Tools

Inspired by:  Freedom – Amos Lee

My heart has been heavy in the wake of all the recent violence in our country.  I rarely post about world events.  Opinions are so varied and vast and I don’t believe in arguing to force a point on someone though others are huge fans of such arguments.  You have your beliefs,  I have mine.  If we differ, okay fine, don’t beat me to death over the disagreement.   I couldn’t sit quietly on this.  Recent events moved me too much.   From Orlando to the two men killed for following a police officer’s orders to the Dallas shootings.  Shooting seems too tame a word for these events but they will do for now.

I am by no means a scholar;  just a person like anyone else with their own set of thoughts and feelings on the issues.   To think that in all this time,  our country and its people. all people, are no closer to freedom than they were in the sixties—a time well before mine—is saddening and discouraging. To think that we may not see equality that is not restricted by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation in my lifetime is further discouraging.  In this sadness,  my thoughts turned to our weekly prompt for the figment.  Whether she intended it or not, our fearless leader struck a chord with the image she posted with me.

Death_to_stock_kinckerbocker_photography_41_zpso0pmk44y

Take a look at the image above.  What do you see? Tools, right?  So this got me thinking because, I honestly never consider anyone’s race, orientation or gender when I meet someone.   If anyone is willing to debate the point with me that you ‘always consider it’;   you are welcome to do so and I will answer your challenge with a smile.  When we were children; neither one of my parents ever really used racial or ethnic descriptions around us to discuss the people they knew, they worked with or anything of the sort.  As I age, I think this is the most amazing gift my parents could ever have given me.   None of us ever consider these things when speaking about another person.   Perhaps that…uniqueness…I guess is what makes it so much harder for me to wrap my head around someone who does see these things;  let alone acts on them.

That brings me back to the image above.  Tools.  I think I was given different tools than what most people have in their arsenal.  With that being said,  why would it be so hard to pass those tools down to our children?  Do I think we can fix the current state of affairs? Maybe.   I think no amount of legislation can change people’s hearts or minds.  Maybe those words are bitter or cynical or perhaps more realistic.  My mind comes back again and again to “what would it take to change the hearts of men, women, children?  What would it take to give them the blindfold I was given,  so to speak.”  I do not have any answers, I wish to God I did. I can only be me and hope that is enough.

My hope was challenged today; this week.  I watched every video posted about the two shootings.  I watched a video of a Cleveland area officer more or less chewing out other officers and telling them to “take the uniform off if they aren’t willing to give their lives for their fellow man regardless of race or religion or orientation”.  If you saw this video, I I wept right alongside that officer as she spoke.   I listened to a friend of mine talk about how she has to teach her sons to “get home alive” if they feel an injustice is being perpetuated against them.  It’s what I do,  I listen.  I gauge,  I consider every side.  It hurt my heart to read this.   It heart my heart to hear this friend’s frustration but,  at the same time her bravery floored me.  In a time when things are so volatile and one has to tread so very carefully;  she spoke her mind in a clear, succinct way that made me proud to know her.   I can only hope to be that succinct and clear.

Lastly, while I still have the composure to complete this post.  Keep something in mind.  It’s not a them.  It’s not a their.  It’s an us—men, women, children,  bi, gay, straight, trans,  who cares? If you put a blindfold on and talked to someone without the benefit of sight,  how would you know?  Could you evaluate your opinion on that person without your sight?  Would you know what their orientation or religion are at the word “hello”?  All of us are sharing this world.  How much could we change and impact that world with the right tools?

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Time

Inspiration by:  The Arena –Lindsey Stirling (New album out in August!) ;  Five for Fighting – 100 years

Before we get to this weeks writing prompt, there  are a few orders of business I’d like to announce.  First,  if you missed it,  I guest blogged on The Figment Writer’s website.  You can check out that blog post here.  As always comments and feedback are welcome. A big thank you to them for allowing me to write for their website.

Secondly,  if you did not see the buzz on my Facebook page;  all three novels are getting a design face lift and a layout clean up.  I am very excited to announce that book one’s new cover and layout are complete.  Also,  for those of you wanting to get your grubby mitts on my first book, there will be a free Kindle download available on July 11 and 12.  Mark your calendars. The offer is good on Amazon for 48 hours.  Again, feedback and reviews welcome!

Now, on to this weeks prompt.  Dear Hostess,  you had me last Thursday when you posted this prompt but, as usual, these boys were stubborn about talking to me.  This weeks prompt was “Would you want to live to be 100 years old?”  So I took this and ran with the two gentlemen that decided to start running their mouths as soon as I read it.  Enjoy!

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Time.

