Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Zemlja Dosta Chronicles: Chapter 5

DeviantArt Cred: ignisfatuusii

Chapter 5 - The Elven Trials

Ari looked out as the sun set over the horizon, she pondered at the spot where the tormented Hocirne had been just a moment ago. To be so young and to have lost his mother in such a brutal fashion, she felt such heartache for him. 

"We should head back to the nearest tavern for now, they might have rooms to lay rest for the day." Eru looked defeated as she gathered up what remained of their supplies. 

A sharp sound caught Ari's attention, the baby dragon was beside her. Looking up at her with mournful slitted yellow eyes. Sigh, another motherless child for her to deal with. "Little one, what shall we name you hmm? Tarlock? No that's doesn't sound right. I know! I will name you after your mother begone. Brieme."

Without their horses, they were left to walk alongside Brieme towards the tavern. "That's a wonderful name Ari. Say, what ever did you do back there with the guards? The last thing I remember was you singing a most ethereal song." Eri asked as they picked up pace with the wind's tide. 

"My papa called it the Maiden's Melody, not heard in a hundred centuries prior. They had thought the gift lost to the ages until I began singing on my 200th centenary. The melody manipulates the emotions of others, meaning I can make them feel whatever it is I want them to feel." Ari frowned at that admittance and Eru's bewildered reaction, in her land it made her special, an outcast. Here it made her more so. Ari closed her eyes and pictured her realm once more. 
DeviantArt Cred: Nagatuki

***
Ari and Eru walked into the tavern, weary of the road they had traveled, longing for a moment of peace where they could each reflect on what had just happened.

“Why do we have to wait for him? I thought you said he’s some sort of great wizard that could help, not a stumbling block to get Hterag back.” Ari continued her rant as they searched the busy tavern for an open seat. 

“I said he is a great wizard. He is. But he needs training. Did you see the havoc he can create with untamed magic? Be patient. Things will work out as they should” Eru walked toward an open table and sat down. The air in the tavern was foul, reeking of breaths soaked in ale and humid bodies tired after a hard days work. 

“He will be back in due time, and then we will continue on our mission to find your Hterag.” 

Ari acknowledged the waitress walking in their direction with a fresh ale on her tray, the waitress made her way over. “Oh my, what brings such fair ladies to a tavern such as this? Be careful who you meet in places like these ladies, there are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. But then again, I guess there’s a lot of sheep in wolves clothing ey?” The perky waitress gave a slight chuckle and started to turn around. Ari looked at Eru with disbelief, it was the first mortal in this realm that freely spoke to them. The waitress swiftly spun back to the two and whispered, “You might want to cover your hair, you're gaining a lot of attention from some dangerous folk.” 

On that note she was called away to another table. Eru immediately covered her hair with her cape and looked around the room. One by one making a summary of the collection of mortals, their weapons and a guess at their agility and combat ability. Once she summarized everyone, she felt at ease with herself. She would be able to defend herself, Ari and the waitress if need be. Finally her gaze fell to Ari, looking back at her with a questioning look “I’ve finished my ale, you haven’t touched yours or said a word about our situation. What will we do?” 

Eru sighed deeply and wiped tiny beads of sweat off her brow “I wish I had all the answers Ari, I truly do. But we have to be patient. Have you seen anyone looking at us?” 

Ari smiled guiltily and glanced around the tavern “Who is sitting there at the far corner? She can’t keep her eyes off of us.” Eru smiled, so Ari noticed and took in her surroundings even though she did not show it. Pride. It was a feeling she had long forgotten, left behind in a land far away, a land she was starting to think she’d never reclaim. Eru pushed back the thoughts clouding her view of reality in this moment and looked at the woman sitting in the corner. She was dressed neatly, the difference between her surrounding and attire was striking. She was out of place, but somehow Eru thought this woman was right where she wanted to be. “Don’t stare at her Eru! It’s rude” As if the woman had heard their conversation, she slowly lifted her head, and looked right into Eru’s eyes. 

Ari stood up “I’m going to go talk to her” Eru and Ari have only been a team for a few days at most, but Eru knew how this would end. There was no stopping Ari when she had her mind set, so the best she could do was hastily down her ale and make her way over to the woman to make sure that Ari didn’t get herself into a sticky situation by losing control of her emotions.

"Oi, why are you staring at us mortal? I demand answers." Ari stood there hand on hip ready to take on the world. 

The woman chuckled, her big beady neckles danced upon her ample bosom. "Verily, I apologize. I am named Valencia, I hail from the southern kingdom and I was told to wait for your here."

"Wait for who? Us? Why?" Eru asked in perplexion. 

"I was beseeched to wait for the green haired gaijin and her pinked haired companion. You see I am on a grave mission from my queen. It is urgent that I must speak with thee." Valencia's heavy set golden bracelets jingled as she moved to make room for them as her rather large frame took up most of the room of the booth. 

In a surprising turn of events, Valencia told them her mission. To retrieve the Looking Glass from an Elven clan in the mountains. In exchange, her queen was prepared to offer them a way to Ari's realm. Eru regarded the woman suspiciously, who did this queen know of their plan to visit another realm. What was more disturbing was the lack of stories Eru had heard about the southern queen. Every other kingdom was afresh with gossip on their royal rulers, yet not a whisper of this one. "I thought the elves went extinct a millennia ago."

Valencia smiled politely, "I know not of such things but my queen has arranged an escort for you."

***
"Do you trust her Eru? You ought to be more careful in your deals youngling, I've only been a short time in this land and your fellow mortals have had terrible behavior." 

Eru sighed, "I am cautious Ari, but this is our only option at the moment. Take heed, our escort should be arriving shortly."

Eru and Ari waited beside the Spirit waterfalls, the vapor of falls carried to them dampening their hair. Thunder and storm brewed in the east, an iron stoned castle in its wake. Brieme who had been playing gleefully in the falls, came galloping to tuck his head under Ari's arm as the thunder boomed in the distance. A time later when the storm hit them, they took cover at a near by ledge, looking out into the storm for their assigned escort who appeared to be frustratingly late. 

Suddenly, though not entirely like, an elf appeared in the same way that Merlin did. As if through the very fabric of the air. He glanced back at the iron stoned castle and pulled at his obsidian cloak. 

