Clyde B. Northrup

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Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on May 23, 2017 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

22 May 2017

 

Welcome back! We begin a new chapter from The Morgle Unmasked, continuing from where we left off last week as the chosen evaluate what has happened, and what they should do next. . . .

 

Chapter 14, Part 1

Love–a foolish sentiment! One that the wethem and other races surround with a silly mystique and many foolish rituals, especially when one considers that its source is a biological urge to propagate the species. But we can use these silly sentiments and foolish rituals to manipulate our enemies into doing many things that they would not otherwise do, things that will benefit the Great Lord’s cause. . . .

 

from the Journal of Motodu, recovered by the Chosen in the Great Year

Translated by Hierarch Thalamar

 

After sliding his sword into its sheath with a steely hiss, Blakstar sat on the end of the bed to pull on his boots; Klare sank onto her knees next to the bed, resting her head and arms on the pillow next to her friend’s unmoving form and beginning to sob softly. Klaybear sat on the bed beside her, one leg bent on the bed in front of him so that he could face Thal, Blakstar, and the young awemi, while resting one arm over Klare’s shoulders, breath-giver rested across his leg in front of him.

Thal turned to Daybor, who stood looking at the closed door. “I’m Thal,” the white maghi said, “this is Blakstar, and Rokwolf’s twin brother, Klaybear, his wife Klare, who was Sutugno’s best friend,” he went on, pointing to each in turn, and each nodded, except for Klare, who continued to sob softly into her arms.

Daybor turned when Thal spoke his name. “I’m Daybor,” he replied, “Elanor’s younger brother; my sister is Tevvy’s intended,” he added by way of explanation, which caused Klare to raise her tear-stained face, “and they were going to be married in three days by Tevvy’s father, which is no longer possible,” Daybor ended in a hollow voice.

“Why not?” Thal asked.

“Because,” Daybor stammered, voice choked with emotion, “they’ve killed his father and mother, and taken my sister!” He tried to rub the tears from his eyes, tried to be angry about what had happened to keep from crying, but he could not hold back the sobs that wracked his small frame.

Klare was on her feet and moving to him, kneeling, and taking him into her arms like the small child he appeared to be. She tried to soothe him for a time, but his sobbing increased, so she turned her head to the kortexi who was seated nearby. “The Waters,” she whispered.

Blakstar slid off the bed onto one knee next to Klare and Daybor, taking the special flask from his belt and pulling the stopper out. “Take a drink of the Waters of Life, Daybor,” Blakstar said softly, “they will give you peace and healing in this difficult time.”

Daybor sniffed and wiped his eyes, turning from Klare toward the kortexi who was surrounded by soft golden light. He drank two swallows from the flask and his face changed: his eyes widened, he smiled, and then his look became one of iron-hard resolve. He stood taller and straighter, and started to turn toward the door. “I will rescue Elanor myself!” he exclaimed.

Blakstar put one hand on the awemi’s shoulder. “Peace,” he commanded, “the Waters are potent.”

Daybor looked into Blakstar’s eyes, then turned and looked back at Klare and the others; he smiled at them. “I feel better now,” he said simply.

Klare smiled at him. “Then maybe you can tell us what happened here, and what would cause our two companions to run off on their own?”

“I think so,” Daybor replied, “although I do not know everything that has happened.”

“That’s fine,” Thal said, “just tell us what you do know.”

Daybor quickly recounted how Tevvy and Rokwolf had arrived early the previous morning and how Tevvy had slipped into his parents’ room secretly, their long discussion, and Rokwolf entering the room after Sutugno had arisen. He told them about Tevvy and Rokwolf leaving in the early afternoon to visit the alchemist with the sample from Kilnar, and how they did not return when they should have.

“Meekor was about to send someone to check on them when we were attacked by what we thought was the local Thieves’ Guild,” Daybor went on, “but they had extra help from wethem and monsters from the swamp.”

“The altered wedaterem Delgart told us about,” Klaybear put in.

Daybor shrugged. “Whatever they were, we were quickly overwhelmed,” Daybor continued. “I had come in here to see my sister, when we heard the noise in the hallway outside. Elanor and Sutugno shoved me in the wardrobe, telling me not to make a sound. That’s when they crashed in, taking Elanor and forcing Sutugno to drink that foul potion. When we searched later, it looked like most of us were captured and led into the swamp, very few were actually killed.”

“How do you know?” Blakstar asked.

“We found only a few bodies up here or on the main level,” Daybor replied. “Most of the bodies we found were of those Guild members who helped the wethem from the swamp: Rokwolf and I found them in the first room in the sewers. Rokwolf tracked the rest through our cellar and into the swamp; there is a tunnel leading from our cellar out of the city and into the Mariskal,” he added by way of explanation.

“Why did Tevvy go back to the alchemist?” Klaybear asked.

“And why were they delayed?” Thal added.

“Rokwolf said that they were knocked unconscious while there,” Daybor replied.

 

Next time this discussion will continue, as our heroes wrestle with what has happened. 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 May 19, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

19 May 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We’re back with another installment and analysis of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” We have watched Laura deteriorate, wishing for more of the forbidden fruit. Now her sister, Lizzie, responds:

 

Tender Lizzie could not bear

To watch her sister's cankerous care,

Yet not to share.

She night and morning

Caught the goblins' cry:

"Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy."

Beside the brook, along the glen

She heard the tramp of goblin men,

The voice and stir

Poor Laura could not hear;

Longed to buy fruit to comfort her,

But feared to pay too dear.

 

It is remarkable that Lizzie can still hear the goblin calling, but Laura cannot–one wonders why, and one then must question the purpose of the goblins: is it simply to destroy young maidens? Why? Or is it a metaphor for something else? The poet goes on, reminding us of the story shared early on, of another maiden who ate the goblin fruit and died:

 

She thought of Jeanie in her grave,

Who should have been a bride;

But who for joys brides hope to have

Fell sick and died

In her gay prime,

In earliest winter-time,

With the first glazing rime,

With the first snow-fall of crisp winter-time.

 

This recollection by Lizzie will impel her to action, for as we will see next time, winter approaches, and with it, Lizzie fears, Laura’s end, her one taste of the fruit causing her to waste away. We again comment on the rhyme: while there is no clear pattern, there is still rhyme, interlocking and repeating, as we see in the above stanzas. More next time; until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 7

Posted by gwermon on May 15, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

15 May 2017

 

In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, Tevvy contacts the other chosen for help. . . .

Chapter 13, Part 7

Tevvy was suddenly filled with rage; he knew at once that the old wethi was at least partially responsible for the death of his parents, for Elanor being taken, and for what might happen to Sutugno. He leapt forward, vaulting off one of the chairs in front of Presgrut’s workbench onto the workbench, and from there straight at the old alchemist, plunging his dagger straight into the old wethi’s heart. Presgrut’s eyes widened with surprise, as Tevvy’s action was completely unexpected; the old alchemist’s knees buckled, and he sank slowly to the floor with the awemi hanging from the front of his robes. Tevvy jerked his dagger free and wiped it clean on the front of the old wethi’s robes. He retrieved the other dagger from where it was still stuck in the wall and touched the kailu symbol on his wrist, concentrating on Klaybear. He turned to the shelves filled with rolls of parchment and began pulling them off and throwing them onto Presgrut’s body; he moved along the shelves of bottles, pulling down potions that he recognized as highly flammable, then poured them over the parchment, breaking some of them on the walls and workbench nearby.

“What is it?” Klaybear’s head asked, yawning.

Tevvy looked up. “Sutugno is in grave danger,” he began, and quickly explained what had happened and what he had just learned. “Rokwolf was with her, so you need to contact him and tell him not to give her a sleeping potion or she will die.”

“I’ll do it now,” Klaybear said.

“Someone needs to bring me through, so I can burn this place and leave no evidence that I was ever here,” Tevvy added.

“Right, breaking contact.”

A few moments later, a gray, shimmering arch winked on in front of the awemi; Tevvy paused long enough to toss one of the candles onto the parchment, and when he saw it flare to life, along with the workbench and the wall, he stepped through the archway into their sanctuary.

Klaybear sat at the long table, Klare standing next to him, speaking to Rokwolf; Thal stood beside Tevvy, lifting Blakstar’s sword and closing the door. Tevvy saw Rokwolf’s face drain of all color.

“We’re in the cellar,” Rokwolf said. “It will take several minutes to get back upstairs.” And the way the background started to move, Tevvy was sure he had started to run.

“Give me the sword,” Tevvy demanded of Thal. “I can take us all straight to her room.”

Thal nodded and passed him the sword.

“Tevvy’s here,” Klaybear said, “he’s opening a doorway to her room right now.”

“Get Blakstar!” Tevvy exclaimed as he finished drawing the circle. “We’ll need the Waters!” Tevvy lifted the sword to form the arch even as Thal ran toward the room where he and the kortexi had been sleeping.

“Hurry!” Rokwolf shouted as Klaybear stood and lifted the staff, breaking the connection. Klare had already come around the table and was nearing the place where Tevvy was finishing the arch.

“Catch, Klare!” Klaybear said as he started to move, seeing that she would reach the archway first.

Klare caught breath-giver and stepped into the shimmering arch. Thal came out of the room with Blakstar right behind him, buckling on his belt and carrying his boots folded over one arm. Klaybear and Thal nearly collided in their rush to get to the archway; they stepped through, followed by Blakstar, who was followed by Tevvy. The awemi lifted the sword and handed it back to the kortexi, but he did not take it. The four of them stood still, around the end of the bed, all eyes fixed on Klare, who was holding an empty bottle, and the tears running freely down her face told them what the bottle had contained: a sleeping potion. Sutugno lay motionless on the bed, sleeping peacefully to their eyes, looking happier than she had been.

“Is she dead?” Klaybear asked in a whisper.

Klare answered by turning and holding a green-glowing breath-giver over Sutugno’s form, moving it up and down and pouring healing energy into the inert form; Tevvy could see beads of sweat forming on Klare’s forehead. She released the forces she handled and looked back at the wethem. “If she were alive, she should be leaping out of bed right now, for all the energy I have poured into her.” Tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks again. “I cannot heal her,” she sobbed, handing the staff back to her husband. “You are stronger, and this is the most powerful kailu artifact ever created: isn’t there something you can do?” she implored.

Tevvy saw a look of hard resolve come into Klaybear’s eyes. “There must be,” he said, “this is, after all, breath-giver,” he added, pushing back his sleeves.

“Wait!” Thal said suddenly, and all turned to look at him. “I just realized something,” slapping his own forehead. “Why didn’t I think of it before?” he asked himself. “Breath-giver alone is not enough: if you try it, you will turn her into a nekerpu, and you will set your feet on the path to becoming a purgle yourself.”

They were all still looking at him. “Are you certain?” Klaybear asked.

Thal nodded and pointed to the staff. “Breath-giver,” he said, then pointed to Blakstar’s sword, “plus will-giver,” then to himself, “plus thought-giver, together, will give back life, but we are missing Melbarth’s rod, which is thought-giver.”

“I thought we did not know the rod’s name,” Klare said.

“All that happened today has put it out of my mind,” Thal replied, “but recall the statues I told you about, the ones will-giver raised out of the ground in Karble, the statue of me held Melbarth’s rod, and the name was inscribed on it.”

The door burst open, and Rokwolf hurled into the room, took one look at the form on the bed, saw the empty bottle, and howled. “NO!” He pushed the others out of the way and lay down on the bed, taking her still form into his arms. He put his face next to hers and lay there for a few moments; only a single sob escaped his lips, but tears flowed freely from his eyes. He kissed her once and got up.

“Let’s go,” Rokwolf said in a bleak voice.

“Where did they take her?” Tevvy asked.

“Into the swamp, along with all the rest of your father’s students.”

“To feed the morgle,” Tevvy added, anger burning inside, making his face hot. Tevvy pushed the kortexi’s sword into his hand and turned to go.

Rokwolf pushed past the others.

“Have the two of you lost your minds?” Klare asked. “If you will wait until tomorrow, Delgart will be leading the fabled Seventh Legion into the Mariskal to assault Morokolu: wouldn’t it be better to have an elite seklesi legion supporting you?”

“He will find us already there,” Rokwolf replied coldly, starting to turn away.

“If you go alone, without help, you will be captured!” Klare exclaimed.

Then I hope that you will arrive in time to rescue us,” Rokwolf said, and the two of them walked out of the room, closing the door behind them.

 

We will begin a new chapter next week as the remaining chosen try to learn what has happened in Meekor’s school, and why their fellows would have left so suddenly. 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 May 12, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

12 May 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Happy Mothers’ Day! Where would any of us be without our mothers? We return with more of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” as we watch Laura pine away for the fruit of the goblins:

 

Day after day, night after night,

Laura kept watch in vain,

In sullen silence of exceeding pain.

She never caught again the goblin cry:

"Come buy, come buy,"

She never spied the goblin men

Hawking their fruits along the glen:

But when the noon waxed bright

Her hair grew thin and gray;

She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn

To swift decay, and burn

Her fire away.

 

The cost of the fruit is greater than Laura can pay, as she begins to dwindle and fade, her hair going prematurely gray; now, she tries to grow some of the goblins’ fruit, using one of the seeds she discarded from the fruit she ate:

 

One day remembering her kernel-stone

She set it by a wall that faced the south;

Dewed it with tears, hoped for a root,

Watched for a waxing shoot,

But there came none;

It never saw the sun,

It never felt the trickling moisture run:

While with sunk eyes and faded mouth

She dreamed of melons, as a traveller sees

False waves in desert drouth

With shade of leaf-crowned trees,

And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

 

She no more swept the house,

Tended the fowls or cows,

Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,

Brought water from the brook:

But sat down listless in the chimney-nook

And would not eat.

 

The seed will not sprout, and she begins to dream of the fruit, but like a desert mirage, her dreams only remind her of what she lacks, the delicious, forbidden fruit. She no longer does her daily chores, but sits in the corner by the fireplace, refusing to work or eat. Next time, we will see her sister’s response, and her attempt to save her sister. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on May 8, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

8 May 2017

 

This week in our installment from The Morgle Unmasked, we see Tevvy returning to Presgrut, forcing the old wethi to talk. . . .

 

Chapter 13, Part 6

 

Rokwolf laughed. “And you think he will tell you?”

Tevvy turned around, an evil smile on his face. He pulled out an old bit of parchment with a wax seal. “Oh, I think he will.” He turned again and left the room.

Rokwolf sighed and shook his head. “Did you find any survivors?” Rokwolf asked Daybor.

Daybor shook his head. “No, and what is even more strange is that we found very few bodies, and no one else hiding,” he said.

“Did you search everywhere?” Rokwolf asked.

“On this level,” Daybor replied, “which is where most of them should be at this time of night: all of our shops are closed, so the only ones on the lower levels should be those on guard duty.”

“We’ll have to go check,” Rokwolf noted. He looked down at Sutugno, resting on his chest. “Will you be all right here?” he asked.

“You’re not going far?” she asked.

“Just downstairs to look for survivors,” he replied, “you can contact me if you need me,” he added, touching her bracelets.

“I’ll try and rest, maybe sleep,” she said, “if that fails, didn’t you say there was a sleeping potion in that basket?”

“There is,” Rokwolf replied, taking the potion from the basket and placing it in her hand. He kissed her once before getting up and leaving the room, closing the door as he and Daybor stepped into the hall.

###

The dagger thunked into the shelf, quivering within an inch of Presgrut’s left eye; the old alchemist turned slowly to see who had thrown it. He saw Tevvy standing with another dagger in his hand, ready to throw.

“Tell me why I should not make the next one go straight through your eye?” Tevvy asked.

Presgrut swallowed before speaking. “Because you would not get any answers, and right now, you want answers.”

“I have answer enough, that you betrayed us, besides,” he went on, “I have powerful kailu friends who could force you to speak after you were dead.”

“If you have time,” Presgrut countered, but sweat beaded on his pasty forehead.

“I can have them here in seconds,” Tevvy noted. He held up the empty bottle, then tossed it to Presgrut. “One of yours: what is it?”

The old alchemist caught the bottle, although he fumbled and nearly dropped it. “An empty bottle, so it could be anything.”

Tevvy cocked his arm back, as if about to throw. “Don’t play games with me, old wethi!

Tevvy smiled and lowered his arm, flipping and catching the dagger by its point; his actions surprised and puzzled the old alchemist. “I was hoping you’d play it this way,” Tevvy said, and he took and old piece of parchment with a wax seal from his pocket; he held it up for Presgrut to see. “Recognize this?” he asked. “My father left it for me, in case anything happened to him.” Any color left in Presgrut’s face drained away. “I see that you do recognize this bit of old parchment; now unless you want me to march you across the street to the city watch, I suggest you start talking. What was in the bottle, and who did you sell it to, and more importantly, why?”

“They will kill me if I say,” Presgrut whined.

Tevvy waved the parchment. “And I’ll turn you over to the watch, and they’ll kill you for what happened with Ruby.”

Presgrut’s jaw clenched, and the knuckles on the hand holding the empty bottle whitened. “I sold it to my usual contact in the Guild, Gunthar.”

“I thought as much, but what is it?”

“A mixture of the wasting sickness, snake venom, and poison from the spines of ocean fish.”

“You are being a little vague, old wethi,” Tevvy noted.

Presgrut shrugged. “I did not make it, nor do I have the ingredients.”

“Then how did you get it?” Tevvy asked.

“It came on a ship from Belford,” the alchemist replied.

“Who sent it?” Tevvy pressed.

“I do not know, for sure, but I can guess,” the old wethi replied evasively, sweat running down his pasty face.

“And?” Tevvy demanded.

“Who resides across the bay from Belford?” Presgrut countered.

Tevvy nodded. “Where have they taken Elanor?” he asked, switching subjects.

“I do not know; haven’t you gotten a ransom note?” Presgrut feigned ignorance.

“Don’t be smart,” Tevvy snapped. “Why did the Guild attack us?”

Presgrut shrugged. “I do not involve myself with petty politics of the underworld, so how should I know? I would bet that it was because the Guild has never been happy with your father for starting a rival guild and teaching non-guild members Guild secrets.”

“Did the anonymous sender of this potion tell you what it would do or how to cure it?” Tevvy asked, again changing subjects to catch him off-guard.

“No, but I can tell you something about it,” the old wethi replied.

“Go on,” the awemi prodded.

“It is quite subtle in its operation,” Presgrut continued, “because it includes the wasting sickness, the victim is worn down, exhausted, along with the venom, which causes severe, debilitating headaches, so painful as to prevent the victim from the sleep which the body craves. Thus, the natural tendency of the healer is to give the victim a sleeping draft, except that the third ingredient, from the ocean fish, interacts with the sleeping potion creating a poison that almost instantly kills the victim the healer was trying to cure.”

Tevvy’s face drained of all color.

Presgrut smiled at this. “Has she taken a sleeping potion yet? She will soon, if she hasn’t already, when the headaches become so painful that she can no longer tolerate the pain. Even more tragic will it be for your seklesi friend, when you return and tell him that he was the one who killed her, his dearest love, by giving her a simple, sleeping potion.” Presgrut said each word slowly, smiling widely, as if he were savoring the taste of them.

"My parents are dead because of you: start talking!”

“Throw it; kill me,” Presgrut challenged, “and then you will learn nothing.”

 

Come back next week to see Tevvy calling for help from the other chosen. 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 fromhttps://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank"> CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on May 5, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

5 May 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Welcome back, and happy “Cinco de Mayo!” We return to Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” as the wiser sister urges the unwise Laura to come home and ignore the call of the goblin men:

 

Till Lizzie urged, "O Laura, come,

I hear the fruit-call, but I dare not look:

You should not loiter longer at this brook:

Come with me home.

The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,

Each glow-worm winks her spark,

Let us get home before the night grows dark;

For clouds may gather even

Though this is summer weather,

Put out the lights and drench us through;

Then if we lost our way what should we do?"

 

A wise plea from the obedient Lizzie, exhorting her sister not to become lost by giving heed to the call of the goblins, but Laura does not want to listen to her sister–all her focus is on the song of the goblin men, and the fruit they carry:

 

Laura turned cold as stone

To find her sister heard that cry alone,

That goblin cry,

"Come buy our fruits, come buy."

Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?

Must she no more such succous pasture find,

Gone deaf and blind?

Her tree of life drooped from the root:

She said not one word in her heart's sore ache;

But peering thro' the dimness, naught discerning,

Trudged home, her pitcher dripping all the way;

So crept to bed, and lay

Silent 'til Lizzie slept;

Then sat up in a passionate yearning,

And gnashed her teeth for balked desire, and wept

As if her heart would break.

 

We must assume the Lizzie dragged her sister home, or at least, Laura follows her home, even if she is reluctant to miss the fruit. They retire to bed, but only one sleeps; the other, Laura, pines the night away, yearning for the fruit, listening to the call of the addict. Come back next time for more of this interesting, although strange, poem. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on May 1, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

1 May 2017

 

In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, the conversation continues, and something inside Rokwolf changes. . . .

 

Chapter 13, Part 5

“I wanted you to know that,” she said, “in case anything happens. Also,” she went on, “Tevvy’s mother mentioned that you had spoken to her husband about a ceremony that he can perform and your reluctance to go down that path. I don’t want you to feel any obligation to me, out of pity or any other reason: it must be a free choice.”

Rokwolf’s eyes widened with surprise. “And do you still believe that we . . . ?” he left it unspoken.

She nodded. “Yes, and I am surprised that you do not remember it, which is quite puzzling, but it still does not justify our mistake.”

“Mistake?” he said, shocked by her change of position; he suddenly wondered if her changing viewpoint had anything to do with the alteration made to the patterns of her mind. “You said before that you did not care about your kailu vows, and so what you believed we did was no longer a mistake!” he exclaimed.

She flinched at his harsh words, tears glistening in her eyes; she bit her lower lip. “I am sorry; I was not myself,” she replied in a breathy voice. She shut her eyes and tried to turn her face into the bed. “Oh, it hurts! I’m so, so sorry,” she sobbed, pulling her arm and her robes up to cover her face.

Wave after wave of pain and anguished guilt crashed into his towering anger through his verghrenum, feeding his own guilt; she was ill, not of her own choosing, and for the first time since he had seen her coming down the hall in the ruins of the kailu school, she was beginning to behave like herself: like the girl he remembered spending time with on those visits to his brother. The guilt she felt was so genuine to her that it introduced a new feeling into his mind, a feeling that quenched his anger, a feeling he had almost never felt: doubt. What if she were right and his memory faulty? At this thought, his insides went cold; he recalled the haziness that clouded his memory of that night: he thought she had gone to sleep in his arms, after they had kissed long and passionately. After that, he remembered falling asleep and dreaming that they were still awake, still kissing, and . . . the memory made his ears burn even as he felt passion’s fires rising within, but the images were all clouded, as if he were watching through brightly colored smoke. Had his mind been tampered with, obscuring his memory of what they had actually done? But that was not possible: his verghrenum protected him against tampering as long as he wore them; had they been removed? He did not put them on again when he got up, because he was still wearing them, and he remembered something to the effect that no one else could remove them except for him. This meant that his memory could not have been tampered with, on that night. He remembered what Thal and his twin had discovered in Klare’s mind: how the pattern had been woven in such a way to anticipate the damage she would suffer when he and she were captured by the purem. Could something similar have been done to him? Something waiting for the moment when he would be kissing Sutugno?

He felt a very tentative touch on the back of his hand; he looked down and saw Sutugno reaching for him, her face uncovered, tear-stained, and bleak. For a moment he sat unmoving, just looking down at her, and then something inside him snapped; hot tears coursed down his cheeks as he took her hands in his.

“I am sorry,” he said softly, “for causing you more pain.” He lay down beside her on the bed, and pulled her head and shoulders onto his chest, holding her tightly. He felt her feelings through his verghrenum and allowed his own feelings for her to flow back through the link to her. She raised her head to look up at him, her eyes wide with surprise, looking a question at him. He responded by projecting more of his feelings to her. This action started her tears again, but these were not tears of pain and anguish, these were tears of joy, and she answered with her own feelings for him even as she buried her face in his chest, hugging him fiercely.

She released him, raising her head. “If I weren’t ill,” she said, smiling, “I would kiss you.”

He smiled down at her. “You have drunk your potions,” he replied, smiling back at her, “so I think it should be safe to kiss you,” he added, and he kissed her.

She pushed him away. “Stop it!” she protested in mock anger, and then she grimaced in pain; she let her head sink again onto his chest.

“I’m sorry, again,” he whispered, holding her gently.

“It’s so unfair!” she said into his chest.

“It is,” he agreed. “Now, rest.”

A few minutes later, Tevvy, followed by Daybor, stormed into the room, his face twisted with anger. “Where is it?” he asked, looking around.

Rokwolf shifted and sat up; Sutugno still clung to him. “Where is what?” he countered.

“Daybor told me they dropped the bottle they forced you to drink, and left it, idiots!” he exclaimed. “What a stupid mistake!”

Sutugno pointed behind her. “I think it landed on the floor behind me, somewhere back there,” she said weakly.

Tevvy searched the area she indicated and within moments found the discarded bottle and its stopper near the bed. He stood up and put the stopper back in, then began a close examination of the bottle; the others waited and watched while he turned it over, examining each part in minute detail. He held it close to the light, bringing his face close to look at the bottom of the small bottle; he looked up at the others and said a single word: “Presgrut.”

“The old alchemist?” Rokwolf asked. “How do you know?”

Tevvy held out the bottle. “The reason why I said they were stupid to leave it behind,” he noted dryly, “because each one of them has his own mark that he scratches on the bottom of every one of his concoctions.”

“But that’s stupid,” Rokwolf put in, “because anyone can trace it back to the maker.”

Tevvy was shaking his head. “No, because very few people know what the marks mean or who they refer to.”

“Then how do you know?” Rokwolf asked.

“My . . . ,” Tevvy stammered, “my father knew: he somehow stole a copy of the symbols from Presgrut, I don’t know how.”

“I find it hard to believe that such information would ever be written anywhere,” Rokwolf said.

Tevvy nodded. “I pointed that out, but he just smiled.” Tevvy turned to leave.

“Where are you going?” Rokwolf asked.

“To find out what this is,” Tevvy replied, holding up the bottle, “and who he sold it to, and why he betrayed us.”

 

Next time, Tevvy goes to and threatens Presgrut, getting the old wethi to talk. 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 April 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

28 April 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Last week, Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” we saw the contrast between Lizzie and Laura, and how the latter had already succumbed to the Goblin’s magic fruit as the two went about their domestic duties. Now, evening comes:

 

At length slow evening came--

They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;

Lizzie most placid in her look,

Laura most like a leaping flame.

They drew the gurgling water from its deep

Lizzie plucked purple and rich golden flags,

Then turning homeward said: "The sunset flushes

Those furthest loftiest crags;

Come, Laura, not another maiden lags,

No wilful squirrel wags,

The beasts and birds are fast asleep."

But Laura loitered still among the rushes

And said the bank was steep.

 

Lizzie, on filling the water jugs and picking some flowers, urges her sister to follow her home, but Laura complains about the steepness of the bank as an excuse for lingering behind. Now, she claims that it is still early, with no reason to rush home:

 

And said the hour was early still,

The dew not fallen, the wind not chill:

Listening ever, but not catching

The customary cry,

"Come buy, come buy,"

With its iterated jingle

Of sugar-baited words:

Not for all her watching

Once discerning even one goblin

Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;

Let alone the herds

That used to tramp along the glen,

In groups or single,

Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

 

All her energy is focused on hearing the tramp of feet and the cry of the goblin men to come and buy their fruit, but Laura hears no one. Notice again how the goblins interrupt the rhyme scheme, illustrating their disruptive nature! Come back next time and see if she waits in vain. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 13, Part 4

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

24 April 2017

 

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

 

Chapter 13, Part 4

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

“How long ago?” Rokwolf asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Try what?” he asked, feigning ignorance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Next time, the conversation between Rokwolf and Sutugno continues. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

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

21 April 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

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

 

Early in the morning

When the first cock crowed his warning,

Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,

Laura rose with Lizzie:

Fetched in honey, milked the cows,

Aired and set to rights the house,

Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,

Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,

Next churned butter, whipped up cream,

Fed their poultry, sat and sewed;

Talked as modest maidens should

Lizzie with an open heart,

Laura in an absent dream,

One content, one sick in part;

One warbling for the mere bright day's delight,

One longing for the night.

 

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


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