Time marched forward whether he wished it to or not.  He wondered if Giddeon knew exactly what he was doing when he cursed him.  Nicholas Taltos watched the streetlights come on from his apartment in the capital.  Though it was true he had a house deep in the woods far from prying eyes, he loved the hustle and bustle of the capital. Even as a boy, the capital called to him.    A liveliness, a sense of purpose wound through the city streets.  He could not explain his draw here. Whether it was his duty, or the capital’s own charm, Nicholas could not separate the two.

Perhaps it was because he was the guardian, ever eternal, ever watchful.  The lore, the book and crests, the rituals; they were all his responsibility.   His lips thinned to the line as he thought. Who else would know what to do if the world came full circle, as it so often did? The warriors of ages past had long since been put to rest.    In a way he was glorified librarian.  Long gone were the Children of Light.  The woman he loved, their children and grandchildren were long gone.  Like him, they had taken their place among history.

How time had progressed, Nicholas mused as he sipped his coffee.  Just beyond the city lights he could sense the setting sun.  The only other survivor of their era would be joining him soon enough.  At times, he wondered at Fate’s sense of humor when she bound them together to live beyond their counterparts.  Maeseloria had grown beyond her magic.  Technology was the prime focus these days and forgotten were the days of fire, earth, and wind, water, shadow and holy.  Few truly believed anymore.    In fact, his great-great-whatever grandchildren were unaware of their heritage. What would his beloved Alexandra say about her very existence becoming a thing of myth?  A wry smile curled his lips as he thought about her.  Chances were good she would say that was as it should be.  “Time passes,” she would have said.  “We must roll with it or be crushed.  Is that not what you have always told me?”

Light above even after these centuries he missed her.  He missed her laughter and the way she would look at him when she was full of mischief and light.  He missed their quiet moments together and their growth.  She challenged him at every turn and, in many respects, made him a better man for those challenges.  Their hearts were connected and would remain so until he joined her in the Light.   The smell of roses brought her image before him.   Through their bond, he should have joined her in the Light but Giddeon’s curse seemed to trump their Fate-blessed bond.  If only they had considered what might happen should she leave the world before him.   “To you, my love.”   Nicholas raised his cup with a chuckle.    “Someday, I will see you again.”

“Stop being morose, old man. They would not want us to dwell on what was.”  A new voice intruded upon his musings.  Dominic Deveraux appeared in his apartment with a grin.  After all, Dominic was the only who could truly catch him unaware in this age.  Most of the youngsters in these times were too noisy—both with their actions and their thoughts.  Once a month, Nicholas needed his cabin in the middle of nowhere to lower the blocks he constantly kept in his mind.  How could his Alex, with her clairvoyance, ever have survived this age?  “Fate has to have a reason for keeping us both here long after the others.”   Without asking, his best friend flopped on Nicholas’ couch.   “Let it be.  We have trouble. An invitation of sorts.”   Of course Dominic would cut to the chase.  To the realm at large, Dominic ran Delevere Investigations while Nicholas served as an advisor at the local university.    Nicholas Tammond and Dominic Delevere were their names on their birth certificates; social security and on all cases of public record.   Nicholas has been an active member of the University since its inception though no one would know it.  In fact some fool dug up an old painting and attributed the university’s founding to him.  In truth, it was his, Tessa’s and Evelyn’s brain child.  They all believed that their people deserved education regardless of class or gender.  What had begun as Tessa’s makeshift hospital during the war evolved into so much more.

Dominic only requested his assistance with difficult cases that may have required a skill set he did not possess.  Those instances were few and far between because anyone that could have challenged them with mental and magic gifts was long gone and most of the realms populace would not believe unless smacked in the nose with the truth.

“What is it now, Dominic?”  Trouble was not often a word used between them.  After all, they survived years of so-called trouble.  If one could consider both civil war and the chronicled Kindred war mere trouble.  A curious brow perked at his friend’s tone.  Nicholas moved to the kitchen to refill his coffee mug before he determined what Dominic had deemed trouble.  The years had been kind—as if they truly had a choice in the matter—silver speckled his dark hair and there were a few new lines at the corners of his eyes but, for the most part, Nicholas Taltos remained unchanged by time.  Nicholas sensed the nervousness in Dominic demeanor and scowled.  That too was unusual.

Dominic did not offer further explanation when the man returned to the living area.   He simply set the invitation on the coffee table between them.    “We have been summoned.” Much like his friend, the circumstances of his life separated him from his mate and trumped the marital bonds of their realm. Those bonds no longer existed in a realm where people thought faith was simply a service rather than living, breathing being.

Nicholas looked at the scripted invitation on the table.  His nimble fingers plucked the document from the table.  He wondered why Dominic set it down as though Nicholas had set it afire.  As he read, his expression became concerned.   Queen Adrianna Morningstar respectfully requests the presence of Nicholas Taltos and Dominic Devereaux…  “Shit.”   Nicholas rendered the invitation to ash before they discussed the matter further.  This could not bode well.   The invitation meant that at least one of the royal houses kept tabs on them and understood that they could be reached in the direst of consequences.  In all these centuries they had not received a single request for assistance.  The invitation specified a time and place later that evening and after dark.   “Whatever she could possibly need does not bode well for the realm. “

 

When the world burns…

Inspired by:  Burn – Philippa Sou;   World on Fire – Sarah Mclachlan

Today’s post is brought to you today by The Figment and the author’s imagination.  If you have not read Hope’s Child;  you may not want to continue reading this blog post as it contains a few spoilers.  As always, thank you for reading and to our lovely hostess for keeping the creative fires burning. Enjoy!

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Ashes clouded the sky, the earth,  her line of sight and mingled with the mountain snow of the North. Alexandra Jade woke with a gasp.  With a shaking hand, she pushed tousled platinum waves from her face.  She willed her heartbeat to slow and wiped her eyes. The nightmares were frequent since wars end. In a time when so many found joy, she struggled far more than her family, or anyone else, may have suspected.  Until these last months, her life was an endless mystery that had never known peace.  The prophecy,  the monarchy,  rebuilding her family to what Fate called them to be, fighting a war on  so many fronts.  Peace was elusive at best.

Part of her believed the calm was too good to be true and, on so many levels,  she was looking for the next fight, the next problem to solve.  Had she ever really learned to live in all these years?  The question galled her.  For all her wisdom for the others, why could she never seem to apply that to her own life?  With a sigh, she bent and pressed kiss to Nicholas’ temple.  She reassured him with a whispered word then slid from bed.  Quick, quiet steps carried her to the closet where her robe hung.  Deft fingers tossed her mass of platinum hair into a loose knot on her head.

Her hands still shook as she belted the robe around her slender hips.  Alexandra Jade, fair and tiny when compared with many in her family,  stood at five foot five. Like most women in her family,  her fair, heart shaped face hid the shrewd warrior beneath.  That shrewdness was often used to mask the woman she kept buried even deeper beneath the shrouds of duty. A glance out the window told her dawn would be cresting the horizon soon enough.  Adryn was upon them and with the dawn, birdsong would arrive to welcome both the morning and the new season.  This quiet should have offered some sort of solace but did not.

Anxious and afraid of what might lay ahead, she slid her feet into a pair of well worn slippers.  Her emotions held by a tenuous thread as she moved through the palace. Only once in her life, in that terrible battle, had she given her emotions wing and allowed her power to do what it would. The reflections still haunted her dreams so much more than she could give voice to.  If she did, she thought she would shatter. The mantle of what must be settled heavily on her shoulders.  Palace floors turned to sand as she shifted outside into the chilled morning.  What kind of legacy would that level of violence leave?

The sea sprawled before her. A sea Alexandra only dreamed of in days past.  A younger, less bitter woman, saw these seas as a horizon to a larger life than their little manor.  The years taught her that a larger world meant larger consequences, larger responsibilities. She sat in the sand, kicked her slippers off and allowed the sea to lap at her toes. The tide would be rolling in soon.  Could she face every morning with this waking terror for the rest of her life? Was this anxiety the price she must pay for doing what was required?  Light knew the prices Fate extracted from her thus far were painful.

So lost in thought she didn’t feel him approach.  He noted this with a scowl.  She always felt him long before his arrival.  Since the war’s end, Marcus Jade felt his sister pull further and further away from all of them.  She advised when was needed but he saw the way both duty and emotion was eating at her.  “Has it gotten so bad that you block me on instinct?” Marc nearly flinched when he saw the sad smile cross her lips.  The damp at the corners of her eyes was not were not remnants of the tide rolling in. “You know, I’m not the fool I was a few years ago.”  He lowered himself until they sat side by side in the sand.  “I feel the lack of you.” Marc took a deep breath.  Everyone else was practicing hands off or could not see how she buried the pains of her burden.  By contrast, he dwarfed his sister by more than a little more than half a foot. Where her hair was platinum, his was the more common ash to gold shade common in his family.  Her eyes were the shade of the sea that lapped at her toes and his boots where his were green.

One could hardly tell they were siblings at a glance and yet, they had lived their entire lives in one another’s presence.  When she moved to apologize, he shook his head gently.  Each morning she woke him.  The sudden shock of the nightmares lowered her mental guards enough that he knew, at least, that the world was not yet right with his sister.   Their family was whole but she was not.  He wrapped an arm around her and kissed the top of her head as he so often did when they were children.

