Full Moon: Part 2
After a few hours of car traveling, he reached by morning to his parents house. His mom was really happy to see him, she hug him and said:
“Oh, how wonderful to see you. Come, want some breakfast?”
He walked with her to the kitchen, where his little sister had just woken up. She smile brightly with happiness and said:
She ran toward him and hug him, Hunter hug her back and said:
“Hey, you have grown”
While his mom was cooking something quick for breakfast, she asked:
“So, what brings you here?”
He doubt if he should asked right away, but he did drove all night just for this. So he went and said:
“Why you took me to therapy sessions?”
She stop and turn to look at Hunter surprised. She turn to her daughter and said firmly:
“Go to your room, Kasandra”
The girl wonder why her mom was using such a tone first thing in the morning, but she nod and went to her room. After Kasandra was out sight, she spoke to Hunter:
“Why are you asking that? Did something happen?”
He wasn’t sure how to take his mothers reaction, so he spoke unsure:
“I went to see Dr. ViShoun to discuss some dreams I’m having. She though it was because I haven’t visit in a while. I went and asked her why you guys took me to see her, but she said you both never share a real explanation. Is there one?”
She aver his sight, went back to cooking. While doing so, she asked:
“What are those dreams?”
He decided to tell her, hopping she would talk after knowing his part first:
“Is a boy, calling my name. Blond hair, blue eyes and all wet… But, I don’t recall ever meeting someone like that. Dr. ViShoun didn’t heard you both ever mentioning him. So, that’s why I’m here… Do you know who is that boy?”
She stop cooking but didn’t turn to meat his sight. After a few minutes, she turned and looked at him with watery eyes. She walked until she was in front of him, then said:
“Can it be? You are starting to remember?”
They walked to the attic, were they went to the corner with the oldest boxes. She open one of them, like knowing by memory were everything was. She grab an album and said while giving it to Hunter:
“When you were seven years old, we moved from this house to the country side because your grandmother from your dad side was very sick. You really didn’t like the change, oh, you cried so much...”
While his mom spoke, he open the album and saw himself in what must be a country house. He turn to her while she kept on talking:
“You hated the insects and the heat. We though you would never adjust to this new life-stile, until...”
He help his mom finishing the sentence by saying:
“I met him”
Full Moon: Part 1
Hunter wakes up while panting, he sat down fast on the bed and placed a hand over his forehead. He stood still, sited on the edge of the bed while trying to control his breathing. He removed his hand and asked himself: Who was that?
The next day, Hunter goes and pays a visit to his previews psychiatrists Dr. ViShoun. He enter her office and ask if she had an open slot for him today. She nod and they went to her therapy room. Once there, Dr. ViShoun was the first to speak:
“Nice to see you again, after so many years. So, what can I do for you?”
Hunter answered slowly and cautiously:
“I was hopping we could have a session, like old times”
She nods slowly, got her attention to a small table where she grab her notebook and pen. She cross her legs and placed the notebook on her thigh, while holding the pen with her left hand. She then looked at him and said:
“I’m all ears”
Hunter sighs sharply, closed his eyes and said:
“Is about a dream I’ve been having recently”
While writing, she asked:
“And what is it about?”
Hunter’s voice change to a more confuse tone, while speaking:
“Is a boy, calling my name.”
“Do you know who he is?”
Hunter shakes his head slowly, then says:
“But I can describe him. He has short blonde hair, big blue eyes and he’s all wet.”
He chuckles a little nervous, then says:
“I know, that describe a lot of people. But, he was calling me like he knew who I was”
Dr. ViShoun looked at Hunter, and said:
“Dreams are an extraordinary subject. Maybe this boy represents something different than what is showing you. But, tell me, why does this dream worries you so much?”
Hunter looked at her as well, and answered:
“It makes me feel like I abandon him”
She nods then says as explanation:
“Maybe is not really connected to the boy but the fact that you have distant yourself from your family a few years ago. Maybe paying them a visit would remove this abandon subject.”
Hunter nod as he takes into consideration her explanation. Once she was done talking, he asked her:
“Doctor, do you know why my parents brought me to this… therapy sessions? And please be honest”
She looked a little confused, maybe for a slight second, then said with confidence:
“With all honesty, your parents never gave me much of an explanation. They just wanted me to assure that their child was in perfect conditions psychologically. But they sure sounded worried at first, but after a few years of sessions and seeing my diagnostics of you as stable they calmed down.”
Hunter nods, then says:
“So paying them a visit can give me more information. Thank you, Doctor”
After the session, Hunter went back to his apartment and did a quick bag to travel to his parents house.
👊🏽👊🏽I am a survivor of an abusive relationship! My husband was a so called, “Preacher.” He was raping me, abusing me physically, emotionally and mentally!!👊🏽👊🏽
🛑🛑There are 3 sides to every story:
his, hers and the TRUTH...🛑🛑
🩸🩸THIS IS MY SIDE/ MY STORY🩸🩸
Issue 2 pages 1-3!
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The Goddesses of the Ehlverse - 1: DELTA
[id: A digital drawing of a figure done in the style of early cave paintings. They have three sets of long ears, and are holding a twisting walking stick. They stand in front of a triangle that fades from yellow to orange to pale blue, with streaks of fire like hair flowing behind them. There are three dots at the top of the triangle, the largest blue, followed by a slightly smaller orange, and by the smallest dark brown. The bottom of the image has the label “DELTA: The Elder” and an @alittlewarlord tag. /end id]
DELTA, otherwise known as The Elder, is the first of the six Goddesses of Mayhism. She creates Change, Cycles, and Emotions; She is the patron goddess of Fire and Water mages and Shifters; She represents the Elders of the family, Builders of the community, and the Passion of the world.
Her symbols include the color orange, the number three, triangles, fire, and Griffins.
Her godly form is said to be that of a stooped being walking with a cane of wood and swathes of flames trailing behind Her like hair. The most common mortal form She takes is that of an elderly woman with a braid of silver hair that brushes the ground as she walks.
Devoting to Delta is most often done when one is preparing for a life-changing decision, as She is known to guide those who are lost into an era of rebirth. Her devotion task is to keep a candle flame alight until it puts itself out; Her devotion symbol is growing your hair until you devote to another, and keeping the shorn hair as a reminder of your past.
One Time Tags:
Firebreathers Taglist (ask to be +/-):
@wildswrites ; @phiwrites ; @frvnwrites ; @violetcancerian ; @funky-little-dude ; @writeblrfantasy ; @silas-the-turnip ; @hazard-writes ; @written-jubilation14 ; @ladywithalamp ; @nora-theteawriter ; @all-eternity ; @ashen-crest ; @vylequinne ; @maximised ; @yejidoesthings ; @mel-writes-with-her-dragons ; @47crayons ; @dontcrywrite ; @talesfromaurea
Ehlverse Worldbuilding Taglist (ask to be +/-):
@charles-joseph-writes ; @violetcancerian ; @phiwrites ; @rhikasa ; @writeblrfantasy ; @talesfromaurea
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Read me here!
This week: Sigrid and her road trip pal talk business. (ish.)
