Category Archives: Re-write

Re-rewrites, Highlights and Reality-Bites (A journey through writing of The Skirmishes of Lace, Steel and Fire-Part II of a Fantasy )

WARNING: Some images you may find disturbing 245px-1271754717_william-e.-gladstone

(No, not that one!)

Some writers understandably hate doing the rewrite. I can see their point. They’ve put all their effort into forging this narrative together, worked hard and heavy through all manner of issues and had to squeeze out the time to write amongst all the other demands made by Life. Victorian writingThen, what to they get as a reward? Typos, syntax problems, holes in the plot, main characters not coming alive and that’s before we even start to think of listing all the problems.Me

Me? I enjoy a rewrite. Taking the journey with the characters, knowing where they are going, how they are getting there and all the fun which goes with it.WIN_20180727_19_28_15_Pro

Hold on! What did I say?WIN_20180727_19_28_44_Pro

Look again sunshine!

Oh Frib! I’ve done it again. Gone and literally lost the plot.WIN_20180727_19_28_27_Pro

Y’ see this can be a bit of a problem when you are having so much ‘fun’ with describing all the adventures, banter, relationship interactions, personal hopes, fear and so forth, which you decided would be vital to brining the characters alive (Or in my case, help them travel from their world to ours).Handel_GF
The book now reads like a series of unconnected sketches and vignettes, as if it were some sort of comedy skit show with moral message.Illustration from 'Le Theatre' magazine, 1900s (litho)

Dearie me. All these lovely folk wandering from one circumstance to another and surmounting all manner of problems. And there’s no plot to indicate as to why they are doing all these things! Melodrama -idiot manOK a few minor characters turn up and make ominous statements of heavy portent then vanish again and someone leaps up with a seriously dangerous weapon, be it physical or ‘magical’ (crude word, it’ll have to do) only to be cleverly defeated, but sadly this does not make for a plot.

I had a sneak of bad feeling, WIN_20180727_19_28_23_Prowhen at towards the end of this volume the central characters were left stalwartly together basically affirming their friendship, loyalty and love to each other then effectively saying to the whole world ‘Bring It On’ to go riding off into, literally, sunrises.

Yeh that’ll work……If it was a Musical.
300px-Witchcraft_at_Salem_Village

So it is time for some serious crafting. Time for a serious discussion with myself….WIN_20180727_19_28_18_Pro

Here is the work. There, over there are bits of the plot. Now, go through the whole thing and weave those bits into one long thread which should run through the book.

But I might lose some of my favourite little vignettes.

Well that’s too bad.

This is not as much fun as it used to be.

It’s because you are taking things seriously.

Oh My! This means hard work!

Do you want folk to read the fribbin’ book or not?Lavery_Maiss_Auras

If you put it like that….Confrontation

And there we are everyone. Remember never lose sight of your plot. InventionsIt may change a bit, could even do a complete lurch in a way you did not expect.

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Whatever, but at least keep it on the horizonrunning training

 

All the best with whatever you are currently working on.

 

Launches, Re-launches. No time to sit back on my haunches (OK. You try and find a better rhyme)

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‘Guess y’all kin call me a Patchwork Girl’ LifeGuard Arketre Beritt reflects.

I told the writer, he of an excess o’ names, that I was gonna have mah say ‘cause ‘Kitlin’ (that’s Karlyn to you) was fussin’ me to do so, an’ he starts to get agitated ‘bout the way I speak an’ sayin’ I should tone down mah accent.

‘Why’s tha?’ I say

‘Because people will say no one talks like that,’ he says in a nervous manner

‘An these people,’ I say in a polite but firm way ‘They’d be from Sudd-Hengestatia?’

At this juncture he gets all flustered an’ starts going on about the way some folk speak or are portrayed as speakin’ in his world and I point out I am NOT from his world, thus what the frib’ is he worryin’ fer?

He exits ‘bout then

(Though I did promise to speak a measure more refined when the occasion did require)

So, anyhows I am Arketre Beritt. I am actually serving in the LifeGuard, tha’ an’t made up. In point o’ fact I was posted into this narrative on account of the original girl styled as military was too cute, an’ always cheery. Y’all try an’ be cute and cheery when up to tryin’ to save a life yer up to y’ arms in innards an’ all that resides in them. Damn foolish idea! Anyways I get called over by my Major an’ he tells me I’m gonna be takin’ part in one of your world’s books an’ jus’ be myself, what he meant by that I am not rightly certain.

‘My Major,’ I say ‘I’m not expected to exhibit tactical genius nor be orderin’ whole armies ‘bout the place am I? Because that stuff is not in a medician’s purview,’

An’ he just says with a sliver of a sly smile.

‘Jus’ be yourself Medician,’

Bein’ typical military they don’t go giving me full details, so I turn up into this narrative and do my best getting’ into the flow of it, an’ Thank The Good Lord God they do put me in a typical LifeGuard setting to start with, even fittin’ bits of mah own life in, which was kina helpful, with all the midden what’s goin’ on around me. This Stommigheid, or as we in the LifeGuard call it The Astatheia being the main pain in my backside, because next thing I’m knownin’ is the whole damn thing is Reality, leastways as far as Reality as any of us kan be expected to perceive.

This would have been some cause for compliant save for me meetin’ with Karlyn. Now I’ve had mah fair share o’ conquests and interestin’ interludes, like any good LifeGuard trooper, but she is somethin’ special. An’ folks that’s all y’gonna know. I told his writerness ‘Course y’all should damn well write ‘bout us getting’ together. S’obvious an’ it? Y’all pay attention to the fribbin’ narrative willa? But don’t y’all go puttin’ unnecessary details in. T’aint dignified’

He did not argue over that.

Then there’s Trelli, an’ she is the sweetest most trustworthy friend y’ could hope to ever have. She’s of a kindly nature too, which is good since us other two tend to get a bit rough an’ prone to physical retribution upon anyone who gets in our way, so she calms us down, at times. Except when she gets fierce, then folks ‘Everyone duck!’

On the whole it’s not bein’ so bad, as a trooper’s life goes, an’ getting’ to make decisions of a minor tactical nature was bound to happen I suppose. Makes a change from curin’ Particular Boils, checkin’ back-ends for worms along with all the other woes that befall bodies. Though I’m guessin’ there’s gonna be a whole more of a sewer’s worth dropped on mah poor blonde head at some stage, wouldn’t be army life otherwise.

Some of the others had been agitating about this marketing hoo-hah, which I was none too excited about, I mean how would you like to have lots of strangers knowin’ all about your personal details an’ activities an’ those doubts and fears we’re all plagued with. Point ‘o fact since it’s become apparent that Dozy Fingers  the Writer messed up with his publishin’ process, there’s a whole stop on that side o’things. Kan’t say, I’m surprised at a foul-up having been in the army for a few years, jus’ fribbin’ glad he an’t mah officer. An’ kan’t say I’m too bothered ’bout the business either, someone will sort it out; someone always will. In the meantime, I’ll keep on keepin’ my and my folks delicates intact.

Come to think o’ it. The whole thing is like The LifeGuard.

Anyways, take mah advice an’ steer clear of the book until someone tells y’ it’s all sorted out.

Be seein’ y’.

 

An Author’s Concerns

‘Ullo Everyone! It’s proper ‘Patchwork Warriors’ time!!

Mr Silc wants to have a few words about ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’

‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ Wigran Hendrechan explains something of the forces at work

You, The Writer. Let Your Universe Come into Existence

It’s all very well you going on about letting words flow Let The Words Flow….; suppose they don’t?

A very good question actually. To be sitting there staring at blankness and the longer the staring goes on the less chance there are of any words turning up there, mental log-jam. Panic comes a’knocking- ‘you are never going to write anything’ it intones with grim glee, ‘why are you bothering?’

Let us stop there with the sly whisperings and the toxicity which is the fall out from the media obsession with this week’s latest writing success (poor soul, you know there are folks waiting in the wings to pull them down). Let us concentrate on You

Just turn back a stage or two, or three.

