Clyde B. Northrup

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Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on July 1, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

1 July 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

Happy 4th of July weekend to all our readers! We remind all that last time, we saw Bedivere report what he had truly seen, which the king accepts, and now asks to take him to the lakeshore, before he dies:

 

But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard,

Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed

When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King

Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!

I fear it is too late, and I shall die."

But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,

Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk'd

Larger than human on the frozen hills.

He heard the deep behind him, and a cry

Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.

Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves

And barren chasms, and all to left and right

The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based

His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang

Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels--

And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,

And the long glories of the winter moon.

 

Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge

Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,

Beneath them; and descending they were ware

That all the decks were dense with stately forms

Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these

Three Queens with crowns of gold--and from them rose

A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,

And, as it were one voice, an agony

Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills

All night in a waste land, where no one comes,

Or hath come, since the making of the world.

 

Here Bedivere carries the wounded and dying Arthur to a different part of the lake, passing through caves filled with ice and cold. Notice how the poet draws attention to this fact by adding sounds to their progress: the clashing of harness, the sharp sound of armored heels striking the stone floor. All of a sudden, they reach the shore and see the black barge waiting for Arthur. The deck is covered with people hooded and cloaked in black, along with three crowned queens. This group is already singing laments for the passing of King Arthur. Next time, we will see what Arthur does and says. Until then, good reading and enjoy the fireworks!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 7, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on June 27, 2016 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

27 June 2016

 

We return to our tale, the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, as Thal enters–wrongly–Blakstar’s nightmare, learning something about his companion that he does not expect. . . .

 

Chapter 7, Part 2

 

Thal stood in a fire blackened wood, surrounded by the broken, twisted, and burned remains of trees, all of which appeared to have been pushed in the same direction by some force. A hot, black wave of force slammed into him, filled with shrieking voices, and he knew at once that the force was wave after wave of tortured guilt, which was what had broken, twisted, and burned the trees around him. Flicker. As suddenly as he had stepped into the fire blackened wood, he was plunged into total darkness and absolute silence. Flicker. Light and sound returned, and he thought he was in the same burned and twisted forest, but there were no longer waves of tortured guilt crashing into him; he could hear voices, but the sounds were muffled and echoed strangely, coming from the same direction as had the waves of guilt. He could, now and then, catch glimpses and flashes of light among the twisted trunks, also in front of him, and so he slowly tried to make his way in that direction, tripping every step over roots and broken branches hidden in the darkness. Flicker. He was plunged again into darkness and silence, and when light and sound returned, the waves of guilt slammed into him again; the tortured screams pierced his ears. Struggling again to his feet, he noticed that the formerly white light now flashed red, and in the red flashes he saw that his robes were torn and spotted with some dark substance that covered the ground. Flicker. Darkness and silence. Flicker. White light and the mumbling voices; he made his way forward toward the light and sound, carefully placing each foot so as not to trip over the wrack of splintered and broken branches littering the ground. As he reached the edge of a glade–the source of both light and sound–his eyes were drawn to the three figures, and he stumbled, falling to the ground. Flicker. Choking darkness and empty silence. Flicker. He tried to stand but blasts of black guilt smashed him into the broken trunk of a blackened tree at the edge of the glade, pinning him in place against the broken stubs of branches that pierced his robes and skin; he stood at the edge of a clearing where a bonfire roared. Black- and red-robed figures moved around the flames; the figures took no notice of his sudden appearance at the edge of the clearing. He looked down and saw his robes shredded and stained with both soot and blood, neither black nor red; he felt as dirty as his robes. Flicker. Darkness gripped him; silence roared. Flicker. He stood at the edge of a clearing filled with light; three figures were there, one of them Blakstar, his hands held up and forward in a placating gesture, a white-robed figure stood just behind the kortexi’s left shoulder, the figure’s face overshadowed by his hood; the third stood facing the others, black-robed and obviously female, golden hair spilling out of her hood; she was backing away from the other two, and Blakstar moved slowly toward her. They were speaking, but their voices still sounded muffled and indistinct. Flicker. Strangling darkness and silence. Flicker. He was back in the fire blackened forest and glade, pinned to a tree by waves of tortured guilt. Near the fire, he saw a trunk bent almost parallel to the ground, a figure tied on top of it, naked, dripping blood from the many wounds caused by the broken and splintered stumps of branches of the bent trunk beneath the figure; he noticed all the trees were bleeding. Two of the red-robed kailum held a blonde wetha over the bent trunk–the same female of the other dream–eyes covered, hands tightly bound, worn black robe pulled open showing the whip scars all over her naked body, along with a freshly-cut mark, still bleeding, on her belly just above her loins, a mark he recognized at once as the same that Klaybear had burned into his palm and forehead, a similar mark scratched into Blakstar’s his chest and loins, and he knew at once who lay bound to the bent and broken trunk. The blonde wetha was screaming at her captors, Let me. . . . Flicker. Empty silence and darkness. Flicker. Three figures in a glade filled with white light, speaking, the female’s voice suddenly became clear as she continued to move back from Blakstar’s outstretched hand. How do you . . . how could you. . . . Flicker. Deadly darkness and choking silence. Flicker. Fire blackened clearing. Her voice continued . . . see him! echoing above the tortured screams; a ponkola stood beside the captured kortexi, laughing, with blood dripping from the claws of one hand, and Thal knew that she had inscribed the marks in both of them. The figure standing to Blakstar’s left also laughed, sounding of dry bones clanking together, and he guessed that it must be Xythrax. The blonde wetha was pulled away and vanished, and Thal guessed what was coming, but he could not tear his eyes away, even as the ponkola threw one, long and shapely leg over the trunk and the figure tied there, and the kortexi struggled to free himself, howling in rage, wave after wave of black guilt crashing into Thal where he stood pinned against the tree, feeling more guilty than the waves slamming into him.

You should not be here, a voice came into his mind. Flicker. He was plunged into empty darkness.

Wha-huh?

You should not be here, the voice repeated, and he felt a hand touch his shoulder. Flicker. The darkness dissolved around him and reformed into their room in the inn. Thal felt his cheeks grow hot, looking down at his sleeping companion; he reached out with his right hand. “I should have dispelled the nightmare, not tried to induce it,” he whispered, still tasting blood and guilt although no longer inside the kortexi’s nightmare, “but there were two, and I was confused by what was happening to him,” he added in an effort to justify his actions.

“I already have dispelled the one,” a musical voice replied from behind him, “but the girl refuses to enter the other.”

He turned quickly to see who had spoken but saw no one. “Who are . . . what do you mean?” Thal stammered.

But whoever had spoken ignored his question. “The hunt is on,” the voice went on, almost singing. “You chosen cannot afford to stay in one place too long; you cannot even travel in the same slow way that others do.”

Thal kept turning his head, trying to discover the source of the voice and the speaker, but the phantom kept moving, just beyond his sight; he saw no one.

“Thus,” the voice continued, “you have been given the means to move instantly from place to place. Even now Elker reaches out with his minions to trap you in his hand.”

Thal felt something brush him gently, like the soft touch of a cool breeze on a hot summer night that energized him in the same way as drinking the Waters; Blakstar stirred next to him and sat up, looking around. Before either of them could speak, they heard footsteps running down the hall, and the door to their room burst open.

Master William’s son, Jake, looked surprised to see them both up and looking at him, but quickly caught his breath. “You must leave, now!” Jake exclaimed. “They are coming for you!” . . .

 

Next time we will see the consequences of this poor choice of Thal when Blakstar learns what his companion has done. Until then, get the entire text in ebook form, here, from the bookstore of your choice. If you prefer print, order your copy from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on June 24, 2016 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

24 June 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

In last week’s post from Tennyson’s “Morte D’Arthur,” the brave Sir Bedivere finally did as King Arthur had commanded, casting the sword into the lake from whence it came; this week, we see Bedivere answering Arthur’s question, reporting what he saw:

 

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems

Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,

Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,

Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men,

So great a miracle as yonder hilt.

Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;

But when I look'd again, behold an arm,

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him

Three times, and drew him under in the mere."

 

And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:

"My end draws nigh; 't is time that I were gone.

Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,

And bear me to the margin; yet I fear

My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."

 

So saying, from the pavement he half rose,

Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,

And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes

As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere

Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears,

And would have spoken, but he found not words,

Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,

O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,

And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.

 

I always find it significant the Bedivere tells his king the he “closed his eyes” so the swords pretty hilt did not again beguile him. His answer satisfies the king, and now he asks his loyal knight to take him to the lake, for across the waters lies Avalon, and Arthur worries that he will die before he can reach there. Next week, we will continue with this poem of Tennyson, going with Arthur and Bedivere to the mystic lake. Until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 7, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on June 20, 2016 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

20 June 2016

 

Today we begin a new chapter in the serialization of the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked. We return to Thalamar, who is with Blakstar on the way to Karble, in the moments after our maghi breaks contact with Klaybear and Klare, for when he noticed that Klare looked unwell and suggested soup because that’s what his mother would have done, the memory of the loss of his parents resurfaces, along with the grief. . . .

 

Chapter 7, Part 1

We must never allow a difference of opinion to become a point of contention between us. If allowed to fester, such a wound can turn the dearest friends or closest brothers into the bitterest of enemies . . . giving a victory to Gar without any effort on his part. . . .

 

from Annals of Melbarth, Sixth Series, Early Lectures of the Hierarchs

Plea for Reunion by Sedra Melbarth

 

As soon as he was sure contact had been broken, the white maghi slumped back onto the bed, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, holding his face in his hands. Hot tears wet his cheeks and blurred his vision. He had done so well for so long, not thinking about what had happened to his parents and so avoiding the pain, but seeing Klare’s face and hearing her say that she had nothing to say had led him to make that stupid comment about the stew, which brought it all to the front of his mind. Once there, he could not easily send it back into the dark recesses, lock it back in a chest hidden deep within his mind. And now? He felt himself shake with suppressed sobs, glad his kortexi companion was fast asleep and so could not witness him breaking down like this. He jerked himself to his feet, beginning to pace the floor of their small room, focusing his mind on the question of why: why had the Waters run out so quickly for the nobility, but not run out, until all had drunk, for the poor? He tapped his chin with his forefinger, turning on one heel to pace the other way.

In his mind, he carefully replayed each encounter, thinking first of the afternoon and the many poor, sick, injured, or lame, and the way Master William and his sons had carefully let them into the inn’s stable and sent them out with baskets when healed. Each face swam to the surface of his thoughts, and one in particular paused, an older matron, white-haired, who smiled as the Waters healed her and looked just like his . . . ; he wrenched his mind to other poor faces, avoiding any that were older, white-haired wetham, but there were too many of these, and the tears again burned his eyes and cheeks. He pushed the poor faces aside to recall the evening’s visitors: noblemen and noblewomen who had heard of Blakstar’s power, probably from their servants, he thought, and he began passing their faces before his mind. But these were worse than the poor, if that were possible, for there were more older, white-haired wetham, matronly, who resembled his mother. The more rational and logical part of his mind recognized that this was not possible, but that his emotions were clouding and corrupting his memories; there were a few tall, white-haired wethem that, to his emotions at least, resembled his father, and so the tears flowed freely, his pacing faltered and stopped, his body again wracked by barely suppressed sobs. He slumped onto his bed.

Motivation? he thought, struggling for something, for anything, to suppress the grief and refocus his mind. Certainly not motivation alone, for both had been motivated by a desire to be healed. He recalled the way the nobility had demanded healing–attitude, he mused: the poor had not demanded but asked; had Blakstar refused. . . . Thal tried to imagine his kortexi companion refusing to help anyone, and he laughed amid his tears. A stern face floated to the surface of his mind, the thin face of an older duke, or so he claimed, narrow, hawk-like, commanding that he be allowed to see the kortexi at once, and there was something about the way this duke cocked his head and held an accusing finger in Thal’s face that recalled a conversation with his master; they stood in the lowest level below the ground, inside a room filled with brilliant light, speaking of the tower’s teka fences.

If anything should happen to your mother and I, if the tower is attacked, this you must remember. . . .

Clearly, Thal saw his father’s intense face, but what he was supposed to remember about that conversation and room was lost with the word, “remember,” which carried with it hundreds of flashes of memory: words, hints, looks, nods, pats on the shoulder from his father, hugs and kisses from his mother, and all these bits fell into place, Thal finally seeing the pattern.

He sat up on his bed. “They have always known,” he whispered to himself, “and they have been warning me for ages.” He groaned and slumped back onto his pillow. “Why didn’t I see it before? I should have seen it before!” He jumped to his feet, starting to pace. “Fool! Idiot! They have been telling you for ages! Why didn’t you see it?” he chided himself, waving his hand in the air, but then he stopped suddenly. “But they were surprised by Blakstar’s sudden appearance,” he turned to look at his sleeping companion, then moved to stand next to the bed where Blakstar lay sleeping. “Why did you come early? My parents did not expect you so soon; they indicated to me that I would not be leaving until the fall, and since we left together, I must conclude that you were not supposed to come until fall, so why did you come early?” Thal grabbed his sleeping companion’s shoulders with both his hands and shook him hard, but the sleep that had taken the kortexi, brought on by his exertions, would not release him. Thal sobbed once and released Blakstar’s shoulders. He sank down on the bed next to Blakstar.

He sat silent for a moment. “If your coming was ahead of schedule,” he said looking down at the sleeping kortexi, “doesn’t that make you partially responsible for their deaths? For, coming ahead of time caught my parents unprepared, meaning they did not have time both to send us to Shigmar and prepare for the immanent attack of the ponkolum.” Thal continued to stare at the sleeping form in the candlelight, violently suppressing other memories that contradicted his belief of the kortexi’s early arrival; an anger, fueled by grief, an emotion he had never felt before, welled up inside, and he wanted to hurt Blakstar, cause him pain in equal measure to the grief and loss he felt. He reached toward the kortexi’s temple with his right hand, index finger pointing and surrounded by red light; the color caught his attention and he paused, for he had never initiated an orthek of this kind with power of that color. He stared at his red-glowing finger, transfixed by the angry light. Blakstar shifted in his sleep; Thal looked down at him, disturbed from his examination by a soft, barely audible groan. Blakstar’s mouth worked, and Thal knew he must be dreaming, and from the look on the kortexi’s face, the dream was not pleasant. Forgetting for a moment his anger, the white maghi reached out with his mind to touch the mind of his sleeping companion, ignoring the twinge of guilt that suddenly stabbed his heart, guilt that came from entering the mind of another without that person’s permission. . . .

 

Next time we will continue to follow Thal as he enters Blakstar’s nightmare, beginning to see some of the consequences of this wrong choice. Until then, get the entire text in ebook form, here, from the bookstore of your choice. If you prefer print, order your copy from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on June 17, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

17 June 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

We remind our readers that last time we saw the dying king threaten Sir Bedivere’s life if he did not fulfill the king’s wishes concerning Excalibur; this week, we see our knight ‘running’ to obey Arthur’s command:

 

Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,

And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged

Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch'd the sword,

And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand

Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,

And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,

Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,

Seen where the moving isles of winter shock

By night, with noises of the northern sea.

So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur:

But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him

Three times, and drew him under in the mere.

And lightly went the other to the King.

 

Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:

"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.

Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"

 

Bedivere, more wisely this time, doesn’t pause to look at the sword; instead, he runs to the lake’s edge and hurls it far out into the lake. What he sees is what Arthur knew he would see: the same hand and arm that presented the sword to the king, now reaches up to catch it, waving it around three times before disappearing beneath the waves. Now Bedivere feels better, having obeyed his king, returning to Arthur and the question (third time) of what he saw. Next time, we will see Bedivere’s response (the correct one!) to Arthur’s question. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 6, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on June 13, 2016 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

13 June 2016

 

This week, in the newest installment from the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, the conversation between Rokwolf and Sutugno continues, both revealing something of their inner selves. . . .

 

Chapter 6, Part 6

Rokwolf looked surprised. “No one?” he replied. “No looters?”

Sutugno laughed, but this made her cough; she drank from the cup beside the bed. “There were a few who tried to enter the city,” she spoke in a husky whisper, “but that was before most of the buildings fell. Watching their comrades buried under falling buildings seemed to cure any desire to look further than the gates, and when the water started rising . . . ,” she stopped and left it hanging.

Rokwolf nodded. “So none of the kailum who survived remained here?”

Sutugno shook her head as she sipped more water. “The few masters who survived gathered the handful of novices and apprentices and led them south toward Holvar.”

“Why didn’t you go with them?” he asked.

“They are fools!” she spat. “They think to get help from the Fereghen and rebuild the order,” she snorted and looked away, eyes going distant, “but I’ve read the prophecy; I know what is coming, and few, if any, will survive.” Tears wet her cheeks. “He did not survive,” she went on in a whisper, “I should have been with him, died beside him, then we could have gone on together; instead, I’m trapped here alone, forsaken, haunting the hallways we used to walk together, before . . . ,” she stopped and fell back onto the pillow, striking the bed with clenched fists and shouting, “No! I must not go there again! I have screamed myself hoarse over the last few days, and it did no good but led me to attack my best friend’s husband, who was trying to help me.” She turned and looked at Rokwolf. “I have not forgotten those days when we first met, before. . . .” Her eyes again filled with tears, and she started to shake with sobbing. “Why?” she asked the ceiling. “Why him? Why now? Why me? Oh, why me?”

Rokwolf got up from his chair and went to her side, sitting beside her on the bed, taking the cloth from the basin on the table, and wringing out the water. He felt himself strangely drawn to Klare’s friend in a way that he could not describe or explain, and he always had, ever since he had first known her. Somehow, he understood how she must feel, which was absurd, the rational, logical part of his mind told him, since he had not suffered a loss like hers, but he had lost both parents, he told himself, so he understood grief, and Marilee’s rejection felt somehow similar. If it had not been for Marilee. . . . He folded the cool damp cloth and placed it gently on Sutugno’s forehead; her hands found his, and she held both of them as she continued to sob, holding them to her head as his hands placed the damp cloth. This was an awkward position for Rokwolf, who finally had to lean forward until his elbows rested on either side of her head, bringing his upper body directly over her. He looked down at her face, dirty, streaked with tears, saw her full lips parted, the line of her chin, her neck bare where the sheet had fallen down, stray locks of hair on her neck, her ears, flushed cheeks, and her eyes open, wet, watching him, blue like the Inner Sea, a blue so deep that one could get lost trying to see the bottom. A memory flashed across his mind of that same face, those same eyes, illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun reflected off the calm surface of Krystal Lake. He hardly noticed her hands leave his hands and wrap around his neck, so caught as he was by the depth of her eyes and the memory; he felt himself falling into eternity. Then he felt her warm lips touch his, her hot tongue touch his as she prepared to kiss him, but it was the kiss of someone who desperately wanted to forget her sorrows in the arms of another, someone for whom she still felt something, someone she still had not entirely gotten over or forgotten. For a moment, desire fought with resentment within Rokwolf as Sutugno pulled him down onto the bed into a tighter embrace, as the urgency and passion of her kiss increased. There was no mistaking the fact that he found her very attractive; they had met many times before, under happier circumstances, but he had been preoccupied with Marilee, and he realized that some of the resentment he felt was not at being used by Sutugno, but resentment for being rejected, resentment he felt toward his twin, and resentment toward Klare who came between them. He pulled away and saw mirrored in the deep blue of Sutugno’s eyes similar confusion and surprise. His face flushed when he noticed that one short kiss had elicited more of a response in him than Marilee ever had, and this fact frightened him.

“This is not right,” Rokwolf hissed, but the words sounded wrong, “but . . . ,” he stammered, trying to say more.

Sutugno panted when they broke apart, looking confused. She shook her head at what he said, then interrupted him. “He . . . I had forgotten . . . ,” she said, pausing, then went on, “his kisses were fine, but not like that . . . ,” then she looked at Rokwolf, “you were going to say, ‘but feels so right,’” she finished for him, smiling weakly, gently touching his cheek.

Rokwolf pushed himself off of the bed and onto his feet. “I have to go, now,” he snapped, turning and walking toward the door.

“Please,” her voice pleaded, “don’t go. Your presence holds back the darkness, makes it possible for me to remain sane.”

He stopped within arm’s reach of the door; all his training, all the knowledge, all the warnings, all shouted that he should reach out and open the door, and escape, but the thought of leaving her there alone, the anguish in her voice, stabbed at his heart and was more painful than all Marilee’s rejections combined. Again, he remembered those days on the lake with his twin, Klare, and Sutugno, and how he had felt toward her then, if not for Marilee; it was her fault, after all, that had placed him here, for if it had not been for her clouding of his vision, dividing his loyalties between his desire to save her and his duty, he would not have made the decisions that led him into Xythrax’s trap, which caused him to order his command out of position, leaving Blakstar unprotected and vulnerable and losing him his command. That was why he had been sent–banished, perhaps–to Shigmar, to aid his twin brother and the other chosen in accomplishing their missions in life, which was why he was here, watching over Klare’s unbalanced friend, who had just tried to scratch out his twin’s eyes. He was the victim, caught in a trap made by others. That’s not true! his inner voice shouted. You’re lying to yourself! He shook his head to silence the voice and continued to tell himself, even as he turned and walked back to where Sutugno sat up in bed, it is Marilee’s fault!

 

Next week we will begin a new chapter, returning to the fortunes of Thalamar and Blakstar as they are forced to leave the inn at Komfleu in the middle of the night. Until then, get the full text of this book from Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook retailers; for a print version, order your copy from CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on June 10, 2016 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

10 June 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

We return this week to Tennyson’s “Morte D’Arthur,” having witnessed Bedivere’s second attempt to return Arthur’s sword to the lake, and Bedivere’s justifications for again failing to do what Arthur asked. Now we see Arthur’s response, who again asks Bedivere what he saw and heard:

 

Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:

"What is it thou hast seen, or what hast heard?"

 

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

"I heard the water lapping on the crag,

And the long ripple washing in the reeds."

 

To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:

"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,

Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!

Authority forgets a dying king,

Laid widow'd of the power in his eye

That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art,

For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,

In whom should meet the offices of all,

Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;

Either from lust of gold, or like a girl

Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.

Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,

And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:

But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,

I will arise and slay thee with my hands."

 

For the second time, we see that Arthur is not fooled by Bedivere, or his attempt to lie concerning his assignment to return the sword, and now the king gets angry, accusing Bedivere of ‘unknightly’ behavior, and being a traitor, enamored by the pretty hilt and sparkling gems; he compares Bedivere to a girl, probably the worst possible insult to a knight of this time. Further, Arthur tells Bedivere that if he fails this time, the king will rise up and kill him. As we will see next time, the insults and threat are enough to send Bedivere running back to the lake to fulfill Arthur’s command. Until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 6, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on June 6, 2016 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

6 June 2016

 

We recognize on this significant day the sacrifices of those who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy in order to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. May we never forget their sacrifices! This week, in the newest installment from the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, Rokwolf dreams again and wakes Sutugno. . . .

 

Chapter 6, Part 5

Rokwolf jerked awake, hearing his own strangled shout cut short; he stood on his feet, sword in hand before realizing where he was and what he was doing. He glanced around quickly, then slid his sword silently back into its sheath. Letting the breath he held sigh softly from his lips, he sat back down, glad Sutugno had not been awakened by his sudden outburst and berating himself for such novice behavior. It was not like him to act this way; everything had gone wrong since he had gone on the assignment to guard the east approaches to the Mountain of Vision. No, he thought after a moment, that was not true: it went wrong after he visited that methaghi, and he knew better and was warned against it, but he went anyway, for all the good it did me, he thought bitterly. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, silencing his thoughts, willing himself to go back to sleep, taking up again his silent vigil. His breathing slowed; the dream returned.

Tevvy swayed drunkenly atop a small round table, dodging mugs of ale flying at him from all directions; he sang at the top of his lungs a tune Rokwolf recognized at once as a bawdy song about a serving wench, but the words were his explanation of caravans attacked and the strange behavior and appearance of the wedaterem on the road between Kilnar and the Forsaken Outpost. As the awemi finished his “song,” his feet flew from under him and he fell off the small table, but as he fell, the inn’s common room melted into what must have been an inn’s cellar, packed with barrels and crates, lit only by a single, weak and flickering lantern. Tevvy somehow landed on his feet, and the noise of the common room faded to a dull, muffled sound from somewhere to his rear and overhead. The little thief was barely visible in the semi-darkness; Rokwolf could just see him moving toward an open barrel; he was there for several minutes, then he moved about the room, and as he did so, Rokwolf’s surroundings melted into the forested slopes along the road west, the same seklesi camp, where his comrades sharpened and repaired, fletched and ate, while the caravan burned and the merchants were dragged south into the swamp. Rokwolf did not shout at them but instead ran toward the nearest seklesa and tried to shake her, turn her around, force her to see. . . .

He awakened suddenly, arms in front of him grasping empty air; he let them fall, looking around the room; all was silent, empty, and Sutugno still slept peacefully. He stood and stretched. These actions were unusual for him: he had dreams, yes, but none had ever caused him to act while he slept: this was something new and strange. He strode silently across the length of the room, eyes examining every detail, mind mulling over recent events. Did it mean anything that he had now dreamed twice about Tevvy and the seklesem who patrolled the road north of the Mariskal between Kilnar and the Forsaken Outpost? His dreams had always been strange and silly before, or they had been. . . . He jerked his thoughts back from that path as he found himself standing next to the bed looking down at the sleeping Sutugno. No, it had not been the visit to the methaghi; it started before that: when Marilee rejected him; he shook his head and moved the lock of dirty blonde hair from Sutugno’s face. That was precisely what she thought; these words crashed into his thoughts, causing him to take a mental step backward. Sutugno blamed his twin for the death of her intended, and this way of thinking exactly mirrored his blaming Marilee for his own problems. However, this was not entirely true, since Klaybear activated breath-giver, causing the wave of death and destruction that leveled most of Shigmar; he was at least partially responsible for all who died that day, so Marilee could still be partially responsible for what had happened to him.

Rokwolf sank to his knees next to the bed, leaning against the bed and resting his head upon his folded arms. A hand gently brushed his cheek and rested on one of his hands, grabbing and squeezing it momentarily.

“What’s troubling you?” a voice, husky and hoarse, asked.

Rokwolf leaped to his feet, so surprised by both the touch and the voice that he stuttered. “I . . . I thought you still slept,” he finally managed to say, taking a step backward from the bed.

Sutugno smiled weakly and raised her head up from the pillow, leaning on her side on one elbow; this action, in the dimly lit room, showed off her shapely figure under the thin sheet. She was taller than Klare, taller than many wethem, and her hair more blonde than brown, with piercing blue eyes. “I’ve been watching you,” she went on, “leap out of your chair as if you were being attacked. Then you sit down, relax, and begin to mumble in your sleep, and after a time, you leap to your feet again, grabbing what is not there.”

Rokwolf shook his head and sank down into the chair in which he had been sitting before speaking. “I should not be dreaming while on guard duty,” he admitted.

“Guard duty?” Sutugno snorted. “Guarding me? From what?” she asked. “There is no one here, but us.”

 

Next time we will continue with this conversation, revealing some of the bitterness Rokwolf feels that will drive him through the rest of his life. Until then, get the full text of this book from Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook retailers; for a print version, order your copy from CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on June 3, 2016 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

3 June 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

Last week, in our reading of Tennyson’s “Morte D’Arthur,” Arthur saw through Bedivere’s subterfuge when the latter recounted what happened after casting the sword into the lake; this week, Bedivere goes the second time, with similar rationalizations:

 

Then went Sir Bedivere the second time

Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,

Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought;

But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,

How curiously and strangely chased, he smote

His palms together, and he cried aloud,

 

"And if indeed I cast the brand away,

Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,

Should thus be lost forever from the earth,

Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.

What good should follow this, if this were done?

What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,

Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.

Were it well to obey then, if a king demand

An act unprofitable, against himself?

The King is sick, and knows not what he does.

What record, or what relic of my lord

Should be to aftertime, but empty breath

And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,

Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,

Some one might show it at a joust of arms,

Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,

Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake;

Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps

Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'

So might some old man speak in the aftertime

To all the people, winning reverence.

But now much honour and much fame were lost."

 

So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,

And hid Excalibur the second time,

And so strode back slow to the wounded King.

 

Notice that the second stanza above is a direct quotation of Bedivere’s words to himself, his second attempt to justify disobeying the king, and it begins, again, as Bedivere gazes at the sword, bewitched by its beauty a second time. He argues with himself, saying Arthur is wounded and not in his right mind, so obedience to his command would be folly, moving to the honor he reasons he will receive in the future should he keep and preserve the sword as a show piece. Next time, we will again see that Arthur is not fooled, for he knows, as Bedivere does not, what will happen when Excalibur is returned to the Lady of the Lake. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 6, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on May 30, 2016 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

30 May 2016

 

We must pause before beginning our normal post to express our gratitude to our wonderful, patient wife! Thirty years are hardly long enough! This week, in the newest installment from the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, we return to the conversation between Klare and Klaybear, and her reminder to him of what she means to him. . . .

 

Chapter 6, Part 4

 

“Don’t even think that!” she exclaimed, jabbing her finger at the bridge of his nose with every word. “And it is even worse to voice the thought! I do not believe it, and neither do you, not for a moment, no matter who says it, no matter the authority, no matter how often, no matter how many! That is the way of despair, which is the path to becoming a servant of Gar; is that what you want? If it is, tell me now, and I will waste no more time on you.” She stood and pointed to the door, her face hard; she stopped, looked at him, and her face registered the surprise, shock, and horror on his face, and then her features softened, she sat back down, and gently stroked the cheek she had just slapped. “I do not think that is who you are, or what you want,” she went on in a softer voice, “nor who you will become, even if you are a bit slow, sometimes,” she finished with a weak smile and sank onto his chest, slipping her arms under his neck; Klaybear felt hot tears on his neck.

Klaybear wrapped his arms around his diminutive wife. “But Sutugno is your oldest and dearest friend,” he reminded her.

Klare sighed and sat up, picking up his left hand. She lifted up her own left hand and turned them both so that he could see the back of their two hands together. “What do you see that is similar?” she asked, and before he could answer, “and if you reply that they are hands, or they have five fingers, or they are both left, I’ll slap you again!”

Klaybear laughed, recognizing that his wife knew him too well. “The gold rings,” he noted.

“And what do they symbolize?” Klare asked, pressing on.

“That we are joined together,” Klaybear noted.

“For how long?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Always.”

“How long is that?” she asked.

“Until the end of time,” he replied.

“No,” she countered, “that places a limit: there is no limit on ‘forever.’”

“That’s what I meant,” Klaybear noted.

“Then you should have said, ‘forever,’” Klare snapped, “then I would not think you were trying to get rid of me.”

Klaybear choked. “I never said. . . .”

Klare smiled at him. “I know, but I like to see you squirm; my point was, before you sidetracked me. . . .”

“I did not sidetrack you,” he protested “you did that yourself.”

“You did,” she noted, “by not being specific; my point was,” she went on, shaking his left hand next to hers, “that when we made the vow to each other, we each put everyone else aside: you put me first, and I put you first, and no one else, nothing else, should ever take your place, or my place. She is still my oldest friend, and my best friend, after you, but if I have to make a choice between you and her, I should not have to tell you what my choice would be, although I will, since you have been quite slow of late.”

“I have not!” Klaybear protested loudly, sitting up in the bed in mock anger. “And you do not need to tell me, since I know what your answer is, as you are here with me.” He took her again in his arms and kissed her fondly. He looked around after they broke apart. “So what time is it?” he asked. “We really ought to get to work,” he added, and his stomach rumbled audibly.

Klare shook her head and sighed. “It must be near mealtime,” she replied, “although I do not know which meal . . . ,” she started to say, but then her face went pale and she rolled to the other side of the bed and the empty chamber pot; she started to retch dryly.

Klaybear looked at her for a moment then raised one eyebrow. “It cannot be evening again,” he said in disbelief, “that would mean I have been out for about a day and a half.” He looked back at Klare. “Have I been out that long?”

Between dry heaves, she shook her head.

“Then you are out of your reckoning,” he went on, “since your nights and days got reversed.”

Klare shook her head again and sat back, wiping her mouth with her sleeve. “The baby doesn’t care,” she said in a breathy whisper, “any mention of food. . . .”

“Nobody mentioned food,” Klaybear protested, “my stomach growled,” he began, but Klare had resumed her dry retching into the chamber pot, waving him out of the room. He shrugged, picked up his master’s bag of healing supplies, breath-giver, and left through the door to his master’s quarters.

###

Although Rokwolf dozed lightly, his senses, honed by his seklesi training, were alert for any hint of sound or motion, anything that might disturb the slumber of Klare’s friend who slept in the unoccupied master’s chamber, at the opposite end of the hallway from where Klare kept watch over her husband and his twin brother. Periodically, his eyes cracked open and scanned the room without giving any hint that he was awake; he had seated himself so he could see both the sleeping Sutugno and the door, in case anyone, or any thing, tried to enter the room. Klare had sealed the door with a kailu ward that she claimed her friend could open, but no one else could. Scanning the room again, he fell back into a light sleep.

He stood again in Tevvy’s room in Kilnar, listening to the awemi tell him of the plight of the caravans while Tevvy easily dodged wild stabs, poorly thrown daggers, and slit the throats of his attackers. His surroundings blurred and became a road, bordered on the north by the forested slopes of mountains and a reeking swamp to the south, the Mariskal and a seklesi camp. His fellows were gathered around fires, repairing leather armor, sharpening swords, fletching arrows, and eating. He heard shouts and screams of pain and turned toward the sounds; he saw a merchant caravan burning; the mercenaries hired to protect it lay dead and dismembered around the overturned wagons; the merchants were strung together, tied by crudely woven ropes, led south into the swamp by odd-looking wedaterem with green skin, but their behavior was what surprised him the most: they appeared to be organized like a seklesi squad, with an obvious leader who barked commands the others moved quickly to obey. Rokwolf turned back to the seklesem moving around their camp, shouting orders, but no sound issued from his mouth; he was choking, sinking into the fetid Mariskal, green waters closing over his head. . . .

 

Next week, we will continue with Rokwolf’s troubled dreams, and Sutugno’s response to his actions. Until then, get the full text of this book from Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook stores, or in print from CreateSpace. Good reading!

 



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