It’s been a while…

I know, I know…of late my blogging has been atrocious. This week for my local writer’s group I had the task of writing a letter to a dead relative/friend. Strange subject I know…and guess who set the task ??

Yes…it was me. I am learning there are few coincidences in life. I know from writing the following piece that I had a need to say these things to a father that can no longer hear them.

But the process of taking these thoughts from my brain and placing them on paper was very good for me. I can move on. I can love with open arms and no expectations, and not be afraid.

Dear Dad,

Earlier this month I took a moment to ponder what it would have been like to still have you here. You would now be 107 years old, and I wondered if time might have made you different. Seemingly out of nowhere came a thought. Common sense tells me that of course nothing comes out of nowhere. That our thoughts are simply pulsating deep feelings that we may try to bury, yet like an earthquake they will eventually erupt and arise to the surface. My thought was this. Love and hate are very closely bonded together. I realised that when I think of you in the quiet moments I waver between the two.

I remember and love the moments we shared. It was only as I became an adult I truly appreciated how you suffered through my learning to cook, never expressing what you must have felt about some of the awful missteps in the kitchen that still made their way on to your plate. You generally ate every mouthful, and for that I loved you. I also remember you teaching me to drive, and wonder just how you made it through that period without suffering a serious heart attack. There are many of these memories that pop up. Often they surface when not expected, but they give me a sense of peace.

I also remember how you broke me in to so many pieces that 20 years later I am still finding cracks. It was not until after you died that I realised how like Pop you were. I should have seen the signs; perhaps I did but chose to ignore them.

Family was in fact a burden to you. When it came down to it, like Pop, you were not above exploiting that family for your own needs. As I reflect, one memory in particular arises again and again. It was painful at the time. It is still painful. Conceivably that is why for many decades I buried it deep inside. I was an eight year old, getting to know her mother for the first time. Using guile and guilt you tried so hard to bring me to heel. When I take that memory apart now I see a selfishness I had refused to acknowledge in you.

Put that aside…and oh how I loved you. I still do. I always will.

You left this world in 1996. You left it leaving behind your signature on some papers that would do exactly what I believe you wished for. Papers and a signature that would tear me in to little pieces. I know that you had no way of knowing what a vulnerable state I was already in, because I kept from you the news that my marriage was falling apart. So for a time…even broken as I was by your action…I did not hold you to account.

When the news came to me days after your death of your decision to cut me so completely, at first I felt nothing. I moved from room to room in my newly rented house, and often wondered how I came to be standing where I was. I dressed and fed my two children, your grandchildren, yet a part of me was disconnected from everything in my world.

One day while I was cleaning out the pantry, my disconnection, the very thing that had held me together for those few weeks, dissolved. As did I. I lay amongst the tins and packets of food on my kitchen floor and piece by tiny piece cracked open so wide that feeling the world around me became a painful thing.

A hug from my children, seeing a butterfly land on a flower, a summer shower…all those little things that had once given me such peaceful joy now caused more pain than you can imagine. It was as if any pleasurable thing that touched me wore a coat of acid.

For years the pain of living with what you did seemed simply too much. The pain of knowing my father was the cause seemed simply too much.

In the following years many things happened, and the adulthood I had so longed to postpone found its way to me. My children were a large part of my learning about the world. I learned that I could love so deeply and so unconditionally that I was in truth…nothing like you. With that revelation came some peace. With that peace came some forgiveness. Not only for you but also for me. I forgave you. I forgave myself for still loving you. You who could consciously cause a child of yours so much pain, so much sorrow. I promised myself to learn to be everything you were not.

I would love my children…with no conditions applied, with no expectations that their lives were mine to control or to exploit. Love is often a surprise to me. Having never really felt secure in love I was a prime candidate to be like you. To seek it, to demand it, to hoard it. I imagine there is more of my mother in me than I will ever know. Because I have learned that love is not to be controlled. It is only when you embrace it with loose arms so it is free to leave when it desires, that you ever truly experience the peace and the joy of it. And I wonder if you saw the part of me like Mum, and that is what drove you to wreak such destruction. In trying to punish me you were also trying to obliterate her in payback.

