too many battles, folk who’d tried a mysterious brew they shouldn’t have. The LifeGuard did like its medicians to impose into the Community; Maintain a Presence they called it.

The man seemed to be seeing something on the opposite wall, as his wide-eyes were fixed there, another long wailing scream and a stream of incoherence. Creylan turned to Beritt a grim smile on his face.

“Hullo Medician, you wouldn’t have something for this awful earache I’m getting would you?”

Dekyria spoke in a, slow, factual, precise way.

“You are now going to learn something about my file, Medician. We started noticing something upon the oculators,” he fixed an intense gaze upon her “Oculator, Medician?”

“Those dark grey metal boxes, with bright gems on the surface and black stand up mirror’d surfaces”

“Well, you know too much already,” his mouth turned up into a tight smile.

“Medicians end up being everywhere with everyone Captain,”

“Fair comment. Anyway, we observed series of bright sparks jumping. It’s called grasshopping,” he gestured to a thick grey brown leather belt inlaid from the buckle to each side with large pale green gems “And that’s the Jordisk device they use. It allows someone to pass in and out those places beyond the World Physical; just of the edge of the Zerstorung. Hazardous. Only the most daring usually use it. This fellow, I think, was just panicked and was desperate to get away. Saw things and maybe touched things way beyond nightmares. It’s a place of the real hells Medician, ”

The man’s breath began to come in short desperate keening sounds, Beritt reckoned he was trying to say something important, but his terror was shredding his sanity.

“What would you like me to do Captain?” not at all certain of what was expected of her; she was still trying to cope with grasshopping and places beyond the World Physical; Zerstorung? That’s where the demons lived and lurked.

“Calm him down and get him to make sense, please. Y’see the noteworthy thing is that from what we can trace we think he started off on the south-eastern border with neighbouring Valeneg and now arrives two hundred and fifty myles north and west here on Decoryx’s mid northern border. Ending up a suspiciously close two myles from here which is a bit of an upset seeing as how we are supposed to be very secret. However, it is as if he knew where and who we were. That’s why Sergeant Erzns’ file was sent to find him,”

“Screaming and crawling in circles on his hands and knees,” the sergeant volunteered “We had to tie him over a horse and gag him to bring him in,”

“No wonder he’s in a distressed state,” Beritt suggested as she tried to come to terms with having a sort of contact with The Astatheia; while reckoning Stommigheid was the much better sounding.

“Nevertheless,” Dekyria interposed “I need to know if he truly was looking for us and why,”

“Excuse me for asking captain but does The Major know?”

“He’s in contact with Drygnest, medician,”

Squirtz! The Castle! Oh gladsome day! If I do something wrong, I get the Castle dropping a big midden right on my poor little blonde head. Fribbit! I’d rather be midwifing that colonel’s daughter again! This more a job for an Andliga, except that the LifeGuard keeps all its religious officers at Drygnest studying old texts,’

Battlefield decision.

“You’ll have to tell the sergeant and the fileman to let him go Captain. That restraint is agitating him,”

Neither man felt her suggestion was a good one and expressed as much with slow shakes of the head. The captain looked at Beritt, she looked back, he winced; she was right, but it was still his decision. These medicians did fall into that role of reckoning they had the right to address ethical issues to anyone, irrespective of rank.

“You’ll have to tend to your own injuries if this goes wrong,” he warned her. “Sergeant Erzns, Fileman Creylan when the medician is ready let the man go,”

‘Oh wondrous, the art of the shifting the responsibility’

There was little enthusiasm the pair’s faces; in addition, the other two who had been at rest against the far all, eased off of it and moved in, poised. As Beritt drew closer the man twitched and screamed, his breath coming in that hysterical sharp and high way. She was certain he was trying to speak, and she supposed she would have to try to break through that barrier of terror, so she knelt before him cold stones at once assailing her knees; his terror now reminding her of her baby brother when pa’s meanest hound had barked at the tot.

A good way to start actually …

“Hello,” she said softly laying emphasis on her southern hengestatian drawl, accompanied by a manufactured gentle smile

No scream from the man just a grimace of fear and a pleading look. She thought it might be a start. Suddenly the man shot up to a crouch and Beritt was left kneeling before someone who previously had been struggling against two very capable soldiers. As he ground his teeth together and hissed in his breath, she was struck by her own sudden fear that he would bite her nose, aside from the pain she would have to put up with endless jokes on the matter, particularly from Norvan and Drell, still seeming to be lounging against the wall.

“You are safe,” she said, plainly, but heavy on the apparent confidence. You had to make them believe in you. Truth be known you had to make yourself believe you! He fixed his attention on her as if only now aware she was there his expression confused, his breathing turning to a simple panting as he looked down, now trying to make sense of this person kneeling, in apparent calm repose “Y’all should sit with me an’ we can talk some ‘bout what troubles you,” she knew this was a risk, patching up wounds was one thing, getting into the twists and turns of the mind was quite another, having the possibility five soldiers ready pounce and afterwards call her a fool was not helping. She took some solace she was still wearing her undershorts, so if she did end up sprawling backwards, all would remain hidden.

The man’s mouth worked, wordlessly at first, then he sank to his knees as if the effort to speak sense was draining him, thus face to face with Beritt who was in turn trying to feel she had this all under her control while not letting on that she was making all this up as she went along. She smiled, encouragingly, then the man suddenly lurched forward, and Beritt was glad she’d not crouched, after all any sort of sprawl was not dignified.

“They…they…. they,” he said, which she reckoned was a start, so she reached out and took his face in her hands.

“Are not here,” she hoped that came out as a statement and not a suggestion. Also, she had a problem as she wanted to reach for something out of her box while keeping him calm. Never mind the rest watching. Concentrate.  She lowered one hand to his chin, fumbled backwards to the other, assuring him all the while he was safe now.

“The dire screams and the burning iron sun!” the words came in short burst, punctuated by more keening breath “Then I fear they saw me! Showed me dying…dying innocents, tortured, said I would be next. They loped! They slithered, they reached!!”

Beritt with one hand brought up the slender glass tube. Using her thumb, she flipped open the top and passed it across the man’s nose, while holding her own breath, it would not do for the two of them to slip under its soothing vapours. Easing her other hand from his chin, she swiftly sealed the tube and dropped it into the box. The man blinked, swayed slightly once more surveyed the room, this time his eyes in focus, comprehension taking place of panic as the vapours did their calming work.

“Safe,” she said with a little more confidence “Secure,” she added. Now to get him settled as her feet were freezing and knees protesting; so, with an inspiration born out of the memories of when her mom used to have her to care for her baby brother she leant forward to carefully place a light kiss on his forehead. The shock of sudden tenderness caused him to sit down, blush and run his hand through his hair in surprise.

“Goodness,” he said suddenly “An angel,”

Drell muttered a complaint that she’d not done that to him when he’d been afflicted, causing Norvan to ask who would want to kiss a boil on the arse, particularly Drell’s ugly hairy rump.

A glower from Erzns stifled any further commentary.

Meanwhile Beritt was trying not to fluster herself with surprise at her own precipitate action.

“Oh no sir. Just a medician in the LifeGuard,”

“Then I have arrived?” he said, trembled and tears of relief began to flow down his face, as he took hold of her hands “But please don’t give me anything to sleep. Not sleep, they will find me in my dreams. I want to stay awake, there is much to be said,”

Beritt managed another smile, and holding his hands rose, she would have to put her socks on. Once they both stood, she turned the man gently towards Captain Dekyria.

“This is the officer sir you should talk to. Captain Dekyria is a fair and reasonable man,”

“She’s obviously willing to kiss a captain’s arse,”

“I heard that Trooper Norvan!” growled Erzns.

Beritt with her back facing the sergeant while looking at trooper Norvan extended her right hand’s middle finger along her nose indicating she’d heard him too. Dekyria either chose to ignore lower rank business or was concentrating upon the fellow and although not possessing Beritt’s capacity for gentleness none the less spoke in his own calm respectful way.

“You’ve obviously had a very troubled journey sir. We will get you some refreshments and we might have some conversation. May we know your name?”

“Bleymore, Geral Bleymore” he said.




Beritt did not bother going back to bed, by the time she’d have crept into the room of grunts and snores, she knew there would be short space to catch up on sleep, so she eased in, stole away with her uniform and other equipment and went to the cupboard space that was officially a room of medical examination and treatment. Under the pretext of checking supplies and getting ready for the next (or today) day’s duties, she dozed, head on the table.

In the shortest of spaces of time there was a persistent knocking at the door.

“Yer,” she grumbled, loudly, as by the marks on the temporal candle there was still another thousand to go before the Medician was ready for the day’s duties. Whoever the careless clown was who’d tripped over in the dark and reckoned severe damage upon some part of his precious male being she would be telling him what she thought and-

The door opened. Fileman o’ the watch Desreg peered in, like most in the outpost his expression was unsympathetic; he’d obviously decided a count of five was quite enough time for her to be up and at the door.

“Major wants to see you Medician, now”

The emphasis in the word ‘now’ suggested she should be there ‘now’ presenting herself to Major Gellgrachen; at this instant.

“My pleasure,” she said; Desreg gave her a questioning look, he was not a man who appreciated the layers of womanly sarcasm.


Major Gellgrachen was seated at his desk, upright and correct, as was his nature. Short greying hair matched by a trim moustache and modest beard all in place, and his round full face composed. Save he looked concerned which would be usual for a major of an outpost. Major Gellgrachen was particularly diligent in his duties; the whole region for fifty myles was regularly but discreetly swept for any disruptive elements. Prince Atherlin of Decoryx to be visited regularly and appraised in general- not a civility afforded to the other three princes. Captain Dekyria’s file supported and information assimilated and of course ever in communication and obeying Drygnest. No one ever questioned the LifeGuard’s bleak northern fortress of Drygnest; LifeGuard troopers were ever tireless of their boast that it was Drygnest from where the Oakhostian Empire was truly run. Beritt reckoned Major Gellgrachen surely had a plate full of responsibilities and yet on this particular morn in this particular circumstance, she felt she was the principal subject.

