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.

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 5- The Status of Women in the Middle-High-Middle Ages.

In this chapter we shall take a break off from kings, conniving nobles, fussy church folk and those who liked to pretend they were any of the aforementioned and consider the status of Women in the Medieval era. The reasons for this lurch is that we have just left Edward II who may or may have not been killed by nobles, but there seems to be a common misconception even to this day at that at the bottom of his fall was his cold cruel wife Isabella of France who being a mere woman also fell under the spell of wicked Roger Mortimer.

At this stage, the author of this work would like to say ‘Oh! Grow up!’

So, let us look at the matter in more detail.

The Basic Details

Women suffered from a bad press. Men in general, irrespective of intelligence and education were not inclined to understand the poetical and allegorical nature of parts of the Old Testament of the Bible so blamed women for Eve, or vice versa (it was a source of great theological debate). Also, if they did get around to reading stuff from the Elderly Greeks and Roman which of course had to be classical, these works were all about men apart with a few devious or hysterical women thrown in for dramatic effect; these works being written by men. It was thus concluded women were weak, devious, incapable of thought, emotional and not to be trusted out of your sight.

The fact that this could be applied in equal measure to your average male, in particularly the nobility and the higher officers of The Church was of course blamed on outside influences, especially women.

Thus, women were allowed only to get married and have children, or failing that enter convents. For anything else they had to have the permission of their fathers, brothers or husbands. If they insisted on surviving all male relatives then they were expected to marry the nearest available male. If he was already married she would have to seek another male; the one exception being the nobility; they were allowed to ask a bishop to find out a reason why the current marriage was illegal, immoral or inconvenient.

The Social Structure

Peasant Women.

These had less rights than their male counterparts, which was a bit of a problem seeing as in practice the male peasant was quite devoid of any rights. The law could be very harsh; if it was found out a woman had a child out of marriage, some male peasant had to pay a large fine to the local lord, irrespective if the lord was the father of said child. In addition to having children, cooking and keeping the hovel free of rats, they were also expected to work in the fields, forest etc. Those who survived all this to the ripe old age of thirty-five might be suspected of witchcraft.

Something More Than Peasant Women, Women

Although their status was something similar to Peasant Women, due to legal loopholes some women could keep some of their own property and income. They could also organise their own businesses, as long as a man knew about it. Women could be brewers or butchers, until men started to get queasy about the concept of that the person who brewed their ale could also wield a large axe.

Women Whose Husbands Were Commoners But Wealthy.

Whereas these women were still expected to produce children, they could have servants to boss about. When The Old Man was away for some reason, The Wife was expected to run his business. Sometimes the community and business partners found out she could do a better job than he could and his return might be difficult. Sometimes robbers waylaid him and no questions were asked.

Women With Titles

Generally, a daughter was set up to marry someone by the age they were four. The whole business being to organise alliances between families and of course produce male children. If they survived this they might be chosen to be lesser lady to some higherborn noble woman and either be loyal or insufferable if they were older than the said higherborn. Having a title allowed them at any stage to say they wanted to be a nun and get out of the whole messy business. There were many convents in those days.

Noble Women

Noble women basically had to have male children. If they didn’t it was their fault. If the poor mite died it was their fault. If the kid grew up and became a disappointment it was his fault. The father always wriggled out of the deal.

Very noble women were allowed to rule while their husband was off making a nuisance of himself somewhere or other. This was known as a regency and was a status not a style of ornate fashion. They usually ruled quite well and this was very unsettling for their hubby when he came back. They were also allowed to accompany their husbands on a crusade, whether they wanted to or not. Some were even more noble about it than their husbands. Therefore, it can be seen why some nobles felt more comfortable with their fluffy young mistresses.

Despite every male telling every other male that this was the one time they should listen to the teaching of The Church, there was still the sneaking suspicion that some women were alarmingly capable.

In England whereas the nobility had recovered from the shock of the Age of Matlhildas & Matildas (See Vol I King Stephen), there was still the worrying evidence that The Eleanors were still prevalent. Everyone still remembered how Eleanor of Provence had been worryingly more capable than husband Henry (III and a bit weak and wet) no matter how rude they were about her. Then the Dynamic Edward the I (and very grim) was supported by and so fond of Eleanor of Castile that he didn’t bother with mistresses and mourned her when she died (the fact that she was a canny and ruthless property dealer suggests he, being an invader and subjugator found she was of a like mind and therefore the ideal wife and helpmate). Naturally as both women were intelligent, well read, and capable they were not popular with the nobility who told their peasants why they should think the same way, but neither woman came as close to vilifications as……

Isabella of France (some time in 1295 – 22 August 1358), Edward II’s wife. As it will have been noted in the previous chapter being married to an Edward The II could not have been easy. Isabella and Peers Gaveston (Favourite the I) did try to work together by being so complicated that the barons never knew whether they liked or didn’t like each other. In 1311 she went with Edward on his campaign against the Scots and thanks to Edward nearly was captured by the Scots which did cause some marital strain. After Gaveston was murdered by Lancaster (the noble not the city) or welshmen she did try to raise Edward’s spirits by giving birth to a son. But this didn’t work as he lost a little war to the Barons and then the Scots and Isabella was nearly captured by both. Even if she did give birth to another son, it must be assumed some of the glamour was fading from the marriage, particularly as she, like the rest of the country suffered from the Dispensers. And around this time thanks once more to Edward’s ineptitude was nearly captured by the Scots again!

By now understandably fed up of Dispensers, Scots, Barons and Edward she fled to France where in order to invade England she and Roger Mortimer became lovers, raised troops, invaded England, dispensed with the Despensers and probably enabled Edward to flee England as live and uncomplicated life. She then made a big mistake of trying to rule England with Mortimer without being Just, Fair and Noble and was duly removed justly, fairly and nobly by her son Edward (the soon to be III), though the same courtesy was not extended to Mortimer.

Although she’d been instrumental in getting rid of the hated Dispensers and shoving her hapless and inept husband off of the throne because she was a woman and not allowed to do such things she was thence vilified. Had she been a man she would have simply been a chapter. Of course Christopher Marlowe’s play ‘Edward II’ has not helped, as there are folk who will take plays as actually history. There again being a character in a Christopher Marlowe play is hardly helpful to anyone’s public image.     

Women Who Took Up A Religious Life

Some of course did this out of conviction, others having seen what happened to mothers, elder sisters, cousins and so forth were quick to hitch up their skirts and scamper off to the nearest convent. This was the one course of action a woman could take without men interfering, as to do this might incur the Attention of The Church, which no one really wanted. This is only mentioned to illustrate the option and will be looked into in more detail in a separate chapter of The Church and other religious aspects.

A medieval singlewoman

This was not a unit of counting the population for statistical purposes, but a woman who was not married without being a widow or religious. Usually without a family they were obliged to find their own dowry. This being a system whereby the family of the woman paid a large sum of money for someone to marry her; today there are many parents of teenage daughters who wished this was still common practice. The Singlewoman was obliged to save up for her own dowry, which in some cases could be a pretty good excuse for putting off the event. There were also women who didn’t bother with such trifling excuses, such as Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock (1295–1344) who made a announcement she would remain unwed, whether this was made as a statement with dignity or followed by a vulgar noise has not been recorded, but she has had a book written about her and lived beyond 30 years of age.

Women of Low Virtue

This only applied to women who did not have titles or of nobility. These lower class women were naturally called whores and other demeaning names, which didn’t stop brothels from making money. This class of women couldn’t have been that ill-considered as their testimony in court was valid, particularly if it was embarrassing to some fellow whose rivals were sharp operators.

To say a woman of high birth was as such, was simply asking for you to get to suffer pain in all sorts of manners, unless of course you were a noble yourself and she was involved with a rival. Normally women in such circumstances were known as mistresses and were generally approved of particularly by wives who hadn’t cared for their husbands in the first place. As long as they didn’t try and influence him politically mistresses of kings were very much accepted, particularly if you were lucky enough for your wife to be one; this opened all sorts of doors for you. Sometimes the children of such relationships muddied the accession circumstance, but some nobles found this a useful way of upsetting rivals or even creating a Pretender to the throne; otherwise they were called Fitz-something and given some land somewhere and told not to get involved in anything.

Education

Whether men liked it or not some measure of education was necessary so that wives could look after things when The Old Man was somewhere else. Some nobles insisted their daughters were very well educated not just to impress others, but so they could spy on their husbands for Dad. Some miserable types complained that if women could write they would spend their time sending passionate letters to lovers. These were just sour-pusses because they didn’t get any of that type of letter.

The Church was naturally suspicious, but grudgingly accepted nuns who could write, just so long as they wrote favorable comments about Christianity and more importantly The Church. Any women who started to speculate about questions of theology were looked upon with concern for the sin of Female Independent Thinking and would be made to submit their work to a Bishop who would then get picky about their use of Latin Grammar.

Religion

This will be looked at in more detail in that separate chapter on The Church. Suffice it to say The Church with its Eve fixation was very suspicious of Women as being weak, devious, lascivious and other words they could fit into Latin. Generally, there were two schools of thought:

Younger members of The Church having read Genesis feared that women would either leap at them and tear off their clothes to force their attentions upon them, or by seductive female means would achieve the same end. It was best therefore if women were not allowed to do anything outside of the house, and religious men should only go into the houses when other men were there. These men also kept their bedroom doors locked, just in case.

Elderly members of The Church had the same opinions, they were of a grumpy stony outlook because in all their years they had never been in such dangers and thought that ‘typical’ or whatever Latin word they cared to use. They had given up locking their bedroom doors      

Some members of The Church had more moderate outlooks. They also kept their bedroom doors locked, for quite different reasons.

Warfare

Noble women often gathered or led armies when The Old Man was either doing that somewhere else or the fool had got himself captured. A few women were quite good at it, though men did not care to see it that way (See Vol 1- The Matildas). The English had had a narrow squeak with a welsh princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd earlier on in 1100-1136 who used to go around with her husband sharing raids and chopping Anglo-Normans to bits, but generally in this era in these Isles women did not often get involved with handing out the business end of sharp bits of metal; unless of course they were legendary. Whether any independently minded young women disguised themselves as boys, went off to war and subsequently unsettled hardened leaders of men who found themselves strangely attracted to the new lad is a matter to writers of fiction.

Conclusion

These days, although some men won’t admit it, they yearn for these simpler times, and have to be more subtle and inventive; unless of course they are morons in which case they say they are exercising they right to free-speech (and presumably exercising something else, which is why they keep their bedroom doors locked).

 

In the next Chapter we shall consider the Vigorous Edward III, which will no doubt be of relief to those male readers who are insecure (work it out for yourself for pity’s sake man!)

Edward II, And What Others Did About Him 

A True History of the Isles Part 21- 1135-1154 Who Is Who and Who is in Charge of England Anyhow?

A True History of The Isles Part 27-Eleanor of Aquitaine-Yes Mam! No Mam! At Once Mam!

 

The Absence of a Wandering Writer

I do like Word Press! There is so much going on socially, culturally, creatively, politically, and other-ones- I-can’t-bring-to-mindly. There are days when I spend hours+ reading through other bloggers posts and some would say to me

‘You are following 130 blogs. This is unwise. You cannot read everyone,’puritan-christmas-color

And I would reply

‘Yes, but looking at all the interesting contributions.’ (Unless I am listening to 1960s music, in which I would say ‘Yeh man. But dig all the out cool vibes going down. I mean like Out of Sight man! I mean like ..Heavy man!!… I mean I just got to be There Man!…..I mean…..like….Man!!!’…Those were the circumstances when you could say that to a lady and they would not be offended by having their gender changed; they would simply reply ‘Oh. Far out! I dig what you’re saying Man!’..and so forth)en_greekphilosophers

Ah. Sorry about that I seem to have wandered off topic.

