Friday, April 28, 2017

Sky Cat's Malign Gaze Haunts Me - a Poem of Whimsy and Moonlight

I can feel his gaze,
that hunter's malign stare boring down
from amid the clouds
over towards the horizon.

Almond moon, cirrus veiled
with lower dark masses framing it,
set to the right
of building westward now.

Sky Cat looks down,
seeking for some prey to steal
the soul from swiftly
peeking around that edifice.

I know it to be illussion.
I know it to be just fear.
But, in my heart that trembles
reason cannot enter back in.
For Sky Cat is hunting me.

Moon just past half,
forms his eye, dark mares orbit aligned
to form vertical slit
that makes the cat's-eye.

Sprinkles from passing clouds
only enhance the feeling I get
as that eye searches
from between racing cloud-banks.

Each moment heart races,
as the superstitions mount within me,
of the beast hunting
the sky for souls.

I fear the damned illussion cast,
I embrace the fear with heart
for I know he hunts for me
to break down my life
inside Sky Cat's wickedly sharp teeth.

Setting behind the mountains
does not break the dark spell
as pines appear now
like blades of grass.

He lowers down now,
to pounce over the landscape below
and catch out prey
he has spooked out.

I am that prey.
I am the one he vigilantly seeks,
to bring low forever,
for sins, real and imagined.

Sky Cat stalks the skies of night
stirring the fear in any who
by chance note that eye of his
gazing down with malign intent
to pounce upon those not pure.

-28Apr2017, a still chilled Dyfedd Rex.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Long hiatus explained

Well, between a series of changes at work that ran me ragged the last few months, and now being on the night shift for the last few weeks, I've had about enough energy to climb into my recently purchased new and only third piece of furniture, the lovely recliner-rocker that probably is now the true love of my life.
Yeah, I know, claiming to love an inanimate item is pathetic, but damn, when you settle into it, after years of just the hard ground, or since then an old iron piano stool, it is like settling into the arms of a lover as you sink deep between its arms, sigh with relief and just relax.... you get the picture.

Yes, I do plan to write soon, maybe even today, if I can avoid that new comfy chair or being called in by work to shuffle garden goods about in the rain tonight.

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Work Responsibilites Leave me Flatlined on creativity...

... but, thankfully, NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us, I have a damned good idea for the thing this year, and barring this laptop giving up the ghost in that 30-day run, I should post a lot more here, maybe even a chapter or section a day, given last year's awful, but wordy output.

So, it is back to steampunk I head, and a bit of a mash-up tale will spin out.

Again, barring this computer shaking apart during the ordeal that is NaNoWriMo. I'm having "screw fell out leading to screen falling off" syndrome issues with it, and longer jags of writing tend to vibrate the screen free on the right-hand side, leading to something rather like the old "Carriage Return" motion being used every few paragraphs. Comical, yet sad, as this machine took a hell of a beating, and I am secretly rooting for it to survive a while longer (not just out of miserliness, but sheer admiration of the thing's resilience.

So, watch the blog again, starting late on the First (maybe even early, I have a closing shift on All's Hallows Eve) for a new tale, and maybe some motion towards writing again regularly, if I can convince my body to stop collapsing every day off into the chair in front of the "GD Noisy box", as a certain writer once called that thing we all stare at too much.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Blade of the Eagle Clansman" Ch8-C

There will be one more part to this chapter, as time moves on. These two characters are just being stubborn about me not skipping things, and surprising me at what they reveal to me about their world, or this part of it. -D.R. 

Galen snarled as light fled the prairie, staring incredibly at the still glowing line where the head of his mace once supported a fin. Such a thing was thought impossible, that only portions of something would be taken with a teleporting item or person, not all of it, and what it was connected to. Not to mention, this being yet another blade to snap from the head of the mace, another problem to ponder, for it's enchantments were to prevent such incidents due to the design. Without a mage-smith nearby, to look into that matter, he shelved it, mentally.

Tagrun stalked about the circle of dead grass surrounding him, warring emotions dancing across his face. Anger at the escape, grief over the deaths, and relief and worry stuttering between those, over Chanti being alive, but once more beyond his reach to save. His feet moved closer, then farther out, but rarely more than two paces from the circle, as he moved. Something seemed to keep him out of it. Superstitions, perhaps, or an ingrained sense of self-preservation.

The elven assassin glared at him, not sure if the boy's hesitation, suddenly, was cowardice or wisdom. "Enter it. Show the mage you do not fear his spells."

"I seek his footsteps, none are here though." Tagrun raged, casting about for some way to trace his foe.

"The only steps you will find of his lie outside this realm, and mortal eyes cannot trace." Galen sighed. "Fools we were. Thinking we could kill him so easily."

"When he dies, it will be at my hand. The sands said so." Tagrun walked around the circle of death again, stopping to lift up a weakened, but still alive child. "Some trace must be where eyes can see it, for me to follow."

Galen's eyes narrowed, those words too close in his memory to another student's words decades before. "Perhaps. But not where your eyes see the trace of his steps, but the effects of the passage. Like the moving of blades tells of your namesake's stalking of prey?"

Tagrun whipped his head around, eyes seeking for such in the grass, but sighed after a few moments. "No. You are right. This is magic, something beyong the ken of my eyes. Only another mage could trace the foulness he did unto these innocents."

Closing his eyes, Galen nodded silently, thinking hard. It was in the distant desert of volcanic ash and sand his mind sought the answer, amid his memories of that other student, one who did not embrace what he was, but denied it, seeking to quell the gifts the gods had laid upon him, not use them. That boy's gifts, so similar to his own, rose up as an answer.

"There might be a way. Place will not matter, I think. At least, not to find where a trail you can follow for us will resume." Galen smiled, lifting his mace, turning the radiant seam where once a blade projected to his face. "And our prey cannot block it."

"What way is that? A user of the dark powers knows all." Tagrun said.

"Knows them, but not the ways of the user of them." Galen knelt, sifting a handful of dead dust through his fingers. "Nor that a hunter can use them as well as a mage."

Tagrun grunted, still not convinced, but let the matter lie, for the moment. "We must save these, and he will use that time to flee, covering his tracks, having seen a grass stalker follows with you."

"Yes. But he has only a few places in reach, if my own schooling tells true, of a spell only fueled by a few, instead of all these. West, unless he seeks sojourn among the blood drinkers, is out. North would keep him from his goal, but confuse us, so we must consider it." Galen shook his head, standing slowly. "No, East or south is my guess. Kensorthi or Jandalin."

"Kensorthi would expose him. Most there are of the grass, and would not tolerate a mage hiding among them." The boy scoffed, staring down the valley, as the lesser moon at last rose in the east. "Jandalin also gets more ships."

Galen stared at the boy. "I thought you never left the grass of the north before?"
"Once, we traveled to the coast. Trading furs for spear and arrow heads." Tagrun smiled shyly. "I never said I had not left the grass of the Eagle, but Jandalin is on the grass, as is Kensorthi."

"You tribesmen amaze me again." Galen smiled, looking over the slowly reviving clan around them. "Take them to the river. Washing may not be a remedy for their ailments, but it will let them wash the feeling of filth this foe undoubtedly left upon them."

Tagrun grunted, sensing there was more to leaving the place to just his uncle. Galen's face left no room for argument about the decision, though. Moving gently among the survivors, he aided them up from the ground, checked their steadiness, then urged them down the draw. Risking one last glance back, the boy nodded to Galen, even as the older elf closed his eyes, holding the mace's broad head to his own. The hunter moved faster after the others, taking the arm of their shala to aid her over the rocky terrain.

For Galen, only the mace was left in his world. The boy, despite their shared blood, was not part of his true kin. Tagrun felt none of the bonds the numeni held dear, lived his life as one of the clansmen, which might be fine for him, lacking a doni so far. Reaching into his soul, in the spot he once shared with his sister, the boy's mother, the assassin teased at the powers within his mind, calling them out gently, into the mace. The trick would not be invoking the connection between the head and missing fin, but in keeping the connection faint enough to avoid alerting the mage.

Chablys being much sought after by all mages for various rites and spells, not to mention the fact that their foe might even use a magical summoning of the power to drain the mace's enchantments through the portion of it he now possessed, he was sure their prey would not toss it aside.

Reaching out his doni, Galen stirred the power inside the mace, caressing the flow just enough to create a tiny ripple in those currents. A disturbance that fled out from the center of the great ball, finding the jagged seams that once held the missing fins, trickling out them to seek missing parts. Opening his eyes, the assassin shifted his vision from the world of matter to that of energy. Flares of power and life burst all around, swirling whirlwinds of fire marking the creatures, a flow from river to hilltop marking the grass and other scrubs, but over it all, a faint golden stream, marred by darker orange ripples along it, flowed into the heart of the dead circle, disappearing.

Patience, the greatest virtue of a hunter, be he of beasts or men, became Galen's only companion amid that maelstrom of hues, as the world moved about him in ways few others ever saw. Time ceased to exist in the normal sense for the assassin, now intent upon finding his prey and redeeming the knife on his belt. When the returning ripple came, it flowed over the scenery, not through the evaporated portal opening. A long, faint lone, stretching to the south, and a bit west. A line almost washed out when the boy stepped between him and the distant fin by Tagrun's angry red aura.

"Kensorthi." One word said it all, for both of them.

"Good. But we need to get these Otter folk down to help. Their shala is too ill to tend their wounds and sickness for them." Tagrun's rage forced Galen to abandon his effort, and look once more upon the physical, not the spiritual world.

"It will take too much time to find another encampment." He snarled.

"No." Tagrun grinned viciously. "Their main band is in the port, trading. And they were making rafts to join them."

Galen smiled himself, sensing something their foe had not anticipated. The hand of the Parcae, the three goddesses of Fate, being on their side, aiding their hunt. "Well, that changes things. How much more to do?"

"Those able to work managed to help me finish their rafts. A hundred spear throw walk, then the ride down the river." Now Tagrun's face showed worry. "But the river is not an easy thing, from here to the Sandy Grasses below. Many rapids, and rains must have fallen, for the channels here are swollen."

"But swifter than one would think, for this time of year." Galen stared up at the stars, blessing them, as the clouds broke for a few more moments, then sealed them over. "Let us see your rafts, and take a day or so to make them stronger and safer. It will not matter. Our prey is grown over-confident, thinking we were but lucky."

"How would you know this?" Tagrun asked, starting down the draw to the bank of the Kensorthi.

"He did not toss aside the fin of my blade. Instead, he plays with it, hoping to steal its magic, and my life through it." Galen sneered. "Fool, I say, and lucky for us. Even the masters of yore often failed at that."

"But some did it, that implies." Tagrun scowled again, noting flashes in the clouds, distant echoes of lightning to come.

Galen refused to answer, trusting to his goddesses to grant him victory.

Okay, now I have to do some worldbuilding in advance of the final part of the chapter, the river ride you see coming. And on Kensorthi the town, and its surrounds. And the path after that... no, this is not an easy hunt, and will end in frustration, if not for my characters, at least for me. =D.R.