During Beritt’s tenure of seven lunations, two decans and one day at Outpost Dorigen, she didn’t think she’d given the major cause for concern. Sometimes when feeling grumbly she wondered if he was typical of the older officers and of the secret opinion that ‘girls’ as medicians could be a problem when looking at, and having to deal with men’s most intimate of parts.  Perhaps he had a close to a paternalistic worry, that if she looked at one too many dongers she might get over-heated and faint.

“At your request, Major,” she said, standing to attention, correct salute, hand to the heart, teeth then clenching to stifle a yawn.

“Medician Beritt, Captain Dekyria has reported to me of his approval of your assistance in calming down our, as it were, ah, guest,”

“My duty Major,” she replied, respectfully, in the approved manner. According to some who had trained her, sewing back a leg with needle and twine so that the man could hop, skip and run, good as new was mere ‘duty’. Raising someone from the dead might get a nod of approval. Mixed reminiscences were replaced with apprehension when Gellgrachen began to fiddle with the quill, usually in neat placement two handspans up and two to the right.

“Yes. Quite. Good work Medician, but,” he paused, leaving her to wonder just what boundary specific to her womanhood she’d tripped over “I’m not sure though medician about this kissing the fellow!”


“I am sure you meant well. But I should remind you this is an outpost in hostile country Medician; the men are tensed for action, as they should be. Although everyone is quite aware of the very strict sanctions on intimacy between troopers, this kissing business might tend to unsettle the balance,”

Beritt did not reply straightways, she was trying to keep a very straight face and not go into girly sniggers over the ‘unsettled balances’; this lot could keep their ‘balances’ in their trousers, or hands or….

He was ‘looking at her’.

Expecting a reply, no doubt.

“I apologise Major,” she said contritely, not snapped as some LifeGuard indulged in when replying to something that irked them, always sounded churlish to her. “And thank you for your advice. You have my assurance this was a tactical decision Major, to calm a very distressed person, sisterly if y’ like,” nervous she was lapsing into drawl, she rallied, not the right thing in these circumstances “But, I appreciate it was a bit headstrong. Not as detached as a LifeGuard should be. It won’t happen again Major,”

“Explanation but no excuses. Quite right Medician.” but there was no dismissal, so she concluded there was more to be dropped on her “Now this guest of ours. As you may have gathered he is valuable, therefore I require that you visit him, morning, evening and any other time when Captain Dekyria feels necessary. Need you to check upon his health in body and spirit, as it were. We can’t have the poor chap running riot about the place, though the Good Lord God knows what he has been up to get into this state; Captain Dekyria is coming up with the most lurid hints,” the major realised he had drifted off slightly, coughed and gathered himself “Anyway that’s for another day,” he lowered his tone “And whatever you hear Medician Beritt, remember this. We are LifeGuard. We are the line of defence that cannot waver. No matter whatever is the nature of the foe,”

Frib! Sound like The Astatheia has truly come to town. Y’all rally now girl

“I understand Major. As instructed Major,”

“Good,” that measured tone of approval somehow bothered her. “To about your duties then,” and he returned to some papers on his desk; the snatched sight of his weary resignation making Beritt feel he, like Dekyria, would rather be patrolling some windswept remoteness on the slovosskian borders; she’d heard some impressive tales…


She stepped down the corridor and looked over her shoulder, not certain what to expect. The way of Dekyria’s short lecture and the look in the fugitive’s eyes were putting strange ideas in her head. She puffed out a sigh, causing her fringe to rise.

This was an outpost and you could expect a few nuisance raids from folk as shadowy as they were; but events of the night and this dawn were making her feel as if a battlefield was coming to them.


Gellgrachen busied himself with some paperwork, a regular assessment to Drygnest of Prince Atherlin to be transcribed into the first layer of code; it filled in the interlude of five hundred before Dekyria’s instructed arrival.

And the swift knock on the door, exactly at five hundred.

And the equally swift entrance when ordered; Gellgrachen felt Dekyria’s battle with his incapacity was more ruthless than was necessary, but in this the man was resolved.

“I do believe you were right Captain. We are very fortunate to have a medician of Beritt’s capabilities to hand in this situation. Drygnest will be very interested in Master Bleymore, particularly if as you say he came looking for us. It will be vital we keep the fellow in a generally calm state while they make up their minds. We wouldn’t want anything tracking him here,”

“I’m glad you accept that possibility My Major,”

“It is best to accept all possibilities Captain. This minimises the chance of being surprised,” Gellgrachen rolled the pen between middle finger and thumb “Beritt does seem very composed. I appreciate medicians are expected to calmly wade elbow deep through innards and solidly remove limbs with blunt carving knives if necessary, and she’s has sufficient experience of that sort of work, even under missiles. However I always imagined confronting injury through the miasma of this Astatheia to be unsettling,”

“She gave the impression we might as well have been bringing in a trooper with a leg hanging off,”

Gellgrachen put the pen down.

“Good. Very good. This must be of grim satisfaction to you Captain. You have been forecasting a disturbance for some time,”

“The only satisfaction My Major being that we are a quarter ready,”




A custodian upon the road leading a horse carrying someone who was draped, gagged and bound was not a sight an ordinary person would care to see, but by the same token they would have not been surprised. This ominous reminder of the sterner arm of The Ecclesiastes made travel easier as folk would naturally try and distance themselves from the apprehended wretch.

This wretch loudly snoring did take something away from the grimness, and Meradat was glad the road was now a lonely one. Maybe rumours had spread quickly and of course no one wanted to meet a custodian.  He glanced back at the girl; he had not encountered anyone before who would consider their present circumstance as conducive to a sound sleep. There might be a hint of insanity, but his opinion was divided; also possible was that she may have been born an incorrigible mischief given some sort of purpose as yet unknown. As for her claim to be able to scent out transgressors through the Stommigheid this was still to be fully proven. He had hoped the exercise in discomfort would lower her guard and reveal some sort of truth; her snoring was lowering some expectations, while giving form to other possibilities.


They turned a bend in the road; a farmer leading a horse and cart looked up in surprise, then trepidation, and made to hurry by. The horse bred for labour and not adventure was not disposed to, resulting in the poor fellow mumbling a mixture prayers and pious greetings to Meradat, much familiar with the pattern. All might have gone reasonably well save that as the man drew alongside the girl, her head suddenly jerked up. Sighting another hapless victim, she began with an unhinged leering then assailing him with muffled dire warnings and accusations

“Heretic!” swiftly boomed Meradat by way of an explanation.

The farmer gabbled something but since Karlyn had upset the horse by her sudden actions, he had other problems.

To avoid any further ill-matched interludes Meradat set his small train into a canter off of the road and into the nearest copse. As soon as they had stopped Karlyn wriggled and slithered off of the horse, and despite being bound hands and feet managed to land to a crouch. Once seated she proceeded to bite at the gag, tearing parts into her mouth and subsequently spitting them out. Upon reducing the gag to rags she set her teeth to the hand ropes.

“That will not be necessary,” Meradat said, hoping to inform her of his displeasure at such excess. However, he noted she had managed by feral glee to free her hands and so able to be attending to the leg restraints. She was obviously quite adept at such manoeuvres. Then judging by her grin, and springing to her feet with an accentuated arm stretching yawn it appeared she’d seen the whole business as another sort of jolly game.

“Ooooh I am stiff!” surrendering that much to normality she peered down the direction from which they had come, and called back in the direction of the vanished farmer “Sorry I scared you little horsey!” This courtesy applied she commenced to bounce up and down on her feet explaining she needed to get them mobile again.

Her series of peripatetic, agile and perverse displays left him wondering if she had had some training, or whether this was another apparent natural gift. If the former was the case, then maybe there could be some foundation to ClnMyla’s concerns over some sort of plot to discredit. At least he would know how to handle the business. If the latter were so, there were many questions.

Suddenly in conclusion to her exercises she dropped into another crouch, scratching her shirt and sniffing the air.

“S’there. Long aways, but it’s there. And something new. Moving souths for certains,”

Meradat would accept that opinion without comment for the present

In the meantime, Karlyn swiftly ascended a tree and seeming to make herself comfortable in the upper most and precarious of branches stared southwards, with all the poise and concentration of a hunting beast. He would leave her for now and take the opportunity to consult his own records on sources of information.


“Can I be a Gervalon all the time?” she asked over a very functional and cold late supper of bread and diluted wine, and not seeming to worry too much that he would not allow any fire for secrecy’s sake.

“No. They are serious and intense about their obstinate and heretical beliefs. They are not given to pulling faces or making odd noises. The guise would not bear examination,”

“Pity. It’s fun to scare people,” She pondered “So can I be an apprentice Custodian?” not appearing to be unsettled by Meradat’s expression scornful disapproval she continued “I could say, I was learning to torture people,”

“There are no apprentices! The post is supposed to be obtained after many years of trustworthy and diligent service as a translator, seen to be willing to face danger in the Lord God’s name,”

“Well don’t you have assistants to do horrible things to hairy-tiks?”

“Her-ra-tics! And having assistants of such employ is not relevant or conducive to this commission. As I explained before we left that wretched town, it is hoped you are tasked by the Lord God to use your abilities to seek out this miscreant of the Jordisk. Clarify this for me. You were guided to Yermetz through your sense of smell?”

“Yer. I’d come into Valeneg, because the grubby little place was all smelling of old damp socks and tavern outhouses, that’s a sign of laxness which means trouble in my mind. Call itself a princedom! All ragged and no one caring what goes on down the road unless interferes with their own scrappy businesses. Bound to be a place where whychery goes, and them spikey demons pop out- goin’…grrrrrrr!”, she pulled a pulled and shaped her hands claw-like to emphasise her point.

Meradat had to admit to his mind that was a fair, if not a little vulgar an assessment of the place.