Anyway having stated the obvious that there is so much of value and interest to read, somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice wouldst say.

‘But what about those Three Posts, one of which you specifically said to someone you would do (and it’s a doozy to work into words too!). What about that political site you said you would contact? What about the seriously serious editing you were going to do on the book? How about that notion of producing your own cover which for once is actually relevant to the book? What about the History of the Isles Project, it’s three chapters behind schedule?’trilby

While a more strident, naggy voice spoils by mid-morning coffee ritual, its allegorical arms folded, fingers tapping on the opposing arm, eyebrows narrowed, mouth a thin line.

‘AND,’ it booms (don’t you hate it when that happens inside your head? I don’t know about you, but that echo really disorientates me) ‘When are you going to get around to making your Blog Site look like a worthy site and not some room which has just received its first undercoat of paint? You have a WordPress Guidebook. Why are you not reading it? Why are you not following its advice? You have had this blog for two years now. People are following you- personally I am at a loss to know why- so you had better make the whole thing look presentable!’  (I don’t know where this character came from I’m sure they’re not really part of me; like I’ve been possessed by a spirit of Serious Diligence and Work Ethic).rant

I try and tell the two of them that it is productive to reply to other folk and chat back and forth, and then they gang up on me and tell me that is all well and good, but I, personally, do not have the energy or mental capacity much less creative powers to do the two simultaneously. The inference that I am somehow deficient is somewhat hurting, however they are a persistent pair.

So to shut them up I have to resolve to writing and not reading for a while. This is odd, feels like driving down the wrong way in a one-way street

And while this existentialist threat is being sorted out along comes…….

The Choremaster who reminds me there’s pile of ‘stuff’ to go on e-bay, the trees really need cutting back, and don’t forget the attic needs clearing out, then there’s the ‘clerical’ work…ONLINE PHOTO ENHANCE VILLAN

So what’s this Putting Your Feet up thing when you retire?

Anyway, I suppose all this will have to be attended to. Although to be accurate, some because I want to and some because I have to.

Which will be why if you are used to seeing me replying to your posts and am not over the next few days, sorry about this, sort of cleaning out the back yard, or garden, or attic, or spare room, literally and allegorically.

Now if I could only think of a succinct way to conclude this post………….imagesC0U7V2ED

Good People Doing Good Things – Bunches Of ‘Em

It’s easy to forget there are so many folk out there doing wonderful things. Jill posts these every week as a reminder.
Well worth a visit.

Filosofa's Word

The last few weeks I have reported on some extraordinary people doing good things for others – Mohamed Bzeek who fostered children with terminal illnesses, Michael and Camille Geraldi who adopted 88 special needs children, the Habitat for Humanity building homes for low income families, and last week, the Pollination Project providing small seed grants to others to do good works.  Those, my friends, are tough acts to follow.  So today, I decided to pick a few of the many, many people who are out there doing small acts of kindness.

helping-hands


A Boy and His Best Friend …

This first story is about an 8-year-old kid whose heart is in the right place.  His name is Paul Burnett, and his best friend since kindergarten is Kamden Houshan.  Kamden was born with a tumour on his T2 and T3 vertebras and he is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair.  The problem…

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So You Want To Be A Writer

Sage words of advice here. Read and take note

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

No, you really don’t. But if I absolutely can’t persuade you otherwise, I suppose I should at least share a little of my experience on the matter. Talking to a lot of writers, you would be forgiven for thinking that they were all producing epic masterpieces from the womb and have been engaged in the great literary struggle ever since, barely a moment passing when swathes of creative perspiration were not dripping from their brows. And I’m sure that’s how a good deal of them view the situation. Such declarations can be intimidating for us mere mortals, as if the fact we haven’t been scribing equivalents of The Odyssey since we were in short trousers means we don’t stand a chance of ever putting pen to paper.

20170616_181519 What do you mean you haven’t written your first draft yet?

The truth is, everyone has to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter when…

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Of Patchwork Warriors Part 6

This chapters are a mix of humour; sub-plot concerning a group of enterprising crooks led by the astute ‘Guv’nor’ Master Silc ; action of various sorts concerning the three central characters Trelli, Karlyn and Medician Beritt.

(Feel free to release your inner critic, this is a free-zone)

CHAPTER. SIXTEEN

‘I’m telling you Master Silc whatever it is, it’s not right!’

Old ‘Oily’ Klee had been so long in his craft and trade as a Mechanical that everyone had quite forgotten what his first name was. By appearance he should be seen as a wizened, worn-out, white headed, old fellah, but the sharp eyes, the constant aura of activity and the thick belt holding various screwdrivers, pliers, coils of wire and other instruments of his trade indicated quite the opposite

And anyway, not many people could lean over Silc’s desk knuckles pressed onto the surface and get away with it.

‘Tagburt Myrdle and Jysh Grivens both had narrow dodges when their storages blew the brackets! Karlgeh Whin had a channeller melt before his very eyes!’

Silc got the message none of this was good news, even if the detail was lost on him.

‘Now. Some of this I admit is the risks we take, but three together in one decan? Not right Master Silc. Not right at all!’ he paused to gather breath ‘And that’s not the half of it! Twice our Weather Predictions have badly, very badly gone wrong. The Fisherman’s Guild is giving us severe petulance over the damage done to the herring fleets; the way they’re carrying on, you’d think we caused it. But they pay us well for the forecasts, and they lost five ships in storms off the Southern Bay, where storms had no business being! It was supposed to be soggy over all of Decoryx not all dropping in that one patch of sea!!’

Silc took definite notice; he had his own very important understandings with The Fisherman’s Guild with regards to smuggling.

‘So. Decoryx you say,’ Silc looked passed Klee, calling towards an outer room where several of his men awaited for summoning ‘Oi! Rhoney! Bring me in that coastal map of the Uppers will you?’

In short interlude a young man with the air of one ready to please came rushing in, nodding respectfully to Klee and handing Silc a rolled map.

‘Open it out son, will you?’ came the patient response. The young man eagerly did so.

‘Now then Oily. Where in your opinion do you reckon a fuss might exactly be

coming from?’

‘’Ullo Merk’. Quick question. Has the City Council or Guild of Trade any recent problems of a deoryxish port Prendaelyn? Y’know, swift dealing by them, too sharp undercutting, signs of better bribes than we can offer?’

Merklin Silc slipped into the chair. Younger, slimmer and possessed of either a winning or knowing grin. In the wake of The Red Decan this brother had opted for a political career, his principal weapons being guile, sharp insight for the deal and the appearance of an easy-going nature.

‘Oooh bruv’ now that’s, as we say in Council a moot point. Prendaelyn may look like a fussy little port-town where sailors can only arse-blast with the correct permit, but their Guild of Trade,’ he sucked in breath and shook his head ‘Made themselves big favourites of the prince’s grandad and dad, played very nicely with all the right respectable people in Decoryx, then started setting up networks all along the coast. Rumours are they might be trying to get a toe-hold in our dear sister city,’ he oozed sarcasm ‘Lucher. Ever since that trouble with its three mayors in a year business it’s trade guild is weak,’ Merklin studied his brother ‘You haven’t got strong words that they in Prendaelyn haven’t been trying to push any of the five different sorts of Imperial Investigations into our commerce businesses, have they? Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard such stuff. There would have been rumours about them in playing along with The Custodians, or the Taxation for mutual benefit by making accusations about other towns, cities or guilds,’ Merklin seemed to thinking on his words ‘It’s what I’d do given half-chance,’ one finger raised in warning ‘But you got to be very careful, one wrong step and,’ he pushed his thumb onto the table ‘The imperials will squish you instead,’

His older brother remained silent, lips pursed, Merklin sat and waited. After the Red Decan the survivors had become careful folk; ones to leave things to simmer looking for the right circumstance.

‘It might be Merk. Just saying that’s all. That if this is so, then it might be, just might be this Prendaelyn might have got some trained Jordisk to smooth its work along. Old ‘Oily’ Klee was in here earlier on. S’why I called you. There’s odd stuff going on and he reckons there could be whychery involved, and points a finger right at Prendaelyn. I’ve a mind to send a good mercenary Seek and Snatch crew, apparently, you can trace Jordies and their stuff . See if we can find someone, bring them back here, and make the best of it, either turn them or manufacture confessions. What I’d like you to do is spread some muck about Prendaelyn in advance. Any problem there?’

Merklin took on a wolfish smile

‘Not all. Won’t need much convincing,’

‘Dunno why you don’t run for mayor Merk’’

‘Wot? Me being Chairmain of Civic Ways and Means. Secretary to Fiscal Appointments, and Advisor to Guild of Noteables? Why give up all that power just for big chain and a funny hat?’

‘Course I’ll have to use Jerreli’s ships,’

Merklin’s face clouded.

‘I know Merk. I know. But the lad’s been bending my ear for lunations know because I don’t give him any work,’

‘That’s cause he’s blimpin’ useless bruv! He maybe our nephew. Lyai,Goodlawdgawd rest her soul. But he’s only good fluffin’ up and down the imperial side of the Centrus Sea stealing off fishing boats and pirates worse than him! He’s the one in the family who didn’t get out and about defending the Silc body and bricks during the Red Decan!’

‘Yer, I would have expected him not to be found hiding under a bed. He was ten I suppose,’

‘Norwyn’s twins were only six but they still went at that fellah with knives and forks!!’

‘I can’t have him grumbling anymore. Grumblers are prone to offers from Others, and this is just a ferry job. I’ve short list of very good groups who know the snatch business, and if I can get the top one, who are tuscatalians by the way, then they should be enough to scare him into doing things properly,’

‘Alright bruv’’ Merklin sounded fatalistic ‘I’ll leave that side of things to you, and sort out the civics,’ he mused and his face brightened ‘There might be a way to make a trading profit on this. Of course we’ll need to work slow and steady,’

Thus, happier in his own realm Merklin Silc got up bade his elder brother a good morning and set off.

The elder Silc’s thoughts drifted back to the Red Decan; little folk, the rats of the city had tried to take down the Family Silc, sheer numbers against the Silcs, it had been a close thing, but the little rats had quickly learnt to regret their mistake. As the eldest survivor of the Paternal Line he’d take swift control and carefully built back. And not just relying on the name either; that had been the mistake which led to the Red Decan, not paying attention to any little chancers.  Elinid was now Silc and no mistake. Now for the next move and no one was going to spoil that.

 

Merthyl was feeling somewhat peeved. He had not been surprised that his efforts had summoned up those four creatures. When he had read back over the few volumes he held, it was obvious, to him, that he held a natural talent for this art. The creatures though were of the lower orders with little sense or perception; their craven loyalty to him was useful, being content to inhabit the cavernous underground rooms of the small castle; content to amuse themselves then feed on whoever or whatever he caste down there. As they prospered so did their ability to fly, although he only allowed one at a time out at deep night.

This was all well and good, but the next step was proving to be annoying to achieve. By all rights and rites he should now be able to make some direct contact with one of the more intelligent creatures that lived in the Zerstorung, and yet despite the obviously best and correct effort this was coming to naught. He believed there was something or someone blocking him. At first he had suspected one other member of the Obsidian Council either threatening him or playing at mischief, this notion did not stand up to examination; neither the brutish Silc nor the austere Karutorm displayed any great enthusiasm for the more complex aspects of contacting or using The Zerstorung, Uraxch’s party tricks were not up to such efforts. As for the Mage Hysterical, Merthyl reckoned he would be able to sense the old fool’s incoming babble and outrage. No, this was something new.

