Tuesday Snippet: Unlicensed Sorceress Chapter Seven

unlicensed sorceress 2017Koenigstadt
Michael Ordson

Michael walked quickly down the cobblestone path. He didn’t stop to look at the stone buildings that had been there for hundreds of years. He didn’t look at the fountain with undines dancing and swooping in the tinkling water.

He didn’t notice the sylphs as they tangled and slid up and down the oaks planted near the pathway. As a student he had not been able to see the elementals at play except when they manifested in the classroom.

He didn’t stop and stare because he was focused on finding his mentor. There had to be some way to stop the inevitable. Since the mage wars, unlicensed mages were chained, stripped of their powers, and sometimes killed in very public ways. The only reason Morcant would try to strip Hilda’s powers was because she had been of service and couldn’t be killed publicly without a lot of repercussions from the Mercenary Guild.

No one wanted the guild mad at them. The members trained for years and also went to war against each other. They knew tactics and weapons. They had planned for every disaster including if they were attacked by their host country. They were hard men and women who would do anything for their own. Hell, even the retired mercenaries were dangerous. He thought fondly of Grandpa Stevens. That man could kill with a look. He didn’t even have to use his hands.

When Michael found his mentor, he was in a better mood after the long walk and his thoughts of Grandpa Stevens inevitably lead to thoughts of Josephine. He missed her. He really missed her. He would give up all of his ambitions of fame and fortune to be her at the inn.

Michael’s mentor was on his knees in a garden. His earth elemental, a gnome, was watching him plant bulbs along the walkway.

“Isn’t this a little early?” Michael asked him. The sun’s weak rays didn’t warm him. The cold went clear to his bones.

“Yes,” his mentor said simply. “But my friend here will watch them and make sure they don’t freeze. They’ll be ready to bloom in spring.” He got up off of his knees and brushed off the dirt that had accumulated on his pants and robes.

The mentor straightened and then looked into Michael’s eyes. “I hear you brought us some trouble.” His words came out slow and thoughtful. One of the reasons the mentor received so many students was because he didn’t rush to judgment. A lot had to do with his affinity to earth. He knew it took time for students to reach their full potential.

Then he smiled and switched the subject, “Congratulations. I see you have an undine.”
Michael smiled back, “Yes.”

The mentor’s eyes unfocused. He murmured. “Your fire ability has been badly burned. You’ll have to tell me what happened. How interesting.”

He reached out and touched Michael’s hand. He continued, “You grew another one. How did you?—” He opened his eyes. “Once again, you’ll have to tell me later. Come with me. We need to talk in private.”

They didn’t walk much farther until they reached a door in the wall. His mentor made some hand motions and the door opened by magic. “It’s keyed to my magic, I’m afraid,” the mentor’s eyes crinkled in amusement as Michael watched him intently. “No one can get in here, but me.”

“So have you terminated many students here?” Michael joked. When the silence grew, Michael started to feel uncomfortable. There was a reason why normals thought mages were insane.

“You have nothing to fear,” said his mentor. “We are just going to talk.”

His mentor motioned to an over-stuffed chair that had brown and yellow stains on it. Michael didn’t look closer. He didn’t want to know what the stains were although by the smell, some student had probably peed from fear. It was a stringent sour odor. Michael ignored it and breathed through his mouth.

“So,” the word drawled out of the mentor’s mouth. “Are you here about your magic or about your sister’s?”

Michael was not ready for the question. He flinched. He tried to say something smart, but all that came out was, “uh, uh, uh.”

“Your sister then,” said the mentor. The mentor quit looming over Michael and sat down on a stuffed couch facing him. While Michael wasn’t looking, a tea tray appeared on a small tray beside his mentor.

“Since I am not your mentor anymore,” the mentor said, “You may call me Mage Godfroy.” He poured two cups of tea and floated one of the tea cups to Michael.
Michael plucked the tea cup out of the air and took a sip of the tea. “Thank you,” he murmured. The tea tasted excellent. He didn’t test for poison. Doing that in his old mentor’s office would have been an insult.

“So about your sister,” the mage said. He sipped his tea and then put it down. “She has magical talent, yes?”

Michael nodded his head. All of a sudden the tea tasted sour in his mouth. “She had a meeting with Mage Morcant today.”

Mage Godfroy grimaced. “He tried to strip her of her power, yes?”

Michael nodded his head. “He wasn’t successful, and he will try again.”

“You have a problem,” said Mage Godfroy. “You should have reported her magical talent as soon as you knew. She should have reported it when the fire element came to her.” He took another sip of his tea. Michael relaxed slightly. The mage could give a tongue-lashing like no other. He was not expecting this calm.

“Mage Morcant,” Mage Godfroy continued. “Had every right to strip her powers—except he shouldn’t have done it without the consent of the Mage Council. You do know that it would be easy for Morcant to get permission now that they know she is able to stop an attack.”

“I would think that they would find her useful.” Michael felt the blood rush to his head. “She has been trained in war.” He could feel the his face warm and burn. He felt his undine caress the back of his neck until he cooled down. His temper went cold and blue sparks shown in his eyes.

Mage Godfroy didn’t smile, although there was a twinkle in the back of his eyes.

“Good,” he said abruptly. “You’ll need that when you go to war for your sister. It may only be paper and diplomacy, but if you cannot get them on your side, then your sister will be as good as dead.”

Under the cold anger, Micheal felt his stomach sink.

******************

Now for a  little promotion

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2

Hero of Corsindor is now on Amazon kindle for pre-order.

In the kingdom of Corsindor, the prince is lost, the king is dead, and the queen is holding the reins of government against disloyal nobles. They want a puppet to consolidate their power over the land. The queen has only one ally, who is not human.

There are rumors that the borders have been closed. Plus the long-lost prince, who knows nothing of ruling, is returning. Corsindor is being attacked from within and without by nightstalkers.

Shira, a foundling, trained by the Ahrah, Corsindor’s neighbors, is sent find out the conditions in Corsindor. Warrior and child of another world – her job is to confront the demons and reduce the chaos in the world. Will she survive?

Will she be tempted to take it all?

 

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Tuesday Snippet: Hero of Corsindor – Chapter 4

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2Hero of Corsindor
Chapter 4

Shira packed her few clothes into a bag. She couldn’t bring more than her horse could carry. It would be better to have more food and weapons than clothes. She would miss this tent. She could barely stand in the center and it had a small cot in the corner.

A trunk held her clothes and weapons. She would have to leave much of it if she was only allowed one horse.

She didn’t turn to look when she heard the tent flap crackle. She had wanted to tell Oor that she was leaving, but the Counselor had cautioned her.

Well, she hadn’t told him, but he would have to be suspicious after seeing her packing.

“You’ll need this,” Oor said. He handed her a small ebony knife. She wrapped the knife in cotton and place it in the pouch that hung on her belt. There was a small blue jewel in the knife that was the exact color of her eyes.

“Thank you,” said Shira. “It’s lovely.”

She waited for him to leave, but he just looked at her with a little disappointment in his eyes. Oor was like a father to her. While training her, he had trained her and taught her all of his tricks. She hated to see that look in his eyes.

“You aren’t leaving without me,” he told her.

“I can’t,” she said. “You are needed here.”

He smiled. “You think I’m too old for the journey. Well, you don’t get a choice. I’ve already talked to the Counselor. Get your butt in gear because our horses are waiting for us.”

Oor grabbed her bag then pulled out most of the clothes. “You won’t be needing these.”

She was half-resigned and very amused when they made their way to the barn. Malkiah was there already. He had two horses geared up and ready.

Two people knowing her mission was two many, but three? “You aren’t going too?”
Malkiah shook his head, no. Then he smiled. “You know that when you leave I am next in line to be the Councilor’s protector?”

Shira hadn’t thought of that. Still she knew that the Counselor would run him ragged. “Good luck with that,” she smiled back.

Even though they were rivals, she would miss him. Malkiah was short, muscled, with dark hair bound in leather strips. His brown eyes could twinkle when he wasn’t angry. Shira had to admit that she liked making him angry. He spent too much of his time being self-important.

“Keep Cianne out of trouble” was her parting shot. Malkiah frowned.

Shira swung her leg over the saddle and settled in. Oh yea, Malkiah was angry that she had mentioned Cianne. That woman had too much ambition in her body and she used that ambition to get Malkiah, her son, in positions of power.

Oor leaped onto the two-tone white and brown gelding, “Quit murmuring love words and let’s get going.”

“Oh hell,” Shira would miss him. She leaned over the saddle and planted a kiss on Malkiah’s lips. He was shocked. Well, that shut him up. He did stroke her hair.

She turned the horse north and didn’t look back.

***

As soon as they reached the forest, the tree limbs of the fir trees closed around them and it became harder to ride. Shira got off of her horse after Oor. They led their horses through the small narrow trail. The detritus crunched under Shira’s feet. The two people, two horses, and one mule could not pass unnoticed.

As they passed the outer edges of the trees, the trunks became thicker and the moon that had risen only a few minutes before hid its face in the upper branches. Not even a little moonlight lit the forest floor.

When they reached a small clearing near a stream, Shira saw a few bits of rope on the ground near the tree. That wouldn’t have alarmed her much except there were huge claw marks on the trunk of a cottonwood with roots drinking thirstily from the burbling stream.

Still they decided to camp here for the rest of the night and get a head start in the morning. It was going to be a cold camp. After tying the horses and mules to stakes so they could graze and get water, Shira rolled up in a blanket under the clawed-up tree. Oor would take the first watch tonight.

Shira woke at the first howl.

She jumped up and rolled her blanket. Even if they could get the horses saddled again, the nightstalker was too close. She knew it was a nightstalker. There was nothing else that would make the back of her hairs stand on end.

She looked longingly at the stream. Nightwalkers were like other scent predators. If they could get away without being seen, then they might have a chance. When she started that direction, Oor caught her arm and put a finger to his lips.

Stupid. Stupid. The nightstalker was close enough to hear them. The stream was not the escape she could take.

Shira slid out her short sword from her belt and readied herself for an extremely bloody death. Nightstalkers mauled their prey and ate the meat bloody, raw, and live.

Oor didn’t have his sword out. Before she could say anything she heard a rustle coming from the tops of the trees. She faced the new danger with her sword out.

Oor grabbed her wrist and pointed her sword down. He shook his head, no.
The bushes moved from the outside of the clearing moved closer. She blinked her eyes and the bushes were even closer. When she took another look, there were four small men barely over four feet standing around them.

They wore spiked armor that resembled the bushes. Shira admired the camouflage and the work that had went into making them. It took a fine artisan to make it.

“No, it can’t be,” Shira whispered to Oor. “The little people are myths.”

Oor just grinned at her astonishment.

A man in green tights walked through the little warriors. He had a hat with a long feather that swept the ground behind him. Oor poked Shira in the ribs before she laughed.

“SPAKRSF,” said the little man.

“SPAKRSF,” Oor answered, and then spread his hands with the palm ups.

“What is he saying?” Shira asked.

Oor frowned at her. She wanted to roll her eyes because he would say the same thing he always said. Use your gift.
So she tried to hear with her ears and heart. “I can’t find it,” she said.

“It’s a first world language.”

Shira took a deep breath and tried to calm herself as the nightstalker’s howls came closer. She lost herself for a moment in the deep blackness until Oor pinched her. She came back with a blush on her cheek.

“Ha, ha, ha,” said the little man. “She thinks I’m a wizard. You need to teach her better, old friend.”

“Hush,” Oor said. “She’s never met a creature as ugly as you before. Remember when you met your first world creature? You screeched and ran away.”

“Well,” said the little man. “You were big and hairy.”

“Surely, I haven’t changed that much?”

“So is this a reunion?” Shira asked. “Do you this is the proper moment for introductions?” Shira’s complaint was punctured by another howl.

“This is Stefan Gomez Alvirez Antonio McFarland. Shorty to his friends. I call him, Runt,” said Oor.

The howl that echoed through the woods was so close that both Shira and Runt jumped.

“Can we continue this conversation in a safer place?” Oor asked.

Shorty whistled in such a high pitch that Shira barely heard it. Long hemp ropes coiled down from the tops of the trees. Shira could see several little people high in the branches.

“Our horses,” said Shira. She wouldn’t leave them to the nightstalker.

“We’ll take care of them,” said Shorty. Two large baskets were lowered to the ground. “Get in.”

Shira and Oor scrambled in the woven baskets. The baskets swayed as the little people in the trees heaved to get them up and hidden in the higher branches. It swayed so much that Shira felt nauseous. She swallowed the bile down and closed her eyes.

The ride seemed like an eternity. But it wasn’t forever. Soon a little woman was coaxing her out of the basket. Shira shook, but followed the woman. There was a temporary bridge between the trees that was made of wooden planks.

“Don’t look down,” said the little woman. She helped Shira into the next basket. It dangled from a series of ropes across the trees to a destination that was too far for her eyes to see.

She took a deep breath and told her stomach to be good. The basket whizzed down the ropes and the air rushed and slapped her face. Her shoulders cramped. Her fingers cramped as she clung to the edge of the basket.

The nightwalker howled beneath her. It was a cry of a predator that had lost its prey.

Shira shivered.

***

As Shira gently swayed, the darkness deepened. A small lit glinted and a strong current whirled her toward that light. She bumped through a tunnel, black jagged rocks, cave openings, and hieroglyphics flashed across her corneas. She fell and fell and fell.

She landed softly on a soft velvety grass. She was surprised to be on her feet. The sun shone straight down on her so her shadow was hidden.

“Where am I?” she asked softly. She wasn’t expecting an answer so she was surprised when she heard a soft voice.

“I have called you,” it said.

When she felt a feathery light touch on her legs, she looked down and saw a small kitten rubbing her leg.

The kitten sat on its haunch in front of her.

“Listen.” It looked at Shira directly and Shira could not look away. “At Hunter’s Quarry, there is a small cave guarded by a nightstalker named Rhali. He has traded his birthright for destruction. Kill him. He hosts the soul of a young man.”

“Go with my blessings.” A whirling light touched the top of the kitten’s head and traveling down its body. Turning into a whirlwind, it clawed Shira, leaving three marks on her ribs.

“My mark is upon you.”

A white pearl necklace was placed around Shira’s neck. The light became smaller and smaller until Shira was in the blackness again.

A young woman shook her. “Get out, please. I can’t carry you.” Shira opened her eyes. “You poor thing. You’ve hurt yourself.”

Shira crawled out of the basket. She must have had a dream while she was traveling so high above the ground. She promised that if she ever got back on the ground, she wouldn’t come back…ever.

Her ribs stung so she looked down. There was blood on the shirt. When she lifted it up, there was three claw marks on her ribs. The small woman helped her to a hut in the tree city.

She fussed over Shira, wiping the cut and putting salve on it. “You need to be careful of infection,” she said.

Soon Shira couldn’t keep her eyes open. She was on a bed so short that her feet hung over the sides.

As she was falling into that twilight dusk of sleep, she thought she heard voices.

“She is a child of the third world,” said a deep male voice.

A light curled up on the table next to Shira. In the light was a small gray tabby cat with deep forest green eyes.

“She is called,” the cat said.

A light breeze whispered through a window and touched Shira on the forehead. She slept.

Tuesday Snippet – Hero of Corsindor – Chapter 3b

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2Silas came to slowly, while his head exploded from the pain. The back and top of his head pulsed. He tried to rub his temples, but his hands were tied at his back. He was drooling, face down in the dirt, next to his mule.

He tried to open his eyes, but a bright burst of light stabbed them and made his head hurt even worse. He shut his eyes tight and moaned.

“Where am I?”

“Ah,” Silas could hear the smooth round tones of his captor. “The prisoner is awake.

As the man came closer to him, Silas’ nose was overwhelmed with the smell of rotten eggs. Silas dry-gagged.

“The bonds were to protect you,” his captor said. He sliced the bonds and pulled Silas to his feet. Silas tried to open his eyes again and this time he squinted.

His captor was tall and dark. His eyes were a dark black with no irises. Silas shivered just a little. If his captor had had normal eyes, he would have been a handsome man. Silas looked down at his feet instead of facing his captor.

“Why am I here?” Silas mumbled. He was still weak and could barely get his mouth to move. His hands and feet started prickling and he almost missed the answer.

“My prince,” said the man. “I’ve been looking for you for too long.”

The shock of being called a prince made Silas stand straighter and look into the man’s face. The man had no wrinkles. There was no life experience etched into his face. Silas felt his heart drop to his stomach. He had been captured by a demon. He tried to stop the shivers, but his body had other ideas.

The man-shaped demon smiled, showing sharp teeth that could rend flesh. Silas shook harder.

Abruptly the man-shaped demon frowned at him. “I have no time to play with you prince. Quit acting like prey.”

Silas took a deep breath and let it out.

“I am Rhali,” said the man-demon. For a moment Silas had hope. If he had the demon’s real name he would be able to free himself.

The demon, Rhali, picked him up and threw him over the mule, then tied him down. The mule should have run from the demon. Animals were more afraid of these things than humans. Humans made deals with these creatures.

The mule was docile though. Rhali must have some type of magical hold on the animal.
Silas tried to wiggle out of his bounds. Maybe if he rolled off the mule, he could hide in the forest. His bounds were tight, but not too tight.

Rhali lead the mule and talked and talked and talked. His voice must have been spelled because Silas relaxed and finally heard the words.

“You’ll make a suitable sacrifice, prince,” murmured Rhali. “You are bound to me. If I die, then you die. If you die, I then will die but I will live on in another body.” He laughed. The sound echoed and hurt the trees around him. He was unnatural

“If I die, then you will die. If you die, then I will die.”

There was no escape.

It may have been hours or days because Silas had lost track of time, when Rhali stopped the mule in a small clearing near a small creek, a tributary of the Snake river that flowed through the heart of Corsindor.
Rhali dragged him off the mule and dropped him on the hard dirt. He did a little gesture with his hand and Silas was lifted in the air and thrown on a branch of the tree. The rope was thrown over him and wound around him like a huge snake.
It happened so quickly that Silas was snug against the branch before he could struggle. It was like Rhali was stashing him like food for the next day. There was a burning next to his heart where he assumed was where he was bound to this evil creature.

“Why?” asked Silas as if he would get a different answer.

“Don’t look down,” Rhali warned, ignoring his question.

Silas felt rather than saw Rhali leave. The tree bark scratched his cheek. The whirling sound of grasshoppers and other insects soothed him. In the distance he could hear the howl of a night hunter. He was too tired and still hurt too badly to be scared of it.

The moon rose as beautiful as a young girl in a spring gown. It’s glow made the clearing from his viewpoint made the grasses lining the banks of the creek almost ethereal.

As the moon rays touched him, his neck became itchy. His hands were bound so tightly to the branch that he couldn’t scratch. He slide his hands, scraping them until they bled. His fingernails had become claws and were covered in fur.

He finally knew what the demon meant. He was bound body and soul to the demon. Every night Silas would experienced the nocturnal turning with him.

At this realization, Silas screamed as he tried to struggle, but he was bound too tightly to move. He felt his body crack and change. It was too much horror. He blacked out.

The sun had already risen when Silas woke up to a violent headache. He was still trussed to the tree, but the rope had loosened enough during the night that he could wiggle out of it.

Next to the grazing mule was a horse. He didn’t know why he was surprised that Rhali had a horse—a nice gelding at that. A note was pinned to the saddle bags.

“Meet me at Hound’s Quarry.”

Silas had no options except obedience. If he showed up at his village with his furry problem, they would shoot him first and ask questions later. He sighed.

He led the horse to the creek so it could get a good drink. Next was the mule’s turn. He but the saddle bags on the mule, tied the mule to the saddle, and then mounted the gelding. He wasn’t used to riding something so fine. In the village he was considered odd because the blacksmith made sure he could read and ride. Only nobles rode.

It would take a few days to get to Hound’s Quarry. He had a fuzzy idea that it was in that direction. He could feel a line stretch from himself to Rhali. Yep, that direction.

Maybe he would come up with an escape plan before then. He nudged the horse.

Sipping coffee in the autumn air

coffee-2670190_1920

From Pixabay

I was reminded yesterday of a creative writing workbook I had used when I was in college between 1998-2001 called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. During that time I was going to the European Division of the University of Maryland University College. Yes,  it had the acronym of UMUC.

Some one made the joke that we were running amok and it kind of stuck.

While I was in that college I worked on a BA in English Literature and a minor in Germany history. I won’t get into the curriculum, but the writing schedule was brutal. I wrote at least two papers for the history courses and three to four papers for the English courses. I was either memorizing, researching, or writing. Plus I didn’t have the time for brain freezes.

This book had exercises to help keep the brain on track. It also advises writers to do other things so that our subconscious can have some time to put some pieces together without our logical brain trying to help. The logical brain has that “editor” that wants our writing to be perfect. It causes the subconscious mind to go on strike.

It is not a good thing to turn off either the subconscious or logical mind. I thought at one time that writing with the subconscious mind would make great stories and poems. Not true. It’s the logical mind that contains the grammar and sentence structure.

If you’ve tried to read “stream of consciousness” you’ll find it is hard reading. If I wanted to be a literature writer with only a couple of readers, I would go that direction. But I want to write genre fiction, particularly fantasy.

One of the reason’s I like “The Artist’s Way” and Julia Cameron’s other book “Walking this World” is because it lets the subconscious play a bit. Then it helps the subconscious and logical mind work together in the act of creation.

So if your well of ideas is going dry and your mind is blank. Try some of her ideas.

As for me, I am going back to writing on Unlicensed Sorceress. Here is a taste of it.

 Unlicensed Sorceress Chapter 10 Scene 1

Mage University
Hilda Brant
It was slightly humiliating to be in school with the junior mages. Hilda wasn’t as limber as the young ones who sat in a circle and yelled out the alphabet. Five little ones just over six years old and Hilda was at least forty years older than the youngest one.

At lest the reading teaching didn’t expect her to sit on the rug. Hilda sat in a chair behind the other students, laboriously writing the first three letters of the alphabet. It wasn’t often that they got adults in the reading class. The teacher had assured her that she would learn. It was a little humiliating that the younger students were learning faster than she was.

A younger mage came over to look at her work. She was writing on a slate. “Here,” the mage said. “You need to make straighter lines.

The chalk felt dusty and she pressed to hard on the slate. The chalk broke and one half flew across the room. It had been a long time since she had been an underling and it was frustrating. The young mage who was showing her the letters hid a smile behind a hand.
“Come on,” he said. “You have several advantages. Use your skills. Don’t you know how to communicate with a team?”

Hilda nodded her head. They had used signs and symbols to communicate with each other, this wasn’t any harder.

“Plus,” the mage continued. “You have an elemental. She can help you.”

Hilda didn’t want to use Sassy. She’d have the little elemental saying, “A. A. A,” at her until Hilda went crazy. The mage looked at her sternly. It was kind of funny to see a teenager look stern. It was the same look she gave to others when they weren’t trying.

In front of them, the children had gotten to their feet and were jumping up and down. The noise in the room stopped her concentration. She wanted to sit up and jump up and down too.

“Come on,” said her teenage torturer. “Call your elemental.”

One thing she didn’t want the mage’s to know was that she didn’t have to call the elemental. Sassy stayed with her all the time. In fact she was peeping out from behind her hair so that she could get a closer look at the children. She wasn’t much older than the children.

You’d think that elementals were old as the hills. You’d think that they had been here forever. Yes, elementals had been here forever. They they were born and then they died. Sassy was from an old line but she was a young one. Hilda had found her on the battlefield. She had saved Sassy and Sassy had saved her. Still Sassy loved the energy of the children and wanted to play with them.

When the teenage mage saw Sassy, his eyes widened. “She’s not full grown.” There was a tone of outrage in his voice.

“You could say that,” said Hilda.

“What did you do with her parents?”

Hilda could see that the teenage mage was agitated. Hilda leaned away from him when she saw the small fireball in his hand.

The teacher saw the fireball, gathered up the children, and then herded them outside.

“Time to play,” she said gaily. The children got into line and followed her out.

Hilda watched the teenage mage. “Put out the fire,” she said.

“Not until you tell me what you did to her parents.” The teenage voice changed and his eyes went red. The boy was gone and in its place was an elemental.

“I didn’t know you could possess a human,” Hilda said. She stood up and put her hand on her belt. Her sword was gone. Plus she didn’t want to kill the mage. She could push the mage and not get hurt. Having a fire elemental meant that she couldn’t be hurt as badly when struck with fire magic.

Still she put her hand on Sassy. “No,” she said to Sassy. “No.”

“I did nothing to her parents.” Hilda said to the possessed mage. “She was flickering when I found her.”

“Liar,” roared the possessed mage.

Mage Godfroy hurried into the room. “Stop it,” he said when he saw that we were about to get into a fight. I had been a few in my day. The young ones forgot that even though I hurt in places, I did know how to make a young man hurt even worse.

When we didn’t change position, and the possessed mage started to move his hands into an intricate pattern, Mage Godfroy yelled, “Stop It!”

The sound of his voice hung in the hair and vibrated through Hilda’s body. The mage must have put a spell behind the words because Hilda stopped and the young mage stopped. The two of them couldn’t move.

“What started it,” Mage Godfroy said.

His words loosened the teenage mage so that he could speak. “Her elemental is too young.”

“I know,” said Mage Godfroy. “She has a dispensation.” Then he turned toward Hilda, “and you?”

Hilda’s lips moved. “Just defending myself, sir.”

Mage Godfroy dropped his control over them. “You,” he pointed at Hilda. “Learn to read.”

As if Hilda could learn to read immediately without practice. She sighed and went back to her chalk and slate.

“You,” he pointed at the teenage mage. “Come with me.”

The younger mage shook a little. “But sir.” A little whine came out of his mouth.

Mage Godfroy grabbed the younger mage by the back of the neck. Hilda could hear his words, “You allowed your elemental to possess you. After your discipline, you’ll go back to the beginning classes.”

Hilda heard a whine coming from teenage mage. Soon Hilda was alone in the room.
She began tracing the letters again. “Sassy,” she said. “Can you help me with these letters?”

Sassy jumped out and sat next to the slate. “A. A. A,” she said. Hilda sighed. If she wanted to get licensed as a magic-user, she needed to learn how to read. “What’s this one?” she asked Sassy.

“B. B. B,” Sassy said.

Why couldn’t she use magic to learn to read?

“C. C. C,” Sassy started with the next letter.

Warm days and cold hands

img_0584 Foxy, my black chihuahua terrier mix, sits with me on my overstuffed rocking chair with the front door open. She sits on my lap and stretches like a flat fur rug. I know she is starting to get older because white is appearing on her muzzle and eyebrows. When I first got her over two years ago, except for her chest, she was black all over.

She is also getting more cuddly and less active. But then, with the problems I’ve had the last few weeks, I am also getting slower.

We don’t see too many clouds except in the spring and fall in Las Vegas. So I watch the clouds curl and flow. In the higher atmosphere the I see lenticular clouds. It would be long that this storm which left us only a few drops will be on its way to Utah and Colorado. I think it stops here to dry off a little and warm up before the big show.

My sleep schedule has been interrupted by my symptoms. My usual sleep schedule is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The prickling in my neck, plus the hot and cold sensations that seem to start at bedtime and keep me awake. I have been waking up at 4 hour intervals. So at 2 p.m. in the afternoon (sometimes earlier) I am so tired that I take a long nap. Needless to say these patterns make it hard for me to think and to write creatively.

Inside it feels like someone has put their foot on the pedal and is revving the engine.

So I am hoping that the sonogram biopsy will be the start to getting my engine to a low hum. This constant revving is tiring.

Now for a little promotion time.

Plus here is the first in the series, Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes:

Getting a boost from Nanowrimo

Thanks again for the reception of “Hilda’s Inn.” I am using nanowrimo to give me a boost for the second book in the series called “Dragon Boy.” We still have Michael, Madame Mary Rose, Hilda, Davi, Draugr, and a few new characters.

For those of you who really like the Inn, there will be a new one on the docks. Yes, it was a surprise to me too. Apparently Michael needs a job as he heals his mind and magic from the Grimoire attack.

As for the inner workings of this writer, I am a pantser. There are inherent risks to being one. For instance, I have to outline afterwards so I don’t lose the names of my characters. Second, the first draft is pretty much structure. I use the second draft to add color. And then another risk is that I sometimes lose the big “plot point.” I almost did that with Hilda’s Inn.

For those of you who enjoy other types of genres, I do write darker fantasy in my short story collections and also in “Perchance to Dream.”

I have branched out to sci-fi with a humor twist in Green Knight Terraforming Company and Percy Doyle’s Traveling Space Market. These are shorter stories. The traveling space market stories will be out in a few weeks.

So without further ado I’ll leave you with an excerpt of a Dragon Boy and the Draugr:

Delhaven, Lord Barton’s castle
Draugr

The Draugr’s eyes opened. The darkness covered him like a blanket. The mage had tasted good, so good. At the first bite, the mage’s magic poured into him and revitalized his mind. He was the spymaster, but he was not. The light that had seeped through the cracks in the door were gone. He sniffed, listening for guards, wanting to rip them to pieces and eat the juicy bits. What he really wanted was another mage, well-steeped in magic.

He sniffed, taking in all the information on the night air. Lord Barton was sleeping in his chamber. Men were standing guard at the entrance to the Lord’s room. There was a slight stench of magic coming from that room, but before he charged up the stairs to the lord’s bedchamber, something tugged from the center of his body.

He thought he was free when he had killed and eaten the mage. But the tug told him otherwise. He fought it by clawing his stomach. The tug became more insistent and instead of a light leash, it felt like a rope, dragging him out the door and through the silent city. As he passed the burning lamps, a wind blew the wick. He was well aware that someone could follow him by the darkening.

A gleam of eyes glared at him in the darkness. He pulled back on the tug, reached towards the wall, and grabbed the cat. The cat screamed as he ripped it open. He buried his face in its intestines and ate. The blood dripped down his face as he followed the tug. Soon he reached Delhaven’s main gate.

Perchance to Dream – a short novel

I started out as a singer– My entire family have musical talent and we would sing around the baby grand piano on Sundays and holidays. It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

My mother was a self-proclaimed diva. She had won a Metropolitan audition in her young years and instead of pursuing her dream of singing opera, she became a mother. She also ruined music for us.

In retaliation I used my skills in music to become a poet. I am a fairly good one…I have even been published in one of the same publications as Seamus Haney. I still write poetry as a hobby or when my music and rhythms overcome me.

Nowadays I write stories. As a writer, I have no idea if I am good or bad. I hope that I am a decent writer at the very least. My late-hubby enjoyed some of my stories and when I had problems understanding the motives of one of my characters, he was more than willing to brainstorm with me.

He once told me that my stories were more real to me than reality. He knew me so well.

Anyway, here is a novel I finished and published on Amazon last year. It is more in the dark fantasy genre, but not totally horror-driven. There is hope… even in the darkest moments there is always hope.

Perchance to Dream1Perchance to Dream
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Kindle: 3.99

Description:

Kat Igardson is a visionary, a psychic, and a protector, but doesn’t gain her hereditary powers until the death of her Grandma. Daisy Amulda, a black witch, is stripped of her power by her father. These two unlikely women become allies to fight an evil that corrupts and taints Earth and its innocents.

Will they survive?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

My body sank into the mattress cover as my mind floated above my body. The darkness covers my eyes as I drop into sleep. My grandma was in the next room; her slight breathing turning into slight snores. Snores into music. I was safe.

For years I have dreamed. Some of the dreams were those little garbage dreams that clear my brain and make it easier for me to think. Some dreams were of the past. I had a dream where I was being chased by a teddy bear. And then I have the dreams of the future.

Those dreams are the scariest. When my mother still lived with grandma and me, she would yell at us. Many times I would have these fights with her before the main fight. It made for some sleepless nights. I still hate sleeping in the same house as my mother. When we are together, we fight tooth and nail, day and night, in person and in dreams.

I suppose I am not the only one that has mommy problems and I won’t be the last. I have wondered for years why my mother is such a crank when her mother, my grandma, is such a nice person.
When I am dreaming, I am a part of the dream. I can feel the emotions that I would feel if I were actually there. The fear is higher, the anger is fierier, and the tears are brighter. The colors, sounds, touches, and smells are keener. I can look at it with dispassion when awake, but when I am asleep the dreams are more real than when I am awake.

At one time I studied Jung’s superconsicous mind theory. To dip into the same dream pool as every conscious being on the planet almost described my experiences. I was attracted to Jung’s theories, but I didn’t want to use them to counsel other people. So after one class when I realized that the teachers were less informed than I was, I quit college and went back to live with grandma. She needed me.

It was dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. She needed a caretaker. I needed to care for her.

The mattress creaked under my body as a rolled to the left and curled into the covers. The blankets warmed my body and I fell into the dream.

GRANDMA WAS IN THE KITCHEN, making spaghetti, and the water bubbled on the stove for pasta. The smell of tomato and meat sauce filled the room as I walked into the kitchen. I pulled out the plates and utensils and began setting the table for two.
The light streamed into the kitchen as I watched Grandma stir the sauce. It had been a few years since I had seen her cook. It was hard with the dementia because she would sometimes put the water on to boil and then forget about it. The pot would burn, sending smoke through the house. After a couple of times, I made sure that I am in the kitchen whenever she wants to cook.

This time it felt like she was all there. She joked and we laughed like the times she had been well. She spread butter over the break, sprinkled garlic over it, and baked it in the oven. I wanted to bite into that crunchy bread and feel the taste expand in my mouth.

Bread baking in the oven was my favorite smell. For a moment I was completely at peace.

Grandma turned from the stove, a wooden spoon dripping with red sauce, and fell slowly onto the floor. I ran to her. It felt like time had slowed to a stop. I tried to run and I couldn’t get to her as her head bounced on the linoleum floor.

Her bright blue eyes filled my vision.

I JERKED AWAKE, BREATHING HARD. The room was dark and I could hear my grandma’s breathing in the next room. I pulled the covers off me, stood up, and walked to her bedroom. I stood in the doorway, watching her sleep. The covers were piled high over her body.

I softly walked to the kitchen, turned on the coffee pot, and looked out the window. I could see the streaks of the morning rays as they settled on the hills around our home. This was the third night I had had this dream. Third times a charm. I got a white coffee cup and filled it with coffee. I was still in my sleeping clothes – a T-shirt and shorts. The clothes had been washed so much that they were soft against my body.

After opening the front door, I sat on the porch and listened to the birds as the sun rose in the east. Today would be a busy day. Grandma would make spaghetti for the first time in years and I would need emergency services on speed dial.
My name is Kathleen Igardson, and I am a dreamer. Call me Kat.