“Anyways. Not only did Yermetz have the worse socks, but there was a bad lemon smell mixed up with that you get in a farm full of dead things. Led me to that house. It just had to be set fire to,” she chuckled “That stopped the lemons and bad farms that did,”

“Your affinity with fire. I examined your back-pack and other gear, while you slept,” the latter words being a sardonic observation “You have a carefully arranged and stored selection of fluids and powders,”

“Tools of the trade,” she said, chewing determinedly upon the bread.

“That small stick of fire you used?” although a plain question, bereft of accusation, she reckoned there was enough weight in his tone to go through a floor; she grinned anyway. There were times when she liked showing off.

“S’like this” she raised her right hand smoothing thumb and index finger together “I place a comet-”


“Cause they remind me of them, and give folk a shock. Anyways I sneak one betwixt these two, see,” she raised her thumb “Now the thumb nail is sharp, see, and every day I rub a sandy powder across it, so it’s rough,” she set thumb to finger “So I flick thumbnail to the blue mix, which is easy to ignite; like flint can,” she demonstrated a sharp snap of thumb against index finger “Nail hits blue mix, and the flick,” she held her thumb aloft “Send the comet flying!” Karlyn then rocked back giggling “No need for aim, folk’re scattering!”

Meradat nodded, a manoeuvre with some merit. All based on natural materials. However.

“Do not your finger and thumb suffer from even the brief contact with a flame,”

Karlyn smiled, eyes bright with mischief, she held up her hands, fingers and thumbs rubbing against palms.

“Another thing I do every day, twice, is to rub in a secret little salve which give a protection against flames, just so long as its only quick,” and winked “One of the many things in my bag of whimsicallies,”

She rose, brushing off crumbs and rural detritus, sniffing the air as she did, eyes growing wide, then as she turned slowly from, one direction to another, her attention set on some far distance.

“There’s more than one place y’know. I can smell a smell of clean oil on a sharp blade,” she moved away, soft footed towards the tree setting one foot and both hands on the trunk “Well, unless you want to travel some more, “she began to clamber “I’m going back up and sit waiting for whatever the breezes and flying things bring me,”

“You feel can you communicate with Nature?”

She paused and draping one then the other leg over a branch swung back and forth, hands folded behind her head.

“Bees, butterflies, birds, and squirrels, well mostly. They’re the most chatty; birds gossip a lot, especially magpies! Folk just don’t pay attention to the proper sources,”

As he didn’t bother to suggest this was wrong, she managed a shrug, swung up, grasped the branch and returned to climbing. She’d expected custodians to be all condemnations and bluster. But this one was grim and not that many words. He was sort of reasonable company, then. And better, he had some sort of direction, which she had to admit she’d been a bit short on. It had been a bit of sweat deciding which smell to pursue the most. Already he was making her concentrate; which was a good change. Sometimes it was difficult to get thoughts straight, not being certain and all ‘bout ‘wot’ was really ‘wot’ and so havin’ to follow your instincts.


Meradat had correctly concluded there was little to be gained in trying to obtain detailed information from someone who was want to be at the top of a tall tree, even apparently preferring to sleep there.  In any case the opportunity for reflection should never be missed.

Meradat’s diary was not what you would call an ordinary account of accusations, suspicions, dogged determinations to be justified, grave misgivings and predictions of doom all based on the daily observations and actions of Custodian of the Word of The Lord God. Meradat’s was of observations it was true, and resultant numerous reports of transgressions both civic and spiritual from there the style and method changed. Each incident was considered in the light of earlier ones; patterns or links were considered. He did not look for over-heated conspiracies or one of the plethora of organisations who deluded themselves into thinking they were secret. Meradat had been schooled in the practice of forecasting; which was quite removed from the dubious notion of predicting. The Stommigheid, it had to be accepted was a force and a potential of power; in some circles, there was some debate as to whether it ultimately controlled those who believed the reverse was the case. That aside it could be argued with enough study it would be possible to forecast (some said estimate) a tyde, which itself could indicate when a potentially large enough circumstance could arise, dangerous enough to fracture the barriers between The Lord God’s Jewel and the dire Zerstorung.

For a year now he had been following such a weaving of strands which had led him back to the West and South. Of course somehow the peninsula of rogues and thieves of The Blaggatinia was not involved, apparently. The suggestion was further along the coast and possibly inland; there had been some variables though, an overall fluctuation which had been until now infuriatingly undefinable. When ClnMyla had contacted him he had hoped that Yermetz would hold a complete answer. Well, he had the flight of a fool to work upon which might lead to something more substantial, but such fools were not uncommon. More important was Karlyn Nahtinee; someone with not an affinity but an antipathy to the Stommigheid and quite aware too.

He began to write down his account.

And realised he had slipped off into a rare but inevitable doze when he was awoken by a sudden jab in his thigh. A swift examination of the pocket, brought forth the hexagonal ‘Thing’, the gem pulsating a sharp light, its glow revealing the girl alighting from the tree without, it appeared bothering to use any intermediate branches.

“That smell! It’s not him! There’s no trembles! He’s gone! Vanished! Went sideways, dithered and dothered and then-pooff!!”

Meradat was not usually slow in his thoughts when coming out of sleep, but the girl’s style of announcement accentuated by rolling of eyes and waving of hands was one which had caught him by surprise.

“Have you any idea as to the nature of reasoning?”

This cause a snort of exasperation and more gesticulations

She paused to consider the suggested tying up of a loose end “Perhaps he fell down one of those storm-higgle ‘oles. Maybe a big grrrr demon grabbed him by his bum-end!!”

Meradat would not have put it in quite that manner but the girl might have a case in point there. He was about to try and prise some more truth out of her when she suddenly spun on one heel whispered something quite incoherent and rushed at the tree. But five paces away she leapt up at the trunk a distance of her own height and once clutching the bark scrambled upward. For once he was glad of that wretched hexagonal ‘Thing’s’ light as it was illuminating her progress, and more importantly her features had once more become predatory. Only when she had reached the top most slender and swaying branch, did she pause, quite irrespective of any danger and peered westwards. Meradat let her carry on, this was interesting to observe, particularly in relation to the hexagonal ‘Thing’ for both girl and device were reacting to some quite strong events.

There was a distinct whistle of surprise, a whoop of glee and once more she was descending with no thought for caution, and dropping a distance of at least two men’s height to land into her crouch. The comparison to that of a hunting dog hound made complete by panting and her eyes wide with the excitement of a hunt.

“Yeah! Never mind him. Never mind him!” she straightened up, again hands waving “He was nothing but a thin streak of widdle, he was! But I got it now! The new something else! Brewing along the coast it is. Smells all of iron and oil and sea,” she paused, puzzled “And sparks? I never knew sparks had smells? Like bits of salt up yer nose!!”

Meradat had little care either way; he was naturally focused on the location; the west coast and those towns of indiscriminate trading. He glanced at the hexagonal; the pulse was fainter; experimentally he moved to face in the very general direction of the west and coast; and the pulse although still weak managed a glow sufficient to light his hand. Normally a device which responded to one of its own kind, or to some close source of mischief, its current sensitivity had him wondering as to whether the girl was displaying a type of conductivity, passing strength on. As much as he would prefer to meditate on whether placing reliance on such was a sin, transgression or a burden of a necessity; this was not the right occasion.  In time and places bereft of clues and willing witnesses, this would have to do; and so by The Lord God’s Will someone’s hand would be shown.

Karlyn leant back against the trunk of the tree and looked to the horizon over which there was a sea. Elinid was a port, a big noisy bustling bad smell of a place and you had to go ten miles in either direction to find a nice patch of sand where you could sit comfy and twiddle your toes in the little beach waves. This place where they was going smelled more like it wanted to keep its sandy beaches. She drew in and savoured the aroma, then wrinkled her nose at the pesky iron and oil wafting on in to spoil the tang. This was exciting! Not some old usual smell-chase! She might have to burn something down! He  hadn’t told her she couldn’t burn anything down. Of course he hadn’t said she could either. So it seemed to her she could do as she thought fit.

She scratched at her chest, her nose wrinkled.

Now there was that clean smell again. And now with flowers too! S’nice! Where was that coming from then?

This was going to be fun.

Vengeances were alright, but a girl needed some fun!

She wrinkled her nose once more and scowled. That was a new pong and horrid too! All had been so nice, that she’d only just noticed that she must have trodden in Something, and so kicked off her boots. She’d see to them later. A girl couldn’t chat with moths, taste breezes or read the night sky with stinky boots interrupting.

“Poourgh! Still wafting about,” she complained and so climbed up far beyond a point which others might have thought safe. There, arms locked about the slender trunk, she merged with the rhythm of the swaying with the night breeze. Just her, the tree, the breeze and the sky, she smiled and closed her eyes; the stench was still somewhere, so it was someone up to no good.

Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 1

A True History of The Isles (the ones off the west coast of France, that is) Volume 2 (or Vol. II)


Whereas the 2016 vote by the citizenry of the UK to leave the European Union was a pretty spectacular bit of business, it almost pales (sic) into the mediocre when compared with the potential Hoo-Ahh released by the results of the 2017 General Election. Thus, we now have a political party sort of in power, embarking upon a series of complicated negotiations invoking the old political spirit Arthur Mandate is better than none, while not so much in the wings, but idling Stage Left biding his time is the ever constant character on the political scene Mr Hugh Bris.

It was a year ago in the aftermath of the aforementioned referendum that I embarked on my epic intent to write up a true history of these Isles 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_(shameless plug) in order that we may all gain a better understanding as to how we managed to get in such a singular circumstance. I was quite surprised by the positive reaction, and encouraged by the indication that in the next five years the kindle sales might go into double figures have strode forth upon Vol 2 (or Vol II if you prefer)

So let us, away-


Introduction & Preface

Whereas it is quite in order that most histories should consider who was who and why; this author considered it quite unnecessary to dwell too much on the business, but to simply supply the reader with the bare facts and let them reach their own conclusions. This premise is possibly the most valid of any as people being people tend to keep changing their minds (or other people’s minds) as to who did what, why, when and just how important whoever it was’ part in it was anyway. Then there are those who wouldn’t know reality if it was wrapped in brick and dropped on their heads but they shouldn’t be reading this or the previous volume in any case. For this is a true and unbiased account of the history of these isles, which strips away all of the romance, preferential treatment, and has no truck with notions of which innocent nations or semi-nations have been hard-done by other nations for apart from aboriginal peoples in remote parts of the world basically; there an’t no such creature.