She would always see more; feel more than he because their family heritage was so much stronger in her.  “I know.”  He whispered those two words to her as the sun crested the horizon. “Talk to me.”  The plea was as gentle as he could make the words. The force of his personality struggled to handle her with care.  His request was answered with a mental flood of emotions that might have drowned a lesser man. Marc closed his eyes and let himself digest the anxiety, the fear compounded with the guilt that Fate required so much death to balance the scale. Guilt that she her loss of control was responsible for the flash fire that consumed so many Kindred soldiers.

“So much of this was out of your hands.” He said as he hugged her close and rested his chin on the top of her head. “Fate dished out the responsibility but left you to bear the consequences.”  He felt the protest rise to her lips before she could speak. “Allow me to finish, dear heart.”  Though he was loathe to admit the fact to anyone, Marc was gentler with his sister than he would have been with anyone else.  “These consequences will not last forever unless you refuse to share the burden with us.  Everything you have accomplished in this life got us here. Without you,  we would not be where we are.”

“I still hear their screams in my dreams, Marcus.”  He dipped his head in a nod in reply before she continued.  “They died because I allowed my power to do what it would.  My control was gone. More specifically, I wanted them all dead for the harm they caused not only our families but the realm.”  The words hurt her heart. Never in her life had she actively pursued vengeance.  Instead, Alexandra was more aware of what power out of control could do than most.  With the exception of family, nobility tiptoed around her with polite precision.  She was treated as though she were a dangerous butterfly; beautiful, exotic to behold but ultimately a danger to them. Her telepathic gifts shared their caution with her on multiple unwanted occasions.

“I think your perspective is clouded by emotion. You are human to feel as you do, Alex.”  His bluntness brought her head up with a snap and a small scowl. “Easy, allow me to explain before you go on the defensive and beat me to hell.” The response he received was as he expected. She hated to be called out and yet, who else would dare aside from Nicholas.   Her reaction gave him hope.  “You were more in control in those moments than you have been in your entire life.  They would have killed us all had you given them the opportunity.  You started the fire then left the element to its own devices.  Without you, we all would have died. Everything we gave, that we sacrificed would have been for nothing.”  Marc straightened and turned her to face him so their eyes met.  “Christiana may be the guide,  Aries may be the armor of justice, Tess may be the faith but you, beloved sister, are the heartbeat of us all.” Those words made the damn break within her. Marc felt it snap with the efficiency of a child snapping a dry twig.

The tears broke his heart and he knew he could not handle the overflow alone. In fact, as she wept, he began to feel the heat radiating from her smaller frame.  Nicholas, fucking help me here.  Cut her skills for a little while.  The man, a man Marc would swear to be his sister’s match in every way,  in question was awake the moment she left the bed. He knew her word of comfort was absolute bullshit. The pair of them had spent too many years in intimate contact for him to miss the larger problem yet, time taught him not to force the issue. She would speak to him about it when she was ready and no sooner than that.

Marc and Nicholas reinforced the wall Alexandra kept between her skills and her emotions.  Marc nearly breathed a sigh of relief as he felt her skin cool.  The reality of the situation was that the woman could burn the kingdom to the ground without that separation.  Because of that consequence,  she often kept her emotions at a distance. This stress was more than she could compartmentalize. The aftermaths of war bled into her subconscious because she could not allow herself to heal at the expense of others.  She needed to break to heal.

Bring her home to me Marcus. She is needed and loved far more than she lets herself believe.  Marc acknowledged Nicholas’ thought and shared the sentiment with his sobbing sister.  I will, old man, you  may depend upon it.  When the tears subsided, they would talk through the sunrise and very nearly until midmorning when Nicholas came looking for them.

 

Take Your Time

Soundtrack:  Final Fantasy X- Via Purifico
Current Reading:  The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty– GJ Meyer (ALMOST done!!)

“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”
~Jean-Pierre Barral

So I have to be blunt for a moment.  Our hostess with the mostest at The Figment through me a real curve ball with this week’s writing prompt.  I’m rarely stumped but this one took some mulling over.  Today’s post struck me when a song popped onto my playlist today. These are the lyrics:

Take a breath
Take a step
Take a chance
Take your time

The song is from the musical The Last Five Years.  If you’ve never heard it, get it. It’s fantastic.  So the song lyrics got me thinking about that quote in a slightly different skew.  I thought about it terms of where we are in our lives and the risks we take for the lives we want to have.   Yes, eat healthy, sleep well. These are important for anyone’s physical health and are basically common knowledge with all the recent revelations about physical health.  But those last two…breath deeply…live harmoniously.

Those two bear a great deal more consideration.  Breathe deeply.  What if that means not just the use of lungs, diaphragm and windpipe? What if it has more to do with heart?  What if the quote is about that big internal breath we take before making a major change; a major step in our lives? Or the big deep breath of relief when a plan finally comes together?  (Cookie to anyone who gets the 80s TV reference)  So I got to thinking about that and the context of those song lyrics and it made me smile.  I know what it’s like to feel that way–to find out if you have the guts to pull through a hardship,  make that hard decision and survive beyond it.   Those decisions take a yard of guts; perserverence and patience.   They also take the ability to let situations go when they aren’t working as we may have planned and the maturity to move on.  That is how I interpret that part.

The last part,  with particular attention to our world and its current state of affairs,  becomes even more important in that context.  Live harmoniously.  Can you live with yourself in  your every day affairs?  The decisions you make, are they ones you just live with or do you take pride in those choices?  Better question, can you live harmoniously with the things that are beyond your control?  What gives you the courage to accept your choices–both the good and the bad–take responsibility and move on?

Confession time;  I used to be someone who would not accept that responsiblity and, consequently made some fairly shitty choices because I couldn’t own it. I was not happy with me the individual and that unhappiness branched out into other areas.    Time and experience taught me a great deal and I grew.  I often wonder if more people could take time to self-examine, how the world would be impacted on a larger scale.   Definitely food for thought.

So,  here’s a random question and shout out to readers. Do the actions of the individual impact the well being of the whole?  If we better ourselves as individuals,  will that in turn,  better our world?  Let me know what you think,  within reason.  Comments are monitored. If you’re abusive, well, you’re getting deleted.  🙂

I don’t belong here..

Soundtrack:  Creep – Radiohead

Current Reading:  The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty– GJ Meyer

Our amazing admin has done it again with our weekly writing prompt.  So this week she tagged one of my favorite and very personal songs.  Granted, this was completely unknowing on her part but still…let me see if I can translate this message to all of you. Today’s response brought to you by the Figment will not be fiction or a slice of life post from characters my readers know and love but rather…a very different take on my blog.

Being highly creative can add so many things to your life but; in the same vein; it can also prove to challenging to keep and maintain friendships.  In a way, it makes you feel like an outcast and so often misunderstood.   Creativity by its very nature causes you to see the world with the creator’s own, unique spin.  That spin is hard for people to follow sometimes. I spent a great deal of time feeling like I did not really belong anywhere.  Part of that feeling was maturity, part still trying to understand what this spark, this drive was inside me. I honestly don’t believe I truly understood it until I was in my late twenties.

A creative drive is difficult for partners, friends, or family to understand if they don’t have one or if theirs beats to a different drum than your own.  And, for those of us that are creative,  the challenge lies in showing our loved ones that without feeling like we’re being attacked for whatever our journey or process may be or the struggle to find the words to describe something that just is.  We try to justify our raison d’etre if I remember my French right.

Creativity is hard to define.  If you’re someone who is constantly in creative motion,  like I am, that explanation is even more difficult because you feel like you’re constantly on the move from one idea to the next.  There really is not a way for me to turn it off or to stop writing.  I once told someone that I spent too many years waiting for someone to give me permission to  be me.  That is more true than I can ever express in this blog or anywhere for that matter.

Stopping the train so to speak is akin to not breathing for me.  I have to create. I have to write or I’m unhappy.  I have to check out from the world for a little while and into the world I’ve created.  It’s necessary to me.  That lesson took a long time and weeding through a lot of people who didn’t fit me  to learn.  For me, the ideas never really seem to stop slowing down;  I can and do pull things out of absolutely nowhere.  I get inspired by a song, an image, a snapshot.  Do I get writer’s block? Sure, but usually not for too long. Usually another little muse hops her happy self up and says “Did you think about this?”

Personally, I’m often cautioned to slow down.  One of my previous blog posts talked about taking the time to savor the triumph of the moment.  Celebrating that now is always a pain in th ass for me because, well, that next big idea is around the corner knocking.  In my life I have only come across one person that truly understands that drive for me to move from one idea to the next and, surprisingly, that person is not my spouse. Don’t misunderstand me,  I think if I married someone who mirrored my drive to create and tell stories, we would drive each other crazy.   My husband is absolutely amazing about understanding this need I have to fulfill. In fact,  Birth of Light would not have seen the light of day without his gentle prodding and confidence in me.

Lately, with Light’s Guide on the horizon for publication,  I’ve been thinking about the next book, doing a little side writing with the man who “loves to watch the process” (His words, not mine.)  and doing my writing for The Figment. This keeps me happy but I know the saga of Maeseloria is going to continue.  The ride is far from over yet.  For series writers that might catch this, does anyone else get the inevitable “how many books is it going to be” question?

What inspires you?  Do your ideas ever give it a rest?  Do you find yourself in constant motion and waiting for everyone else to keep up? Do you feel like you leave other people in the dust?   If you do,  hey, you aren’t alone and time will bring people to you that either a) get it or b) are patient enough to understand you and give you the space you need to spin your world.

So, with that being said, discussion is totally welcome and another warm thanks to our hostess with the mostest at The Figment.

 

 

Here comes the sun…

Soundtrack Provided by:   Master of Tides – Lindsey Stirling

Current Reading: The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty– GJ Meyer

Hello everyone!  This week’s post is brought to you by the lovely folks at The Figment.   This week’s prompt was the following image:

photo-1464793197674-83dc99cab809_zpsj6yxxsle

Can I just say how awesome it is to be challenged to think outside the creative box?  So I kept looking and looking at this photo and tried to figure out where it put my head.  Here goes….

The tides of darkness had receded in the North.  Her arrival brought not only Hope but a will that seemed stronger than steel.  With winter’s thaw, joy returned to her little corner of the realm. Tatiyana Jade watched the revelers with a small smile.  The Adryn season was upon them and this celebration in Lochton was the first of its kind in nearly a century.  As the reigning noble female of the North, the townspeople insisted that she be crowned Queen of the Festival.  In their eyes, it was she that brought the Light back to the North.  By these people, she was accepted in ways she never had been in the capital.

Tanya felt that at five foot two; she hardly held any regal bearing and certainly none of the grace Christiana Morningstar seemed to be blessed with.   Among her family, she often felt like the outsider due to not only her stature but her frank way of handling her affairs. Surprisingly, Tanya was not upset but that development in her life.  In a way, her distance from the capital, the very heartbeat of their realm, was soothing to her.  For her, the realm’s heartbeat was in the mountains where she grew up, these foothills and the port town of Lochton.  Tanya gave a polite smile and waved another reveler intent on dancing with her away.

So lost in her own thoughts, she did not see one of the revelers break away from the crowd and come to her side.  “I have not danced at an Adryn festival in more than a century.  Please humor me…”  Her masked admirer begged.  An ash blonde brow quirked as Tanya met his eyes.  With the amused expression, a challenging sparkle came to her eyes.  She too was masked and crowned as queen of the fete.    The man behind the mask was not unknown to her, after all.  The amusement in his emerald eyes brought a smile to hers.

“Now why would I humor you, beloved?” She teased him.   As was typical of her, the holy blade Hope was strapped her hip.  She was clothed in a snug pair of black pants and an auburn blouse.   Her ash to gold shaded hair was pulled up in a loose topknot that left a few tendrils framing her delicate features.  Once, not long ago, a well-meaning member of nobility compared her to a tiny doll because her features and stature were so fine-boned.  Tanya did not take the comment as a compliment.  Though she was tiny and doll-like she had a warrior’s pride, after all.

“Because you can deny me nothing, my little warrior.”  His voice pitched low enough to draw a shiver from her.  Dominic Devereaux smiled at her.  The smile hid his fangs but did not hide the warmth he felt when he saw her.  He could hear the thoughts rambling through her head as if they were his own because of the bond Nicholas Taltos had been able to bless them with.  And because you look too blasted breathtaking tonight…if one more towns person offers to abscond with you…I may not be responsible for my actions.

Her laughter was music to his ears and with a smile, she surrendered to his request. Dominic steered her into the gathering crowd and fell easily into a step he thought he had forgotten years ago.  “Follow me.” He whispered and danced with her.  The dance was lively and joyous.  “I will draw you out of that mood yet.”  Dominic flashed a warm smile as they moved down the row of revelers arm in arm.    “You will be enough for them, I promise you.”

He addressed her concerns long before she could voice them.  This was rather typical of their bond.  Dominic understood her and her motivations better than anyone except perhaps her twin, Sion.  With a smile, he chided her.  “Relax, enjoy yourself for once.  Let yourself live beyond the next fight.”   He knew what her life was before the war and during.  Her whole life had been a battle, from childhood until now.  “All we have before us is time.”

“I feel like this is the calm before the storm that will swallow us whole.”  Tanya said suddenly and missed a step in the dance.  Her family ran strong in clairvoyance.  At times, they could not determine when their vision would become truth and others they knew precisely when.  Her cousin, Alexandra, saw more clearly than she did. Tanya shook as Dominic steered her from the dance.

“Do not be disturbed by the things which you cannot control or predict, Tati.” Dominic hugged her close and kissed the top of her head.  “You will never find any peace that way.  I love you. Enjoy the moment.” He felt her mind relax before her body settled against his like a glove.  They were made from each other—two pieces from the same puzzle.

“Very well Dominic.”  She agreed and absorbed the warmth of his embrace.  Though he was right, Tatiyana could not help the nagging tickle at the back of her mind that the realm was not settled with the war’s end.

 

 

Sunny

Current Soundtrack:  Move – MercyMe ;  Fly – Jars of Clay

Current reading:  Nothing—requesting recommendations for good historical fiction…aside from Philippa Gregory

Sunny.

So our glorious, fearless leader at  The Figment Writers gave us this single word prompt this week and for most of the week I busted my brain to try and figure out some kind of inspiration for the word.  This prompt also came up in the middle of me being neck deep in Light’s Guide revisions.  So I tabled the word and focused on the daunting task in front of me.  Something would come to me later, I knew.

The task was daunting because as of last Wednesday I still had 5 chapters to edit and my goal was to finish before I returned to the full time desk job after the holiday.  So that word was tabled and I lost myself in the visual/structural aspects of Christi’s story.  And, dear readers,  YES,  this is Christi’s book.

So the days go by and I forget all about it because I’m so absorbed in this process and for my fellow writers,  you all know how rough the revision process is.  The “Does this make sense” comes up often because,  as a creator,  I write in the heat of the moment and pull it into some semblance of order after the story gives me what it wants to say.  Suffice to say,  that the revision process is more tedious because of my creative process.  In the same vein, I don’t think I’d trade this process for the world because—to me, at least—that heat and emotional rawness translates the way I want it to.  The few readers I have connect with my characters and that, at the end of the day, is my ultimate goal.

So Monday night I’m wrapping up the Epilogue and it hits me;  this writing prompt I had tabled came back and smacked me square in the nose!  Sunny can mean a number of things to different people. It can be a disposition, weather,  a description of someone…so many possibilities. To me, with this book’s end, the sun came out for the realm I’ve created.  I completed another story and that’s pretty damn sunny to me.   For Christi, the sun comes out. For me,  I get to put her story to bed with a sunny sense of accomplishment.  Now…to enjoy this June sunshine and savor this accomplishment before I start layout and cover design.

 

Stay tuned, everyone.  Maesloria: Light’s Guide is coming in the fall.  Details to come.

Preparation..

Soundtrack provided by Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith,  Throne – Bring Me the Horizon

Today’s blog is brought to you by our friends at The Figment.  As always,  a shout out to the hostess with the mostest,  Mia  Sutton.  Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂  On with the show:

“I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.”  Alexandra’s words returned to her long after the ride had concluded.  What the path ahead held, Light could only know.  Days later, Christiana Morningstar puzzled over those very words.  Her friend’s messages were often ambiguous at best.  Christiana hardly resent the Sorceress for such things.  Fate blessed where it would.  The thought of children brought both joy and terror to her.

Though she knew her station required her to produce an heir she was in no particular hurry to fulfil that expectation.  All was not right with her realm at this time.  A child’s pattering feet around the palace halls could be a catastrophe that she did not need. At this very moment, Christiana Morningstar sat before petitioners.  Her realm was her primary concern. All the same, Alexandra’s words made her wonder what lay ahead.

Most days, the realm’s Reconstruction occupied her days.  Today was no exception.  Her people brought the realm’s needs to her attention. She was dressed in a rich royal blue satin gown embroidered with pearls.  On another woman, the creation would have seemed ostentatious but on Christiana the attire sang with understated regality.  Her auburn hair was pinned in a loose chignon that was secured by the crown resting atop her head.

The capital, the central focus of Maeseloria, was nearly complete.  Public works were organized and run by the grand cleric, Tessa Starson.  Christiana was still in awe of how fast the woman took the realm’s spiritual matters in hand.  Tessa worked with unparalleled enthusiasm to rebuild schools, libraries, and clinics for the sick. The cleric stood before her now explaining a new plan to revive what once was a thriving scholastic community.  “My Queen, did you hear a word I just said?”

Tessa’s amused words broke into Christi’s errant thoughts.  “Forgive me, my friend.”  The distracted monarch flushed to the roots of her hair. “I appear to have a great deal on my mind lately.” When Tessa gave a nod of acknowledgement, Christiana sighed.  “Please go see Evelyn regarding the funding for this project.  I know you will do as you see fit for the betterment of our realm.”  Tessa dipped a curtsey and disappeared from her chambers. Quite literally, the cleric was there one moment and gone the next.  Much like the Jades, the cleric had a talent for teleportation.

“Usually you aren’t this distracted, Sunspot.”  A companionable voice spoke at her elbow. A gasp would have brought other guards running.  If not for that nickname, she would have summoned help in a heartbeat. Jaylor had a habit of showing up in the oddest places.  “My advice not work out?” He questioned.

“Darkness take you, Jaylor!”  Christi hissed on words well beneath the hearing of anyone else in the receiving chamber. “Your advice worked precisely as you intended.  She got me thinking. Her words stuck with me in a way you likely expected.”  Very nearly, she saw Jaylor crow with delight.  He started to ask what the Sorceress had told her but; soon enough, another petitioner entered the hall.   His curiosity would just have to wait…

 

So I wait…

Soundtrack:  Best I’ll Ever Be (Acoustic) ,   Sister Hazel

Today is brought to you by a writing prompt courtesy of our friends at The Figment. They just opened a brand spanking new website with a link to the forums.  Join us for some creative fun!  Also a brief shout out to Mia Sutton,  foundess extraordinaire,  you can check out her blog at The Chronicles of Chaos.  You rock socks Mia, thank you for all that you do…annd with that being said, on with the show!

_________________________________________________________________

“He would be proud of you,  you know.”  Alexandra Jade spoke on gentle tones.  Dawn was flirting with the horizon when Christiana presented herself at the Sorceress’ chamber door.   By the disheveled appearance and the tired look in their Queen’s eyes, Alexandra suspected they would have a great deal to talk about when she noted the arrival was with the Queen dressed for a morning ride.

Christiana Morningstar was more comfortable on horseback than anywhere else.  When the woman arrived, Alexandra took note of the weathered pants and coat that framed Christiana’s figure.  She made short work of dressing for the occasion and, soon enough, the women were on their way.  As they traveled, Christiana relayed the nightmares she was experiencing.  “Two hands reaching for me out of the darkness….in the course of the dream I am both afraid and reassured.  The nightmares have been recurring every night since we returned from the south.”

The explanation brought them to the current moment and the very words Alexandra provided in response.  “I would dearly love to tell you that I had a clear response for you, Christi but the truth is I do not. I can only guess.”  Her lips thinned to a thoughtful line as she thought of what to say.  “I think they may be cause by the stress of the throne and what you fear most about ruling.”  Alexandra understood the pressures of the throne better than perhaps anyone within the palace.

When Christiana slowed her horse, Midnight, she wheeled to look at her friend.  “Devin.”  As Alexandra nodded, she cursed.  Her brother, through marriage to the woman riding beside her, was intended for the throne.   A poison no one could understand or combat took his life and left Christiana to rule in his stead.  Many of the realm’s nobles whispered about her competence.  The whispers were enough to shake the most confident ruler.  Twins in their realm were rare.  Twins among the royal houses were more so.  All their lives she and her brother occupied each other’s minds with a bond gifted to twins by Fate.

Even now, Christiana reached for him out of habit.  When she hit the wall where his presence once existed, it was an aching, painful reminder of what she had lost.  “Christi.” Alexandra interrupted her thoughts on patient tones.  The ebb and flow of the woman’s emotions were understandable.  “The answer is never as easy as it seems.  Forgive yourself.”  At the Queen’s puzzled expression, Alexandra smiled and continued.  “You are alive.  You are achieving the dreams he would have wanted.  You have nothing to be afraid of. You have not failed him now, or ever.  We could not save him.”  Alexandra reached across and grasped Christiana’s gloved hand.

“Have you forgiven yourself, Alexandra?”  Pain flashed in Christi’s azure eyes as she shot the question back.  In a way, the Sorceress’ serenity piqued her anger.   “How did you learn to let go of his expectations? Of losing him?” That anger brought tears and when Alexandra grasped her hand, Christiana’s tightened on the reins.  Long ago, Christiana though she had laid to rest this mutual pain but now, the feelings surfaced.

“I have. I fight to live out the dream he would have wanted for our realm. So have you.”  The anger struck Alexandra as harshly as a physical blow.  Thank the Light two layers of leather lay between them.  Direct contact with Christiana would be far more forceful.  The touch also encouraged the natural clairvoyance that was a part of her family heritage.  “I learned with time. Your blow was so close, so fresh.  Forgive yourself for surviving, my Queen.  Devin would have long ago.  You have long since lived up to and surpassed his dreams. The court’s whispers be damned.”     Alex felt the tension leave her friend as she spoke and was saddened to see the tears dripping from Christi’s lashes.  When Devin Morningstar was killed, Alexandra lost a loved one but Christi lost a lifetime companion.  A sibling she had warred with, laughed with and grown with.   “Come on, let’s walk.”

The two women slid from the saddle and led their horses.   Rain would be on them soon but perhaps a good soaking was what they both needed.  “You have accomplished what he only dreamed of Christi.  You brought us together. You taught us through your patience and grace what it was to lead. Those hands in the dark want to forgive you, pushing you to move forward.  That is what you fear.”

Heartache choked Christi’s throat as she responded.  “And what if I forget him?” Alexandra’s laughter, though warm and not unkind, snapped Christi’s head up to look at her friend.

“Never, my dearest. Not in this life or any other will you forget one so beloved.  The Light would never allow such an atrocity.  You will always see him in your memories….in your children’s faces.  Believe me.”   Alexandra shook her head and chuckled again when the woman’s auburn brow perked at mention of children.  “I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.”   Thunder cut their conversation short and, soon enough both women mounted their horses and began the journey back to the palace.  Alexandra only hoped her consolation was enough to soothe the woman’s worries.

 

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