Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One Place

I am consolidating my posts. Come find me HERE at my main blog.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

001c – The Missing Chapter Part 3 of 3

This chapter belongs between the current chapters One and Two. Tom & Icy pointed out to me that Sienna mysteriously went from cow to woman. The Missing Chapter, Parts 1, 2 and 3, explains the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, for Sienna.

This is the final part of 3.
0 - green butterfly[5]
After a couple of extra heart beats, Sienna found her voice.

“Yes, queen, among other things. How do you know that?”

“I saw it in the fire," said Loviatar. “You also wish to be a powerful sorceress.”

“Yes, that too.” Sienna could not get over the transformation in the woman. Only older than Sienna by maybe ten years, the woman was a couple of inches taller than her. Her hair fell over her shoulders and down her back in thick black waves. Her skin was clear and alabaster. Her hands, held in front of her were narrow with long delicate fingers.

“Is this how you really look or is it some sort of magic spell?”

“The other was magic, or I should say, a trick of costume. One does not squander true magic when a bit of foolery will do.” Loviatar motioned with one of her fine hands for Sienna to sit at the table. Loviatar sat opposite her. As they did, the young girl came into the room with a tray holding two ceramic cups and slices of fresh bread already buttered and spread with jam. She placed the tray on the table, eyes downcast as before, and left.

“Are these children I see her yours?”

Loviatar motioned for Sienna to eat.

“In a manner of speaking.” She drank from her cup as she watched Sienna eat and drink. When Sienna had consumed two slices of bread, Loviatar spoke again.

“Tell me what you want.”

“You already know,” said Sienna.

“You must tell me in your own words what you want and then ask me for my help.”

“Are you a sorceress?”

“I am The Witch of Spawn Hallow.”

Sienna choked on the sip of the watered wine she had just put in her mouth. She could not believe her luck. The Witch of Spawn Hallow was rumored to be the most powerful witch in the land, crone and old hag reborn in each new generation. Sienna smiled. She took a deep breath.

“I want to be Queen. I want Prince Brendan to fall madly in love with me and for him to forget all about my sister, Rose. I want to be a witch. Can you help me with these things?” 

0 - v

Saturday, March 27, 2010

001b – The Missing Chapter Part 2 of 3

This chapter belongs between the current chapters One and Two. Tom & Icy pointed out to me that Sienna mysteriously went from cow to woman. The Missing Chapter, Parts 1, 2 and 3, explains the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, for Sienna.

This is part 2 of 3.

0 - green butterfly

Sienna stood. She held a hand out to the dirty and disheveled old woman at her feet. Loviatar sprang up like a ten year old child. She walked around Sienna, looking at Sienna from head to toe, the tip of a dirty pinky in her mouth. She made sucking noises on the digit as she watched Sienna brush herself off, smooth down her dress and finger comb her hair.

“You agreed to my demand of loyalty rather fast,” said Loviatar.

“You changed me from a heifer and back to myself rather fast.” Sienna tried to reconcile the old woman’s appearance with her spry movements and refined voice. “I thought you could do more for me.” 

“Perhaps we can help each other.” Loviatar stopped circling Sienna and walked off into the woods.

Sienna waited for some sort of direction from Loviatar and got nothing but the woman’s back. Sienna trotted after the woman.

They walked many hours without break or food, deep into the forest where Sienna had never been. The trees were ancient, their trunks so wide three grown men could not circle them with their hands clasp together around them.

At one and twenty years, Sienna had a hard time keeping up with Loviatar who Sienna guessed must be at least three score in age. By the time Sienna thought she would need to call out to the old woman that they must stop to rest, they reached a clearing within the trees that sheltered a well kept cottage, a pen with goats and chickens, an outbuilding and a garden.

Sienna saw a young boy of eight tending the animals while a girl who must be slightly younger than her sister, Rose, worked the gardens.

Loviatar walked up to the cottage and entered. The children outside never looked up from their chores. 

Sienna followed the old woman into the house to find her being attended by another girl about the same age as the one in the garden. The girl helped Loviatar off with her rabbit pelt cloak and the many layers of cloth that wrapped and draped her body.  She placed these items one by one in a pile on a table. 

Once all of the clothes were removed, Sienna could see the body of Loviatar, now only covered by a sheath, slim and supple like that of a young woman. Loviatar sat on a stool facing the flames in the fireplace as the girl plucked leaves and small branches from Loviatar’s hair.

Since she received no instructions, Sienna sat on a chair in an opposite corner of the room and rested while the girl groomed Loviatar.

The girl brushed out Loviatar’s hair until it shone and was tangle free. She brought over a basin of water and a cloth and she wiped Loviatar’s face. She slipped a dark green, soft wool dress over Loviatar’s head. It slid down the woman’s body and pooled at her waist. The girl left the room, never once lifting her eyes in Sienna’s direction.

“So, you wish to be a queen,” said Loviatar.

Sienna startled from a light doze when Loviatar spoke. Though low, her voice carried across the room. Loviatar stood and turned towards Sienna. Sienna sat with her mouth hanging open and eyes wide.

Where once a dirty, poor, old woman sat there now stood a beautiful, black haired lady with eyes so blue they glowed, picking up every stray bit of light in the room.

0 - v

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

001a - The Missing Chapter - Part 1 of 3

This chapter belongs between the current chapters One and Two. Tom & Icy pointed out to me that Sienna mysteriously went from cow to woman. The Missing Chapter, Parts 1, 2 and 3, explains the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, for Sienna.
0 - green butterflyThe Witch of Spawn Hallow stood in the shadows of the ancient larch and yew that made up the forest near the little farm where the sorceress, Ma-Sha, had just changed five red headed women into five fawn-colored cows. A dark haired man had left only minutes before, passing within feet of where The Witch hid, camouflaged by the green and browns of her clothes and the twigs and leaves woven into her hair.

She waited, hunkered down within the underbrush, until Ma-Sha left in the opposite direction. The young girl Ma-Sha had left unchanged went into the thatch-roofed cottage. The cows wandered into a pasture behind the house.

After several hours with no sign of anyone else about, The Witch rose from her crouch, stretching bunched and stiff muscles. She pulled her rabbit pelt shawl securely over her shoulders, and stepped out into the open. Looking around to be sure she was alone, The Witch walked over to the cottage, peeking in at the windows to see what the young girl was doing. The Witch saw the girl working at hanging bunches of herbs from the cottage rafters. She sang a ditty as she worked. The one table in the house was piled high with stalks and leaves.

The Witch moved on. The girl was too homey for her. From what she had seen, The Witch felt the girl would be too much Ma-Sha’s creature to be of use to The Witch. Better try for someone who felt misused. The Witch head for the cows.

As The Witch approached the five cows, all but the largest trotted away from her. That cow walked right up to The Witch. The cow’s head was level with The Witch’s head. The Witch placed a palm just under each of the cow's ears, her rag wrapped fingers spread wide, their tips pressing painfully into the beast’s skull.  

The Witch, her eyes closed, placed her forehead to the cow’s brow. They stood together this way, heads touching, for almost an hour. The wind rose and unseasonably cold rain poured down, soaking both and driving the other four cows into a shed beside the cottage. Hail pelted The Witch and the cow, growing to the size of crab apples. The Witch never moved. The cow shook and flinched as each ball of frozen water hit its body. Lightening struck the ground beside them and thunder shook the air.

The smell of burned grass and earth accompanied complete silence. The Witch sank to the ground drawing the auburn haired, beautiful, young woman with her. They both knelt, foreheads touching, The Witch’s eyes still closed. The woman transformed from cow to human took shallow breaths.

“We must move from here,” said the woman. “We can not let Rose see us.” The woman spoke quietly. She took hold of The Witch by the elbows and raised her up. The woman held The Witch around the back, supporting The Witch and guiding her towards the forest. The woman led The Witch to a downed tree trunk, helping her to sit.

Both looked back through the trees to see Rose cautiously peek out of the cottage door, walk out into the yard and call out.

“Sienna, Scarlet, Poppy, Phoenix, Flann.” Rose walked around the cottage as the four cows hiding in the shed trotted out. Rose moved towards them but they skittered away from her and ran for the trees, avoiding the spot where The Witch and the woman waited. The woman laughed and collapsed on the log next to The Witch.

The Witch clamped her left hand onto the woman’s right knee.

“Your name?”

“Sienna,” said the woman. She shivered.

“You will call me Loviatar.” Loviatar’s grip tightened on Sienna’s knee. “Say it.”


“Say, ‘I, Sienna, am Loviatar’s creature. I swear my allegiance to Loviatar.’” Her voice got lower and deeper as she spoke.

“I so swear,” whispered Sienna.

“No! Say it exactly as I spoke it.”

“I, Sienna, am Loviatar’s creature. I swear my allegiance to Loviatar.” The ground shook. 

0 - v

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

013 - Clean Up

Pulling a knife from his belt, the knight holding the reins, slit the throat of the horse. When the blood from the wound stopped gushing, the horse lay still. 

The two knights stood over the beast, both shaking their heads as they looked at the animal. Cook approached them. 

“Sires,” she said. She waited for the men to look up at her. 

“You require something from us, Madam Cook?” The knight held his knife point down, the blood drying on the blade. His hand around the hilt shook, his knuckles white. 

Cook looked at the knight, the man’s blue eyes almost hidden behind his squint. 

“Mayhap, I should send the butchers to carry away the body and prepare it as meat for the poor?” 

The second knight spit out a laugh. 

“Nay,” said the knight. “Prince Otho will lament the death of his favorite horse once he is in his cups tonight, do you not think, Eoghunn?” 

“Peredur has spoken true, Madam Cook,” said Eoghunn. “Come tomorrow, His Highness will cry over the beast’s grave and have it blessed by a priest. He will consider any animal of his to be beyond the bellies of his lowly subjects.”

“Tis a great shame,’ said Cook. She nodded her head to the two knights and waddled back to her own domain. 

Eoghunn turned to the water trough as Rose climbed out. He held out a hand to steady her as water dripped from her wet frock onto his leather boots. She lowered her head, gave a slight curtsy and ran towards the barn door. 

Peredur joined Eoghunn at the water as Eoghunn washed his knife. 

“New lass,” said Peredur. He watched as Rose disappeared into the barn. “Comely from what I could see.” 

“Save your wenching thoughts,” said Eoghunn. He wiped his cleaned knife on his breaches to dry it and placed it back into its sheath. “Find some men to take the horse away and start digging a pit. Me thinks it best to begin on the orders we know to be forth coming.” 

“Where, pray tell, do we dig?” 

“Next to the grave of the last horse Prince Otho killed,” said Eoghunn. 

“Do we begin the search for the next war horse he will end up killing?” asked Peredur. He spat on the ground. 

“It would be wise for you to keep such comments as thoughts.” Eoghunn looked back at the destrier, flies buzzing around its neck. He shook his head and cleared his throat. “I do not wish to bury you today, too, brother.” 

Peredur gave a slight salute to Eoghunn, a corner of his mouth upturned. 

“Once you have organized the burial party,” said Eoghunn, “gather a hunting party. We must bring the Prince the carcass of a dog before the day is out.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

012 – Death and Defilement

Rose left the kitchens, muttering about the ridiculousness of someone refusing her help. She had forgotten the bad weather and that the sun had yet to rise. She plowed out into the rain, splashing mud.

Once in the center of the yard, she stopped and cursed her stupidity. Wet from head to toe and now dirty, too, she felt lost. She needed an occupation to dispel her mood and her feeling of uselessness. She slogged through the slush to the well by the barn. The least she could do was haul buckets of water to fill the trough. The rain would not be enough and she could pay Huard back for the deeds he had done to help her.  

She pulled on the rope holding the bucket in the well. The Great Dane, Prince, approached her from around the corner of the building and stood behind her as if guarding her. She had forgotten about the big, black dog, but now thought of his protectiveness fondly.

As Rose brought up the first bucket of water and poured it into the stone basin, most her amarulence over being dismissed by Cook began to fade. When she dropped the bucket back in the well, the rest of her bitterness went with it. She began to hum to herself as she continued to work. She lost herself in her thoughts. The sun began to peek over the bailey walls.

A big, white horse came charging passed the well, taking Rose by surprise. Startled by the closeness of the beast and its wild ride past her, she barely moved quick enough to prevent being trampled. She fell into the trough.

The mud from her dirty feet defedated the water in the basin. The water would be spoiled until the dirt settled. It would be a long while as Rose thrashed in the water from the shock of falling in. By the time she hoisted herself into a sitting position with her head above the water, she heard the yelling of several men, a dog barking and horses neighing.

No one came to her aid.

Rose looked over her shoulder. She saw Prince being chased by a couple of knights, while Prince tried to bite a man sitting on the ground who was trying not to be trampled by the white horse. One of the knights grabbed the reins of the horse and pulled it away from the man on the ground. Complete chaos reigned. It increased as people from the kitchen came out to look. 

One knight leveled a cross bow with a nocked arrow at Prince. The dog yelped as the arrow, let loose, grazed Prince’s left hip. The dog ran off as the assectation of another arrow occurred. A third arrow followed the second, glancing off of the barn wall.

The knight with the crossbow bent down to help the man on the ground rise. The knight held out a hand to him.

“Are you hurt, Prince Otho?” asked the knight.

Prince Otho stood. He grabbed the crossbow from the knight. He shot the white horse through the neck. The knight holding the horse’s reins barely had time to move before the animal dropped to the ground and legs kicking in the air.

“I want that dog found and killed,” said Prince Otho. He threw the crossbow and strode from the yard.

The sun breached the bailey walls.

Monday, February 22, 2010

011 - No Light

Rose woke to the sound of the doors sliding back on Bea and Marg’s room. The room was dark. No lamp or candles were lit and the sun had not yet risen. Bea and Marg worked in the kitchens so they had to rise before everyone else in order to have food prepared for everyone to break their night time fast.
Rose tossed back her quilt and stood.
“There be no call for you to rise,” said Bea from the dark barn hallway.
“The rain be pouring from the sky,” said Marg. “You can not work in the garden in the rain or in the dark.”
“I can help in the kitchens until sun up,” said Rose.
“Cook will not allow it,” said Bea. “Go back to thy bed while yea can. Otherwise, yea will only be in the way.”
Marg and Bea left Rose in their sleeping quarters. Rose sat back on her pallet wondering what she could do. She was not sleepy. She would go in search of a candle or lamp to light the room. Perhaps there was something she could do in the room. Rose pulled her dress over her head and smooth down her hair after combing it briefly with her fingers.
She walked down the barn’s hallway, touching her fingers along the wall to help her in the dark. She moved slowly, peeking into stalls as she passed them but she could not see anything. She made it to the building’s opening. The sky in the East was tinged with a hint of light but the castle’s yard was still very dark.
Rose used her memory of the day before to head in the general direction of the kitchens. She managed to find the door when one of the sculleries came out leaving the kitchen door ajar. Rose entered the kitchen and found organized chaos. All of the workers were bent to their tasks, performing without pause. Rose went over to the pantry, thinking this the most likely place to find candles. A young girl was in the room.
“Excuse me,” said Rose.
The girl turned to face Rose. The girl bore a close resemblance to Huard. She seemed to be the same age, too.
“Are you Huard’s sister, by any chance?” asked Rose.
“Yes, ma’am,” said the girl.
“What’s your name?”
“Well, Hanna, Huard has helped me several times. Perhaps you can, too.”
The girl stood still, watching Rose.
“Is there a candle in there that I could have?” asked Rose.
“No, ma’am.”
“There are no candles?” asked Rose, her voice rising. Rose moved a little further into the storage room.
“There are candles,” said Hanna.
“Can I have one?”
“Why ever not?” asked Rose.
“Because yea do not need one.”
Rose turned to see Cook standing behind her.
“I need a candle to see in the dark of my room,” said Rose.
“Your job be in the garden,” said Cook. “Not in your room. So no candles. Now off with you. You be in the middle of our making the morning meal. If we are late with the victuals, his lordship will be unhappy.”