Clyde B. Northrup

Click here to edit subtitle


view:  full / summary

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on April 24, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

24 April 2017


We continue this week with Rokwolf and Tevvy as they learn who attacked the school. . . .


Chapter 13, Part 4

Daybor squinted up at him, shielding his eyes. “You’re Tevvy’s seklesi friend,” he stammered after his eyes adjusted to the dim light in Elanor’s room, “the one who she keeps calling,” he went on, pointing to the unmoving figure on the bed. “They did something to her, made her drink something that made her ill. Elanor tried to stop them, but they hit her and she flew into the wall and did not move. Some of them wanted to strip her, and rape her, but whoever was in charge told them no. There was fighting in the hall then, so they dropped the bottle, grabbed my sister, and left.”

“How long ago?” Rokwolf asked.

“I don’t know,” Daybor admitted, “an hour or more.”

“Who was it? Who attacked?” Rokwolf pressed.

“I think it was the Thieves’ Guild, at least that’s what everyone was shouting when the fighting began,” Daybor replied.

“Does the school have a store of healing supplies?” Rokwolf asked.

Daybor nodded. “Mistress Varla always kept it well-stocked.”

“I need you to bring me an assortment of healing and curing potions,” Rokwolf said. “Are they nearby?”

“Yes,” Daybor replied, “are you sure they’ve gone?”

“Tevvy and I have not seen anyone,” Rokwolf answered.

Daybor slid out of the wardrobe. “Where is Tevvy?”

Rokwolf sighed and nodded. “In his parents’ room.”

“Are they . . . ?” Daybor asked without completing the thought.

Rokwolf nodded once; he saw Daybor’s eyes filling with tears. “Please, Daybor,” he implored, “I need those supplies, and I don’t know where to find them.”

Daybor dashed the tears from his eyes; he nodded and left the room.

Rokwolf went to the other side of the bed so he could see Sutugno’s face; her hair had fallen across her face, so he sat down and brushed her hair back. Her face was pale, her jaw clenched. He took the small towel from the table next to the bed, dipped a corner in the washbowl, then used it to wash her mouth and chin. Her eyes fluttered and opened; her mouth formed his name, and her hands and arms twitched but were too weak to move. A spasm of anger surged through him, but the pain written in the lines on her face quelled it, and he reached out his hand to touch hers; she held his feebly for a moment only. He turned away quickly to hide his face, pouring water from the pitcher into a small cup, then turning back to her and lifting her head to help her drink. She could barely take a swallow, but the few drops were enough to give her back her voice.

“Thanks,” she said in a barely audible whisper. “I feared that you would not come, that you were dead, especially when I could not arouse you with my new bracelets; I thought you’d be so angry with me that you’d come immediately to find me.” She tried to grin, but a wave of pain made her grimace; Rokwolf knew through his verghrenum.

“I was unconscious when you tried that,” Rokwolf noted softly. “We were both hit from behind in the alchemist’s shop. If it’s any consolation, yours was the first image I recognized in the haze of pain I was in, trying to regain my senses.” He smiled at her as he finished; it took every ounce of discipline not to grimace.

Sutugno managed to move one hand closer to him, but the effort made her wince, so he reached out and took her hand. “If I did not feel so awful, I’d try again.”

“Try what?” he asked, feigning ignorance.

“Don’t pretend not to understand!” she tried to chastise him, but again, the effort caused pain, so she winced again.

Anger welled up again inside Rokwolf, anger at Marilee, at Klare, at Klaybear, at her, for putting him into this situation that he knew would end in grief; he looked away toward the door, trying to compose his face, trying to quell the anger.

She was silent for a few moments, apparently unaware of his internal struggle. “Rokwolf, do you remember the last time we met, before Klare and your brother were married?” He turned to look at her and nodded once, but said nothing. “I remember that I told you I was already involved with someone else, and what happened between us then could not continue for that reason. Did you know I cried for days afterward? If you had asked me to choose between you, I would have chosen you.”

Rokwolf looked away again, and was saved the necessity of explaining his action when Daybor came hurrying back down the hall and into the room. Elanor’s younger brother held a basket containing the healing supplies Rokwolf had asked for. The young awemi handed it to Rokwolf, who set it carefully on the bed.

“Everything is clearly marked,” Daybor said, rather breathlessly, “now can I go see how Tevvy is?”

“Yes, but you should persuade him to make a search among the fallen,” Rokwolf noted, “looking for any who can be saved among your fellows. Also, there might be one of your enemies who we can revive and get some answers.” This last part of his request got Daybor’s attention, and so Elanor’s brother started to leave to fulfill this new request. “There is one other thing,” he said, stopping Daybor: “don’t mention that your sister was taken until after you two have checked all the fallen.”

Daybor nodded. “I understand why,” he said as he left.

Sutugno was looking at him; he shrugged. “It will keep their minds off what has happened,” he noted.

She smiled, although the effort caused her pain, tears glistening in her eyes. “That is one reason why I am so fond of you, why I love you,” she whispered, squeezing his hand.

He turned away for the third time, covering it this time by pulling the basket closer to him; now he felt waves of guilt for the anger he felt toward her before. “It looks like there is any kind of healing potion you could want,” he stammered, “general, neutralize poisons, cure diseases, sleep, what would you like to try?” he asked, turning to look at her.

She thought for a moment. “There might have been poison in what they forced me to drink,” she said, “but I think it was some kind of disease, so let’s try both.”

Rokwolf took out the appropriate bottles, unstoppered them, and helped her to drink them one at a time. She grimaced as neither of them tasted pleasant.


Next time, the conversation between Rokwolf and Sutugno continues. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on April 21, 2017 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

21 April 2017

Poet’s Corner


Welcome back all! We return to Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” and skip ahead. After passing a peaceful night in quiet repose, the poet describes Laura’s altered state by contrast as they go about the duties of the day:


Early in the morning

When the first cock crowed his warning,

Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,

Laura rose with Lizzie:

Fetched in honey, milked the cows,

Aired and set to rights the house,

Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,

Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,

Next churned butter, whipped up cream,

Fed their poultry, sat and sewed;

Talked as modest maidens should

Lizzie with an open heart,

Laura in an absent dream,

One content, one sick in part;

One warbling for the mere bright day's delight,

One longing for the night.


We are given a picture of a typical country household, with many chores to accomplish each day, from farming to cleaning to cooking to sewing, all the while talking companionably. And yet, something is wrong, for Laura seems dreamy, slightly sick, and longing for the night. We also note that the rhymed couplets that have, for the most part, been the rule, alters, skipping lines before returning to couplets. We have seen this happen throughout the parts of the poem we have shared, although without comment. I suggest this stumble is by design, to signal the reader that something has changed, something is not right with what should be an idyllic life. Come back for more next week. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 3

Posted by gwermon on April 17, 2017 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

17 April 2017


In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, Tevvy and Rokwolf return to Meekor’s school and discover what has happened during their absence, learning a tragic truth. . . .


Chapter 13, Part 3


The inn door that served as one of the fronts for Meekor’s school stood open; Rokwolf and Tevvy were hiding in the shadows of the run-down house across the street. Tevvy pointed next door to the inn where the sign above the door indicated a tavern called the Green Beast, but the door was closed and no light escaped from any window on the street level or from the second level. The hour was very late; they had been unconscious all afternoon and late into the evening, and it had taken them far too long to move from the East Gate quarter of Rykelle and Presgrut’s shop back to the West Harbor home of his father’s school. There had been too many people in the streets Tevvy recognized as members of the local branch of the Thieves’ Guild, and Tevvy believed the Guild responsible for what had happened to them. It took all of their combined skills to get them this far unhindered.

“Let’s go,” Tevvy whispered to Rokwolf, and then he flitted across the street into the shadows next to the open door; a moment later, Rokwolf followed him. The inn’s entry hall appeared to be empty, but the awemi rolled through the doorway and up to the front desk, daggers appearing in both hands, squatting with his back against the desk. He looked toward the next room, silent and unmoving. After several tense moments, he nodded to Rokwolf. The seklesi slipped just inside and next to the door, closing it without a sound and throwing the bolt to secure it. Rokwolf crouched and slid left along the wall, came to the corner and followed the wall, keeping his eyes on the desk for any movement, stopping next to the door into the inn’s parlor. He nodded to Tevvy, and moved around the desk. He found the body of an awema collapsed on the floor, dagger through her throat, a look of surprise frozen on her face. Tevvy checked for a pulse, then looked back to his companion, his bleak look answering Rokwolf’s unspoken question. Tevvy moved back from the desk to the other side of the parlor door, listening for a moment before crouching and darting into the larger room and hiding behind one of the comfortable chairs near the door in view of Rokwolf. He made a sign, then moved from chair to chair throughout the dimly lit room. Rokwolf crouched low next to the doorway to keep an eye on Tevvy; when the awemi quickly moved out of his view, the seklesi moved to the other side of the opening and continued to watch and wait. After a few moments more, Tevvy waved to him as he moved toward the parlor’s only other door. Rokwolf slipped into the parlor, closing and bolting the door after him. He moved quietly to the right, over next to Tevvy.

“Anyone?” Rokwolf whispered.

Tevvy shook his head. “Not unusual at this time of night.”

Tevvy peered into the next room, which had more light coming from it and the sounds of fires burning. Rokwolf moved to the other side of the door and saw a serving kitchen; behind a cart filled with dishes, he saw two more students lying on the floor unmoving. Tevvy moved quickly across the room to his left, going toward the door leading into another room; he paused a moment, then he pulled the door shut and secured it. He moved across the room in the other direction, going to the only other door. He signaled Rokwolf as he listened at the door, then crouched and peered around the edge of the door frame. Rokwolf closed and secured the door to the parlor, then followed the awemi. Tevvy slipped into the main kitchen, sliding along the wall to a door that led into one of the main floor storage rooms, listened, slipped inside, returned, then closed and secured the door. He pointed down the wall to Rokwolf’s right; the seklesi moved past one of the larger stoves to a door in the corner behind the stove, where there was a second storage room, but this door was closed so he threw the bolt. He started to turn away, but stopped when his eye caught odd-looking scratches on the bottom of the door, barely visible. He stooped and ran his fingers over the polished wooden surface, feeling slight indentations and rough scratches, like a dog had scratched at the door, but the scratch marks were too far apart. Perhaps someone with worn hobnail boots had kicked the door; he turned and saw Tevvy move through the doorway that led into a short hallway with stairs leading up and down. He stood and followed.

By the time Rokwolf caught up to the awemi, Tevvy had already been down to the left and bolted the door into the sewers; he was holding a small piece of cloth, colored black.

“I found this caught on the doorframe,” Tevvy whispered, “looks like it came from one of our cloaks: it’s the same cloth.” He looked up the stairs and started to climb, moving lightly up in complete silence. Rokwolf followed, beginning to think that something odd was going on here. He could still feel Sutugno’s pain and nausea through his verghrenum, but Tevvy had not mentioned feeling anything else from Elanor. He followed Tevvy, seeing him turn the corner above, wanting to keep him in view. When he turned the corner, he saw Tevvy reach the top, look around, then signal him. Rokwolf followed as Tevvy moved around the corner and out of his sight. Rokwolf reached the top of the stairs, looked around the corner and saw Tevvy running down the hall past the bodies littering the hallway. One glance down the other hallway and he saw the same thing: more bodies. He ran after Tevvy, fearing what he was going to find.

He turned at the end of the hallway, leaping over more corpses and seeing Tevvy standing still about halfway down, looking into his parent’s apartment. The awemi stood for only a moment before he cried out and flung himself into the room. Rokwolf drew his sword and slowed, looking all around and listening; he halted next to the open door. He could clearly hear Tevvy sobbing, and he felt his own heart wrenched, knowing exactly how the awemi felt at that moment. Rokwolf slipped into the room, sword held ready; Tevvy lay face down on the bed between his parents, one arm over each; Meekor and Varla lay on their backs, faces wide with fear, stiff and cold, a dagger hilt sticking out of each chest, red stain on the white sheet surrounding the hilt. Rokwolf moved past the bed and into the next room, making sure there was no one hidden and waiting to trap either of them. When he was sure the room was empty, he left by the second door and went down the hall to Elanor’s room. He pushed the door open slowly and experienced a moment of cold fear: a figure in green kailu robes lay with her back to him, curled almost into a ball, and motionless. His eyes scanned the room, making sure no one else was there; he quickly moved through the room, searching; a pungent, acidic smell assailed his nose, making his stomach threaten to heave. He knew at once the source of the nausea, and that she had been ill, very ill, if the smell were any indication. Rokwolf carefully pushed open the small wardrobe with the point of his sword and saw, hidden behind the clothes hanging inside, an awemi crouching and shaking with fright; he recognized him as Elanor’s younger brother, Daybor.

“It’s me, Rokwolf,” he whispered, “it’s safe to come out; they’ve all gone.”


Next time, our heroes will learn what has happened at Meekor’s school. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on April 14, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

14 April 2017

Poet’s Corner


Last week, we heard the story of another girl who ate the fruit, could not find the goblins again, and died. This week, we will see Laura’s response to Lizzie’s plea:


"Nay hush," said Laura.

"Nay hush, my sister:

I ate and ate my fill,

Yet my mouth waters still;

To-morrow night I will

Buy more," and kissed her.

"Have done with sorrow;

I'll bring you plums to-morrow

Fresh on their mother twigs,

Cherries worth getting;

You cannot think what figs

My teeth have met in,

What melons, icy-cold

Piled on a dish of gold

Too huge for me to hold,

What peaches with a velvet nap,

Pellucid grapes without one seed:

Odorous indeed must be the mead

Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink,

With lilies at the brink,

And sugar-sweet their sap."


We see that Laura misses the point completely, already trapped by the goblin men and their forbidden fruit, for all she can say is how wonderful it all is, refusing to listen to her sister. Next time, we will see how both respond to what has happened. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on April 10, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

10 April 2017


We return with another installment from the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, as the old man awakens, and the discussion about giant spider-like monsters resumes.


Chapter 13, Part 2

Presgrut jerked himself up, coughing and spitting water. “You son of a flaming kara and Gar the accursed!” he shouted at Rokwolf, wiping water and his now wet and stringy gray hair from his eyes and face. “Why d’yah do that?”

“You refused to wake,” Rokwolf said, “and we thought you would want to figure out what those thieves have taken.”

Presgrut looked puzzled. “What thieves?”

“The ones who hit us all over the heads!” Tevvy shouted back at him.

“They’ve taken something of mine?” Presgrut asked.

“You old fool!” Tevvy exclaimed. “All we know is that they did not take anything from either of us, which leaves only you, and we do not know all the contents of your shop or home, so how in the world would we know what they have taken from you? Otherwise, we would have left you unconscious on the floor!”

“That’s still not justification for waking an old wethi with a bucket of dirty water!” Presgrut exclaimed, getting slowly to his feet and beginning to look over his workbench. “Your sample is gone,” he said after a moment, “although from the ashes, I would say they simply destroyed it rather than stole it.”

“There are spider-like creatures in the Mariskal,” Rokwolf noted, remembering the last thing they had been discussing before someone had knocked them out, “created by Gar, and called the sponsum. There are rumors of a larger version of these creatures, and if the reports are true, the smaller sponsum worship this larger creature. Perhaps this larger creature is the source of the venom.”

Tevvy looked shocked. “You are joking,” he said.

Rokwolf carefully shook his head once. “No, I had one patrol assignment at the Forsaken Outpost, so I have seen for myself the sponsum.”

“But that does not explain what these two compounds would do to someone when mixed together,” Presgrut added, “although I can guess.” He looked at Tevvy. “How much of the barrel did you scrape to get what you brought me?”

“Most of the way around it,” Tevvy replied.

Presgrut nodded. “I thought so,” he said, “so in a mug of ale, the person drinking it would only be ingesting a few tiny crystals of both substances.”

“Which means?” Tevvy asked.

Presgrut did not answer his question. “Did you see or talk to anyone who drank any of the tainted ale?”

Tevvy thought for a moment. “I might have, although at the time, I thought he was upset over what he had witnessed in the swamp.”

“What did he do?” the old wethi asked.

“He got, I don’t know, kind of dreamy,” Tevvy answered, searching for words, “almost lost and . . . ,” he paused and Presgrut spoke.

“Numb?” he suggested. “Distant? Open to suggestion?”

“Yes, actually,” Tevvy went on, “I told him to go to the local green kailu, since he seemed a danger to himself.”

“You still haven’t determined what else they took,” Rokwolf noted.

“You distracted me with your mention of the sponsum,” Presgrut noted, moving to the many shelves surrounding the alchemist’s shop.

Rokwolf shrugged. “When you mentioned the sample, I remembered we were talking about the sponsum of the Mariskal, which was the point where we were knocked unconscious.” Rokwolf looked down at his wrists as his verghrenum warmed suddenly, but instead of one of the symbols glowing along with an image in his mind of who contacted him, he felt a surge of fear, followed by pain and nausea; he swayed where he stood, grabbing the workbench to keep from falling over. Waves of pain and nausea continued, rolling into his mind from his verghrenum, but the intensity of the feelings weakened to the point that he could again stand and look at Tevvy, who was looking at him. The awemi’s face was a confused mix of emotions: surprise, pain, and fear. Just as suddenly, Tevvy’s face cleared.

“What just happened?” Tevvy whispered, moving closer to Rokwolf so the old wethi would not hear him. Presgrut continued going over his shelves, muttering to himself.

“I thought someone contacted me,” Rokwolf whispered back, “but no specific symbol glowed, and I got no image of who, and then I felt almost overcome by feelings of fear, pain, and nausea, but now the feelings have weakened, still there, but not threatening to overwhelm me.”

Tevvy’s brow wrinkled. “Elanor must have showed Sutugno how to work her verghrenum,” he noted.

“Are you saying those feelings came from . . . ?” Rokwolf began but Tevvy’s nod stopped him.

“I showed Elanor how hers worked, and she discovered, almost immediately, that they convey feelings between us,” Tevvy went on, “she tried thinking thoughts that made my face burn without knowing what she was thinking.”

Rokwolf frowned. “She must have tried it while we were unconscious, because of thoughts that appeared while I was struggling to regain consciousness, but now, I fear something terrible has happened.”

Tevvy’s eyes widened suddenly. “This is all a ploy,” he hissed, “Presgrut hasn’t lost anything, but it will take him hours to find out, keeping us away from the school while . . . ,” he let his voice trail off. “Karasun!” he cursed softly, jerking his head toward the door as he turned in that direction. Rokwolf followed, not bothering to say anything to the old wethi.


Next time, our heroes return to Meekor’s school and discover that all is not well. . . . Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on April 7, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

7 April 2017

Poet’s Corner


Welcome all to another installment of the Poet’s Corner. We note that last week we saw Laura eat the fruit of the goblins until her lips were sore, paying only with a lock of her hair. This week, she returns home and is chastised by her sister:


Lizzie met her at the gate

Full of wise upbraidings:

"Dear, you should not stay so late,

Twilight is not good for maidens;

Should not loiter in the glen

In the haunts of goblin men.

Do you not remember Jeanie,

How she met them in the moonlight,

Took their gifts both choice and many,

Ate their fruits and wore their flowers

Plucked from bowers

Where summer ripens at all hours?

But ever in the moonlight

She pined and pined away;

Sought them by night and day,

Found them no more, but dwindled and grew gray;

Then fell with the first snow,

While to this day no grass will grow

Where she lies low:

I planted daisies there a year ago

That never blow.

You should not loiter so."


Her sister, Lizzie, warns her against staying out in the twilight with these goblin men, and then tells a story of another maiden, Jeanie, who ate the fruit and loitered with the goblins, and how she never found them again, or their fruit, which caused her to ‘pine away’ and die. Lizzie adds the detail of planting flowers on her grave, a place where nothing grows, and an incident only a year old. Next time, when we finish this long stanza, we will see that Laura ignores her sister’s warning. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on April 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

3 April 2017


We begin a new chapter this week in the serialization of the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked. We return to Tevvy and Rokwolf as they wake up in the shop of Presgrut, where they have gone to have the powder Tevvy discovered in an ale barrel in the Green Beast inn. . . .


Chapter 13, Part 1

The best results are those which are the most simple and, at the same time, the most subtle: if we can mix compounds from agents that induce the healer to introduce elements that react in deadly ways to our compounds, or agents hidden within the compounds, then erase all traces of the deadly reaction from the victim, we can sit back and watch the competing powers eradicate each other, leaving us free to fill the power vacuum and do as we please, with none the wiser. . . .


from the Preface to the Alkemikal Arkana


What was that throbbing, pounding sound, and why wouldn’t whoever was making it stop and let him sleep? Perhaps he slept and dreamed the sound, but it was too painful to be a dream, feeling as if someone were stabbing at the back of his head with the point of a dagger. He reached past the bloody red haze filling his head and tried to grasp at a thought, but it slipped away, and the effort made stars sparkle and flash in the red fog filling his thoughts. Where was he? He could not recall, and then he felt the blow again and got a glimpse of a room filled with bottles and smells, and things burning, the taste of salt on his tongue that must be hanging out of his mouth, and he must be drooling. A face swam past, and then another, but he could not focus on them; then more faces floated past, and then the shape of a wetha who awakened feelings that altered the color of the fog, giving it a darker, bluer hue; the pain faded slightly and her form floated closer, embracing him. He felt again the touch of her lips on his, and the taste of her tongue, but this made his head throb worse.

He let her image slide away, hoping to recall something closer, something of where he was and what had happened to him; he felt himself roll over and groan, bumping into something that moved. His hands groped and he felt four, wooden legs: he recalled that he had been sitting in a chair but had slumped when he had been struck from behind. He felt something hard poking into his waistline; he groped and found a small bottle secreted into a pouch just behind his belt. He pulled it free, struggled with the stopper before getting it open, and took a swallow of the healing liquid. The thought crossed his mind that he should save some of it for Tevvy, and he remembered who he was with. He relaxed for a few minutes, waiting for the liquid to have some effect, and when his vision cleared and some of the throbbing in his head eased a little, he pulled himself slowly, carefully up onto his knees, looking around on the floor until he saw the fallen awemi, who lay still on the floor beside the chair next to his. He slid the small vial carefully over the uneven wooden floor while he crawled closer to his fallen companion; tilting Tevvy’s head back, Rokwolf poured a few drops of the healing elixir into his mouth. Tevvy seemed to revive a little, enough to drink the rest of the potion. Rokwolf sat on the floor with his back against the workbench; he listened for any other sounds and heard a raspy breathing coming from behind the bench. So the old alchemist had not betrayed them, but the more pessimistic part of his mind disagreed with this thought. He carefully checked himself over to see what they had taken; he was surprised to find that he still had all his possessions. Odd, what cutpurse would bash someone over the head and not rob him? Perhaps they had come to rob Presgrut, and he and Tevvy had simply gotten in the way, but why would they rob the old alchemist’s shop in the middle of the day?

Tevvy groaned softly and turned over, pushing himself slowly onto his hands and knees.

“Easy,” Rokwolf whispered, “we’ve both been hit hard.”

“That’s why my head is throbbing,” Tevvy replied. “The old wethi?”

“I don’t know, but I heard breathing from the other side of this bench,” Rokwolf answered, “so he might still be alive.”

“How long have we been out?” Tevvy asked.

Rokwolf tried to shake his head, but the movement hurt. “Ouch,” he said, “no idea, but from the size of the lump,” he went on, carefully checking the back of his head, “quite a while. Have you lost anything?” Rokwolf asked. “I appear to have everything I came in with, so robbery could not have been the motivation.”

Tevvy slowly sat back against the bench next to Rokwolf and then started to check all his pockets; after a few silent moments, he looked back at Rokwolf. “I think I have everything,” he said, and he produced two small vials of the same transparent green liquid, “I even have a couple more of these.” He handed one to Rokwolf; they both pulled the stoppers and drank. They sat silently for a time, looking around the room. “It doesn’t look like they rifled through this room, unless they took something specific and knew where it was.”

Rokwolf got stiffly to his feet. “We better see how Presgrut is,” he noted, walking gingerly around the bench to where the old alchemist lay slumped on the floor. Rokwolf carefully knelt beside the old alchemist to examine the knot on his head, which was not nearly as large as the one on the back of his own head. He stood slowly and saw Tevvy standing, looking his direction. “They did not hit him nearly as hard as they did us,” he noted.

Tevvy frowned at this. “Better wake him so we can find out if they took anything from him,” Tevvy said, beginning to look around.

Rokwolf squatted again and shook the old wethi, gently at first, but when this did not wake him, he shook him with more insistence. “Presgrut, Presgrut! Wake up!” he called, shaking him harder. After a few moments, Rokwolf gave up shaking and calling and grabbed the wooden pail of dark, filthy water, with an oily film on its surface, sitting next to the bench, the water the old alchemist used to cool hot things, and dumped it over his head.

Come back next week when we will see the conversation continue, our heroes seeing through Presgrut’s ploy. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on March 31, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

31 March 2017

Poet’s Corner


Welcome back! We continue with another stanza from Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” as Laura responds to the goblins:


But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:

"Good folk, I have no coin;

To take were to purloin:

I have no copper in my purse,

I have no silver either,

And all my gold is on the furze

That shakes in windy weather

Above the rusty heather."

"You have much gold upon your head,"

They answered altogether:

"Buy from us with a golden curl."

She clipped a precious golden lock,

She dropped a tear more rare than pearl,

Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red:

Sweeter than honey from the rock,

Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,

Clearer than water flowed that juice;

She never tasted such before,

How should it cloy with length of use?

She sucked and sucked and sucked the more

Fruits which that unknown orchard bore,

She sucked until her lips were sore;

Then flung the emptied rinds away,

But gathered up one kernel stone,

And knew not was it night or day

As she turned home alone.


Laura tells these sellers that she has no money; they respond by pointing to her golden hair. She cuts a lock of hair, a very powerful action. Recall that a maid giving a lock of hair was a symbol for the giving of her heart, and a promise of more. . . . Her actions following this ‘payment’ illustrate the addictive nature of this fruit: she sucks on it ‘until her lips were sore’ and loses track of time. More next time from this classic poem. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on March 27, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

27 March 2017

This week we conclude Chapter 12 of The Morgle Unmasked; Blakstar enters the mental battle, using will-giver to tip the balance in our heroes’ favor. . . .

Chapter 12, Part 6

Blakstar stepped through the breach he made in the barrier and strode slowly toward the morgle. You should not gloat before all three of us are caught, he noted wryly.

The hissing, gurgling sound repeated. You have no mental powers, kortexi, she hissed, and should you by some miracle escape me, I’ve made sure that your entire order will turn against you!

Be that as it may, Blakstar noted and continued to stride toward her. You have yet to catch me, and you won’t.

Won’t I, fool? she hissed, hurling a red bolt at him. Blakstar held up his shield and deflected the red bolt; golden light flashed from his shield. The morgle sent a second bolt against him that he also deflected; he stepped closer. She lashed out with the tongue of water; he bashed it aside with his shield then sliced off the end of the whip-like tongue with will-giver, and the tongue shattered as if it were made of fragile glass; he strode closer. She continued to hurl red bolts at him, continued to lash at him with the whip-like tongue of water, and he continued to parry, bash, and slice, moving ever closer to her. When she finally recognized death bearing down upon her, she snarled, which sounded like an irritated gurgle, and turned to flee, running straight into the green fire of breath-giver. She blocked the bolt, but in the time it took her to do this, the kortexi had caught up to her and drove will-giver between the shoulders of her mental form. Her form shook, and she let out a hissing, gurgling wail just before her image shattered into fragments and winked out. Klaybear and Thal came up behind him, smiling at Klare.

Your timing, my dear, is impeccable as always.

How did you know? Thal asked Blakstar.

I didn’t, for sure, but something Klaybear said as we came here gave me the idea that my sword and armor would work the same here as in the physical world; what’s going on back there? he asked Klare.

Come and see, Klare thought.

For the second time, they shifted together back to the physical world. Everyone was slumped on the floor.

“What did you do?” Blakstar asked, looking horrified.

Klare smiled. “Put them all to sleep,” she admitted, “I had to: many of them were drawing their swords about to attack you, whether you were aware or not. It seems several of them were convinced by Fregren that you were Gar’s agent sent to destroy the order,” she was shaking her head, “which is quite ironic, since he was the one sent to do just that.”

“Wake them up,” Blakstar said firmly, “I must prove to them that I am right and he is the one.”

Klare arched an eyebrow at him. “And how do you propose to do that?” she asked.

“I will challenge him to trial by combat, which will prove my innocence and his guilt,” Blakstar replied. “It is the kortexi way.”

“Uh-huh,” Klare agreed, “except that he is now a gibbering vegetable that will not even know to feed himself let alone hold a sword.”

“Then I’ll challenge . . . ,” Blakstar stammered, “whoever does not believe me.”

Klare let out an exasperated sound. “Kortexem!” she exclaimed throwing up her hands. “Didn’t you hear what Mother just told us?”

“I thought those voices sounded familiar,” Thal noted, sounding surprised, “that’s who spoke to me last night, telling me that we should not travel like ordinary people, because the hunt is on. In other words, we should move around using the keys.”

Klare looked at him a long moment. “That makes sense,” she said, “since we had to pull Tevvy out of a trap early this morning, just before we came to visit you two, because he could not lose those pursuing him.” She turned back to the kortexi. “I’m sure that Fregren raised the alarm before coming here, so it won’t be long before more of your fellows arrive to investigate and clap us in irons, which I intend to avoid. Mother told us that all would turn against us, that we are in that time where we have only each other: that is why we must be one.”

“The One said my master had to die?” Blakstar said, still puzzling over what had happened.

Klare rolled her eyes and threw up her hand again. “Where did you leave your horses?” she asked, “since I know this one,” she jerked her thumb at Blakstar, “won’t leave without them.”

Thal and Klaybear were grinning. “In the stable,” Thal replied.

Klare tossed breath-giver to him. “Then you better take us there, and quickly, too.”

Thal laughed and opened an archway to the stable.

“I can’t leave,” Blakstar continued to protest, “I must stay and clear my name of this taint.”

“You won’t be able to,” Klare said, and she took his arm and dragged him into the doorway.

Thal was shaking his head. “She wasn’t always like this, was she?”

Klaybear nodded. “I think she’s gotten firmer, more resolute, since. . . .” He sighed and stepped through the archway; Thal followed.


Next time we will begin a new chapter, returning to Tevvy and Rokwolf as they awaken in the house of Presgrut, both having been clubbed unconscious. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on March 24, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

24 March 2017

Poet’s Corner


Here are the next two stanzas from Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” the first showing Laura ready to spring out and meet the goblin men, the second is their response to her call:


Laura stretched her gleaming neck

Like a rush-imbedded swan,

Like a lily from the beck,

Like a moonlit poplar branch,

Like a vessel at the launch

When its last restraint is gone.


Backwards up the mossy glen

Turned and trooped the goblin men,

With their shrill repeated cry,

"Come buy, come buy."

When they reached where Laura was

They stood stock still upon the moss,

Leering at each other,

Brother with queer brother;

Signalling each other,

Brother with sly brother.

One set his basket down,

One reared his plate;

One began to weave a crown

Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown

(Men sell not such in any town);

One heaved the golden weight

Of dish and fruit to offer her:

"Come buy, come buy," was still their cry.

Laura stared but did not stir,

Longed but had no money:

The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste

In tones as smooth as honey,

The cat-faced purr'd,

The rat-paced spoke a word

Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;

One parrot-voiced and jolly

Cried "Pretty Goblin" still for "Pretty Polly";

One whistled like a bird.


They know exactly where she is, and we learn that Laura would buy from them, had she any money; this is the trap that will catch her as we will see next time. Good reading!