In the previous volume lay the foundations of how these isles came to be populated, by what types of folk, what they did, or didn’t do; what they should have done, and who had their names recorded and why. Thus, the reader will, by now, have a fairly reasonable idea of the states of the various peoples and nations at the time of the death of King John (currently The Only).

This volume will chart the progress from the aftermath of the death of King John (The Bad by popular consensus) up until the death of Henry the VII who having disposed of Richard The III (maybe not as bad as some folk would have) invented Tudors.

During this era (19th October 1216 to 21st April 1509), many important innovations and inventions took place, many of which have lasted until modern days. Some will be considered in depth, others for the sake of brevity barely mentioned, while some will be mostly ignored by the author who considers them detrimental to the academic flow of the book, and, thus, following the fine tradition of adding an element of controversy to an historical work.

Overall this is the era when English kings decided that the whole demeanour of the isles would be a lot neater if they finally convinced the royalty of Scotland, Ireland and Wales that the King (or if necessary Queen) of England should be the most important king (or worst-case scenario, queen) of the lot. This would enable the King (or if there was no alternative… Queen) of England to concentrate on the very important task of having wars with France otherwise France might become so important as to boss everyone else on the mainland of Europe, which was of course quite unacceptable; this was balanced by the view that the French had the same opinion about English.

In general, these twin policies would be the yardstick by which English kings (and when weedy princes died, queens) were judged by the nobility of England. Irish, Scots and Welsh royalty would counter this by dying heroically, being betrayed (heroically), rebelling and hiding (heroically) or proving they were legally English and should rule anyway.

This era also saw (if the king or queen was careless) the rise of parliaments, councils and the continued insistence of The Church that it was just as important as a king (or whether the church authorities liked it or not – queen). This gave rise an increase in literacy so that nobles could check if there was something sneaky The Church or the king (or-sigh- queen) was up too, or even better if there was something they, the noble(s) could take advantage of.

It was during this era that there was more attention having to be given to The Common People, some of whom had also started to read and so ask awkward questions of The Church; this did so amuse the nobility and royalty until The Common People tried the same thing with them. Matters were to become so turbulent that The Common People started to be bothersome about having rights and despite the best or worse efforts of the ruling classes actually obtained some. The first being during the upsetting times of the Plantagenets (or Angevin if you feel that way) whose colourfulness filtered down to the extent that by the end of the 12th Century the barons found they had lost all their serfs and were stuck with a lot of common people instead.

This era, is therefore possibly one of the most interesting as it is source of much of Shakespeare’s work, gave Cromwell a bit of a surprise when he found a copy of the Magna Carta and gave rise to the Celtic tradition of turning their mistakes into romantic legends and laments.

In conclusion, whereas these volumes are reasonably authoritative works on the history of these Isles the reader is strongly advised to read 1066 and All That by Sellar and Yeatman this being the definitive work on the subject up to the end of the 19th Century.

Thus over the course of the next few weeks the essays will commence and naturally continue.

The first one being a consideration of the state of the Isles during the period after King John (The boo-hiss king) died and it looked as if England might be confirmed as being another bit of France.

A Guide To The Results of an Election

Marketing Day- A True History of The Isles is a Book!!

A True History of the Isles Part 25 -The Era of The King John (Bad or a Bad Press?)



A True History of the Isles Part 25 -The Era of The King John (Bad or a Bad Press?)

my religion is simple

Be fair folks. This is what it should be all about.

Tiffany Belle Harper

When we look at the internet and watch the mainstream news then peep at the tabloids in shops, life can become very complicated.

When we ignore all of it and focus only on what we have around us and how we can improve – life becomes very simple and easy to manage – enabling us to love those that need us in our homes and hearts.

When we stand still and feel the love in our heart – no matter where in the world it is. We have everything. Less is More. Love is the Answer. I am much happier when I am not on the internet. I do like to blog as it keeps me sane – it’s my blueprint. But I don’t need to be anywhere else. Music makes me happy that and good food, my friends and sons and all the animals. I love men too. All…

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Of Patchwork Warriors Part 1

[Imagine spending a day dithering about whether you are doing the right thing or not. Yep! Just me and few hundred thousand bloggers. Taking comfort from that thought I put out before you, the world the opening chapters Of  Patchwork Warriors for your examination, evaluation and hopefully entertainment. So feel to set free your inner critic, editor and pundit. This is something of a co-operative venture, and you may well be playing a part in turning  something ‘sorta good’ into a ‘quite good’. As an anarchic writer and a retired civil servant I have no worry about constructive criticism, requests for clarification and WTF! enquiries, so feel free folks; this is WP, we’re all good here]

Title: Of Patchwork Warrior (Being Volume I of the Precipice Dominions)

A Prologue……

The truth of the tales was naturally lost to the World Physical; The Lord God’s Jewel and thus in common with many things became legends, foundations for sayings or arguments for one point or another.

And those so charged with stability of the Day would argue, with some justification that stability had been hard fought for. They would say the age of these legends had been one of dangerous foolhardiness. In those times too many had thought they controlled forces which some had claimed had no business being in the World Physical; The Lord God’s Jewel. The forces collectively and frivolously called The Ethereal.  Those, championing stability would maintain the earlier era had been a time of too much superficiality about the handling of crises and portents. There had been too much tolerance. Even in the light of evidence a’ plenty from far distant times. But too many would not learn the lessons or even bothered to listen in what became known as The Age of Conceits.

The result had led to, it was preached to The Age of Retributions; the times when the very existence of Humanity had once more been in doubt. Not just because of the dreadful angers of Nature’s weathers, but from creatures. Creatures of many shapes and diverse cunnings, some native to that blighted Ethereal, others once Humanity contorted by its influence.  But it was preached, that by faith diligent, courage forbearance and casting off these blighted forces survival had been earned; with no help from any legendary figures, it was said.

Thus, the aftermath of The Age of Retributions was The Present proclaimed The Age of Remorse. People were now taught ever to be mindful of the path which had nearly led to destruction. They were warned there would be no thinking of legendary figures with fond regard, there would be no wallowing in nostalgia for a time of folly. There would be no talk of the vague, treacherous and unnatural blight, The Ethereal, now known as The Stommigheid. Taken from an ancient northern coastal tongue it translates into Foolishness, a suitable description The Authorities thought The word held enough of the ominous into its pronunciation with its mean again to remind people that the legends had been based on actions of irresponsible and careless folk.       


This was thus how matters should have been in this Age of Remorse.

Save for the constants. The First being that ordinary folk will always be inclined to be fond of tales of yore, this being reinforced by the whispered disregard for the Authorities, which as always did not set a consistently good example. The Second constant, there will always be those who ask difficult questions and seek out means for answers. And the unpleasant Third constant, which is there are always those who will use any means to gain power or advantage; some out of ignorance, others being gamblers, some calculators and always those of twisted perspectives. 

Which brought about the unfortunate comedy that those responsible for the maintenance of the Empire had to make exceptions to rules by using whatever means they could, believing in the adage I Know Best.

And, of course amongst all this convolution were those who romanced with The Past. Those who yearned for a brighter future having believed they had learnt lessons from past mistakes.

In short, these rules, laws and conventions only worked for those who had no knowledge of, nor wished to be involved with The Ethereal or Stommigheid in the first place.

 Acerbically inclined commentators would shake their heads and draw the conclusion that in truth nothing in all of Humanity’s long and turbulent history had really changed.

This might be so. But no comfort to those who simply measured and observed feared the barriers between the realms finally become so fragile? There could finally be the often-predicted rupture allowing the true agents of annihilation to have their sport. Had Humanity finally run out of Last Chances?

In turn this occupied the few who studied the phenomena of folk who did not intend to become caught up in events anyway.

The kind whose natures gave them no say in the matter.



“Yeh, well that’s one way of looking at it I suppose. I had the benefit of being there, right at the centre of it all, as it happened. This Age of Conceits and the Remorse one, because they were both mixed up anyway.  So, things appear a little bit different to me. But there again time goes on and folk record and suppose events in way and means which they find more comfortable, so I shouldn’t really judge them. After all they’ve been the ones who survived all that and still kept the old Oakhostian running. Good for them.

Now I won’t be giving you my name, nor will I pop up in the tale with quips, quotes or observations, my time on the stage is over and very happy to say so. My role here is to give you a sort of outline, an opinion on how histories can be made.

These Ages. Well our portion was a bit frantic and loud, if you like. And some made a lot of us out to be heroes and important. Then others claim we were grand villains and maybe they have some sort of point, on account of us not having the good sense to get out of the way, nor keep our mouths shut. You might read something about us and those journals our antics were recorded in. Have to tell you, it wasn’t all fun and frolics like those books told it. Why they were written that way I couldn’t tell you, me being classified as dead at the time.

You should know though, histories don’t always work out with Heroes or Grand Villains being the same from start to finish. There’s always constant conflict while lots of little folk run about the place trying to keep up with the Big Folk, or trying not to get stepped on.

Sometimes it all starts off with accidents and maybe small folk getting caught up, then trying to do the best they can. Maybe there are some who knows what going on, but since they are way down the chain of authority they are only doing the routine work, to begin with. Then you get The Chancers, the ones who are hoping for the quick way up the mountain of Success, mix them with those looking only to make coin anywhere anyhow and of course the obligatory idiots who think they have stumbled on the secrets or forbidden knowledge and you have a poisonous problem.

All of this can fester along on its own odd little way before it comes to the attention of those who reckon themselves powerful and in authority, which means you have a bit of a crisis and they have to play catch up.