When it came time to write this letter to you I was surprised to find that feelings I thought of as gone, were actually just in hiding. Love and hate. The two ends of the spectrum of emotions. I hate what you did. Still. But…yes, with me there always seems to be a but, I am also thankful for it, even if I can never grasp what drove you to inflict pain of that magnitude on your own child. No matter what you perceived my guilt to be.

Asking a pregnant woman to choose between the two most important men in her life was unjust. Clutching your perceived sense of being wronged when you were the one who forced the choice in the first place was unjust. Unjust and unkind. And once again I am surprised at myself. When I take my memories out and lay them before me I see that in fact you were not a kind man unless it suited you. A kind man would never have allowed the police to hold his 18 year old daughter responsible for a car crash, when he was the driver, and drunk at that.

Perhaps I am now the one being unkind, for the possibility exists that you did not fully comprehend the fall out from your actions. Yes the possibility is there. The probability and the likelihood of that being the case, sadly is minimum. The child that still lives on me would love to latch on to that possibility and therefore be able to imagine her father as a kind man, a just man. The adult in me knows better. The parent in me is uncompromising in her revulsion of the cruelty of your action.

So there in lies the hate part.

And the love, where does that come in to play? In forgiving you, and forgiving myself for still loving such a father. Through forgiveness I have learned to love and love freely. I have learned that even if love is not returned, as we would wish, the act of loving itself is a blessing. I have learned that a love that has no expectation except to be given is the purest form of love, the one that gives the most reward.

You Dad, with your love that was wrapped in expectations, and punishment should those expectations not be met, yes you, taught me how to love without expectation of any kind.

Your lessons though oft times uncompromising and harsh, were for me, lessons I now believe I needed as I went my way in this world. You taught me how love should be, could be, and luckily for me, is.

How can I do anything else but be grateful to you for teaching me what is the most important lesson I have ever learned, for handing me a way to learn the true value of love ?

Love freely given.

Love without expectation.

Love that compromises.

Love that is unconditional.

Love that seeks no reward other than the pleasure of loving.

So there in lies the love part.

Ever your daughter,

Love Joanne.

Related Posts

And if you are new to my blog, or just haven’t read some of these…a few posts that will maybe explain the crazy existence of me..

 

Forsaken Feathers – Part 2

‘Because I am forever lost to my home’, he replied. As he spoke the pool of tears became clearer and in its reflection was what I knew instinctively to be an image of his home. I understood his tears.

‘Why is it lost to you?’ I asked.

‘I was foolish to believe in one who was not truthful. Those of us who trusted in his light were led to ruin, to exile.’ Gazing in to the reflection he seemed to actually smile a little. ‘But his light was as beautiful as the fresh morning, and just as hard to resist.’ As the question began to form in my mind, he answered. ‘My name is Amduscias,’ he said and as he spoke his name, a glow began to form behind him. Within the glow large wings unfurled and a trumpet wailed, kokako like, its music settling mournfully around us. With each new note the trees bent and swayed opening up a space for his wings to spread wide and high.

IMG_9258 copy

He leaned back in to his wings and raised his head. As he brought it back down the eyes with which he regarded me were now similar to my own in both their size and colouring. His cheekbones were pronounced and his chin covered in fair stubble. Matching tresses hung down his back and strayed over his shoulder reaching past his nipples. He shined, and with each shaft of light that flashed around under the canopy he seemed to draw me closer to his light.

‘Come,’ he said. Again music filled the air. ‘It is too late now for you,’ he smiled, as he stood upright. The hand he held out to me, no longer misshapen and clawed, was twice the size of my own. I lay mine upon it and it seemed to disappear as he folded his fingers, claiming it for his own. Pulling me up, his gaze held my eyes. ‘You should have left when I told you to. Now, I shall condemn myself even more. I shall condemn you, and we shall both be lost forever.’

Another thing Mama got wrong. Angels have all the bits, and they work. Oh dear God do they ever. Not that I had a lot to compare it to, being the town’s only 19 year old virgin, but his bits were every bit as impressive as the rest of him.