So you want to write. You have these ideas, notions or themes bubbling away in your head or heart. Now there is the starting place. Your very own Big-Bang circumstance.

I’ll just clarify, a smidge. The current general scientific perception informs, everything we know as Time, Space and Matter was all compacted into an infinitesimally small situation, which erupted and the whole Universe began.

Move this analogy to your own writing situation. Your idea and your creativity compacted into one small space within you. Naturally, you ask ‘So where is the spark? I can’t see, nor feel it’

I would suggest to you the spark starts with the first word you write. Exactly what that word will be in relationship to your final narrative is not something which you should trouble yourself with. Embrace the concept that one word will give rise to another. Do not think about the consequences of the breaking of the barrier. Creation has begun, once the words begin the ideas are let loose and thus more words. Words and ideas give rise to other words and ideas.

Now in the early stages of the Universe (we are talking very small slices of time fractions of fractions of seconds), there were changes in states of matter and laws of Physics. Now shift this idea back to your writing. At this early stage you are in a Stream of Consciousness, ideas and words ate tumbling out, again worry not, just keep them coming.

Of course, there is the Stream of Consciousness mode of writing, which is not quite the same as your state you are in. You are in a burst of creativity; heady and free all the melding and the moulding is to come later. Right now, pour out the words, do not be afraid, no one is looking over your shoulder, no one is guiding you, you are The Creator of your own universe. All is yours to create.

Forge on, one word, one idea after another, do not stop to think. Write until the blaze has died down to embers, to which you add the fuel of success at starting, fan the flames with the realisation that the blaze will rise again.

The time for the re-write, the editing, and the polishing will come later, for now, you are in the Epoch of Groundwork, the rest is to follow.

And therein lies another post…

A True History of These Isles Vol.I- relaunch

There is a somewhat confused picture of the history of ‘These Isles’, no more so than amongst the inhabitants. The intention of this and subsequent volumes is to put the business straight….

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As all authoratative works must have good presentation to maintain the veneer of credibility there has been a revision in terms of typing errors, one possibly misleading statement, and an overall tiding up in presentation of Volume I of ‘A True History of These Isles’.

The work covers the history of the Isles currently encompassing in alphabetical order England, Ireland, Mann, Scotland and Wales. This volume leads from the original colonisation up to 1216 AD/BCE (ish)

To make up to the folk buying a faulty copy, the revised edition is being put out on Kindle for free up to and including Thursday 18th January.

Although I am somewhat pleased with the content, as opposed to the quality of presentation I do admit to a certain disappointment that no historian has felt the need to launch a scathing criticism. For it is an acknowledged circumstance of works of history that to have true value someone must call into question their authenticity.

Still, it has only been in ‘Kindle’ since March of 2017 so there is still time

Links to extracts follow:

A True History of The Isles Part 4- The Romans (Part I) time.

A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

Advice on Publishing, Markets etc- Look Somewhere Else

There is nothing of value I, personally, have to offer on the practicalities. There are probably intelligent, dedicated and astute writers and bloggers out there in WP who despair of, who are irritated by or have given up on my approach, or lack of when it comes to:

Firstly- The very art and determination in ensuring that their work is as polished as they could humanly manage.

Secondly- The associated effort in spreading news of the forthcoming conclusion to a work they have embarked on; particularly in the correct and effective use of the opportunities afforded by Social Media

Thirdly – The professionalism required either to market by oneself or by contacting professional folk who can assist in this way.

I can evoke, lyrically I might add, the reasons why someone should write. I pride myself on being able to ignite a spark or breath life back in the fading embers of a lonely and uncertain soul wishing to write. I can, allegorically, stand on a podium and thunder with all the passion of a wrathful preacher; railing against badly strung critical reviews; professional critics; the snobbish sorts who look down their noses at self-publishing and anyone else who tries to stifle a new writer. I would sit on the edge of the nest of the nervous person about to start upon those excruciatingly difficult first words and gently ease them into spreading their wings to take flight amongst the breezes and breaths of Creativity. All those come rushing into my mind and my spirit, they are clarion summonings to bear aloft the banner emblazoned with those inviolable words ‘You Can Write’.

But I cannot give practical advice. I know not why, and sometimes do confess wretched sluggard that I am, not to caring to either. For me, the thrill is the creating, the crafting and the completion and then as some person caught up in the joy of a festival or event, once those final words, as chords in a musical event are done, away go I with fond memories. Ah, dear harmless fool; jester for the more focused, sensible and ultimately successful. You have your day amongst the words, the posts and the comments to posts, but the rest will always be vague stumblings……………………..

Errrrr, not too sure where all that introspection came from, but since I spent a good few minutes of my time crafting it, here it is and here it stays. Take it or leave it folks. Be warned. It could happen to you.

Anyway……

To the most important part of the post.

There are many energetic, inventive and determined folk in the WP Community who are kind enough to share their thoughts and suggestions on the matters of actually getting your words out there to the public. These come in all shapes and sizes, differing approaches, particular details, varying personalities; in fact across the myriad of the positive sort of Human Effort. They all have one thing in common though. They are taking very, very, seriously the business of getting their work known to the public. At times, it seems as if once the book is completed then their Hard Work begins. I salute them, I marvel at their adroitness in navigating all the pathways.

Thus, for all the new and uncertain writers there is a treasury of guidance and advice here in WP, without you buying a suspiciously self-aggrandising book by some ‘name’.

I cite you a few examples from posts on this subject which just had to be reblogged

So You Want To Be A Writer

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

The Thing About Writer’s Block

When Your Writing Issue Is…

Newsletter BlitzNew Feature: Writer Rants (with host Dan Alatorre)

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Now some of these links might not actually cover a point in your journey as a writer, but they will guide you to folk who have a wealth of experience, talent and drive and are some of the people you should be reading. I apologise to those who I have left out, ragged that I am.

There we are folks, as the old saying goes

‘Get Weaving’

All the very best in your endeavours, now go and read someone else’s blog for pity’s sake.smile

Of Patchwork Warriors Part 7

This is where Trelli gets seriously involved. The phrases and ‘book’ titles are taken from a previously unsuccessful trilogy (The Nearly Not Quite Paladins) based in the past of the same world (Someday I’ll get around to converting them on Kindle as free-books, just for reference purposes)….

CHAPTER NINETEEN

‘Your latest assessment lieutenant?’

Bleymore was not really sure if Captain Dekyria was being sympathetically serious or gently mocking; there again Bleymore had to admit to himself he might have been putting too much thought into the statement, and so resolved to answer questions in the literal.

‘The message confirms that the file encountered an intrusion from the Zerstorung, but dealt with it. The beings which came through must have been very minor creatures to be despatched so quickly. The opening would therefore have been one which was made by either some rare natural event, or by the unforeseen consequences of someone’s action. Based on our previous information, it has to be the latter. The town of Prendaelyn would still be the most likely source,’

Dekyria stopped watching the swirl of foam on his coffee.

‘Thank you Lieutenant Bleymore. Now what about this custodian and his rather odd assistant? Medician Beritt is very particular about mentioning her. She seems to have some sort of unusual ability. Any chance of that pair being targeted by someone or something which sent those creatures?’

‘If this custodian is of the sort that hunts down Jordisk he’d have gained an affinity with Ethereal tydes and the girl seems to have her linkage. It is possible they may have attracted some sort of unwarranted attention,’ he shuddered ‘I consider myself very fortunate,’ he turned attention back to the oculator and the display of patterns ‘Some might say the arrival Sergeant Erzns’ file was most fortunate. There again there might be those who would argue they were drawn to it. Medician Beritt’s work with that lighter type is quite good for a novice,’ he pulled a face ‘Even intuitive,’

With each part of his explanation Bleymore watched Dekyria’s casual expression turn more thoughtful, calculating and grave. Beritt said she had targeted the incursion through the oculartragen, which was essentially a communication device but with the simple addition to keep track of an already aligned goal. It was not supposed to have its own ability to pick up random events.

But, for the present keep that idea to the background and let Bleymore gain in confidence.