This tale starts in a sort similar style. Ordinary folk becoming not so ordinary up against a bunch of Chancers, while in the background those with responsibility began to make their moves hoping to keep out those with authority but also the ability to make a complete mess out if. A slow start, on the Heroic scale if you know what I mean. Some of it might even be funny.

Naturally, nothing goes according to anyone’s plans.





Translator Pastoral Padragh ClnMyla stepped carefully but with a swiftness born of keeping the Good Lord God’s Wisdom alive in many a mucky urban setting. Although truth be known the shabby town of Yermetz presented quite a challenge in that particular ranking. There were schemes to make the place an official city, albeit a small one with the civic and legal benefits such a status brought. It was unlikely any these benefits would filter down the very poor. They would do whatever they had to in order to survive. And thus, as usual neither end of the social ladder paid much attention to the spirit of the words of the Holy Books. So, you did the best you could, you and your three hapless translators.


This particular street had seen better days, once a place where folk who had done well for themselves had resided. Then, as was the way fortunes declined, so did the folk. The makers of new ones had other preferences and the street was now one of decaying buildings, whose rooms had become a collection of individual ragged homes, forlorn fragile businesses, failed ambitions and of course a location where folk who did not wish to be known went about their ways furtively.

The house on the corner was in a particularly sorry way. The windows of all three upper floors, a series of broken glassed, rotting window framed dead eyes, empty of any lights. Only from the ground floor did the faint flickerings of candles indicate some measure of habitation. Translator Pastoral ClnMyla glanced up to the sagging roof, wondering if one hard knock at the door might cause a structural collapse. But the brief worry was dispelled as the door opened and a thick set form stepped out onto the muddied walkway.

“It’s a great relief to see you Mentor,” the man’s voice rough by harsh urban life was low all the same, one firm scarred hand moving about the translator’s shoulder to usher him inside while the other quietly closed the door.

“Harrdel man, you should be investing in more candle light hereabouts. This gloom is not good for the soul, mind nor body,” ClnMyla set one knowing eye on the man “Particularly with your employer’s vocation. Now I suppose, it would be hoping too much to assume he has seen the folly of his way is awaiting me to remit him of his transgressions and beg me to teach him how to enter into a devout and sensible life,”

Harrdel shook his head, a grimace visible beneath his long rich moustache, one end of which he tugged nervously.

“Wish it was Mentor, but he’s really done it this time. Just like you warned. He did give way to curiosity and looked too deep for too long,”

“Oh Merciful Divinity! He’s not gone and hung himself now has he? Or is he rolled up in a ball in some corner drooling away?”

Harrdel shook his head again and threw his hands up in helplessness, gestured and the Translator Pastoral followed him down the damp hallway.

“I daresays Mentor you would be able to do something about either, but I reckon this is worse. He’s took flight, and not out the door neither. I was across the hallway trying to work out what sort of meal I could make out of the scraps we’ve got. Firstly, I heard a lot of crashing about, and was about to get set to go and see what was what when there came, well, just like a big hand slapping on wood; not the sort of sound he’s capable of. That was when the few of the plates I’ve not had to sell fell off of the shelf. That did it, I dashed over. Had to unlock the door. And this was the shocker. There was no one there. Chair knocked over, his papers all about the place, as if he had finally decided to prise the wooden bars off of his window and leap out. Save that they’re still in place,” Harrdel stopped at one door “Well, see for yourself,”

One lamp and three resolute candles revealed a long bench upon and about which was a vista of debris; wood, metal, glass, and a scattering of minor gems of various hues. Cast aside from the scene was the instrument of destruction, a large, crude hammer. The translator whistled in low surprise.

“Bleymore did this? It looks more like the sort of thing one of my brothers-in-faith from The Custodian’s Office would have been inclined to indulge in,”

“It was him,” Harrdel said and handed over a piece of paper, writing in a hasty and scribbled way, ClnMyla squinted in the gloom, tutted set down the lamp and paper on a clear part of the table.

          “The dwellers from the impossible lands of The Zerstorung are making ready to take advantage of the folly of the incautious. But they have seen me, so there is no waiting, flight is all important, alarms must be raised. Burn down the building, lest they try and make this a pathway. Make common cause with everyone and anyone.  The dwellers in The Fourth Realm and their Lords cannot be stopped, only fought,”

The translator pulled a face and tapped the note against his teeth.

“The poor fellow must have reckoned he’d seen something dire and if you heard no sound of running then he must have fled using one of those fearful devices his sort are always fooling about with. Though The Good Lord God knows what, or for that matter where?”

He had been hopeful Harrdel might have had a suggestion, but instead there was another shrug.

He’d had Harrdel keeping a close watch on this Bleymore ever since the servant had visited ClnMyla on a similar drizzle invested night, to give voice to his troubles and concerns over his employer’s activities. Harrdel’s past had been not uncommonly criminal, typical of this town’s poor but he had of recent times being trying to make recompense and thus an honest life; a certain determined widow being the cause.

Initially the newcomer’s activities involving the Stommigheid had appeared to be relatively passive. Just a simple observer, inquisitive; of course even these acts were not officially tolerated; hence the typical reclusive and furtive habits. Just why Bleymore trusted Harrdel to be around was a bit of a mystery, ClnMyla put it down to the ‘Ways of Folk’.

The Translator Pastoral had initially seen no need to intrude. Learn more about the fellow first.

And now hindsight was having its usual judgemental time. Just what the had the poor soul seen, or worse done.

Now was that his imagination that scuttling which seemed a bit too heavy for rats? Or maybe just a very large rat??

“We’d best get out of here. It looks like your tenure of employment would be over, but don’t you go fretting. The way things seem I’m going to be needing my own set of strong shoulders at the Pastoral Residence, so you can be off to that dependable Widow Darroe and tell her you have a most upright job and a good home for her, and we’ll get poor old translator Goodbee to marry you up; be giving him something placid to do,”

Harrdel didn’t have much chance to voice an immediate opinion, it was ClnMyla’s turn to usher him.

Out and straight away.

This house would be best not occupied. You couldn’t truly be sure if anything had crept through and was now making a nest in the place. Thus, there was no way out of it, this was now Custodians’ business and he was the one to be breaking the news.

“Oh, you’re in for a stern lecture my lad,” the Translator Pastoral said to himself.


Two nights later Translator Pastoral ClnMyla was soothing the nerves of the town’s three indentured translators; men who had probably started out life meaning well but had in one way or another made too many accommodations while trying to make living in a place like Yermetz bearable. Being summoned to the Translator Pastoral’s abode was worrisome enough, having the additional information that it was at the behest of a Custodian had resulted in a communal air not dissimilar to three very scared rabbits, each making excuses or credible reasons for things. they had done. Some of these he’d had no previous knowledge of, but resolved to keep as note as the details might prove useful as leverage in later times.

“Now my brothers-in-faith. You must not be vexing yourselves so. Yes, the presence of a Custodian of the Word of The Lord God can be a measure troubling even to the most innocent of souls, but he is here on far more important business than a few,” slight cough “Relatively minor transgression in the moral fibre of the local clergy,”

His assurances were not given time to even fall on figurative ground when the door was flying open and there stood a tall, solid man whose heavy featured scowl was made all the more impressive by his mane of steel grey hair and matching eyes. ClnMyla sighed, he was used to the man, but for weak folk with troubled consciences…

“Ah brothers-in-faith. Allow me to introduced Custodian-“

“Meradat,” the man intoned casting disapproval in all directions “You are the first line in defence of the Lord God’s Word, but because my presence here is necessary, you are found wanting,”

The three men’s countenances at once changed from variations on the state of trepidation to a shared misery beyond measure which stifled their abilities to even stutter excuses. As ClnMyla expected Meradat was perversely and grimly satisfied by this woeful sight.

“Hmmph! The sin of incompetency in The Ecclesiastes is a dangerous as any. It says much that I have to find useful information from the Translator Pastoral’s humble and contrite servant!”

ClnMyla knew for a fact Meradat always asked servants first. They replied out of respect, faith, terror or the urge to find redress after a wrong upon themselves. In Harrdel’s case that would be a bit of the first, some of the second and certainly the fourth; not the third though.

But before the custodian could further indulge his hobby of making translators miserable Harrdel appeared in the hallway, not caring to stand on any ceremony.

“Just got news honoured mentors! That house is on fire!!”

Ignoring the nonplussed three translators, the custodian glowered in general, ClnMyla grabbed at his nearby cape, told Harrdel to be giving the three brothers-in-faith something warm for the night and suggested to Meradat he should firstly step aside and then follow on account of not knowing the way.

This did not last, soon Meradat was striding ahead instinctively drawn towards trouble.

“Brother ClnMyla I detect yet again a failure in that soft approach of yours, otherwise you would not have resorted to contacting me by this,” the custodian pulled from his pocket the hexagonal thumb-nail thick hand sized metal object with one dark green gem at its centre “Thing!” he enunciated the word with his customary distain, not happy with the Custodian’s Office compromise in using such devices for urgent contact over distance. “Indulgences in the dealings with human frailties will be your downfall!”

“There you go exaggerating again! Is this not but the first time in two years, three lunations and six days that I’ve called you up on the chunky… Thing!, Is it not so? How would it be if I was to be troubling you dogged fellows every time something difficult turned up?”

Meradat grunted, the Translator Pastoral was a master at sounding reasonable and it was a sad fact that custodians were spread very thin these days. Far too many involved in or watching the myriad intrigues within the Oakhostian Empire; far too much attention to internal politics and not enough upon true sins and blasphemies resulting from vain or malicious dalliances with The Stommigheid. Small wonder his reports were never answered or he was conveniently despatched to the more obscure concerns of the empire.

Taking in Meradat’s silence ClnMyla did not labour the point, anyway he was observing the spectacle of furtive figures who upon seeing the custodian’s forbidding outline vanishing in a scampering of feet.

“By the way Meradat, did you take the trouble to officially announce your presence?”

“I have no time to waste on miserable town officials with their ditherings and fawnings!”