Blood Bargains is for you if you like 🥵 slow burn 🤺 enemies to lovers 🔮 magic tomfoolery and rabble rousing 🌍 fantasy worlds that don’t all look the same, and 🥸 graphic depictions of food and feelings. Consider giving it a read!
Be sure to follow me (@kdhembreewrites on tumblr, twitter, IG, etc.) and save the story on WP to be notified every time a new chapter is posted! Let me know what you think & thanks for reading!
Here's a sneak peak on a book im working on, on wattpad if your interested you can read the actual story on wattpad @Skythearctic
Eve Warren, a werewolf, raised by Vampire hunters after losing her family is living her life like an ordinary person in a world of eternal winter.
That is, up until she turns 18. When she turns 18 she's come of age, so her parents introduce her to the world of Vampire Hunting, a common thing in her village.
She's given a few tests to overcome in her life that leads up to her most difficult task yet. It is to 'get rid' of a Vampire Prince soon to be King in hopes to 'fix' the world they live in.
What happens when she starts falling for her target?
Will she survive?
Will she succeed?
Read to find out more...
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The trap was ingenious, if not brutal. Not a one of them expected the rejuvenating waters, capable of curing illness and reversing age, to be their undoing. The lake surrounded the castle; it was the only way across. By the hundreds, the invading army poured into the shallow waters, laughing to themselves as their scars faded and their youth returned. By the time they realized what was really happening, it was too late to go back.
Halfway to the castle walls, they wailed in the chest-deep water. Then silence. Hundreds of them poured into the lake, old conquerors and vain lords, knights eager with ambition. It was children that washed ashore, though; drowned children, muscles unable yet to swim, sunk by the oversized clothes and armor they brought with them.
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What are our thoughts on the twilight zone ? Are there any fans ?
The four of us while away the evening in each other's company. Ramzi and Sif are both charming in different ways and conversation flows easily from topic to topic, purposeless and relaxing. Ramzi regales us with stories of his travels and adventures, of which there are many. Despite his skill as a storyteller he does not seem inclined towards boasting or outlandish embellishment, making certain extraordinary details sound all the more remarkable, and when we tease him for something or other he takes it with good humor.
Sif seems to inspire that easy openness in others. There is an earnest curiosity there. She is one of those rare people that, when you're with them, makes you feel as if you have their complete attention. Even as I silently observe the others converse, only occasionally piping in with a remark of my own, she will look over at me, sharing in some unspoken thought, a silent reminder that I am no less present to her.
It's after midnight and the dining hall is all but empty when our little group eventually separates in search of beds. Moments in the conversation echo in my head as Ketil and I walk through the cool night air to our room. Ketil doesn’t have the same solitary tendencies I do, and I can tell how much good this night has done him. He likes these new people. I do too, and more than that I want them to like me.
I wake early the next morning, dressing myself while still half asleep. A cold fog has settled into the crevasses of the mountain, blanketing the village. Stepping out into the courtyard, the inn feels transported to another plane. Beyond the arch there is no village, only ghostly white void.
Though the hour is early for me, certainly earlier than I would have liked after such a late night, the courtyard is already enlivened with activity. Caravan hands are feeding and hitching the horses to the many carts and wagons, while others load fresh provisions for the journey. They are in good spirits as they work, entertaining each other with bawdy jokes and anticipating the pleasures of the city.
I find the little store front in a corner of the building, where the innkeeper is arranging the distribution of provisions. Mostly staple goods, suited to travel, but I see other things on his shelves too. A small wooden box, darkly lacquered, sits beneath a layer of dust on a high shelf, tempting the eye. Bottles of liquid in unnatural shades occupy another out of the way spot. I imagine there are things he has acquired from the travellers he serves, soon to be accompanied by trinkets from the Red Tower. He gives me fair enough prices for the valuables and I leave with a small pouch of coin, enough to pay our fare with the caravan, and maybe a week's lodging in Caer Vyr. After that we will have to figure something else out.
Beside the store front, out of the way of the work, I find a bench where I can sit and people watch. Ramzi darts back and forth, attending to whatever little fires require him, but when he sees me he pauses long enough to say good morning. In the second story gallery, by our room, I see Ketil emerge and stretch, pulling each arm across his chest and then up and back. In a corner across the courtyard, apart from the others, Sif exercises, doing cartwheels and somersaults and hand springs. Each motion, executed with apparent ease, gives the impression that she is only loosely bound to the world. Cut her tether and she will float away. She pauses, resting a hand on her hips, and when she notices me watching she gives a little wave.
Ketil and I share a breakfast of cold, congealed soup. Still delicious, but texturally unpleasant. Neither of us speaks, choosing instead to sit with our thoughts while we wait. Preparations seem to be finishing up and a harried looking Ramzi slows down long enough to tell us we depart shortly. Ketil volunteers to inform Sif, perhaps wanting a moment alone with her. I give him a sly smile, making him blush, and walk to the wagon alone.
The passenger wagon is fully enclosed, with shutters for the windows and a door at the back with a single step. It's decorated with painted vines that wind around the windows and door, flowering in red and white. Someone has furnished the interior with an eclectic selection of pillows and drapery on nearly every surface, giving more the impression of an intimate parlor than a wood barrel on wheels.
I settle in by one of the windows, tucking my things under the seat, and stare at a section of red velvet draped over a crate, not really seeing it. In that quiet, strange interior, my thoughts turn inexorably to the Raven Queen. To magic. In her own way I think she has been trying to teach me, to open my eyes to the subtler mysteries. I’m drawn to it, not just as a tool to protect myself and my reclaimed freedom, but perhaps as a means to invent myself. Is that what she intends for me? I can’t help thinking that there is more to this than a straightforward exchange. There is something she wants me to understand, but for what purpose I cannot say. Maybe she just needs someone to know.
I become aware of Ketil and Sif approaching the cart, and I turn in time to see them sharing an intimate look. The single step by the door is quite high off the ground and Ketil takes hold of the door frame as he climbs up. Sif follows after, walking right up to the edge and leaping with both feet to land perfectly at the threshold. Ketil claps and she gives the tiniest bow and takes a seat across from me and him.
Soon the caravan rumbles to life, a line of wagons like a centipede scuttling its way out of town and towards the mountain. The ride is bumpy and I'm grateful for the pillows. I gather them around me like a nest and watch the scenery go by. All of us seem to mutually agree that it's much too early in the morning for conversation, but as the hours go by that silence eventually lifts.
"I should tell you,” Sif pipes up, “I had paid to have the wagon to myself, preferring to travel alone, but you seemed interesting. An androgyne with a sword and an accent from my homeland, and a handsome young man with sensitive eyes who has clearly seen some rough treatment. I’m ever so curious, where did you two run away from?"
On instinct Ketil’s hand goes to the wound on his head. It’s healing well, but there’s no hiding it was a nasty cut. Neither of us answer immediately.
“You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to.” She says, and then in a lighter tone. “I’m very excited to be returning to Caer Vyr, it's a beautiful city.”
"The Red Tower." Ketil blurts out. "We were slaves there, to a horrible man."
She reaches out to touch his arm, open sympathy on her face. "I have heard the stories. I’m very sorry. How did you manage to escape?"
Ketil looks at me, and then to the sword sitting innocuously at my side. "We had help."
“Will they be looking for you?”
I can’t help but smirk to myself. “No. No they won’t.”
She regards me for a moment. “You’re a little scary. I like it.”
“They can be, when they want to. There is no one I would feel safer with.” Ketil's remark catches me a little off guard, going right past my defenses. I don’t know what I should say. His trust feels like a gift. One I am not certain I deserve.
Sif voices the feeling for me, her tone dreamy. “That’s beautiful.”
There is no way she can know exactly what his trust means to me, but she knows it means something. She seems to perceive some fragile part of me, exposed, and my instinct is to hide, like a rat shying away from candlelight. I know this feeling better second hand. Often it's there, written on someone's face, when they realize I see them. The light isn’t harsh though, and I think I might reveal more if left under that gaze for long enough.
“How is it that an acrobat can afford to travel in a private wagon? Ketil asks, shifting the attention off me.
"I've been successful. But it's not my money. My patron paid for it."
“Did Ramzi refund your fare at all?”
"He did, partially. He is really very fair...fare." She repeats the word slowly, playing with it. "He also apologized for putting me on the spot. So, what are you going to do in the city?”
“I honestly don’t know yet.”
“Then you can do anything. You could be a sculptor and sit by the harbour in the afternoons, watching the ships. Or maybe a baker with a mysterious past." The sound of shifting fabric as she leans forward, just a bit. "I could show you around, if you like."
I turn from the window to see the two of them looking at each other, their expressions dense with subtle shades of meaning, signaling what they don't yet say. Her eyes flick to mine for a moment and her smile broadens a little. No discomfort or self consciousness. Just an innocent delight. I feel as if I can see her future in little flashes. Performances of poise and skill that thrill many, but none more so than herself. Quiet days of simple pleasures. Passionate love affairs. It’s easy to imagine Ketil there, by her side.
“I’d like that.” Ketil replies.
It’s nearly noon when we cross the snow line. At first there are little tufts of snow in shaded places, and then more and more until nearly everything is blanketed in shining white. Much thicker, and it will have to be cleared from the road ahead of the wagons, which could add considerable time to the journey, but I don’t dwell on hypothetical inconveniences, I just enjoy the scenery and the crisp, cool air.
We are deep into the mountains when I begin to hear some commotion coming down the line of wagons from the front. Shouts and cries carry over the sounds of the horses and the caravan comes to a slow stop. Peering out the window I can see the cause. An enormous tree has fallen across the road, blocking the way. Caravan hands move up beside the line of carts towards the barrier, looking worried. I don’t have to look long to see why. The trunk was roughly felled, by axe.
Even as the implication becomes clear a dozen or more men emerge from hiding places beside the road, appearing from out of the snow like specters. Slightly ahead of the others is a giant of a man, wrapped in thick furs that make his shoulders seem impossibly broad, and flanked by a pair of archers. He stops his advance partway and calls out.
“Give up your weapons and valuables! Do so and keep your lives!”
Nearby I can hear our driver and one of the hands speaking in hushed voices, too quiet for me to make out, but accompanied by the slow sliding of metal on wood. Perhaps readying weapons.
Ketil looks at me, expectant, and noticing this, Sif raises an eyebrow.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
I swing open the wagon door and hop down, sword in hand, still wrapped in cloth. I only intend to make a show of being armed, alongside the other caravanners, as discouragement. Even as I land I hear the intake of breath, the nervous, twitchy movement as one of the brigand archers wheels around to aim at me, eyes wide, startled. I have only that instant to register him, to realize what's about to happen, before he shoots. The arrow leaps from his bow and cuts a path through the air towards me, deadly accurate and swift as thought.
No hurled stone nor arrow loosed shall touch you.
It stops an arms length in front of me and explodes. Splintered fragments fly in every direction, plinking harmlessly off the wagon and making little craters in the snow. All attention is on me now.
I’m a little upset and step closer, putting myself between the brigands and their prize. Undoing the cloth wrap from the sword as I do, and letting it fall to the ground in my wake. They watch in silent confusion as I thrust the point of the sword into the ground in front of me, planting it there like a fence post. From either edge I conjure a wall of fire. It slices outward forming a semicircle of roaring flame between us and the brigands. A few cry out in alarm, while others just look on, wide eyed.
“Witch!” Someone gasps, and I give them my most wicked smile.
From somewhere to my left I see Ramzi emerge, palms out in a placating gesture. “Good people, there is no need for any violence today. My esteemed friend is very protective,” He gestures to me, “but we would not see you leave empty handed. Remove the tree blocking the way and I will see you paid for your labor.”
I raise an eyebrow in his direction, but say nothing. The brigands confer amongst themselves in rapid whispers, while the twitchy archer's eyes dart back and forth between me and Ramzi. He has another arrow knocked, but his arms are relaxed. When he looks at me he almost seems apologetic.
Eventually the talking dies down and the brigand leader steps forward again. There is more swagger in his step this time, as if trying to convey an impression of being in control of the situation.
"I accept your offer."
His people make short work of the tree, multiple men with axes striking in an alternating rhythm at different points along its length, splitting the enormous tree into more manageable sections, and then rolling those off the road. From over the flames I watch the brigand archers, their forms warped by the heat waves, and they watch me. They're alert, but the tension is gone, or at least lessened.
When the tree is cleared, Ramzi tosses them a pouch. It lands just beyond the flames, clinking with coins. The brigand leader snatches it up, and hefts it a few times to gauge its weight. Evidently satisfied, he gives a curt nod to Ramzi and myself before signaling something to his men. Just as quickly as they came, they disappear into the trees.
When I am convinced that they are truly gone I pull the sword from the earth, extinguishing the flames. Left behind is a precise arc of blackened earth scarring the road, orphaning small patches of snow where it crossed the banks beside.
Ramzi stares at me, mutely, for some seconds before finding some words. “In all my travels I have never seen anything like that. I have heard stories of course, but to see it… If you had told me last night that you were a witch it would have been me asking you to ride with us.”
“I wasn’t sure how people would react. Why did you pay them anyway?”
“What I paid was but a small fraction of what we would have lost in a fight. You got me a very good deal.” He inclines his head in a very slight bow. “And I’m sure you could have driven them off, but then we would have had to move the tree ourselves, and while we did, maybe one of the archers gets it into his hypothetically spiteful little head to take another shot at us...” He finishes his thought with a little gesture of the hand, expanding his fingers as if revealing the outcome of such a scene.
“You're a wise man, Ramzi.”
“Thank you! Come, let me get this show on the road once more and then we can continue to discuss my many virtues.”
For this leg of the journey Ramzi joins us in Sif’s wagon. He tries not to show it, but it’s clear he wants to know everything about the magic he just witnessed. Sif on the other hand makes no effort to hide her curiosity, immediately launching into a litany of questions with uncontained excitement.
“Where did you learn to do that? What else can you do?” She is leaning close, barely still on her seat.
“The Red Tower, sort of.” I answer. Ramzi reacts to the name with a quirked eyebrow, but waits for me to finish. “I don’t really know, so far I seem to mostly set things on fire.”
A sly smile crosses her face. “That seems like a good beginning to me.”
“Are you saying you were taught at the Red Tower?” Ramzi asks. ”I had heard that was home to some powerful sorcerer, but the kind you abandon your homes to avoid. Not the student taking variety.”
“The rumors sound pretty accurate.” Ketil says, without turning from the window.
“No, not a student.” I launch into the story, telling them about the sword, the constructs, destroying the tower, but omitting details about the Raven Queen. For some reason that I can’t quite explain, that part feels too personal to share just yet. I show them the sword, holding out the blade resting on top of the cloth. They study it intently, with a care usually reserved for holy relics.
“May I?” Ramzi says. He points to the handle with a finger, palm up, eyebrows raised. Somehow the redundancy of the gestures makes the request seem more passive. He won't be offended in the slightest if I refuse. Which makes me want to say yes.
I turn the handle end towards him and with great care he receives it. His eyes pour over it, inspecting first the blade, then moving to the cross guard and pommel.
“I have only a modest knowledge of swords and their history, but I can tell you that this one is quite old. Obviously it has seen some wear, but more than that the style has not been in regular use for many hundreds of years. Perhaps it is merely that I have recently seen its edges alight with fire, but despite its simple design it has an unusual beauty.” He returns the sword to me, and then as an afterthought. “Might I make a tracing of it, when we make camp this evening?”
I nod my agreement, seeing no harm in it, and liking that he shares my aesthetic appreciation for the sword. I take that commonality as an endorsement of his good character.
We make camp near the foot of the mountain, shortly before sunset. Caravan hands tend to the horses, while others prepare a fire and begin the work of the evening meal. A man hangs a cauldron over the fire. Another fills it with water, tosses in strips of dried meat, and chops onions. I force myself to ignore the food, knowing it won’t be ready for some time yet, though I admit I first wonder if it might be possible to speed it along with a little witchcraft. Can magic do that?
Ramzi’s wagon is similar to the passenger wagon, but painted in bright yellow, with a red roof and trim. Inside, shelves overflow with trinkets, books, odds and ends. A writing desk sits against one well, littered with papers. The far end as I enter is given over to a large, plush bed, bedecked in blankets and furs. A man dozes there, curled up beneath the mountain of bedding, a foot hanging lazily over the edge. He turns over in his sleep and I recognize him from the night before as the one who gave Sif his seat.
Ramzi follows me in and sits down at the desk. He clears a space in the clutter and produces a few sheets of paper, laying them out end to end. I hand him the sword and he sets it down in the center. Leaning against the wall, I watch as he painstakingly follows the outline of the sword with a tapered rod of black chalk. Occasionally he will use a pair of calipers to check a measurement, and mumble something to himself. When he seems satisfied that he has the precise shape committed to paper the upright posture and technical precision give way to more relaxed, interpretive sketching for the fine details. The sound of the soft scratches of chalk on paper mixes with the gentle breathing of the dozing man and the muffled conversations that drift in from outside. People are starting to gather about the fire, in anticipation of the meal. I'm hungry, but I enjoy watching Ramzi at this task, so I linger there until something specific to his internal world rouses him, and he lifts his head to take notice of the room for the first time in maybe twenty minutes.
“A sketch is never really finished, only abandoned, but I will call this one done.” He returns the sword to me once more and waves to the door. “Go, get some food. I am going to see if I can’t wake my friend here.”
Outside I spot Ketil and Sif sitting near the fire, lit in profile by the dancing flames. They talk and take turns scrutinizing something on the ground between them. Sif says something and Ketil laughs, his hand coming to his mouth as if trying to keep the noise inside. She glances my way, her eyes tracking mine as I approach, holding my gaze for some moments while I weave through the caravanners. Joining them, I see that Ketil and Sif are playing some sort of dice game. They each have a small pile of tokens, in the form of rough lumps of glass. Ketil has considerably more, but he doesn’t seem to be happy about it. Sif rolls three dice onto a wooden tray set between them, scowls at the result then rolls again. This time she smirks in satisfaction and shoves the last of her tokens into Ketil's pile.
"I can't believe it." Ketil says, and then to me, "She cheats. It's the only explanation."
"I have a different theory." Sif throws back.
Ketil gets up and dusts off his pants. "Here, take my seat. I'll get you some soup. Maybe you will have better luck against her."
I take his place while Sif counts out twelve tokens for herself, leaving the same for me.
"Have you played Kasta before?" She asks.
I shake my head, and she launches into an animated explanation of the rules, holding up the dice and tokens as props. We take turns rolling, trying to get different, high value combinations. It's mostly random, but the starting player can choose how many times they want to roll the dice, up to three, and then the following players have that many tries to beat them with a better combination.
She has me start. I toss the dice into the tray, getting the highest scoring roll on my first attempt.
"You sure you're not using your witch powers?" She rolls the dice, in case of an unlikely tie, but to no avail, and I toss four tokens into her pile.
"I wouldn't even know how."
"Maybe you are doing it subconsciously."
A few more rounds go by, narrowing my lead as she gets a few single token victories in a row.
"Are you and Ketil together?" The question sounds casual enough, but her eyes don't match her disinterested affect. She wins another round with two rolls.
"Not exactly. We have been intimate a few times, but we are just friends really." Not an answer she expected. I watch her expression, trying to determine what this new information means to her. She isn't sure yet.
She tosses a token into my pile, goes again, handily getting another one token win. It goes like this for many rounds, small victories, worth only a single token, but mostly they end up in my pile. I don’t know how she does it, the game seems almost completely random. Most of the time there is only a single decision to make, but more often than not she makes the right one and I don’t. It vexes me.
“This is a terrible game.” I say. I have twenty two tokens in my pile.
“That sounds like the opinion of someone about to lose.”
Ketil returns, holding out a bowl of soup for me, and sits himself down beside us. The soup is thick and full of lentils and smells amazing.
“She does cheat.” I say, through a mouthful of soup.
“Quit stalling and roll.” She says, an impish grin on her face, and I can’t help but smile in return.
I roll the dice and lose on a particularly bad combination. She flicks the last of her stones into my pile and pumps both fists in the air in triumph.
“It’s ok. Next time we can play cards.”
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Step Into the Light - Part 1
A New Chapter Begins - Featuring Nosch / Amber of Kingzvire!
Rated M for Mature Audience - Pregnancy mentioned.
The scuffling of swords can be heard in the courtyard. Today was a warm sunny day out in the Kingdom of Serenity. Amber, now taking up a position as a royal knight, was busy training a new recruit - a skinny hare by the name of Cane after the sugar cane that grew in his village.
Colton, a gruff hyena with scars along his right cheekbone, was watching idly while the two were demonstrating. His expression sour with impatience waiting for his turn to 'one up' on Amber. The warrior was clearly still bitter on past events especially after getting his pride taken away. His dignity torn to shreds from the 'monster' that took his place alongside the red fox of his dreams.
"That's the spirit, Cane! Now then let's go through the protocols again like I showed you, alright?"
Amber, completely oblivious to her rival, stood at the ready anticipating her apprentice's next move. Both showed great potential, but she had to admit Cane was doing better with following instructions than Colton who seemed to go by brute force alone.
"Alright, good. Now, Colton. Let's see you demonstrate to Cane about the next routine. And remember to not use all of your strength at once. You need to concentrate and anticipate Cane's moves." Amber instructed, stepping back to let the two into the ring. Her vision started to blur and felt a little lightheaded, but she shook it off as just being the heat from being outside in the sun.
Meanwhile, Nosch wasn't too far from his post. He, now a guard for the Royal Knights, was watching the three from where the ram demon stood. Eyes keen on keeping the kingdom at bay. After all they have been through, he wasn't going to let anything happen to Amber's birthplace.
"Hey! Something's wrong with Miss Amber!" Cane looked over just to see the red fox knight wasn't looking like her former self. Both trainees stopped their training seeing Nosch quickly come down from the barracks to oversee what all the commotion was about.
Colton frowned, staring at Nosch, his greatest enemy. "Don't even come near Amber! What did you do to her this time, you beast?" His teeth clenched at the ram demon. Obviously after those two had come back from the Underworld, Amber wasn't the childhood friend he once knew.
Nosch ignored Colton stooping down to help Amber who seemed to have fainted just then.
"Hey, that's rude Cole! You shouldn't be speaking that way to Miss Amber's husband, ya know!" Cane put his hands on his hips glaring back at the sour wolf. "Nosch, she was fine just a minute ago...any ideas?" He looked over at his superior hoping that his master was okay.
"It's fine...I get that a lot. Amber will be fine...she just fainted is all. Probably just warm from the sun. You two should call off for the day and go out into town. I'll take care of Amber from here." Nosch replied sincerely but firm to the two trainees before lifting his wife up bridal style in his arms. He'd do anything to make sure the love of his life was alright.
Cane nodded nudging Colton playfully before they both left the arena leaving Nosch tending to Amber. "See? He's not a beast...just a compassionate husband looking after his wife." The hare playfully bantered with the grumpy hyena not sure why Cole despised the ram demon so much. The hyena just huffed turning his head away from the hare. Perhaps he did have a point....
"Let's get you inside, my love. Hopefully the nurse or doctor will know what to do.' The ram demon spoke softly holding Amber with care as the guard left to their quarters. His mind wandered to what Colton had meant about him being a *beast* and accusing of the ram demon of harming his own wife. He was used to insults ever since Nosch was little living in the Demon Realm as well as growing up in the harsh depths of the Underworld, but it still left him feeling doubtful about being to blame for whatever Amber experienced just now. He'll have to prove it, it seems.
Once Nosch placed Amber on the bed with a glass of water on the stand beside the bed did he call for a nurse or doctor to check up on his wife. He knelt at her bedside brushing away loose hair strands from her face. Thoughts constantly going through his head over what had happened just now and wondering why Amber suddenly fainted in the courtyard. It wasn't like her at all...she's always strong, courageous, and never let an illness get her down.
"Hello? May I come in? I'm here to see Amber. This is the right address, correct?" A voice came from the hallway right outside their door. The ram demon stood quickly going over to answer it to find a fae waiting with her satchel of medical supplies.
"Ah, yes. And you may enter, Doc. Amber's over on the bed still unconscious but she's alive and well..." Nosch let her in seeing that the nurse was ready to handle anything that may happen. " She fainted out in the courtyard, but there aren't any signs of her feeling ill since then..."
"I see...well I'll do a once over to make sure there's nothing out of the ordinary. Tell me...you two are close, yes? Have you noticed when Amber's last cycle was?" The fae asked while checking Amber's vitals making sure nothing was out of the ordinary, sickness or otherwise.
"Well we are husband and wife...we've known each other for awhile now...but as for her cycle I'm not sure. She would let me know if her cycle changed..." Nosch was confused why the fae was asking him this...but then his eyes widened recalling the last time the two had been intimate together. "Unless...it has passed...what does that have to do with her fainting, Doc?"
The fae looked over furrowing her eyebrow at the ram demon before proving her hypothesis. She hummed placing her hand to hover above Amber's forehead letting a ball of light go from Amber's head and slowly going further down. The light stayed consistent until brightening more so at the red fox's stomach before diminishing back to the normal rate again to the tip of Amber's toes.
"Well then...that proves Amber's not sick. She's pregnant, Nosch." She stated with a sigh before looking over at the father-to-be. "You two have planned this, correct?"
"I...we have. Though we never imagined she would conceive or if it was even possible to since we aren't of the same species..." Nosch silently gulped trying to take everything in that the nurse mentioned. He was going to be a father. Was Amber going to be excited about this news?
"I see...well now it is possible clearly from her cycle being past as well as an aura coming from Amber's uterus. The Fates seem to let you two become one, and since Hera has blessed you two with marriage, and now granted you both an offspring...you should feel proud, Nosch. I'm sure Amber will be too when she awakes. Though...in the meantime, I'll get you a recipe for some broth along with meds to help her with morning sickness. I'm sure she'll hit hard with it soon...all first mothers do after all. And if you two have any trouble with the pregnancy let me know. Congratulations to the both of you of course." The fae smiled acknowledging the large demon before packing up her stuff and heading out to let the couple have some alone time together.
"Mmm? Nosch? Who was that just now...?" Amber soon later awoke looking over to see her relieved husband beside her on the bed. She sat up slowly looking over in his general direction.
"You look like you've seen a ghost, dear. I'm fine, I promise. Tell me, did something happen while I was training outside in the courtyard?" Amber asked, feeling back to normal. Her mind trying to recall anything that happened that may have upsetted her husband while she was out cold.
"Amber...I...you fainted, but I had the nurse come in to check up on you." Nosch leaned into her touch. "She found no illness, but..." There was a long pause before he finished. "We're going to be parents, Amber. You're pregnant." He told his wife sincerely. His expression is honest not leaving a trace of doubt.
"I..I'm pregnant? How...how is that possible? Are you sure, dear?" Amber asked curiously though smiled softly placing her hand over her stomach. She never thought this day would come. They've tried so many times before that both her and Nosch thought they would never have a child of their own - even to the point of thinking of adopting if it came to that point. But now...their life together was about to change. A new life coming into the world...it was strange to comprehend.
"You are. She confirmed it. I didn't think it would happen, but the Fates do not lie. Hera has blessed us with marriage...and now...a new life." Nosch smiled softly back placing his large hand over hers.
"I guess this means we'll have to tell Dad, huh?" She looked over knowing that the red fox knight would have to tell Czech of the news..plus Aura and Jasper too...and all of the kingdom as well.
"We'll tell him when the time is right. Let's wait a little while before telling everyone. For now...we can indulge in keeping the secret just between the two of us for now. After all...we have awhile before the baby is born, right?" The ram demon leaned down to kiss his wife sweetly on the lips pressing his forehead to hers sweetly.
"That we do, Nosch. A whole new chapter together."
The following morning, and the few weeks that went by, proved the fae’s warning from yesterday’s news. Amber was indeed going through morning sickness. The broth recipe and water was the only substance that she kept down. She had all of the first trimester symptoms from morning sickness to imbalance of hormones. The red fox knight would feel fine one minute while going through her day to feeling horrible that she couldn’t fathom her own feelings.
It wasn’t long before rumors spread of her confirmed pregnancy. And both Nosch and Amber knew it was time to tell Czech, her adopted father, along with all of her friends about the expectant life that was growing inside her.
However, when the time came to tell them one afternoon as Amber was in bed, Czech had swung by to check up on his daughter and his son-in-law. The white tiger head knight wasn’t aware of the pregnancy nor the rumors. His intuition though brought him to their shared quarters just as the same happened that day he found Amber, as a babe, wrapped up a bundle of cloth that was at the foot of her parents’ statues in the Valley of Heroes.
“Nosch? Amber? Anyone home?” The proud knight asked with a classical knock at the door. Obviously he didn’t want to intrude their affairs from his own experience. It was polite to knock no matter the occasion.
“We’re home, Dad! Come in! We’re just now fixing supper if you are hungry,” Amber called not hinting of anything in regards to her health. Both her and Nosch were indeed making supper for the two hoping that the newly expectant mother would be able to eat without vomiting.
Czech grinned opening the door to find the two making what appeared to be a broth or stew. He wasn’t sure, but it smelled absolutely delicious! His nostrils taking in the sweet aroma of what appears to be desert nearby. Just his luck!
“How are my son and daughter doing, hmm? I hope you two aren’t working too hard on duty, or keeping anything from your father?” He asked coming in while shutting the door in the process before going to greet them. His eyes gazing over the side table seeing what seemed to be meds and an empty glass.
“We’re doing just fine, Dad. But...we do need to tell you something if you aren’t too busy yourself..?” Amber looked behind her noticing her father looking around the house.
“Oh? And what’s the special occasion?” Czech glanced over at the two who seemed to be a bit nervous, yet excited about something. He couldn’t place what at the moment as the fragrance from the meal overwhelmed his senses.
“That we can discuss after supper. Don’t want to spoil the surprise, Czech...I mean Dad.” Nosch was trying to not sound informal to his father-in-law. The white tiger was more of a father figure than his own birth father was. Being a ruler of the Demon Realm was with a lot of responsibility. Too much apparently for taking care of twins for that matter.
“I see. I can’t wait to hear all about this surprise. Mmm, and the food too. You know your Dad well, my son and daughter.” He grinned going over to pat Nosch and Amber on the back. Czech was proud of how far the two have come...from being on opposite sides of the journey...to now being husband and wife. The day they told him of their marriage, Czech didn’t believe it at first. The older knight had a good talking to Nosch making sure that the ram demon didn’t try anything against his only adopted daughter. It turned out their feelings were mutual, and from there on both bonded as father and son.
“You’ll love it, Dad! But it’ll be best to sit and talk over supper about it. As for the food, we have lamb stew with pork and bread. There’s also some cake too on the ledge for afterwards. A caramel carrot cake which I know is your favorite as well as Nosch’s.” Amber smiled, giving her father a hug while trying her best not to spoil it. Her mood swings seem to be constantly changing still as well as her appetite. She fears that there is no end to feeding the life form inside her. Always constantly hungry...with odd cravings at that.
At the mention of carrot in the cake, both Nosch and Czech were a bit puzzled. Caramel was their favorite, but carrot...now that was an odd addition to the cake. The two silently nodded agreeing with Amber despite the carrot dilemma. As long as she was excited about the cake, that’s all that mattered, right?
Amber though could read their minds and she bit her lip silently cursing on her hormonal disturbances. Her odd food cravings…carrots?? What was she thinking! That was Jasper’s favorite...her mind reeled screaming internally inside. Though before she could stop herself...tears were already escaping - flowing like a dam.
Czech’s eyes widened seeing his daughter crying all of a sudden. He turned to Nosch who was already trying to help her calm down. Something wasn’t right. The sudden emotions...the odd addition to the cake...the meds sitting on the nightstand...and the matter of what the two wanted to talk about. It finally clicked! Amber’s pregnant!
“Amber...it’s okay.” Nosch gently eased her to sit down while Czech smiled softly getting tissues to help a bit. “B-but...I never put carrot in the cake. And y’all both agreed to it. I..I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. I’m sorry, Dad.” Amber sniffled staring at the ground before slowly looking up at them both seeing they weren’t mad or upset at her at all. The two were smiling softly nodding in agreement.
“I’d figured it was a special day today...and it is not your fault, Amber. Your mother was like that too, you know? Carrots were also one of those cravings she had as well when carrying you. Both Reynard and I would have agreed with anything she made because we loved Vixen so much. I’m happy for the two of you.” Czech smiled reassuring them both. He knew this day would come and was glad to have a grand baby soon.
“You knew? How?” Both Amber and Nosch looked to each other and then to the white tiger knight before them. They had tried their best to surprise Czech but it ended up quite the opposite in fact.
“Just a little intuition. Same as how I found you, Amber. I didn’t really know, but it doesn’t matter now. What’s most important is to celebrate, what do you say?” The father figure chuckled feeling happy and proud of his daughter and son-in-law.
After that day, the expectant parents began telling their friends of their miracle. Of course, Aura and Jasper, were the first after Czech to know! Both of her best friends were just as family to them as they were. The King and Queen were excited with joy for the couple. Their triplets, two girls and a boy, were already quite a handful for the royal family. The three were just about a year old and already getting into mischief - as was expected of cabbit newborns. Aura and Jasper let the two take turns practicing how to hold the baby properly as well as telling them everything that was going to be expected of the new arrival. Amber and Nosch were glad to have friends that were there to help as well as of course Czech too. The entire kingdom, when news spread, were willing to ease the burden and help out with making furniture, food, and clothing for their expected child. However...there was one that didn’t enjoy the news...and he didn’t keep quiet about it either. In fact, Colton showed up knocking furiously at their very door!
“Come out here and fight me like the beast you are!” He relentlessly banged while Cane was trying his best to get his friend to stop. “Stop, Cole! This is nonsense!” The hare shouted using all the strength and stamina he had to keep the hyena from bringing the whole door down.
“Let me go, Cane! I don’t care. Just let me fight him for what he did to Amber!”
“What is the meaning of this? Colton...I told you to stop calling my husband that! If you want a fight, I’ll gladly take his place! You’ve been an ass ever since Nosch came into my life! What the Hell happened to you to get like this, huh? We were childhood friends, and we still are. But only if you stop this and apologize to him!” Amber opened the door trying not to let the anger get to her. It wasn’t good for her or for the baby.
Colton stopped though his fists were tightly clenched at his side. Cane keeping between the two not wanting any harm to come to both his teacher and his friend.
“Well? If you have nothing to say, get out then.” Amber pointed to the exit. One hand still on her hip. At this point it was obvious that the red fox knight was carrying a child. Her belly swollen at the three month mark. Colton saw even with his eyes to the ground. It was too late. It always was.
“Colton…” Amber sighed, shaking her head. Nosch at this point was behind Amber. Not out of cowardice, but to keep her safe in case things got too heated. It wasn’t his place to get into despite the hyena calling him out and using that word again that made his heart sink.
“If you want a fight...we can settle this like comrades, Colton. But I don’t want you upsetting my wife. She’s already dealing with a lot as is with pregnancy and all. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up. I know that look. My brother had that same look before he left…” Nosch replied, moving to get in front of Amber in an act of protection, but not in a way to show aggression towards the riled up hyena.
Colton didn’t bother looking up. He was ashamed, but he didn’t want to admit defeat.