Amduscias’s wings enfolded us and there was no mistaking the fact that this angel, because I had tweaked to this being the only possible explanation, had an erection. I felt my first twinge of fear as I contemplated the size of it. It just kept growing and now Amduscias had a definite smile curving his lips. I wish I could say I know how he managed to make all my clothes disappear; I guess angels just have a knack for it. Like Joey on Friends, with his ability to undo any bra any time.

To be continued…

Relevant posts:

  1.  Forsaken Feathers – Part 1
  2.  Forsaken Feathers – Part 3
  3.  Forsaken Feathers – Part 4

Forsaken Feathers – Part 1

Mama always said that angels were a load of hooley balooley. I was 19 when I found out that Mama sometimes didn’t know what she was talking about.

Riding my bike home from work usually found me daydreaming about some fantastical creature. Except for the small forest between the Hudson’s and the Carey’s farms the landscape was flat, often brown, and boring to look at. Daydreaming let me turn those browns in to lions hiding in wait for their prey, or great desert dunes where the camels outnumbered people. At times I imagined them so large, the camels I mean, that I knew the ridges between the dunes must have been left as they ran in great herds searching for humans to trample and drive from their lands.

One day as I rode, I was imagining that the giant rock that stood at the entrance to the forest was perhaps a griffin, lying in wait to pounce if I got too close. Behind the deathly still griffin I felt rather than saw movement. I placed my imagination firmly behind my curiosity so that any danger would be minimal. After all, my reality was a slash of greenery in a landscape drowning in dreary.

Throwing the bike against the rock I headed towards the trees. Perhaps there was an animal injured. Although, if I brought one more home to Mama she might make good on her threat and make me move out to the woodshed.

After the heat of the afternoon ride, stepping under the trees, the shade felt wonderful. A small path covered with tiny fallen branches, leaves and moss announced my journey and I ventured further in to the damp cool.

IMG_1233

My brother Jared always muttered about his spidey senses after seeing Spiderman. For the first time I figured he might be on to something. The back of my neck tingled from more than my hair brushing against it. Once again I felt movement. My head turned in the direction it registered. No other part of me moved, not even to breathe, for at least a minute. Then, as I gasped in some much needed air my legs took over and began running. Not as any sane person would expect, in the opposite direction of what I was seeing, but towards it.

It focussed on me as I approached. As far as I could see, or feel, it did not seem threatened by my fast and ungainly approach. When I was close enough that I could reach out and touch it, which my hands were twitching to do, with a grace I had never imagined, the unicorn curled up on the ground, tears flowing down its face like melted silver. As they dripped on to the forest floor a pool formed. As the pool grew so did its turbulence, eddies of mist circled out of it before dropping back in to it only to rise and fall over and over again.

With the cool, the forest now seemed to be bathed in a dark and damp sadness. The weight of it made drawing a breath difficult. I did the only sensible thing I could think of, and curling my legs under me lay my head against the unicorn’s neck and closed my eyes.

It should have been shocking but when an arm slid around me all I felt was peace. Opening my eyes I lifted my head and watched with such fascination as the transformation ran down the limbs. Gone was the softness of the fur, replaced with smooth fair skin. Long nails protruded from both his; yes this was definitely a male, misshapen and large toes and fingers.

All that remained from my unicorn was his head. The large eyes still flowed with tears and the horn glowed softly in the dappled light.

‘It is best you go,’ the unicorn said.

‘Why do you cry?’ I asked. Of all the things happening it seemed the most important question to have an answer to.

To be continued…

Related Posts:

  1. Forsaken Feathers – Part 2
  2. Forsaken Feathers – Part 3
  3. Forsaken Feathers – Part 4

Tui

Sue Dreamwalker is quietly encouraging me to get my feet wet again with blogging by challenging me to do the Five Photos Five Stories challenge. Which could be a good thing as it may well work. I fear I have been away too long.

Tui
Tui

a song and soul on the wing,

you and I…

the music and lyrics of a spring day

as we play I spy amongst the blossoms

Well there is number 1. It may not be a consecutive daily thing. After all I am just getting my feet a bit wet in this wonderful blogging world. I have so missed you all.

I am supposed to challenge one person each time I post.

The Rules are as follows..

Here are the rules for the “Five Photos Five Stories” challenge: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
(Sporadic posting is alright if you’re unable to post each day.)

Please fell free to ignore my challenge if you so desire. I know how time consuming these things can be…but…today I wish to challenge the ever irrepressible Gilly. Seeing as she is such a great writer and photographer…this might be something she would consider I hope.

Relevant Links:

  1. Day 2
  2. Day 3
  3. Day 4
  4. Day 5

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway

 

P1060701Writing for me developed from a love of reading. There were not enough books in the universe for me to devour. Winnie The Pooh, Daktari, A Child’s Garden of Verses, Rebecca, and Wuthering Heights were all beloved favourites. They taught me so much. They taught me that there are all kinds of stories to be told, in all kinds of ways.

The first thing I remember writing was a poem. I used to love writing poetry, but sadly all those pieces are gone. Everything I wrote was contained in one book, and that book is lost forever to me. Yet I still feel those stories surrounding me. Changing form perhaps, but never completely abandoning me.

Those stories were a way to escape for me. I could dive in to other places than the one I lived in. But they were only for me, at least until I met a childhood friend and for the first time trusted the stories to another. There was only one person who ever got to read anything I wrote. I wonder if that was because I had such little self worth as a child. Was I too afraid I would be mocked for what I said in those first efforts? I think so. I still sometimes feel like that today. It is very hard to put out anything I write, especially my stories.

Poetry…now that is different, and I am not sure why that is. That I can and do share, but my short stories and longer works are difficult to put out there. I try not to let that stop me writing them though. Still, like everyone else who writes, sometimes it is hard to get one word out. At those times it is as if I am wearing gloves. Those gloves cut off the flow from me to the outside world. And I can’t get then off me…no matter how hard I try.

I look in awe upon writers like JK Rowling, who have enough belief in themselves to actually not only finish their projects but to publish them for the wider world to read. I am not sure I will ever be confident enough to contemplate approaching a publisher.

In this moment I shall just put down the stories as they come to me. They come from so many places, and until I have them out and on screen, a little niggle makes itself felt. Write it down, write it down, write it down it says to me. Is it possible I have my own Jiminy Cricket sitting on my shoulder ? I should like to think it is possible, just like I believe in the fairies in my garden, who weave their lives in and out of mine.

Sometimes they come when the night is at its darkest. They push open the kitchen screen enough to scramble through before making their way to my room. From behind my closed eyelids I see their bright, shiny sparks and hear their chatter. They run amok over the covers of my bed. One has a tendency to pull the duvet back, until I shiver and sit up in search of it.

Opening my eyes sees then scatter and with their gentle laughter they leave my awake and staring in to the darkness until an idea begins to form. My slumber is lost to me, but the loss is not felt too keenly as the ideas that hovered in my dreams begin to take a more solid form, and I write them down, I write them down, I write them down.

Related Posts

 

Small Stone #6 January 2013

Slumberous I feel the hairs on my legs rise though the night’s heat has me sweating. My hand on my stomach morphs in to your hand. Turning I see the blood-red hour illuminated beside me, and I remember the wounds you left bleeding with a suitcase and a ticket elsewhere as your weapons.

eloctronic clock numbers

jan13badgesmall

Places to read other stones and post your own:

 

Dealing with doubts.

Writers. We are an odd bunch. It takes a certain degree of ego to put words on paper and EXPECT that people will not only read them but love them and ask for more. We are also peppered with so many insecurities. NaNoWriMo has highlighted a lot of those for me this month.

But I am NOT an Aussie/Kiwi sheila for nothing. So when consumed with doubt about my abilities, the plot, the characters…I listen to this song. Over and over again. And the doubts are drenched in the slow forming smile that grows. It encompasses not only the doubt but the very skin that encloses me. My head starts bobbing, my foot taps, I start singing so loudly Chevvy moves to another room. Which is a good thing…because then the dancing starts. Imagine bouncing, turning, twisting, arms punching the air – JOY !!!