“So what did you tell the town watch at the gates?”

“They did not care to challenge me,”

“No, they being used to harmless local farmers and traders. Or influential Local Interests. Your customary arrival must have been quite a shock to their sensibilities,”

But then it was time to break into a trot because the custodian was picking up his pace as the smell of burning tar and wood stung the throat. As they drew closer the initial far off glow turned into the livid hues of orange and yellow bloom of fire at work. They cleared a corner and there the building ClnMyla had visited was host to a roaring column of flame; its brood of sparks dancing up defying the drizzle, the windows once empty sockets now were portals from which fire in perverse parody of waterfalls flowed upwards.

“Would you look at that! And it starting in such a damp house too,”

“Yes,” the custodian replied teasing the word out “It was what I was planning on having done,”

“That’s all well and good for a Custodian. You come in like an invading army, then leave the poor Translator Pastoral to deal with all the outrages. Which only start, I might add, after you’re safely out of hearing,”

He shook his head at the chaotic but not very energetic attempts by a few folks with buckets.

“There would be more cries of outrage if anything had seeped out of that abode of stupidity,” the custodian retorted, naturally by way of a rebuke

Meradat paused, studying the sight “Damp you say? Then what brought cleansing flame upon this blighted place?”

“That would be me! Doing’ good works!!”

Both men executed swift turns, and promptly lost some dignity by bumping into each other, but once composed observed in these now flickering shadows a lean figure standing at their full, slightly less than ordinary height, eyes sparkling in the blaze, a bright wide smile across their narrow face.

“Oh,” they sighed “An’t burning wickedness a glorious deed and no mistake,”

There was no doubt about it, despite the ragged collection of jack, shirts trousers and boots, by the tenor of the voice, the softness of features and the long dark eye lashes this was a woman, possibly a young one; leaning against the wall arms folded.



ClnMyla was first to the conversation, he did not want Meradat causing this possibly unusual person to go all skittish and run.

“Pardon me for appearing slow. But would you be after claiming the responsibility for this conflagration?”

This caused the person to rise from their slouch and frown, arms unfolding and straying down to their sides.

“Just said that didn’t I?” they leant forward light from the blaze revealing a long face teeth slightly barred “I set fire to that nasty place. Just like I’ve done before!!

Closer inspection revealed soot stains upon her face, hands and clothing and a stronger cloying aroma of smoke than you would expect from a simple background conflagration. ClynMyla felt there may be something to her claim.

“So you’d be making a career of this then?”

“Yer!” she waved a hand at them “Like you holies, it’s my vo-err-voc—“

“Vocation,” intoned Meradat, she nodded in response “And by your accent am I correct to assume that you have journeyed northwards all the way from the Blaggatinian peninsula, burning down places along the way?”

“S’right. Right up from Elinid,” she spat, quite profusely, narrowly missing clerical shoes “Rot-it-to the Fifth-Hell,” a pause to scratch their scalp “I’ll go back there one day an’ burn the whole damn place down!”

Meradat was normally a man given to action, either physical or verbal on the basis that assault took the foe off of their guard, however this person presented a collection questions which he felt, just this time, might be better dealt by his colleague. ClnMyla was of course all for talking.

“Well, Miss, I take it, it is Miss,” the arrival nodded, sniffed and followed it up by a wiping of nose on sleeve, which he took as a perverse sort of defiance at being identified as a girl. “Just what would be bringing you on such a task?”

The girl raised her head, a thin smile about her face.

“I can smell nasty business I can,” a quick shrug “Not the robbing and cheating sorts, but that dirty creepin’ whychie stuff, the stormihiggle,”

“Stommigheid,” Meradat corrected and being only able to restrain himself from interrogation or accusation for very short interludes, loomed in asking “And just how do you burn things?”

ClnMyla winced, one odd answer here and the girl could be on the wrong end of an official Stommigheidate accusation. She swung out a small sack, previously hanging from the back of her belt.

“I got all I needs in here. All the natural stuff that will burn anywhere and anyhow. I can set fire to a riverbank if I fancies!”

After a hasty glance to Meradat, ClnMyla put on his most disarming smile.

“This scenting of things?” and he let the question deliberately hang there, letting her have her say.

“I just do. It’s a gift and I makes the best use of it. Soon as I got the chance to get out of the sproggle hole Elinid and into the open where I could think and smell straight, it all became very clear, an’ since then,” she shrugged, then looked back to the fire, losing herself in the sight, one hand idly tugging at her shirt.

ClnMyla moved between her and the flames, his smile determinedly fixed in a kindly manner, time to calm her down and learn more about the wheres and the whys.

“Well this is good news to our stretched and tired hearts. Another to the fight. My new cook, she’s fine at her calling and a most devout lady, will be only too glad to prepare you a decent meal and a hot brew. Would you care to accept the invitation?”

At the mention of food there was a low gurgling noise from the girl’s midriff and a swift lick of her lips, although her expression was guarded.

“No funny-bunny business?” she asked, eye narrowing “No having me take off all my clothes to check for sinful marks? No creeping up to me at night with your trousers off an’ nightshirt up?”

ClnMyla was fair certain Meradat’s nasal inhalation and exhalation of outrage had caused two attendant drafts. These being a precursor to a combination of tirade and apology against the ways of lax, unworthy and thrice-wretched members of The Ecclesiastes and how he had dealt with those he had apprehended.

“Ah, now you’ve started him off,” explained ClnMyla “He’ll be going on about his colourful notions on how to cleanse our wayward brothers-in-faith and what’s wrong with the ruling councils. This will likely be the background to the short journey to my abode and that decent meal I assured you of. For certain of the Good Lord God you’re looking as if you need one,”

The girl considered her feet.

“Yer, I’ll chance it,”

“Grand! I’m Translator Pastoral ClnMyla, that fellow with the endless vocal chords is Custodian Meradat, and you’d be calling yourself?”

“Karlyn, Karlyn Nahtinee,”

Before ClnMyla could comment on that, the blazing roof fell in, Meradat announced that there was no more to do done here and Karlyn Nahtinee was shepherded away.


The translator pastoral was interested to recognise in his associate concern as opposed to the usual custodianal displeasure. Firstly, on returning Meradat had merely dismissed the three translators with a curt statement that they had work to do amongst their communities, so they were obliged to leave the light supper and scuttle out into the night. Secondly, he had been quite willing for Widow Darroe to see the girl into the kitchen and had not even bothered to ask ClnMyla if the arrangement between Widow Darroe and Servant Harrdel was a ‘correct one’. Instead he had ushered the translator pastoral into the man’s own reading room, where he at least allowed ClnMyla to sit down before he started.

“Let us ignore your previous mistakes in this matter,” Meradat did not wait for any agreement “And look at the issues to hand. We have a man who in his vanity has peered into places far beyond his capacity to handle, thus panicked and fled. Then, appears a strange young woman claiming an ability to trace such practices. The initial evidence suggests her close affinity to fire,” ClnMyla had to agree with that! “This affinity itself raises issues which will need to be addressed as will her other claim to burn places at her whim,” at this juncture he stopped appearing to have argued himself into a corner; thus, he paced, hands firmly clasped behind his back. Not being one to dwell too long on an incident the custodian stopped at the window and starred out into the damp and dirty night.

“So, if she is as she claims, although the risks are great and the weaponry to be handled very carefully there is no doubt that The Lord God has delivered unto me the means to do battle,”

Problems and issues assailed ClnMyla. Still out of breath he only half-rose

“Now Meradat my long-time associate in perils! You’ll not be thinking of taking that possibly unhinged young girl on one of your steely and messy jaunts? Sweet Mercy of The Good Lord God! For all we know she might be a little runaway dreamer who latches onto any event and claims it for her own doings. I’ll even wager she believes she can hold conversations with flowers and the more pleasant of insects,” ClnMyla felt inclined to add a warning to the next part “And how can you be certain she’s not been sent to discredit you? You’re not the most popular of fellows amongst your ranks, upsetting your superiors and equals with your assertions of corruption, nepotism and laziness. You’ve seen off five assassination attempts to my knowledge. So, they try discrediting. What could be worse than a middle-aged experienced custodian being made a fool of by a waif of a girl. It’s happened before, mind you from what I be hearing those were for more natural reasons,”

The face drew taught and flint sharp, winter grey eyes became hooded.

“I am aware of all their potential tricks. And I have already started to observe the girl,”

observe the girl….

ClnMyla knew that as far as Meradat was concerned there was the end of this part of the argument. The man fought his war on more than one front. And ClnMyla had to admit Meradat really did have a certain perception for these Stommigheid matters. Meanwhile the custodian was continuing.

“Let’s return to whatever that fool saw. Did his dabbling offer a pathway to those from The Zerstorung who would destroy this world and replace it will a Hell? This is one in a line of recent indications I have encountered” he settled into very grave expression. “Ideal for some clutch of degenerates daring to move beyond their own debauched covens.  And yet although the Stommigheid is a bane, it is capricious in its unpredictable tydes and tempests, thus the girl could well have been swept here for a purpose. I must speak with her now. You may rest,”

          ‘Meradat can be fearfully accurate in his summations… the man has been walking very strange paths for many years, experiencing the most peculiar of information and experiences. I don’t know! I’ll have enough to do with the authorities and gangs being a nervy as frogs about a fire; and neither being responsible, while suspecting each other. I think this role is getting to be more than one man’s work; pastoral indeed! Mind you he has a point; it will do no harm to be resting my eyes for just a fifty or so….

          Meradat watched the man drift into a doze. For all his imperfect inclinations to Compassion and Tolerance ClnMyla was as best as could be hoped for in a declining Ecclesiastes. You could never predict the allies and soldiers The Lord God would send in ongoing struggle by The Fourth Realm to once more attempt to absorb the World Physical into its maw.


Karlyn was perched upon a kitchen stool working her way through a meal of stew and extra portions of vegetables. Widow Darroe managed to feat of wrinkling her nose at Meradat in a respectful fashion.