‘You’re good lieutenant. Very good,’ Dekyria gestured with his coffee ‘And, let’s not forget you did the self-same thing,’ leaning on his chair he stood up, expectant faces regarding him ‘There’s a war coming guardsmen. Expect the worse and it won’t be so bad,’

 

Trelli was starting to yearn for easier times when her Ghitanixday afternoons were little interludes when she could just be herself and sometimes lazy. She  now accepted this  had been chipped away since Migran had got her all tangled up with firstly his financial doings and now here she was in his room, sitting at this desk, looking at that nasty mirror, and him carrying like it was all quite right and proper. And why had she been such a ninny and let him talk her into this? This wasn’t excitement jiggling her tummy, no! This was being scared silly! And how had he talked her into this bit of nonsense!

‘What am I supposed to do?’ she demanded

‘Nothing Trelli,’ was his anxious reply ‘I just want you to see how wondrous The Ethereal can be,’ and his hands moved across the jewels bringing the pale misty dawn light.

‘That looks ghostly,’ she complained.

‘No, let me explain. You see. There came upon the world upon a thousand years ago a new force which enabled folk to do things which had only been dreamed off,’

‘And The World nearly got destroyed,’

‘Yes, there were mistakes, but that was due to foolishness. Look! You do want to know, don’t you?’

‘I don’t think I do,’

‘Oh don’t be so soppy! Look at these jewels! These are selected for their empathy with the Ethereal! They draw its elements from the very air and channel them through these delicate wires into the….’

‘Funny looking box with a scary mirror. Something will loom out of it,’ she shuffled nervously, then flinched when Migran tried to pat her knee, he had meant to reassure her, not one of his better qualities.

‘No,’ he tried his idea of a calm authoritative voice, it came out peevish. ‘Look, watch this,’ and despite her whimper of apprehension began to tap out a pattern upon the jewels ‘You see, each impact or combinations of impacts has a certain resonance which sends out a message to the central hub within the box, which in turn generates an empathy with the Ethereal. I’ll show you,’ he turned to smile, hopefully at her, finding her wide-eyed attention upon the screen.

‘S-something’s writing something!’

Migran swung about in his chair; he was used to images, currently random sounds and if you were very careful small boxes of packaged script as if a horizontal shaped page, but here was lettering in imperial classics.

Traces of Integrity,’ it read

‘That’s new. It’s not in a box!’ he said, mostly to himself.

‘I saw that being written like someone had an invisible pen!’ Trelli was all for accusing ‘Stop it now! ‘Fore it tells us blasphemies!!’

Other letters began to form rapidly, Trelli tried not to be transfixed; this was all supposed to be wrong, and she knew it, but still it was….

More letter followed

Be this thine own Evermore,’

Trelli chewed upon her knuckles and began to recite prayers begging The Good Lord God to forgive this his foolish and wayward child, Migran sat back gave out with a gasp of delight and clapped his hands.

Seek Truth in The Number Where There Are None,’

The screen faded as Migran squeaked in delight and did his own version of chewing on digits and then cried ‘Oh Trelli. Oh Trelli. Oh Trelli,’

‘Yes, I’m here. All three of me,’ fear being replaced sarcasm.

‘Don’t you realise?’ well obviously she wouldn’t but he was beyond sense ‘They were quotes from The Paladinic!! The most wonderful collection of works of those years before the Ages of Retributions!! That was a message of encouragement! A signal that all my years of effort have not been in vain!! Plain text! Not code!!’

Once more Trelli did not have any notion as to what he was talking about. Except that he was going on about books that sounded odd and if they sounded odd, then there was a horrid chance they also might be forbidden. And if this kept on she would end being questioned by a custodian!

She was going to voice her fears when Migran began to dither about with the lowest of the three drawers on the right side of his desk, doing that stupid tapping, this time on three dull looking brass screws, at which point the draw flew open, and he swiftly pulled out a volume old and battered through use, waving the thing in her face.

She managed to make an odd title of ‘A Perplexing Tendency to Persist’

‘This is how I started Trelli! Three years ago, when father made a speculative purchase of some woebegone lord’s library and I found this amongst volumes on the husbandry of vegetables!’

He could not understand why she was so repelled by this revelation. Obviously, she did not seem to understand the simple statement that this seemingly amusing and quirky tale was actually made of two layers. Firstly, part of an account of folk legendary within the realms of the Jordisk, but more important a coded guide on how you could build one of those oculators.

Trelli wrinkled her threatened nose, she was sure there was an oily smell coming out of the pages and wished he would put the blasted thing back in the drawer. Then something struck her.

‘How did you know it was a code? I mean if you hadn’t seen it before. Aren’t codes complicated?’

His grin was something she reckoned those gervalons went in for at their blasphemous ceremonies before they sacrificed small furry animals, not that she’d actually seen one, but there were stories.

‘Because it all becomes clear when you read it with an open mind!’

This was the limit of her forbearance. A new and sudden determination gripped her for she could feel something whispering to her. Temptation! She would fight back!  She leapt up, hands to her ears, and a new string of prayers for protection from The Evils of The Lascivious and The Perils of the Retributions, then gathering all of her determination and with finger pointing stormed.

‘Dangerous! Blasphemous! I’ll give you just one day to destroy all of this! And burn it, or I’m going tell your parents!!’

Migran shot up, still waving the book, Trelli with a mix of fear and rage swatted it out his grasp, and with teeth clenched dashed towards the volume, snatching it up, making to tear it apart. Migran in turn howled and leapt at her, the impact sending them both onto the bed, which thus avoided any concussions so allowing Trelli the chance to hit him several times with the said volume. His cries for her to stay calm being of no use, as she was given vent to strong pleas for the forces of Goodness and Purity to envelop them.

The discordant duet and rather comic struggle was abruptly brought suddenly to a halt.

As Trelli’s hands began to glow with hues shifting between red and blue.

The brief interlude of shared wide-eyed open mouthed silence was broken by the cries of dismay from Trelli.

 

CHAPTER   TWENTY

 

Merthyl’s urge for retribution was gradually replacing the shock, pain and humiliation dealt to him by a custodian and some savage she-wolf this was all very humiliating, not something he would want known. Nor did he want to be reminded of the last time something similar had happened to him.

 

Nearly two years ago. The first day Silc had been allowed access to the Council’s Manse; ‘allowed’ being also to flexible interpretations; some might have thought ‘friendly demand’ would have been a more accurate term.

Merthyl had spied the large, slow gaited fellow dressed in rather comically common dark browns and greens, thinning greasy hair and dull eyes moving with an animalistic wariness. The young noble had waited until the fellow was out of sight of guards, fussy servants, nervous acolytes and of course Council Members. Merthyl knew all the corners, alcoves, short passageways to small unpleasant rooms. He’d stepped smartly out of one such passageway, blocking Silc.

‘Ah. You must be The New Money,’ he had drawled a supercilious grin sliding across his face. ‘How fortunate for you,’

Silc had looked down at him. Apparently curious.

‘I make my way,’ came the laconic reply, the manner had at once bothered Merthyl who them pressed home, and resting on the hilt of his sword.

‘I am Lord Merthyl,’ Merthyl  had announced, intent upon imposing his air of menace ‘And I bring,’ he had had to step up slightly to reach Silc’s face to breathe out the next word ‘Fear,’

He’d just let loose the end of the word, when a large left arm had shot out, striking against his throat, forcing him back against the wall, knocking out his breath with the pain of the impact, itself accompanied by a stab of agony as a large ugly ring upon the right fist punched into his right wrist, numbing the hand. The left arm had risen drawing his face level with Silc’s. The eyes now glinted with a knowing power, as Silc’s face drew close to his, with its own smile, one of threatening confidence.

‘I daresay that little act impresses the weak, the helpless, and the stupid,’ the voice was low, each phrase a stab of authority ‘Sunshine,’ it had taken about a Five for Merthyl to realise that Silc was addressing him with that term ‘But if I was to drop you and that bunch of snivelling wobblers that follow you about in MY streets; by the end of the day you’ll all end up as gutter leavings, or on the Sanded Lands slave ships as sacrifice fodder or trainee jolly boys,’ the smile had turned into a hard thin line ‘Now. You do what you do. I’ll do what I do. But don’t you get in my way,’ the smile had returned ‘And everything will be roses,’ and faded,’ Understand?’

