Clyde B. Northrup

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Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on June 27, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

26 June 2017


For the month of July, in conjunction with the Smashwords Summer sale, we announce that all of our ebooks are on sale for half-price! Also, the compilation, The Redemption, Vol. 1, the first three books of this series will be free on July 1! Get your copies of our books while they are on sale during July.


This week, from The Morgle Unmasked, Rokwolf and Tevvy continue to follow those who have captured the students and Elanor, deeper into the Mariskal. . . .


Chapter 14, Part 6

“Can you knock them out with darts?” Rokwolf whispered when they were out of earshot.

“If I can throw the first dart without either of them seeing me,” Tevvy replied. “When the first slumps, the second will investigate, giving me the moment to throw a dart at the second.”

“They must know we are following,” Rokwolf added, “and we still must be a good distance from Morokolu, so there is no other reason to leave sentries here.”

“Maybe if you worked your way a little further southeast, and you made some noise to distract them,” Tevvy suggested.

“That’s fairly risky,” Rokwolf replied, “and would put me a little distance from the bridge.”

“Don’t go very far,” Tevvy said, “just over by that tree and snap a twig or something.”

Rokwolf shrugged and moved without a sound to the tree indicated; Tevvy moved back to the rock, dipped two darts into one of his small bottles, and laid them on the ground beside him, not picking one of them up until he had put the small bottle away. He turned toward the rock and nodded to Rokwolf. He heard a twig snap; the two sentries looked in Rokwolf’s direction, and Tevvy stood and threw the dart at the nearest wedateri, squatting behind the rock as soon as the dart left his hand. The dart struck one of the green creature’s necks, and the creature swatted at the dart, brushing it away as if it were some biting insect. The two sentries continued to stare in Rokwolf’s direction; Tevvy picked up and held the second dart ready, waiting for the drug to take effect. The seconds ticked slowly by, counted out by croaking and chirping. After about a minute, the wedateri hit by the dart swayed, its knees buckled, and it sank to the ground, its club thumping dully on the rickety bridge. The other sentry saw its comrade fall and so bent over to shake it awake. Tevvy stood a second time and threw; the second wedateri, like the first, slapped at the annoying insect, brushing the dart away. It continued to shake and poke its comrade until it, too, fell over on top of its supine partner.

Tevvy sprang out of his hiding place and retrieved both of his darts from the ground, carefully wiping them clean on the loincloths the sentries wore. Rokwolf came up before he had finished and the two of them crossed the rickety bridge and followed the trail of the captives to the northwest. They moved in and out of huge cypress and cedar trees, and the wide-bladed sea grass was replaced by torch grass the farther from the sea they traveled. The torch grass grew in clumps; it had long, narrow leaves with torch-shaped heads that turned bright orange in the fall. The heads burst into light fluff carried across the swamp on the winter wind. Since it was currently late spring, burst heads from the previous year were visible all around, and the dry, stringy leaves had sharp edges that would tear through any cloth, leather, or skin that brushed against them. They were more careful as they moved forward, but Tevvy saw evidence that the captives had not been so careful, or had been deliberately driven into the sharp edged clumps: there were pieces of torn cloth, bits of leather, and drops of blood, some not completely dry. The path widened and grew more traveled, and as it did, cover became more difficult to find. In the distance they could see more torches illuminating a great dome of gray granite that sparkled as the torchlight flickered. The closer they came to the granite dome, the fewer living plants there were, until they crossed some boundary and the trees were now twisted, blackened, and dead. The scent of death and decay accosted them, and the sounds of night creatures–frogs, insects, or birds–ceased altogether. Wisps of green mist crawled across the stagnant pools all round them; the pools were covered with a brown slime that bubbled and shuddered as if alive. Most of Morokolu was surrounded by the noisome pools; from where they were hidden behind the trunks of dead cypress trees, they could see in the pool directly ahead, just south of the granite dome, the tops of what must have been watchtowers stuck at odd angles out of the slime, trailing slime themselves. Only on the west side of the Morokolu did any dry ground go up to the gray granite of the dome, and out of this Tevvy saw two watchtowers that guarded the entrance into Morokolu. Beyond these he could see a great stone bridge to the north, well-lit with torches; many of the green-skinned wedaterem walked over the bridge as sentries. There were many more of the creatures around the base of the watchtowers that overlooked the only entrance to the dome. From this distance Tevvy could see many black holes bored into the surface of the dome, and many rickety walkways going around the outside surface of Morokolu, which were the nesting sites of the swamp wedaterem. Looking further west, Tevvy saw thousands of thin black threads crisscrossing tree trunks.