“The young woman should have the comfort of a bath and bed too, Your Honour,”

“Sadly, good woman, there is little time. The services of the Lord God are pressing. Now then, Maid Karlyn,” who looked up from her meal, briefly scratching her short brown hair.


And a full mouth.

“Very well. Eat. But with all dignity. Now listen well, and bear in mind I will expect an answer,”


He drew from his large and pocket rich coat a slender black leather book; the custodial axe inscribed in gilded lettering. Sitting opposite her, he skimmed it across the table to her.

“Pick that up,”

The need to shovel another spoonful of stew took precedence, but following she picked up the volume, sniffed at it and having looked admiringly at the cover put down her spoon. While she chewed in a very demonstrative manner, Karlyn thumbed through the pages, ending her survey with a very obvious swallow and a wide grin.

“Hey! I like these prayers about burning wicked folk!!”

“Encouraging,” he picked up the book and waved it at her, she followed the progress as a cat watching jewelled necklace “This is a copy of The Ministrations of the Obliteration. Written in sacred ways, passages formed with invention to confront doubts and aberrations, set in inks pure. The tainted, the foolish and the evil become most agitated reading its pages.”

Widow Darroe passed a comment which she kept wisely inaudible and excused herself. The Official Custodianal idea of sacred and pure could be mistaken by ordinary folk as the determination to wreak havoc and terror; but the girl seemed most casual.

“Recite unto me a maiden’s prayer,”

Karlyn pulled a long face, the stew was beckoning.

“Dunno much. Where I lived they never encouraged ‘em,”

Meradat glowered, not so much at her, but at a place many leagues distant and many years passed.


“Humph!..OhGoodLordGawd.HelpUsYerFoolishAndBig’EadedChildren. WeAveBeenWaywardrdAndUngratefulScropes.Sorry!Sorry!!Sorry!!!”

And returned to the stew.

“You made that one up did you not?”

“Yer. Told you. Where I lived, we weren’t encouraged,”

“It was sincere enough,” he had had enough experience of the panic and haste of the other sort. He had met many types in his long and turbulent career trying to weave, worms or scuttle their ways out of the Justice The Lord God. This young woman did not seem the least bit troubled by his office, which was as interesting as it was refreshing. “So, are you ready to work for The Lord God?”

“Yumpf,” stew again.

That was quite emphatic; just the style you’d expect from the rare irreverent yet direct sort. He continued, while observing, carefully. It was interesting that although she consumed her meal with all the speed and indelicacy of a beast of prey, she did so with a grace.

While maintaining a casual composure, as if being interviewed by a custodian was a mere commonplace. He pressed on.

“How long have you had this gift to scent out evil?”

“’Bout three years. Just came to me, it did. My family started to pong very bad, an’ not just because they didn’t wash. Then the whole neighbourhood did,” she pulled another face “Not that you needed a gift of smell to know things were crocked there,”

Naturally he would observe her carefully in this respect. Whereas for Meradat burning suspect locations was a perfectly reasonable course of action, this was achieved after careful observation, investigation, and interrogation. A claim to be locating them by sense of smell was not something to be accepted at face value. An evaluation would be best reached when tested at the workface of duty.

“We have little time. If this man has fled in terror, who knows what pursues him and where he has gone,”

She looked up, wrinkled her nose, tugged at her shirt.

“He’s gone west, ‘e has. Maybe a hundred miles,”

Meradat stared at her for a long time, she did not flinch, she just stared back, of course alternating with considerations of the stew.

The continuing composure. The unblinking look, the absence of any furtive twitches, along with the steadiness of breathing were favourable signs. They suggested to him a possible purpose which was not malign.

For some time, he’d had his suspicions about the central west coast and its penchant to trade in anything.

She might well do.


The Translator Pastoral was woken from an untidy, uncomfortable and inadvertent doze in his chair, by a great deal of hustling and bustling primarily in the form of a duet, one voice deep and sonorous counterpointed by high, rapid clipped interruptions After a few moments, he concluded Meradat and the girl were about some business of their own, after another few moments he judged it would seem they were getting ready to go on a journey. He wished he’d stayed awake and alert so as to judge what had passed between them. At least he might have been able to have an influence on their manner of departure. With the years of practice of being a translator at the beck and call of his congregation he unfolded out of his chair, the sliver of pale light at the top of the curtains suggesting a damp early spring dawn was arriving.

And became aware of the waves of mumblings and occasional shouts of opinions, from outside, and in consequence winced.

Of course, as was common with custodians, they were inclined to make their rank known upon arriving anywhere Meradat being particularly dependable in this practice. This had one of two effects; in the more sedate or humble communities everyone would take fright and guilt and stay indoors as much as possible, praying, literally, the said official would not choose to speak with them. In unrulier places, it would not take long for a crowd to gather collective courage stoked by ill-humour through the excitement of not sleeping. Enough of the volatile to mix to brew a brittle courage to find out just what was what.

Firstly, in came his servant who ventured the opinion that he probably already knew but there was a crowd outside, then appeared Meradat and the girl. He as usual was thunderous while she was narrow eyed and thin lipped; both obviously intent on confrontation with the mob. ClnMyla was at once for hands raised and a warning.

“Now before you pair start on your own interpretations of the Slaughter of Lowden Moor; let’s try and find a way out of this which makes sense to those poor noodles out there,”

“A custodian does not need to explain himself!” Meradat boomed.

“That is a charming trait you all share, but I do not have the luxury of being able to or an inclination to distribute terror but I would be the one left having to clear up a mess of injuries and taller tales. Amongst other things this town trades in information in all directions, so nor do I want an already unhealthy place attracting even shadier folk. Meradat. And it’s not as if Prince Henrich or the rest of his princedom of Valeneg care to trouble themselves about what goes on in Yermetz” he fixed the fellow with his most pained expression. “Do you really think my three poor translators are up to that sort of challenge?”


In ClnMyla’s experience that response was a start, he pressed home his advantage.

“Look! Could we not have that young girl there disguised as a heretic and you’ll be taking her, looking as a Him for interrogation,”

Karlyn much refreshed by food clapped her hands and did a little jig.

“Oooh playtime! I loves playtime and dress-up. Can I have a moustache and a beard and swagger,” she stuck out her midriff and puffed out her cheeks and was about to demonstrate her vocal abilities, when Meradat pointed out, very sonorously that heretics did not swagger in a clownish fashion. Karlyn, mused and agreed. “Alright then I’ll be a noodley-hutch,” twirling her right index finger near to the side of her head.

ClnMyla and his servant exchanged unhappy and fatalistic glances.

Meradat rolled his eyes.


The door of the abode swung inwards and there in the lamplight stood The Custodian, in his full imposing height and his iron badge in the shape of an axe of justice hung ominously about his neck. In his firm grip upon one shoulder a small hooded figure who twitched and seemed to cackle.

Meradat did not normally care for this sort of theatricality and but he did have sense of duty to ClnMyla and so once more was going along with one of the Pastoral Translator’s whimsical schemes. This one did have a measure of economy and plausibility.

“One side!” he boomed “A heretic hast been apprehended in your town!!”

At this point Karlyn squeaked and waved her fingers in flapping motions about her head.

“Oooh All praise the…” she stopped, suddenly stuck for a suitable heretical statement, luckily for her the febrile imagining of the crowd were rich in possibilities.

“All that burning! He’s got one of them Gervalons!” screeched a woman “Oh Good Lord God help us, there’s Gervalons here!! Come to burn us all in our beds!!”

And a flurry of cries went up demanding all manner of very painful and bloody executions at once, fuelled by Karlyn cackling and crying back that they were all going to suffer Wraths, they were.

At this stage ClnMyla and his servant wisely made their appearances; the latter to run around to the attached stables and bring out the horses, ClnMyla to interpose himself between two forces of nature, maybe three for he was not sure about the girl.

“Please! All of you. Be calm for, he, the Custodian must take this wretch,” Karlyn made a rude noise and stuck out her tongue, which caused some puzzled silences for as far as folk knew heretics did not resort to street urchin tricks, ClnMyla took advantage of the lessening of the hub-bub. “He must take them for interrogation! They are obviously not having enough wits of their own to plan anything!” Karlyn seemed attracted to this notion and began to babble the word ‘Burn’ “There are others at work here!” he concluded in some desperation; the girl was not helping!

At the appearance two suspiciously convenient saddled and bridled horses Meradat boomed once more for all to stand aside and dragged the girl to the mounts. His, a large roan was naturally waiting patiently.

“You’re all gonna burn!!” she chanted and pointed randomly at folk squeaking ‘’Specially you!”

And from some place in her jack brought out wood the size of a toothpick but for the small blue bulbous end, against which she scratched her thumb, then flicked the now flaring object towards the crowd. Naturally there was panic, there were howls, and there were ructions. There was the girl’s high-pitched giggle.  ClnMyla made a brief but very strong request for divine intercession, thoughts of which were distracted by the sight of Meradat’s expression which instead of the expected rage was one of serious assessment.

Meradat’s air of apartment detachment did not stop him picking her up and slinging her over the saddle of a fatalistic mount.

“Cease your blasphemous babbling!” he warned as he tied her hands and legs. ClnMyla had known him previously put more venom and threat into such words. On this occasion and by his standards Meradat sounded almost conversational, while the girl undeterred by the chaos and treatment appeared to be indulging in her role.

“Can’t stop me!” she trilled very off-key

“Can’t stop me!!

You’re all gonna swing from the burning tree!!”

This ditty ended in a ‘mmph’ when Meradat shoved a rag into her mouth. This done he set up upon his own mount and grasped the reins of the other, it was time to leave. To the crowd his seeming prompt action had turned the tide and so caused cheering, calls of approval, with the occasional ‘Good Lord God Bless You’ thrown in by those anxious not be seen to offend a custodian. But Meradat did not care to rely on the emotional goodwill of even such a small number.


Thus did Custodian Meradat ride off into the paling end of  a damp night with his apparent prisoner still managing to cause a few folk distress by an excessive rolling of eyes and some stifled but chilling sounds. ClnMyla could not help but feel she was thoroughly enjoying the whole thing.

But at least she’d verified one of her claims.

She had something of an affinity with fire.

ClnMyla turned to his servant.

“Well I hope that’s the end of our part in the bigger drama,” he whispered, then set his attention to those still hanging around and the days ahead of tidying up. No one ever wrote about the tidying up did they now?

And would that be the end of it? Was there ever an end where the Stommigheid was involved? Would this be an event similar to those  not unusual in Yermetz; the slamming of a door in a decayed building; part of the wall would fall, a crack would appear it the rest causing a rotten timber to give way, resulting in part of the floor falling in, making a wall sag, and so on until finally the whole rickety mess came crashing down?

“Of Patchwork Warriors” – Let The Book Be Launched


And someone told me that if ‘you are going to do something like this then add….’

The right of R L Jacob (as R J Llewellyn)to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

I said ‘no kidding?’

And he said, ‘Of course, it makes you look, that for once in your writing career you’re being serious about the whole thing. Personally I doubt that, but one feels one has done one’s best,’

I’m not sending him a Christmas Card this year.

New Release! #scifi novel, Detours in Time

Now here’s an interesting sf Time-Travel tale that’s worth a look


DetoursTimegraphicSuggested Version

Today is the day!  Detours in Time, my most recent novel, is now live and available for purchase at Amazon.com for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback!  Please check it out,  purchase the book, read it, or add it to your Goodreads Want to Read or Currently Reading shelf if you decide to purchase or even just want to read it later.  If you read the book, please leave a review, no matter how brief, on Amazon and consider sharing it on social media.  Perhaps you might share this post on your social media?  All of these things help me gain visibility as an indie author and are greatly appreciated!

Goodreads link:


Amazon link:

Independently Published.

Genre:  Sci-fi, time-travel/adventure   221 pages (e-book), 301 pages (paperback)

Read the book that early readers have called “Captivating!”  Here is a blurb:

On a whim, feisty Tabatha takes a trip to the…

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“Of Patchwork Warriors” – Let The Book Be Launched

I thought that was a pretty accurate title, because y’know when ships get launched it’s not the whole ship is it? So here is the hull as it were.

Of Patchwork Warriors is the first volume in a Fantasy Genre; it has its origins in a twenty -year project which has varied between wildly comic to grimly violent. A few years ago, it settled down to a totally comic tale which was spread across three volumes and is now a classic example on how not to do anything to do with writing. The current book is slightly more sober with elements of the comic, heroic, and romantic and deals with some ‘little folk’ and some not very great of folk of history who are the first to encounter a predicted manifestation of the threat to the stability of their lands. Some try to tackle it, some try to take advantage of it, while others make the best of a bad job. Subsequent volumes will likely see the threat come to the attentions of the higher reaches of government, but will keep the core characters of this volume as they try to survive, do their duty or fulfil ambitions. My books are never planned in much detail so that’s all I know.

Of Patchwork Warriors centres on three main characters with a clutch of support characters some of whom are threatening to became principal characters in their own right. The three central characters are all young women; they arose as a distillation of one strong female character of the first attempt who was far too alpha, whimsical, clever and able for one person. Each comes from traditional strands of Fantasy; The soldier, although less Red Sonja and more ‘grunt’( or PBI); the quirky one with the mysterious back ground (and it was hard work trying to stop her turning into Harley Quinn!) and the innocent who gets caught up in it all without asking to do so.

Because it is light and more about the enjoyment of the journey of a light read there are probably not many surprises and some outcomes you might be able to see coming a mile off, some not. At some stages a few characters quite took over and sort of said to me ‘You didn’t see that coming? Oh really?’

I had thought about the idea of asking for beta-readers; then I began to wonder if asking someone to read my 144000+ word fantasy novel was asking someone to commit too much. I had thought about professional editors and suchwhich, however family commitments have denuded the spare cash facility. The next option was to revisit the episodic.

In this case I will spilt up the novel into say twenty 7,000 word posts and publish one episode every 3 or 4 days. Folk are invited to read these and whereas some might feel they can click ‘like’ but are stuck for further words (happens to me when I read some posts), the idea of this is to open the work to critical appraisals or comments of any sort (and pointing out those evil typos which sneak back in after you’ve self proof-read the blessed thing for the fifth time).

So that’s the deal.

Someone of you may well have read the previous experiment in this arena, but for those of you who have new to this work here is a snippet. This is when the three central characters get together; two having met up earlier on in the book

(By way of explanation

‘Flaxi’ is Karlyn’s nickname for Arketre Beritt (her, being blonde)

‘Migran’ is a young fellow who by incautious experiments has got the young lady Trelli stuck with a forbidden power- the running joke by various characters in the book being that’s not normally how young men get young women into trouble)

Phonetic spellings turn up in speech

‘Frib’ is a mild swear word

‘hengy’ is short for a native of Hengestatia

‘lidian is short for a native of Elinid)


Trelli could not but help overhear the discourse. To begin with she was obviously being tracked by two women, which was a surprise, though of what sort she was not too sure. Also, they did not appear to be acting the way she had expected ruthless trackers to behave. She was trying her very best to think of the next move. Stuck and hunched was not the most productive. But maybe, just maybe if she stayed ever so still. It was that odd one standing up and waving the sword she had to watch out for.


            Everything that was Trelli jolted, then seemed to spin; but finally, for her own survival and self-respect then clenched. This episode couldn’t have lasted that long, because when she peered down between her legs and the stairs, a face, topped with a brimmed hat and framed in blonde hair was regarding her, moonlight and unsettling flickering of nearby flames highlighting a light friendly smile, one of those easy-going hengestatian accents.

            “Hello,” Trelli always felt good manners cost nothing, even when being hunted down “Might I ask your business here please? This is the warehouse of my employer,”

            They both flinched as another projectile screamed overheard; Trelli felt it was a comfort, Beritt winced, she was a soldier fer frib’s sake!. She ordered herself to be more composed

            “Truth be known. I think it’s you I may be more concerned about. Y’see I’m in the imperial LifeGuard. Medician Arketre Beritt,” she doffed her hat “I am engaged in seeking out someone who may be distressed by matters outside of their control. You being all hunched up in a blanket seem to fit that description,”

            She hoped that little speech was sufficient unto the cause.

            To her relief, the figure sunk back with a sigh.

            “Then you’ve not come to torture and burn me?” Trellis did feel a bit of goose for blurting out that, but all in all she was not inclined to rational thought. The soldier, let out a soft laugh, shaking her head.

            “Good Lord God’s Mercy no!” she shook the bag at her side “Medician, y’see. I heal things. I care for folk,”

            “And if that doesn’t work. You got me to contend with girly,”

            Beritt snarled under her breath, just when she was starting to get somewhere there came Karlyn crawling up the stairs like a bad-tempered tomcat.

            “Karlyn I-“

            “I’m with the Custodians see. We got you cornered. Give up now. You’re nicked girly!”

            Trelli looked quickly to Beritt. Although the soldier’s scowl was not directed at her; that was small comfort as the nasty with the cold elidian accent crept closer, something in a bag dangling from a string in one hand, a fearsome sword in another.

            “Rein in Karlyn willya!! The girl’s scared out her socks!!”

            “They look secure to me Flaxi!!”

            “Please excuse my associate! When her mother was carrying her, the poor lady was bitten by a rabid squirrel!!”

            Humour did not help, Trelli began to back up the stairs, Karlyn advanced.

            “I got her Flaxi. Now you just sit tight. This is my work. I can smell the whychery so strong!! And you! Lurky pants! Stop dithering! Raise your hands and slither down here all controlled,” Karlyn waved the bag “One sly move and you get a mouthful of this, and it,” she slavered with relish “Burns!!”

            Trelli didn’t see how she had any options left, the little ‘hengy’ was being nice but down there, while the nasty ‘’lidian was here and getting closer! She had to do something to stop the advance of a mad-head.

            Karlyn was not really surprised that the whychie suddenly pulled off the gloves and waved her hands about, with all sorts of reds and blue colours appearing. She was a bit perplexed that the display was soft and rather nice-looking, like one of the festival displays. They should be all thunder and lightning stuff. Must be a trick.

            “Now you just stop there!!” Trelli tried to imagine the nasty girl was a sort of Migran “I got powers!! And you just be careful, or you’ll get them!!”

            “I wouldn’t do that!” Beritt called up “My associate is not inclined to be reasonable! Whatcha name!!” Beritt hoped that might calm the girl down; there was a bombardment going on; Karlyn was doing her mad-dog act, and here was a girl waving rainbows. “And y’all hold still there Karlyn!!” Using an old barracks term for desperation, Beritt was rollin’ dice!

            “T-Trelli!” came back the stammering cry “An’ you get back ‘lidian! You’ve no business crawling in here frightening people who are bothered enough as it is! Why don’t you leave your friend to help me!”

            The colours began to rapidly shift between red and blue, Karlyn was certain she could see sparks dancing between the fingers; this was surely building up to some sort of whychie attack, and poor little Flaxi would get fried or frazzled if she didn’t act now.

            And thus leapt.

            At Karlyn’s yell of aggression and Trelli’s responsive of a scream of alarm, Beritt’s reaction was to once more resort to swearing, while without much thought, just notions, pushed a sack of something outwards.

            Not that she had been certain the stairs were going to collapse, it just seemed that as Karlyn impacted on Trelli (of the rainbows), the result was going to be a structural failure of some sort. As all shades of red and blue illuminated the descent of two bodies mingling with pieces of wood, her immediate sense of satisfaction was replaced by a feeling that the pair seemed to be falling a bit slower than they should.

            But impacting as heavily as expected, in a cloud of whiteness.

            “Oh. Flour,” Beritt said pleased with her accompanying calmness.

            Even if The Fifth Hell was settling upon the town.

            Then from the general direction of the girl Trelli there came a near blinding display of the reds and blues.