DeviantArt Cred: Martaemilia
His was long and dark, with the sudden contrast of piercing ice blue eyes framing his eyebrows. The armor under his cloak almost swirled with the storm as it connected. 

Ari regarded him coldly but Eru could not help but stare. He did not look like any man she had seen before, then again this was no man before her but an elf, an elf in blackened armor. "You must be the escort, well don't just stand there. Introduce yourself."

The elf smirked at Ari's demand as if a child has just asked him for a sweet. "The name's Kcin of the Remerb clan. Forgive my lateness, those mountain trolls can be a pain to deal with."

"Mountain trolls? First elves now mountain trolls. I was told the mortals ruled these lands and that such beings were driven to extinction in eons past." Eru inquired, unsure as to why her heart beat loudly as he stepped closer to them. Something about him resonated with her at her very core.

Kcin chuckled heartily, "It's true the humans do outnumber us fair folk but alas our extinction has been the subject of political hogswash, meant to give a sense of safety. Come, we must journey a day's trek towards the eastern mountains if you wish to reach the entrance to the Elven lands."
Kcin gestured for them to follow as strode off into the storm without a care. 

The trek was long and hard, through sleeted snow and burnt rock. Kcin had no intention of stopping even they struggled through the harsh conditions. Worse still was his insistence on climbing a damned mountain top. It took them longer than a day to reach its zenith but alas the survived. The view from atop the peak, was breathtaking. Lush greenery sprawled out as far as the eye could see, decadent waterfalls streamed through the burnt rock of the distant mountains. Upon their descent, Kcin held up a hand and hurried them behind a boulder. 

Thundering footsteps could be heard, the noise of armor echoing as it did. Before Eru, a marvelous yet impossible sight awaited her. Golden warriors marched in complete unison as if of one mind. In the lead was an Elven woman with luminescent blue-purplish eyes.
DeviantArt Cred: jasontn
Kcin grunted, "Hellfire! Varda has decided to go ahead then."

Ari pushed at Kcin's shoulder, "Decided on what exactly?"

Kcin palmed at his face in tiredom, "The invasion plan, they attack at dawn. The dawlish clan will march unto the east pointed kingdom in full force and annihilate its ruler."

Eru clutched at her chest, remembering all to well the carnage war always brought. "I don't understand, the stories, elves are supposed to be naught but peaceful delicate beings. Recluse and in tune with nature." 

"It's true we elves descend from the fairies of old but alas these later generations have evolved beyond those limitations. They are bred for nothing but war and war is what they will bring unto this world. We must hurry to their vault before all is lost."

Kcin led the way towards the shoreline, and presented to an eastern facing mountain side. 
He took out a piece of white rock and began drawing intricate symbols upon the bare rock. 

"What is this elf doing now?" Ari whispered whiling absent-mindedly patting on Brieme's scaly head. His tail wagged out in furious appreciation. 

Eru shushed at Ari as they watched Kcin finish off the symbols with an appraising glance. "Ah, that should do it. Eru, you're up."

"What do you mean. I'm up? You've brought us this far. You go."

Kcin eyes glazed over as if he was encircled in an altogether unpleasant memory. 

DeviantArt Cred: takeyourhatred
"The trials within call for a warrior of pure heart and fierce loyalty. It will not allow an elf from another clan to enter." He explained. 

Eru sensed that that wasn't the entire story but lamented on completing the task. As she got up to stand before the symbols, Ari stood beside her with a determined expression. "Warrior or not, I didn't come this far to sit out here like some pampered queen. We do this together." Eru's chest inflated, never had she experienced such friendship before nor had anyone been willing to risk their life with her outside of battle. 

Kcin uttered an incantation and a doorway erupted through the rock sending debris everywhere. Eru and Ari stepped into the narrow cavern, startled as the doorway closed loudly behind them. Even though Eru had been trained to fight in the blind, even her vision could not pierce the darkness around them. Ari began to literally glow, every inch of her became illuminated in glorious white light. "That's a new one." Eru marveled. 

Ari shrugged and urged them forward, until the happened upon a large dome like cave. Surprisingly the floor beneath them was all made of glass, it bottomed out into an abyss below. "Great, how in the transenoble tails are we suppose to find a Looking glass amidst all this other-"

"BBBRRRRRRROOOOAR!!!" The rocked ceiling above them quivered and splintered as a massive sound erupted from the gloom of the cave. A gigantic monster came pounding towards them, it's heavy footfalls causing cracks to appear in the glass. 

Ari shrieked and shrunk back in terror, "Who the hell leaves that thing to guard a place where the floor is made of bloody glass?!"

From Kcin's earlier descriptions during their trek, Eru summed that this was a mountain troll. Green blistering skin and all. It had on a sheer loin cloth for cover around the midsection with a belt made out of skulls. Eru didn't miss a step, her body taking over in muscle memory. This is what she knew, this is what she was chosen for. She pushed Ari out of the way and sidestepped the beast as he went barreling into the cave wall, sending chunks of burnt rock flying out around him. 
She lifted off her heels, calculating now that her speed would win them this. Eru danced around the giant to an attempt to anger and disorient him further. This time when the beast came barreling towards her, she effortlessly scalled the far cave wall, defying gravity as she went. Just as the giant was to reach her, she flipped out curving her body in the air as she landed upon the giant's shoulders. She withdrew two hunting knives from the small her back in quick succession and drove them into either side of the beast's pulsing neck muscles. It took but a minute for the beast to feel the acid and poisonous touch of her blades. A gift from her father of course, dipped in manticore venom and fermented in summer sun. The giant went crumbling down causing large fissures to appear in the glass floor. Eru bent over, breathing deeply from the exertion. Those muscles were thick and had stripped much of her strength. She turned to notice Ari smiling broadly with a piece of glass within her hands. 

"I found it!" She exclaimed. 

***
Ari had to practically haul Eru out of the cave, she was completely drained from more than just that battle yet they did not know from what. All Ari cared about was getting them out from there. As the door to the vault opened, they both gasped at the sight before them. A legion of elves, all....dead. Bloody bodies were strewn across the beach and in the center of them stood Kcin with a dark expression that now claimed his face. 

DeviantArt Cred: arsinoes
"No, it cannot be." Eru said as she fell to her knees. "He's a dark elf."

