Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Alli-Request!

Blogging Etiquette

So, I’m not entirely sure what “Standard Practice” is, but I have a request.  While I love that I get people liking my posts, I would love it even more if they were being read!  When I get a “like” within a few seconds of the post going live, or when a post goes up where you need to click a link to finish reading it and it’s clear that the link hasn’t been clicked (like, a recent post which the link was broken for the first 3 hours the post was up, until someone called that to my attention), I’m pretty sure that the post hasn’t been read.

I like to pretend that I’m all kinds of awesome (or, rather, I try to pretend that I am), but I’m pretty sure I’m not awesome enough that everything I write is golden.   Hopefully no one else is making such assumptions either!  I would much rather have someone take the time to read what I have written and make some comments than to blindly click the star and move on.  Quality over quantity.    🙂

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Disparate Threads – Swirling Winds

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This is the next installment of Disparate Threads, a Fantasy-Fiction Blog-Serial that updates twice weekly.  To read the story from the beginning (and to learn more about the world and the characters) check out Disparate Threads.

Mikael was spotted by the inhabitants of the farmhouse before she had a chance to change out of her fine clothes — though the dress was all but destroyed by layers of mud and filth. The snow had turned from a steady fall to a driving force as she ran through the woods, stinging her face and soaking her cloak. Mitchell Pirlan, and his wife, Gloria, had welcomed Mikael welcomed to their humble home, a small farmhouse warmed primarily by a cooking stove and a single fireplace. They offered her dry clothing, a hearty meal, a place to rest her head, and asked nothing of her in return. Even after a few weeks, the snow stranding them with little hope (and little threat, Mikael found herself thinking) of contact with the outside world, there were no questions. Gloria seemed simply thrilled to have someone to talk at, and Mitchell spent much of his time digging through the snow to check on the animals. When he wasn’t outside he was downstairs in the studio carving little figurines, toys, boxes, and other things of the like.

“Things are unsettled here of late,” Gloria spoke without pausing as she bustled around the room, doing what seemed to be at least a dozen different things at once. Meanwhile, Mikael struggled with her single assigned task of peeling potatoes. It was a new experience for her, something she had watched servants do a few times but never tried herself. Slowly slicing the thin layer of the peel away from the potato, bit by bit, took nearly all her attention and care, and then there was the matter of making sure all those little shavings ended up in a small pile rather than on the floor. In her short time at the farmhouse [Read More]

I NEED your thoughts

This blog (and Disparate Threads) take a lot of my time (along with my daily commute, and work)… and I’m thinking that perhaps I should cut back on my posting.  I want to have more time to interact with all of you (like, actually getting to read people’s blogs, and comment, and all that fun stuff I want to do like that) and I want to be able to put more time into each post (and on fun surrounding things for Disparate Threads, like maps, and more information about the characters and sharing some of the world-building periphery).  Also, I’d like to start being able to carve out time to work on some of my other projects that I’ve put aside (not to mention preparing for the fact that I will be starting school again in a few months, and will need to have time for that!)

So, what is a good updating schedule?  I’d like to keep Disparate updating twice a week, and I want to be updating here enough that I can have fun and say what I want to say.  But I also feel like I may be flooding people too much with blog posts, and therefore not actually being read.  So.. poll time…  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE respond!  I want to know what you think!

Disparate Threads – Into the Cold

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This is the next installment of Disparate Threads, a Fantasy-Fiction Blog-Serial that updates twice weekly.  To read the story from the beginning (and to learn more about the world and the characters) check out Disparate Threads.

 

As the journey continued on Mikael spent some time trying to to clear her thoughts. She let her mind drift, moving in and out of scattered thoughts, even allowing a moment to ponder where she was being sent. “Somewhere safe,” was all that Joie had said. Away from the borders, she figured. But Mikael knew that it was not going to be a truly safe place. She could try to fool herself, try to convince her mind that safety existed further from the borders, but deep in her bones she knew that the threat that was coming was something that could not be so easily escaped; true and complete safety was unlikely to be found. The thought haunted her, she hated that she did not know what it was she was seeking safety from. Was the threat simply soldiers from another country? Why were such soldiers a threat to her? What was this sense of something more sinister in the air? What was she supposed to be running from? Why was she running? And where was she running to? Where should she be running to?

As quickly as she found those questions, her mind hopped to another series of far less coherent thoughts. She settled back in her seat, allowing the thoughts to just wash through her. These incoherent fragments would come and go and she had to trust that some day, when it was the right time, they would take coherence and make sense. Until that day came, she would keep her meandering thoughts to herself, keep her head down, and follow the path that was being laid out for her. It seemed as though it would work, and she honestly could not think of any other options that would make more sense.

Mikael couldn’t recall when the first dreams had… [Read More]

 

Quotes of Note – Defining Artist

“When I say artist I don’t mean in the narrow sense of the word—but the man who is building things—creating molding the earth—whether it be the plains of the west—or the iron ore of Penn. It’s all a big game of construction—some with a brush—some with a shovel—some choose a pen.”

  –Jackson Pollock

I love the way this works to expand the traditional definition of “Artist.”

What do you think makes someone “an artist”?   How would you define such a thing?

Disparate Threads – Shifting Winds

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Mikael supervised as the last package was loaded onto the carriage, maintaining a cold air of detachment. As she had been taught. Never let yourself get too close to the servants, never let them see that you had empathy for their work. Joie had made clear that any hint of sympathy or understanding could be seen as signs of weakness. You could not let them see that you felt bad that they had to stand so long in the cold winds, or that you understood how carrying the heavy bags could be aggravating an already aching back. Joie had left not doubts to the idea that such sympathy and understanding would be seen as signs of weakness. And servants, like everyone else, were simply waiting for the moment when you showed your vulnerability so that they could take advantage. You had to be on your guard, constantly ready for whatever might come, keeping an eye out for the dangers that may be reaching towards you from any side. Even if it meant a very solitary and lonely life.

“Madame,” Henry — no. Mikael pushed the footman’s name, overheard earlier in the day, from her mind. A name made him seem more like someone to relate to, a person she might be able to converse with on the long journey ahead. Someone she might tell about her uncertainty. The footman held out his hand to her, “We are prepared to begin the journey. At your will.”

“Yes, of course.” She spoke through the scarf wrapped around her face for warmth, though the reality was that the scarf did little to keep the winds away. It was bitterly cold, and Mikael felt as though the air itself understood a great change was coming. She had felt it, deep inside, for a long time before the cold… [Read more]

Disparate Threads – Learning of the Three

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Ayrella woke with the first rays of sunlight, enjoying the splendid painting of early dawn play out above her. It had been a blissfully dreamless night and the morning was spent in lazy inaction, mostly watching the shifting light and getting reacquainted with her home. Here there were no reminders of Henrich, save the framed drawings, but she still felt his presence with her and wondered if it would always be there.

Mid-morning Ikthar appeared at her door. He didn’t say a word as he was invited in, and settled comfortably in a chair at the table, looking around the room. His face softened a little at the sight of the framed picture, still on the bedside table, then he turned to look at her.

“I am to tell you what we know, so you can best determine how to proceed.” The stiff formality of his words sounded strange to her. Though he often held the role of leader of the Revered, when it was just the two of them she saw a different side. No less powerful, but quieter, and more relaxed — a different kind of strength. That he had let her see that softer side of him had been a part of the special connection between them, and she found wondering if that bond was gone forever. A question she quickly pushed from her mind. The picture he had drawn showed that he recognized her strength, but that did not necessarily mean that he was ready to forgive her for leaving.

Ayrella sat, looking at him across the table with clear eyes, trying to show the determination she had to complete this task. “Then, tell me.”

Ikthar nodded, spreading his hands out on the table in a moment of pause as he gathered his words together.

“There are three, we believe, who together are vital to stopping this….” He stopped, furrowing his brow, “We do not know, exactly, what it is we are facing. We have seen something spreading through the lands, festering. It is holding tight and we are losing our sight of the Realms.”

“They are being shaded?” The very thought seemed impossible, she had never known a time when they could not see into the Realms.

“It is drawing out the very soul of the land.” His hushed words settled over the room like a dark cloud. It was not that Ayrella had doubted the seriousness of the situation before, it had been clear that a great power was at work. She had felt it in the shifting winds, in the rumblings of battles along the borders, and the strange shifts in weather. Even within the small view of the realms that she had during her life in Kirshenelle, before Henrich’s death, she had seen that something was brewing. But something powerful enough to overshadow the Realms and draw away their souls… the very thought cause a chill to run through her.

“I cannot fight it,” the silence was broken with Ikthar’s words of frustration. “I cannot see what it is gaining. Kisha cannot get a sense of it. We can only see that it is sucking away at the land, causing strife and unrest. It is churning the weather, fighting the very Skies and taking control.”

“It…” The lost expression on Ikthar’s face was almost as frightening as the idea of something attacking the Realms. Ayrella found herself uncertain and longed to say or do something that would help. “And, what do we know of these three… the ones who are supposed to help with this?”

Ikthar shook his head slightly, but the lost look faded behind a far more familiar stone-set expression of determination, “very little. They, too, are clouded from us. Though, not as completely.” Ikthar seemed to consider her for a moment and then stood, pacing around the small room. Ayrella couldn’t help but smile, realizing that Ikthar and Henrich had the same habit of pacing when they had something they wished to share but were uncertain in the sharing of it. She let him pace in silence, watching as he seemed to get lost in his thoughts, unraveling them to find the right ways to put it all in words.

“Tell me.” She spoke softly, not wanting to jar him. He seemed to return to the room at the sound of her voice and looked at her another long moment before speaking.

“Kisha and I have seen some of these three. The others, they are only able to get the vaguest sense.”

“And what have you seen?” Gently. Ikthar closed his eyes a moment, leaning against the counter.

“Three.  All young woman, interestingly enough. All with their own strengths and abilities… but none of them, I think, know what it is they can do.” He sighed, “and neither of us have been able to understand the message of the Skies, the fragmented dreams and passing visions.”

Ayrella looked up to the sky and gave a sigh of her own. “Perhaps, if this thing is so powerful, even the Skies are uncertain.” Ikthar opened his eyes, looking at her with some surprise and the slightest smile.

“Perhaps.”

“Sit down,” she found a surge of confidence arriving with this realization. It should not be a comfort to think that even the Skies did not know what was happening, but strangely it was. “Let me make you some of this Lisonar Tea that Orpin gave me, and you can tell me of the fragments you have seen.”

Ikthar sat as Ayrella started the tea. Lisonar had always been Ikthar’s favorite tea, when the winds turned chilly they would sit for hours over endless cups of the semi-sweet beverage, their conversations flowing freely. And something in this familiar action, as Ayrella boiled the water and began to brew the leaves, seemed to help wrest Ikthar from his uncertainty. He spoke of the blurry visions, words, and music that he did not know how to interpret. He shared what Kisha had seen and heard, equally uncertain fragments. Ayrella took it all in, adding it to the swirl in her mind, knowing that it was unlikely a clear understanding would come quickly. Eventually the tea was gone and Ikthar had shared all he could.

Ayrella sat with the swirl for a few moments before beginning to clear the table, knowing that sometimes movement helped the thoughts to settle and find their proper place. But they continued to swirl, overwhelmingly so, as she stood by the counter with the table half cleared. She needed to think, to be alone with the information and see what she could find.

“Thank you,” she began, looking to her brother, “I will take this all in. I will search for what I can find in it, what I can learn.” She wished that she could have more certainty in her voice, but everything seemed too far from certain for that. Ikthar did not respond right away, but stood to bring the remaining dishes from the table.

“I will leave you then, to sort it all.” Again there was a stiff formality creeping into his tone.

“Ikthar…” She hesitated, looking away from him and to the pile of dishes, as though they contained something of great interest, uncertain how he would respond to what she needed to request of him. “Will you grant me the strength I need to do this? The strength to be here once more, and to undertake this role?”

There was long silence in response and eventually Ayrella brought herself to look at him. He was watching her with a blank expression and she felt a moments fear that he would deny her that aid. He matched her gaze for a moment.

“Dear Rella,” his words came in little more than a whisper, “you don’t need any strength from me — you carry more than enough of that on your own.”

“But, will you still lend me some of yours?” She found her voice shaking as she asked it, and Ikthar did not hesitate for a moment, reaching to embrace her in a hug, which she thankfully leaned into. She could feel a lightness surround her, as Ikthar helped to lift the weights from her shoulders. Henrich’s death, her return to the Horizon Lands, the decision to leave in the first place, this new journey she must undertake — all these things that weighed so heavy on her, shared at least momentarily. Ikthar held her tight as more than a few tears escaped from her eyes, and she realized just how much she had been holding in. Just as those old farmers had known just what to do and say in her early moments of grief, Ikthar knew that she needed not words, but the knowledge that she was not going to be facing this journey alone. To know that, while she may have strength that was needed, he would be willing to occasionally help lift the burden.

“All of us will do what we can,” Ikthar said as they broke from the hug, “it is the future of our own beings at stake. And even more importantly, the safety of these Realms we have sworn to protect and serve. I know you understand the importance of this, that you do not require me to tell you more, but I… and the others… are here to lend you whatever aid you may need.” Ayrella nodded, wiping away the last of the tears and gathering herself.

“I will listen to the winds and, somehow, find these three and help them on their journey.”

After Ikthar left Ayrella found herself venturing out to the lands around the city, settling on the soft grass on one of the peaks, looking out over the distant sky and waters. With deep, centering breaths she tried to relax back onto the grass, looking to the Skies, in search of what she needed to see in the drifting winds.


Ayrella|6.6