“What is that?” Tevvy whispered, pointing to the area just west of the entrance.

Rokwolf looked where Tevvy pointed. “It looks like spider webs but the size of the webs, visible to us from this distance, would have to be made by a spider of monstrous size; I wonder. . . .”

“I thought I must be seeing things,” Tevvy said, “so does that mean the rumors are true?” He shuddered.

Rokwolf nodded. “That must be where the other sponsum bring their offerings to worship, the home of Spenthronsa, evil queen of the sponsum. It is believed that she is in nature equivalent to the ponkolum, Gar’s most powerful, and most faithful, servants.”

“I think Klare was right,” Tevvy admitted, “we are in over our heads.”

Rokwolf was frowning. “There has to be a way to get inside,” he noted.

Harsh laughter sounded behind them; as Tevvy turned to see what it was, he was struck from behind, slipping into darkness to the sounds of guttural laughter.

 

We will begin a new chapter this week, rejoining the Seventh Legion as they arrive at the Forsaken Fortress. 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 June 23, 2017 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

23 June 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We return to Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” reminding our readers that last time, we saw the goblins, in their anger at being thwarted, pummeling Lizzie and leaving. This time, Lizzie makes her way home, in pain but happy that she had defeated the goblin men:

 

In a smart, ache, tingle,

Lizzie went her way;

Knew not was it night or day;

Sprang up the bank, tore through the furze,

Threaded copse and dingle,

And heard her penny jingle

Bouncing in her purse, --

Its bounce was music to her ear.

She ran and ran

As if she feared some goblin man

Dogged her with gibe or curse

Or something worse:

But not one goblin skurried after,

Nor was she pricked by fear;

The kind heart made her windy-paced

That urged her home quite out of breath with haste

And inward laughter.

 

She cried "Laura," up the garden,

"Did you miss me ?

Come and kiss me.

Never mind my bruises,

Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices

Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,

Goblin pulp and goblin dew.

Eat me, drink me, love me;

Laura, make much of me:

For your sake I have braved the glen

And had to do with goblin merchant men."

 

Lizzie presents herself to her sister, covered in bruises but also juice and pulp from the goblins’ forbidden fruit, in other words, that she sacrificed herself for her sister. We will see that this selfless act makes all the difference. Come back next week to see how Laura responds to her sister’s act. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on June 20, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

19 June 2017

In this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, we move with the Seventh Legion as this fabled group moves to the swamp, after which we return to the fortunes of Rokwolf and Tevvy, chasing those who have taken Elanor and the other students. . . .


Chapter 14, Part 5

Thal nodded and accepted the sword from his companion; golden flames lit and licked the blade, causing all nearby to shield their eyes. “As soon as I begin to draw the arch in the air,” Thal told Rellik, “you should start your column forward; the doorway will open as soon as the point of the sword touches the ground on the opposite side of the circle. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping everyone on the other side of the archway moving out of the way. Sir Blakstar will stand on this side of the archway, so if you stand just on the other side, we can communicate back and forth easily; he will let you know how many are left.”

Rellik nodded. “It is too bad we cannot ride through,” he noted, “it would make things go faster.”

Thal smiled and nodded. “That would work only at the center of the arch, but those on the sides would lose their heads.” He turned away even as Rellik shouted the order to get ready.

Short stakes with colored scraps of cloth had been driven into the ground to give him reference points for how big to make the circle; he walked to the one on his right, thought of where he wanted to go, then touched the point of the flaming sword to the grass next to the first stake. He walked forward, dragging the sword and drawing the back of the circle first, keeping an eye on the other stake, so that the arc he drew would reach that point. He reached the other stake then started walking and dragging the sword in an arc toward his starting point. When he reached the first stake a shimmering gray line flared to life in the grass wherever will-giver had touched; he lifted the sword straight into the air as high as he could reach, then he walked across the shimmering circle, stepping over the line as he reached the second stake and bringing the point of the sword down to the ground and the shimmering line. The arch shimmered and the doorway opened, and Thal had been so intent on opening the archway that he had not heard Rellik’s shouted command, but he saw the seklesem begin to trot through leading their horses. The drain on him was enormous; he immediately drew energy from the sword as well as drawing energy from the air around him.

