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First Light

  • Posted on October 17, 2014 at 12:29 am

Memory is a fickle thing, inherently wrong, yet personal in the greatest of ways. All of our memories are biased, based upon information our mind stores and corrupts. Stories we tell ourselves become memories, despite never happening. Things that happened turn out a different way when we think back on them.

Most personal to us all, and most telling of whom we will become, is our very first memory. The first bit of light our mind stores away for us in the world. These memories hide from us, little snippets of time. And then, like magic, a scent, or a sound, the touch of a familiar fabric, or the hum of a certain frequency reminds us, and it comes crashing back like nothing was ever missing at all.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The prickly poking of hay. The scent of his mother, soft and creamy like milk just warmed up, and the sound of his father’s quiet voice. Later, Dirk would learn that the conversation was their first discussion about whether they should go back home to Thosfig, back to their tribe. His nose itched, and he rubbed his little fingers against it to make it go away.Noticing how sharp his little fingernails were, he curled them into his palms. Crickets chirped somewhere, and he could hear crackling, like fire. His eyes felt heavy, and he didn’t want to sleep.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Pain. Yumil remembered pain first. A too-tight grip of an adult hand around a small wrist. The red of lines cut into child-soft skin by fingernails dyed with pigment from berries.  Yumil remembers looking up at her, her tawny hair shining in the sunlight. She is beautiful, and frightful. She calls him a bad boy,voice hissing. Yumil feels his stomach twist and clench, fear climbing inside. She is angry, and to Yumil it’s as if she has always been angry and will always be angry. He finds anger burning inside himself to match, hot and terrifyingly close to tears.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

She can’t remember the words anymore, but Eamon remembers the soft feeling of her mother’s chest. Her cheek fits against it perfectly. She remembers the hard push of her sister’s knee against her own leg, and the laugh in her mother’s voice. She recalls the lines of her sister’s hand and how it felt to rub her thumb along them until Lette shrieked with laughter, like it had tickled her. Eamon remembers how warm she felt, wrapped up in the two of them. A mix of flowers and cool water always brings this memory to her mind, and she smiles.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Grass tickling her nose, and a small round bug crawling along between the blades. Red like string scattering across her vision, as she was lifted from the earth. Her hand still reaching out for the little black bug, bigger hands tight against her ribs They squeezed a little painfully, but only enough to make her whine in the back of her throat. A murmur of her name, and Lette looks up. Her father’s green eyes smile down at her like the water of a murky lake. She smiles back, and giggles. His hand, scratchy with callouses, brushes back her hair.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blurs moving past him, dark things swimming around the edges of his vision. Espin remembers crying, crying so loud and so long that he was sure no one heard him. He remembers unpleasant smells, something he later knows is the smell of sickness and waste. He remembers the crying making it worse, stopping his nose and how panicked he felt. A cool hand on his forehead was all that kept him awake, and he cried, and cried. Sleep would be kinder. His stomach lurched, and he felt hotness sear his throat and splash out his lips. Nothing eases his pain.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Her big brother’s back, warm and strong. Anelace was tied to it, she could feel the soft cloth against the back of her neck, feel the bounce of his step as he walked. He talked to her, telling her stories, and she burbled back to him. Her fingers found his coarse woven dreads, tugging for attention. She remembers how he smelt like sunshine and camels. He was so big, and strong, he carried her like she was smaller than an ant, and it made her feel small and she thought he must be the most powerful thing in the world.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

She was always angry. So angry. His mother was angry at him, yelling and screaming, and Jorgan hated yelling. He wanted to hide and forget. It made him cry, which made her so much angrier. She called him hurtful things he can’t remember later, things that might be true. Her palm struck his cheek, and his world went spinning. Pain blossomed in his jaw, his teeth rattling, as he toppled over. His cries came louder. The snap of a belt made his chest squeeze, and fear silenced him. His father’s footsteps, shaky and unstable, curled him into a tight ball.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What glimpse does this first light give?

photo courtesy of flickr.com

Tristan and Ysolde

  • Posted on April 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

“I thought you said he was your dad!” He cried, ducking under a tree branch. Her hand was sweaty and slick in his, and honestly, Tristan thought he was dying. The shotgun went off once more, and he ducked instinctively, nearly sending both of them careening into a tree. She yanked on his arm and he twisted, ankle sliding in the mud, and sending him into her arms.

“NO, I said he was LIKE my dad!” She corrected, yanking him upright, and then ducking under a different tree and tugging him along. She’d always been a bit stronger than he was, and now he was grateful for it, because the beacon of her wheat-gold hair in the moonlight was enough for him to follow through the woods.

Another shot rang out, and the tree next to his head exploded, and Tristan yelped. His heart pounded, his chest ached for breath as his feet tried to keep up with hers. Over a rock, under a tree, around an oddly shaped shed that honestly wouldn’t have hidden them at all. He was glad when she jumped down into a gulch, at least until his leg went out from under him and he landed ass-first in mud. He had to bite his tongue not to curse out loud, and scrambled to his feet, the mud sucking at his shoes like a  child taking a toy.

“What do you MEAN, like your dad?! He’s not even related to you!” He hissed, surprised she could be that graceful at three months pregnant. With his kid. Oh god, that was his child in there, being shot at by her creepy caretaker.

“He adopted me when I was little, okay?! I never thought anything of it until he started taking me to look at wedding dresses when I turned fifteen, okay?!” Her voice grew higher, terrified, as another blast blew through the little shed behind them. “Then I met YOU!”

Yeah, him. The odd twenty something hiking through town with nothing but a backpack, and some odd jobs. He’d managed to win her heart, because she’d won his the moment he’d seen her. He could still see the smile she’d given him in the farmer’s market, and wow, was it beautiful. She threw a strained version of it over her shoulder at him and he saw the glint of moonlight off her teeth.

They burst out of the brush and into the highway leading out of town. He stopped, because if they could get a ride before he caught up… She tugged impatiently on his hand, desperate to get him to follow her into the woods on the other side. But there was a truck coming, he could see it, maybe they could get a ride out into the next city, where he could get a job, and she wouldn’t have to marry some crazed sixty year old man.

Pain. Blinding, absolute agony, ripping through his thigh, and he went down, knee buckling. The concrete beneath him was hard, and he could feel a pebble pushing into his face. He thought he might have taken Isolde down with him, and he wasn’t sure, but the boots on the blacktop were his, the old man’s, and oh god. Oh god, there was a shotgun in his face.

“NO! Please, don’t, I’ll never run again, please just DO-” He could hear her shrieking, and then the sound of the trigger. He never heard the boom of the gun, just saw a flash of light.

Snow White

  • Posted on April 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

((based off a nightmare I had last night. This is gonna be fun!))

The entire world has gone mental. No one seems to realise that killing and eating each other isn’t something that should be done. They just don’t care. It’s terrifying. And as Snow huddles in with the other survivors, she can’t help but wonder if it’s her fault. Her Step-Mother had laughed and laughed when her father attacked them both. Now her Step-Mother sat across the way, talking with the leader of their little caravan.

Snow looked next to her, to the various members of their community they’d saved. Two old men, who seemed to do nothing but bicker back and forth, one of them sneezing every other minute. A young doctor, and his brother, who happened to be a bit touched in the head. The narcoleptic and his friend who seemed to be halfway to a nervous breakdown simply by the way he was smiling. The other member brought from their household seemed to be lost in himself, refusing to talk to anyone. She wondered if he was going to be alright.

They’d hidden out in the mayors old house. A two-winged thing, she’d checked and double checked all the doors, absolutely determined to make sure every. single. one. was locked. They couldn’t turn on the lights, not after what she’d seen happen tot he neighbors. They’d been torn apart after several people crawled in their windows. All because the wife had turned the light on in the kitchen. Not even candles were safe. She shivvered, cold in her tshirt and jeans, and her boyfriend, Reggie leaned over, wrapping an arm around her.  She leaned into him, and listened to the sounds of chaos outside.

The group didn’t talk, not really, because if they did, it would attract attention. Outside, a dog that had miraculously survived barked, wildly. The two trucks and the van they’d managed to steal were sitting out front, plain as day, but none of the aggressors seemed interested in driving, so they didn’t worry too much.

Her belly rumbled, and Reggie pulled her closer. She shivvered again, wanting to cry. There was nothing she could do, nothing to be done around the house, nothing to be done about the fact that her father had tried to rip her face off. Reggie’s father, judge King was dead. torn apart by several members of the local gun club. She could still remember how she’d had to drag Reggie away from the carnage. So many people dead.

Their hope was that they could make it until morning, and then just… drive. For as long as possible. No one knew if this had gone beyond their little town. God, she hoped not. She prayed for it. She never prayed for anything, not since her mother died, and she prayed for it.

Snow got up, shivvering still, and did her rounds, checking the doors. Touching each lock to make sure it was in the right position, checking to make sure none of the windows were open or un-curtained.

The front door was unlocked.

It was swinging open.

She heard a shriek, it sounded like the Doc. She turned, and darted towards the sound, stupid, stupid, should have run away. The door swung closed and locked. She didn’t look. She should have. She would have seen her step mother’s cruel red smile.

Her last sight was of all of her friends being torn apart. Her Reggie died, beaten to death with his own arm by one of them. Snow White died screaming.

Rumpelstiltskin

  • Posted on April 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I’ve developped this idea for Rumpelstiltskin, that I intend to make a full-length novel out of, and possibly a series. So here’s a snippet of that, since I wanted to write something from it anyway. To explain, since one of the main characters doesn’t HAVE a gender, and is as such genderqueer, That character uses pronouns Xie/Xir In place of His/Hers or He/She. The book will also have this sort of preface, to avoid those whom might find confusion in such a thing.

As the Stillskin, Xie had always been obedient. The Stillskin had never been allowed to move without the Summer Lady’s absolute permission. But this new Lady, this Sweet Rumpel, she was never giving orders. She would ask. She asked if the Stillskin would be alright left home alone, and when the Stillskin had shook xir head, she had listened. She brought the Stillskin things to do, cloth to sew, new books to read, patient teaching to impart upon the faerie-lost one.

The Stillskin knew that Rumpel need not do these things, not after the trouble that Stillskin had caused. For some reason, Rumpel cared. She brushed the Stillskin’s hair, and helped xir bathe, and all of it as gentle as can be. None of the trickery. Xie still hadn’t gained xir words back, and Stillskin still wasn’t able to hide behind a glamour, like the pretty faeries who sometimes stole kisses from the maids in the market. Xie wished xie could.

Stillskin loved her. In a way the Summer Lady had occupied the Stillskin’s heart, now Rumpel did. If she asked, xie would give xir life for her. Like the Dullahan, Stillskin would serve Rumpel until the end of days. Perhaps this was enticed when Rumpel gave xir a spinning wheel, and enough hay to begin again. Xie always felt safer, happier, when spinning the straw. Spinning it to gold, like the Summer Lady had asked xir to. But now, xie spun for Rumpel.

Spinning was perfection, the hay passing xir fingers, calming and cool, and turning to gold. It was one of the only things that xie could still do. Xie thanked whatever powers let xir keep that gift. It was the only way xie could be useful to Rumpel now.

Princesses Dancing (Twelve of Them!)

  • Posted on April 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm

((forgive the lateness, this one got away from me a bit.))

Twelve sisters, all in a row, dancing to a chintzy pop song, lipsynching while the lace and frills sway seductively. Each one had a cute heart shaped face, each one dressed in heels, low for the younger, all the way up to six inch stilettos for the eldest. They were perfectly in synch, having practiced for years at the behest of their parents, and each one, every single one, was almost done with this whole routine. It was beyond idiotic, and the girls couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Maya, the eldest, danced because she’d loved to when she was little. Then Aya had been born. Her mother had thought it wonderful for them to dance together. After Aya, Yako, Yano, and Yaya were born. And then Koyomi, Noami and Yakiko were born. Mitsumi and Mikumi were born twins, and then followed Mizumi and Minami. The twelve of them grew up together, their mother obsessed with making them stars.

It was only when Maya was sixteen and Aya came home one night after sneaking out that they found anything that made any sort of sense to them. Singing and dancing in front of everyone was just… boring. It was so every day for them. Princesses of Pop as they were, none of them thought of it as fun any longer. So when Aya came back from the streets of the city and told them all about how there was a club where no one danced, no one sang, but everyone snapped and spoke in rhyme and it was dark and beautiful, they all put on their best non-stage clothes and snuck out.

It was beautiful. They sat down and ordered coffees that they weren’t allowed to have normally, and then they all listened as people poured their hearts out in solemn tone, accompannied by bongo drums and snapping fingers, and it enchanted them.

Maya was the first to fall. He called himself Adam. He wasn’t though. He was just as japanese as she was, and she knew it. But she couldn’t help it. She wrote him poetry on her arms, so that he would read it when she met him at night, and then he would kiss away the ink. Aya was next, and her Danny was good with words. He told stories that made Aya sing with laughter and joy. Each one fell quickly, boy after boy, princes of darkness, of the poetry of the coffee.

They hoped never to be found, when they left every night. But when they slipped down three spots on the charts, they knew. Someone would find out. They didn’t care. Never did they care. It would be a long time before the Princesses stopped dancing this dangerous knife-edge dance. They didn’t want to let time slip through their fingers.

Greener Pastures (for Goats)

  • Posted on April 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

“Goats? You brought me here-” The pale sorcerer swept hands out and used them to indicate the expanse of green grass and hills, “To show me goats.”

Dirk gave a bit of a sigh, and smiled, ruefully. Even on good days, Yumil was still judgemental and easily annoyed. It surely didn’t help that one of the little bastards had decided to chew on that long black hair either. The Knight rescued the lock from it’s unwelcome attendant, and settled his arm around Yumil’s shoulder. It seemed to settle his partner, and that was always welcome. Yumil had a firey temper, and a love of elemental magic powerful enough to blow up small mountains. Dirk would be lucky to escape if this turned south.

“No. I brought you here to give you a gift, and to get away from the capital for a bit. We’ve been working hard, and…” Dirk swallowed, unsure if he should really give this bit away, knowing how Yumil was with this sort of thing. “And I wanted to spend some time with you.”

The stare he got was incredulous. Golden eyes searched him over for any sign that he was lying, any  indicator that he was setting up some cruel trick. He wished he could take that sort of fear away from Yumil, but after so many long years in servitude, the mage was too long used to it. Yumil was born into torment, and everyone thereafter just let the sorcerer down, one way or another. It was tragic, and Dirk ached to fix it. So, instead of letting Yumil stew in such feelings, he pulled out the package. He’d had to ask several of his acquaintances for help, including the Priest-Queen herself, and while Lishtair had been busy, she had offered invaluable advice to this end. He was hopeful that it would suit Yumil’s tastes.

Slender hands took the package, and unwrapped the linen inside from it’s soft yellow paper. The ribbon, a bright crimson, disappeared, and Dirk had no doubt he would see it in Jorgan’s hair, at some point soon. Dark eyebrows quirked, and fingers unfolded the cloth. The sharp gasp of breath felt like a treat to the knight, as Yumil realised what it was.

“This… This is beautiful…” The sorcerer held the dress up against the thin body, and smiled a small, wibbly smile. “Why would you…”

“Because I saw it, and thought you’d look amazing in it.” Dirk answered, giving an unaffected shrug. It was easy to get out, considering how many times he’d practiced it in the mirror. Truthfully, he’d hunted for that dress for weeks, along with Eamon and her partner, Anelace helping. Those girls were a lifesaver. The ruffles at the chest and sleeves would look perfect, and lend femininity to what little masculinity was clinging to Yumil. The long flowing skirt would help add to the mage’s hips. It was perfect, and in a shade of light lavender that would look beautiful on his skin. Dirk was proud of himself for this.

At least, he was, until Yumil teared up, sniffling. He watched as the darkest mage of the century held a dress to a thin, sobbing chest, and cried. Unsure what he’d done wrong, he swallowed, and wrapped his arm around Yumil once again. “Come now, look, you’re scaring away the goats.”

Indeed, the goats were wandering off, towards somewhere else, some other greener pasture, and when Yumil looked up, and smiled at Dirk, the thosfigian man thought perhaps, they were too.

Thinking About His Companions – A deleted scene from The Sorcerer and the Swordsman

  • Posted on March 21, 2014 at 2:51 am

((This scene was deleted due to it’s repetitive nature when combined with other scenes in the book. However, it was a unique perspective and look at the characters from Yumil, the Sorcerer’s, point of view. Have a look!))

That night, Yumil did not join the large group for dinner, sitting apart instead, and eating a summoned apple. The silver haired princess clearly disliked his separating himself, as she stormed over to him pretty quickly. Looking up, he realized she had a bowl of food in her hand. Raising an eyebrow, he muttered a quick spell, freezing the food solid. She made an indescribable sound, glowered at him, and huffed her way back to the group.

Good riddance. Yumil didn’t exactly want to deal with her anyway. The smell of the sausage and hastily cooked rice was making his stomach queasy. He wasn’t sure if it was hunger or sickness, and he wasn’t taking a chance. His summoned food was more than enough for him.

Watches were established, and luckily, they had enough people for three per watch, two if Dirk excluded Jorgan, Lette and Yumil. Nights were dangerous on the plains, if one was unaware. Usually, dangerous beasts avoided fires and the sounds people made. But at night, when the fire is banked, and no one is moving about too much, some get curious at the smell of food, and come closer.

They never did have that problem. Yumil knew it was because of the creatures sleeping inside him. No self respecting animal would attack something more dangerous than itself unless it had to. And in this case, everything under the sun could tell that he was far more powerful than he appeared.

For his part, Yumil was attempting to avoid as many of the group as possible. Large groups made his skin crawl, almost as much as being alone with someone. He much preferred solitude, and this was not the place to get it. Luckily, few of the warriors they’d brought wanted to speak to him, his atrocities too near in their memories. That didn’t stop the child from staring at him, during the long trudging walk the horses took them on. Yumil raised a raven eyebrow at the male, and the child ducked his head. He couldn’t be more than twelve. Perhaps younger, even. His eyes though…. Something about them was familiar.

Taking another deep breath, Yumil turned away from the green eyed child, and towards his book. He had taken up reading again. During his apprenticeship, his master had instilled in him a love of books and all things to be read. Yumil had always had a natural sort of curiosity, something that made his horrid existence worse and better at the same time. Knowledge truly was power.

He couldn’t help but notice the princesses looking at him as well. The priestess obviously shared her mother’s view on his personality, since she kept sending him pitiful looks, and attempting to feed him of all things. Princess Lette was beginning to become a sore in his side, and he was attempting to think up ways to make her life hell without actually harming her. A bit of honey on her skin was good for her, and it would also attract ants like nothing else. Perhaps a few layers applied to her skin while she slept. Yes, that would work.

Princess Eamon was a whole different story. She was dangerous. Warrior through and through, Eamon would not hesitate to kill him. The only reason she had not killed him yet was because he was useful. God how he hated that word. But for now, it was his armor, his shield. They would not kill him, and that would give him time to break this damnable binding. He would foil that God one way or another, and have his revenge.

The voices in his blood spoke whispers of tearing him from his throne and rending his godly limbs into dust. Another hissed that he should do the same with these pitiful mortals. A third reminded him that he was immortal, infallible. He would be doing them justice.

He quieted the voices, the demons he’d taken into his heart, and settled them with whispered promises for the end of the world, the destruction of all those wicked souls they craved so much. He remembered his master whispering so to the darkness that was darker than his skin, the shadow shapes that swirled across his thin limbs like wraiths. Yumil was too vain for that, so he kept them in his heart, his blood, instead of his skin. Master hadn’t liked that. But he was dead, so what did his opinion matter?

Catching Dirk looking at him however, that was unsettling. The large man held his fate in his hands, and honestly, Yumil wasn’t sure whether he should cozy up to the man, or if he should make him more of an enemy. One way, he could end up worse even than he was as a child. The other, he might end up losing every ounce of freedom he currently claimed. Either option was enough to send chills down his spine and make him retreat into books rather than think on it any more.

The only point in Dirk’s favor was that he was clearly still the innocent that Yumil remembered. He sighed, letting the breath out with a long sigh. He didn’t care that the man had grown up. He didn’t care that Dirk might have had bad experiences because of what he’d done. The male was an innocent, the same as the children that Yumil had spared. Yumil would never regret sparing him. Although for a moment, on the battlefield, he’d felt a sting of betrayal that Dirk would turn against him so.

He remembered the look of abject hatred that had lived in Dirk’s eyes, and realized that perhaps that wasn’t the case any longer. How could he feel betrayed when it was clear that Yumil hadn’t wanted to save HIM, but rather, had simply wanted something or someone to champion. He felt that realization become a heavy weight on his heart, and pushed it away as firmly as he pushed away memories and thoughts of anything but his future revenge.

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