Kcin smiled sickeningly, "The Baboon Queen will be most pleased at your success."


*************
Authors Note

While joking with some great friends, the basis for this story was formed. I wrote out Part 1 as a test version to see how it would all play out.
Thusly, we chose to name this forthcoming collection - The Zemjla Dosta Chronicles.
Zemlja Dosta means "The Land of Plenty" in Bosnian. Thanks Sumarie-chan :-)

Hope you enjoyed reading chapter 5.

~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Literature Tag: ☮Kathe Messina☮

Inspire. Create. Write.TM

Only those who Dare to fail greatly, can ever Achieve greatly ~R. Kennedy


This WednesdayWisdom, I have the privilege nay the extreme glory to introduce you to an unbelievable author that I've met along my journey. You should see this lady on twitter, I call her the Gratitude Queen as she never fails to ensure her engaging followers are promptly thanked for their participation in her tweets. She's blatantly honest, hilariously witty, intellectually snappy & confoundingly amazing.

Kathe Messina is the debut author of a heart-rending memoir, She’ll Awaken. She is an ESL teacher, a recent university graduate and an inductee in two international honor societies, but has also worked in the hospitality industry, made a career out of motherhood and homeschooling, and was a care-giver to her bed-ridden mother. She wrote She’ll Awaken amid a chaotic family life and getting her degree. She has always loved writing, but kept it to the whimsical and only among friends. Following a life-changing experience, she realized that others could benefit from her story and that it might be the only way to move on. A memoir was born. 

Her goals are fairly simple – to practice kindness, to pursue peace, and to write beautiful words. She has learned that there are words for everything, and that when well-chosen, they can help and even heal.
1. What is your all-time favorite book?
Catcher in the Rye – I love everything about this book and its themes.  I only wish Salinger’s estate wasn’t hoarding the Holden character.  I would LOVE to write a sequel, but not enough to get sued for it!!
2. According to you, which quote best describes you as a person?
            “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” ~ John Lennon
3. What is your favourite English word, and why?
            “ubiquitous” – present, appearing, or found everywhere
This word feeds my devotion to my kids. Of course I can’t be everything to them or ‘fix’ everything for them either, but I’ll die trying.
4. What is your favorite word in your home language, and what does it mean?
English is my native tongue but German had a limited presence in the home. I’m partial to “liebchen” – one of a few names Dad had for me.
5. Being a blogger/author, what is the most difficult part about writing for you?
            #1. Time. As in all things, there is never enough to do what we want or need.
#2.  In writing my debut memoir, the most difficult thing was having to throw myself on the proverbial pyre to tell what needed to be told, to bare myself, and to do justice to the deep reflection.  I constantly asked myself, ‘How much is too much?’
#3.  In other writing, such as my (sleepy) blog, or on Twitter or Facebook, I don’t like it that I have to be careful about what I say on matters of opinion. Why? As my blog has more than once featured (http://wp.me/p5aByk-34) (http://wp.me/p5aByk-5d) there are people out there who don’t give a flying fu-la-la-la-la about whether they’ve offended ME!
6. What inspires you to write the most?
            #1.  I see myself as a teacher.  #2. Pain. 
No one likes it, but pain is what makes us who we are. The struggle against it refines us and, hopefully, reveals better versions of ourselves than the empty shells we might otherwise be if everything were easy.  If we have learned anything from our struggles, we ought to share it with others. This is why I write.

7. What is your favourite song?
            Tough to choose just one, but here goes … from 1977, Sentimental Lady ~ Bob Welch
8. What image/experience/memory do you instantly think of when hearing your favourite song?
I’m a child of the 70s so that song takes me back to summers back home, hanging out by the local pool with friends. I was born a sun junkie!
9. In how many languages can you write?
            Unless ‘dufus’ is a language, just English.
10. If you had to MAKE UP/INVENT one word, what would it be? And what would that word mean?
            Done it!  If anyone else claims to have invented this one, I am unaware.
            “Confuckulated”…yup…it ain’t pretty but it is perfect for when stuff is totally jacked up!
11. Make a sentence containing the following words: Three, Birds, Sauce, Hug, and Gay (as in happy)
A hug to the ear, and the sauce of life is the three-fold delight of birds singing - tuneful, winsome, and gay.
12. Assign your own meaning to the following made-up words:
Bugalhet – n. of or pertaining to annoyance from auditory input (e.g. His droning oratory was bugalhet to her ears)
Wiftigious – adj. something pleasant in an olfactory way (e.g. As he moved in to kiss her neck, he was caught by the wiftigious symphony of her hair and her perfume)
Doraning – v. the practice of vetting callers to one’s home through use of a peep-hole in the door (e.g. Her paranoia was evident in the incessant doraning every time her door-bell rang)
13. What word rhymes best with Sugar?
I’m going to say “her” in a poetic use …
            ‘C’mon, Baby, give Daddy some sugar’
            His words were cast to deliberately hook her. 
            (Stay tuned … an epic erotic series just blew into my melon!)
14. Sum up your experience of The Blog Tag in one rhyming sentence.
N/A – not yet a member
Doing this tag for AlfonsoWords, however, was a pleasure because, well … he’s such a doll!!
15. Who is your favourite character from a book? Why him/her?
Holden Caulfield of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is my favorite literary character.  He is me in the struggle to reconcile an idealized view of how people should be, with the phony behaviour they exhibit so reflexively.
16. Have you written any books? Tell us about it/them.
My debut memoir is about to drop (I know I’ve been saying that for what seems like a long-ass time, but I just couldn’t let this chunk of my heart and soul be rushed out until it was as perfect as I could control).
This is an account of my eleven-month relationship with a broken soul, ravaged by PTSD, but who presented as professional and romantic.  Our connection was so exciting, like a fairy-tale in many ways.  But as in all fairy tales, evil lurks, and there’s a lesson to be learned.