Merthyl still shocked and finding breath hard to come by had just nodded.

‘Good,’ Silc’d released his grip, stepping back ‘Oh an’ by the way. If you are thinking about trying to bring some revenge to soothe your hurt feelings, let me warn you this. If anything happens to me. Well, there’s this list of folk I’ve had uncomfortable dealings with. My people will hunt them all down. My people are quite a few. Very persistent, with long reaches. I would do the same for My People. It’s how we work. Loyalty and Respect.  It might take a decan. It might take a year or ten. But they will be found and when they are finally delivered to The Fifth Hell, it will seem like a welcome relief. I put you on that list first news I heard of you,’

With that he had stepped forward, pushed past Merthyl and had not looked back, only to call out ‘See you at the Council meeting,’

 

Merthyl had been telling himself since, the meeting had been ‘interesting’. It had been a case of ‘Forewarned is Forearmed,’ He had vowed he would make the oaf pay, one day.

And the loss of his creatures had scraped red raw that barely healed wound.

One modest salve and part of his own plan was his endeavours to nurture an affable relationship with The Helmsman, let Belacheli fuss and get in the way with his hysterics and Karutorm could carry on as if the man was in the Grand Duke’s army. Merthyl simply turned up from time to time, asking intelligent questions in an interested and respectful tone. It did not do to make nervous a man charged with a delicate balancing act. And so naturally the man was immersed in his own work.

‘Have you any new information Helmsman?’ Merthyl asked, in his most conversational way. The man frowned, fingers moving careful over the display.

‘Excuse me for a ten please Lord Merthyl. There is a slight change in the current, I need to address. Jurd! Address the engine by ten degrees of element!’

‘Attended Helmsman!!’

Merthyl had to admit the Helmsman conducted his staff with exceptional efficiency. His orders were plain and precise. The responses swift and respectful. Merthyl had overheard the man carefully but affably explain the consequences of errors; all resulting in painful deaths because each would allow one or another creature to escape from the Zerstorung through the Helmsman’s realm and vent its nature upon everyone therein.

‘Sorry My Lord Merthyl, some matters take priority. Yes, there is still much turbulence on the far shore,’ he gestured to the far-off scenes of activity ‘Can you see the agitations from that angle?’

‘Oh yes. Seems to be thrusting hosts illuminated by sullen flames. Are we witnessing some sort of battle?’

‘There is little widespread knowledge of the motivations and associations within the Zerstorung My Lord Merthyl. Whereas it can be acknowledged that there is communication; to know the true length and breadth of the dynamics within that place is something beyond my own scope of experience or discernment. My own assumption would be that we are witnessing some attempted rupture of the barriers withholding the Zerstorung inhabitants. Mage Belacheli would be likely to caste you more clarity on this matter,’

Merthyl appreciated the adroitness of The Helmsman’s response. He was at one recommending and distancing himself from a council member. This would do for The Lord, he would now wait. There were credible indications in The Helmsman’s words. He doubted if Belacheli would be able to be so coherent lost as he was in his miasma of fear and belief. Ideal.

 

Silc looked at the object of dark green metal, tubular length of his large hand and half its width and sighed. You had to use whatever you had to hand. Silc turned it over to the area which had twelve small gems, three rows of four. He tapped out a pattern and placed the tube to his ear, tapping his foot and complaining about the hissing in his ear and then the rhythmic buzzing. He sat back in the one comfy chair of the room, of course he would have to wait for the reply. In this case you always had to wait. There came a click, and young exasperated voice gasped out a greeting.

‘Jerreli! Yer, it’s your Uncle Grenaww ! Wot? Well get the girl out of the room now! We got business! Never mind that she’s a Sea Lord daughter!’ Silc slapped his hand about the tube and looked exasperatedly towards Brandgash, a broad-shouldered man, his most trusted of bodyguards, ‘Give him a few ships to play with and he thinks he’s blimpin’ Sanded Lands Pirate General,’ Silc asided ‘Jerreli? Look, never mind the skirt, she’ll stay warm! Now listen I got a job for you and your lot. It’s a sweet ‘un. All you gotta do is transport a snatch and grab team, and pick ‘em up when they’ve done, it’ll only take one ship…. Naw you don’t need to take three. It’ll be noticeable!…Pirates?…But you’re blimpin’ pirates as well. Wot you got to be scared about?’ he put his hand over the device to lament to Brandgash ‘He’s heard Throth The Bloody Shark has moved out of the eastern waters,’ Silc shook his head ‘Look! You’re the one who has been moaning that you’ve not had family business….Well my son! This is Family Business!! Do you understand!!…..Good!!….Now just get your lot together and I’ll tell you more all in good time my son, all in good time,’

He brought one thumb down on the tube, shaking his head.

‘Thank The Goodlordgawd, my poor sister’s not alive to see him,’ he tapped out another pattern, this time not having to wait ‘Kregz!’ he called to someone currently out of sight’ Look, find ‘Oily’ Klee and have him get back to me on the whistler, he’s been moaning about us doing something for him but I need him to make sure something is going to work properly for us first,’

The discourse ended Silc eased out of the chair looking this trusted man.

‘Going to be a very busy time Mr. Brandgash . A very busy time. But old Lady Elinid’ll finally have her day in the sun. With the Silcs looking after her of course,’

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

 

‘Migran! Explain yourself!!’

‘Trelli has left because you argued??’

Migran being with a parent each side of him, felt maybe this had not been such a good excuse after all. But when you are faced with a crisis, well you do the best you can.

‘I may have been a trifle harsh over her recent figure work,’

His mother tutted a great deal and set upon him a severe look.

‘Such a dear girl. She’s worked so hard for us these past five years. You really should not have burdened with all that paper-worked. I did say so at the time!’ she heaved a fatalistically sigh ‘I had best ask Luucresia if she can spare Mollea; the girl is useful, needs watching though. Oh really Migran!’ she reached for her most business like hat ‘Honestly we were away for but five days, just a simple half-decan holiday!’ and thus made to exit, pausing by her husband to heavy whisper ‘And you had better find out ‘nothing’ else happened,’

 

There was a short interlude, his father began to pace.

‘Now look Migran. I know how it is,’ he ahemed ‘Trelli is a not unattractive young woman, and young men, being young men. Well I do hope it was just an argument,’

‘Oh nothing else!!’ Migran cried in horror, (was that with a pinch of regret? He wondered) ‘It was the summary of the last quarterly accounts. You know how hectic things can get in the lunation prior to the visit from the Imperial Assessors of Taxes and Tithes. Speaking of which, I really must get down to the offices and check, aspects,’ with that he picked up his only hat a flat and modest affair ‘I’m sure she will be back, at some stage,’

Then feeling he had said enough left. Very quickly before his father could get over the nervous shock at the news of looming Assessors.

As he walked down the street, on a sunny, breezy mid-morning he reckoned, he had recovered that quite well; when all things were considered, of course.

As he recalled it, as he had also done, when Trelli’s hands had first started to glow. He felt he had managed to calm her down, firstly by letting her cry a lot; girls always cried. He’d then taken her to the kitchen and made her a nice herbal brew, she had said it tasted like dead rats and had cried some more, which had been fine because girls needed to let their emotions out. He then decided to leave her cry even some more while he gathered ‘stuff’ and during the night by means of gloomy alleys had shuffled her off to a safe place. Once he had ensconced her there and, despite her fearful and fearing words had told her that all would be well, he would be back with more stuff. Which he had done so. She had stopped crying. She had become frosty. He had reckoned, again, this was the sort of thing girls did. And all would be fine once she had calmed down.

Now the closer he got to the sanctuary he had some doubts, but hoped they would clear once he found Trelli all composed and ready to explore this exciting new opportunity.

 

The office was a place he could be certain one of the workers would not bother with. Located at the top of the warehouse, by a rickety set of stairs, and facing out to sea it was naturally the most draft-ridden part of the building. Reaching the door marked ‘Family Hendrechan Only’ He tapped on it, gently.