Then the real magic happens and my fingers tingle, my smile hurts my cheek, and my brain bursts with my very own fireworks, right on to the computer screen.

Thank you Katy Perry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So what ignites your fireworks ? What song makes you dance and sing whether you want to or not ??

Day thirteen and I am going a little nuts. Well a little more than usual !!!!

You might be wondering how NaNoWriMo is going ??

I would have shown you a photo of me writing…but I look a little scary these days. Too much caffeine, late nights, hating my writing and a lot of head banging will do that !!!

It has its moments. I am really struggling with not being able to edit as I go. It is a very bad habit I hope NaNoWriMo will cure me of…but I am really finding it hard.

I feel like everything coming out is crap…which I know most first drafts are. And all I want to do is work on it until it is better. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr…habits are very hard things to break.

So here is some more of Chapter I. The next excerpt will have someone going over a cliff…who will it be and will they survive is the BIG question.

###

Chapter I Scenes VI & VII

Zak approaches, he is alone. “Other than the customary inhabitants, we are on our own here.”

“Evijan?”

“Our cautious friend is laying out a warning system.” he stares up at the mountain. “I want to go with you.”

“Brother…”

“Deveron. I know what you seek.”

“You do?”

“You are not the only one Father has told the stories to.” I do not tell him that they are not just stories for me.

“Then you also know what waits on the mountain. Not everyone who seeks the Phoenix comes down again.” And now I do not tell him that anyone with me when I find the Phoenix King is in even more danger.

“If I am old enough to be here, then I think I am old enough for that as well.” His eyes bore into mine, and I realise that he is now as tall as I.

“I promised Father that you would return. I intend to keep my word Zak.” I understand his eagerness for this, his first real adventure. “If I allow you this, your death will likely follow.” I hope, foolishly perhaps, to make him understand. “No-one is allowed into their realm, I must go alone.” There were only deadly mistakes from this point, how could I make him see that.

“I will not be a disappointment to you.”

“I am not worried about disappointment.” Evijan arrives at the lake as the other men set about making camp for the night. He carries with him two large water birds slung over his shoulders, and tosses them to Zak. “I speak to you no longer as your brother Zarek, but as your commander.”

“Deveron…”

“Enough. You stay behind. Speak no more of this.”

###

“We are quite alone here,” Evijan announces, as he sets about making a fire. “Time to make yourself useful,” he nods to Zak to sit by him, hoping to distract him I know. “Jareth is tracking a herd of hippus.” These small grey animals are equally at home on land or in the water. Their tough round bodies make them seem slow, but when threatened their speed makes them difficult to catch. Jareth is one of a few hunters who can boast of bringing one down. Their flesh is a delicacy, and my mouth waters in anticipation of the forthcoming meal.

Zak glares at me as he throws himself  on to a log beside Evijan. Eventually, everyone returns to the camp, Jareth, Adsel, Ryder, Cato, Gye, and Nils return, their kills hanging from poles they carry between them and we sit together in a sociable peace. Each face is a portrait of a part of myself, and I wonder how many of these bold companions will return home. Throughout the meal my brother remains silent, never looking in my direction. Evijan watches him as closely as I. When Zak is finished he nudges him slightly and smiles in Jareth’s direction.

“Did you purposely seek out the smallest of the herd? Or did they by chance hear you coming – oh grand hunter of the Opinouwi? Evijan is smiling at me as he taunts Jareth. “Lucky for those of us with hearty appetites, others were able to provide.” I watch as Jareth’s eyes narrow. “Perhaps I should…” Jareth pounces and Evijan is sent sprawling in the dirt.

“Perhaps you should keep your thoughts inside that minute brain of yours…friend.” Jareth sits atop of Evijan, their arms flailing as each tries to gain the advantage. I see Zak smile for the first time since our discussion, and silently thank both men. It troubles me that I must now force our minds back to our task.

“Quiet,” I hold up my hands to silence the men. Immediately all are still, and I began to outline my preparations. “Should I not return within eight days Evijan, you are to lead them on. Wraith will give you aid in finding another way.”

“There is no other way Deveron,” Evijan shakes his head.

“Then you shall have to make one. You cannot go into the Devil’s Den if I do not return…and you must not come seeking me. I want your word. Eight days and you all leave. “Understood?” He does not look pleased.

“If two of us were to go…” Zak begins.

“No. I go alone. Give me your word Evijan.” Zak’s eyes flash in the firelight as he lowers them.

“Arrogant fool,” he protests before walking away.

“Evijan?”

“You have my word, but I trust it will not be needed,” he reaches out grasping my arm. “He will be alright.” His hold stops me from following my brother.

“He is too impetuous,” I silently wish I had been able to sway my father from allowing him to come on this journey. “I should have made him stay behind. He is too young, too eager for adventure. He will take too many risks.”

“He reminds me of someone I used to know,” he says, lifting his brows. “I shall just have to keep my eyes on him. And use my persuasive manner. Do not worry. Zak is like a brother to me.” I stare at the hand still firmly grasping my arm.

“Leave him,” Evijan can read my thoughts almost as well as Wraith. “Allow him to master his feelings.” Zak stays just outside the firelight, and my sleep is uneasy.

###

Related posts:

The Draco Stone continues…

Chapter I Scene IV

He turns immediately to the left and begins picking his way through the dim brush. We proceed single file. For many hours we trek with only the unicorns’ sight to guide us through the darkness. As we go deeper, even though the sun would be rising, it does not reach onto the forest floor. The gloom transmits itself, and I feel the weight of the task creep under my skin.

What is it you doubt Deveron?

We are but nine Wraith.

And the Sadistiens are but six.

I fear for them. I should have come alone.

Are you so absolute in your view of yourself?

No, but I am not sure that we shall be successful.

And?

My choice of them may be their death.

Arrogance. It does not suit you my friend.

Not arrogance Wraith, foreboding, and regret.

You must know that there is not one man here that you could have stopped from coming.

I did not try.

No, but it makes no difference, they each have the right, as do you, to be part of this.

If we fail, they will be needed more than ever.

Your lack of faith does them discredit Deveron. We are only just begun, and you sound worse than the bleakest doomsayer. Have faith, my friend.

Was it not you Wraith, who just warned me that some might not survive the Devil’s Den?

It is true. You should know by now Deveron, Unicorns always prepare for the worst. It is our way. It does not mean anything other than that. We are not blessed with vision. Were that so, we would not have been almost annihilated ourselves.

I’m sorry for it Wraith.

I begin to fear for you more than the others Deveron. You must not enter the Devil’s Den with so much weighing on your soul.

I shall feel better once I have spoken with the Phoenix King.

I hope so.

###

Chapter I Scene V

Wraith looks doubtful, but keeps any further thoughts to himself as he leads the way through the forest. Talking is impossible, the deeper we go the louder the noises from the inhabitants become. From deep within the underbrush to the highest canopy they call to each other of our passing. It is almost time for the sun to leave the sky when we reach Lissiom Lake. I will have to circumvent it to reach the bottom of Fire-Bird Mountain. I call a halt.

“Evijan, have a look around and make sure that we are alone here. Adsel, take Ryder…” before I finish the twins spring from their mounts and make off around the lake’s edge. Both adept hunters, we would soon have fresh food to fill our bellies.

We will leave as the sun rises? Wraith’s tone is troubled.

Before.

Deveron…

I know Wraith.

The King will not be happy to see you.

 No, but he will not kill me.

Are you so sure?

No. But I hope.

How long?

With good fortune, four days, no longer should things go well.

And if they don’t?

I shall leave Evijan with instructions to leave after eight days. You will need to help them find another way. If I do not return, they cannot travel through the Devil’s Den.

Then we must hope that you do my friend.

I look out over the lake to Fire-Bird Mountain. In the dusk, fog circles the base rising to a third of the way up. The face of it appears sheer, but I know that inside there is a single path that leads up to a secret gateway to the clandestine realm of the Phoenix people.

###

Related posts:

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo

Well you may be asking how it is all going.

I had to take the weekend off to wizz up to Auckland…which provided lots of photo taking opportunities. It also provided a chance to get dressed up. Gilly tells me I should make the following photo my gravatar – instead of [as she very politely puts it] hiding behind the camera.

When I mentioned I didn’t like my ‘scrunched up eyes’ she let go of polite with a resounding ‘STOP IT !!!!’. We all have it though…that one feature we don’t really like about ourselves. Well, mine is my eyes. It’s hard to smile and stretch your eyes open at the same time. Believe me I know. Ah well…could be worse. I might have to tuck my boobs in to my belt…oh wait…I do !!!

Shit !!!

I even wore make-up and heels. I ate, I drank, I danced, and I met lots of fabulously fun people.

I arrived home shattered. So yesterday I got back in to it. I have some very pissed off horses at the moment. They recently told Wraith just how pissed they were about being taken in to Gryphe territory as Gryphes love horses…to eat. Wraith wasn’t to happy about it either, being a cousin of the horse.

And so…Scenes II  & III of Chapter I are here for your thoughts. And please…no matter how you think I sound when I reply to comments…I DO WANT your thoughts. If you don’t like something/don’t get it/think it’s shit…say so. I am more than happy to take on board what you say.

A wonderful tutor once told me: “If your readers aren’t getting it, it has nothing to do with them. It is all about you not writing it so that they can ‘GET IT’, so rewrite it until they do the first time they read it…or you’ve lost them forever.” Very wise man my tutor !!!

###

Read on…

“Stop,” I murmur, as we reach the first rise outside the City. Wraith halts and I turn back.

“Brother?” Zak pulls up beside me.

“Is it not a wonder?” I ask. As the gates draw close the city shimmers, moonbeams bouncing off the rooftops back into the air above.

“He does this each time we leave.” Evijan is laughing. “Your brother would have us believe that he possesses no tender traits, and yet I see a softness in his eyes every time we farewell the Elusive City.” As we watch, the city fades until there is no trace of it under the night sky.

“Evijan.” My thoughts are of the missing Stone. “Only one of the Opinouwi can open the City. Whoever took the Stone had help to enter. From one of us.”

“Runolf will discover those responsible,” Evijan replies. “And punish them, while we shall recover it and return it to the Citadel.”

“If they knew who was to track them…they would not have been so foolish,” Zak sounds younger than he looks. His pale blonde hair hangs loose about his shoulders, and his eyes, so like our mother’s, have not been marked with misfortune or sin.

# # #

Silent, I urge Wraith on. It feels good to be out of the city. With the moon out, I no longer need to rely on Wraith to pick a path, and I push him hard. His body relaxes as he hits his stride.

Hold on Deveron, he tells me. We ride hard for many miles and reach the forest before light. I call a halt when we pass the first trees.

Evijan slides to the ground immediately and begins to search. He is an accomplished seeker; I know without him we would waste valuable time. He waves to Zak to join him, and quietly begins to speak as he points to traces only he can see.

“Here,” he says to Zak kneeling beside him.

“I see nothing, old man,” Zak teases.

“Look,” Evijan runs his hand over the ground. “The dust flows back toward the clearing, something has passed over in haste.” He turns to lay his ear upon the earth, and holds up a finger to silence Zak. “There are five of them. No six, two are riding the same beast.” He looks up at me. “They ride toward the Devil’s Den.”

“Then we must prepare.”

I do not like this Deveron. The Devil’s Den can drive men to madness. Some of your men…I do not know if they can make it through.

 I know Wraith.

“Are the stories true?” Zak looks from Evijan to me.

“No brother, they do not begin to tell of the malevolence that lives there.”

“I thought they were just tales, told to scare children,” he swings back on to his mount. “What must we do then, to prepare? Deveron?”

“We shall need to hunt while we are in the forest.” I look about. “If we do not touch the food stores, perhaps we shall have enough to get us through.”

We must find the Phoenix King Deveron.

I look up at Wraith’s words. It will mean a detour that will delay us, but I know he is right. Hidden deep in the forest there rises a solitary peak.

“But first, we must make our way to Fire-Bird Mountain. Come.”

Find us a way there Wraith. The quickest way please.

###

Word Count: 8596…which means I need to catch up.

Related posts: