Clyde B. Northrup

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Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 11, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on January 16, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

16 January 2017

 

This week in the serialization of the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, we learn more of these new creatures, and Feltha reveals why she wanted to see both Delgart & Marilee. . . .

 

Chapter 11, Part 2

“I was with patrols that encountered them only twice,” she replied, “so I know little beyond what we are taught.”

“For Delgart’s sake,” Feltha noted.

Marilee nodded. “The sponsum are another of Gar’s creations,” she went on, “spider-like, generally the size of a large dog; they nest in the trees in the western marches of the swamp and the lower slopes of the mountains. They tend to live in packs, reportedly hunting in these same packs, something like the wolf; however, like the swamp wedaterem already mentioned, they avoid contact with us, only taking those who blunder into their territory. These two groups avoid one another.” She paused for a moment. “I think I remember some rumor or legend that the sponsum have some kind of queen that they worship.”

“It is no legend,” Feltha added, “one of the reports mentions that there is one of these creatures, much larger than the others, nesting at the edge of their territory near what is called Morokolu, a large dome of granite at the center of the swamp, which is the main nesting place of these rare wedaterem: the entire surface of Morokolu is riddled with holes, which are the homes of the swamp wedaterem. The sponsum have been seen taking things to this other creature, worshiping it, according to the report. For reasons that we cannot determine, the sponsum are multiplying at an incredible rate, and increasing in size, many as large as the ponies used by the awemem.”

“This is troubling,” Delgart noted, one eyebrow rising slowly.

Feltha nodded. “More troubling is the fact that these creatures are no longer content with their territory,” she went on, “they have begun to attack our outpost, which keeps Southpass open, and this attack keeps much of our strength in the fortress rather than patrolling the road from the outpost to Kilnar . . . ,” she paused, and Delgart finished her sentence.

“. . . Leaving the wedaterem almost unhindered,” he added, “as they attack and plunder the caravans.” He thought for a moment. “What happens to the goods carried by these caravans?” he asked.

“As far as we can determine,” Feltha replied, “everything is carried away, including the people, but where it ends up, no one is sure, and this is another puzzling feature. These swamp creatures would normally make straight for their lairs, but now the trail wanders all through the Mariskal, and the wedaterem divide going in all different directions, laying down many false trails that lead into traps or impassable bogs. Any seklesi scout who follows them closely enough not to get lost is captured by the wedateri returning from creating a false trail, or from leaving the main group to hide and wait for whoever might be following.”

Marilee shook her head. “They know our jobs better than we do!” she exclaimed with some surprise.

“Their trail,” Feltha went on, “as far as we can determine, goes southeast through the swamp toward Rykelle, but then turns west as they near the sea, and that is where we lose them: many of the channels there are so deep as to be impassable at high tide, and many of the sea’s more violent denizens have taken up residence in those channels and claimed no small number of our troops caught as the tide came in.”

“Have you attempted to approach from the sea?” Delgart asked.

Feltha nodded. “Every channel that we might have used has been carefully blocked by jagged stones strategically placed just beneath the surface; any small, flat-bottomed craft that approaches is pulled under by what our most seasoned sailors think must be some kind of giant, squid-like creature.”

Delgart shook his head. “They are all guarding the same place,” he said, rising and going to the large map hanging on one wall. He stood looking at the Mariskal for a moment, then pointed to the one significant feature in all the swamp: Morokolu. “Here,” he said, “all that is happening in the area centers here.”

“What makes you say that?” Feltha asked, Delgart heard the interest in her voice, reaching the same conclusion as she had.

Delgart looked back at the Feragwen, still seated behind her desk, and Marilee, who had turned in her chair to look at him, and he could see on her face that she had made the same connection he had. “How long ago did all of these things begin to happen?” he asked, instead of answering her question.

The Feragwen eyed him for a moment before answering. “We began receiving reports about two weeks ago,” she said, then paused again, “my late husband was just planning a response when the call for aid came from Shigmar.”

Delgart smiled and glanced at Marilee, who returned his knowing smile. “Exactly the right time,” he noted, “and place.”

“The morgle?” Marilee suggested.

“And from what we’ve discussed,” Delgart agreed, “the rod is certainly capable of altering the wedaterem and the sponsum in the ways described.”

Instead of being puzzled by Delgart and Marilee’s cryptic comments, Feltha was smiling at them both. “I can see already that I was right to choose the two of you for this special assignment,” she said, and there was something in the way the Feragwen used the word ‘choose’ that made them both look at her more closely. She touched a gold bracelet on her wrist, and a door not before visible opened behind her. A tall, gray-haired wetha in white robes stepped out of the dimly lit passageway; she resembled the Feragwen in face and form. “My sister, Malfa,” the Feragwen noted without turning. “Come,” she said, taking up the sheaf of parchment reports and rising. Malfa pinned a silver brooch to Feltha’s cloak; the white stone at the center of the brooch began to glow softly. Malfa turned and re-entered the doorway; without another word, the Feragwen followed. Delgart and Marilee exchanged a quick glance before hurrying after them.

The dimly lit, narrow passageway went straight forward a short way, then plunged down in a series of steep stairs. A pair of the elite seklesam who guarded the Feragwen led the way down; another pair took up a position behind Delgart and Marilee. For at least twenty minutes, they descended, finally stopping at a blank stone wall the Feragwen opened with her scepter. When all had passed through, she closed the door behind them; they were in a wider stone passage with doors spaced evenly on either side.

 

Next time, we will follow our heroes as Feltha gives them their new assignment. 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 January 13, 2017 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

13 January 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We return with the final stanza of Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.” We remind our readers that the poet had been standing with his love, looking out on the beach, having just compared the wavy looking sand/pebbles, with an folded belt; now he turns to speak to his love:

 

Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

 

Here, to the poet, ‘life is but a dream,’ but all is an illusion, for none of the positive qualities of life exist. Instead he sees that the pair of them are on a battlefield, with the sounds of alarms and the clash of arms all around them. Critics commonly point to battles of the 1840s, or ancient battles of Greece. This interpretation, however, does nothing for the moment described. The key is, I think, in the first line of the stanza, a wish, or exhortation, for them to be true to each other, followed by the common view of ‘falling in love is like a dream.’ These Victorians are realists, about everything, and anything that has a hint of the fantastic, like falling in love, is rejected by the harsh demands of their reality (whatever that is!). For me, the incurable Romantic, this idea, and the poem, doesn’t really work, and it is a primary example of Matthew Arnold the ‘wannabe’ poet. Come back next week for another installment from the poet’s corner. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 11, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on January 9, 2017 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

9 January 2017

 

We begin a new chapter this week in the serialization of the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked. We rejoin Delgart & Marilee as they are on their way to a meeting with the Feragwen. . . .

 

Chapter 11, Part 1

Six legions, plus one elite legion, are stationed at all times in Holvar. In times of difficulty the Feragwen may organize a Seventh Legion, the gwenakso, drawn from the other legions, to perform special assignments on behalf of the Feragwen. . . .

 

from The Higher Orders, written by order of the Fereghen atno 1739

 

Delgart walked briskly at Marilee’s side, still struggling to learn his way around Holvar, and she led him today into a part of the citadel that was new to him. The elite seklesem guarding these corridors wore black cloaks, a reminder to all of the passing of the Fereghen in the recent battle near the Crossing of Reema. The messenger had told them who wanted them, and Marilee had gone white.

“I wonder why she wants to speak to us?” Marilee whispered to him as they passed another guard and turned a corner to climb another set of stairs.

Delgart looked sidelong at her before replying. “Maybe she simply wants us to report what we saw,” he said, “our first hand account.”

Marilee stopped suddenly, grabbing his arm and forcing him to stop. “We’ve written how many reports of the events?” she asked. “And how many times have we had to re-tell the story? I fear that if one more person asks me . . . ,” she doubled up her fist and held it up threateningly, not completing her thought.

“I know,” he said soothingly, taking her hand in both his and gently unclenching her fist; he held it for a moment before letting it go.

Marilee turned and took one step to go forward but then turned back quickly; he had not moved. “And whose bright idea was it to separate us? I specifically requested . . . ,” she started to say but then stopped again, looking warily around, then looking back at him. “I am glad we were both raised to company commanders, but we hardly ever see each other any more, except for when some other fool wants to gawk at our faces, and orders us to uncover our scars and stand together so they can see. . . .” Again she stopped without finishing her thought. “I hope that is not the reason she wants to see us both,” she noted, emphasizing being seen together.

Delgart sighed. “Think of my younger brothers,” he noted, “and how much worse it is for both of them: both thrown out of their orders for being chosen and marked.”

Marilee nodded but said nothing; instead, she turned and finished climbing the stairs, stopping at the top where two seklesam stood in front of double doors. Delgart followed her up, and they were immediately allowed into the Feragwen’s private office. Feltha sat writing behind her large, ornately carved desk and did not look up or acknowledge them until she had finished, folded, and sealed the parchment before her. She was tall and lithe, with iron gray hair pulled back from her face and tied at her neck in a tight bun. Her face was lined, tanned, and angular, and the dark circles under her bright blue eyes indicated that she had been working long hours with little sleep, and when she did rest, it was probably not peaceful, still mourning the loss of her husband.

“Please sit down,” Feltha said as she folded and sealed the parchment, pressing her signet ring into the wax while it was still soft. She got up from her desk and went to the door, passed the letter out, then returned to her desk. “I’m certain you are both wondering why I called you here,” she noted, smiling fondly at both of them, “and my summons likely upset one of you more than the other,” her glance strayed to Marilee, who had begun to blush, “and there is a very good reason for the temporary separation, which should become clear by the time we finish.”

Marilee bowed her head, to cover her flushed cheeks, and apologized for her hasty words. “I am so sorry,” she said.

“There is no need,” Feltha replied, and she was smiling widely. “I did the same thing when I was your age, and my late husband and I were separated, for very similar reasons, so for me, there is nothing to forgive.”

Marilee looked up into the eyes of Feltha and Delgart saw understanding, and a kindred spirit; the Feragwen smiled back at her, and Delgart took and briefly squeezed her hand; a quick glance passed between Delgart and Marilee, and Feltha smiled at them.

“We have received disturbing reports of late,” Feltha began, her tone becoming more formal, “from the Forsaken Outpost concerning what appear to be coordinated attacks by groups of a rare breed of wedaterem on the merchant caravans traveling the road north of the Mariskal between Kilnar and Southpass. The guild of merchants is screaming for extra protection, threatening not to pay their quarterly tax assessment if we do not solve the problem immediately.” Feltha shook her head and sighed.

“I take it,” Delgart noted, “that attacking in groups is not normal behavior for this rare breed?”

“Not unless driven to it by purem,” Marilee replied, “as we saw recently.”

Feltha nodded. “We have always known that there was a different strain of the wedaterem nesting deep in the swamp, green skinned instead of the blue skin with which we are more familiar, but they are solitary creatures, smaller than their blue-skinned cousins, seldom venturing anywhere near the caravan road, and if one did, it would never attack a large, well-guarded caravan; it might carry off an animal that had strayed, or a person who ventured too far from the road or camp, a thing which seldom happened. What is worse about these apparently coordinated attacks is the intelligence behind them: all the reports, and I will give them to you to examine, tell of patrols divided, chasing what they believe are persons taken by these wedaterem, but turn out to be phantoms: illusions created to draw our seklesem into carefully prepared traps from which few return.” She paused for a moment before continuing; Delgart sat with his fingertips together in front of his mouth; Marilee glanced once at him. “Another facet of our difficulties, one which draws off much of our strength in the Mariskal, has to do with the outpost itself. Marilee,” she turned to her, “you’ve served in the outpost on several assignments in the past; how much do you remember about the sponsum that inhabit the western marches of Mariskal?”

 

Next week we will hear more of these new creatures, and Feltha’s reason for discussing these matters with Delgart and Marilee. 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 January 6, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

6 January 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Welcome back to another edition! We return with the second and third stanzas of Matthew Arnold’s infamous “Dover Beach.” Last week, the first stanza set a tranquil mood, looking out on the beach at Dover, with his lover by his side; he called her attention to the beach and waves, and now continues by an appeal to ancient authority:

 

Sophocles long ago

Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow

Of human misery; we

Find also in the sound a thought,

Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

 

The first lines are a reference to “Antigone,” where Sophocles compares the sound of human sorrow to the sound of the waves rolling across the beach, in order to reinforce Arnold’s first stanza, and add sorrow to tranquility.

 

The Sea of Faith

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.

But now I only hear

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,

Retreating, to the breath

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear

And naked shingles of the world.

 

Many feel that these next lines are difficult to interpret; however, if we take it apart, it is fairly simple: ‘the sea . . . at the full’ is a reference to the full moon and how it causes the highest tide. As such, there is less of waves rolling over the beach, since the beach is covered with water. He compares this tide to a ‘girdle furled’; we note that girdle did not then have the sense it does today–a girdle then was a belt tied around the waist. When furled, it was folded, ready to be used, giving a sense of the waves at high tide. The stanza continues as high tide reverses to low, causing a sound that is, to the poet, a ‘melancholy . . . roar,’ leaving the beach exposed and ‘naked.’ We will share the final stanza next week. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 10, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on January 2, 2017 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

2 January 2017

 

Happy New Year! May this year be better than the last! In this week’s installment, we go with Tevvy and Rokwolf as they have the powder analyzed by Meekor’s friend. . . .

 

Chapter 10, Part 6

Presgrut was as surly as Tevvy remembered, even after he mentioned the name his father had given him. The short, hunched wethi with stringy gray hair snatched the sample from Tevvy’s hand, and his eyes bulged even more when he pulled the spectacles, with huge, clear crystals, from on top of his head down over his eyes; he muttered to himself as he bent his face closer to his workbench to examine the powder taken from the ale barrel. As Presgrut began to examine the sample, Tevvy and Rokwolf grabbed chairs, pulled them toward the workbench, and sat down to watch the old wethi work.

“Well-formed crystals,” Presgrut mumbled to himself. He dumped some of the sample into a small, white container, ground it, then examined it again through his spectacles. “Powders easily; does it burn?” he asked himself, and picked up a long handled, blackened spoon. Taking a small amount with the spoon, he let a few grains fall into one of the candles burning; the candle sputtered and smoked. “Not really,” he noted, then held the spoon over the end of the flame, watching the powder until it melted, then boiled away. He picked up a second candlestick and tipped it into the steam rising from the boiling liquid; it sputtered and flamed as before. He set the second candle down, then wafted some of the steam gently toward his face and sniffed once carefully; he frowned and turned the spoon over, burning the remainder, then stuck the spoon into a bucket of water next to his workbench, causing a momentary hiss. He wiped it dry with a rag, then scooped more of the powder with the spoon and emptied it into a flask of clear liquid; the liquid turned orange as he stirred it, and he looked at the liquid carefully. “Yes, I thought so,” he noted, setting it aside. He moved to a vertical metal rod that had several metal devices attached to it; he turned two of them, with large rings, closer to him, the two rings were horizontal to the surface of his work bench, the first six inches above, the second, three inches above the first. Turning from his bench, he went to a shelf behind it and began to rummage through what looked like small circles of white parchment of varying weights. He chose two and folded them to form cone shapes that he dropped into the two rings. After setting a second flask beneath the lowest ring and inverted cone, he picked up the original flask holding the orange liquid and poured it slowly into the upper cone and ring. As the liquid dripped out of the upper cone, they saw its color was now red, and as it dripped out of the lower, it was clear again. Presgrut smiled.

“So what is it?” Tevvy asked.

“Where did you say you found this?” Presgrut asked, ignoring his question.

“I didn’t,” Tevvy replied, “you never gave me the chance as you were too busy being grumpy, as usual,” and then, seeing him glare, he added, “in the top of a partially empty barrel of ale.”

Presgrut frowned at this. “What was the ale being used for?” he asked.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” Tevvy countered. “So what can you tell me?”

Presgrut pointed to the two rings. “You should recognize the substance in this lower filter,” he said.

Tevvy climbed onto his chair, then leaned forward, looking at the red residue left in the lower filter; he noticed the distinctive shade of bright red and the pungent odor. He sat back down. “Is that distilled from the berries of the skrufoti plant?” he asked.

Presgrut nodded. “You do your father credit,” he said gruffly. “It is a plant found only in the Wolpoti Swamp, and it renders the victim unconscious.”

“What is the other substance?” Tevvy asked.

Presgrut shrugged. “I’m not sure,” he admitted, “although it appears to be some kind of venom.” He poked at the yellow substance with a needle-pointed instrument and held it up; they saw a tiny drop clinging to the point. He looked around his bench and found a small cage containing a gray field mouse; the small creature knew what was coming and tired in vain to escape. With practiced skill, Presgrut pricked the neck of the mouse; within seconds it went limp, eyes wide open and staring.

“Notice that it appears to be awake,” Presgrut said, “but let’s make sure; it will probably want a drink went it regains the ability to move,” and as he said this, he opened the cage and turned the mouse to the left away from its small watering tin attached to one wall of the cage. They noticed the tail twitch as he turned it. “Already it begins to recover,” he noted, and they watched as, a few seconds later, its hind legs twitched, then moved, then its front paws, and its ears, and within twenty seconds the mouse got to its feet and scrambled to the right and its water dish. “As I thought,” he said, “this venom paralyzes the body, leaving the mind awake, cognizant of what is happening but unable to resist or flee. There is only one group of predators that hunts this way, mostly because they eat live flesh, and so keep their victims for days at a time before consuming them.”

“There is not any animal I know,” Rokwolf said, “which hunts in that manner; all that I am familiar with use venom to stop the struggling of the prey, so it can be eaten.”

“I do not speak of an animal in the strictest sense,” Presgrut went on, “but of spiders.”

Tevvy laughed. “It would take a long time to collect that much venom from literally, thousands, maybe millions, of spiders!” he said. “Who would waste such time?”

“Not so, you would just need bigger spiders,” Presgrut said, “about the size of sheep.”

“There’s no such . . . ,” Tevvy started to say but was cut off.

“There is,” Presgrut said, “in the western part of the Mariskal, or so I have been told.”

Before Tevvy could process this statement, the lights flashed like stars and he was plunged into darkness and silence, sliding from his chair to the floor.

 

Next week, we will begin Chapter 11, our focus shifting back to Marilee and Delgart on their way to a meeting with the Feragwen. Until then, we remind our readers that today is the last day the ebook compilation of the first three books of The Redemption series is available for free from Smashwords! Get this trio of our books today, before our sale ends! The Morgle Unmasked, is available for purchase from your favorite bookstore by following the above link. Get the print version from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on December 31, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

30 December 2016

Poet’s Corner

 

We return, after a month-long bout with illness, as we begin to share a poem by Matthew Arnold, one he is best known for, “Dover Beach.” We note at the beginning that Arnold’s poem is filled with bitterness; he believed that he was a great poet, one who should be ranked with the best of his day (Tennyson & Browning), and yet, his contemporaries saw him as a mediocre poet, at best, and history has not overturned this judgment. This particular poem is probably the most parodied of any, with at least eight later poems, using “Dover Beach” in their titles, along with a host of others, most well known, by Anthony Hecht, “The Dover B–: A Criticism of Life” (I cannot use the third word in the title here, lest the censors delete my post; it is a word that means to complain;). Here is the first stanza:

 

The sea is calm to-night.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits; - on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Only, from the long line of spray

Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,

At their return, up the high strand,

Begin, and cease, and then again begin,

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring

The eternal note of sadness in.

 

The poet stands looking out a window onto the beach at Dover, and calls to his lover/mistress, beckoning her to come and look out the window at the sea below. The line, “Listen! you hear the grating roar,” is a direct reference to Wordsworth’s “It Is a Beauteous Evening.” Further, there is a large difference in the sound of the waves between sandy and rocky beaches. This one, the pebbles, sea-slimed, are rolled up and down the beach as the waves roll in, causing a sound that the poet calls an ‘eternal note of sadness,’ and this line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Come back next year, or next week, for another section of Arnold’s poem. Until then, good reading in a happy new year!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 10, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on December 27, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

26 December 2016

 

We hope all had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a Happy New Year! We return to our tale, from The Morgle Unmasked, as Elanor continues to try out her new bracers, making Tevvy jump. . . .

 

Chapter 10, Part 5

Tevvy felt an electric charge surge through him that made his face flush; he reached out and pulled her finger from the symbol. “That works,” he said.

Elanor smiled at him wickedly. “Did it?” she asked. “Are you certain? Perhaps I should test it again?” she added, moving her hand toward her wrist.

Tevvy grabbed it and held it. “No, I need to check something else,” he stammered, then let go of her hand. He touched the symbol and, for the benefit of the others, said her name aloud; he saw the familiar, and very thick, white thread going straight to her. He nodded. “Now you try,” he said.

“But nothing happened,” she protested.

“You’ll see a thick, white thread leading to me,” Tevvy went on, “the thickness or thinness of the thread tells you whether the person is far or near, in this case, quite near, so quite thick.”

She did; her eyes widened. “I see it,” she said. “So I can use this to find you.”

“And I you,” Tevvy added, “or anyone else who wears one of these.”

He paused at this point as their breakfast arrived, but once they began to eat he went on to tell how Master Thalamar and Sir Blakstar used the verghrenum to find and rescue him, then of their journey north and entry into Shigmar’s tomb to retrieve breath-giver; he described all that had happened to them in the tomb, and how they had learned to communicate using the staff and sword, how they had rescued Klare, and what happened to Shigmar. He went on to relate how he had traveled south with the seklesem, and what he learned after reaching Kilnar, how he had nearly been captured, and how he had brought Rokwolf and Sutugno here with him and why.

“That is a tragic story,” Meekor said, “and I will be happy to bind them together, whenever they wish it.” He looked at his son. “You did make one mistake that nearly cost you your life: you let prejudice get in your way, which is why you got caught in the sewers in the first place.”

“But father,” Tevvy protested, “the kortexi refuses to trust me: he will not accept that my skills can be useful. He sees me as a thief, nothing more.”

“That may be,” Meekor said, “but that is no reason for you to be as stupid; he will come around, in time.” He sighed and shook his head. “You should have found some place to hide and waited until you had regained control of your thoughts and temper.”

Tevvy nodded. “You are right,” he agreed, “I let myself get angry and got captured; I should know better.”

There was a knock on the door; Meekor frowned. “That does not sound like Daybor’s usual knock,” he noted, getting up; daggers appeared in both hands. Tevvy and Elanor also stood up from the chairs where they had been sitting. Meekor nodded to Tevvy, who moved to the other side of the door, daggers sliding into his hands; Elanor waited near Varla, daggers held in front of her.

“Enter,” Meekor said.

The door opened slowly, and they saw the tall, sandy-haired form of Rokwolf framed in the doorway; everyone relaxed.

“Come in,” Meekor said, smiling, “you are Rokwolf, and that must be Sutugno.” He turned to Tevvy. “Pull up a couple of those larger chairs for our wethi guests.” Tevvy moved the chairs to the table while Meekor and Varla greeted the newcomers.

“Is it too early to have that sample analyzed?” Rokwolf asked after exchanging pleasantries.

Tevvy looked at his father. “The one I took from the ale barrel in Kilnar,” he added.

“He owes me a favor,” Meekor replied, “a very big favor, so if he balks, just mention ‘Ruby.’”

Tevvy raised an eyebrow. “Which is?”

Meekor shook his head. “That you know the name will be enough,” he replied, “any more and he will kill us both.” He thought for a moment, watching his wife and Elanor draw Sutugno into the other part of the room. “You mentioned the peculiar disappearances in Kilnar involving the Green Beast there, have you forgotten that we are next to another Green Beast?”

Tevvy’s eyebrows drew together. “In all that has happened to us,” he replied, “that had not occurred to me. Have there been strange disappearances here?”

Meekor shook his head again. “None that have been reported, but then no one keeps a very close watch on this part of Rykelle: no one of any importance lives in this quarter,” he added wryly. “I’ll have someone check their ale barrels, or just collect a sample of their ale.” He looked again at the ladies, then back at Rokwolf. “Knowing what has recently happened to you–Tevvy shared it with us–I would be worried about their conversation,” he said, nodding toward his wife, Elanor, and Sutugno.

Rokwolf sighed. “I hear you, Master Meekor,” he said, “but there is very little I can do to change it.”

“Seriously,” Meekor said, gripping Rokwolf’s forearm, “I can perform the joining ceremony, if that will help, and we can make it completely private: Tevvy and Elanor can be the official witnesses, and you know from experience that they can keep secrets.”

Rokwolf nodded once, his face bleak.

 

Next week, we will follow Tevvy and Rokwolf as they visit Meekor’s friend to have the powder Tevvy found in an ale barrel analyzed. Until then, we remind our readers that the ebook compilation of the first three books of The Redemption series, is available for free from Smashwords! Give this trio of our books to all of your friends for Christmas. The Morgle Unmasked, is available for purchase from your favorite bookstore by following the above link. Get the print version from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on December 23, 2016 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

To honor this season in which we commemorate the birth of Christ, here is one of our poems, a Christmas poem, written from the perspective of the angels who came to the shepherds, and set to music by Karl Northrup, a video made earlier this month.  This singers are our daughters, Jess & Lu, along with two friends, Paul Wooley & Jared Carlson.  We wish all our followers a Merry Christmas!  May we all remember whose life we celebrate! https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzOex-eWm6F1cXpzamtHSmZLUlk" target="_blank"> "We Angels Sang"

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 10, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on December 19, 2016 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

19 December 2016

 

We wish all a Merry Christmas! And we apologize for missing our Friday poetry post–we have been under the weather. . . . We continue this week with the conversation of Tevvy and his family, Elanor responding to Tevvy’s claim of feeling trapped. . . .

 

Chapter 10, Part 4

Elanor’s face went suddenly wide with mock surprise. “I make you feel trapped?” she asked, her eyes looking moist.

“No . . . , I did not mean . . . ,” Tevvy tried to protest, “you don’t make me feel that way,” he finally said, gently touching her cheek. “What I should have said was that I feel carefully maneuvered into a position where I have only one choice,” he added, looking at his father.

Meekor shook his head.

“Mother?” Tevvy asked.

“Are you suggesting that I backed you into this corner?” Varla asked. “I think you got there on your own!”

“Can we get back to the story?” Meekor asked.

“I did not bring up the idea of a joining,” Varla retorted, “you, also, did that on your own.”

Tevvy laughed. “It is good to be home,” he noted.

Elanor was glaring at him with her arms folded across her chest.

“Is something amiss?” Tevvy asked, trying not to flinch under her glare.

“Unless I’m mistaken, Telvor,” Elanor spoke very slowly, “you have, again, weaseled out of fixing a date.”

Tevvy’s eyes widened. “I did?”

“Don’t play innocent with me, Telvor!” Elanor exclaimed, her voice rising. “This is not the first time you have done it, and I am tired of playing games with you! Three days–yes or no?” She glared at him.

Tevvy looked from Elanor to his mother, and saw that she was in full agreement; he looked to his father for some help, but Meekor smiled back at him, and he knew that he was cornered at last. Inside, he sighed; he took Elanor’s hand. “Yes, dear,” he said as submissively as he could, “that sounds wonderful!” He smiled and braced himself; Elanor flung herself into his arms a second time.

“About time, too,” Varla noted.

Tevvy looked at his father as Elanor continued to cling to him. “There might be more than just Elanor and I,” he said.

“Really, who?” Meekor asked.

“Do you remember the seklesi that I trained under on one of my field assignments?” Tevvy asked.

Meekor nodded. “Captain Rokwolf,” he said, “but I thought he had his eyes on another seklesa, Marilee, I think I recall, who Elanor trained with?”

Elanor shook her head. “She always told me she respected him as a leader but only liked him as a brother.”

Tevvy nodded. “She finally rejected him,” Tevvy said, “and I think she has fallen for his older brother, and both she and Delgart had a strange wasting sickness that left half of their faces disfigured–the opposite half–so that if they place the maimed sides together, one can see the mark of Gar glowing between them. We discovered that all of the chosen have been maimed by Gar and have his mark inscribed somewhere on our persons.”

“That’s horrible!” Elanor exclaimed. “Marilee was very pretty, for a wetha,” she went on, “and she had the most beautiful, long, black hair. When I was training with her, I’d help her brush it at night, and you say her face was maimed?”

Tevvy nodded. “She and Delgart keep their faces wrapped at all times, always wearing their hoods,” he replied.

Meekor was shaking his head. “Now you’re starting in the middle, son,” he noted wryly.

“That happened near the beginning,” Tevvy said, “about the time I arrived in Shigmar,” and for the next few hours, Tevvy went on, amid many questions, to tell his parents and Elanor what had happened to him since he had left. He related all that had happened in Shigmar, and all that he had learned about his companions; he told of rescuing them from the dungeon, and how they had discovered the secret room beneath the sewers that actually stopped time. He noted that in the room they discovered the tampering with his and Klare’s minds and the verghrenum prepared to protect them from further tampering.

“That reminds me,” he noted, “I have something for you, Elanor.” He pulled out a pair of bracers like his but with smaller symbols on them. “These were in the same chest where we found ours; Rokwolf saw their size and thought I might know for whom they were. Hold out your arms,” he said to Elanor, and when she did, he slipped them over her hands, one at a time, then tightened and tied the laces. When the second was tied in place, both glowed white, then her entire body was surrounded by white light.

“Tevvy? What have you . . . ?” she started to say, then her eyes went blank, her body went limp, and she started to slide off the bed.

Tevvy was ready for this, so he caught her in his arms; the light around her winked out.

Elanor took a deep breath and looked up into Tevvy’s face.

“How do you feel?” Tevvy asked.

Elanor sat up in his arms, looking around. “I want to say tired, but that is not true,” she said. “I think I feel better, although I did not know that I felt bad before.”

“You’ve done quite well,” Tevvy said. “When Rokwolf put his on, he went right to sleep and did not awaken until he was sent to Shigmar and Headmaster Myron.”

“I do feel quite hungry, though,” Elanor added, looking around hopefully.

“It should be here anytime now,” Varla said.

“And you said you can communicate with these?” Meekor asked.

“Not exactly, father,” Tevvy replied, “we can signal each other, but I do not know if it works with these,” he added, his voice trailing off. Casually, he touched the symbol on his own wrist and thought of Elanor, who suddenly looked down at her wrists. “What did you notice?” he asked.

“They got suddenly warmer,” Elanor replied.

Tevvy held up his arms so they could see what he was doing; he took his finger off the symbol.

“They’ve cooled,” Elanor noted.

“Like that,” Tevvy said, looking at his father. He looked back at Elanor. “Now you try,” he said, “concentrate on me and touch the symbol.”

 

Next week, the conversation continues as Elanor discovers how to use her new bracers. Until then, we remind our readers that the ebook compilation of the first three books of The Redemption series, is available for free from Smashwords! Give this trio of our books to all of your friends for Christmas. The Morgle Unmasked, is available for purchase from your favorite bookstore by following the above link. Get the print version from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 10, Part 3

Posted by gwermon on December 13, 2016 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

12 December 2016

 

In this week’s installment from the third book of The Redemption series, The Morgle Unmasked, we continue with Tevvy as he recounts the source of his bracers; a new character enters our story, one who has Tevvy’s number, so to speak!

 

Chapter 10, Part 3

“I did not have them made, dad,” he said, “they were made by Melbarth and left for us in that secret place; they are teka-enhanced; each one of us has a pair, and they protect our minds from tampering. They also allow us to find each other and signal each other. However, this is all beside the point, in the room is also a tablet with the original prophecy, and we discovered errors in our current copies from the original, but those errors are not that important now. Do you remember the chosen described as the ‘cunning mouse?’”

Meekor nodded; Varla still had her hands over her mouth.

Tevvy simply pointed to himself.

“I knew it!” Meekor exclaimed. “We all knew it!”

“You all suspected it, dear,” Varla corrected, slowly lowering her hands.

“I wonder if Myron and Avril realized it,” Meekor mused, still looking at his wife, “when all of them showed up together at Shigmar, as I’m sure they did.” He looked back at his son. “Am I right?”

“They never really said,” Tevvy replied, “but all of us did show up there, yes.”

“To your story, then,” Meekor said.

Varla turned and pulled the rope next to her side of the bed; father and son both looked at her quizzically. “I can see that this will take all morning,” she said, “and I do not feel like reliving my son’s harrowing adventures without some breakfast.”

“Mother, isn’t it early for breakfast?” Tevvy asked.

“It was not my choice to get up two hours before the sun,” she replied.

“I suppose not,” Tevvy replied sheepishly.

The door opened and a round face with curly blonde hair poked inside. “Yes, mistress?” his young voice asked.

“We want breakfast for four,” Varla said, “as soon as they can get everything going.”

“Four, mother?” Tevvy said.

“Quiet, Telvor!” she said. “On your way, stop and wake my maid; tell her I need her right away.”

“Your maid, mistress?” the young awemi asked.

Varla nodded to Tevvy, then said, “yes, my maid. You know who I mean?” she asked, nodding again to Tevvy.

Comprehension dawned on the boy’s round face. “Oh, yes mistress; I’ll wake her at once.” His face vanished and the door closed.

“Wasn’t that Daybor?” Tevvy asked.

“I believe it was,” Varla replied.

“And what was that about a maid?” Tevvy asked. “I don’t recall you having or needing one before.”

“I don’t,” Varla admitted. “It is punishment for misbehavior. The girl came from a well-to-do family, and when she arrived, felt that she deserved better treatment than everyone else. She convinced one of the other new girls to be her maidservant. I thought that it was appropriate punishment for . . . ,” but Varla stopped when the door flew opened and an awema with the same curly blonde hair and round, although prettier, face stopped in the doorway.

“Telvor?” she said, “did my brother speak truly?”

Tevvy smiled at her. “Elanor, I have . . . ,” Tevvy started to say, but she stopped him, flying into his arms and knocking him back into his mother.

“Telvor!” Varla exclaimed, pushing the two of them off her.

“Sorry, mistress,” Elanor said, smiling at Tevvy’s mother, then she looked at Tevvy with her wide, round eyes. “I was so worried for you,” she said softly, and then she kissed him.

Tevvy’s face flushed. “Elanor!” he said after she released him. “We are not alone!”

“They know,” Elanor nodded to Tevvy’s parents, kissing him again.

Tevvy turned and looked first at his father and then his mother. “How?” he asked.

Meekor laughed at him; Varla replied with an exasperated look. “This is not the sort of thing that you can hide from your mother,” she noted, “nor should you try!”

“Think back, son,” Meekor said, still chuckling, “and I think that you will realize how we knew without being told.”

His father’s reply at first surprised Tevvy, but then he thought back; he realized that the two of them had entered the school at the same time, so had all of their classes together. But as he let his mind wander back over all of their moments together, he recognized that both his parents had arranged things so that the two of them were often together: doing chores together, class work together, field assignments together, they even spent much of their free time together.

Tevvy looked shrewdly at his parents. “You two planned this,” he noted.

“What a thing to suggest!” Varla protested with mock surprise.

“And you want to complain?” Meekor asked. “No, we did not plan for this result, but we were quite happy when we noticed what was happening, before either of you did.” He smiled warmly.

Elanor was still holding Tevvy tightly, with her head buried in his shoulder. “I’m not complaining,” she sighed, “except about how long you were gone.”

“Yes, and I’m still waiting to hear exactly what happened,” Meekor added, with feigned impatience.

“You’d better humor your father,” Varla said, touching Tevvy’s arm fondly, “or he’ll keep hounding us until you do.”

Meekor looked at his wife, then turned to his son, jerking his head back toward Varla. “See what I have to put up with all day long: are you sure you want to go through with this?” he asked, nodding toward Elanor.

“It’s too late for that,” Elanor said, “he’s already made his vow; all that remains is to make it legal.”

Meekor shrugged. “I can do that, anytime,” he said.

Varla looked at her son and Elanor shrewdly. “It would take me a few days to make the arrangements.”

Elanor sat up. “Really?” she asked eagerly.

Varla nodded. Elanor, Varla, and Meekor all looked at Tevvy.

“Why do I suddenly feel like a rat caught in a trap?” Tevvy asked the room at large.

 

Next time, Tevvy continues to tell his story, after reassuring Elanor that he does not wish to escape her . . . , not really. Until then, we remind our readers that the ebook compilation of the first three books of The Redemption series, is available for free from Smashwords! Give this trio of our books to all of your friends for Christmas. The Morgle Unmasked, is available for purchase from your favorite bookstore by following the above link. Get the print version from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace. Good reading!


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