17. What would be the ultimate goal for you to achieve as a writer?
Anything I have ever written has been done with the compulsion to use the most beautiful words in the most artful way to convey the most touching meaning. Unfortunately, a situation has befallen me personally in which my writing needs to turn into income in the most urgent way. Nevertheless, I cannot betray my compulsion by throwing out a bunch of drivel just to make money. My ultimate goal is to overcome the personal situation by monetizing my writing, not exploiting it. After that, were I to put down my pen for all time, I could be satisfied.
18. Can you remember the moment you fell in love with words/literature? 
A precise moment, no, but I have vivid childhood recollections of Mother Goose Rhymes and other classics that my mother recited before I could read.  Here’s some TMI for you all … she would recite rhymes and stories while toilet-training me to pass the time while I was sitting ‘on the potty.’  Mom loved books, and gifts included books of well-loved classics as often as toys and clothes.  I remember my big brother reading to me, as well as learning to read myself in first grade. I devoured books from that time onward.
19. Do you have a good support structure while writing?
In terms of surroundings, yes.  My kids are older and don’t interrupt per se, although the confluence of schedules often makes extended writing time a challenge.  When I undertook writing the memoir, I confided in a very close friend who knew the story.  I needed his objectivity as I relived the events of that relationship.  He was my compass, and I am ever grateful.
20. Why is reading important to you?
There is nothing you can’t learn if you know how to read well. I believe this to be an axiom, and it was the driving force in homeschooling my children. One of the things of which I’m most proud is having taught my kids to read. I believe that reading is the infusion that makes us wielders of delightful words. When we open our mouths, we can build up or tear down. How can we communicate effectively, powerfully, and lovingly with our fellow man if we don’t take in the words necessary to do so? You simply can’t draw from a well having no water.
21. What is your most memorable childhood book?
            I have to name two – The Five Chinese Brothers & The Three Billy Goats Gruff
            These were stories I had read to me over and over.
OH! WAIT! I can’t forget my copy of Cat in the Hat. It had a huge mustard stain on the inside cover because I hid an unwanted ham sandwich in it. My brother has NEVER let me forget it!

Quick Fire
Poems or Quotes
Poems … love the artful arrangement of words

Rock or Pop
Classic Rock, actually … and Oldies

Handwriting or Typing
Typing … I’m super-fast at it and it is easier to share than handwriting

Biography or Novel
Biography hands down! Fascinated by real people and real situations whereas I’m so often disappointed by the direction of a fiction story.

Plotter or Pantser
Pantser and proud of it! I need words to flow, and a mechanized story just doesn’t do it for me

Traditional or Self Publishing
Self !! I could NEVER relinquish control of my words to anyone.

Reading alone or for Other People

I think both contribute to maximizing the learning potential of reading. Reading alone, whether for learning or entertainment, allows us to fully engage with content.  Reading FOR other people, whether that’s out loud for their benefit or reading what is popular with others or selected by others, provides a more limited opportunity to assimilate content but a greater social context in which to do so.  Nevertheless, I never read something just because it’s popular.  


Follow her Awesomeness!

If you're interested in taking part in The Blog Tag


~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Unicorn Queen, The Samurai & The Wizard Part 2

DeviantArt Cred: Averte
Read Part 1 of this Story Here

A shiver shot down his spine and—BOOOOOOM!!!!!!

In a flash, the barn roof exploded and lightning surged through it, hitting Hocirne head on. All his world turned white and bright hot. He was consumed by it.

He un-scrunched his eyelids when his body didn't feel like it was being burned alive. A pure white room greeted him, it was expansive and ominous. 

"Hello son."

Hocirne retreated in horror, "F-Father! How can this be?"

A man stepped forward as if from a fold in the white, his smile broadened causing little crinkle lines on the side of each of his eyes. He appeared to be in the same clothing as he was when Hocirne last saw him. Tattered dark green shirt, torn brown pants with a faded scarf around his neck. 

"The great wizard of Old, thought it best if I met with you and explained things, such as they are. But first are you just going to stand there or are you going to give a father a long lost hug?"

Hocirne flung himself into his father's strong and farm study arms. He couldn't believe his luck, two beautiful maidens coming to revealing a magical destiny and seeing his father all in one day. Surely this cannot be His life. "Wait, explain what things?"

His father put Hocirne in front of him, steadying his hands on his shoulders. He appraised his son, "You've grown to a mighty fine young man my boy, I am so proud of you." 

Hocirne's ear started to heat up. "Father, I haven't done anything worth being proud of." 

"Cobblewalsh, you've taken care of your mother and the farm and dreamed of a life filled with adventure. I couldn't be more proud." His father cleared his throat and nodded to an imaginary force. "Right then, son we don't have much time. You have been chosen to become the new Wizard of the North. A savior for some, a nightmare for others. You must take heed, do not use the power as a crutch and never give more than the people deserve. A path has been laid out, you must promise me son. Promise me to follow the path. The wizard of Old was quite adamant on this."

Hocirne sighed deeply, so many rules and he hasn't even started being a wizard yet. "I promise father, but please don't go, can't you come with me?"

The entire room shook and a thunderous roar could be heard. His father looked unto him with sad eyes, "Such things are forbidden my boy, it would throw off the balance between life and death. Now you must go, stay too long here and you may not never return."

A tugging sensation appeared in his gut before he could protest, he was pulled back into his place in the center of the barn. 
A single tear trailed down his cheek.
He smelled burnt ozone all around him and hurried out to help the maidens up as they were thrown from him. He looked up and palmed his face at the destruction. "Mother is going to kill me."

"What happened? Is he a wizard now?" Ari asked as she frown in frustration.

Eru looked unto him with a sparkle in her eye, she seemed to know alot more than she was letting on. "I am unsure, well Hocirne, how do you feel?"

Yes, how did he feel? None of this morning chores reflected in his muscles or his bones, his mind felt pristinely clear, thoughts no longer jumbled. But there was something else too, something had taken root deep within him. He closed his eyes to focus on it, reach for it. "I feel it, it's there."

Ari huffed out a breath, "Finally! That took forever, let's get moving then."

"No, wait, Hocirne I have a book of spells in my travel sack. It will help you." Eri moved to reach for the sack but halted when she marveled as Hocirne hand begin to glow a bright white & yellow light.
DeviantArt Cred: Djsanka 
"First, we need to go to the village of Maca, it's 30 leagues from here and I feel it calling to me or rather the people calling out. And we can't go there looking this, not as clear outsiders." Hocirne waved out his glowing hand, touching the power within him and bringing to forethought, his intentions. Their clothes were suddenly changed, into the styles he had seen on his one visit to Maca. 

Ari looked down, appalled at the state of her dress, "This is absurd, I will not be seen in this I tell you. I will not."

A palm touched his, soft and delicate, sending a shiver through his whole body. Eru had taken his hand to study it in wonder. "How-How ever did you do that? I was advised that the wizard would need spells to do such things?"

Hocirne retracted his palm, feeling his ears heat up. Being this close to her, seeing the flakes of golden within her emerald eyes, unnerved him. "I uh, I don't know exactly how I did it but I was never one for the rules. I guess I just don't believe they have power over me."

***
Their horses halted at the entrance to Maca, chaos was the only word to describe the scene before them. Houses ablaze, people running in terror, children left crying and a dragon. A massively red scaled dragon sailed through the smoke filled sky. It's fury echoing in the thunderous roars it bellowed out. The very same roar he had heard in his vision. This must be what he was sensing.

DeviantArt Cred: Sky Sealer
Ari gripped at his arm, "What the bloody hell is that thing?"

"Why it's a dragon ofcourse, and we're going to talk to her." Eru smiled broadly like she knew this was going to be the outcome all along.

"Let's tend to the villagers first. The need to know that the wizard is back." Hocirne concentrated and out stretched his hands above his head. A blast of white energy shot to the sky and as it reached a peak, crescendoed out in an arc around the village. Invisible, but still there. "There, that should keep them safe for the time being. Shall we?" He gestured out to the maidens. 

Eru stood out in the open field, under the swirling Dragon without so much as a care in the world. As if summoning it, the massive beast came barreling to the earth before her. It halted before them, fiery plumes still etching at the sides of its mouth.

"The poor thing has lost her baby," Eru said, now caressing the sides of dragon's blood red scales. 

Hocirne looked on, flabbergasted. "You can speak to it - I mean her?"

"Yes. Her name is Brianna. Here come." Eru reached for his hand, but Hocirne avoided the contact and instead placed his own hand upon Brianna's scales. Eru's voice took a whisper to his ear, "Feel her rhythm. Feel her power. Yes, there. Now listen to her speak."

Hocirne's eyes popped open, "I can hear her!" He exclaimed in wonder. 

"Eru please this doesn't make any sense. We did not come here to rescue some infant beast. We came here to find the Wizard so he can help me find Hterag."

"Wait, how do you know Hterag your majesty?" Hocirne asked now perplexed. 

The queen's eyes lit up, "You've known Hterag in this land?"

"Yes, he's my uncle."

***

Brianna scoured the skies above them as they raced through the land to find her baby dragon. Hocirne could tell that in their silence Ari and him were both dealing with the revelation. The revelation that Hterag, her lost love was his long lost uncle. His father and uncle had had a huge falling out when Hterag wanted nothing to do with the farm after their parents passing. Hocirne had thought of his uncle as a gallant hero. Out accomplishing great deeds and going on fantastical adventures. Never could he have imagined that his uncle would open a portal to another realm, fall in love with a queen and then get himself captured by this usurper Toad person. He vowed that he would do all in his power to save his uncle and reunite the queen with him. 

An arrow whizzed past his head as Brianna shouted from above that she sensed her baby nearby. Men appeared from behind the trees, dirty and sneering, all of them. A dozen of them notched their arrows when a cry erupted from the forest behind them. The wailing touched at his hurt, the baby dragon was in pain. A darkness rumbled from the earth below him and he turned to see a murderous look on Eru's face. She jumped off her horse as the arrows sailed through the air, surely to hit them should it land. Eru's unwrapped her sleeves so that they overtook her hands. Just as the arrows were about to land upon them, she began the most beautifully enthralling dance Hocirne ever had the honor of seeing. Using her flowing sleeves, she changed the directory of every arrow before her. They all hit to ground around them. The barbarians looked at a loss, unsure of what to do next. 

The rumbling in the earth began again and he knew the dance was over, "You sniveling sacks of pigs. I will make you pay for ever having touched a scale on the poor creature."

A gust of wind blew out in her wake as she flew out at the men with astonishing speed. Eru didn't even draw her katana, only using her hands she rendered each one of the barbarians either unconscious or dead. Deadly hands, twisting necks and bloodying her opponents. He could not imagine that they were the same that touched his palm not so long ago. 

The baby dragon was found deep within the Maca forest with two barbarians stationed to guard him. Hocirne pushed out his palms and the men were hurtling into breaking trees. Brianna was once more reunited with her kin. She nuzzled at the little dark blue scaled dragon. He huffed at her affections. 

"There, now that we've saved this lot. Can we please get back to our mission?" Ari said warming her hands over the fire. 

"I can't just leave, I need to talk to my mother about all of this." Hocirne gestured out in dramatic fashion. "But I promise you, your majesty, I will help you find my uncle. He is family and family is everything to me."

DeviantArt Cred: Perlamarina
***
"No, no this cannot be." Hocirne looked out in horror at the scene before him. A infantry of armor clad men stood on steads and the very ground he'd called home for so very long. His mother was among them, being held firm by a soldier with no face to be seen. 

"You will hand over the wizard to us now. He is to serve in my queen's army. That is his purpose." The no faced man commanded. 

"What? Who the hell is your bloody queen? Bring her forth so that we may have words." Ari thundered forward with balled up fists. Eru halted her. 

"Please, please just don't hurt my mother." Hocirne pleaded, with no hope in sight. He could try his magic but the no faced man seemed to be in no gaming mood. A quick thrust from that blade in his hand and it would be all over. 

"You have no say in this outcome wizard. It is your protectors who must decide before my queen orders any further bloodshed."

Eru stepped out, "What do you mean further bloodshed? This is the Wizard of the North. None are higher. You will pay heed soldier boy."

The other soldiers laughed and the no faced man shouted for quiet, "That title holds no honor any longer Gaijin. My queen rules over these lands now and-" He broke of as a whisper appeared on the wind.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Eru screamed out as she picked up whisper on the winds. But it was too late. The blade had already been thrust into Hocirne's mother.

Brianna bellowed from above and came soaring down in anger. Worse still was the sight of her shaking the earth as she crumbled. The soldiers had been ready for this, their leader had pulled out a ruby. Deep and blood red, the color of Brianna. Before Eru could move, the soldier was on the dragon. Stabbing her through the heart with a golden sword. 

He touched at her, "Forgive me Brianna... thank you for your sacrifice."

The baby dragon wailed beside them and Eru did all she could to hold him back. She look out at Hocirne, he had sunk to his knees. Like them, unable to process what had just happened. Obviously more so. Her heart broke for him.

A melody broke through the chaos, the sweetest sound she had ever heard. It was Ari! She was singing. Her words, her tone were utterly captivating. Eru could feel the power within them. It resonated with her very soul, swaying her. And then all the world around her faded.

***
Eru was thrown awake by the thrusts of Ari, a massive storm out around them. She screamed through the torrent of rain, wind and thunder. Eru sat up groggily as the scene unfolded before her. Trees and even boulders were being uprooted by the sheer force of the storm as it raged about. At the center of it, was Hocirne. Again on his knees but now in pain. She could hear his cries of sorrow and despair. 

"I can't go near him! His magic is out of control!" Ari shouted beside her. 

"Well, what did you expect? The boy did just lose his mother." A voice came from behind that startled them. A white-bearded man appeared as if through a fold in the very storm. 

"OH right, who the bloody hell is this now?" Ari fumed

"What is it you call it? Ah yes, I suppose my fast-tongued name would be Merlin. I was apprentice to the Great Wizard of Old and I am here for the boy." Merlin stood there smiling serenely, the fury of the storm that battered at Eru and Ari, seemed to not bother him at all. He waved out a hand and the storm seemed to dissipate around them, energy began to glow and they were warmed.

"Where will you take him?" Eru asked in concern. 

"He must go where my master went. He must walk the path laid out for him. His 400-year journey must be-"

"400 years! Have you lost your mind old man? We cannot wait that long." Ari exclaimed balling up her fists.

"Worry not my child, I sense the urgency of your words. Time moves differently for us wizards. He will be returned unto thee within a fortnight."

Eru looked back at Hocirne, magic bolts of energy shooting out from him as he clutched at his sides. The pain of his loss was now uncontrollable and physically tormenting him. "He shouldn't have to go through this. I failed him."

Merlin crouched down and cupped her chin, "Hmmm you feel more deeply than most, don't you my young samurai. He and thee are connected. A wizard and his guardian, such shall it be as it has ever been. I fear the darkness of this loss will corrupt him should he stay here, he must journey with me or alas his terrible pain will become all that he knows."

Eru sighed deeply, an incredible weight now reflected in her shoulders. "Please bring him back to me."

Merlin nodded and with that, he snapped his fingers, taking Hocirne and the storm with him.

Unicorn Queen Cred: iluvfaeries
***
Authors Note


While joking with some great friends, the basis for this story was formed. I wrote out Part 1 as a test version to see how it would all play out.

Hope you enjoyed Part 2!

Here's the Origin stories of Eru & Ari respectively.
Happy reading.

~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Book Tag: Finn Chow

Inspire. Create. Write. TM

So this month has really been about the interviews hey hahaha. One of my passions is to Share the awesomeness I encounter along my Journey and this one is no exception.
I'm beyond overjoyed to introduce you to today's guest. He's got mad skill, is wickedly witty and an all around great guy. I'm in love with his artworks and cannot wait for the release of his book.

Finn Chow is a fantasy author who is currently working on publishing his first book, Sparks. Literature has always been a passion of his, and being a born and raised in San Diego it is not uncommon to find him on a beach reading a good book. Finn is also an artist and a singer who enjoys exploring various creative forms of expression. Motivated and ambitious, Finn is always trying to find a way to share his work with the world.

Questions:

1. Do you have a specific place to read?
  • While I can honestly read pretty much anywhere as long as the book is worth reading, I prefer to read outside in the afternoon. It’s always nice for me to relax on a grass under a big tree and forget about the world around me while focusing on one in my hands. 

2. What book/s can you re-read without getting tired?
  • I won’t lie when I say that I hate the concept of re-reading things. As good a book is, it’s never the same thing after I read it once. There are no surprises or twists to make you stay up until 3 am reading.
3. Who is your favorite author?
  • I could never pick one favorite author. There are so many great literary minds with amazing talent out there. It also really depends on what I feel like reading. But to name a few authors that I can always count on: JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Eion Colfer, Suzanne Collins, Derek Landy, Cassandra Clare, Neil Shusterman, and Michael Grant.
4. What is your favorite fiction book?
  • I can’t choose a favorite book, but my favorite fiction book series would be the Percy Jackson novels. If I had to re-read anything it would be them. I have always loved Greek Mythology and love the way Riordan puts a modern twist on ancient tales.
5. What is your most memorable childhood book?
  • My favorite childhood book would have to be Frog and Toad. Not only were the stories simple, but they also displayed a charming and lovely friendship that you can’t help but to want in your own life.
6. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?
  • While I'm not one to remember all that many quotes, my favorite would have to be JK Rowling's use of "I open at the close". It reminds me that even when one thing ends many more begin.
7. What books did you hate reading in school?
  • I can only say one thing about Shakespeare. And that word is “overrated”. While I am not implying that Shakespeare had no talent, his work is nothing special in my opinion. Not to mention that the difficulty to decipher Old English takes away from the value of the work and the effect on the reader.
8. Do you read before bed?
  • My mom read to me before bed almost ever night when I was younger. She still carries on this tradition with my younger siblings as well. As a result, I find it natural and calming to grab a good book before a long night of struggling not to get up and write down my new story ideas.
9. How many books are there on your book shelf?
  • Let’s just say that if I ever need to move my bookcase it would take a lot longer than anyone really has time for.
10. What genre of books do you prefer?
  • I can honestly say that if I had to choose between destroying the world’s supply of fiction and non fiction I would choose to save fiction in a heartbeat. I think that books should a tool to escape the reality of life and enter a world that someone has created out of the inner workings of their minds. As for what types of fiction I like, that varies from mystery to fantasy to horror depending on my mood.
11. Can you read while there is noise around, like music or TV?
  • Being the second oldest of four boys I kind of had to learn how to tune out shouting, bickering, the sound of things breaking, crying, and all hell breaking loose. To be honest, if the world was ending around me while I would notice if I was reading something good.
12. Have you written any books? If so, tell us about it.
  • I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy that I started in 2014. The novels center around three genetically altered teens with extraordinary abilities as they struggle to survive in the world of darkness around them. Having already written the books one and two, Sparks and Inferno respectively, I plan to publish the first this summer while finishing my conclusion, Ashes.
Artwork Cred: Finn Chow
13.
You walk into a book store, what do you walk out with?

  • I don’t go to bookstores. While they are one of my favorite places to shop and browse around in, I was highly discouraged from going into them as a child. That fact that my parents would buy a book, only for me to finish it in two days made them wary to keep taking me. So nowadays I tend to frequent library and spam suggestion boxes until I get what I want.
14. Worst book you ever read?
  • I’ve had to read several obnoxiously boring and unnecessarily long books for school. But the worst one among them was Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Not only was it utterly strange, with the author attempting to teach the readers lessons by having a man interact with a philosophical gorilla, but I could have easily summarized these lessons on half an index card. There was no need to make me suffer through a weak plot and bad characters as well. 
15. Do you have any collections of books?
  • I’m one of those people that everyone gives books to. So as a result, I have quite a few great series on my bookshelf. And unless people are thoughtful enough to buy me the next book when I’m done I normally end up getting the rest myself.
16. Do you have a library card?
  • Of course, I have a library card! While it would be a wonderful thing to constantly buy all of my books new, I personally think it’s a beautiful thing to share books in the same way that we share stories. 
17. What is the last book you read?
  • Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
18. How many books do you read per year?
  • Let’s do the math shall we? I can read an average three hundred to four hundred page book in three to five days. But factoring in the fact that I have adult responsibilities and other boring things like school. I’m going to say between twenty to thirty books.
19. Who is your favorite character from a book? Why him/her?
  • While almost anyone obnoxiously sarcastic will do, I’m going to have to go with Skullduggery Pleasant. There’s something about being an undead skeleton and getting away with horrendously rude and dark humor because of it that appeals to me.
20. Why is reading important to you?
  • Reading is a way for me to take a break from things in the same way that other people glue themselves to TV screens. There’s nothing wrong with either and it’s nice to turn your brain off for a while. Personally, I also use books to learn other author’s writing techniques and styles.

Quick Fire:

Book mark or anything that can hold your place

Paper Back or Ebook

Novel or Biography

Fiction or Non-Fiction

Read the book or watch the movie first

Romance or Science-Fiction & Fantasy

An AMAZING Original Artwork by Finn Chow
Love this, reminds me of the 
Nine Tails Fox {Naruto}

21. Bonus Question: If there was just one nugget of wisdom you could share, what would that be?
  • If you know that you are never going to love what you do 100%, it is a waste of your endless potential to spend on it. Your life is worth so much more than that, and you deserve so much better. Make what you truly love a reality. 

Follow his Awesomeness on Twitter

Want to be amazing? Vote here for Twitter's hottest upcoming YA novel:

‘Sparks’ by Finley Chow


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~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Food Tag: Gourmet Soiree

Inspire. Create. Write. TM


Ever since I stepped into the chaotic world of social media in April, Gourmet Soiree has been so supportive and she always makes time to share out my content. So I'm here to return the favor in appreciation. Join me as we Glimpse into her fun-filled, adventure-driven & talented lifestyle.

Gourmet Soiree is a retired event planner on the quest for authentic people, places & pairings. 
Writer & Dead Poets Society member
Carpe diem. 
~"Make your lives extraordinary."~

1. What is your favorite cuisine? 
  • Italian
2. The best place to get supper in the city where you live? 
3. Favorite chef ? 

4. How do you take your coffee/tea? 
  • Coffee with a little non-fat milk; green tea to pep up for a workout. 
5. What cook book do you use the most? 
  • “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, Julia Child
6. If you could open your own restaurant what type of food would you serve and what would your restaurant be called?
  • I know the restaurant life is truly 24/7 so I would strive for more balance. I would love to cater some select upscale events that involve sailing (with a covered boat option in case of inclement weather) and dessert on the lanai in Maui. 

7. What’s on your pizza?
  • I don’t eat pizza very often as I’m in training for some red carpet events.  
  • If I do I am a classic Pizzeria Uno gal, Chicago deep dish with sausage and green pepper 
8. Favorite cooking utensil? 
  • Whisk 
9. What is your favorite home cooked meal?
  • Chef Alessio’s Signature dish: Cavatelli al PISTACCHIO e GAMBERONI 
  • House made cavatelli with tiger prawns in pistachio cream
10. 3 ingredients you can’t live without?
  • NA
11. The most interesting food you have eaten? (Changed from “weirdest”)
  • I have eaten some very interesting Hawaiian food that included poi, food from a traditional emu and amazing volcano wine that is so rich from the soil of Kilauea volcano. 
12. Describe your perfect desert
  • My perfect “desert” is Mojave Desert, near the Joshua Tree ;) 
  • My perfect dessert is one of the first ones Chef Alessio named after me: “La Linda Diplomatica”. It was so interesting and inviting, and of course an honor to have food named after me. 
  • It is light and creamy with chocolate and Chantilly crème; a lot like American Boston cream pie, but no crust. 
  • La torta diplomatica è un fantastico dolce tutto italiano. Questo dessert, molto particolare, si compone di strati di pasta sfoglia croccante e pan di spagna, alternati da una deliziosa crema, chiamata appunto crema diplomatica (o anche crema chantilly all’italiana), che nasce dall’unione di due creme altrettanto buone, ovvero lacrema chantilly e la crema pasticcera

13. You can invite anyone over for dinner, who would it be?
  • Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller and Alfonzo Words
14. Do you have any food traditions in your culture/family?
  • I have been invited to a wonderful Christmas Even Italian dinner tradition with 10 courses, shared family style and paired with wine and toasts to the new year. The portions were sharable but not massive, so I never felt too full or forced to eat too much. (love that mélange!) I’m American, but it’s been a great joy to be invited to this tradition for the last 2 years. I will never forget it and I do feel that it set up an amazing year!
15. Is there any food you won’t ever eat? 
  • I don’t like crab and prefer not to eat it as a Cancer. 

Quick Fire

Juice or Fizzy Drinks 
Fresh squeezed juice, especially guava. 

Chicken or Beef 

Eat in or Go out 

Indian or Chinese 

Sweet or Sour

Chocolate or Strawberry 

Popcorn or Chips 
Baked chips

Cake or Pie

Cream or Ice cream

Skittles or M&M’s 



Food Board for Alessio Vullo @ Nando Milano Trattoria Chicago  
Salute & Aloha!

Follow the Delectable Decadence

~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Samurai: Eru's Origin


Read Part 1 of this Story Here

The bolt of lightning that exploded through the roof of the barn had rocketed her of her feet and thrown her mind into the past. Into the memories that brought her to this moment…

The land that stretched out before Eiramus was barren, the air pungent with war and poverty, she could feel the despair of the land just as vividly as the wind blowing through her viridescent hair. She lightly brushes her cheek, setting the trapped stand of hair free from her damp face. 
“How did it come to this?” she mumbles into nothingness while slowly crouching down. She marks her territory with her village’s symbol, a snake wrapped around an olive branch. How ironic, she thought that this would be their symbol. A snake, everlasting symbol of evil and despair and the olive branch signifying hope. Which one is she? The snake or the olive branch. The questions never plagued her when in training, believing she would be fighting for a better cause, but looking out at the dying land, she started thinking that she might be the snake. 
“Eiramus, get up, the others have departed to the Thasues mountains already. You know well you cannot let your soldiers travel that path alone, the gods will frown upon your actions child” 

Eiramus turned around while still crouching, looking up into her father’s eyes “Teacher, tell me, how can you still call me a child when I’ve taken the lives of hundreds? When I’ve conquered almost half the kingdom in our gods names and helped you push back the enemies you’ve feared for years.” She could see her father’s anger rise in his stance, the way his lip slightly twitched in the right corner, the way his knuckles turned white around his trumpet, Eiramus could not care less. She stood up and faced her father “They call you the mighty conqueror, but I lead your battles and slaughter your enemies before you. Can you not feel the ground mourning for the lives lost, can you not see the three suns hiding behind the darkness we’ve cast upon the land.” 

With that Chikura flung his trumped to the ground and wrapped his hand around Eiramus’ neck “Don’t you ever mention what you feel, do you hear me, girl? Your feelings are a fiction of your imagination and don’t you dare ever defy me again” He slung Eiramus to the ground and stood over her.

“Child”
With that Eiramus watched her father whom she once loved dearly walk away from her for the last time…

DevantArt Cred: fearn
At that moment Eiramus knew what she had to do, she picked up her father’s trumpet and once again looked out to the landscape she had ruined. Slowly making her way the mountain, she knew this was the path she was meant to follow. Her heartbeat was in tune with her steps, and in turn her steps were in tune with the heartbeat of the land beneath her feet. It was as if she could already smell life returning to the lands, even though it laid, destroyed before her. 

She knew she had to escape her father’s wrath, he would stop at nothing to force her into her destiny to become the leader of this land by becoming the executioner to anyone who would defy her. No, she did not want her followers to fear her, but to love her. Harmony was key, and she knew it. She would return to her father, this time fighting against him, instead of for him. 

By the time Eiramus came to this conclusion the ledge on which she stood with her father was a speckle in the horizons behind her. She turned around and swore in her mother tongue 
“Heishbag kvosiera au hijden” – {I will return to claim my land} 

With that parting promise, Eiramus picked up the pace, she felt the wind in her lungs, cleaner somehow. The air around her was no longer weighed down by the despair of past and future conquers. She was no longer the snake, but the olive branch. She was free and she was freedom entwined into one magnificent being. She knew what she had to do, she'd head for a realm far from hers, where magic was in abundance and you aren’t imprisoned for wielding with the forces of the universe. 

She had heard whispers of a woman opening portals to another realm, she’d heard villages call out her name in despair as she slaughtered them to claim her father’s victory. The name was Nezebeth, and she lived where no man or woman would dare wander. 

Eiramus made her decision, she would find this sorcerer, and she would find an army powerful enough that her father would not dare stand against her. 

The moment she decided,  the land beneath her feet started to move. Changing, laying out a path that she has yet to walk. Walking she became certain that she’d made the right decision, jogging and eventually running towards her destiny. Before she knew it, she found herself in the middle of the bog. A place she’d only heard of in stories to scare toddlers and adults alike. 

“Why are you here, child?” a mysterious voice filled the air around her. 

“Don’t call me child, I am Eiramus, samurai trained by the great Conqueror Chikura, king of these lands. You will address me with respect or live to regret it.” Eiramus suddenly felt the ground starting to suck her in and her breathing became frantic, like she wasn’t getting enough air. 

“Oh child, how do you fight an enemy you can’t see? An enemy you can’t hear, unless it wishes to be heard. An enemy you can’t feel unless it wants to be felt? But you already know you can’t fight such an enemy. That is why you are here, isn’t it young samurai?”

Eiramus fell to the ground, whatever was holding her released. She closed her eyes and thought about her father. The days he spent training her, the nights he spent tucking her into bed and the men he fought and killed to stay in power and for her, a woman, to become the leader of his army. Suddenly she wanted to turn back, wanted to look for the quickest path out of the bog “It’s too late child, you already made your decision. You can’t turn back now.” 

Eiramus felt herself rising involuntarily, she clutched her trumpet and katana. Before she knew it, darkness engulfed her. She begged for unconsciousness to replace the nothingness. She did not know how long or how far she traveled. All she knew was that she was on her way to another realm. And the sorceress in the bog somehow knew what she felt, she knew her past and her future. While on the journey, Eiramus held fast to two vows: 

First, she will return to claim her land and second, she would find the sorcerer that sent her away, and confront her about the kingdom’s past, present and future.

the_seven_virtues__hope_by_sijeney
*******************
Authors Note

While joking with some great friends, the basis for this story was formed. Part 1 of this story can be found here.
Last week I featured The Unicorn Queen: Ari's Origin

We got to talking & the girls started writing their own versions of the how the characters came to be.
This awesome Origin/Background story on the Character Eiramus, was brought to you by unbelievably amazing Sumarie Steenkamp

She was born to write fantasy and I cannot wait for more.

Part 2 of "The Unicorn Queen, The Samurai & The Wizard" will be posted next week, which continues where the storyline left off.

~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres