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]


The Places We are Drawn

We’re all drawn to certain places.  If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.

Writing 101, Day 2.

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most  obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.  – Joan Didion

Sunset is the moment where the magic becomes most clear.   At that magical hour when the sun begins to dip below the lake, the shoreline fills with people, all watching in awed silence as the sky fills with brilliant colors.  Vibrant reds and oranges, slowly giving way to the darkest of blues, purples, and finally black.  All reflected in the deep, still waters of the mountain lake.

The magic is there all the time, not just at sunset.  It is simply that at sunset that you can see it.  But I feel it other times too.  Nothing in the world compares to strolling along the rough dirt trail, through the dense forest, to reach the end of one of the many peninsula’s that jut into the lake.

There is one that I particularly like.  A minimal climb takes me to the perfect place, hidden below the path, away from the spot where the land gently slopes to the water.  Perfectly set to rest my back against a wall of rocks, rest my feet in the still water, and let my dreams wander.

It is a place that has wrapped Continue reading The Places We are Drawn

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.


“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.



I am a procrastinator… at least, I have great ability to be one and have to do a lot in order to push this inclination aside.  I know that procrastination is one of those things that many writers speak of… and non-writers as well, I’m sure.

Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?

Procrastination can take some interesting forms.  I know more than a few people who have been known to produce amazing meals and baked goods when they have deadlines approaching.

I don’t think I have ever seen so many clean homes, apartments, cars, kitchens and bathrooms as I saw when visiting classmates when finals were approaching.

There is, also, the clear and simple forms of procrastination,
Continue reading Procrastination

Look! I’m Three!

So, apparently today is the Three Year anniversary of Eclectic Alli.
Three!  And I almost missed it.

Missing “celebration dates”  is a THING, for me, apparently.

But, here I am!  Look!  3 years ago!  Woohoo!

And… uhm…

Yay?  For the first oh, 2 years and some-odd months I haven’t really updated much.  But, here is a link back to my very first post — in which, CUPCAKES occur.

So, let us celebrate!

How would you want to celebrate?  How should I celebrate?  Should I celebrate?

In Celebration of Father’s Day.

For the past few months I’ve been living at my dads, and it’s honestly been a pretty great experience, for a variety of reasons.  When you share a living space with someone you have all these little moments, conversations and casual time together that you don’t get when seeing one another is a special occasion.

For some years I’ve lived 3,000 miles away from my family, and my dad I hadn’t lived under the same roof for even longer.  But now I am getting these little bits of conversation, learning more about Dad, and I have to say, it’s been pretty great to have this opportunity.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I had a clear reminder of how special those little passing moments are.  I’m usually up and out of the house before my dad and step-mom are awake, because I have an hour-long commute to an 8-to-5, five day a week job and they, as Dad’s Facebook page says, “Work at Retirement.”

But that morning Dad was up early, and sitting in his chair in the living room drinking coffee.  We didn’t talk much (I don’t really do mornings as social time so well, most of the time), but something about the brief, “Good Morning,” brought back memories.

Not just any memories, but one of my favorite memories, Continue reading In Celebration of Father’s Day.

Disparate Threads – Returning Home

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“Siron and I cared for it as best we could,” Tyal sounded apologetic as they entered the small home. A strange mix of joy and sadness pulsed through Ayrella, pushing a fresh round of tears towards her eyes, but she quickly wiped them away. The room looked almost exactly the same as she remembered. Her home never grew or shrunk as the others did, as there were none that paid homage to her, but it was clear that someone had spent time coming in and keeping the dust away,

“Your care was the best anyone could give, I am sure.” Fresh flowers had been put on the table, providing a spray of color, a sign of the loving care of Siron and Tyal. “It is home, just as it was when I left.” Though she tried to keep it hidden, there was a thread of wistfulness and longing that wove through her voice. Tyal’s hand rested on Ayrella’s shoulder with a small reassuring squeeze.

“It is your home, yes, as it always has been and always will be. But it will never be the home you left behind.” Ayrella looked at Tyal and found herself smiling slightly.

“Because I have loved, and I have lost. And I am not the same as the one who lived here before?” She felt the words flow through her naturally, as though they had been said to her before. Faint recollections of words whispered through dreams not dreamt.

“Yes.” Tyal returned the smile, “And I suppose you also know what else I would say to you?”

“I will continue to live. And I will continue to love. And I will continue to lose and feel the loss. As that is the nature of having a mortal heart, even if it resides in an immortal body.” Again, the words came through her as memory, though she knew that she had never heard them before, and the smile on her face Continue reading Disparate Threads – Returning Home

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

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