‘Trelli? Are you there?’

There were soft sounds, followed by a battle with bolts and a lock, the door eased, slightly open, a fiercely disgruntled face filling one portion of the gap. It seemed to a common means of communication between them these days.

‘Yes,’ she said, tersely, then thrust one gloved hand out, waggling it at him ‘I can hardly go about with these can I now?’

Some part of his confidence crumbled.

‘I am sorry,’

‘I wish I had a silver piece for each time you’ve said that this past day. There would be enough for me to flee away back to the Libratery orphanage and offer supplicant payment to the Devoteds; I’m sure they would get me to a special Libratery that could cure me,’

‘It’s not a curse! Please let me in. It is not good for me to be standing here,’

‘And it’s not good for me to be stuck in here!!…Oh spiffle!!’ with exasperation vented she pulled the door open.

He noticed she’d made the office reasonably habitable and draft-proofed with aid of the blankets, cushions, pillows and suchwhich they had gathered in the flight, but he had a feeling she would not appreciate conversation of domestic arrangements. She flung off the gloves and held up the hands glowing from red to blue and back again in a delicate and slow evolution; the barred teeth disturbing the arresting sight.

‘And what progress have you made!!’ she demanded ‘It’s all your stupid fault!!’

Returning to the phenomenon of the spontaneous production of coinage he in turn wished he had a gold piece for every time she’d said that, in between her tears. There would have been enough to have bought passage on a craft for the Sanded Lands, there they would appreciate this sort of circumstance for what it was; an opportunity!  Try telling Trelli that. He’d never realised she had this abrasive side to her character.

‘It’s not very easy Trelli. These matters have to be evaluated,’ his very clear and concise rehearsed speech was evaporating under that accusatory glare    ‘How long is that going to take! Am I expected to stay in this room for years and years? That won’t do, for all sorts of reasons!’ she stalked over to the window arms folded ‘For all sorts of reasons,’ her repetition accompanied by a very disgusted expression

Just for a five, he did not speak. He gazed settled upon the glow emanating from her hands. The steady progression through hues between pale crimson and summer sky blue was setting alluring patterns upon what should have been Trelli’s dowdy servants clothing. His reverie was not destined to be long; her very loud and judgemental sniff shook him back to matters practical. In consequence of the suddenness words spilled out without much thought for tact.

‘I am trying to work out the reason in which The Ethereal was attracted to you. There must be some sort of circumstance within your natures for this,’

She spun on one heel, there was the fierce look again, and oh dear, with her eyebrows narrowed into downward pointing blades and the return to the barring of teeth she did look rather fetchingly wild.

‘Don’t you go try to blame me for this Migran Hendrechan! You’re the one who was fooling about, despite what I said to you!’ tears began to brim again ‘It’s worse than being placed unfortunate! Again, I could have gone to the local Libratery in the broad daylight and no one would have thought of bringing a custodian in on me!! They understand how poor serving girls get put upon!!’

At this juncture, her shoulders began to shake, her head drooped and the tears fell.

‘And to make it worse, I bet you have gone ahead with that stupid excuse and told your parents I’ve run off!’ she looked up anger brimming back ‘You’ve truly messed up my life you have!’ Up shot one summer sky blue hand, finger tips darkening to a thunder shade she pointed to the door ‘Oh go and leave me be! And don’t come back until you’ve got something sensible to say!!’

Once more she swung about to the window.

 

He gently put down the bag containing food, with three bottles of very weak wine, and the small sack of soaps and cleaning waters. And feeling comparable to the worst of sewer rats he quietly closed the door.

This was monstrously cruel; he had pushed the very boundaries of his knowledge and had made a discovery, of some sort. In other circumstances, he would be checking his forbidden works for clues and insights, building upon the initial success. If only the Ethereal had settled within him! Why Trelli? He wished he had the time to work upon the question of Empathy, study the wise words of The Paladinic. Was it not so that Trelli’s experiences were not dissimilar to the initial trials of Shereavan the Wylde Raven of the North, and what a hero she had become!

How would Trelli may able to make use of the forces which were now moving within her?

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

 

‘Hello Flaxi. I didn’t know you liked climbing trees too,’

‘I don’t. But that wound of yours needs checking,’

‘Oooh, you going to do that up on a high branch?’

‘No. You are going to come down out of your perch,’

‘Aww, how kind! Not shouting or throwing sticks at me,’ Karlyn now fully awake stared into the sky. ‘Still about a thousand ‘fore dawn. You can’t wait?’

‘Again. No. I have a busy day. Sergeant Erzns is insistent I make contact with our officers by the time we get into that town, and frib’ knows how long that will take,’

‘Do they train you LifeGuards to climb trees? You look reasonable up here,’

‘Where I come from packs of wolves are not uncommon,’

‘Fair enough. Ssso you are going to play with your box afterwards?’

The joke had grown old after the first day; once Beritt had learnt from the Norvan just what ‘box’ meant in elidian slang; he having, a comprehensive knowledge of obscenities from the length and breadth of the Oakhostian.

‘I could decide to give you a purgative to ensure any remaining poisoning within your body are flushed out,’

Karlyn normally immune to threats felt there was something in the hardening of those round pretty features and narrowing of those big blue eyes which suggested this Hengestatian girl was just the one to do it.

 

Beritt having explained to the jovially inquisitive Fileman Creylan that she had not been converted to tildeltish ways of roosting, then herded Karlyn off to a safe distance before the elidian started to wake up the camp, Beritt sat the girl down at near the bank of the river Herene, slow on its winding its way to their destination of Prendaelyn, Karlyn sitting down crossed-legged, chin resting on hands, she was about to make some mischievous remark when Beritt flint sparked a small candle into light with, Karlyn thought, quite some efficiency.

‘Tilt your head Karlyn. I’m going to be looking up your nose,’ Karlyn’s expression scrunched up, Beritt amused lapsed into her drawl ‘Y’all may grimace missy but there is much which can be discerned from examination of the nasal cavities,’ as Karlyn was not moving Beritt stuck her left thumb under the girl’s chin, ignoring the low grumble ‘. Not that I gain any pleasure from the sights I do see,’

‘Just keep that fribbin’ flame at a distance,’

‘Yeh, yeh. Hmm. Clear. Very clear. I’ll not ask how you keep it so clean. Ears next,’ Beritt shuffled around and flicked stray hair out of her view, Karlyn doing her best to remain dignified and still; she was the one who was supposed to impose flames not receive them. She was then subjected to more ‘hmming’ and a few ‘uh-uh’s, and the discomfiture of heat near her earlobes

‘Very clean. You shovel these out regularly then?’

Karlyn adopted a poise of very heavy dignity.

‘Clean ears and a clean nose are essential in my line of work. I take it there’s no spikey little demons lurking about,’

‘I’m guessing Custodian Meradat would have surmised that earlier. No. I’ve looking invidious infects which are prone to lurk in the orifices,’

Karlyn suffered a slightly involuntary jolt, a stray hair singed.

‘Orifices!! For fribbit! You peer in my ears, you can gaze up my nose and you can gawp down my mouth! But Flaxi, you are not going anywhere else with that candle!!’

Beritt shrugged.

‘Then it will have to be the purgatives, you being obliged to sit in a field at a distance of at least one thousand paces away from decent company for some time, and I’m not thinking Custodian Meradat will suffer such a delay. Thus, he will instruct me to conduct an examination in daylight in the confines of a tent, and us both will subject to predictable and very dull ribald remarks, of which I am quite inured,’

‘Huff! Beneath that sweet and pretty face there lurks an iron heart,’

‘To be correct below and downwards of this pretty face there lurks an iron heart. Now be a good little maid, and Medician Beritt will give you a boiled sugar lump afterwards,’

Karlyn once more grumbled, but she’d not had a boiled sugar lump for lunations.

 

The ‘men’ had gone out on scouting, leaving the ‘girls’ to stay at ‘home’ to observe, one up a tree and one leaning beneath it with an oculartragen. At least that’s how Beritt saw it and was a little surprised Karlyn had not been annoyed about that slight nod to domesticity. But she had she own problems.

