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Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on March 21, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

20 March 2017

In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, Klare reveals details of their enemy as the mental battle begins. . . .

Chapter 12, Part 5

It was breath-giver, wasn’t it? Thal noted.

Oh, all right! It was the staff, she admitted, but after the trouble you have caused me, and the sleep I have lost. . . . She let it hang there for a moment before going on. Anyway, when the sword sliced through it, the staff somehow reached out and grabbed and held the end of it, winding it around my hand; I could suddenly see into her mind, and, by the way, she did not attack Shigmar, nor does she have the rod or know anything about it. She returned here with Fregren on Gar’s orders, after Motodu had altered his mind with the rod and placed the compulsion on him, tying him to her. She entered Karble with Fregren as his ‘prisoner’; then ‘transformed’–her word–someone they captured into her likeness, and this look-alike was executed. She changed her form into what you saw and has been controlling him ever since, controlling the order through Fregren, ordering him to poison by degrees the Wesento so that she could alter his mind in preparation for our arrival: Gar told her that we would come here: the whole thing is an elaborate trap for us, and it isn’t sprung, yet.

The door crashed open and Klaybear shifted awareness into the physical world; Fregren entered after several kortexem, swords drawn. Klare stood on one side of the bed holding a still glowing breath-giver; Blakstar stood on the opposite side of the bed, holding will-giver over the Wesento, and golden flames still licked the edges of the blade; Klaybear stood next to Klare, green light still surrounding his outstretched hands, and Thal stood next to Blakstar, his hands surrounded by white light.

“What have you done to our master?” Fregren asked in a loud voice.

“We are kailum from Shigmar,” Klare replied indignantly, “we have tried to heal him from the poison you gave him!”

This declaration started a rumbling of voices in the room and in the hallway outside, but Fregren’s look was icy.

“How dare you!” Fregren exclaimed. “I am a kortexi and above such petty accusations. She is obviously lying to cover up what they have done: killed our master!” The rumbling of voices turned angry, and many of those outside were trying to see inside the room.

Before anyone could stop him, Blakstar moved so quickly that he was only a blur of colors and motion; he stood facing Fregren with his still flaming sword pointed directly at Fregren’s heart. “You betrayed our order!” he hissed through clenched teeth. Fregren’s face turned white. “You brought an enemy into Karble; you poisoned our master; you are serving Gar! Admit it!” Blakstar shouted.

Fregren’s eyes widened and he flinched at every statement; he collapsed onto his knees, sobbing as will-giver did its work upon him. “I . . . ,” he sobbed, “I . . . ,” he sobbed again, but could not continue, although his mouth worked as if he were speaking. His eyes bulged; his face turned red and he fell over, clawing at his chest, choking, trying to draw breath, but his windpipe had closed itself.

“Do something!” Klare shouted.

“It’s not him!” Thal exclaimed. “It’s the morgle!”

“Keep him alive, if you can, Klare!” Klaybear shouted. He nodded once to Thal. “I’ll follow Klare’s thread; you follow the one attached to the kortexi; maybe we can catch her off guard.”

“Especially if Klare can make her uncomfortable,” Thal said. “You take Blakstar with you: she’s expecting me.”

“Can you do both?” Klaybear asked.

“I’m a wetha,” Klare quipped, but her face was beginning to sweat.

Klaybear smiled, his eyes growing distant. Blakstar? Are you with me?

I am.

They saw both threads of compulsion, but the one Klare still held was pulsing with green light, surging away from them; they moved together in that direction.

Stay behind me, Klaybear thought to Blakstar, just in case, and be prepared to strike with will-giver.

Too bad you do not have breath-giver, Blakstar thought. I imagine the two of them together. . . .

Yes, but Klare needs it more than I; I think we will be sufficient. Light flashed ahead of them, and Klaybear prepared his defenses. Use your sword and shield to block anything she throws at you; they should have the same effect here as they would against a physical attack.

Thal and the morgle came into view, facing each other, hurling bolts of light at one another; each bolt of light struck and surrounded the target for a moment before winking out, and they could see at once that Thal’s bolts were growing more feeble, and it was taking him longer and longer each time to throw off her attacks. Klaybear gathered and hurled his own green bolt at the morgle, hoping to distract her and give Thal time to recover some energy, but his green bolt struck an invisible barrier and glanced off into another direction, missing its intended target. Moments later, Klaybear hit the barrier and was thrown back; Blakstar halted behind him.

What now? Blakstar asked.

We have to get to him soon; he’s fading fast, Klaybear noted, as it took seconds for Thal to throw off the red bolt instead of moments.

Blakstar swung the flaming will-giver in a heavy, overhand stroke; the sword struck the barrier with a dull thud but did not bounce off; the morgle staggered as the blade bit into the barrier, and she glanced with her beady black eyes in their direction. This gave Thal the moment he needed to shoot a jet of flame from his fingers; she barely leapt aside but her robes caught fire. When she rolled to her feet, a tongue of what looked like green fire whipped out from her fat-fingered hands, wrapping around their white maghi companion and pinning his arms to his sides; it lifted him off his feet where he struggled helplessly as he floated. Another bolt of mental power caught and held him, but the effort to hold Thal weakened the barrier sufficiently for the kortexi’s sword to break through. Klaybear hurled a second bolt of green fire at the morgle even as he leaped through. The bolt slammed into her and threw her back, surrounding her momentarily with light, but she threw it off quickly and threw a red bolt back that slammed Klaybear into the barrier with such force that it knocked the wind from him. Before he could respond in kind, a second tongue of green flame, that he soon learned was water, whipped out and circled around him several times, pinning his arms to his sides. Red light slammed into and surrounded him, and he felt himself floating helplessly in the air. He heard a hissing, gurgling sound coming from the morgle.

Pitiful, foolish wethem! she said. Your mental powers are no match for mine! I will deliver you gibbering to the Great Lord, and great will be my reward for three of the chosen!

 

Next time, a new player will enter this mental battle, tipping the balance. 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on March 17, 2017 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

17 March 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We apologize for missing last Friday; we were under the weather, so to speak, and only slightly better this week. We continue with Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” recalling that in the first stanza, we saw the ‘goblin men’ hawking their wares each evening in the market. In the second stanza, we meet the sisters who hear these strange men, one of them refusing to look, for fear of the consequences:

 

Evening by evening

Among the brookside rushes,

Laura bowed her head to hear,

Lizzie veiled her blushes:

Crouching close together

In the cooling weather,

With clasping arms and cautioning lips,

With tingling cheeks and finger-tips.

"Lie close," Laura said,

Pricking up her golden head:

We must not look at goblin men,

We must not buy their fruits:

Who knows upon what soil they fed

Their hungry thirsty roots?"

"Come buy," call the goblins

Hobbling down the glen.

"O! cried Lizzie, Laura, Laura,

You should not peep at goblin men."

Lizzie covered up her eyes

Covered close lest they should look;

Laura reared her glossy head,

And whispered like the restless brook:

"Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,

Down the glen tramp little men.

One hauls a basket,

One bears a plate,

One lugs a golden dish

Of many pounds' weight.

How fair the vine must grow

Whose grapes are so luscious;

How warm the wind must blow

Through those fruit bushes."

"No," said Lizzie, "no, no, no;

Their offers should not charm us,

Their evil gifts would harm us."

She thrust a dimpled finger

In each ear, shut eyes and ran:

Curious Laura chose to linger

Wondering at each merchant man.

One had a cat's face,

One whisked a tail,

One tramped at a rat's pace,

One crawled like a snail,

One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry,

One like a ratel tumbled hurry-scurry.

Lizzie heard a voice like voice of doves

Cooing all together:

They sounded kind and full of loves

In the pleasant weather.

 

Poor Lizzie! The consequences of looking at these strange men, let alone buying their fruit, will soon follow, and next time we will see that, not only does she look, she speaks to the strange men of twilight. Until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on March 13, 2017 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

13 March 2017

 

We rejoin our heroes, in this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, as a battle for the life of the Wesento continues on the mental plain. . . .

Chapter 12, Part 4

Thal stood motionless, eyes closed and holding up his rod that was now glowing with a soft, white light.

Klaybear moved next to his wife and put his hand on the staff, concentrating for a moment. “I see what you mean,” he noted, “he looks perfectly healthy; he ought to be getting up but isn’t.” Klaybear glanced once at Thal and saw he had not moved or changed his stance. “If the morgle is here with the rod . . . ,” he began.

“Then we should check his mind,” Klare finished; Klaybear joined her, and they were both surprised to see breath-giver glowing brightly in her mental fingers. Is it supposed to do that? she asked mentally.

I’ve never noticed before, Klaybear replied with a thought, but then, I’ve never come here when it was active in my hand. Look at his mind.

I see it, she thought, along with a compulsion, but . . . if we sever it, I fear his mind will unravel.

We will have to tie the ends off before it does, Klaybear thought. It’s not nearly as bad as yours was. It’s just that. . . .

What? she thought back.

When we sever the compulsion, the morgle will know exactly where we are.

Get Blakstar here with his sword, she thought, if the staff is any indication then surely his sword will have an equally powerful presence here: let the morgle come up against will-giver here!

Blakstar, Klaybear thought.

“Wh-huh?” the kortexi replied.

Don’t speak, think, Klaybear thought back to him. Do you remember how to enter the mental plane?

I think so, Blakstar thought hesitantly.

Take out will-giver, Klaybear thought, and imagine yourself entering here in full armor with your sword flashing. Do you have that image in mind? Good, now let your mind sink into the sword and let it lead you to us.

Blakstar appeared beside them with will-giver held before him, its edges bright with golden fire.

Do you see the thick thread attached to your master’s mind? In response, the kortexi raised and held his sword ready to slice through it. Thal, I assume you have been listening? Klaybear thought.

Yes.

We are going to need your help after we sever the compulsion, Klaybear thought.

I imagine that when you do, the morgle will become quite busy putting its own mind back in order, Thal replied with a thought, so it should stop looking for us, although I’m certain it knows where we are, and they are coming.

Get ready to slice, Blakstar, Klaybear thought, then keep watch for anything that approaches: try not to damage him too much, since we would like some answers. Ready, dear?

Slice it! Klare thought in response.

Will-giver chopped through the compulsion; Thal joined them in the next instant, and their three pairs of mental hand began to knit the ends of the pattern back together.

Something’s wrong! Thal’s thought exclaimed after only moments. Everything I tie off has already unraveled behind it!

For me, also, Klaybear added.

It is as if . . . , Thal thought.

. . . the morgle anticipated this move, Klaybear finished.

Whole sections of the pattern are coming apart, Thal thought, and then added, Klare, use breath-giver’s fire to cauterize whole sections before they unravel!

But that will destroy . . . , she protested.

Do it! Thal thought back. It is the only way we can save him!

Mother! Klare called out. Help us!

I cannot, came the soft but penetrating, feminine response.

This must be, came an equally penetrating masculine response.

No, please! Klare’s thought implored, but there followed only silence.

Use the staff, quickly! Thal’s thought exclaimed.

Blakstar! Klaybear’s thought called. We need you and your sword!

Klare wielded the staff with her mental fingers, using its green fire to burn away sections of the pattern that were unraveling; the kortexi saw and imitated what she was doing with the staff by using the golden fire of his sword. At first, they seemed to stop the pattern from unraveling further, but then a section that had been cauterized started to come apart again despite having the ends sealed off, even though they continued to tie and slice until all four realized at once that there was nothing left of the pattern; Blakstar’s master sighed once in his sleep and died.

I mourn with you, my children, but this must be, the penetrating masculine voice said.

You must be one, the feminine voice added, no matter what Elker does to try and divide you, no matter that those who you will help fear and shun you, no matter that those who should support and aid you, turn against you, fight you, and try to destroy you; you must be one!

They knew at once that the presences had gone; Blakstar’s mental form glowed to match the golden flames licking the edges of his blade.

Let’s finish it, Blakstar thought, I will make him suffer for what he has done to my master!

She is suffering, Klare thought back.

She? Klaybear thought.

How do you know? Thal thought.

Klare held up her mental hand, and Klaybear could see the thread of compulsion that had been attached to the Wesento’s mind wrapped several times around the palm and held tightly in her hand.

How did you do that? Klaybear asked.

We wetham have our little secrets . . . , she began mysteriously, but Thal’s thought interrupted her.

 

Next time, our heroes face their enemy on the mental plain. 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 3

Posted by gwermon on March 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

6 March 2017

 

In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, Blakstar and Thal escape from the mental attack and head for the room where the Wesento lies ill, calling for help from Klaybear and Klare. . . .

Chapter 12, Part 3

“Quickly!” Thal hissed, “Open a door back to our room!” Blakstar hesitated a second, then stood and started to open the archway; Thal saw Fregren glance in his direction, then nod once, and the brown-robed figure, whose face was hidden from view, turned and started walking toward the stable. Thal felt the mental attack crash against his defenses but did not respond, choosing rather to maintain and bolster his shield; a second attack stabbed at his shield, like a mental sword rammed into the fabric of his mind.

“It’s open,” Blakstar whispered.

Thal did not dare move. “Help,” he choked, “under . . . mental . . . attack,” he managed to say before the third attack came, even more powerful than the two previous, hammering on his defenses, causing them to fold and buckle.

Blakstar heard the door below open, saw Thal with his eyes closed and sweat pouring down his face, so he grabbed Thal’s leg with his free hand while holding the door open and simply dragged him through as he himself stepped through, dragging a small quantity of hay with them.

“Neki,” Thal said, canceling the shield blocking out all light. Blakstar helped him onto the bed.

“What . . . ?” Blakstar tried to ask, but Thal stopped him.

“Waters,” Thal whispered.

Blakstar nodded and handed him the special flask; Thal took a drink, then gave it back.

“The morgle is here,” he whispered, touching a symbol on his wrist.

“The brown-robed figure?” Blakstar asked in a hushed voice.

“It must be,” Thal replied, “nothing else has that kind of mental power. Do you know where your master is?” Thal asked.

“Probably, why?”

“Grab your bag and open an archway to him,” Thal said, “we have only moments before they get here.”

Blakstar nodded, picked up his pack, and opened another archway; Thal grabbed his own pack and prepared to step through. They heard footsteps and voices coming down the hall; Thal reinforced his mental defenses and grabbed the kortexi’s arm as they both stepped through and into the Wesento’s bedroom. The kortexi master lay unmoving on the bed; Blakstar went to him, and Thal erected another shield around them, guessing there were guards outside the room. Blakstar tried to give the Wesento some of the Waters.

“He is too far gone,” Blakstar said, looking back to where Thal stood watching, “I cannot get him to drink any.”

“I signaled Klaybear and Klare,” Thal replied, “they should . . . Klaybear, Klare,” he said to their heads, “we need you.”

“Everyone needs us, today,” Klare noted.

Thal went on. “Blakstar’s master is too ill to drink any of the waters, and the morgle is here.”

Both their faces looked shocked. “How do you . . . ?” Klaybear started to say, but Klare interrupted him.

“Are you sure?” Klare asked.

“Just get here before he does,” Thal said, “I’ve already had one mental battle with him.”

“Breaking contact to open a door,” Klaybear said as they winked out. The archway appeared almost immediately

###

Klare went through the door first, followed by Klaybear; she went straight to the bed where the Wesento lay, her hands already surrounded by green light. She moved over the unmoving form from foot to head while Blakstar watched.

“The morgle, you say?” Klaybear whispered to Thal.

Thal nodded. “Just be ready for an attack,” he noted, “I don’t know how long it will take for them to figure out where we have gone; I’ve surrounded us by a shield of silence, so the guards outside will not hear us.”

Klaybear nodded, watching his wife work; she was moving back down the Wesento’s form. “What’s happened here?” he asked.

“Exactly, we do not know,” Thal replied. “We know that the second in command, a kortexi named Fregren, has been mentally tampered with and is under some kind of compulsion.”

Klare looked up. “He’s been poisoned,” she said, “a slow-acting type that destroys the body over time.”

“Can you heal him enough so that I can give him a drink of the Waters?” Blakstar asked sounding quite worried.

Klare smiled. “I can easily heal him of the poison without the Waters,” she said, “but they certainly will not hurt.” She looked over to where Klaybear stood next to Thal. “Time to try breath-giver, I think.”

Klaybear nodded and tossed the staff to her; she caught it easily and turned immediately back to the bed, breath-giver glowing bright green in her hands, the eye-shaped emerald as bright as a small star.

“Just a few minutes ago,” Thal went on, “I discovered the morgle was here, shape-changed to look like a wethi, but the mind was alien. As soon as I noticed, he moved to attack us, and the attacks were powerful beyond the capability of any wethem I’ve known, with few exceptions. We opened an archway back to our room, then one here, since they knew where we were . . . he’s probing!” he hissed.

“Blank us out!” Klaybear hissed back. “We have to give Klare time . . . ,” he began but stopped hearing her call.

“Klaybear!” Klare called. “This isn’t right; I’ve neutralized the poison but to no effect.”

 

Next time, the battle for the life of the Wesento 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on March 3, 2017 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

3 March 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

This week we turn to another Pre-Raphaelite, Christina Rossetti and her “Goblin Market.” Notice how the poet puts us into the scene, calling our attention to the fact that the goblins direct their words to maids, which we interpret as single young women. Here is the first stanza:

 

MORNING and evening

Maids heard the goblins cry:

"Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy:

Apples and quinces,

Lemons and oranges,

Plump unpecked cherries-

Melons and raspberries,

Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,

Swart-headed mulberries,

Wild free-born cranberries,

Crab-apples, dewberries,

Pine-apples, blackberries,

Apricots, strawberries--

All ripe together

In summer weather--

Morns that pass by,

Fair eves that fly;

Come buy, come buy;

Our grapes fresh from the vine,

Pomegranates full and fine,

Dates and sharp bullaces,

Rare pears and greengages,

Damsons and bilberries,

Taste them and try:

Currants and gooseberries,

Bright-fire-like barberries,

Figs to fill your mouth,

Citrons from the South,

Sweet to tongue and sound to eye,

Come buy, come buy."

 

These goblins sell ‘fruit’ of every kind and type in existence, many of them out of season and out of the country; this alone should be sufficient to put us on our guard, showing us that we are not in the normal world but one supernatural. Next time, we will meet a pair of sisters who hear this call. Until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on February 27, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

27 February 2017

 

In this second part of the twelfth chapter of The Morgle Umasked, Blakstar and Thal try to learn why the Wesento is unavailable. . . .

Chapter 12, Part 2

Blakstar sat on the bed opposite Thal. “A shield of silence?” he asked.

Thal nodded. “We don’t dare keep it up for very long,” he added, “or he will send someone. I was about to say that we should go back down and investigate discreetly, but I suspect that there are guards loyal to Fregren outside the door with orders to keep us here.”

Blakstar glanced toward the door, and his jaw clenched. He reached for his sword. “This is intolerable,” he said through gritted teeth. “I will go and call Fregren out and challenge him: he could not possibly stand against will-giver.” There was a gleam in his eyes.

Thal reached out and touched his forearm. “I did say discreetly,” he went on, “and do not forget what Klare dreamed: something as simple as a slight like this might be enough to set it off.”

Blakstar looked at the white maghi, thought for a moment, then forced himself to relax.

“Let’s first find out if there is anyone outside our door,” Thal added; after seeing his companion relax, Thal’s eyes went distant for a moment as he allowed his mental fingers to probe their surroundings. He found a pair of kortexem outside of their room, which was no surprise; he pulled back quickly, scanning the rooms on either side of them, above and below them. He pulled his mental fingers back and refocused on his companion. “Two outside the door, listeners in the rooms on either side, and a watcher above us: he really wants to watch us,” Thal added, “which means he really fears us. We have to go find out what is going on; follow my lead and complain about it being too light in the room to sleep,” Thal finished and canceled the orthek. He leaned back again, stretching and yawning expansively. “I think we were up too long last night, polishing armor and leather.”

Blakstar looked at him a moment, but then he understood. “I am a little tired,” he noted, “and since we have to wait,” he added reclining on the bed, trying to make himself more comfortable. “It is a bit bright in here, though, which will make it hard to sleep.”

Thal reclined on his own bed and looked up at the window. He pointed his rod at the window, and said, “Skuroskoit.” They were plunged into complete darkness. Thal turned toward the wall next to him and used his mental probe to locate the listener behind that wall. Pointing his rod at him, he hummed a lullaby, then slipped in the word to put the listener to sleep, “supno,” softly singing the word of power until he saw with his mental eyes that the listener had fallen asleep. Still humming softly, he turned and found the listener behind the other wall, pointed his rod, singing the word over and over, putting the second listener to sleep. He shifted to the watcher above, probing further even as he continued to sing him to sleep, trying to see what he could without setting off any mental alarms. He saw the familiar mental thread leading away, and similar threads from the people around them. He longed to follow them to their source, but he knew that it was dangerous to attempt on his own, and that they had very little time, if they wanted to find out what Fregren was up to. When the watcher above fell asleep, he pulled back and whispered to his companion. “They are all asleep; let’s go and see what Fregren is up to.”

“Are the guards asleep?” Blakstar whispered.

“No, that would be too obvious,” Thal replied.

“How do we get past them, then?” Blakstar asked.

“We don’t; we open an archway back to the stable,” Thal answered.

“Where in the stable?” Blakstar asked, getting up.

“The hay loft.” Thal said, and he waited until Blakstar had opened the archway, then stood and stepped through; the kortexi followed.

“ . . . stable by the main gate,” a voice said, and they heard the doors below them close. They held still as they heard movement below. Thal nodded to the shutters behind them that opened onto the square, then he moved quietly toward them; one of them was blocked open, so they could see light shining in, illuminating dust motes floating lazily in the still air, and hear a babble of voices. Peering through the crack, they could see a crowd gathered in the courtyard but little could be heard for the many voices speaking at once. One voice rose clearly above the others; it was Fregren.

“You all know that the Wesento has been ill for many days,” he said, “we hope that he will be strong enough this afternoon to come out so that we can have the traditional report by Sir Blakstar.”

“Where is he?” someone shouted.

“Where did the statues come from?” another shouted.

“Is it true that the statues appeared as Sir Blakstar passed?” asked someone else.

“Why can’t we ask him?” said another.

Several others shouted agreement with this last question. Thal was only half listening to the voices, spending the time gently probing the crowd with his mental fingers.

“The effort has tired him,” Fregren said, “so he is currently resting. It does, however, point to a problem with our code: we do not permit the use of teka, and he, obviously, used teka to bring one of the statues to life.”

“Hold on, Sir Fregren,” one in the front said. “I was there; Sir Blakstar simply stuck Sir Karble’s sword into the road and the statues rose up out of the ground: I do not see that he used teka . . . ,” he said, but Fregren cut him off.

“How then did the statue come to life and kill Sir Belgrin?” Fregren asked.

“Sir Belgrin tried to take the holy sword for himself,” the speaker went on, “he was justly slain for his crime: Sir Blakstar had naught to do with it as he was speaking with his white maghi companion, who was closely examining the statues of himself and Melbarth at the time, so you cannot accuse him, either.”

“Nevertheless,” Fregren went on, unflustered, “I merely point out that there may be a problem,” he paused at this point, as the brown-robed figure standing by his side touched his arm and whispered to him. Previous to this, Thal had noticed something mentally odd about the figure standing next to Fregren, and he had moved mentally closer at the time when the speaker was telling the crowd that Thal and Blakstar had nothing to do with the statue coming to life. In that instant, Thal saw that the mind of the brown-robed figure was unlike those around him, and he saw many mental threads attached to his mind. Thal pulled his fingers back at once and erected defenses around himself and Blakstar; the figure had turned and looked right at him, then turned back to whisper to Fregren.

 

When we return, we will see Thal under mental attack by an unexpected enemy; they issue a call for help. . . . 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

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

24 February 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Welcome to the final stanzas of Dante Rossetti’s “The Blessed Damozel.” Last time, the lady (in his dream) led him to Mary, mother of Jesus, and now, Mary leads them together to Jesus. We note that the angels sing, accompanied by heavenly instruments, although Rossetti chooses to us the archaic forms of the words for these guitar-like instruments:

 

"Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,

To Him round whom all souls

Kneel, the clear-rang'd unnumber'd heads

Bow'd with their aureoles:

And angels meeting us shall sing

To their citherns and citoles.

 

"There will I ask of Christ the Lord

Thus much for him and me:--

Only to live as once on earth

With Love,--only to be,

As then awhile, for ever now

Together, I and he."

 

She gaz'd and listen'd and then said,

Less sad of speech than mild,--

"All this is when he comes." She ceas'd.

The light thrill'd towards her, fill'd

With angels in strong level flight.

Her eyes pray'd, and she smil'd.

 

(I saw her smile.) But soon their path

Was vague in distant spheres:

And then she cast her arms along

The golden barriers,

And laid her face between her hands,

And wept. (I heard her tears.)

 

The poet’s dream ends as it began: in sorrow for she who is lost, but there is hope. In this dark hour, the poet looks forward to the day when they will be reunited in heaven. That final image, of the lady placing her face on her hands, her arms resting on the ‘golden barrier’; she looks down from the edge of heaven, her tears falling down to where he looks up with longing, leaves a strong impression on every reader. Next week, we will move to Dante’s sister, Christina, looking at her long “Goblin Market.” Until then, good reading

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 12, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on February 21, 2017 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

20 February 2017

 

We begin a new chapter this week, from The Morgle Unmasked, rejoining Blakstar and Thal as they enter the kortexi citadel to make the traditional report of one’s journey to the Mountain of Vision; it is clear from the moment they approach the gates that something is wrong. . . .

 

Chapter 12, Part 1

On first entering the citadel, the newly initiated kortexi is greeted by the Wesento, his second, all masters, and all their wives, at which time the newly initiated kortexi reports on his journey to and return from the Mountain of Vision, with particular attention paid to his victories over evil. . . .

 

from the Kodex Kortexem by Sir Karble III

 

The sun, fully-risen, shone down into the main courtyard of the large castle that served as both school and home of the kortexi order. Young wethem clad in brown with white surcoats came forward and held their horses as Blakstar and Thal dismounted; Fregren and their escort dismounted and handed their reins to more of the young wethem, who led the horses away with a clattering of hooves on the white paving stones. Thal looked around the otherwise empty courtyard, again allowing the probing fingers of his mind to scan their surroundings. A raised platform stood in front of them, directly opposite the gate; the young wethem had led their horses to the left, while most of the horses of their escort were taken to the right, where there were large, double-doors leading into stables. On either side of the platform were doors leading into the main keep, with the main entrance at the back of the platform.

Blakstar was again looking concerned.

“What’s wrong?” Thal whispered.

“All the masters, with their wives, should be waiting to greet us on that platform,” he whispered back. “I’m supposed to report my journey to the Mountain.”

Fregren was speaking to one of the kortexem; the others had moved off to enter the keep.

Thal shook his head. “And they’ve just taken our horses away,” he noted. “We should find out where they are,” Thal suggested, noticing that Fregren was coming toward them, “in case we need to leave in a hurry.”

Fregren strode up to where they stood. “Come,” he said, “I will show you to your quarters.” He turned to lead them into the castle.

Blakstar did not move. “I thought I was supposed to make my report, at this point.”

Fregren stopped and turned, his face masked. “Normally, that would be the case. However, the Wesento is feeling ill this morning, so you will not be able to report until he feels better.”

Thal raised an eyebrow at this statement, but Fregren was focused on Blakstar so did not notice.

“If that is the case,” Blakstar said, “then you will not mind showing us where our mounts have been taken?”

Fregren chewed on this for a moment. “You know that they are well cared for,” he replied evasively.

“I do,” Blakstar said, “but that does not lessen my desire to check on them.”

“Besides,” Thal hastily added, “I need several of the things from my saddlebags, particularly my Fokortheku.”

Fregren looked from one to the other, then forced a smile. “This way,” he said, moving in the direction their horses had been taken.

He led them into the stable where they found their two mounts, tack and harness removed, idly munching grain while the two young wethem brushed both down. Thal opened and took his small backpack from his saddlebags and slung it onto his back; Blakstar did the same, and both carefully examined the stable and their mounts. Satisfied, Blakstar nodded to Fregren, who turned without a comment or sign and led them out of the stable by another door and into the citadel proper, leading them past many young wethem who stopped and gawked at Blakstar and Thal as they passed. Thal continued to scan with his mind. After many turns and many stairs, Fregren opened a door to a small room with two beds and a washbowl. They entered and hung their packs over the footboard of each bed.

“When can I see the Wesento and the other masters?” Blakstar asked before Fregren turned to leave.

“I’ll try and arrange something for this afternoon,” he replied, “if the Wesento is feeling better. Someone will be sent.” He closed the door and they heard him stalk away.

Blakstar stared at the door; Thal looked at him and shook his head. “I take it this is not part of the tradition?” Thal asked, sitting on one of the beds.

Blakstar turned and looked at his white maghi companion, then shook his head. “And these are not the quarters of visiting dignitaries,” he said, motioning to the room; he turned toward the room’s small window.

“I am in shock!” Thal said with mock surprise.

“Something is very wrong here,” Blakstar said. “No Wesento has ever been too ill to greet a kortexi returning from the Mountain, unless,” he paused and looked at Thal, “he were unconscious and unaware that one of his kortexi had returned.”

“Maybe whoever tampered with Fregren,” Thal tossed out, “also tampered with your master, and we will not be able to determine that until we see him.” He sighed and leaned back on his elbows. “Did it seem to you like Fregren was in a hurry to get somewhere?” he asked.

Blakstar nodded. “He was not happy about taking us to the stable first,” he noted.

“You mentioned that it sometimes can take most of the morning,” Thal went on, “just to travel from the main gate to the castle.”

“Depends on how well-known the kortexi is,” Blakstar replied, “it can take even longer, if he is well-known.”

Thal rubbed his chin. “And many of those at the city entrance were students and teachers from this school?” Thal asked, and when his companion nodded once, he went on. “What will happen when they return to the citadel and find those new statues around the gate where there were no statues before? And what’s more, two of them are the same two young wethem who just entered Karble? Then, when they enter the school expecting to hear your report, along with an explanation of how those statues suddenly appeared, what are they likely to do, when they find the courtyard empty?” A sudden thought rose to the surface of Thal’s mind, and he kicked himself mentally for not realizing it before. He sat up and slipped his rod from his belt. The kortexi was eyeing him curiously. He held up the rod and whispered, “Kwyeskoit,” and a gray shimmering grew from his rod expanding outward until it surrounded them both. At that point it turned nearly transparent. “I suddenly realized that someone was likely listening to us,” he said.

 

Next time, our heroes make an attempt to discover what is wrong with the master of Blakstar’s order. 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on February 17, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

17 February 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

This week’s section, from Dante Rossetti’s poem, “The Blessed Damozel,” begins with a parenthetical, which we recognize as the poet’s voice responding to what the lady has just said concerning what they will do, in heaven, when he has joined her; he laments:

 

(Alas! We two, we two, thou say'st!

Yea, one wast thou with me

That once of old. But shall God lift

To endless unity

The soul whose likeness with thy soul

Was but its love for thee?)

 

The poet is filled with longing, wondering if it is possible that they will be reunited, which goes unnoticed by the lady, who goes on:

 

"We two," she said, "will seek the groves

Where the lady Mary is,

With her five handmaidens, whose names

Are five sweet symphonies,

Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,

Margaret and Rosalys.

 

"Circlewise sit they, with bound locks

And foreheads garlanded;

Into the fine cloth white like flame

Weaving the golden thread,

To fashion the birth-robes for them

Who are just born, being dead.

 

"He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:

Then will I lay my cheek

To his, and tell about our love,

Not once abash'd or weak:

And the dear Mother will approve

My pride, and let me speak.

 

She describes a scene with Mary (the mother of Jesus), where she sits with her handmaids, all of them weaving robes for those who come to heaven. In this moment of meeting, he might be afraid, but she will soothe him, and speak to Mary of their love. Next time, we will reach the conclusion of this poem. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 11, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on February 14, 2017 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

13 February 2017

 

This week in the serialization of the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, our heroes continue meeting with their command squad as they begin to make plans for the future. . . .

Chapter 11, Part 6

Delgart nodded. “We, I think, because of the experience that all of you have,” he began, “and because of who we are, which we will explain shortly, are going to infiltrate Mariskal and gain more intelligence on Morokolu. We suspect that Morokolu is the source of the infection, particularly, the alteration in the behavior of both the swamp wedaterem and the sponsum; we also believe that the morgle who attacked Shigmar has its home in Morokolu, and is the one responsible for what has happened.”

“So you are who Xythrax claimed on the battlefield,” Mitha said softly, “you are chosen of the One.”

“After what happened to Shigmar,” Lidelle added, “that is something that we should keep to ourselves.”

“As the example of my late-father tells us,” Grelsor put in, “it gives us an advantage, but it also puts us at greater risk.”

Lidelle turned to Forsonta. “With our commander’s direction,” he nodded to Delgart, “this last part should not be included in the notes or report.”

Delgart nodded to his messenger; she cut that part out of her notes with her dagger and handed the piece of parchment over to Marilee, who passed it on to Hrelga. The white maghi whispered and touched the parchment with her rod; the parchment flamed and vanished in a puff of smoke.

Delgart nodded to Marilee; he turned back to the others. “There are some other details we need to work out before the company captains arrive,” he noted. “Hopefully, Nofero will return by that time with word of whether or not we can get four companies mounted to patrol the road.”

Marilee stood and touched Grelsor, Lidelle, Hrelga, and Luthina, indicating that they should follow her. “There is something you four need to know while our commander speaks to the others,” she whispered, “something of great benefit and interest to all of you.” She led them to Delgart’s office, where she found Klaybear and Klare sitting next to the desk.

“This is . . . ,” Marilee started to say, but Grelsor interrupted her.

“I know them both,” Grelsor said. “They were several years behind us.”

“You are Ghelvon’s son, Grelsor?” Klaybear asked.

Grelsor nodded.

Klaybear looked uncomfortable. “I’m sorry about what happened . . . ,” he started to say, but Grelsor cut him off.

“Don’t be,” Grelsor interrupted.

“Grelsor is our Chief kailu,” Marilee went on hastily, “and Lidelle his second; this is Hrelga and Luthina, Chief and second maghem.” She indicated each in turn, then pointed to Klaybear and Klare. “This is Klaybear, Delgart’s younger brother, and Rokwolf’s twin, and Klaybear’s wife Klare, two more of the chosen.”

“Delgart asked us to share something we learned about teka,” Klaybear said, “from Shigmar, himself, while we were retrieving his staff,” he added, holding up breath-giver.

“Are we allowed to handle it?” Lidelle asked, voicing one of the questions the four of them had.

Klaybear shrugged. “I do not know, for sure,” he replied, “but I do know that a group of soldiers in the dungeon under Shigmar tried to take will-giver, Sir Karble’s sword, from our kortexi.”

“What happened to them?” Grelsor asked.

“It looked like all of them were burned by some great flame that left only their bones,” Klaybear said. “Since then, no one else has had the heart to try.”

“I can see why,” Lidelle noted, stepping back.

“In a message left for us,” Klaybear went on, “Shigmar told us to ‘sing our ortheks well,’ which was a surprise, since we speak our ortheks, we do not sing them.”

“The red kailum and black maghem chant their ortheks,” Luthina noted, “which we discovered can be effective when working together.”

Klaybear nodded. “Thal believes that may be a leftover from singing. Do you remember the song we all sang as children that starts out like this: daa-da-dum?” he asked. They all nodded, grinning. “Grelsor, create a light using those three notes and that rhythm, singing the word instead of speaking it.”

“You mean, inserting the three syllables of the orthek word for light in place of the first three words of the children’s song?” he clarified; Klaybear nodded. “Maa-glu-ku,” he sang, and a light blossomed in the room, yellow and bright, smelling of water and heat.

Klaybear looked at Klare and smiled. “You see, dear,” he noted to her, “it’s different for everyone.”

The others were looking at the light that now seemed to be reflecting off moving water.

“Why doesn’t it look like a normal light?” Hrelga asked.

“We think that it is because of the memories associated by the individual with the music,” Klaybear replied. “Grelsor’s looks more like the summer sun reflecting on the water of a pool or river.”

Grelsor’s face lit up. “That is exactly what I associate with childhood and that song: hot summer and swimming in the river on my grandparents’ farm.”

“But how is this useful?” Lidelle asked.

“Cancel your light,” Klaybear said; Grelsor nodded and spoke the word, and the light vanished. “Depending on the music you choose, you can change the power of the orthek. If I use three notes that are expanding and swelling, like daa-daa-dum,” he sang in his bass voice, going up the scale, “the light would behave accordingly.”

“Prepare to cover your eyes,” Klare warned, pulling her hood down over her eyes.

Klaybear sang the word for light using the same notes. The light winked on and grew brighter until he canceled it.

The four of them were looking at each other; Hrelga spoke. “This would have made our orthek work with the purgle and nekerpum much easier,” she said, “since singing is easier to do than chanting.”

“We have not had much opportunity to explore many sound sequences,” Klaybear added, “but I think you can see how this could be adapted for different purposes.” He exchanged a sudden glance with Klare, both feeling their verghrenum warming.

Grelsor turned to Marilee. “Commander, do we have time to meet with all of our kailum and maghem before we leave?” he asked. “I think we should share this information with all of them before we start.”

Marilee nodded. “I believe we can arrange some time,” she replied, smiling as she led them out of the office.

Before the door had closed, Klaybear started to draw a circle on Delgart’s desk with breath-giver.

 

Next time, we will begin a new chapter, switching back to Blakstar and Thalamar in the kortexi citadel. 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 https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!


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