Of Patchwork Warriors Episode 1

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

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

A Prologue……

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naturally, nothing goes according to anyone’s plans.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out and straight away.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They did not care to challenge me,”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CHAPTER TWO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The girl considered her feet.

“Yer, I’ll chance it,”

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

“Karlyn, Karlyn Nahtinee,”

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

observe the girl….

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

“Yumf?”

And a full mouth.

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

“Uh-huh,”

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

“Pick that up,”

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

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

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

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

“Recite unto me a maiden’s prayer,”

Karlyn pulled a long face, the stew was beckoning.

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

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

“Try,”

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

And returned to the stew.

“You made that one up did you not?”

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

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

“Yumpf,” stew again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She might well do.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hmm,”

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

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

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

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

ClnMyla and his servant exchanged unhappy and fatalistic glances.

Meradat rolled his eyes.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Can’t stop me!!

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

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

 

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

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

She had something of an affinity with fire.

ClnMyla turned to his servant.

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

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

“Of Patchwork Warriors” – Let The Book Be Launched

 

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

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

I said ‘no kidding?’

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

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

A Message from the Borderlands

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strive on writer.

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

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

 

Strive on writer.

A Trip Into a Writer’s Head

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Phone Rings

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

Puts the Phone down:

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

A Sum of Wyrds on Motivations, Inspirations, and Justifications (and probably a bunch of other ‘tions’)

 So this time (sometime in early 2016) I said to myself: ‘OK, you are going to approach this project in a serious, mature and planned approach. You will consider plot, you will reduce the number of words in a sentence, you will make sure the paragraph makes sense, you will watch out for those spelling mistookes that are beyond the capacities of Word Spullchuck. You will learn just what is meant by syntax and do something about it and above all you will read the wise words of the WP bloggers who have books published and sold them.’

To which I replied ‘By crimminy you are write! I will attend accordingly, honour the art, respect the words of other bloggers, and learn. I will place aside money for Editors and professional Covers. I will figure out how best to use Social Media and build up a potential reader base. And have more than one re-write and by sometime in 2017 the First Volume of The Patchwork Warriors will be launched as a sober and sensible venture!’

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I meant it folks, I truly did. As Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie are my witnesses! The was going to be the start of a series of Serious (with an underlying sardonic humour) Fantasy Novels (Albeit with a lite touch). The target was to reach a THREE figure sales number on Volume One. This was to be a reversal of the previous venture which was Three Volumes with a total combined sales of One.      

 

 

Thus, so it; the work began. Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while will be familiar with announcements, sort of progress reports and extracts all from The Patchwork Warriors. Ah there was in truth, much effort and there were several starts ditched, lots of promising chapters & extracts consigned to Copy & Paste- In A Holding File for Possible Future Use (Useful tip there folks when editing always keep the bits- you never know)

But then, gentle reader, across the great ocean of The Writers’ Muse   came the siren songs of The Anarchical (“chaotic, without order or rule,” from Greek anarkhos “without head or chief”). For they did ride along on Brexit Winds and thus did tempt and so draw me to start upon A True History of The Isles (CurrentlyforsalesonAmazonKindle-termsandconditionsapply). 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_

Actually this project by my standards was a roaring success, not only was it well received in blog posts so that folk knew about it, but I managed to get it into on book format and upload as a Kindle- now there it looked odd as the chapters did break up but ran into each other. But, BUT to date FOUR! Yes FOUR copies have been sold, and only that but a 5***** review from one Nancy3333!…..Yea team WBH!!!!(well sort of, because it was still sloppy with typos and a few long obtuse sentences).solilqy

Despite this I then forged ahead and by Jan 2017 (or was it Feb?) I had completed the first draft of TPW, and not pausing for breath or even breadth ploughed on with the re-write. In this case not only referring to notes made to ensure continuity but also writing up a diary of the passage of time passing within the narrative (and having to cheat a lot to make all events match up, but you can do that in a Fantasy novel). Yes this would be the big break through By Jove!

Yeah, about that…

The budget for Editing and Cover…without going into ‘family business’ in detail; it’s gone, and quite frankly I would do it all again and again and again without a second thought, just ‘Because’. Hey, Life eh?2nd Dec 15 Blog

But was that a stumbling block? Heavens T’Betsy no! The most important feature of the whole business was to put the story together and to get this out in some sort of form. Its fate would be left to the whims of fortune and circumstance, as usual, and of course now belong to the ages (in so far as the memories of the computers are to be trusted). Thus onwards and ever forwards to completion!!

One facet of this sort of mindset does lead me to a type of free-form which for better or for worse does save me having to worry too much about structure. Some folk will quite rightly make an argument against this approach, and I would not attempt to take issue with them, only to say this is the fate I have chosen for my work. Nor would I urge anyone to make a distinct choice for this option, only to say: ‘It is there’. Working with Fantasy does give me a certain leeway in this, particularly in a world where the conventional laws of physics as we know them are prone to elaborations which none of the characters if they are honest truly grasp. This may seem again like cheating to some, but when you have your time fixed on a multi-volume work there will be other opportunities to sort this out later down the line.

crazy-lime-cartoon-jumping-happy-35166861

The question:

But why in the Name of Tolkien do you progress upon such an anarchical path with little hope of success, recognition or return?William Shakespeare

Is a perfectly valid one; if asked by a person who leads Word Press blogs as opposed to the insufferable professional who insists that all authors should idly crawl upon hands and knees on the path of being selected by the correct editors or agents and do as they are told.

The answer if my case is. Because I have created something which is mine; this world has been crafted by my hands; these characters have had live breathed into them, this plot has been fashioned by imagination. This is all my work. This is enough. I need no more.

The last three sentences are the only part which I actually commend as basic advice.

But if you are looking to make a certain level of income or career out of your writing, please dear reader find some other worthier blog

In the meantime, sometime in the possibly late summer will appear ‘The Patchwork Warriors’ as Volume I of ‘The…….. (errr I’ve not worked that bit out yet) or maybe ‘…………….’ as Volume I of ‘The Patchwork Warriors’- I’ll get back to you on that!b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

Meanwhile keep writing folks….make me proud!

Ah…..Those Re-writes….Right?

I can understand why some fellow writers dislike or dread the require re-reading or revision of The First Draft. funny-victorian-era-photos-silly-vintage-photography-9-575132ee985f9__700Yes, typos and minor grammatical errors are bound to be encountered. The true misery comes when what you originally remembered as an erudite speech by a principal character now reads like something you’d overhear at a bar late-night time, or you find out that another principal character far from being a reflective and incisive person, when placed in the context of whole book is a stultifying and repetitive boring pedant. And then worse of all; half way through the plot seems to have evaporated. It happens. I feel your pain, I have been there.William Shakespeare

Now personally, not truly being wholly respectful of Reality I tend to enjoy dip into the ones created in my books where everything is mine, mine all mine! Except of course when the characters take over and require me to chase after them and find out just where they have gone.Sprinter

So there was/is Patchwork Warriors First Draft completed and wasn’t that a cool way to end this volume. Well, I says let’s see what is what.

Naturally there was the usual battle with Microsoft Word and the justifiable expletives outrage1-620x350 at it over Reflexive Pronouns and other obscure rules of grammar which might be important in a business presentation but mean nothing in the world of literary endeavour. (I mean, be fair who interrupts your discourse with a cry of ‘You used a reflexive pronoun!’ and claps their hands over their child’ears?…..Really? I must come and stare at them).

The first problem was a usual one for me; I hate villains, blaming ‘successful authors’ for using Cliché Central to meet the deadline. So this really nasty guy had ended up like something out of pulp melodrama, longjohnsilverall that was needed was a moustache and lines like ‘ Har-har! In Me Power’, or one of those dire half-paragraph god-complex asides beloved of serial killers. Well as much as I hate the little toe-rag I had to put some back-bone and originality into him. This had its benefits, this caused me to delve more into the scientific/magic background of the world. So all good.

Next came an issue which sneaked up on the proverbial outside rail. A nick-name used by one character to another; it had seemed to lend a flippant air to their relationship, but after reading it over and over and over I had to admit it was unoriginal and not the sort of thing the one character would have used, anyway there might have been a copyright issue. So recourse to the one useful Word trick ‘Ctrl+F and select ‘Replace’…. Wow 75 replacements…who’d have thought it???happy-face-clipart-12

Then going back to the scientific/magic background, as I footled about, the part of me fascinated by Quantum Physics and Cosmology began to nag away with questions like ‘How do they do that?’ or ‘Yeh, but if that is so..well what about that?’. imagesC0U7V2EDThis started a dispute with my literary imagination which demanded if I was intent on writing an alternative scientific treatise or a fantasy novel, ‘cas if it was the former then the imagination was going to take a walk. So over a coffee and a dish-washing duty it occurred to me this was a fracture society still grasping with fragments of knowledge, so who would know everything….well no one of course. (Naw, one character with encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and massive controlling powers is no fun at all in a fantasy novel, ends up coping -put all over the place).

Then there was the dropping out of bits which were long asides and all fun slowed the pace down, or were now redundant with other changes…..Some were not bad, so Highlight; Ctrl+C, then over to a document I keep for bits I might use again and Ctrl+V and back to the novel and ‘delete’, so nothing really lost.b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

The book is thus morphing, which is how it should be and it’s good fun, because I do like my central characters and one of the villains and it is nice to speak to them and exchange ideas…..yes you can do that, it’s perfectly alright; don’t worry about that ‘Reality’ thing.

If this sounds very familiar to you, congratulations you are on the Good Road. Rewards yourself as follows

Buy yourself a book, you can never have too many books and anyway it’s all part of the literary process.

Treat yourself to a cup or mug of tea or coffee of your choice.

Have a biscuit or snack of course choice.

(The above are important to maintain your energy levels)

Indulge with 5 mins of 8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6

At your favourite media target.

And strive on writing! cropped-24th-nov-1

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

Jumping Jolly Jubes!! ( If you are in the US you can translate to jelly beans, if you are in the UK,-insert whatever brand name you care. For the majority of the world….err…choose whatever you care to )

Oh bother…where was I Me

Ah yes…..Jumping Jolly Jubes!!

Yesterday I completed the first draft of the first volume of my authoritative history of the Isles of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Mann and Channel Isles. This is the second project which has hit target!!happy-face-clipart-12

 

 

So I have my Patchwork Novel and My History both subject to an almost serious process of review and revision.About to Rant

 

Thank you one and all on WP Social Graces for showing me the way

Where they both sort of began….

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1

Patchwork Warriors # 40

The times of Trials…..

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

 

The captain of The Weasel of The Sea had had experience of bombarding towns and ones which bombarded back so as he swept in to for his return run he had the craft further out set on a zig-zag tack, which made his craft an even more difficult target. It was no problem really, they were just firing into the town, and no particular part. What caused him concern was a sudden swell which struck the side of his ship causing it to list to starboard, and thus sent the salvo up high arcing down.

Crashing down somewhere in the docks area.

The first thing he did was scan for two other ships in the sliver of pale on the horizon signalling the dawn and was much relieved to see them suffering with the same sea. At least no one could blame him if any of the crews were injured by the fall of shot.

“Damn funny waters,” he said to the boson.

“Very damn funny waters Captain,”

 

Karlyn had looked sideways at Trelli; Trelli had looked sideways at Karlyn. As if walking into a brick wall in a thick elidian fog Karlyn had been suddenly stuck for any words to goad Trelli with. No doubt the sproggle-head was simmering, but Karlyn hadn’t been able to figure out which way the whichie would jump, and when all was said and done, it didn’t do to upset the prize; she’d only get moaned at by everyone, and in the current she didn’t feel inclined for that. She should be praised for capturing a raider, and finding out the name of one of the raiding ships. There moving in a feral way Karlyn could admire came the LifeGuard and of course striding with them as if nothing dare stop him was The Custoady.

“Oi! Blondie!!” she yelled “Reinforcements!!”

 

“I can make out your loopy- err- tildelte- Custodian,” Norvan said “Looks like she has someone with her,”

“Can you see Beritt?” Erzns demanded; he was irritated, his eyes were not as sharp as they used to be and what with all this scraithin’ smoke and dust.

“Not-“

There came a chorus of shrieking indicating another flight of ordinance, this time the piercing sound did not fly overhead, but began to grow far louder.

Meradat stopped, looked upwards.

“Lord God!” he intoned.

 

Karlyn watched the line of men stop, apart from The Custoady, they made to scatter.

 

In a place of firstly thunderous tearing of the senses at the impact of the projectiles upon the building opposite and then the swept by surge of a force let loose.

Karlyn began to turn as if faced by a sudden squall of rain, time was ridiculously slow, as sharp small debris came tearing at them, towards her. The last image she was aware of was the whichie girl, hands up before her face and in one emphatic scream calling “NO!”. All swiftly obscured by The Second Hell’s worth of confusion, itself only to be shoved aside by the Third Hell of pain, and the Karlyn was lifted off her feet and thrust back down into the warehouse

 

Beritt had warned the raider not to move unless she said so, when the air was ripped apart by the arrival of ordinance; its hysterical cry, the crashing and roar of the destinations. The power of the impact struck her next as if she had been shoved in a tavern brawl; clouds of dust and small debris flooded in, somewhere glass was shattering while bits the flesh and bones of the warehouse were shredded loose. She made to grab at the raider, but in the storm of destruction and confusion he shook loose and scrambled out of one wrecked window leaving Beritt to spit dust, and curses.

But with no time for any more remorse or anger, Trelli was slumped against the door frame and Beritt could not see Karlyn. She squinted, swore again, poured contents from her water bottle over her face, blinked furiously, blew her nose loudly into a rag, poured some more water into eyes and blinked once more. Now she could see a dust covered prone form, head towards her, mouth open, eyes closed. NO movement.

“Oh scraith and shit!!”

Feeling very much that the Fourth Hell had settled on her shoulders, she nonetheless ordered herself to medician duties. She would have to work out just what had happened and what that all meant later on. Scrambling up all of her equipment she scuttled towards the door, now illuminated by dark flame of a nearby explosion. Trelli looked towards her, eyes streaming tears, breath coming in short gasps, managing to point at Karlyn.

“I’m not hurting,” she gasped “See to Miss Boney-Bottom,” the maidservant managed to get to her knees “I’m going to go somewhere to be sick,”

“Take this,” Beritt passed her a solid long bottle “It’s peppermint cordial. When your done up-heaving rinse out your mouth and spit. Do it three times, then take one small swallow. Make you feel better. Going to need you Trelli,”

Trelli snatched the bottle and clambered off over ruins, gasping, praying, retching, sobbing. Her hands throbbing. Good Lord God! Just what was going on?

Trying to stem her desperation that she’d not lost someone to this night of ruination Beritt forced herself into a deliberate and thorough examination of Karlyn for any breaks or wounds. At least the elidian’s breathing was regular. This was a medician’s night and no mistake. Cleaning and patching. This time right in the war’s workface too, not at the back where women medicians were usually kept by conservative types who felt they shouldn’t be exposed to the horrors of battle. Well try and deal with a raving threshing soldier after the shock has worn off and the pain is running wild and you may be having to saw off a limb too!

“Ohh, I died an’ gone to the Good Lord Gawd’s abode an’ he sent me my own angel,”

Karlyn was awake and smiling up at Beritt. Beritt was for checking her senses, smiling didn’t count. Lots of men wandered battlefields smiling, before they fell down dead, or started to scream.

“How many fingers am I holding up Karlyn?”

“Seventy-five..an’ an ‘arf,”

“Oh ferr crying out loud!!”

“Aww you’re fun to tease Blondie. Your little face goes all so stern and your nose crinkles,”

“How many scraithin’ fingers!!”

“How many do you normally use?”

“Second Hell!! You’re obviously no more crocked than you normally are, Now sit up and let me clean that head scratch. Midden! You were lucky! Look at all this fribbin’ rubble, and only a head scratch!!”

The two young women looked across to the hillocks of stone, flames spouting out, smokes seeping upwards, beyond more fires raged and buildings toppled.

“Lawdgawdelpus poor sproggles. Is it always like this Blondie?”

Beritt supposed so.

“It’s war Karlyn. What else is there to expect. Now where’s our men gone?”

Karlyn looked with a sympathetic sadness at Beritt then pointed to burning ruins.

“Whole shattering midden fell right on them Blondie,”

“She’s right,” Trelli added, hoarse but determined to sound upright and sensible as she came crawling over damage.

Beritt stared, she didn’t quite know what else to do. If there was not so much flame, she’d get over there and pull rocks, stones and timbers away until she found, at least a body. But currently she did not want to see anyone cooked, half-baked, and worse still hanging onto life when there was no point to. She could not be hero; she could be soldier though. She would obey orders, as expected to. Yes, that was the way to do it. So she wiped dust, someone’s blood and dampness from her face.

“That’s settled that then,” Hold it together. Look, the girl Trelli was doing it, so would she. Be solid. Be composed. “We’re getting you, Trelli, out of here. We’re taking you to where my commanders will decide,” What? Don’t think. Get on with it “How best to help you,”

“I think my poor squished custoady, might have had other views,”

“I daresays Karlyn. But look at it this way. I’m the only one hereabouts with a definite string of orders to follow. We’ll find us a wagon, see if our horses are in good form, appropriate goods and gear for imperial purposes,” she paused, wiped her face, and looked about at a town in torment.

“And get the scraith out of here!!” Beritt raged.

“Gonna get all my stuff,” she added walking back into the warehouse.

Karlyn nudged Trelli

“Cooo, an’t she’s a fierce little den-mother?” another nudge “An’ A-ppro-pri-ate means we can steal what we like, ‘cause it’s not stealing if we’re doing for the good of the Oaky,”

She then clapped her hand to her face.

“Pooooroogah! Wot a pong! Someone’s cracked open a sewer!!”

“I can only smell peppermints,” Trelli’d resolved to stick to basic facts. She had concluded, quite correctly, it was the best way to avoid going mad.

 

As Karlyn announced her opinion on what she could smell; The Helmsmen and his crew gasped. A bloated, detritus encrusted shape with writhing long and hooked tentacles had broken the surface at the sapphire point. The Helmsman was about to order an immediate beaching into The World Physical and worry about the consequences later on, but the creature did not notice them, it’s limbs had reached into the places above the surface and seeming to have had them half sawn off began to haul itself out of the waters, thick glistening unhealthy greens and browns revealing a long sneering mouth of many fangs. Slowly, the whole thing began to disappear after the limbs.

“It’s crawling into the World Physical,” The Helmsman warned “The Fourth Realm is coming,”

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Patchwork Warriors # 39

 

 

 

OK folks, that’s this part of the adventure done for the present. Now it’s time to consider the History Epic and more importantly just read what everyone else has been up to!

Patchwork Warriors # 39

Karlyn…..A force of Nature; we’re stuck with her for better or for worse….

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

 

Karlyn slouched against an alley wall, wiping her nose on her sleeve, when there no real need to do so. The sight of the town collapsing and burning under frequent detonations was only mildly distracting, she was more inclined to muse upon Blondie’s fearsome outburst of temper, Didn’t those pale blue eyes threaten to spit out lighten bolts? All so sweetly gentle, or proper, then…..Warrrooomp!! Karlyn pondered on whether that was down to military training or was she naturally ferocious and the soldierly thing had made her more disciplined?

She peered around the corner, no sign of the rest of the LifeGuard or Custoady Meradat. Had they lost each other in the chase? Maybe they were fighting raiders? Satisfied her nose was quite dry she chewed idly on a carrot purloined from the warehouse’s multiplicity of stores. There folk running this way and that, and in the confusion of flames, drifting smoke and general chaos she couldn’t make out which side they were on. She wondered if this was something the town had coming to it and it just so happened while she’d turned up. Thoughts drifting, she glanced back over her shoulder, all seemed cosy and peaceful, no doubt Blondie was playing at big sister for the little whichie, who was the one everyone should be shouting at.

A steel pointed touched her neck.

“’Ullo then. Wot we got here?”

Blaggatinian style of accent; one just midways between Lucher and Elinid. Usual trash not loyal to neither city; she sniffed.

“’Bout blimpin’ time!” she snapped at the three men; the youngest, at the back of course promptly exchanging his grin for a slack jawed surprise. “Been sat ‘ere abouts freezing off me arse-part. Skritiz, they says, get in that wobbling tawn. Sniff out the treasury an’ wait for the boys! An’ what scraithin’well happens! Some sproggle starts shooting big ‘uns at me! Just what the scraithin’ slidin’ on a stick is goin’ on! An’ wot fribbin’ ship y’ from anyhows!!”

One lumpen shaven head rumbled the word ‘treasury’ in a loving way. The youngster overwhelmed by the rapid flood of complaint piped up ‘Weasel of the Sea’ . The other lumpen, also shaven headed, but with a beard squinted suspiciously at her.

“No one told us anything ‘bout a treasury. Nor a guide. We just here to tear up a town, snatch an’ grab what we can, have us some girls and cart off a few for the slavers,” Karlyn pulled a dismissive face.

Thrust out her left arm, the concealed blade slipping into the hand and thence into the man’s throat, ignoring blood spraying over her she ducked into him with her shoulder shoving his quivering body into his companion in shaven skullness; knocking both to the ground; the youngster made to lunge at her, she lashed out with the cutlass, satisfied with the drag of steel through cloth and skin and his scream. Thus believing he was currently not a threat, with a yelp of glee, she leapt upon the other, struggling from beneath his dead comrade, she,driving a blade through his skull.

Karlyn rose, aware there was blood in her hair, across her face, on her hands. She smiled making the whole impression ghastly to the lad currently gripping a cut cross his shoulder. With hands behind her back, she daintily skipped over to him.

“You’re gonna meet a friend of mine. She’s ever so friendly, and you’re going to tell her everything you know. Or I get to play with you, some more,” and she made scissor snipping motions with the fingers of her right hand.

 

Face cleaned, hair efficiently brushed and a chance to tell her side of the story to the soldier, Trelli felt a slight measure more comfortable and truth be known a little excited, although she wished the latter would go away as it was bound to mess about with her judgement and in this circumstance she was sure this was dangerous.

Confirmed as a bloodstained Karlyn swaggered in dragging a terrified and wounded fellow.

“Look what I caught when fishin’” she chortled “I gutted two, they were all too greasy and bulbous to make much conversation, but this one,” she tweaked his ear “Will tell us a goodsome tale….. Wontcha?”

The young raider’s eyes were set wide and wildly upon Trelli, and his jaw worked, but no sounds came out; he managed to point at her hands. Before Beritt could make a statement of what she considered common sense and calming effect, Karlyn had grabbed him by his shirt collar her mouth, mostly her teeth to his ear.

“Yesss little fish. We captured her too,” she waved her badge of office in his face “But if you don’t talk long and proper, we might feed you to Princess Black Cat here. ‘Cas she does love the taste of a man’s-“

Beritt was wincing before Karlyn came out with the next words.

However there was an interruption.

Up shot Trelli, glowing hands to hips.

“That’s enough from you! You ‘lidian-you!! Cat indeed! My skin may not be as milky smooth as yours, but I am not any hang-around tavern Cat!! Don’t you dare sully my maidenly status!!”

Karlyn felt rousing both women to reveal they had shouty snarly sides, was a task goodly done. It was nice to know you had folk about you with fire. Knew where you stood. None of the sneaky, tweaky, slithery sorts, who’d steal the cold sausage out of your back-pack when you weren’t looking.  She shoved the captive at Blondie because Karlyn knew the little pixie was just itching to make his wound all better.

“Oh forgive me,” she oozed at Trelli “Where I come from a Cat is a smooth, swift, worker what gets what it wants anyway anywhere. Aren’t you up to that?”

Trelli’s eyes narrowed. Fear and anger can walk close together and breed rage.

As Beritt was all too aware…

“Ladies,” Beritt admonishments came parlour polite tones “We are in a very difficult situation…. Oh hold still you pest, it’s only a wincy scratch!…. Can you please bear in mind, this town in under attack, we need to…. Shush! it’s a mere cleansing salve, s’posed to sting!……be very calm, find out where my LifeGuard colleagues and Custodian Meradat…..Yep! You heard me right. You’re in a Fourth Hell of trouble….So dear ladies, can you please shut the scraith up! Calm down and go out and look for our colleagues!!”

“Oooh Lookat the big brave raider fill up his trousers!!  C’mon little whichie-woo! Let’s do as Oldest Sister tight-pants says an’ go and stand in a doorway hoping the big strong men turn up and rescue us!  We can hold-hands while we tell each other our girly-wishes!”

Naturally, since Trelli could not keep up with, much less make sense of Karlyn’s perspectives, she found herself dragged along, hoping whoever these men might be they might be authorities.

 

The Helmsman sudden stern call for all at their posts to prepare for evasion and possible extraction to the World Physical came as a shock, to do so would expose the Manse to many vigilant and hostile eyes. Just what would cause The Helmsman to take this risk?

There had been a sharp tear of Red and Blue not in the turbulent clouds above, but dashing just above the surface of the sea. Almost possessed of its panic and thus uncertain in which direction to go it sped back and forth with growing rapidity until it suddenly flared into a sapphire burst.

And was gone

“All concentrate upon the central fifth at the furthest quarter. Observe from your direction for another forthcoming turbulence!”

The Helmsman raised one warning finger, and his hands moved rapidly across his own display, he withdrew the Manse to the very shoreline which comprised marked the borderlines into The World Physical. His attention fixed upon the location where the sapphire eruption had taken place. The Helmsman bade his crew to keep strict observation and hold their composure such an event would not pass without ramifications.

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Patchwork Warriors # 40

 

Patchwork Warriors # 38

And Migran has his day too

Meanwhile Trelli gets pulled two ways..

 

                             CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

  

          Mietitore and his men crouched down in the alley with Migran, regarding him with if not quite respect at least attention.

          Migran meanwhile was venting his fear in an explosion of anger which made him feel more masculine in such company.

          “Where the Fourth Hell did you get that damn thing from? That’s the worse locator ever. Overloaded! Tell me you didn’t build it yourself for ferrkit!!”

          “No,” Mietitore’s men remained silent, that slow and careful way meant he was extemporising and this could be quite the work of art “We were sent here on a mission at short notice,” he shrugged “We are just soldiers of the Oaken Throne. We have no knowledge of these devices. Save what we are told,”

          He was also resolving to find out from Silc who was responsible for the device, and explain to them, with the aid of a knife to the throat the need to be more precise.

          “It’s blasted well careless, sending men out with those! Err, soldiers of the Oaken Throne??”

          “Yes,” Mietitore placed his hands heavily upon Mirgan’s shoulder, you needed to display a certain amount of approachability when entrapping an innocent. “Our mission here was to seek out someone displaying a certain amount of independent talent in matter of…I prefer to call it by its old name The Ethereal, although in my own land it’s known as La Rovina,”

          “How pretty,” Mietitore placed himself between Migran and the men, they were pulling collective faces at the mention of their homeland term for ‘Bane’ “It’s not easy working alone. Trying to progress. I meant no harm. Am I in trouble?”

          “Oh no, no. The Oaken Thorne takes a very sophisticated approach. The Jordisk as a group are troublemakers, but independents,” he shrugged “There are high ranking folk who appreciate such skill, but we don’t mention it to the Custodians,” Migran sniggered at the conspiratorial tone.

          “But who are destroying my town?”

          “Ah, they would be mercenaries in the pay of dangerous folk from across the Centrus. There is war-“

          “I knew it! I heard it on my device! They know about Trelli too! We must help her!!”

          Mietitore promptly focussed on two words ‘device’ and ‘her’.

  

          Custodian Meradat and the rest of the LifeGuard had set off in pursuit of the duo, pausing to meet up with Norvan and Merryk who having caused some unsettling of groups of pirates had withdrawn. This force was delayed twice groups of reavers, none of whom survived the encounter, but the resultant delay had them loosing track of the Beritt and Karlyn.

          The sudden illumination of unusual reds and blues left everyone in no doubt of the direction to take.

 

          Mietitore was being the process of smoothing Migran’s nerves with false sympathy and some genuine gratitude, when all attention of this particular huddle was drawn to a brilliance of red and blue issuing forth somewhere nearby.

          “Oh that has to be poor Trelli!”

          “Trelli? Dear Master Migran, who is this Trelli?”

          “She has been introduced to some empathy with The Ethereal! But until now it has been a very minor thing this is… this means she is in dreadful distress! We must go and help!!”

          He was a bit surprised by the sudden collective recoil of these previously stalwart men; it was not so much fear he was witnessing as very grave trepidation. There must be something about The Ethereal that highly trained men were warned about.

          “No. No, Master Migran no!” Mietitore clutched Migran by the shoulder so hard the man winced “She is beyond our help,” Migran made to object or at least ask a question but Mietitore shook him “Beyond it I tell you!” he snapped, then drew in breath again “Listen to me! We must get to your house and get your device! I assure you this is vital! Vital!! Show us the way!!”

          Migran suffering yet another shock accepted the command, for he could not find any time to think; he supposed the man must know something more than he did and thus obeyed.

          Being shoved to the fore, he did not see the men making various signs or clutch at small charms.

 

          Beritt was spitting angry; up to her back teeth and more some! She had this all sorted, and then Squirrel-Head had to go and could nearly have got them all killed. This girl Trelli could have gone off  ‘bang’ for all Beritt knew! Going through a whole litany of swear words, she grabbed a stunned Karlyn by the collar of her shirt, and hauled the elidian girl into a sitting position, teeth bared and face to face.

          “Happy-sliding on a stick!! I’ve seen more common sense in a line of arse-holes during worms inspection! You nearly crocked us all into a midden!! I told you we had to take it easy!! What the scraith is the matter with you!” she shook Karlyn, who bemused by the whole display shut up “Now go and do something fribbin’ useful and stand by a door and…. ohhh….scraithin’ well kill raiders!!”!

          Karlyn stood up, brushing flour off of her clothes with pantomime fastidiousness.

          “Hmmph! I will just do that. But don’t blame me, if Little Missy Sparkle Fingers fries your delicates,”

          And determined to have the last of the exchange, snatched out and pulled the brim of Beritt’s hat over her eyes, then making much of a casual stride exited, calling out.

          “Watchin’ you whichie! Don’t you try and kerflufegg Blondie there! I killed spikie-demonz y’know!!”

          Hat back in place Beritt massaged her brows and took comfort from the fact that soon she would meet up with the rest of the file and the custodian, and she would no longer have to make un-medician decisions. Meanwhile. She crouched down next to a very shocked and bothered Trelli, who was engaged on trying to find her gloves.

          “I’m sorry about her, Trelli is it?” nod. “Now, please may I help you with flour dust and any bumps or bruises; cut or scratches. My mad associate did mention a nick?”

          “That’s ‘lidian for being arrested,” Trelli “We get them through here. Always talking loud, and although you recognise the words, the meaning’s a bit obscure,” she managed a very faint smile. “But what’s going to happen to me?”

          “I’m going insist to clean off the flour dust first,” Beritt produced a clean linen square and from a long bottle poured out something Trelli could smell as part soap and part wound cleaner; the soldier’s touch was effective but gentle. “Can you moves arms, hands, legs, feet, toes?” she asked. Nod. Both women winced at the sound of flying ordinance, the resulting roar and the dull vibration. “Now we’ve been looking for someone, and I’ve found them… you. There will be some more LifeGuard, and we will look after you. You are valuable Trelli,”

          “I’d rather not be. I didn’t start anything. My Master’s son was fooling around with forbidden things, I found out and told him to stop, but he kept on and look what happened to me!!” she waggled her hands “I’d be better off he’d done what sons of households usually do to serving girls!!”

          “Don’t sound too disappointed,” Beritt tried to jest, it might help, herself too “Folk will get the wrong idea,”

          “Can’t be worse than this,” Trelli countered. “And what’s happening to my town!!”

          Beritt hated it when folk demanded of her an answer to something she had no idea about.

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Patchwork Warriors # 39

Patchwork Warriors # 37

                             You know that expression about sparks beginning to fly….. 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

 

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

          “Hello!”

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

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

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

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

          She hoped.

          To her relief the figure sunk in relief.

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

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

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

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

          “Karlyn I-“

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

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

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

          “They look secure to me Blondie!!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          And leapt.

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

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

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

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

          Even if The Fifth Hell was settling upon the town.

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

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Patchwork Warriors # 36

Patchwork Warriors # 38