She could not make contact. Crocked thing!!

Beritt was still not clear just how this oculartragen worked; hurried instructions; a leather-bound book, the small print of which was not conducive to reading by night and the occasional message sliding across its screen. These were not up to the standard of instructions a medician expected. More the equivalent of ‘Oh a quarter of the leg hacked off? Just put something on it to stop the bleeding,’

And what the High Holy were they going up against? For ferrkit! The lads had been lucky to put down demons with those falconades and then the custodian had said those weren’t proper demons and small stuff. Well suppose they came up against the ‘Proper Demons’. Fine if you were one of Erzns’ hounds, they would reckon a ride through the Five Hells as a jaunt, while custodians did this as a matter of course and Karlyn was tending to swagger about her own victory. But whereas medicians carried powders to kills fleas and rats, and lotions to deal with infections Beritt didn’t reckon those were quite up to the requirements. If things got really Fifth Hell, she might find herself having to stick close to the elidian girl.

As if hearing a summons, the girl alighted from her latest tree, soft footed and having been told all ways well with her body was now back her cheery disposition.

‘Hi Flaxi’ Beritt supposed she was stuck with that reference to her hair, but if any of Erzns’ crew tried to call her that… ‘Any luck yet?’

‘What’s your nose telling you?’ she replied; maybe she’d get more sense from Karlyn than from this mule of a device

‘Nothing new. Same ol’ oil and sea. But this time I’m going to be ready for any uglies that that any hell can throw at me,’ she peered at Beritt. ‘Do you want to go and bathe in the river while the lads are away?’

‘Just what are you inferring?’ Beritt asked and then unconsciously scratched at an armpit

‘Nuffing!! I just thought since the lad are away, we could have a nice private social bathe,’ Karlyn outrage turned to a pout ‘S’what girls do together,’

The strength of the sigh would have levitated Beritt’s fringe even higher than normal, but for the brim of her hat.

‘It’s a pleasant thought. Sadly I can’t leave my duties here,’ she gave the edge of the device a swift slap ‘And particularly not while this thing!’ another slap ‘Is being cussed!’ a muttered swearing. ‘You go if you want. I’ll keep an eye roving for you,’

‘Naw,’ Karlyn slumped back on the ground scratching her untidy brush of hair ‘Wouldn’t be the same Flaxi. S’been a long time since I had girl-company,’ she picked a long strand of grass and began to chew on it while looking about. ‘When we get to that town, what you think our chances are of getting a bit of free time, and attendant,’ she rolled her tongue about her lips ‘fun!!’

Beritt snorted and stabbed a finger at one of the gems, it blinked back in a way she reckoned was outright defiant cheek.

‘LifeGuards on duty don’t get…. Fun!!…No time for it. All senses alert to dangers,’

‘So you don’t get a chance to steal off with one of those lads, and ease your fears away,’

Karlyn thought for such a small girl Flaxi could make a lot of noise in one single dismissive bark.

‘Fun with any lads? Hah! A girl should sooner amuse herself with frbbin ’tree twigs rather than any of that crew of raggedy dogs!! They put theirs where I wouldn’t put my scraithin’ boot!! Had to attend to two of them for Particular Boils not two lunations ago!! Enough to make any girl loose interest in dongers for the rest of her jolly-time days! I always was particular with the fellows’ delicates !’

Karlyn frowned, then was all accentuated outrage

‘Oh dearie Flaxi! The mouth on you!’

There was a pause, then a shared outburst of spluttering laughter. Karlyn tugged the brim of Beritt’s hat over her eyes, Beritt could not help other than to smile warmly in return.

‘That’s better Flaxi! I think you’ve been working too hard,’ her nose twitched ‘You got a faint aroma of weariness about you, like Spring damp dawn mists and daffodils at the end of their blooming,’

Beritt was about to ask….

But there was the sound of distant hooves.

‘There! They’ll be back and expecting results!! Now let me battle with this cussed machine and you go and sit up your tree and talk to bees, or something,’

‘The bees have told me all they have to say,’

Beritt looked up meaningfully.

‘You mean that, don’t you? You do talk to bees,’

‘Yer,’

And then being perverse, Karlyn remained annoyingly silent, choosing to stand up and walk about, whistling cheerfully while kicking twigs.

And the mirror’d glass seemed intent on continuing to be obstinate. Pressed for results Beritt gave way to understandable frustration and having given up on the mild slaps shook the device while swearing with so much vehemence as to draw Karlyn from the other side of the tree, placing hands on Beritt shoulders, and leaning over her.

‘Frib!’ breathed Beritt.

The blankness had suddenly given way to a storm of swirling myriads colours, devoid of shapes other than the swift flow of flooded streams in random directions. Some colliding and creating new shades; defying any sense, threatening to cause confusion upon the spectre.

‘What the scraith Flaxi!’

‘Lady Green Vixen; Captain-Sister-to-Us-All!!’ despite her plea and solid efforts to make any direction, the images continued in their chaos; now shot through with blood red, explosions of lurid orange and a growing back ground of night. The display taking place just as Meradat and the LifeGuard arrived; Karlyn promptly scrambling to the custodian.

‘You’ve gotta see this guv’!!’

Meradat now fatalistically attuned to her ways did not comment directly to Tildelte Karlyn but strode over to where Beritt was working the gems with frantic glances to the book, and resultant words of exasperation at the lack of any useful guidance. He stood, thoughtful for a while.

‘Can you dismiss that device from continuing its display Medician Beritt!’

Since this was phrased as something of a command, Beritt ignored whatever protocols she’d been told by Dekyria, and tugged loose from the left side of the oculartragen a deep azure gem, at which point all conjunctions and contacts with The Astatheia ceased, the mirror’d surface taking on a rather sullen dark grey. Meradat thus satisfied addressed his small congregation.

‘What has been witnessed here is a manifestation of The Zerstorung, as its creatures’ sense opportunity as the predator smells fear and blood!!’

Beritt thoughts were sour, it was fine for Erzns’ pack to look grimly ready for a challenge, and Karlyn to grin, they were all not conversant with Sanity. She whispered a sanctioned Lifeguard prayer for forbearance in the face of Severity. She took a smidge of comfort from Meradat’s brief nod of approval, thence to continue with, she reckoned, a certain amount of relish.

‘Now let us be clear. There are no such things as views into The Future. This is known only to The Lord God. But the capricious Stommigheid takes its own malicious delight in vexing us with lurid warnings. These are not to be dismissed, for with diligent caution and faith in The Lord God, even this untrustworthy circumstance and be brought to serve,’

‘Nice to know,’ Beritt wisely kept the words to herself. The custodian was in full flow.

‘The confusion of colours indicates much unwise activity with The Stommigheid. The lurid reds, oranges and night-shades reveal that those of violent and ill-intent are drawn to its maw and will bring woe upon that town. We must therefore be quick, ride there in teams of two, meeting at an agreed location, then hunt down the miscreant and extract them before destruction falls upon that unhappy place,’

‘Does that mean we can’t even burn down a titchy bit as a warning?’

Karlyn was to complain to Beritt for some time afterwards that it had been a reasonable question and she’d not deserved scowls and the custodian’s instruction to be silent.

 

Meradat concluded with an insistence that all kneel and follow him in prayers and solemn reflection. He was naturally expecting the usual mumbling and stumbling through the correct responses, but as he’d hoped  the medician was far more conversant and attentive in the devotions. This was a relief to him, she would have a measure of protection against the wiles of the Stommigheid. When he was satisfied he had imposed some measure of sobriety upon the task at hand he turned his attention on her.

‘Child, in your heart, you are still a good sister-in- faith,’

Beritt was not feeling particularly juvenile, but took the words in good custom, with a brief thanks and an affirmation she would place her trust in the Good Lord God. This earned a grunt of approval, and then Meradat was away to discuss with Erzns something or other, which no doubt she would learn about soon. Meanwhile she awaited orders

 

Chapter 6. Of Patchwork Warriors.

Of Patchwork Warriors (What the Earth he is on about- ie a Glossary)

Firstly, once more thank you for taking the time to read, offer constructive thoughts and messages of support. Ron@ ronbrownx came up with the very solid suggestion that a glossary would be useful and there has been a timely reminder by Audrey of Audrey Driscoll’s Blog audreydriscoll.com

Since I have too much fun making up words and phrases to suit my world it is only fair that this matter should be addressed. So I have approached this in alphabetical order rather than trying to be too technical and sub-divide into topics (that only works if someone is inspired to make a role-playing game out of this….oooh royalties…yeh right). Anyhows, here we go

Naturally folk being folk there are a lot of vulgarities here. Also ‘Karlyn’ makes up her own words.

Age of Conceits: The official name given to the era which gave rise to the current problems in the world. This led to the Age of Retributions

Age of Remorse: The official name for The Present

Age of Retributions: The official name for the era when it was alleged everything went wrong

Astatheia: This is the LifeGuard term for The Ethereal; similar in meaning but with more of a warning

Being placed unfortunate: When an unmarried girl becomes pregnant.

Centrus Sea: Mediterranean

Crocked: -Broken. Stupid. Wrong

Decan– The equivalent of one week. Time does not run in ‘Patchwork’ as we are

used to. Hence a ‘week’ there is ten days long (decan stolen from decade)

Devoteds– Basically equivalent of nuns, but not as in Sound of Music

Donger– Naughty word. Penis

Equesteria– LifeGuard rank for a trooper charged with the care of horses. (another obviously stolen word)

Ethereal– Jordisk term for the power which affects the world. Was in the ‘Age of Conceits’ the official term. In theory can be harnessed. In practice, dangerous (very).

Fayre– The way they spell ‘fair’- just sounds nice to me

Fifth Hell– The worse place possible- All sorts of torments for the really deserving. And also used for a really bad state of circumstances (Think Fubar)

First Hell – Believed to be the place where the annoyingly stupid end up. Also used to describe someone ‘Certain to the First’

Foggea: Possibly what’s left of the isles off the western coast of the imperial mainland

Fourth Hell – Fear. Reserved for heretics and ‘minor’ criminals (legal and moral); where they can see the Fifth Hell. Also indicating you are truly scared.

Frib– Common mild expletive (also fribbin’ or fribbing)

Gawdelpusal– Elidian accent exhortation for ‘God Help Us’

Ghitanixday– Fifth day of the decan- when workers get a half day (terrible pun based on American sardonic phrase ‘Gee thanks’)

Goodlawdgawd– Elidian ‘Good Lord God’ (usually used when surprised)

Grassshopping– LifeGuard term for people using the Astatheia to cover short distances

Grim The – Elidian term for the LifeGuard.

Hengestatia- Somewhere in the central part of the Oakhostian Empire where reside folk with similarities to the current population of the USA; sort of divided in the North (Nordd) and South (Sudd); the former of a ‘western’ style; the latter of a..err southern style

Happy Sliding on a Stick– Very vulgar term. Used as expletive of surprise, exasperation or insult (just imagine where the stick is going and you’ll get the message)

Jordy- Slang term for Jordisk- Normally used by Karlyn

Kerfluffeg– A Karlyn word for confusion or confused

Knobbling– A Karlyn word with many meanings including tricked, confused, trapped, outwitted and occasionally just plain rude.

Lady Green Vixen; Captain-Sister-to-Us-All- Exclamation used by women in the LifeGuard a reference to the legendary Sherevine of the Chasserai

La Rovina– As used by Sinola Mietitore and his team The tuscatalian term for The Ethereal (based on the Italian word for ‘Bane’)

Libratery: Equivalent to Convents. Very socially active. With their own networks and strictures. Low profile but not to be fooled with.

Little Hell– A common expletive of annoyance; ‘Little’ added to denote from the realms of Hell

Lord God’s Jewel – The religious term for The World

Lunation – In the Patchwork world this equals a month. Four decans equal one lunation There are ten lunations in a year. So there are 400 days in a year. (err possibly days are shorter- haven’t worked that out yet)

Manse– An old word for house (possibly of Scots’ origin)- Here used to denote a largish building more strong than a mansion and possibly where suspicious deeds are carried out.

Medician– LifeGuard rank of medic.

Mediphsic– A medician’s kit

Mentor – Common folk’s terms for a priest (aka Translator)

Midden – The more acceptable word for ‘shit’. When the latter is used things are really very, very bad.

Nanonsphere– A Jordisk term for the environment (and a hint to the reader)

Noodle-hutch – Karlyn’s word for somebody currently or permanently unstable

The Oakhostian– The empire; think Europe

Oculator- Standard term for devices used to observe events going on in ‘The Power’. Also used for communication over great distances and in some cases for transportation. Some folk insist on their own grandiose terms (I’ll warn you)

Oculartragen- A LifeGuard invention. A portable Oculator to be used on missions, mostly for short range tracking and short to medium range communication

Old spikeys/ spikies – Elidian term for demons

Ordinance: Generic terms for both artillery and artillery projectiles

Owls- LifeGuard term for the troopers who work the Oculators

Paladinic- A word whispered amongst Jordisk for legendary books which are considered true accounts of events during the Age of Conceits (for those of you new to my writings, this is an in-joke to my three previous volumes of screwball fantasy, on which most of the groundwork here in Patchwork is based)

Particular Boils: What men get when they are not careful who they…ahem…indulge with

Roder: A location which takes in what used to be the Middle East, Turkey, Iran. A place of richly exotic and dangerous folk, who look upon their neighbours to the west and irresponsible and barbaric. Somewhat feared.

Salutation: Only used by women as a sarcastic term for periods. Men are wary of the word and as one ‘we shouldn’t use’

Sanded Lands: Basically the area we might recognise as North Africa. A collection of nations which the Oakhostian folk are wary of on account of seeing them as ‘exoctic’, although quite a lot of trade and travel goes on between them (mostly dubious)

Scraith: The most vulgar word; meaning violent sexual abuse.

Scrope; A Karlyn word, she uses in terms of general insult.

Scothia: Located on the far north-west of the empire. Rugged and bleak. Seems to be occupied by folk who are vaguely Scottish. Has a ‘past’

Second Hell – Confusion; think SANFU. A place where fussy people are sent to annoy each other in all eternity

Silly-bugger– Familiar to British peoples, means Stupid, or being Stupid

Slaughter of Lowden Moor– A Term relating to a violent solution to a problem, referencing to a particular pointless, bloody and indecisive battle between two contenders for the imperial throne

Slovosskia: The vast empire and constant rival to the east of The Oakhostian. Always in a state of hostilities of one intensity or another.

Spiffle-An almost socially acceptable exclamation of dismay

Splosh/Splooshes – Latrines

Sproggle hole– A Karlyn word, vague in meaning, probably rude

Squirrel-head – Crazy, crazed, frenetic

Squirtz – Exclamation of dismay with its origins in the expulsion of bodily fluids

Stommigheid- The official term for the Ethereal (based on the Danish word for Foolishness)

Stommigheidate– An accusation of use of the Stommigheid

Stormhiggle – A common mispronunciation of the above

Third Hell – A place of Pain. Where generally nasty folk go. Possibly a place you dwell prior to going to The Fifth Hell. Also what you would say when whatever it is really, really hurts.

Thousand – It is a feature of ‘The Patchwork’ world (and likely due to ‘The Power’) that folk do not have any devices for measuring the passage of time in a day. There seems to be an innate sense. Folk will say ‘A Five’ for a very short instance. What we would call ‘A Minute’ they refer to as ‘A Twenty’. An hour is known as ‘A Thousand’. A day is comprised of ‘Twenty-Five Thousands’. Although often organised into watches, by those who organise things

Tildelte-  A person whom a custodian has officially decreed is their assistant (another Danish-based word of ‘allotted’ )

Todger– If you’re British you’ll know. If you’re American ‘Dick’

Translator– A priest: Translator of the Word of The Lord God

Translator Pastoral – Next rank up, usual duties organising priests (in some locations a bit like a sheepdog really)

Tuscatalia: Basically where Italy is geographical; politically – Late Middle Ages/Renaissance. Tends to produce a worrisome number of very capable and astute folk when it comes to plotting and subtle daring-do.

Twonk- Elidian term of insult. Means ‘Fool’

Walnuts- Elidian term of insult for stupid folk

Whychie – Common term for Jordisk (actual spelling varies)

Whychery- Common terms for what Whychies get up to

Wobble – A vulgar term…. basically…ehh..self-gratification. Unless prefaced by ‘A’ & suffixed by ‘r’ in which case a generally useless person.

Zerstorung: A dread realm populated by creatures considered demonic; ( german word for ‘destruction’- I think)

Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 1

Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 2

Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 3

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.

 

Commentary

“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.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

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.

 

CHAPTER TWO

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.

“Yumf?”

And a full mouth.

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

“Uh-huh,”

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.

“Try,”

“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?”

“Hmm,”

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.

A Message from the Borderlands

 

Unless embarking on a collaboration, the writer is carrying the sole exciting, and frightening responsibility of their work. They have the final decision on how their work will be shown to the world, be that world in the form of the public, an editor, or a beta-reader.

You’ve sat there, hit the ground running with the excitement of an idea to be put into a readable format and maybe sprinted along for a while, before the realisation strikes you that this is a long haul. Your short work must be economic but with enough colour and depth to capture the reader. Your novel must keep up a steady pace and hold the readers’ interest. Your non-fiction work, balance facts with keeping the reader’s attention. All tough calls. And personally, how poets do what they do is something I can only admire!

So you work hard, you strive on. Interests and determination sometimes are prone to a measure of waxing and waning. Reappraisal, self-editing, evaluation all taking place. The plot and the characters sometimes veer off from where you intended them to go. None of this should be discouraging; the creative process is a constant, living thing; this intangible force will drive, nag and steer you when other parts of you begin to tire.

No two journeys are the same; individual writers naturally differ, add to that the factor that each may have a different motivation for writing a new work and in come a large number of variables to the endeavour; that’s before we even start to consider changes in mood, and new outside experiences. Ongoing always ongoing.

At this stage I bring in tales of my own recent adventure. If you are new to the blog, basic back story, previous efforts- ‘big bust’, no one to blame but myself- everything which could be conducted incorrectly was carried out incorrectly, to-the-letter! Anyhows, time for a more sensible, structured, sober approach; basically- think of the reader this time.

Thus did I embark on another visit to the world of my previous fantasy novels, with less comedy and ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ asides. I tried to be truly serious this time, but the comedy, the little digs at some of the conventions of the Fantasy genre and my sheer dislike of some types of villains were wont to slip in, I concluded this was how I wrote- therefore work with it to make the whole business readable and entertaining.

And one day the book was concluded and so began to re-write (x 2); during these episodes the sudden surge of excitement and the new consequential layers of character, rationale, invention and dynamics took over. Typos, syntax, continuity aside this was pulling me along; imagine being outside of your work, watching it develop of its own volition in the environment you created. This was the feeling I was undergoing in the first and second re-write. All other writing and much associated blogging on hold; this must be completed; the characters and their world and yearning to be known!

‘Of Patchwork Warrior’ (Volume One of The Precipice Dominions), completed and awaiting examination by the public, and this time not just the sense of completion but that bubbling of excitement. Don’t worry, I tell myself, if this is another falling flat result; the important aspect was the thrill of the process. I, me, am not done with writing!

Enough about me and mine then. I bring you a message from the borderlands where the finished work meets the presentation to the world in general. All your efforts will be worth the time, energy and thought because you will have, by your own strength of purpose and intention completed your creation; and when all is said done, dusted, analysed, reviewed and revisited, this cannot be taken away from you.

Strive on writer.

Well bless my boots, I’m almost taking my writing seriously!!

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

 

Strive on writer.

A Trip Into a Writer’s Head

Firstly apologies to all whose blogs I used to read regularly- you see it’s happened to me, falling in love with My Re-Write…..Explanation to follow-

I really should have attended more to my blog posts, I promised myself I would; surely there are minutes and hours enough for a retired fellow to fit in a post or two in 3.25 days a week, but Ah Me….there was a re-write and as is the case where inevitably the writer becomes very attached to the work AND the urge to finish became overwhelming.

Well the FIRST re-write is done, and naturally there has to be the subsequent one where the tweaks have to be inserted, more of those sneaky typos are winkled out, long sentences ironed out into something which is comprehensible and of course not forgetting continuity.

Now, I don’t know how it is with you, but these days I find my writing mindset separates into three, dare I say identities. This is not quite as alarming as it sounds. This has evolved as a process to make the work more rational and readable; the stream of consciousness approach has to be set aside when writing Fantasy with multiple characters, lest they all get mixed up with each other and are not sure who they are.

Thus there is I, the Writer, the one who comes up with the plots and suchwhich and sort of orbits The World. I think Reality is overrated and an inclined to a singular approach which assumes folk will be more than happy to spend time they would usually devote to crosswords or puzzle games working out just what I am writing about.  The creations are passed onto ME a fellow in touch with both this reality and those of the writing worlds, experience has taught ME that creations need to be unjumbled, set out on the allegorical table and sorted out into a rational set of consequences which will make sense to a reader and provide them with hopefully a satisfying read, and not expect them to work out was I was on about. Then finally standing there with noble fatality and some stern strength of character is THE ARBITER. I am certainly not sure how The ARBITER managed to work into the process, I suspect it was when there was an excess of reading of Advice on how to be published or at least write with a sense of maturity. This makes perfectly good sense to ME; it’s all well and good mumbling about Dada-esque and assuming one will be looked about by future generations as the Frank Zappa or Moondog of the Fantasy genre, but I will be disappointed because it is obvious to ME no one will ever read such stuff, unless I become famous first, which it seems to ME is not going to happen unless I take things seriously. But when I am told that I go all sulky, and it’s left up to ME to sort it out.

It occurs to ME how best to explain the problem is for you Dear Reader to read an imagined phone conversation between ME and THE ARBITER. Consider if you will the style of the Legend that is Bob Newhart- The Narration being carried out by THE ARBITER (who naturally has the final say):

 

ARBITER (to himself): Oh boy. This Patchwork project. The blurbs. They always leave the blurbs up to yours truly.

Phone Rings

ARBITER:  Oh hi there! Thanks for returning the call…Uh-huh….Uh-huh..Uh-huh. Oh that’s OK. Y’know what they say -Half a draft is better than none!….Uh-huh….So what’s he done now? (laughs)… Not speaking to anyone again…Yea, yea. Well they do that y’know. You try and make it a viable and readable book and they just don’t appreciate it…oh I know…My grandfather had the same problem with Gore Vidal! Not that that guy ever wanted to write rom-com. Uh-uh…No that was the good stance for you to take, y’know, I mean who’s going to take Vol 1 of a Fantasy trilogy seriously if the three principal characters ended that volume each with a boyfriend!..Yeh… agreed!.. Who wants to read a re-write Seven Brides For Seven Brothers? (laughs)…And then….Uh-uh.Huh-Uh….Quivering over your alteration to the romance aspect is he?….He asked ‘What’s the character with the wooden leg going to do now?’….and you said…uh-UH!! ‘Well, y’see that might have been a bit harsh of you, because that character doesn’t read as the sort of guy who’d get his kicks that way….BUT, we got three volumes at least, someone else will turn up or he can die heroically with a few wise or ironic words on his lips…..So what else?….Mmm….yeh…..Well he will have to wait. Y’know you’ve got the major re-write to do….No kiddin’ (laugh)…no, no not at you, with you. Yeh, get to this stage and you fall in love with the book. It happens. You want those crowd of crazy kids out there to be read about. He’ll have to wait. Tell you what..I’ll get him a writing pad and tell him to use it and stop looking at Amazon….No problem. That’s what I’m here for….

Puts the Phone down:

ARBITER (to himself)….And there was that gig with Brandon Sanderson, but no, I had to go for the unknown (sighs). Now, blurb or check the launch budget again…..