“Tell them to move faster,” Thal hissed through clenched teeth.

“Rellik!” Blakstar shouted.

“Yes?” Rellik replied.

“Faster,” Blakstar said, “it is a greater drain than we anticipated.”

“Double-speed!” Rellik commanded, and they heard the command echo down the line and heard the same shouted command from the other column. Having anticipated this need for greater speed, the supply wagons for all four companies had been staged with the first company, so the wagons began to roll through, slowing the progress of the seklesem and their mounts, only because they had to shift into two lines from four. Even so, the First Company was through and the Third Company starting through after the first wagons had passed through. Sweat ran freely down Thal’s face, his eyes closed, and his brow furrowed in concentration. The white maghi gripped the sword tightly with both hands and his jaw clenched as the Fifth Company started through. The last of the wagons rolled past as the Seventh started through, and Thal swayed where he stood. Blakstar put a hand on his shoulder and energy flowed into Thal, which helped him maintain the archway. When the last squad of the Seventh Company ran through, Thal lifted the sword and the archway winked out; he handed it back to Blakstar.

“That was very helpful,” Thal said, wiping the sweat from his face and swaying where he stood.

“What?” Blakstar asked, looking puzzled.

“When you put your hand on my shoulder,” Thal replied, “I suddenly was re-energized; I didn’t know that you could do that.”

The kortexi still looked puzzled. “Neither did I,” he noted, sliding the sword into its sheath, quenching the golden flames. “We better get over to the others,” he added, “it looks like that column is nearly through.”

They quickly untied their horses, mounted, and rode them over to join Klare and Klaybear, who held the door open and was looking as haggard as Thal felt, the eye-shaped emerald atop breath-giver pulsing like a beating heart. Blakstar jumped off his horse and put his hand on Klaybear’s shoulder, nodding to Klare to do the same. Klare’s eyes widen as she realized what was happening.

“I did not know we could do that,” Klare noted. “You better grab our horses; they are almost through.”

Blakstar nodded and lifted his hand from Klaybear’s shoulder; Thal dismounted and held both his own and Blakstar’s reins. The last squad of the replacement company was running through the archway; Thal followed leading two horses, with Blakstar close behind him leading two more. Klare pulled Klaybear through, and the archway winked out.

###

For a moment, both Tevvy and Rokwolf thought the sounds of guttural voices meant that they had caught up to those who had taken Elanor and the other students, but they soon realized their error. Tevvy hid behind a rock; Rokwolf stood nearby behind one of the tall trees with drooping, trailing branches. Peering around, they both could see a pair of lit torches illuminating the gloom at the near end of a rickety-looking and narrow wooden footbridge. Two of the green-skinned wedaterem stood near the torches, holding large, spiked clubs and grunting to one another; the creatures were not as tall or large as their blue-skinned cousins, but they still stood head and shoulders above Rokwolf. Their faces were flat and brutish, with prominent noses, their heads covered with what looked like scraggly green weeds. Each wore only a loincloth made from the skin of some unfortunate denizen of the swamp. Tevvy and Rokwolf had followed the trail of the captives and their captors from the school’s secret exit into the Mariskal as it wound through the swamp, past the many impassable channels and hidden dangers, sometimes losing the trail completely only to find it after much tedious searching. They had spent the entire day following the trail; both were wet, cold, and tired, but thoughts of the captives and what horrors awaited them kept the klitodweri and the seklesi going. These two swamp wedaterem were the first serious check upon Tevvy and Rokwolf’s progress. Rokwolf pointed back the way they had come; Tevvy nodded, and the two of them moved away. Frogs and crickets croaked and chirped all around them; to their right as they moved, they could hear, in the distance, the waves of the Inner Sea rolling against the rocks and trees along the margin between swamp and sea.


Next time we will continue to follow these two, finishing the chapter as both are captured by the morgle’s creatures. 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 June 16, 2017 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

16 June 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We remind our readers that last time, we saw how Lizzie tried to purchase fruit from the goblins, and how they refused to sell to her, and attacked her when she asked for the return of her money. Now, we see more of their attack, and Lizzie’s response. The comparison of the heroine to a horse was a positive one at this time:

 

One may lead a horse to water,

Twenty cannot make him drink.

Though the goblins cuffed and caught her,

Coaxed and fought her,

Bullied and besought her,

Scratched her, pinched her black as ink,

Kicked and knocked her,

Mauled and mocked her,

Lizzie uttered not a word;

Would not open lip from lip

Lest they should cram a mouthful in;

But laughed in heart to feel the drip

Of juice that syruped all her face,

And lodged in dimples of her chin,

And streaked her neck which quaked like curd.

At last the evil people,

Worn out by her resistance,

Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit

Along whichever road they took,

Not leaving root or stone or shoot.

Some writhed into the ground,

Some dived into the brook

With ring and ripple.

Some scudded on the gale without a sound,

Some vanished in the distance.

 

The goblins try to force her to eat their fruit, but she, unlike her less wise sister, keeps her mouth closed, no matter how painful the beating and pinching become. They finally give up, return the penny, and vanish in supernatural ways. Next time, we will see Lizzie returning home to her sister, looking as if she had been accosted by bandits! Good reading.

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on June 12, 2017 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

12 June 2017

 

This week, from The Morgle Unmasked, we follow our heroes deeper into the bowels of Meekor’s school, and then follow as they join the muster of the fabled Seventh Legion. . . .

 

Chapter 14, Part 4

“That leads into the sewers,” Daybor said. He moved straight ahead, to the far end of the room where there were two more doors, one left, one ahead; he opened the door straight ahead and entered a square chamber, another door ahead and to their left. Their feet splashed into water on the floor. Daybor stooped and touched the water with his fingers, then put one finger to his tongue; he spat.

“It’s salty,” he said, “which means it’s coming in from the swamp.”

“I take it from your reaction,” Thal said, “that there’s not supposed to be swamp water here?”

Daybor shook his head. “Klaybear may be right,” he added, “Tevvy knows about the pumps that keep the passage, and the cellar, from flooding with water from the swamp, and he knows how to reverse the flow to fill the passage, effectively keeping anyone from following them.” He went to the door and pushed it open; he sloshed through the water. After about twenty feet, the narrow passage turned to the left, and they could begin to see the water flowing down the passageway. They followed it through water increasing in depth for about thirty feet before it turned to the right, soon ending in another door, different from the others: it looked thicker and sturdier than the other doors they had passed through, and water was shooting from beneath the door.

Daybor cursed and ran to the door. On the left side of the door there was an alcove with a metal wheel he tried to turn, but, no matter how he struggled, the wheel would not turn. Blakstar strode to his side and grabbed the wheel, strained for a moment, and then, with a squeal of protest, the wheel slowly began to turn. The kortexi kept turning until the wheel stopped. Daybor grabbed his arm.

“We have to get out of here before it gets worse,” Daybor said.

“But didn’t we just fix the pumps?” Blakstar asked.

“Only one of them,” Daybor said, “there is another at the other end of this passage.”

They jogged back the way they had come, making sure that all the doors were closed. They climbed the stairs and stopped in the storeroom.

“What now?” Blakstar asked.

“We should go back and get some rest,” Thal said, “since we still have to meet Delgart and Marilee early tomorrow.”

“We cannot leave Sutugno’s body here,” Klare said, “we should take her back with us and give her a decent burial.”

Klaybear nodded. “What about Tevvy’s parents?” he asked.

“I’ll see to them,” Daybor said.

Klare turned and looked at him. “All by yourself?”

Daybor smiled. “About one third of my classmates and the instructors are out on field assignments at any given time,” he noted, “some of them will begin to return early tomorrow; the others, as soon as we send word.” He led them back up to Elanor’s room, and stopped suddenly when he pushed the door open: the bed was empty; Sutugno’s body was gone.

###

The half of Delgart’s face visible wrinkled with thought. “And there were no traces of any kind?” he asked. He rode on a chestnut stallion with Klaybear and Klare riding to his right, Thal and Blakstar riding to his left. Marilee had gone ahead of them to make sure all were ready to depart, after the four of them had re-told all that had happened the previous day in Karble and Rykelle; Nofero, Lidelle, Luthina, and all the seconds from the command squad had gone with the second commander. Forsonta, Grelsor, Hrelga, and the rest of the chiefs were following Delgart as they crossed the staging area. The companies of the Seventh Legion were divided into two groups, arranging themselves into two long lines: on the left, the First, Third, Fifth, and Seventh companies lined up, led by the captain of the First, Rellik, and were going to patrol the road, while the Second, Fourth, and Sixth, led by the captain of the Second, Kella, along with a replacement company of regular seklesem for the outpost, were going with Delgart to the Forsaken Outpost. Soon after the four chosen arrived, Marilee took them, using breath-giver, to the seklesi camp on the road, then to the outpost, so that they would know where they would be sending the various elements of Delgart’s army later in the morning. Delgart waved to his soldiers as they passed between the two long lines.

“No,” Klaybear replied, “not a trace of any kind, and no evidence that anyone had entered or left the school while we were there.”

“The doors and windows were all bolted from the inside,” Thal added, “and none had been forced.”

“So the only way in and out,” Delgart said, “would have been using the rod, which means the morgle, but why would the morgle want to kill her, and then steal her body? Their methods require the victims be living,” he noted carefully, one eye on Klare, but she was not paying attention, lost in her own thoughts. He lowered his voice. “Are you certain she was dead?”

Klaybear nodded.

“And our brother’s behavior,” Delgart added, shaking his head, “is quite unlike him.” He fell silent for a moment, still waving to his troops. “The answers all are ahead of us; we all are being drawn to a confrontation with this morgle who has stolen Melbarth’s rod, so I think we should get on with this action,” he finished, kicking his horse from a walk to a trot.

At the head of the two columns, Blakstar and Thal turned to the left, while the rest went right. The two of them dismounted and tied their horses to a stake driven into the ground; they walked to where Rellik stood waiting.

The captain of the First nodded to them. “We are ready,” he said.

 

Next time we will see the Seventh Legion moving into the swamp, with the help of the 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 from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

 

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on June 9, 2017 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

9 June 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

Good day to all! We return to Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” reminding our readers that last time, the goblins refused to sell their fruit for money, and tried to persuade the good Lizzie to join their party. Lizzie’s response, her mind still on her sister’s state, on death’s door:

 

"Thank you," said Lizzie; "but one waits

At home alone for me:

So, without further parleying,

If you will not sell me any

Of your fruits though much and many,

Give me back my silver penny

I tossed you for a fee."

They began to scratch their pates,

No longer wagging, purring,

But visibly demurring,

Grunting and snarling.

One called her proud,

Cross-grained, uncivil;

Their tones waxed loud,

Their looks were evil.

Lashing their tails

They trod and hustled her,

Elbowed and jostled her,

Clawed with their nails,

Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,

Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,

Twitched her hair out by the roots,

Stamped upon her tender feet,

Held her hands and squeezed their fruits

Against her mouth to make her eat.

 

Lizzie asks for the return of her penny, since they refuse to sell her their fruit, and they respond with anger, attacking her, going so far as to force her to eat their forbidden fruit. The poet follows with a description of Lizzie’s resistance:

 

White and golden Lizzie stood,

Like a lily in a flood,

Like a rock of blue-veined stone

Lashed by tides obstreperously, --

Like a beacon left alone

In a hoary roaring sea,

Sending up a golden fire, --

Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree

White with blossoms honey-sweet

Sore beset by wasp and bee, --

Like a royal virgin town

Topped with gilded dome and spire

Close beleaguered by a fleet

Mad to tear her standard down.

 

Next week we will see the goblins’ response to her resistance. Until then, good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 3

Posted by gwermon on June 6, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

We return with this week’s installment from The Morgle Unmasked, following Blakstar as he seeks to learn more about the attack on Master Meekor’s school and the kidnaping of Elanor. . . .

 

Chapter 14, Part 3

“What is it?” Blakstar asked, squatting beside him.

Daybor pointed. “Rokwolf said he found new scratches in the door, and when we learned that the swamp wedaterem had been here, he thought that these scratches might have been made by the clawed foot of one of the beasts.”

“So at least one of them, probably more,” Blakstar noted, “has been through this door.” Blakstar stood and motioned Daybor to move behind him; he drew his sword and nodded to the others, who brandished staff and rod. He threw the bolt open, then crashed through the door; behind him, Thal directed a magluku into the room, illuminating all corners of the square room.

“Is this room supposed to have another door?” Blakstar asked.

Daybor looked around the kortexi’s large leg. “No, it’s a store . . . ,” he started to say, then gasped. The wall to their immediate left, the wall between the school’s inn and the Green Beast next door, had a huge hole blasted in it: broken shelves and their former contents, along with broken bricks and pieces of dried mortar, were strewn across the floor to their right. On the floor in front of them were the tracks of many bare and booted feet crossing and re-crossing the dust from the hole blasted through the wall.

“It’s a tavern, isn’t it?” Thal whispered to Daybor.

“Yes,” Daybor replied.

“Shouldn’t it still be open and doing a rousing business?” Thal asked.

“You would think so,” Daybor replied, “since it also has a brothel upstairs, which never closes. Why?”

“I don’t hear a sound coming through that hole,” Blakstar replied.

Daybor slipped past Blakstar’s leg, crouched next to the opening, and peered inside. After a moment, he looked back at the others and shook his head. “Nobody,” he mouthed.

Blakstar moved up beside him, also looking carefully into the space beyond the door. Thal exchanged glances with Klaybear, and Klare, then his eyes grew unfocused as he probed the inn with Klaybear’s aid and Klare guarding them both. By the time Daybor and Blakstar had slipped into this large storage room, filled with barrels and racks containing dusty bottles, Thal, Klaybear, and Klare walked into the room behind them.

“You can relax,” Thal said, “there is no one here.”

“How do you know?” Daybor asked.

“Mental sweep?” Blakstar asked, realizing at once what they had done.

Thal nodded. “The place is devoid of anyone.”

Thal’s magluku followed him into the rectangular room that, besides the stacked barrels and racks, only contained two doors, next to each other in the middle of the wall to their left, and a third door at the far end of the wall to their right. Daybor moved forward to the far right door, which led into the tavern’s main room; the door was standing open.

“It’s odd that they all left at once,” Klare noted, “makes me think that they were not here to sell wine and ale.”

“They weren’t,” Thal said. “They were collecting food for the morgle.”

Klare turned pale, putting her hands over her stomach; she looked hastily around for someplace to retch.

Thal flushed. “I’m sorry, Klare,” he said quickly, “I forgot about your condition.”

“Since you forgot,” Klare hissed, “then find me something!”

Thal moved along the barrels and racks. “There is an open barrel of ale here,” he noted, “but it’s still got . . . ,” he went on, but she rushed past him and stuck her head into the barrel, retching noisily. They could hear it splashing into the ale still in the barrel. Thal felt queasy; Klaybear smiled and laughed.

“That ale just might cure someone of his drinking problem,” Klaybear quipped.

Blakstar smiled and shook his head. “We can always hope,” he added.

Daybor looked from one of them to the other, still hearing the sound of Klare’s retching, echoing hollowly in the background, then looked at Thal’s green face, and started to giggle hysterically. The awemi first leaned against the door frame, then slid to the floor.

“Well, Thalamar,” Klaybear said, still smiling, “since you set both of them off, we’ll leave you to watch over them while we search.”

Thal could only stand and watch them both leave the room while Klare retched noisily into the barrel and Daybor continued to giggle.

They returned five minutes later, having thoroughly searched the tavern.

“Anything of interest?” Thal asked, getting up; he was sitting on one of the barrels. Klare sat next to the open barrel, face white; Daybor was still smiling, trying not to look at either one of them, lest he start laughing again.

“Not really,” Klaybear said. “We found a room upstairs that was used to open our special archways, and by the scratches in the floor, it was used many times.”

“The only interesting thing,” Blakstar went on, “is that they must have been planning this carefully as all the doors and windows facing out are boarded up from the inside.”

“That is odd,” Thal said. “We better let Daybor show us where Tevvy and Rokwolf went.”

Daybor nodded, but did not speak; he hurried past them and back into his school. He led them through the kitchen and the other back rooms of the school’s inn, past the other stairway to the second level.

“They probably came down these stairs,” Daybor noted, then he turned and went through two more rooms and into a third, which looked like the storeroom for some kind of shop and down a set of stairs and into the school cellar. They went down a short, rough-stone hallway to a rusty metal door. Daybor shoved the door open; it slid open silently, belying its rusted appearance. Thal and Klaybear both spoke the word and magluku winked on, illuminating the short hallway and the large room beyond. They moved forward into the long, cave-like chamber, rough-hewn in places to make it rectangular. They saw another metal door directly to their right. Daybor pointed to it.

 

Next time, the search will continue as our heroes follow the traces of the attackers. 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 June 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

2 June 2017

Poet’s Corner

 

We return to “Goblin Market,” Christina Rossetti’s poem, as the goblins continue to dance. We remind all that Lizzie has gone to find the goblins in order to save her sister. We now see Lizzie make her request:

 

Hugged her and kissed her;

Squeezed and caressed her;

Stretched up their dishes,

Panniers and plates:

"Look at our apples

Russet and dun,

Bob at our cherries

Bite at our peaches,

Citrons and dates,

Grapes for the asking,

Pears red with basking

Out in the sun,

Plums on their twigs;

Pluck them and suck them,

Pomegranates, figs."

 

"Good folk," said Lizzie,

Mindful of Jeanie,

"Give me much and many"; --

Held out her apron,

Tossed them her penny.

"Nay, take a seat with us,

Honor and eat with us,"

They answered grinning;

"Our feast is but beginning.

Night yet is early,

Warm and dew-pearly,

Wakeful and starry:

Such fruits as these

No man can carry;

Half their bloom would fly,

Half their dew would dry,

Half their flavor would pass by.

Sit down and feast with us,

Be welcome guest with us,

Cheer you and rest with us."

 

Lizzie, with the poor dead maiden on her mind, asks for fruit and offers a silver penny in payment. The goblins respond by telling her that their ‘party’ has just started, inviting her to join them. When she refuses, they begin to make excuses, stating that their fruit will go bad if carried away and pressing Lizzie again to join them. Next time, we will see Lizzie refusing to stay and asking for her penny back. Good reading!

Morgle Unmasked, Chapter 14, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on May 30, 2017 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

29 May 2017


On this special holiday, may we always remember those who have given their all to defend the freedoms we enjoy! In this week’s post from The Morgle Unmasked, our heroes continue to discuss what has happened, and why. . . .


Chapter 14, Part 2

“And the alchemist, was he knocked out also?” Thal asked.

Daybor nodded.

Thal laughed. “Very clever,” he said, “have himself knocked out, delaying them further.”

“Yes,” Blakstar nodded, “it was all about keeping them away from here until the attack and capture was complete.”

“And why did Tevvy go back?” Klaybear asked again.

“The empty bottle?” Thal suggested.

Daybor nodded. “Tevvy recognized Presgrut’s–the alchemist’s–mark on the bottle.”

“Left behind to further delay him,” Thal noted, “and to ensure that he went back and killed the alchemist, erasing their tracks for them. Also,” he went on, “they knew that, because she was sick, Rokwolf would remain here.”

Klare drew breath sharply. “They were hoping that he would give her the sleeping potion,” she hissed. She looked up at Thal. “That’s horrible!”

Thal nodded. “The morgle wanted to terrorize him before getting them both to run headlong into the swamp, into a trap.” Thal frowned, turning to look at Klaybear. “When we were talking about Rokwolf and Sutugno earlier, you both said that he was really unhappy with the arrangement, and yet, he behaved just now, as I would expect you, Klaybear, to act if that were Klare.” He looked back at Daybor. “Did something happen between them here, today, that changed his view of her?”

Daybor’s brow wrinkled with thought, which looked strange on his child-like, round face. “Perhaps,” he said after a few moments. “When I first came to my sister’s room, Elanor was telling Sutugno that Tevvy, Meekor, and Rokwolf had spoken of the possibility of Meekor joining the two of them at the same time as Tevvy and Elanor, and Rokwolf was not too keen on the idea. When he returned, after she was ill, he sent me to get the healing supplies; as I re-entered the room carrying those items, his face looked angry, and I’m sure it was over something that she had said to him, and he covered it well by fiddling with the potions. After Tevvy and I returned from searching this level, when Tevvy found the bottle and was leaving to re-visit the alchemist, Rokwolf was lying on the bed with Sutugno held in his arms, and she was resting on his chest: something had changed between them, but what it was, I do not know.”

They fell silent for a time; Thal rubbed his chin and began to pace the length of the bed, turned, and came back. He frowned at his companions, unable to make sense of what had happened.

“There is a problem here,” Thal noted.

“What do you mean?” Klaybear asked.

“What they have done does not make sense,” Thal went on. “If the whole purpose was to get Tevvy and Rokwolf to go charging into to the swamp, then why take only one hostage, or for that matter, why take any hostage? Take both females hostage and ensure that both of the males try to rescue them, if you want both of them running into the swamp.” He paused for a moment. “Unless the intent was for only one of them, Tevvy, to come running into the swamp to rescue Elanor. Tevvy is captured and held; given that he is one of the chosen, the morgle knows that we will come and attempt to rescue him, so Tevvy becomes bait for a trap to catch the rest of us.”

“But what you are suggesting,” Klaybear said, “is that the morgle did not intend for Rokwolf to go running into the trap, else he would have taken Sutugno rather than kill her.”

Thal shook his head. “I am trying to explain what seems to me to be an anomaly in what has happened,” he clarified. “It makes more sense to me to take both or kill both, rather than kill one and take the other.”

Blakstar frowned. “Maybe he is simply doing both,” he said, “to make sure that one of them charges into the swamp and is captured to bait his trap, although,” he shrugged, “taking Daybor’s sister and Tevvy’s intended is enough for me: I would go into the swamp to rescue Elanor.”

“So would I,” Klaybear added.

“So would any and all of us,” Thal said, “which is my point: there is no reason for him to take more bait, so why does he? What does he gain? Unless it is as Blakstar suggested, that he is simply covering all contingencies, and if that is true then he seems very unsure of himself, which is much different from his actions before.”

“Shouldn’t you be going after them?” Daybor interrupted. “Stop them before they are captured?”

Thal smiled at him. “You saw their reaction to Klare’s plea,” he noted, “I doubt that we could stop them, short of capturing them ourselves.”

“If I know my twin,” Klaybear added, “he will make sure that we cannot follow them.”

“I’m not sure that either of them is thinking all that clearly,” Blakstar noted.

Klaybear nodded. “You might be right, my friend,” he said. “Why don’t we let Daybor show us where they went.”

“Did you and Rokwolf find anything else while you were searching?” Thal asked.

Daybor shook his head. “Not really,” he said, “but wait, Rokwolf did mention that he noticed something odd on the door to one of the storerooms off the main kitchen, but we never made it back to check it out before . . . , well, you know.”

Thal nodded. “Is it on the way?” he asked.

Daybor shrugged. “It can be,” he said, “it’s only a slight side-trip.”

Daybor led Thal and the others down to the main kitchen and the door to the storage room next to one of the large ovens. He squatted in front of the polished door and ran his fingers over the marks on the bottom of the polished door.


Next week we will follow Blakstar as he, with Daybor, seeks for clues in what was left behind by those who attacked the school. Until then, get this ebook in the compilation of Books 1-3, The Redemption, Vol. 1, or this single volume, The Morgle Unmasked, using the links. If you prefer print, order your copy from https://www.createspace.com/4526375" target="_blank">CreateSpace today. Good reading!

Friday Poet's Corner

Posted by gwermon on May 26, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

26 May 2017

Poet’s Corner


Welcome to all our poetry enthusiasts! First, may we never forget those who have given their all to preserve our freedoms! Second, we will return to Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” reminding all that Lizzie has watched her sister wasting away, and now comes to a decision:


Till Laura, dwindling,

Seemed knocking at Death's door:

Then Lizzie weighed no more

Better and worse,

But put a silver penny in her purse,

Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze

At twilight, halted by the brook,

And for the first time in her life

Began to listen and look.


Remember that ‘twilight’ is a magical time, and it is then that Lizzie sees the goblins; notice that the poet tells us that she sees them because she, for the first time in her life, actually looks for them.


Laughed every goblin

When they spied her peeping:

Came towards her hobbling,

Flying, running, leaping,

Puffing and blowing,

Chuckling, clapping, crowing,

Clucking and gobbling,

Mopping and mowing,

Full of airs and graces,

Pulling wry faces,

Demure grimaces,

Cat-like and rat-like,

Ratel and wombat-like,

Snail-paced in a hurry,

Parrot-voiced and whistler,

Helter-skelter, hurry-skurry,

Chattering like magpies,

Fluttering like pigeons,

Gliding like fishes, --


The goblins’ response is telling, and their actions predictable: they come cavorting toward her, ready to sell their goods and enslave another foolish victim, but as we will see next time, Lizzie’s purpose is to save her sister, and this makes all the difference! Good reading.


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