He examined the runes caste upon dark red Board of Knowledge; they indicated nothing specific upon the silvered  lines, the many hued shapes the lines made, or the arcane symbols within the shapes. Definitely new.

But he was not done yet, he had other weaponry, with a gloved hand he took a handful of pale emerald dust and scattered it over the board; instead of drifting downwards, it moved to the south and west as if moved by a soft breeze, ending up in one small layer. Carefully Merthyl brushed the layer onto a clean metal plate, covered that with one similar and made his way down to where his creatures awaited him. They were, as was their custom either flapping about the confines or squabbling over bones, all of which stopped when he arrived and they turned to capering beasts eager to please. Merthyl saw this as only natural, after all he had brought them from the Zerstorung, given them form, sustenance and amusement. Now he intended to give them purpose.

‘Come my warriors,’ he called, he was quite pleased that he’d thought of such a title, made them feel as if he personally valued them above others and not as simple devices. He held out the tray ‘Can you trace a scent from this dusts? ‘ the group gathered about shuffling and hoping, then thrusting snouts into the tray inhaling and gabbling amongst themselves.

‘Hagh! Good Master!’ growled the one with the most pronounced canine features and seeming leader ‘You have found prey for us to hunt?’

‘Tell me what you know?’ urged Merthyl ‘Show me your worth!’

‘Creatures of flesh, bearing fire and metal. Bold. Bold. They bar the way to softer meat and make barriers,’

‘We find them!’ cried out another clawing and beating at the air; at once this was taken up by its three companions, the sound rising to a clamouring ragged chant, each in its excitement rising as the tempo of its wings increased.

To Merthyl it was quite obvious that he was now in tune with the forces seeping through from The Zerstorung and bringing them slowly under his own control. No doubt his years spent in practicing and finessing the arts of cruelty into an art form had also made him adept at the skill of harnessing that which others only dreamed of. Smiling, he led his four to the door, to the tunnel from which they were usually allowed to use only at night.

‘Once loose,’ he told the eager band ‘Fly fast and high, then once you have traced these who would dare, swoop down, and have you fill!’

And as he expected like the good faithful hounds they were they did as told. Although he had to admit the speed of their ascent until they were but dots in the sky was quite surprising. It would have been rather interesting if he’d had the confidence for them to capture and bring back these characters, but that might be too complicated and could draw attention from folk he had yet to evaluate. You should not give way to too much, too soon. After all, this was better than he had initially expected.

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Karlyn was maintaining what she thought was a thoughtful silence. She’d told Meradat that the bees were very confused and she’d encountered a few very cross butterflies. She was now looking at the clouds, trying to make out which way they were actually going, never mind the way the wind was blowing, because that didn’t count. She wished that the Meradat would stop looking at her in that hound peering way; it wasn’t her fault that the Time was all skewiffed.

And she still reckoned that they should have burnt that wobbler back in Lump-Town.

Meradat had accepted the girl’s observations concerning Time. In his dealings with the Stommigheid and the Jordisk he had learnt and experienced enough to know what might be plausible. So despite her obvious volatility and intent to infuriate or intimidate she was showing a potential for doing some good, even if she was not aware she was. Keeping her under control was going to be the principal problem.

 

Migran had not previously endeavoured to have his oculator work at such an intense level, each gem set to its limit, but he would prove to Trelli. He would. By Ven of Numbers he would!!

 

Frib! There’s that damn particular hue!!

‘Sergeant Erzns,’

Beritt had correctly estimated she had not earned the right to call him ‘Sarge’; hence her very precise but respectful tones.

‘Medician,’

Even if his response was his signature grim and also indicating for disapproval at the messing up the balance of his file, it was better than having to put up with the claims to injuries and could she kiss ‘em better of which troopers Norvan, Trex and Dell just did not weary of.

Three days of very trying journeying but thanks to Poseydale she was finally used to getting to balance the oculartragen while riding. Captain Dekyria had been most insistent that she scan the locality for anything untoward every three thousand and report to him. He was obsessed the time, kept questions about her notion of what part of the day, or night. Of course this meant much broken sleep, a great deal trying to get the colour and shape right to form the signals, trying to read the code book correctly even in the dark and after all that fribbin’ about she ended up getting replies which indicated nothing except that he would be in contact. She reckoned by the time all this was over she’d have a fayre inclining about what the anguish of Confusions inflicted in the Second Hell.

 

But this time, she saw a hue about the all the colours; in the form of a thin line of orange which slithered into the sort of green wounds turned before she had to saw someone’s leg off.

‘I’m seeing one of those hues I was warned about!’

Erzns being as wise in matters of the Astatheia as Beritt swung his mount about rode alongside her and peered at the screen, when he spoke he was calm and strangely affable.

‘Do you know where?’

Beritt ruffled through the code book, peered back and forth between it and the screen, and very glad it was still daylight.

‘According to the code book, not more than a thousand at the fast trot,’

‘Alert Captain Dekyria now. Don’t hurry yourself. Get the report right,’

By now there was a huddle of troopers, their concerned expressions giving her the luxury of a brief smugness.

 

Karlyn was sure that cloud was going the wrong way; she sat straight in the saddle to sniff the air, her nose wrinkling up in disgust,

‘Blurgh!! There’s ripe splosh-pit somewhere! Yurgggg!!’

Meradat could smell nothing in particular to account for the girl’s agitation, now causing her to turn from one direction rapidly, to another while she scratched frantically at her thumbs with index fingers, alarm spreading across her face twisting her features into wide-eyed and teeth-barred ire.

The horses grew agitated, both riders more accustomed to being foot-solid dismounted, hauling off packs of their choices

‘Scraith! They!-they!’

A sudden sharp creak upon a branch of the wayside trees, followed by another and another. Meradat aware of the thick, slow slap of flesh upon flesh, looked up to see four shapes perched above them, large bat-like wings slowly folding. Slack jowled human faces stretched by dogs snouts and elongated ears, fever-yellow eyes bright with cruelty.

‘Live meat and souls’ one croaked deep and malicious, ending in a paradoxical high pitched laugh.

‘A fine time for feasting,’ added another and raising one leg, voided a stream of thick and foul excrement, in Karlyn’s direction, causing her leap backwards, while screaming in angry fear.

‘A female,’ breathed the third and standing tall revealed extended male organs beneath folds of flesh landscaped with ruin. ‘The feasting will wait,’

 

Merthyl had brought out a scrying dish which he had stolen form The Manse, and was busy with an incantation which was intended to allow him to view the progress of his pack, when he was assailed by a sudden sensation of falling, had caused him to clutch at the arms of his chair, gasping for breath quite at a loss to understand, his eyes flooding with tears; clearing abruptly to look into…

A wood, from four slightly different positions, down upon a tall thick set man in the ugly dark tunic and robe of one of those wretched Custodians. He was drawing a very unsubtle axe. Merthyl was trying to focus, assuming he was seeing through four set of eyes, when another figure almost danced into his view; a rather slender creature he might have thought a city urchin but that they were rather tall for that sort. Neither of them seemed the least bit afraid, defiant, and for one spasm of time Merthyl thought the slender being was looking at him; at which juncture he realised this was a girl as did his pack, whose intentions with her he did not need to wonder about. Sitting back and gathering his sense he prepared to enjoy the show.

 

Meradat was slightly satisfied with the girl having the sense to close ranks as she drew a long and clean slightly serrated blade of a knife and positioned back to back with him. Although he would have preferred prayers to the muttering of curses and oaths.

There was more of the thick slapping sounds as another one of the creatures alighted upon nearby trees, obviously all ready to enjoy the anticipation of the horrors they were about to inflict.

‘That was the pong then!’ she said ‘Where the scraith?’

‘Zerstorung,’ he replied ‘They are not calling out a name. They must have strayed into through a rupture between the worlds, no doubt caused by that meddler,’

‘So what do we do?’

Meradat picked up his axe settling it tight in both hands

‘Rely on the Lord God for our strength and forbearance,’ he said ending his words in a soft low chant.

‘That’s the knobbling death hymn!’ she objected.

‘One must always be ready,’

‘Oh dongers to that!’ she dropped into a crouched, one hand beckoning at the creatures, forcing herself to smile ‘C’mon if you think you’re hard enough!’ she chanted at them.

Meradat had been ready to explain to her that he was conducting a pronouncement of fortitude, preparation for death being a requirement. If all had gone well a slight and temporary but nonetheless effective barrier brought by his faith would have offered some protection to him and the girl and injury to the creatures. This might have eased the odds slightly, but that was all supposition as with a collective screech the fel things spread wings and descended, taloned feet and clawed hands eagerly outstretched.

‘’Ware your face!’ Meradat warned, diving to his left and dropping; a pair of filthy limbs brushing through his hair, a swift glance revealed a pair had landed close in front, beginning to advance, slowly, unevenly and bunching, allowing him the time to scramble up into a crouch. From there he hurled himself forward, hands gripped to his axe as he swung the weapon backwards, then pivoted on one foot whirled the blade towards his assailants. One took to the air with a mocking screech, but the other let out a howl of pain as the axe ripped across one limb, an odorous sickly green ochre spilling froth.

 

Merthyl winced in surprise. He had felt that!

 

Karlyn, badly pressed by the other two had been dodging with all of her street honed skills from one grasping claw to another. She caught sight of wounding and found time to grin. One of her attackers hopped and landed before her with a screech, which annoyed rather than scared her, so anger fuelled she brought her knife blade down into its foot, through flesh and bone and into the ground beneath, pinning the beast. At once a smouldering began about the wound, thick oily smoke and flickering of flame following. The creature shriek of pain gave way to a series of yelps of terror, wings flapping in panic as it scrabbled to try and free itself from the purveyor of the sudden incineration.

‘Shit yourself away of my lovely roasting knife!’ she cried, diving to the right to avoid the grasp of its comrade, then thrusting her right hand into a pocket pulled out a small oiled bag. She, danced back from the one assailant, tore at the bag with her teeth, spitting quickly, and then dashing forwards under clumsy failing claws slammed the ripped packet upon the injured limb, its powdery contents spilling out. At once there was a sizzling, and the smell of burning detritus, swiftly followed by a burst of flame, which travelled up the things’ limb flames licking upon the tips of the wings, Karlyn rolling away whooped in savage glee ‘Ooh you bright little fosfer powders!! Give it a roasting!!’

 

By now Merthyl had fallen from his chair in the shock of the pain from blade and flame, curled upon the floor, grasping and clawing the air. The visions were now no more than fire coloured flare of pain, mixed with oil think smoke.

 

The one wounded by Meradat, howling and leaking its essence had flapped to a nearby tree. the other much alarmed by the sight of one of their own threshing and burning gradually tuning into wholly into a thing of oily flame and smoke joined its colleague and together they huddled and temporarily uncertain of their next action. Karlyn stumbled and chortled her way to Meradat who having wiped his blade upon the grass was now once more couched ready for the next assault.

‘Them’s easy!’ she gasped in heady victory.

‘What were you using this time?’ was the stern demand.

‘Not giving away my secrets,’ was the smug reply.

It was at this stage the one wounded by Meradat whimpered and tumbled from the tree, completely empty of life.

‘Bled to death from that weedy wound!’ the girl cried ‘Oh this is gonna be fun!’

‘There are still two of them,  cautious now,’ warned Meradat and gesturing to the one pinned and burning now a writhing screeching mess of wings and limbs. ‘And that one is as unpredictable as a pack of mad dogs,’

As if to support his point of view the thing gave vent to screech which caused Karlyn to slap her fingers to her ears; the beast with a frantic flapping of its wings broke for the sky tearing loose from the burning foot, and trailing a stream of the vile ochre. Uncertain in its motion it still set a baleful glare upon Karlyn and pointing one clawed finger at her gabbled a stream of incomprehensible stuff which she took to be uncomplimentary and the precursor to a maddened attack.

To see it twist and tumble to the ground a pile of burning offal leaving the others to seem to rally for another attack when there came sudden shrill sounds overhead, faint metallic glows marking some sort of passage, ending in explosive impacts upon each of the creatures, tearing their bodies and scattering debris over the area.

 

One white and steel coloured flash and the sudden scent of a furnace and Merthyl was free of pain, left panting for breath, and terrified.

 

In this unexpected violence Both Meradat and Karlyn had part dove, part been knocked to the ground; she was the first to look up

‘And now there are none of them left. All blowed up now,’ she turned to Meradat current engaged in sitting up and brushing fragments of the wayside from his clothing ‘Did you cause all that to happen with a really big pray?’

‘No,’ she couldn’t understand why he sounded displeased. Maybe custodians didn’t like to be rescued, made them feel not fearsome enough ‘This was another agency. I daresay they will make their presence known soon enough,’

He then began to rummage amongst the bodily remains, scowling, kicking a part with his boot here grunting, crouching at any piece there, poking it with a stick and muttering, quite deaf to Karlyn’s loud complaint that the horses had gone.

When her initial outrage died down she supposed it would make sense, as the poor things would have been scared witless by those nasty creatures. Next, when another wave of composure washed over her, she wondered just who had fired what and why. Starting to shiver, and not wanting to admit an aftermath of fear or danger of losing the benefit of her last meal she made herself active stepping carefully away from most of the foul waste and carefully puling free her knife. At once beginning to clean it, administrating from a small clay bottle an astringent liquid and using a very rough rag.

‘Uh! Degenerated humans!’ Meradat said ‘No wonder we had this easy! Foolish wretches lapsing into sinful blasphemous ways and sucked into the maw of the Zerstorung to receive just punishment in being absorbed into its vile ranks. They either took advantage of a rending in the barriers, or were summoned here by some wretch,’

‘I thought I saw a face on one of them before it burnt away. Sort of youngish, all twisted up of course,’

Meradat did not look surprised, just thoughtful.

‘Regrettably we have no time to discuss that now, we shall soon have visitors. So be quick and tell me about the burnings you affected,’

‘Fosfor,’ she said simply ‘S’ stuff that burns when you slap it on someone, all their sweat and stuff starts it off, an’ it feeds and feeds so it does. The knife’s teeth has it rubbed in y’see,’

‘You tore open a packet with your teeth! Why did you not burn!’ suspicions rising.

‘ Ah, that’s like those comets. Safety and speed. That’s the trick, two layers on bagging, you tear open the stronger one, then holding onto its remains slap hard, and the second bag ruptures,’

‘Seems uncommonly dangerous,’

‘Yeh,’ she drawled, her grin unhinged.

‘Foolishness is a sin Karlyn Nan-’

He stopped; the sound of horses from the fields, in steady approach signifying riders.

He turned to Karlyn one finger raised in warning.

‘When they arrive, say nothing unless I tell you to,’

‘Who? They the ones what blewed them beasties up?’

‘Say nothing,’ he repeated.

For someone as turbulent as Karlyn this was a bit of a challenge; there again she was experiencing a wave of curiosity over the whos, whys and what-have-yous of the approaching party.

 

Seven riders approached from the cover of another tree line, two leading Meradat and Karlyn’s horses; their garbs were the variety of tough practical travel worn types, each wearing headgear of some sort. Apart from the smallest of the number who was hunched forward, the others held weapons the length of throwing javelins although twice as thick, where a metal point should be was a small oblong, rounded at each end. At the opposite location, a box shape, the top of which catching the sun’s light betrayed the glinting of four separate jewels, the fingers of one hand of each rider not far away.

Meradat stiffened, his grip tightening about his axe at the confirmation of Stommigheid usage. Apart from that small one, the others seemed accustomed to scowls of disapproval. Their leader moved closer, a gaunt, stubbled faced man surveying Meradat with a thoughtful gaze, which settled on the custodian’s chest.

‘Your Diligence,’ he greeted the custodian with the customary correct honorific followed by a casual gesture at the badge of office hanging loose from his coat ‘It seems you’ve had something of a nasty event,’ he glanced back, five of the riders continued to survey the area, a small one in the centre was hunched over something set upon the saddle.

‘All clear of evil Sergeant!’ the latter pipped up, evidently relieved.

‘You are not in the usual uniform, but I would believe by your efficiency poise and access to questionable weaponry that you are of the LifeGuard regiment. Also, you are here for some particular reason,’

The last was a definite statement.

‘Sergeant Erzns,’ came the stony reply ‘Beyond that Your Diligence, I am not authorised to further information,’

The custodian assumed the rest to be all troopers because apart from the small one, there was lack of any display of respect. The LifeGuard were notoriously difficult to intimidate. You could bribe the occasional trooper, but Meradat could foresee a communication with an officer to get this group to divert from their current course. As with Karlyn, he would have to bide his time, only in this case in hundreds rather than days.

One man with a friendly grin leant over his horse and whistling softly looked at the debris, his sing-song kymric accent lightening the mood.

‘Not nice at all, see. No one said anything about beasties directly did they sarge?’ he turned to Meradat ‘Pardon me your Diligence, but do you think you attracted them like? Just asking, that’s all,’

‘These fel things arrived through the meddling of others,’ Meradat pronounced ‘It is my duty to hunt this miscreant down,’ he set his attention on Erzns, the hundreds were running out ‘You may well have to consider the authority vested in my rank by The Sacred Edict of Laheldae, Year of Remorse 275 to summon all-’

‘-Available resource to your purpose,’ Erzns concluded for him ‘I am aware of the edict Your Diligence,’

At this juncture Karlyn let out with a sudden high whimper and one leg gave way causing her to tumble, knocking her face against a tree, in turn releasing a burst of language that at least one trooper seemed impressed by. The smallest of the group, secured whatever they had been lurking over, and slipped from their saddle, hauled off a sizeable oblong leather sack from their saddle and ran over to Karlyn.

‘Me ankle,’ she wailed ‘Hurts sudden like scraith,’

The trooper knelt by her, picked up Karlyn’s foot, placed it on their knee and without comment began to ease off Karlyn’s boot, Karlyn was about to pass comment when they looked up at her, displaying a face, small, round and as far as Karlyn was concerned far too dam’ pretty by half; stray wisps of blonde hair making the whole sort of  perfect, for a solider anyhow.

‘What-cha?’ she began, as her boots and sock were drawn off and fingers lightly ran over the swollen area.

‘Medician Beritt,’ the young woman said ‘Nasty little sprain, must have come down heavy. Been fighting then?’

‘Naw,’ came the sour retort ‘I was skipping ‘round the daisies when I tripped over a toadstool,’

Beritt shrugged; there were always the tetchy ones.

‘It happens,’ she said, infuriatingly affable, then stopped eyes narrowing on a growing dark stain along the left leg of Karlyn’s trousers. ‘Hey! Open wound!! C’mon, out of sight of these eager dogs, I want to look at that,’ she pointed, Karlyn’s eyes widened ‘It’s a nasty little beast planning on being dangerous,’

And despite the disparity in sizes she lifted Karlyn up, swung one of the injured girl’s arm around her own shoulder and dragged her off into the cover of the trees.

‘If y’all lucky missy, she’ll kiss it better for you!’ someone called after the duo.

‘Never mind,’ Beritt warned to a curious Karlyn.

 

First there was a stinging astringent, followed by a pungent salve and finally a bandage expertly administered around the leg wound, accompanied by a gruesome lecture about fatal blood losses, then Karlyn was obliged to sit still without her trousers while something equally smelly but cooling was applied to her ankle and then another bandage wrapped tightly about it.

‘Going to have to watch that wound for possible late poisons and suchwhichs, and need to change the bandage on the foot regularly too,’

Karlyn’s nose twitched; the stinky from the spikies was clearing, and suddenly she could smell, Clean, and Flowers!…with a touch of oil. She goggled at the small soldier, head down at their business. Oh. This is gonna be interesting. But keep it to yerself for the presently, these are funny ol’ times.

‘Well thanks Flaxi,’ Karlyn said casually on pulling up her trousers ‘Just tell me how it’s done and I promise to be good,’

Beritt frowned, she’d been called more insulting or denigrating things than ‘Flaxi’, that was not the issue.

‘It’s not as simple as that,’ she cleared her throat, time to cite the texts ‘A wound incurred in the proximity of a fel creature must be subject to qualified medical supervision, lest extreme infections or possible possessions take place,’

Karlyn screwed up her face and sniffed

‘I gotta custodian with me,’ she said primly.

Beritt shrugged.

‘Well I’ll have to exam him for wounds too,’

‘I’d like to see you try,’

‘He’s got no option,’ she cleared her throat ‘Edict of Jurghen in the year 237, On Precautions and Exclusions of Evils,’ she looked back to the general area of where the men might be ‘Custodians wrote it…annnddd,’ she drawled out ‘When LifeGuards and Custodians meet there is a very strong chance that the Lifeguards whether they like or not will end up trailing in the custodian’s holy presences,’ another shrug ‘Or so I been told,’ a bright irreverent smile that Karlyn liked ‘So he’s stuck with me nagging him about Year 237. Anyhows I think he’s set upon having us trail along so your stuck with me!!’

‘Medician Beritt!’

Both women started at the swift and sharp summons, Beritt recovered with a weak grin and a scramble to her feet

‘And that introduces me! Medician Arketre Beritt! And is Sergeant Erzns sounding very unhappy. Which means I’ve got other work to do,’

‘He’s got wounded too?’ Karlyn asked.

‘Only his sensibilities. No, I got lumbered with a clunky thing that communicates over long distances, and I can’t tell you anymore. Yet, I suppose,’

‘Oooh secrets!’ she trilled ‘I’m Karlyn Nahtinee, and have been chosen by Custodian Meradat to help him track down some Jordy wobbler. As you can see, whoever they are they’s causing all sort of problems!! And you work with devices too I thought I could smell oil on you,’

Beritt decided any questions she might have on that score would have to wait.

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

 

Somewhen following Karlyn and Beritt’s meeting…

 

Trelli was sitting up, gasping and wondering if she had really screamed or whether the sound had only been in the dreadful nightmare. A hideous midnight scene of ugly flapping creatures cackling obscene threats. Leering at her. Then thrusting into her face their own features; twisted versions of men. She had threshed, begged for help, stumbled, felt the thick flap of bat-like wings upon her head, knew she was doomed unto a hell, when there were sudden eruptions of noises, then screams as thick bloody stuff fell upon her, she trying to scrambling away.

Into the blessed familiar shadows and shapes of her room.

As the soothing sound of the night-time sea swept away the memories and brought her into the comfort of the reality of a simple, cold night, fear gave way to relief. But things kept disturbing her sleep and there was precious little of it anyway.

The thought of which nudged her into crossness.

Which in turn set a certain clarity of perception into her head. What or who else would be giving her cause to have such nightmares? She couldn’t say how, but she just knew it! She spifflin’ well knew it!!

‘Ooooh you! You!!’ she muttered as she slithered out of bed, pulling on her coat against the chill. She was going to box Migran’s ears she was! Enough was enough!!

 

‘Migran!’ she hissed tapping his door ‘I know what you’re up to in there! Now stop it at once!!’

It says much for the purity of Trelli’s heart and the fire of her anger that it never occurred to her, not for one heart-beat, of this being a most unfortunate statement to make outside of a young man’s room at night time. Migran was taken aback and a’feared that a latent ability to see through doors had suddenly blossomed in Trelli. Composing himself and also wrapping on a coat, he stumbled to the door.

‘Trelli! Go back to bed! This is most……improper!’

‘No! You’re doing things you’re not supposed to! And they’re affecting my sleep! Great looming things in my face!!’

Migran’s initial agitation vanished, puzzled, somewhat he carefully eased a crack in the doorway; at once her face filled the gap.

‘Now you just open this door!!’ she ordered.

It says much for his own confusion that in turn it did not occur to him, not for one heart-beat that young men all over the town were dreaming of such invitations.  Whereas in his case puzzlement growing into bafflement, which made him ready to do as she commanded.

And was nearly toppled over as Trelli entered by means of shoulder.

‘I asked you not to be doing this!’ she was saying, to which he was about to ask for clarification, when she spun on her heels towards the slight glow upon the screen.

‘There!’ she announced with triumph ‘Knew it!! You’ve been fiddling again!!’

His thoughts were mixed between the sincere hope this conversation was not reaching the ears of his parents, albeit at the other side of the house. He was sure he’d switched it off after that last success in probing new distances. On reflection, he knew he had switched it off. So here was the sudden realisation that his device was coming into life on its own. He looked to Trelli. He looked to the brightening screen. He looked back to her.

‘Not with- I mean I had set the device to be inert. It shouldn’t, cannot become alert by itself,’

Trelli sniffed with all the superiority anyone of the fairer sex can bring to a situation of male haplessness.

‘Well it doesn’t seem to have listened to you has it now?’

He moved around her and sat at the desk, moving fingers over the jewels. His mind catching up with all of her accusations.

‘Dreams? What dreams?’

‘Horrible monsters!’ she said ‘And I knew it was all to do with your dabblings with forbidden stuffs!’

‘How did you know?’ he asked, feeling a bit more confident as the screen soothed by his administrations settled into a soft pale blue background light

For herself Trelli stopped being confident and resorted open-handed waving of her hands.

‘I don’t know! I just did!’

His eyes widened, and he swivelled his chair so he faced her, studying her with much interest.

‘Empathetic- ‘he began, interrupted by Trelli’s slight gasp and her spinning about her back to him.

‘Master Migran,’ she began formally ‘Will you tighten that coat up please.  This is the second time you’ve been forward! Don’t give me an easier cause for complaint to your father and mother !!’

In the excitement Migran had been quite unaware of the malfunction of his attire, so with babbling apologies did as he was told, followed by an action which would have surprised many a young man, he shooed Trelli towards the door; she having had far too many shocks and surprises for one young woman in one night did not resist.

‘We’ll talk about this in daylight!’ he urged.

‘Well you just put that away!!’ she retorted and fled.

Leaving him not too sure just what she had exactly been referring to. Aside from matters Ethereal, there was this unfortunate occurrence in relation to ‘his’ and Trelli,

He glanced back at the device, idly gnawing on his thumb. Spontaneous activation? Empathetic resolution?

This was exciting stuff! Trelli with his machine could break barriers!

There was no time for sleep, or anything else for that matter; he tided away his copy of ‘The Lustful Revenge of the Scorn’d Princess N’Y Hishleal of Old Roder’ and set to work…

 

At the persistent buzzing from the oculartragen Beritt awoke and at once felt a sudden affinity with housemaids and maidservants all across the realm. One of the Good Lord God’s given rights of soldiers was to complain about anything to hand. Over the past lunation or so Beritt had been indulging this. Did no one do anything important in the daylight these days?

On the previous night after Custodian Meradat had insisted on everyone listening to his version of what they had already been ordered to do. Then while the girl Karlyn got to sit about the campfire with the file swap jokes, ribald remarks and improbable yarns,  Beritt had been stuck with listening to both the custodian and Erzns. So after the custodian, had gone through a quick ceremony of Hopeful Purification over the oculartragen, he and Erzns had agreed the messages should be minimal and prompt, but carried out in secrecy. The result being settled against a tree Beritt had set about the long and bothersome intricacies of despatching a detailed report of events to back to Captain Dekyria and the unavoidable request for permission to accept a custodian as commander. She was obliged to work by a moonlight made variable by skittering clouds, sourly thinking herself lucky they’d not expected her to put a blanket over her head to cover the dim glow of the device.

Of course Dekyria had then kept her way past snoring time with a whole host of questions which Beritt reckoned were selected for the need to supply difficultly constructed responses.

And now the blasted thing was starting off again. What now?

‘Hi Flaxi! Thanks for the ministrations!’

Beritt had thought it the wind through the branches, but when the upside down face appeared, she discerned the noise was all down to the young woman she’d patched up earlier.

‘What the frib’ you doing up a tree, with a nasty sprain to your foot?’

‘You must be very good at your healing stuff ‘cos it’s all better!!’

Beritt had to admit that someone swinging from a tree by the crook of her legs was unmistakeable evidence of recovery. Interesting. Must be more lithe and athletically healthy than first thought. The long beaming face swung closer.

‘You like trees then?’ Beritt asked, feeling just a smidge uncomfortable as the girl blew at her fringe

In her two years, three lunations, one decan and nine days in the LifeGuard Beritt had a sufficient experience with the eccentric and disturbed. Since this one frowned at her unruffled question, Beritt concluded here was a girl that simply liked to unsettle people. And judging by the way she alighted in a deft drop and roll, also somewhat athletic. Damn! I must have been on good form when I bandaged that ankle up!

‘Yeh! Trees is safe, no one can sneak up on you when you’s perched high. And their friendly too,’ she made cradling motions with her arms ‘Hold you snug and secure, if you know the branches. And they’re great places to sniff out what’s going on in the stormhiggle,’

‘Stommigheid?’

‘Yeh that!’ the girl shuffled over to Beritt, and hunched up, hands around knees. ‘You do the fiddling with dire devices then?’ the question being accompanied by a mock hideous face.

‘Yes, that I am. Medician and currently in my spare time working at Assessment and Evaluation. And that’s all I can say,’

Beritt returned to scowling at the mirror’d screen, then became aware of the reflection of a wide-eyed inquisitive Karlyn peering by leaning on her shoulder and pointing

‘What’s them squiggles mean then?’

Beritt was about to make a terse statement to the effect that she was not very sure when there came a summoning from Erzns. He was standing of course with the custodian.

Realising that whether she liked it or not Karlyn was in her wake, definitely none the worse for her previous day’s injury, or so it seemed. Beritt approached, saluting, slight bow to the custodian. Erzns of course did the initial questioning.

‘Reported in medician?’

‘Yes Sergeant. During the commencement of the Deep Night Watch. No reply though,’

‘She’s got the squiggles though,’ Karlyn volunteered, Beritt noted Trex and Norvan just would have had to have heard that, wouldn’t they? ‘There were these four like circles of light,’ extravagant finger gestures began. ‘And then they went into all sorts of skinny oddly lines, some tangled, some dancing about,’ the gestures continued after the words ceased, since no one was replying she felt inclined to add ‘Very pretty they were too,’

‘From what I was told, I think it was some sort of interference caused by rogue Astatheia,’ Beritt then turned to Karlyn ‘Stormhiggle,’ she said, pointedly; the effort was wasted.

Meradat stepped forward, despite the four handspan difference in height Beritt did not feel loomed over, just seriously addressed

‘And Medician Beritt, just what is your assessment?’

‘Err…my assessment Your Diligence?’

‘Yes, Medician Beritt. The Lord God has passed this burden unto you. It is your duty to honour Him with your response,’

‘Oh,’ Beritt hated it when several people looked at her, unless she was up to her wrists in gore, then she didn’t care ‘Well, I suppose, because this is not the usual patterns and codes, then I am guessing we might be closer to whatever we’re looking for and it’s up to…errr..something?’

Meradat nodded and then directed his attention at Karlyn, who was more concerned with the overhead passage of a moth, until Beritt nudged her in the ribs.

‘Custodian’s looking at you,’ Beritt said

‘Thank you Medician,’ he said

‘Ass-sniffer,’ Karlyn joshed; to Beritt.

‘Clear you mind of impurities young woman!’ he announced, ‘In view of the circumstance of the conjoint nature of this task, you will now need a title, so that the LifeGuard may address you properly,’

The term ‘squirrel-head’ occurred to Beritt, but since no one was asking her initial medical assessment of the girl’s statement of mind, she kept it to herself.

Meradat meanwhile made a solemn passage of his right hand from the centre of Karlyn’s temple to her brow, then splayed index and middle fingers in opposite directions.

‘As instrument willing of the Lord God, I entitle you Tildelte Nahtinee,’

‘’Til what, who when?’

Beritt ‘tutted’

‘It’s an ancient northern word for ‘alloted’. Means the Good Lord God has set you a task,’ Meradat looked quizzically at her ‘I was a novice devoted in a Libratery for two years, before being selected by The LifeGuard under the Morgevan Convention,’ he made further sounds of approval then took Karlyn’s right hand and placed in it a small staff-shaped iron medallion.

‘Wear this in realisation of the journey you must take in The Lord God’s purpose. And The Lord God remain with you medician,’ he added. Karlyn made obvious comic sniffing sounds but was led away by the custodian for further instruction in the solemn procedure of her duties.

‘Well you got him on our side medician,’

‘Thank you sergeant. But I don’t suppose that’s of much comfort, is it?’

‘Not on this jaunt medician. Not on this jaunt,’

 

Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings

Best advice for anyone starting out writing SF or Fantasy

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

In my experience, writing about the fantastic is predicated on a willingness to dive into the unknown.  Few things are as thrilling as channeling unfamiliar concepts and worlds through my mind.  While I humble myself by openly admitting “I don’t know,” I embolden myself by saying, “I’m willing to try.”

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Of Patchwork Warriors Part 5

One thing about Fantasy Novels, you have to have the Nasty- here he is

CHAPTER TWELVE

Merthyl was naturally pleased with the smell of cooked meat. Let the boors fill their dungeons with the stench of burning, where was the amusement in such bludgeoning haste? And more importantly, these days, what sort of gain did you get from a sudden ragged scream and a lot of blubbering. No far better to build up the horror and agony, slowly, while explaining to the subject the full weight of the circumstance; the intention, the reasoning and of course the indulgent pleasure of seeing them realise they had been betrayed.

This had not been the first time he had employed the angelic featured golden haired child whose slightly open mouth and wide pale blue eyes gave an impression of wondrous innocence. She was particularly expert at producing large tears and heart-felt sobbing pleas for mercy; these being meat and drink to the delights to those of his circle whose bent was towards the kidnapping and ruination of children.

And they fell for the little monster every time.

Merthyl’s patches of territories could be located across the central belt of the Oakhostian, and in one upon a summer’s day out in the woods hunting for maid to abduct he had come across this child cheerfully nailing a living rabbit to a tree. She had told him with a sunny disposition she enjoyed the noises dying animals made. After a rather macabre conversation with the child Merthyl had asked her if she would like to earn some money, producing a long needle from under her sleeve and threatening him she said she would not do things grown-up girls did. Merthyl was quite charmed and explained she would only be bait for men who deserved nasty deaths. She had giggled, only disappointed he would not let her join in, as yet.

Naturally many of his collection of followers were wary of an invitation to spend time with him alone, but with such a tempting offer how could some depraved men resist, and they were the material he needed. Slavering and laughing over the child they were easy targets for a narcotic laced dagger. He supposed he could have found a simpler way to abduct such material, but, again where was the fun in that?

And of late he had realised there would have to be enterprise mixed in with his entertainment.

 

Initially he had found his way to the Obsidian Council through contact with Uraxch; there appeared to have been a loss of two others through carelessness with the Zerstorung and new outlooks were required. At first it was enough to just advise Belacheli on new ways to cause suffering to those the mage planned upon sacrificing, learn some tricks and with Uraxch’s aid find murky little secrets amongst some powerful families just in case his own family name was not sufficient to protect him. And for that year the whole business had been another means of easy adventuring. Then first the vulgar, thuggish Silc had arrived, bringing with him Grand Duke Karutorm, who was at least nobility. They had brought a dynamism and a direction which had excited Belacheli into more extravagant efforts. Merthyl had concluded he should be extending his knowledge, just in case opportunities or necessity required it. Whereas Belacheli fawned, worship, grovelled and so forth before the Zerstorung, Merthyl was intent upon meeting it and equal terms. He was no one’s servant. And he reasoned despite all their much-vaunted reputations had any of these apparent Lords of the Zerstorung ever pierced the walls between the realms? They needed someone with zest and imagination to aid their endeavours, someone who would allow them certain degree of access and opportunity which he could exploit to his own. He had learnt through his own trial and error that basically as he understood things, the creatures of The Zerstorung responded to those who could enact terror, pain and anguish with a purpose. In order to communicate he had managed to obtain some credible works; for Belacheli would never let anyone see his own collection; Merthyl suspecting they were replete with a great deal of bowing and scraping anyway.

He trusted, this time, his efforts would have granted him some attention from these Zerstorung beings. He had applied a mix of comic comments, and mockery of the dying man who had one trusted him as much as anyone did of Merthyl. The fellow had been secured to the well-designed turning spit by silver chains and above the best of roasting trays to catch the juices and delay the whole process. Then the correct use of incantations at regular intervals. The whole taking place before a squat ornately carved dark bronze effigy of traditional grinning demonic visage which as far as Merthyl knew was supposed to be a means of contact into the Zerstorung.

Now that all the screaming, pleading and cursing was over he treated himself to a long glass of vintage wine and prodded with corpse with a knife; as far as a meal the fellow was somewhat underdone, but the death had been exquisite.

Merthyl waited.

He did expect results rather than simple exultation this time.

And had to sit down to catch his breath, which he had preferred not to have the time to do, results should have been quicker.

He would, naturally, leave the remains cook a little longer.

Only to feel a twinge of concern that the faint wisps of smoke that suggested the body might be burning, which would not do, as he did intend to serve up choice cuts with a salad.

However he noted with a jab of excitement the wisps gathering together, twisting in agitation. They thickened into a line of dirt grey which in began to expand, until within its unsettled borders appeared another line, one of writhing viridian and yellow shot through with dark red. This began its own growth, until Merthyl was looking upon a landscape in torment, a plain from which by gouts of flames burst consuming or rending whatever had been above or above them. Things moved in the distance, some loomed close; there may have been purpose to their actions, until they were taken by the roaring incendiary or confronted by some other shuffling, striding or scuttling thing. All beneath a night sky that being devoid of stars was illuminated by flashes and explosions of light, the origins of which were obscure to Merthyl.

The vista was blocked by something.

Merthyl used to and often responsible for the devastation which could be wrought upon human features made out two eyes, although nowhere near aligned, and a maw which showed variations of the formation of teeth. Other than these focal points the sludge coloured face appeared to have suffered a melting reminiscent of wax. Groaning noises, approximating words emanated from the maw and the eyes fixed upon him an expression of horror, at each side of the face appeared stubbed projections which resembled paws, thick blunted nails scratching at the edges of the apertures onto the disordered land.

His experiences of the results of abuse upon the human form indicated to Merthyl that there was some sort of pleading taking place and a possible opportunity was presenting itself, just what sort he couldn’t say, but if nothing else there would be experience. After all his previous actions had rent apart this small portion of the barrier between the worlds, so one could only advance.

With a confidence forged from arrogance he stepped back and bade the creature to enter. He concluded he had been quite successful in his actions, obviously, all of his studying of Belacheli had been worthwhile and he evidently, he assured himself, had an instinctive grasp of these powers.

The form slithered, with much discomfort over the edge and fell with much gasping to the floor, no sooner had this taken place than another appeared, the face long to the point that Merthyl wondered if it was actually dripping away, the eyes almost at opposite sides of the head swivelled, apparently satisfied it was safe the creature made a similar unformed progress ending upon close to its comrade.

Merthyl ended up with four of the warped creatures floundering upon his floor seeming as helpless as caught fish. He was beginning to feel disappointed, when the first fixed one eye upon him.

“Ffoooood,” it groaned.

Another with a bulbous head burbled a noise to Merthyl which he guessed was an explanation of something.

“Mmmeee-th!” gasped the long faced one.

The last one, which was judging by the shortness of limbs was possibly devolving to a worm simply threshed.

Merthyl reasoned thus. Since they seemed eager to be here, had they originated from this world? For they were no threat so hardly constituted an invasion. Even if generally incoherent they were however able to make their pleas understandable. This was all new but, he told himself, he was certain he was master of the situation.

He strode over to the spit, donned gauntlets and with seeming ease born of one of those tricks he had learnt from Belacheli, pulled the partially cooked body off and threw it upon the floor to land amongst the quartet, who in turn crawled, writhed and rolled upon the feast.

Merthyl was quite pleased with the result, even as they fed their forms began to become solid, albeit not in quite the usual human form, snouts were forming, fingers were ending in definite claws and he believed nascent wings of a bat’s shape were developing upon their upper backs. One with a particularly canine face turned to him.

“Master,” it managed, blood and juices running over with cracked skin of its jaw.

Merthyl made a slight gesture of acceptance, it would be as well to seem aloof.

This would be a surprise to this night’s two guests.

He noticed there was little of the man left and the creatures although seeming to have a more structured shape still looked only half way to what they might be. They needed more food. But his few servants were valuable. His guests were, generally only useful in feeding his pride and ego.

Feeding? He laughed. He could certainly use his guests for that purpose!

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Dekyria was beginning to feel there were more layers to this than the usual worries about The Zerstorung or simple criminality. He had reached this conclusion when he had found himself in all damn seriousness deciding there was no basis for considering activity by pixies or fairies.

If there was a measure of frivolity creeping in, who or what was responsible for that? There were the usual questions whether The Zerstorung was influencing or being influenced or even if a two-way flow was taking place. Answers could be found in looking for increase in tydes, fluctuations and so forth. But, this other possibility? Where would a feeling of frivolity seep in ? As yet Drygnest would not expect anything more than normal regular reports; at present this was a local matter, a skirmish; this was why Outposts were situated about the Oakhostian, first lines of defence. The evaluation all down to him; observation.

Bleymore was calmed thanks to Beritt; The Owls were excited, intense, more hounds now, straining at his leash. Dekyria had made it a practice to stroll around the outpost, chatting with other officers, exchanging grumbles with troopers looking out for any signs of Astatheia upon them. He would pass some time with Equesteria Lareh H’senez, in case her ‘darlings’ all forty horses were showing signs of distress or agitation. She had nothing unusual to say other than to suggest in her elder sister way that since she had troopers to assist her as part of their duties, shouldn’t The Medician have the same, because of late Beritt had been looking very intense, when she thought no one was looking at her. Dekyria took note of that as the two women naturally shared a room and probably a lot of chat and H’senez being a notoriously practical sort who some troopers reckoned would be inclined to put you out of your misery, if you broke a leg.

Back to Beritt, the small, deceptively pretty and almost innocent looking Medician. When it came down to it, she was getting caught up in this tyde.

Not forgetting of course Voices from the future.

 

Another dawn…

There was Bleymore awake, looking fresh and in low conversation with Hartey the nightwatch. As the youngest and most enthusiastic of the file Dekyria allowed the lad some leeway in his pursuit of Astatheia knowledge. The conversation was on the evasive subject of Numbers Where There Are None and as far as Dekyria could make out Bleymore was making the most logical statements on the subject, by reference to the active oculator.

And was a shame to interrupt, but there were other matters which needed completion. They had talked late on after that calming exit by Beritt. Dekyria thinking that Bleymore would keep on discoursing, brought the matter in an interlude by agreeing to see Bleymore’s points and feigning fatigue. He had needed to ponder on the implications.

Voices from the future, for one thing.

“Trooper Hartley, I’ll take over thank you. One last onerous task. Stir your comrades,”

“They might spare me the usual curses Captain. There’s a lot of interest after yesterday,” the lad smiled and nodded at Bleymore, took the hint and left quickly.

“If we accept at this stage Master Bleymore that these recent manifestations have proven to be as you say. Just what would you reckon to be the cause?”

This time Bleymore did not look fearful, simply distant and thoughtful, when he spoke the words came slowly, chosen with care.

“I am not altogether sure. One aspect I did notice was there seemed to be s slight increase in the brilliance of some of the white circles, but there was no discernible pattern. We would be wise to assume the event will be in close proximity. The distance I am not too sure. As these are physically small events the range cannot be too far,”

“Do you think we could place an approximate on them,”

“It may be so. Though I concur. It would be an approximate,”

Dekyria tried to avoid a sigh of relief. He had Bleymore effectively in his file and working on something with potential import. Apocalyptical incursions from the Zerstorung would have to wait. Good work Beritt. Very good work.

Bleymore shuffled a little and made much of looking at the oculator.

“Medician…Beritt?” the captain nodded at this tentative opener “She’s a remarkable healer isn’t she?”

“Bears repeating,” Dekyria managed a genial smile.

Fribbing dam’ remarkable. And maybe this something to do with the lighter aspect, though not one you could call frivolous.     

 

Normally The Helmsman did not bother much with the sky about the seas, but there was no avoiding the sudden small but very bright flare of white. So sharp. It even managed to reflect upon the sullen waters which appeared to lurch in agitation. That was new. He quietened his men. Bade them work on the delicate process of focusing. Everything had to be conducted quickly for the event was fading.

And was gone.

Of this he was sure though, there was not one source, but three revolving about each other in an agitated dance.

 

Karlyn was not having as much fun as she thought she ought to be allowed to have, considering she was now working for a custodian. For a start, he was insisting she read the Holy Books and ‘Tractz ‘; never mind whether they were riding, sitting eating and now even when she was up a tree and he kept asking  her school-master about them. As she saw things; The First Holy Book was exciting in parts about how the world was made and the evil things that tried to sneak it away getting a good thumping. The Second Holy book was a bit tweedly going on about how people came into the world and how love started, followed by being sensible, and clever, well she supposed love would have to come first. Then bits about how people learnt about The Lord God, which she thought were a bit obvious. The Third was more fun because that went into details what were the sins and told gory tales about what happened to sinful folk. She didn’t understand the Fourth it seemed to involve a lot of folk meeting and sitting down to discuss what was good or bad, and what happened if you did one for the other reason, or didn’t do anything for another reason. She thought the Fifth Book was a giggle. Meradat was hurrumffy saying it only served as to display the foolishness of obsession. It told you there should not be a privy within 852 paces of a temple. It explained what you should not eat before visiting a temple; how best to clean your nose and ears before going and other such fussy-stuffs. Karlyn promised herself the next time she saw a big fancy temple she was going to run in there and let fly one big blast. The Tractz or Tracts as Meradat called them were all about how deceitful the Stommigheid could be, and the sort of tricks in might play on you, to with time and things They did make sense but made the whole thing sound dull, like sitting down and counting your breaths or watching walls, though what the walls wuz supposed to do she was not sure.

 

Once they had crossed the border into the princedom of Decoryx things became interesting. After a day, on a late afternoon they reached a small town, and she’d told Meradat she could smell sharp clean oil but mixed with sweaty shirts. This, she reckoned meant someone here had been working frantic on something.

She had thought there would be so much fun when Meradat having reached the town square loudly pronounced his rank and reason for being there. Everyone ran about the place and the poor translator and someone who might be a mayor were dragged out for Meradat to be furious with.

She’d helped him root out some young limp-one of a lad who had made a feeble bit of stormhiggle stuff that was supposed to predict the weather. When this was uncovered as the source there was much mirth. Some local farmers were quite severe in saying it couldn’t predict rain in the middle of a downpour. So instead of burning him at the stake and terrorising half the town as suspects as Karlyn had hoped, Meradat had him simply stand on a wagon while the Custodian lectured everyone about the dangers of becoming woebegone through following such imprudent things, as these foolishnesses led unto the Hells. It was a chilly and windy day, Meradat didn’t notice of course, but everyone shivered or glared at the young twit.

Karlyn had to content herself with sitting on a wagon wheel and leering at various random folk.

When all was done and the guilty party was indentured to serve the widows, orphans and temple for six lunations, Meradat then subjected the translator to another lecture for failing in his duties.

So having nothing much else to do, Karlyn took charge of the offending device; a tubular metal thing not very secularly attached to a metal box ; the tube being topped by four metal arrows and something orange and bulbous, along its length in all sorts of irregular places were cheap gems. She shook it, the lad winced

“There is the daftest looking device I ever saw!” she chided “It’s so bad it’s an insult. You’d be laughed at in Jorddie circles you would!”

With that she nudged him into a nearby bit of scrub land.

“Show ya!” she cried

Then jumped up and down on it until it broke; the lad was made to watch, he blubbered and pleaded, what for she didn’t care, she wasn’t listening.

She was suddenly noticing something.

His little box of tricks was leaking a dark oily water that looked like it was rippling all by itself, some of it lurched at her leg; dancing back, she thrust one hand into a trouser pocket, pulled out a small oilskin bag, punched it with a fingernail and threw the dusty contents it upon the vile liquid. There followed a fizzing and an agitation; the liquid writhed, the flame rippled across the surface, growing from dull red into blinding bright orange. The lad, previously transfixed squeaked and fell backwards; Karlyn threw dried sticks upon the burning, which consumed them hungrily, all the while the liquid rose and fell seeming to wish to break free, while diminishing as the flames fed upon it, until there was nothing but a patch of sandy grit being picked up by the wind.

Karlyn was quick upon the lad, gripping two handfuls of his clothing

“You got even more explaining to do!” she hissed.

There was some more babbling in reply.

That annoyed her.

She lunged; he screamed; she yelled swear words and set her hands about his neck; even so he still managed to make a lot of credible noise.

It could have gone worse for the lad, but Meradat appeared, roaring to Karlyn that the fool could hardly explain anything while she had her hands about his throat. Karlyn was not in the mood for listening; only stopping when a larger hand fell upon her collar and pulled her off as if she was a particularly bad-tempered terrier.

Meradat letting go of Karlyn after a slight warning shake to her, fixed a baleful look upon the choking, coughing, wheezing, returned to babbling lad.

“He tried to trap me with walkin’ snatchin’ dirty oily water!!”

“It looked at me!!” the lad wailed “I saw one dread eye!”

“And I squished it and burnt it!!”

By now naturally a small crowd was arriving, no need of being summoned.

Karlyn watched Meradat do that draft making inhaling as he looked about at everyone with even greater displeasure; she guessed he’d judged them even ‘much more most’ responsible in some way. This was more like it. Maybe they’d get some decent burning done; ‘cause he was hauling the snivelling lad up; Karlyn looked about for convenient piles of wood; there was a dirty smell in the air, nothing like good old wood smoke to clean that; mind you cooked meat was a bit of a spoiler.

Meradat thundered forth, as if his previous sermon was just a polite afternoon chat.

“Oh this is far worse! And yet none of you noticed! You should always be on your guard! We shalt gather in your temple! We shalt hear the evidence of my assistant and,” Karlyn was pleased as he shook the lad “Oh miserable and foolish youth! There are always consequences to dabbling in the Stommigheid!” at this the lad nodded his head rapidly. “Assemble people and give thanks to The Lord God who protects you through various and strange agencies!” looking at Karlyn.

As he dragged the lad off, Meradat surprised Karlyn by actually whispering.

“Between you and I, you nearly brought the Zerstorung here! Restrain yourself!”

Days observation of his build and the way he moved, then the ease in which he hauled her off the lad Karlyn knew trying to swat Meradat or kick him in the old gazongas was going to end up with her on her arsepart. Instead she vented her crossness on the lad.

“Oi! Wobbles! What’s the name of the nearest portside town?”

“Prendaelyn,” as the lad was in high terror the answer came out as a lament “But it’s days away!”

Meradat stopped in his hauling of the lad bade him be still and everyone quiet, and then consulted a map of his own.

“Hmm. By The Lord God’s grace it would appear we are in a narrow part of the realm. I judge four days hard riding,”

Karlyn swept a hand at the gathered host, in the process maybe by accident on design scuffing the lad’s head.

“We could let this lot sort out their own perditions and wot-nots! We should be riding now!!”

“Your wish for urgency is appreciated Maid Nahtinee, but we must ensure these wayward and indolent folk are made fully aware of the need for vigilance,”

“Oooh, we are gonna burn him then? .It’s nearing dusk and we could do with some light,”

At that stage, the lad quite understandably fainted.

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

Somewhere down the road in a sunny early morning which seemed helpless in its endeavours to lift the atmosphere.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t have burnt him. It was all his fault!!”

Meradat muttered his personal prayer for patience and fortitude. This would be a long testing ride through Decoryx. It was obvious the closer the girl got to the true source of the disruption the more eager she became.

“You, Maid Nahtinee broke the device and thus caused the fel creature a point of access,”

“Hmmph. As I see it my actions exposed the fact there was something lurkin’ at a threshold, and if I hadn’t taken it on, then it would have slithered out later and wot good would that poor ol’weebly translator have been?”

Meradat’s full disapproval fell upon Karlyn and she had the odd feeling as if a very large and disagreeable hawk had settled with one leg upon each of her shoulders.

“Consider this Maid Nahtinee. Your initial violence to the young fool raised his fear even higher. Combined with your rage in close proximity to this device such a mix of turbulent emotions in all probability attracted the creature, then your impetuous attentions caused a fracture in the already fragile barrier. All such devices must be approached with a measure of caution and inspection before inflicting justifiable destruction upon them. Whereas you had stopped this intrusion was not something to make up for the fact you had started it. Burning a young fool achieves nothing. The full severity must only be brought down upon those who willingly transgress in blasphemies,”

Karlyn scowled. She wanted to argue but somehow couldn’t get the words out in a proper order. Meradat’s grumpiness was a bit of mountain face. He’d had to spend the rest of the night to take the lad, by then quite raving to the nearest meditovory. By The Lord God’s Purpose, the monks there were of The Order of Honoured Clerke Kanch and in devotion to their founder’s austere, stern and balanced purpose thus ideal to deal with folk suffering from excessive dabbling in Stommigheid.

And she’d had to snatch a doze in a scratchy old barn while Meradat had spent his time  in some stone room, and as far as she could make out taking part in a ‘Who Can Come Up With The Most Ominous Statement’ competition with the meditatives.

In the dawn, he had instructed Karlyn to study The Third Holy Book’s words of restraint. She had said she didn’t know it had any. He told her try, and thus learn

She just sulked under the guise of study;  feeling very hard done by

It was then she fell off of her horse.

 

Seeing no obvious reason for this Meradat did wonder whether this might one of her singularly deliberate acts, but finding her quite unconscious, and nearly chalk white of pallor was quick to lift her to the shade of a tree. There to pour water over her face and through her lips, while holding her into something of a sitting position.

Karlyn blinked, spluttered and then shuffled up coming to grips with her surroundings.

“Oooh that’s nice. Bringing me all the way back to this shady oak tree,”

“I am glad you can function physically, but I fear your sense are fuddled. We have not come back anywhere. This is where you fell off,”

Karlyn’s gaze slowly swivelled back and forth several times, then moved upwards and down. At the point when Meradat thought she had finished, she continued the practice in diagonal manner, at this stage sniffing in that houndish manner, while scratching at the chest of her shirt. The Custodian waited until she had finished; previous experience of her activities suggesting something useful or at best indicative would arise.

“No I didn’t,” she said, without any hint of anger, confusion or doubt, and with left eye closed and right looking down the length of the pointing index finger continued “I was up there, just at that bend, and you was ahead looking all important like you owned the fribbin’ road saying we would have to pick up the pace to a trot,”

“I was intending to make that intention known,” Meradat’s reply was couched in thoughtful tones; the cursed Stommigheid was wont to precipitate many unusual circumstances “So, Maid Nahtinee What does the Lord God suggest to you?”

“Well, it’s not like he’s told me directly into my ears, but if you’re asking me. If I says I was up the road a bit, and you think I fell off here, AND you were going to say something that I heard you say,” all this was accompanied by gestures in back and forwards directions. “Then I am going to guess that something very funny is happening with Time,” her voice took on a complaining tone “And I got hit by it!!”

CHAPTER  FIFTEEN

“Master Bleymore,”

Dekyria was very grateful for Beriit’s skill, two days on and Bleymore no longer twitched or shuddered at the idea that Dekyria wished him to look upon an oculator. Here in this rather modest and drab walled manse there were a number of interesting and also exciting matters taking place, no longer being alone in observation and feeling as safe as one could feel had allowed him to indulge in simple pursuit of knowledge.

And speculation.

“Do you feel there is some merit in the speculation regarding Temporal Displacement?”

Bleymore looked as if Dekyria had suggested they have a small convivial party.  And so in response he spoke in a relatively light manner.

“Some of the works on the subject do contain mathematics which lend a solid credence to the theory, and I have witnessed anomalies which could only be explained by referring back to these calculations!”

Dekyria wondered if the fellow was starting to feel at home, as it were and gestured to a vacant desk and oculator.

“We have been waiting for a replacement for a talented fellow who Drygnest decided to appropriate back from us. Would you take a seat there and observe for Signature Storm Blue waves, measuring the approximate interlude between each peak?”

Bleymore cautiously sat, aware of the attention of each of the file; the device was already activated, the steady deep green devoid of activity, awaiting the manipulation of the attendant gems.

“You’ve seen something?” he asked “What?”

“No influencing here Master Bleymore. You tell me what you see,”

The results had given Bleymore some crumb of comfort about his losing track of time. He had been trying to evaluate the passage of days have been there four days, maybe five, or three or seven?  It all made perfect sense now.

 

“… First evidence here of Astatheia in Temporal Displacement …”

“…. Imagine the distance usually taking five steps only takes four…”

“…Astatheia, producing or allowing imaginably small particles of equally incredible weight to appear….”

“….so much weight as to bend Time…”

“…to disappear as so as they appeared…”

Major Gellgrachen was currently seated back in a chair, at a desk hands apexed to mouth and obviously thinking upon the information each man had supplied; at least the parts which he could grasp. A short pause and he withdrew his hands settled to the table

“So, gentlemen. It is possible for it to be Today, Tomorrow and even Yesterday within one princedom and no one notice,”

“That’s the theory,” Dekyria thought as the military one of the two bearing the news it was correct he should do the answering “And it appears we do have evidence. Verified independently by Master Bleymore,”

“And if this continues?”

“Unnatural stresses will build up!” exclaimed Bleymore “Although most people’s sense adjust to such events, humans being remarkably empathetic with the…eh…Ethereal. Structures of land, sea and air are more basic in their responses, initially they absorb the pressures, withhold them, but for a rock say to maintain a status in two separate places in Time is one likely to results in a release of some sorts of energies, violently!”

“Spontaneously exploding rocks?” now Gellgrachen sounded concerned; indeed, he should the comparison with ordinance was all too clear to him “No, that’s won’t do at all. I’ll have to contact Drygnest. Captain Dekyria can you find out where the cause of this is happening?”

“We have My Major,” he shrugged “Well, in line with the evidence we have. I suppose it should be subject to independent analysis,”

“Drygnest will have to follow us Captain,”

Dekyria thought a reasonable statement, he continued.

“The port of Prendaelyn, My Major. It did not need much tracking. The act of confirming the effect resulted in the identification,”

“Oh, that place has a certain amount of mercantile and thus financial influence within parts of the nobility of Decoryx. Stealth will be needed. Now this is a tricky question. Can we be certain in these circumstances as to how long it will take to get there?”

“At the present My Major, as the effect is still very minor we can estimate the usual two days,”

“A file will be despatched then. We must trace and apprehend the reason for this before someone else does. After all, there’s bound to be others noticing and taking an interest! Make preparations for the ability for local tracking Captain, we can’t afford to have a file running about the place when they reach the town; they need to be able to get straight to the target,”

“Will it be extraction or extinguishment?” Dekyria asked casually, causing Bleymore to pale.

“We’ll have to make it up as we go along Captain. I’ll want the file leaving by dusk. Please attend Captain to ensure they have the right equipment,” Dekyria moved swifter than the pain his leg should have allowed lips tight over gritted teeth. Just as he reached the door “Oh Captain Dekyria,” Gellgrachen cautioned “You will of course remain at your post here. Your observation and control is essential,” Dekyria turned on his one whole good leg, face set.

“Of course, Major, sir,” he said, with parade ground salute to his heart, while swallowing the disappointment.

“You will stay here please Master Bleymore,” Gellgrachen stated.

The door closed heavily, the sound of one false leg scraping, then impacting fading.

“Ah, a shame. He thought he might be leading the mission,” Gellgrachen said “But each where they are best suited. Now to you Master Bleymore. I am very grateful for your efforts and contributions. You of course understand what takes place within this location is not for discussion with anyone unless authorised by myself or another officer,”

“I understand,” a nervous slight laugh escaped “So there will be an oath of secrecy will there?”

“Oh much better Master Bleymore,” Gellgrachen stood up, crossed to Bleymore laying his right hand on the man’s shoulder “As of this juncture, in accordance with the Edict of Methendav for the Imperial Good I am empowered to empress you into the ranks of The LifeGuard,” he took from one pocket a pair of metal castle shaped insignia “Lieutenant Bleymore. Yes I am sure it comes as a surprise, however there’s no option here. You sought and found us, you’ve been party to our operations,” his face darkened “And we do not like to waste potential,”

“Waste?” Bleymore managed appreciating the implications, not helped by Dekyria’s impassive silence., Gellgrachen continued.

“Yes. Accept that in good faith and all will be well Lieutenant. Now let us find you a uniform. Shall we?”

 

Trelli wondered if all this business of Migran’s was making her too jumpy by half. Everyone else at the market was naturally grumbling about some unexpected delays in deliveries. There were always unexpected delays in some deliveries. This time why should she be feeling worried instead of cross like everyone else?

 

Mid-morning.

There was a sharp unconditional knock on the door, and barely had Gellgrachen given the order to enter than it swung open Dekyria, Sergeant Erzns and Medician Beritt entering. Each regarded a rather embarrassed and fuddled Bleymore in the clean black sedentary duties tunic of the LifeGuard. Dekyria’s rather stiff expression turned to bemused surprise, Erzns square grim face displayed a flicker of disapproval, while Beritt gifted the new lieutenant with a polite smile.

Then they all saluted to Gellgrachen in his preferred informal style off two pressed together fingers to the right temple.

“I felt it was time to extend our compliment,” he offered by way of explanation “Lieutenant Bleymore. You will of course report directly to Captain Dekyria. Now Captain, preparations ready?”

“Oculartragen is prepared and validated My Major. Carrying sufficient resources to operate for a decan. The falconades are being armed by my file. Sergeant Erzns, I’ve witnessed your file’s competency on the training field. Ensure there is strict adherence to contingently necessary use. Additional charges will be too volatile for this mission, so there’ll only be what the weapons are carrying

“My Major?” Erzns terse, cold question signalled a hope for maybe additional information

“Sergeant Erzns. We have a situation of grave importance. This seems to be taking place around the area of Prendaelyn and involves unsanctioned Asatheria. Drygnest have been informed and have approved my course of action,” Gellgrachen’s opening words stilled at interruptions from Erzns. In his uncomplicated world even if receiving an order from Drygnest involved one’s own death, the only question to be asked would be the amount of damage required prior to demise. “One update Captain Dekyria, Drygnest instructs we are to extract, unharmed, the person who is source of the problem and bring them here pending transference to Drygnest They will need to be examined,”

Beritt listened casually, thinking it was nice to be alerted well in advance this time; she could plan her entire routine around calming down someone who had to spend a few days with Erzns pack’ Suddenly it was all Astatheia, Astatheia. After this she could write a pamphlet of the treatment of…

“Medician Beritt you will be part of Sergeant Erzns file in this mission,” The Major had expected three expressions based on surprise, so carried on smoothly “We don’t know what state this person or persons will be in. We cannot have them being disruptive or unsettled on the return journey. Your mouth medician. Close it please. Thank you,” he turned his attention to Erzns saying with heavy emphasis “Colonel Rachterg made the specification,”

Dekyria judged by the way Erzns second scowl melted to a very thoughtful frown at Beritt that there must be a certain history involving the sergeant and the legendary ‘Iron Kreydez’ Rachteg. Beritt, give her due was not saying anything, just swaying a bit.

Bleymore was also quiet; into some sort of reflecting. Gellgrachen meanwhile pressed on.

“Drygnest have also ordered you to leave at dusk, at The Nineteenth Thousand. Something to do with their analysis of possible Temporal Latitudes? I’ll give the transcript to you Captain Dekyria I’m sure you and The Lieutenant can make more sense of it than I,” the business-like tone turned to one of gravitas “You will instruct Medician Beritt in the operation of an Oculartragen. Medician Beritt you are to place your basic duties in the hands of Equesteria H’senez, you will inform her now, then report to Captain Dekyria and finally Sergeant Erzns,”

 

“I got to look after that lot of wobbling whingers as well as my darlings!!”

Even if it was only for mucking out purposes H’senez with a pitchfork tended to make Beritt nervous; standing straight upright knee high in dirty hay one hand set on hip the other with pitchfork aloft only made the equestria look even more intimidating.

“Well it’s only the day to day sort of stuff. I’ve done to regular check for Particular Boils,”

“Good! I don’t want to listen to old jokes about weaponry and comparisons with stallions,” Klareh dove the pitchfork into the hay and settled into sympathy. “High Holy Arketre, they dropped you in that. Reckon it’s linked with…errr… y’know?”

“These are orders straight from Drygnest,”

“Scraith,”

Beritt snorted her agreement, with folded arms leant against the nearest object, being a stall

“Yeh!, Erzns crew are taking those whizz-whoosh falconades with them; the ones that near took Peller’s leg off! And I gotta learn Owl stuff too,”

“Are you supposed to telling this?”

“Aww scraith! It’ll filter out. Me going with Erzns’ pack. Our visitor now a l’tenant,”

At this juncture an equine head, small and with untidy mane appeared over the stall and gently nudged Beritt.

“Oh Poseydale, nice to see you too. C’mon Klareh, this little sweetie wants carrots,”

“Sweetie! You’re the only one, she doesn’t try and bite or kick! This is moving way beyond the usual Observation business, isn’t it?” she handed some carrots to Beritt who began to fuss the mare “Poor Patch ‘Em-Up Arketre. Least I can do is set Poseydale ready for you,”

 

Firstly, Beritt put together the normal collection of salves, potions, bandages and herbs to be taken by a medician of a decan long journey. She then added a few extra ‘bit and pieces’ of her own choosing. Satisfied with being able to organise her own world Beritt then made her reluctant way to Dekyria’s domain, and into a small particular room. One with an oculator attached some sort of birdcage-shaped thing; and in one corner a case of musty books.

She was subjected to a lecture on the smaller compact version of the oculator. No doubt Dekyria thought this was basic but precise, whereas Beritt reckoned she had only absorbed about one part in five of what Captain Dekyria had told her. He then presented her with a small leather-bound book filled with symbols and short explanations, explaining how important this would be during the mission as she would be able to rely on one person. Having then made her feel thoroughly unsettled, he picked up one of the musty books, thumbed through it as he spoke.

“Calming Bleymore and giving him to will to speak, work with us demonstrated your skill, even art medician, to a high degree. My estimation is that you have a certain empathy with matters and people involving Astatheia. Oh, don’t look so alarmed, everyone has to some degree, yours is probably heightened by a capacity for caring,”

Beritt blushed, feeling a bit guilty now at realising some folk actually appreciated her as a person.

“So bear this in mind when you are on this task. You may well encounter incidences where the reality you understand, the day to day ordinary will seem to drift away from you. This is The Astatheia let lose. Think of it as if you were suddenly in a fast flowing river. What do you do then?”

The analogy emboldened Beritt; she could speak from experience.

“Why Captain, as a country girl with mah own experience of such; on account of being getting into scraps and scrapes, I would go with the current for a while until I found mah bearings and then go looking for safe banks, islands or rocks,”

“Bear that in mind then medician,”

Why! An approving grin from a captain!

And all she had to do now is satisfy Erzns she could load and shoot a crossbow bolt without impaling her own foot.

Followed by the thoughts natural enough for any trooper.

“Why me?”

“Your turn,”

She would put that whispered response down to one of those fuzzy instances when your mind is all of a buzzing bee-hive.

 

Of Patchwork Warrior Episode 4

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

Yecheilyah’s blog is simply one of the best for words of wisdom and advice for indie authors: experienced, or out there and ‘alone’. This is full of good sense on the question of Rejection.

Pearls Before Swine

I didn’t intend on posting again today but one of my favorite authors posted something to her IG that sparked something I had to share. As you see above, this author is Bernice McFadden and this is her sharing the rejection letters she received for her novel Sugar. I have this book as well as her novels This Bitter Earth, Glorious and I’d like to get my hands on Nowhere is a Place and The Book of Harlan but I digress. Needless to say, the writing is on point. Long story short, you all know that Sugar has gone on to do very well despite the 75 (yes, seventy-five…let that settle) rejection letters. For Indie Authors, we may not be looking for publishers, but we have rejection letters too. I want to encourage you not to give up when you get one:

Negative Reviews – One of our…

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