“Fine. Meet me in the courtyard this afternoon. Then we will see if you keep to your word.” The hyena huffed before leaving. Cane acknowledged the two before going after his friend.
Amber wasn’t sure what to think of this. Her husband was going to fight her childhood friend. It was all too much. She sighed sitting down with her hands, one on her swollen stomach while the other to her mouth. The red fox warrior didn’t want her beloved demon injured...nor even for Colton to get in bad shape regardless of what he felt for her all those years ago. What changed him? She had to know…
“It’ll be alright, Amber. I won’t bring any harm to him...and will make sure none of us get hurt in the process. You have my word as your guard and as your husband.” Nosch knelt in front of her taking her hand in his.
“Alright. But...I’m coming with you. I want to know why Colton is like this…” Amber nodded feeling safe with her lover beside her.
Nosch didn’t say no. Rather told his wife to stay in the side lines away from the fight, and if the chance arose...he would protect her at all costs. Both her and their unborn child.
That afternoon, the ram demon guard met with the hyena warrior at the courtyard.
Cladded with armor, the two foes stood in the center of the arena. Czech refereed for the fight letting Cane stay with Amber to watch from the sidelines. Her heart torn watching her childhood friend and lover fight over something that could have been solved years ago. Had she had known about Colton’s crush on her...Amber would have told him the truth. But instead, the hyena bottled up everything inside him which must have been hard. Then, there was Nosch, having to step up and fight her own battles due to his undying love for the red fox knight...who now is carrying their child.
“Let’s end this now. Draw your weapons, gentlemen.” Czech instructed both the warrior and guard. The two pulled out their swords from their sheaths preparing to attack or defend based on what comes next. “And begin.” The white tiger knight announced watching as his son-and-law and his apprentice face off. His heart too dropped.
At the start, both showed no remorse for the other. They acted civil showing their strength but also courage. Hearts and minds setting on what their purpose lies. Eventually though, Nosch could tell that Colton was not going to give up. The eyes that bore into him were that like his brothers...sought on pure revenge. There were a lot of feelings that came out...hurt, anger, jealousy, envy...and so the ram demon used his body as a shield letting the hyena strike him over again and again. As many times as it took to let Colton get all of his emotions out.
“Enough! Colton, Nosch..stand down.” Czech stopped the fight from getting worse. He knew what his fellow guard was doing and didn’t want to see any more of this. Bloody and banged up...over something that could have been resolved ages ago.
Amber rushed down from the sidelines and went to help Nosch while Cane took care of Colton. Both warriors said nothing. Apparently that was enough to quail down the flames. Czech double checked that no one was hurt critically and discussed the two to come back after getting washed to discuss any last words they had for one another.
“Nosch...why’d you let Colton do that to you? That’s not like you at all, love…” Amber spoke softly while bathing her husband. Her tears flowing with the water seeing him battered and bruised. Luckily the armor kept his body safe...but had it gone any further there would have been severe cuts and potential scarring to his body.
“I did it because that was the only way...those eyes...Colton wouldn’t have stopped if Czech hadn’t given the whistle. Nor would he have stopped if I had won. I let him use his anger on me. Just like my brother did before I met you, Amber…” Nosch sighed hating seeing his wife worried so much about him, but she had every right to be.
“I understand...but what I don’t get is why? Why would Colton go through all of this trouble? I’m married to you...and am having your child. I should have been the one to fight him instead. I should have told him a long time ago...but I’m not sure that even if I did that he would listen. Colton had always been stubborn like that. He never took a ‘no’ for an answer...and that’s why I can’t let you get hurt any more than you already are. I love you, Nosch. No other person can replace you…”
“I know, and I love you too. Hopefully after that fight, and a nice bath, he’ll let go of all those emotions and see. We’ll know soon enough. But this isn’t your fault at all, Amber. You didn’t know. He kept all of those feelings bottled up for years...only for it to explode now...but you are safe and cared for, Amber. And I will do whatever it takes to make you happy. I won’t lose my life to him...I’m stronger than you give me credit for, ya know?”
“You’re right and I hope so too. Let’s get you cleaned up and fed before we go back to the courtyard, okay?” Amber smiled touching foreheads lovingly with her husband letting them have a moment together before heading out together. Hopefully Colton and Cane had a long discussion too like they had.
Upon arrival back to the courtyard, both parties showed up - now fresh and relaxed.
Colton had talked with Cane about his feelings for Amber. He hadn’t realized that all those feelings buried deep inside of him had caused so much pain. The hyena let his anger get the best of him and in short clouded his judgement ‘causing him to use brute strength to get what he wanted instead of talking out his feelings. Colton, in the process, began to notice that perhaps companionships were different for everyone and that he was looking in the wrong places. His hatred subsided after Cane and him took a bath together. The warrior cried letting it all out while his friend held him close.
“So...have you two came to a conclusion on how to end this?” Czech asked, looking at the two individuals before him. Nosch and Colton nodded. “Well then...anything you’d like to say to one another?” The royal knight asked his fellow colleagues.
“I should go first.” Colton spoke out feeling nervous but better after their fight. His consciousness is more clear now that the anger faded from his heart. “I am at fault for everything that has happened. I let my emotions get the better of me...and lost sight of what was truly important. And for that I am sorry for hurting you, Nosch, as well as Amber...the feelings I had for her were selfish. I was wrong to take that away from her, as well as pour all my anger on you, Nosch...I don’t expect to be forgiven for this, but I deeply apologize for what I’ve done and hope you’ll give me another chance to redeem myself…” The hyena finished bowing his head low in shame.
“Colton...look at me.” Nosch stepped towards Colton placing his hands on the hyena’s shoulders. “You are forgiven. There’s no need to be so hard on yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes and make amends. I’m glad you apologized to myself and Amber. We both know it’s hard to communicate feelings into words. I would be glad to still be comrades and friends with you. Cane and Czech told me about the burden you kept from childhood. I may not understand completely where you come from, but I know what it is like to lose someone you love. Family, friends...you aren’t alone. We’ll always be here to help. You should probably also open up a little more to Cane. He deserves to know too...if you know what I mean.” The guard grinned heartedly with a wink before giving Colton a brotherly hug. “Now then...let’s go celebrate! My treat!”
The hyena didn’t know what to think. He was stunned at first, but then soon gave in to the hug. New feelings formed from friendship and possible love for his friend. Colton didn’t know how strong his bond was with Cane, but he was beginning to realize that perhaps he’ll be able to express his love for his companion...as well as acceptance with Nosch and Amber now that they both spoke out about everything to each other.
“Well then...I can’t say no to that, can I?” Colton laughed for the very first time in a long while. He grinned making hyena yips in response before walking over to peck a kiss on Cane’s cheek. Cane was surprised but smiled returning the same gesture. The hare was glad to have his friend back. Especially now that their feelings were mutual for one another.
As for Amber and Nosch, they joined the two, along with Czech, to go celebrate with their friends. Even without drinking alcohol, Amber had a good time watching her husband, father, and friends be merry. Perhaps a new chapter was just beginning, and she couldn’t wait to see what the future held - including the birth of her and Nosch’s child - a new chapter begins soon!
(Stay tuned for Part 2!)
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The Iliad and The Odyssey Adaptations
“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller. This book is told from Patrocles’ perspective of his and Achilles’ relationship and the events leading up and through the Trojan War. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
“Helen of Troy” by Margaret George. A retelling of the Trojan War, this story focuses on Helen, acting as a sort of autobiography for the woman that the War was about.
“A Thousand Ships” by Natalie Haynes. This is a really cool retelling that shares an all-female perspective on the Trojan War. “This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them…”
“Achilles” by Elizabeth Cook. A retelling of the story of Achilles, while also digging into the lasting effects of a story that spans centuries.
“Circe” by Madeline Miller. This fantastic book takes a look at the Odyssey, retold from the perspective of Circe, the witch of Aeaea. You get an in depth look into how myths spiderweb and all connect to each other, with our lovely Circe in the middle of it.
“Argos: The Story of Odysseus As Told by His Loyal Dog” by Ralph Hardy. One thing people seem to forget is that on his travels, Odysseus had the companionship of his dog, Argos. Get read for the Odyssey, but from a dog’s perspective.
“The Penelopiad” by Margaret Atwood. Odysseus is the hero in the Odyssey, but this story shares the perspective of his wife, Penelope, who was waiting for him during his years of reckless voyage.
“For the Most Beautiful” by Emily Hauser. Another retelling of the Odyssey, but from the perspective of the women of the story? You bet your ass it is. A novel about pain, sacrifice, and courage; it interweaves the tale of Krisayis and Briseis.
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The Crimson Realm: Series the First: Chronicles of League the Second: Book the First: A New World
Synopsis: Nine children from eight countries find themselves transported to a strange new world. There, they are all contacted by an entity they dub, simply, Anonymous, instructing them to travel halfway across this new world to meet with him. The children follow the instructions in the hope that Anonymous can lead them home. Along the way, they try to solve the mystery surrounding their transportation and the newfound abilities each of them seems to have developed since landing on the Crimson Realm. But when a sinister figure announces himself as the children’s purpose on this world, there could be more to it all than any of them could have imagined.
Progress: 17 chapters complete - 6 or 7 chapters remaining
This novel (with its future sequels), without exaggeration, has been 21 years in progress. I developed the concept and the characters back when I was thirteen, and seeing it come closer and closer to fruition gives me life.
(All work related to The Crimson Realm are copyright O. Wilder and are timestamped to prove ownership. Do not repost.)
The Art of Guidance
Fantasy, Action/adventure, based on dungeons and dragons
3300 words for the first chapter listed below
I'd like a general impression, I've written Act 1 and want some feedback before moving onto Act 2
Synopsis: Sera is a potter/makes ceramic items that have suddenly gained magic and can speak to her. Unbeknownst to her, the ceramic items she makes will a) combine with other items to create magical items/spells, b) train her to improve her weakness: intelligence. (The story will follow her and 3 others with unusual items figuring out how to use them and the story turns into an intense hunt for the ring of three wishes, there's competition to see who gets it first, and one member is hunted by kidnappers)
Journal entry one below, commenting is on!
The story starts about a week ago when I was woken up in the middle of the night by a strange noise. However the noise would stop after I woke up, which might’ve been because I said curse words and threw my pillow in its direction.
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That feeling when you love one of your characters so much but they are only in a single chapter.
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QUEEN OF DEATH
(”they call her the Queen of Peace because she ended a war by wedding a King. But to me, the is the Queen of Death.”)
title: (tentative) Queen of Death
genre: high-ish fantasy
category: new adult
pov: first person past tense
themes/includes: aro/ace main character // trauma // good vs. evil (and how that can change depending on a person’s pov) // revenge // loss of control and regaining it // the powerlessness women in society endure in order to make themselves feel safe
content/trigger warnings: MC has a covert narcissistic mother // explicit mention of blood and death // violence // swearing // emotional abuse // general oppression of women
vibe: a late-spring morning, verdant and fresh with dew, still cool from the nighttime chill; there’s blood on the daisies pushing up through the grass; you don’t know how it got there; you don’t know why you hate yourself; you don’t remember who taught you that love is conditional; a cloud floats by; it’s shaped like a knife; suddenly you remember what you came here to do.
synopsis: in a world where certain bloodlines carry magic and world wars are waged to take control of them, raven is the firstborn daughter of lucia, the queen of death. being the firstborn, she is taught from a young age that her mother will die someday, and when that day comes, the magic and the title will be hers. but when a small, outlying island displays enough power to attempt to kidnap all eight queens at once, she is forced to come to terms with her traumatic childhood, and forced to meet with the person behind the attempted kidnappings.
raven, 17, she/her
firstborn daughter to the queen of death and king of cristallo, the country she lives in. almost her entire life has been spent being sheltered in dark rooms and hidden behind closed doors. her mother tells her its for her protection; the queen of death is the most powerful woman in the world, and marrying into the kingdom of cristallo has now solidified them as the most powerful country in the world. but if raven were to die before having an heir of her own, the powerful magic in their bloodline would be lost for good. she is now beginning to resent her mother.
celine, 13, she/her
raven’s little sister. being the younger sibling, she will not inherit any magic, but she is still instructed to play the role of the firstborn. she will take the fall should anyone get it into their mind to destroy the bloodline, and as a result she carries a lot on her shoulders that many people do not see. that being said, she also reaps the benefit of being a firstborn daughter, and often distracts herself with those benefits the way that most queens tend to do.
elias, 20, he/him
a huge nerd and a tinkerer, elias is always working on something. he’s the type of dude to call himself an egalitarian instead of a feminist though. big dweeb, heart is in the right place, but doesn’t understand the nuances of struggles that are not his own.
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Do you have pet cats that give you comfort and adorableness every day? Lynda Hamblen, who lives with her husband and her cat Elvira, has a life blessed with cats that led her to write her first novel entitled William and Tibby Forever.
William and Tibby Forever is a story about a cat's view of life, heaven, and eternity. The book depicts a heartwarming story about the love of a mother for her children, the love of a man for a woman, and the love for her cats. It is a story about life that never ends and love that never dies.
Follow the story and purchase a copy of the book through her website now!
Friday 05/07/2021: Happy Mother’s Day
It is Mother’s Day weekend all across America. My mother passed more than two years ago, but my wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter 18 years ago. This makes her a mother of our household. Our daughter prepared tamales for us on Wednesday which were very good. I suspect she will bake a cake or cupcakes this weekend in honor of her mother.
As for me, I will make something special for her on Mother’s Day because I like to stay in her good graces. For the past month she wanted pizza and I bought the ingredients this week. I have a thick crust recipe that is quite good. However, last time I made a thin crust in which we had no left overs. I think we will do thin crust again.
It takes a few hours for the dough to set up and it is an all-day event making pizza. It is worth the trouble because, I control the seasoning and toppings. It important to bake the thin crust on a ceramic surface and I have one at my disposal. The oven fires to 500°F. (260°C for my metric friends) and we can watch the pizza browning through the window.
My point to this blog is to point out the importance paying special attention for your mother on her day. It is easy to buy her something and she will most certainly smile for it. However, spend the time to do something special for her and it will fill her heart. Become engaged with her on Sunday and she will absolutely beam with joy over the time you spend with her.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers around the world.
If you have read any of my books, please leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon.