Before life’s battle is rejoined
I need a quiet time of rest
in some silent valley
beside a white dove’s nest.
Before life’s battle is rejoined
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 23, 2013
Analee’s mocking laughter followed him across the beach, followed him to the gravel road winding up the hill.
Helen’s soft seductive voice mingled with it, “Joseph, you just have to come to my party tonight. All my friends will be there.”
Joe’s answer filled Noah with humbleness, with pride for his big brother, “Of course I’ll come, but only if Noah can come too.”
Noah stopped mid-stride, waited anxiously for her answer.
“Noah,” seemed to be spit out, seemed to sound like a dirty word. “He’s just a kid……and, well Joseph, he’s just a kid…and he doesn’t look good with those ugly braces.”
“Will Analee be there?”
“Of course, she’s my sister and besides…….girls just mature faster than boy’s do.”
Noah’s foot came down hard on the gravel and anger surged through him. He started to turn around, but before he reached halfway he thought it would be best to keep his words to himself. He was afraid if he spoke out against Helen, Joe would take her side, not his.
Joe’s mocking answer filled him with pride once more.
“If Noah’s not invited, I’m not coming either.”
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 23, 2013
He rested his head against hers, breathed deep of the girl smell, of the fresh washed blonde hair, surrendered with a sigh to the moment of glory.
Her voice, his dream girl’s voice broke through his reverie, dragged him back from the moment of enchantment, “Don’t get any bright idea’s buster.”
It sent more thrills through him and set his heart, already beating like a trip-hammer to pounding harder, pounding faster, pounding so loud that he thought everyone could hear it. His hands hungered to inch upwards, upwards to the soft twin mounds budding on her chest, hiding beneath almost see-through red cloth. He imagined for a moment that she was begging him to touch her, to caress….
Noah wished they were alone, wished he had enough courage to let his hands wander downwards, to touch, to caress silken thighs, to linger on…but he didn’t. Instead of giving into his desires, he sat like a wooden statue on the soft leather seat, not daring to move his hands from her waist, hardly daring to breathe.
For the first time since they had come to the sea-shore, he noticed how out of place his short plump mother and his short narrow shouldered father were, and how out of place he was among this tall, sun-browned, blonde haired family.
Joe, with his dark curly hair, clear grey eyes, with his tall, deep muscled physic that looked more like Apollo than Hercules, with his cleft chin and deep dimples that formed on both cheeks whenever he flashed his dazzling smile, with a perfect symmetrical face that reminded everyone of Michelangelo’s David, was the only one that could fit in, the only one that did fit in with these people that looked like they had just stepped down off Mount Olympus.
The four adults, the two teens holding hands, walked over wet sand, leaving deep footprints behind, splashed through shallow water, huddled around the sea-doo.
Erma shouted, “Everybody say cheese,” rested her pudgy hand on Noah’s sunburnt shoulder and squeezed.
Before the click of the camera shutter could be swallowed by the gentle off shore breeze, before his mom insisted that one more picture should be taken, Noah slid off the see-doo and splashed to the shore. Hiding his embarrassing bulge, hiding his still red face, and with a back ramrod straight he made his way towards the hill, towards their small cottage silhouetted against the August sky.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 21, 2013
I am sorry for not posting in a while. My computer was out for repairs.
Shaking fingers, shaking hand jerked away from the desktop as if it was a red-hot stove coil, settled onto the back of the armchair and pulled it away from the desk. Noah eased into the soft blue leather, sank deep, rolled the chair back to the desk and reached for the photograph on his left, brought it close, examined it like he’d never set eyes on it before.
Little warm wavelets, born far across the sea washed sticky grains of sand from Analee Jorgenson’s white slender ankles and from Noah’s thick hairy ones, brushed over their bare toes, splashed gently against the sides of Joe’s sky-blue sea-doo, before rolling onto the white sand.
Erma Long called, “Noah, scrunch closer to Analee, she’s not going to bite you. That’s better, now put your arms around her. Not too tight and mind where you put your hands,” in her shrill nasal voice.
Laughter erupted from Analee’s parents, from Noah’s mother and father, from Analee’s sister Helen, from Joe and worst of all, Analee, sweet Analee burst into a fit of giggles.
Noah wanted to run, wanted to hide his red face, wanted to escape his tormenters, wanted to…but he knew if he ran the laughter, the ridicule would follow him and stay with him no matter where he went, no matter how far he ran.
Instead of giving in to his embarrassment, he joined in the merriment, laughed at himself; laughed harder and longer than any of the others. Trembling arms slid around the slender waist, shaking hands touched the sun warmed, soft, enticing brown skin.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 16, 2013
The ranger and the healer called, “Well met Kainaith, well met Alshyura,” and stepped into a small clearing.
Two large bodies, darker than a raven’s wing, topped off with summer sky-blue manes gleaming in the silvery beams streaming through rents in fluffy veils jumped to their feet and whirled around towards the voices. A third, still cubling brown, stepped out of the darkness, snarling.
“Kainaith rumbled, “Well met Aonas, Well met Heleumrude, this be our cubling Aleeonor.”
Grinning, showing off a mouth of long white teeth, Aleeonor growled, “Cubling.”
A big paw flashed out, striking the brown mane, “Yes, cubling,” Kainaith grinned.
“Well met Aleenor,” Aonas nodded, smiling.
Deep happy sounding purrs filled the clearing, “Well met good friend Aonas.”
“I have great need of you three, but only if it be your will,” Aonas wanted to get back before the sun woke so Aeothor would not see him return from this dark time journey.
“What be this thing you need from us,” Kainaith’s growl was low and he no longer grinned.
In a few well-chosen words, Aonas explained his need.
“We’ll meet you at the appointed place two sleeps of the sun from now,” Kainaith assured the ranger. “Aleenor will go with you. She will come if there be urgent need. Cubling take them the short way, the dark time fades soon.”
“Aleenor will be welcome in the wagon of Nadrith,” Aonas turned and followed the young Catilyn and Heleumrud into the darkness.
Aeothor struggled to contain his growing rage and frustration as he turned away from Taliv, captain of the good ship Vayithon, Spirit of the Wind in the common tongue. The thought, “If this oaf were only alone,” raced through the narrow pathways of his mind. This was the forth ship’s captain he had approached since the sun woke.
The same question was always asked, “Will you take me on a short voyage?” The same answer always given, “I cannot take on a voyage now. My oath has been given to the carnival folks, when they are ready to sail I must be here. Some of my crew who wish to get more silver be helpmates to them.”
Twice more Aeothor boarded ships, twice more the answer was the same. There was only one more ship, only one more captain to be offered gold. “Perhaps,” Aeothor thought, “I was hasty in sending the messenger bird last dark time.” Inside his mind, he seethed with rage and fear. He had given oath to those who paid him that he would be sailing when the sun once more slept.
Even if it was not a blood oath that was given, he knew what would happen to him if his oath were not kept. “What a dreadful looking ship,” Aeothor’s anger boiled below the, surface ready to explode at the slightest provocation.
Keeping a skeptical eye on ragged, patched, grey sails, flapping like wounded butterflies in the wind, he climbed through a hole in the splintered rail, large enough for an elephant, stepped onto a deck littered with filthy rags, broken spars, lengths of rope, chipped and broken ballista stones.
Stepping over deep gouges, avoiding piled up refuse, and trying his best to block out the perfume of unwashed, rotting meat, and rancid vegetables, Aeother made his way to a ragged, scruffy bearded, bald headed man mending a sail.
He growled, “Where be the captain? I will pay good wages to him and his crew.”
The rotund man struggled to his feet, made a mocking bow, stepped close to Aeother, exhaled a fetid, sour smelling mouthful of air in Aeother’s face, and barked, “I be captain Scrude, and this be my ship The Zoyoth,” in a gravely, grating voice.
Aeothor turned green, staggered backwards, gaging, gasping for fresh air, and grasped a broken piece of rail. He turned away, struggled to keep his breakfast down and sucked in air, tasting of the sea and far off places. He caught his breath, calmed his stomach, and inched backwards before turning around. He snorted, “The Flying Eagle, this ship be more like a crawling ratoh.”
Gnarled, calloused fingers, capped with jagged nails, looking like they hadn’t been cleaned since birth, snaked towards a chipped dagger handle, pressed tight against a sagging belly. Snarls, sputters, and a string of cuss words came from thick, flabby lips. He growled, “No one laughs at my ship. Be gone now or you will wear this dagger through your belly,” yanked the dagger from the rope belt, and waved it’s chipped blade under Aeother’s nose.
White of face, livid inside, yet knowing this might be his last chance to get a ship, Aeother fought his anger, fought and won. A phony smile, followed a scraping bow, “I beg pardon good captain I meant no wrong. I be needing a ship for a short voyage. I’ll give you two gold pieces and five silver to each of your crew.”
A hand that hadn’t seen water for a while rubbed sparse chin whiskers. A thoughtful look washed across porcine eyes, and a bit of brightness flickered for a moment. “Where be this voyage to and who be going,”
Aeother, sensing the man counted gold and silver on mental fingers, held his peace, and wondered if his offer might be a bit too generous, considering the state of the vessel, and the sailors, languishing in small groups near two broken ballista.
Tense fingers drummed against a piece of broken rail, and dark eyes shifted from the captain, to the men, to the horizon, and back to the captain. He waited, waited until the man stopped playing with his wispy beard, waited until dull, hard looking eyes took on a semblance of interest, before speaking. “The voyage be three sleeps of the sun, perhaps less if wind blows strong.”
Scrude arched his back, returned the dagger to its home, nodded, seemingly to himself, “Where be this voyage to?”
Aeothor replied, “Patience good captain, patience, it be to Blaythil Island. Have you knowing of this place?”
Defiance and anger flashed over the doughy, lumpy face. Snarls, reminding Aeother of his hunting cat when it made a fresh kill poured from the captain’s mouth.
Small eyes narrowed, dots of red appeared on the man’s face, and “I have good sailing scrolls. How many be going?”
“There be four, myself, my helpmate and two younglings. I be needing a cabin for the younglings.”
“I’ll need more than two pieces of gold. It will be three for each of you.” “That will be,” he counted on his fingers, using thumbs twice, “That will be twelve pieces of gold for me and ten pieces of silver for each of my men.”
“I’ll not give this much gold to you or silver to your men,” Aeothor felt his face flush, felt his belly knotting, but managed to keep the building rage out of his voice.. “How dare this man ask for so much?”
Scrude dropped his hand to the dagger handle, “I’ll not voyage for less.” Scrude shouted, “Get off my ship, I have much work to be about.”
Aeothor, trembling, wanting to rip the man’s arm off because at this moment it would feel better than ripping wings off songbirds, turned away. It took three long steps before he came to his senses. Filthy ship or no, a captain he wanted to kill, yet knowing this was his last chance, Aeother ate his pride, ate his anger, and turned back to Scrud. Staying far enough away to keep from drowning in the man’s breath, he smiled his phony smile and spoke in a conciliatory, fawning voice, planning all the while to give the captain his just dues when the voyage ended. “Very well good captain it will be as you ask. There will be twelve pieces of gold for you and ten silver pieces for each of your men, when we reach safe harbor. Can you have your ship ready six horoum after the sun sleeps this dark time?”
“I’ll need two gold pieces now,” the captain scraped dead skin from his nose, scratched his beard. “New sails will make the journey faster. More food will be required as well. The Zoyoth will be ready six horoum after the sun sleeps.”
Aeothor grumbled, “Take good care of my money you old goat, because once we reach our destination, I’ll be wanting it back,” under his breath, and smiled. He fished two tarnished pieces of gold from the pocket of his brown trousers and handed them to Scrude. “And now to work. First thing, I’ll send off a messenger bird. I’ll need fifteen, no make that twenty men, and I know just the place to get the right sort for the work ahead.”
Aeothor sopped up the last bit of alk stew with coarse brown bread, drained the last dregs of dark beer from his mug, licked the rim, and sent a booming belch echoing in the cavernous room. He waved the towering, mountain sized innkeeper over. “My need is for twenty strong men, men who wish for gold, and don’t mind getting a bit dirty to earn it. Can you have them here two horoum after the sun sleeps? There be four gold pieces for you. Now send your youngling to the house of Raonde. It be across the road from the healer’s house, give this scroll to him. Here be two pieces of copper for your youngling. I need to be going back to my pavilion.”
Twenty, long haired, dirty faced, shouting men, adorned in food splattered patched clothing that drooped off emaciated frames, sat at a long table batting flies away, fishing them from watery soup, and hammering dented, grimy pewter tankards on the table for more ale, greeted Aeothor’s eyes when he entered The Flying Froge Inn.
“A scruffy looking lot if I ever saw one,” he muttered, striding over to Raonde, sitting at the head of the table. His eyes brightened, “Just what is needed for this night’s work.”
He counted the gold waiting for him once his intended prey rested in safe harbor. He waved his hand until he caught Raonde’s eye, shouted “Come here. I need speak to you alone. Here is the gold for the men. The rest will be given when the work has been done. You are to come with me to Blaythil Island.”
The man’s face whitened under dark whiskers, eyes widened, he whined, “Blaythil Island? I..I can’t go to Blaythil Island. I’ve..I’ve too many things to do. No, going to Blaythil Island is out of the question. Right now anyway.”
“What do you think the carnival folk, and..and the ranger will do to you once thy find out you hand a hand in kidnapping the younglings.”
Roande’s knees knocked like a mad man with a cymbal. False teeth chattered. “Kidnapping..kidnapping. You never mentioned anything about kidnapping. I..I..I thought you just wanted to talk to them. I’ll have nothing to do with your mad scheme. I’m going to go and tell the ranger.”
A bright metal blade swished from a scabbard, flashed up in candle-lantern light.
Roande fell to his knees, gibbering, pleading, trying to scramble out of harm.
Aeother blocked him at every turn, shoving the sword point against the man’s neck until little beads of red formed around the point, rolled down neck folds, and vanished into the v-notch of the man’s shirt.
A heavy boot lashed out sending a cowering, whimpering Roande across the floor.
Aeothor screaming, “Get up, get up,” strode over to the coward, showered him with kicks. He bent down, grabbed the shirt collar, dragged him kicking and screaming across the floor, yanked him to his feet, slammed him onto a long bench, and slapped his face from side to side. Each blow, sounding like an oar hitting water, left red handprints behind.
He grabbed the back of Roande’s neck, squeezed, shaking him hard and long, and shouting, “What did you say? What did you say about telling the ranger?”
Blubbering came from the slack mouth, tears streamed down the red face, unnoticed. Weak hands sprawled across his lap, trying to block the growing wetness from view.
“Speak up, speak up.” Aeothor lifted Roande up, slammed him back onto the hard wood.
“I din’t mean it, I didn’t mean it,” came out sounding weak, but sounding truthful.
Aeothor’s laugh, sounding maniacal, spilled through the room, lingering until every man there felt coldness grip his insides, lingered until Roande stopped wailing and fading at last beneath the outside door.
“That’s better,” he clapped Roande’s shoulder, smiled, nodded, said, “Good, good. Now take ten men to the healer’s house and get the youngling female. Once I have the male safe in my grip, I’ll meet you there.” He lowered his voice to conspiratorial whisper, “You need but give the men a gold piece each.”
Light returned to dull eyes. Pressed lips tilted upwards, in a semblance of a smile, “You mean, you mean.
Aeothr’s head bobbed twice.
“What of the healer and his wife?”
Aeothor growled, “You need to kill them. If we leave anyone to tell, we’ll have the rangers after us. Kill anyone else that’s there as well. See that not one drop of the youngling’s blood is spilled.”
He circled the table twice, tapping on men’s shoulders until he selected the ten best looking ones. He ordered, “Come with me,” in a voice that couldn’t be denied.
The tenth man chosen, made no move to get up. He lifted the soup bowl, slurped the remaining liquid, licked the bowl, smack lips every time his tongue touched the rim.
Aeothor glowered, raised his hand, “I said get up, if you want your gold.”
Eyes clinched, “I be not stirring until I see a bit of that gold you’re talking about.”
Aeothor’s hand slid to the sword hilt, lifted, “You’ll get the gold after the job’s done. And if you don’t get up now, you’ll be having cold steel for your desert.”
A finger went to Aeothor’s lips, “Five of you go to the other side of the wagon and five stay with me. Make certain you kill Annoth and her helpmate. If they live, none of will be safe again. Start counting, and when you reach sixty break into the wagon.”
Annoth woke up when the first man climbed into her wagon. One tentacle removed the cover off a large candle-lantern, picked it up and hung it on a hook near her bed. Two other appendages grabbed long, sharp swords. The head of one of the intruders fell with a thump and rolled across the floor. The other intruders jumped back and started to climb out of the wagon.
Aeothor roared, “Put up your weapons good Annoth, we mean you no harm. I only want your helpmate, the male youngling.”
“He’s not here,” Annoth did not intend to put down her weapons. She knew that Paireith would be awake and on his way to warn Aonas and the youngling. The longer she could keep these brigands here the better.
“I can see he’s not here.” Aeothor growled, “Now where is he?”
“Asleep somewhere I would think, but where I know not. I needed him no longer to collect the silver pieces for me. Two helpmates were one too many. He left when the sun slept and did not say where he was going and I did not ask.” Annoth grinned, showing off rows and rows of long sharp pointed teeth.
“Where’s your other helpmate,” Aeothor had a feeling that something had already gone wrong. The only other place the youngling could be was in the Kaidil’s wagon.
A loud male voice came from just outside the wagon, “Someone has been sleeping under this wagon. Their bed is still warm.”
Aeothor shouted, “You two watch her.” He no longer cared who he woke since carnival folks preferred to keep to them-selves and not get in another’s way. “The rest come with me.”
One of the men asked, “What are we supposed to do if she tries to leave,” his voice trembled.
“Never mind, come with me and hurry. Leave the dead man here.” eight men scrambled from the wagon and joined the two keeping watch.
“Five go down through the pavilions, keep close watch on the Kaidil’s wagon.” He stopped for a moment. “Do any of you know where it be?” Anger began to warm his face, his perfect plan was going wrong.
One of his men piped up, “I be knowing.”
“Good, the rest of you follow me.”
The moment the men left, Annoth leapt over the side of her wagon, two swords held tight in a pair of tentacles. A bow and full quiver of arrows, in another pair. Down through the carnival ground she raced, “I hope I will be in time to help.”
The sound of approaching footsteps had woken Paireith up, he listened for a moment and then sensing danger, he eased out of his warm bed. Instead of rolling out from underneath the wagon, he scurried out the front and across an open space.
On his hands and knees he scooted under the next wagon, scrambled under two more, rolled out into the dark of the night, raced toward Nadrith”s wagon, stopped at the side and made the call of the pink sea squab.
Aonas leapt from bed, pulled on trousers, boots, shirt, rushed to the wagon side and lifted the cover. “What be wrong he demanded.”
Paireth climbed into the wagon, tentacles waving, shouting, “There be men coming after the male youngling,”
Aonas dropped the wagon cover back into place, removed the lid from a small candle-lantern, and struck flint to steel.
Josh threw off his covers, scrambled out of bed and dressed in a heartbeat.
Aleeonor woke up and growled, “I will go and tell my begetters to meet you at the appointed place.” She jumped out of the wagon and bound away into the darkness.
Paireith called, “Hurry, I hear men coming and they’re running fast.”
The Kaidil rolled out of his bed and pulled on socks, trousers and shirt. His younglings and wife climbed out of their beds. Nadrith shouldered a full quiver of arrows, reached for his bow, shouted, “Lie down on the floor,” to his wife and children.
Aonas whispered, “I wished not to bring harm to you or your family.”
The Kaidil’s smile flashed in the glow of the candle-lantern, “You are friend Aonas and your harm is my harm.”
Vidal called, “I want a sword papaae.”
Maylor, lying on the floor beside her mother, screamed, “I want a sword too.”
“Hush younglings, stay safe. When you be big it will then be time to give you swords.” He tossed Josh his spare bow and a half-full quiver.
The teen shouldered the quiver, drew an arrow and notched it to bow string.
Aonas blew out the candle-lantern and rolled up the wagon cover.
Paireith holding long, wicked looking daggers, scrambled over the side, and rushed towards the sound of running footsteps. He caught a flicker of moving shadows coming fast, dropping to the ground, waiting until they drew close, before leaping to his feet. Swift and true, the daggers flew through the dark. The man in front of the pack screamed, gurgled, clutched at the handle protruding from his neck, and fell. A second man dropped to the ground without making a sound.
Paireith grinned, charged straight at the remaining foe, dogged a saber thrust, ducked a slashing dagger, wrapped tentacles around two men, and squeezed with his full might. Intent on squeezing them to death he didn’t see Aeothor coming out of the dark, didn’t see the sword flashing towards him. A death grip released and a loud scream shredded the darkness.
Paireth gurgled, clutched his belly, tried to stuff his spilling guts back into place, tried to stop the blood gushing onto the ground. He squealed like a rabbit caught in a snare, gasped, and crumpled into a pool of blood.
Josh pushed back the cover, leapt to the ground, saw the dim shadow of his friend crumple, and swore vengeance.
He whipped an arrow from the quiver, and in one sift certain movement notched it to the bow string, pulled it back to his ear, and without taking aim, released the shaft.
A satisfying scream rewarded his effort. The darkness hid his ruthless grin, hid the determination flashing in his eyes. He reached for another feathered missile.
Aeothor stopped in his track, roared, “Follow me,” to the remaining man. Without waiting to see if he was obeyed, he turned and raced away.
The twang of the bow sounded like thunder. “Missed,” Josh said under his breath, swearing. “Paireth, Paireth,” he called, feeling a sickness within, hearing the trembling of his voice. The bow fell from nerveless fingers.
Josh staggered to his friend, fell into the pool of blood, and cradled the lifeless head.
Aonas roared, “Watch the other side,” to Nadrith, jumped out of the wagon, scanned the darkness, caught sight of Josh, and rushed to his side. “Are you all right,” he asked, kneeling down beside him.
Dim moonlight and a few stars sailing in the sky above Annoth provided enough light for her to make out the figures of racing men. Her joyous laughter tore through the night, and she rushed after them, determined to make them pay for disturbing her sleep. Breathing even and steady, running like an oinker being chased by a fox, keeping eyes fixed on her quarry, she loosed her first shaft.
She grunted, “Missed,” held her breath, reached for another arrow, notched it to bow string, and released her grip. The scream filling the darkness, thrilled her, filled her with joy. “That will teach you,” she yelled, as the man crashed to the ground, squealing. “That will teach you to go around spoiling the sleep of decent folk.”
One of her enemies slowed, stopped and turned in time to receive a barbed point into his belly. He grabbed the feathered shaft, yanked, yelled, and yanked again.
Annoth raced past him, knocking him to the ground. She caught up to a third huffing, puffing man, rapped long tentacles around his waist, and squeezed until no more sounds came from him. Throwing the corpse to one side, she looked around for more of her enemy, sighed at the sight of a vanishing, hulking brute.
A sobbing, raging Annoth knelt with Josh and Aonas beside her son, “My brother The Sea King will hear of this before this dark time passes, and if he who did this ever dares take ship, he’ll not reach safe harbor. Neither will the captain or the crew of the ship that dares carry him.”
Josh wiped tears from his face, leaving streaks of red behind, “It’s my fault Annoth, it’s my fault.”
“Hush youngling,” Annoth patted Josh’s shoulder. “It be not your fault, it be the work of evil men.”
Josh screamed, “Morgan, they’ll be after Morgan. She’ll be taken by surprise, Aonas we must go now.”
“Right you are youngling,” the tall ranger jumped to his feet, pulled Josh up beside him. “We have to go
Annoth. I hope we may be in time. If fate gives us fair chance, I’ll come to see him laid to rest.”
Four eyes filled with sorrow, blending with rage looked up from her son. “He would like that. But if chance doesn’t come..”
Josh, filled with guilt, blaming himself for Paireth’s death followed Aonas back to the Kaidil wagon, back to a waiting Nadrith and Astol.
He took a water bottle and a bloated food pouch from Astol’s shaking hand, slung them over his shoulder, and threw water and food to the ranger. He hugged Astol, hugged Nadrith, with tears wetting his eyes; he turned and raced after the ranger’s disappearing back.
Morgan, singing,”Hush my little Dumplings,” giggling, undressed, pulled on her borrowed nightshirt, blew out the candle-lantern and scrambled into bed. She lay there, feeling safe, wondering why any parent anywhere would sing something like this to their children.
Morgan snuggled into her coverings, and with one eye on the window, one ear cocked for the slightest sound, sang, “The Urougs will come and get you, if you don’t fall asleep. They’ll open up your window.” A gust of wind rattled the big window. She sat up, peered through the darkness. No shadow passed between the window and the moon, no beastly face pressed against the glass. With the pillow fluffed, blankets tight beneath her chin, Morgan continued here song.
“The Urougs will come and get you/if you don’t fall asleep. They’ll open up your window/into your bedroom, they will creep. They’ll drag you to their dungeon/where there is only room to sit/and when you’re fat enough/they’ll roast you on a spit. They’ll grind your bones for butter/put your toes into their bread. After they suck out your glassy eyes/they’ll place lighted candles in your head/so hush my little dumplings/as you snuggle in your beds.
Giggling, shivering in delicious fear, Morgan pulled the blankets over here face and thought about tomorrow, thought about seeing Josh again, and felt her face grow warm. She bent her mind on Billy, but hard as she tried, she couldn’t make out his face, couldn’t hear his voice. “I should be sad, or ashamed, but I’m not,” she whispered to the blankets, and thought of Josh.
The door squeaked open. She yanked the blanket off her face, stared towards the opening, stared at the dark form, and reached for her metal ball.
“I be sorry to trouble you Lady Morgan, but I was so busy with my other thoughts, that I forgot about your medicine.” With candle-lantern in one hand, steaming jug and cup in the other, Helmured squeaked across the floor to the bed, placed the light on the table, filled the cup to the top and held it out to her.
Morgan blew into the liquid, took a timid sip, coughed, gagged, and managed to get out a squeaky, “What is this?”
The healer’s laughter bubbled into the room, he gasped, “That which is best for us, always tastes the worst.”
The grin on his face, the mischief dancing out of his eyes, swept away Morgan’s resolve to be serious. The cup jiggled, liquid spilled over the top, staining the snow goose white blankets.
“It be best..it be best,” Heleumrude snorted. “It be best,” tears poured out his eyes, streamed down his face. “It be best if you pinch your nose, and swallow in one gulp.”
“I’ll try,” she gasped turning away from his merry face. Fingers squeezed nostrils tight. A mouth opened and gulped the rest of the medicine. She turned back to the healer, her eyes brushing across his gaze. She fought the fit of giggles bursting to get out and dance around the room. Fought hard, fought long, but in fought in vain.
A sound frightful and loud ripped Morgan out of her dreams of home. She lay still, holding her breath, listening, listing to the screams coming under her door, through the keyhole, trying to understand how there could be a wounded, dying animal in the healer’s house.
“No, it’s not an animal, it’s a person. It sounds..it sounds like Tully. Should I go and see? Maybe it’s better..no I have to look.”
She cast blankets aside, tore off her nightgown, pulled on grungy grey shirt, wrinkled brown trouser, fumbled around in the dark until her hands closed on two daggers, slipped cool steel into her waistband, and picked up the heavy metal exercise balls.
Holding them in clenched hands, Morgan inched to the door, turned the knob slow, eased it open, and poked her head into the hallway. She looked left, right, left again, caught sight of struggling figures at the far end of the corridor.
Morgan stepped out of her room, held her breath, strained to make out the dark shadows, and hugging the wall tiptoed towards the combatants. “It’s Tully, dear sweet Tully.” She screamed, “Let her go,” and without giving any thought to her own safety, she rushed towards the fight.
A dim shape yanked a sword from the crumpled body, whirled around, and ran towards Morgan.
The ball left her hand, hurtled towards the menacing figure, hit the nose with a satisfactory splat, drawing a howl, and spurting blood. The second ball followed right behind the first, and missed.
Swift as a hunting hawk diving for a rabbit, Morgan’s right hand darted downwards, pulled a dagger from her pants, and remembering everything the sailors taught her about knife throwing, remembering the long days of frustrating practice until she first hit a target dead center, she threw with all the fear, hate and strength within her.
True and straight, turning once, twice, three times, four time, the double-edged blade sped towards her target, sank deep into a leathery neck. Blood, thick and dark spurted out around the dagger. Her foe, clutching the handle, trying to pull it out, took two more steps, gurgled. A sword slipped from nerveless fingers, clattering like a bell on the floor at his feet.
A shaking hand reached towards her, and for a moment, she felt pity. Her gaze shifted from glazing over eyes, to the still form behind him, and her regret vanished in a heartbeat.
A door squeaked open behind her. She drew the other dagger as she turned, held her breath and let it fly at the dark swarthy hulk standing in the doorway.
A hand flashed out, knocking the blade aside. He strode out of the room, grinning like a lion killing a trapped gazelle. Four ragged, scraggy bearded men followed two steps behind.
The grinning ape like man yelled, “There’s our quarry. Get her. Don’t harm a freckle on her face. Or it will be a painful death for all of us.”
Morgan spun on her heels, raced on silent feet down the hall toward the sailor’s bedchamber, stopped, pounded on the dark wood, waited for an answer, and raced on when none came.
She stopped for a second time, knocked on the door where Heleumrud kept his herbs and healing concoctions, waited a second, knocked again, turned the knob, pulled the door open, stepped inside, and closed the door behind her.
Moonlight, peering through parted curtains lit the room like midday. Her eyes darted around the room, from corner to corner, and back again, looking for something to bar the door with. Heavy sighs filled the air around her. “If I only had a sword, or another dagger,” she whispered, her gaze settling on a massive bow, and a full quiver of long red arrows, hanging on the far wall, and shook her head. “I wish I knew how to use you,” she muttered, whirling around to face an opening door.
Back, back she went, until a cupboard blocked her way. A shaking right hand fumbled along the shelves, stopped, grasped a clay pot, and threw it at the head of the man filling up most of the doorway. Shards of clay clattered to the floor, and brown liquid, filling the room with a mixture of skunk, rotting flesh, year old garbage, hissed and steamed into his eyes, boiled and bubbled down his face, eating flesh to the bone as it went.
Screams, sounding worse than fingernails running over a blackboard, came from the man’s gaping mouth.
Morgan, fascinated, horrified, gagging, trying to keep her supper down, stood breathless, unmoving until the screams turned into gurgles, until the gurgles became whimpers, until the man’s face melted away and he slumped to the floor.
A loud, grating, “Take her,” brought Morgan back to her senses. Once more, a shaking hand fumbled behind, for a weapon. Finger’s closed on a small rough round object. Her hand flashed out from behind her back, lifted to ear level, without taking aim threw it towards her approaching foe, and missed.
Four men, smelling like sewers, grinning like mice with a whole round of cheese, closed in.
Morgan smashed a pot in the one man’s face, kicked another in the chin and punched a third in a belly as hard as oak. However, the best of her efforts were futile. A hand grabbed her right arm, squeezed until it went numb. Frightened, more than she ever had been in her life, she screamed, and struck out at a bulbous nose with her left. Cartilage crumbled beneath her fist. Blood spurted out of flaring nostrils, dribbled down over thick lips, spilled into a scraggy beard.
Her reward, a blow to her right cheek, darkened the room and brought tears to her eyes.
A bag smelling musty, smelling like a week’s worth of mildew, and mothballs, slipped over her head. She struggled to breathe, struggled to get free, but a fog rolled into her mind, thickening, darkening, and filling until her strength faded to nothing. One more gasp for fresh air, a distant grating command, “Put her in the wagon,” a thought for Josh and then nothing.
Aeothor barked, “Move these bodies,” pointed at the sailors and Heleumrude lying on the road in front of the healer’s house. “Don’t forget the woman. Hide them in Raonde’s house. Hurry now, I want the trap set and ready to spring before the ranger and the other youngling get here. Raonde get water pots and wash away as much blood as you can. I’ll take the female youngling with me. Raonde wait in your house until you see the ranger and the male youngling enter and close the door. There is only one way out.” Aeothor walked to the wagon, climbed onto the cracked wooden seat and drove off into the dark.
To find out what happens to Morgan purchase your copy today.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 8, 2013
Amidst the morning sunshine
when all the world looks green
one must look deep within themselves
and remember where they’ve been.
Because our lives are too much shaped
by days that have passed us by,
by loves we’ve lost and forgotten
by the tears we’ve made them cry.
Amidst the evening sunshine
when all the world looks grey
we only have ourselves to blame
for the sadness of the day.
Because our we let our selves
be shaped by things now gone.
We must deal with our dirty washing
before we journey on.
Amidst the midnight sunshine
when all our world has turned to dust
we must learn to look beyond ourselves
and find someone to trust.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 7, 2013
Do not cast stones
into your neighbours field,
for when winter comes
you may need his wheat
for your bread.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 7, 2013
“Now, now little bro,” Joe squeezed harder, “You don’t want to do this.”
Noah growled, “Says who,” and struggled to free his arms, struggled to strike out, without avail. His right foot came down hard, missed his intended target, slammed onto the floor sending wave after wave of pain shooting up his leg from his bare foot. An unintended, muffled, “Ouch, let me go,” escaped from him.
Laughter boomed out, swirled around them, filled up the room, “Do you give up little bro?”
Noah gasped, “I give up.”
Tense wound up bodies relaxed, circling arms, crushing arms let go, ending the unequal struggle of child against tall teen.
Noah stepped away, balled up his left fist and swung with every bit of strength in his body. Blood welled out of the perfect aristocratic looking nose, dripped over the mouth, dropped off the square cleft chin onto the white tee-shirt, dying it crimson. Grey eyes grew large, a right eyebrow arched upwards.
Noah took two more steps backwards, dropped arms to his sides and waited for retaliation, waited for a big fist to crash onto his unprotected chin, waited for oblivion, an oblivion that never came.
Lips tilted upwards, tan cheeks dimpled, devils danced in bright grey eyes. Fingers ripped a wad of Kleenex from the half-filled box, held it tight against a dripping nose.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 6, 2013
Noah turned away from the window, turned away from the all too real images, and tried to shut out the bitter sweet memories. Eight long strides took him to the old oak roll top desk.
Shaking fingers ran over his initials carved deep into the polished wood. A wan smile lit up his face and the memory of…there was no flash of light, no loud bang that pushed the veil of time away, the years just rolled away from him, rolled up like a rattan blind.
He couldn’t understand why or how, but he was nine years old again, and standing at the front of the desk with Joe’s boy-scout knife in his hand.
He never heard the door swing open or the footsteps coming towards him, because his mind was bent on the labour at hand. He steadied the left with his right, tilted the knife to a forty-five degree angle, pushed the sharp point deeper into the wood and drew the blade slowly towards him.
“What are you doing?” thundered through the bright room.
Noah mumbled, “Nothing,” between clenched teeth and let go of the knife handle.
“Nothing, that doesn’t look like nothing,” Joes’ accusing finger pointed at the marred wooden surface. “Mom’s going to have a fit when she sees how you’ve damaged grandpa’s antique desk. You’ll be grounded for a month of Sunday’s”
Noah blustered, “I suppose you’re going to run to her right now so you can tell on me. We’ll see if I care. I like being grounded. So what are you waiting for, you, you big snitch?”
Joes Cheshire cat like grin sent waves of anger coursing through Noah. He lunged at his brother; hands balled into fists, arms swinging wildly, face scrunched up and reddening. Big strong arms enfolded wind-milling arms, locking them against his side.
Posted by keeperofthesword on May 1, 2013
For years I have been working on designig a magnetic drive generator that actually works. The difficulity has been in getting the magnetic drive strong enough to power a generator that is useful because it requires a 20 horsepower desiel to drive a 10 KW generator.But after testing hundereds of configurations, hundereds of designs, i now have the drawing for a magnetic powered generator that not only will supply electricity for the home but can be used to power ships, trains, transports and in time even aeroplanes.
This at last means a clean renewable source of power, which in turn will lower greenhouse gass, and slow or stop climate change.
Posted by keeperofthesword on April 29, 2013