|A little GoT humor for ya. Graphic Art by: Sean Kearney|
Guess what happened this week? It snowed! While some might be ecstatic to watch the first snow come down in little flakes, and race to get a cup of hot chocolate so they can perch behind their front window and ooh and ahh as the fireplace crackles in the background, I do not share in their Norman Rockwell moment of bliss. My first thought upon seeing the first snow is something close to “Oh shit”. And that is followed by a not-so-subtle, verbal, “Oh fuck no.”
I have lived in Michigan for a long time and repeatedly endured the lake front winters, that said, I am never prepared for the season. One day the temperature is 65 and the sun is shining. The trees are turning these gorgeous colors. And then bam, guess what biatch? It’s cold. It’s snowing. People are driving like assholes, especially the awesome fellas in Carhartt jackets; those manly man men with Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing obscenely on the back of their truck window surrounded by their “I hunt all moving things” paraphernalia. Cute. Real cute when they're obscuring my visibility with their snowy backlash caused by their manly speed with their impenetrable truck forged from the hellfire of Middle Earth. Or Chevy.
And then I’m buried under these “seasonal shift change” lists of to-dos. Find snow brush to unbury my truck every morning. Don’t forget to leave your wipers up so they don’t freeze to the windshield. Avoid slamming back door too hard so snow from the roof doesn’t fall on your head, melt, and leave you screaming for mercy. Dig out boxes of boots, sweaters, and other things needed to cover every inch of skin so that I can step out of my house without getting blasted with icy wind daggers. Buy salt for the sidewalk. Call snow plow guy and get that shit contracted. Because I am not up for shoveling my satanically long driveway every time I need to leave my house.
Load up the iPod with soothing playlists for those drives of 25 mph on a 70 mph highway, because 2 hours of commuting at a speed that not even coffee could keep me from going insane requires relaxing tunes. Then there’s the task of changing over all the bedding to more winter friendly sheets and thick down comforters. Ever tried washing a down comforter that is three times as big as your washing machine? Me either. The Chinese lady at Lemon Fresh Cleaners charges me 80 bucks. Somewhere in this world that kind of upcharge is illegal. I will live vicariously through those imaginary people in that imaginary country who can launder their down comforters at a reasonable price. But it’s warm and oh so cozy—too warm to leave in the back of my storage closet of Narnia where Christmas lights and “those jeans you’ll again fit into” go to die.
And that, boys and girls, is only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe one day when I’m really good and pissed at winter I’ll share how I make it through the bad days of those six months of Eskimo life. Hint: Apple Pie. And I’m not talking about Granny’s homemade crust filled with floured Honeycrisp slices either. More on that later… ;) Your inner backwoods yahoo will thank me.
While I sit and brood over the fact that winter has arrived, here is the prompt for this week’s FFF:
1. Law and Order – Pick one of the five listed laws and apply it to a key scene in your chapter/story:
· The penalty for a member of a lower class abusing a slave girl is a few years' imprisonment.
· The penalty for a juvenile engaging in piracy is a flogging.
· The penalty for a foreigner stealing corpses is a warning.
· The penalty for offending a member of a certain bloodline is a considerable term of servitude.
· The penalty for smuggling herbs is whipping.
I chose: The penalty for offending a member of a certain bloodline is a considerable term of servitude.
Please note that Winter won’t be posting this week, so check back with her blog next Friday. That’s all for now on my end. Please visit our other talented bloggers and see what they chose to use from this week’s prompt. Stay warm. Have a drink for me. Love you all. *Hugs*
The Great Mage: Week 14
The Trolls were a breath of nature, beings created from the very essence of all things living and the earth that sustained mankind and creature alike. Nothing like what Aneris had conjured in his mind of what a Troll was supposed to be, these creatures were massive yet docile and pretty in their own right. Just as one would look at a tree with red leaves in the fall, and stop to think of how beautiful it was when every other season of the year they could have cared less, the Trolls embodied the joy of that special time and wore it on their skin with pride.
Even in the dark, barely displayed under the Fae lantern light, Aneris saw their clear blue eyes and felt their power. He didn’t need the sun to gain perspective of their bodily significance. He only needed to stare into their eyes long enough to feel the trees whisper around them, the water trickle through their veins like a tinkling melody, and the connection they had with every living thing around them. They had no need to be governed by kings and queens, or petty magical politics; the Trolls obeyed a higher power, and to them, the Earth was their beloved deity.
“Killian,” a Troll murmured, although his baritone voice was hardly quiet in the hushed forest.
In recognition, the mysterious Shifter went to one knee and bowed his head in respect. “Powl, forgive my hasty summoning. I meant no disrespect speaking your tongue or by offering modest offerings to your cherished god.”
The Troll known as Powl blinked, his eyes were large and wet, vividly blue like a slice glass taken from a romantic cathedral window. Aneris couldn’t look away. He wanted to reach out and take Powl’s hand to know the secrets of the water that filled the ocean and the lakes, the little creeks and streams and puddles he stepped in after it rained. He wanted to know what the blades of tall grass said to each other when they rustled in the wind, and how the rich, dark soil under the leaves at his feet smelled so fragrant and familiar.
Powl smiled without looking at Aneris, but the Mage felt the humor directed at him. Powl regarded the Shifter’s kneeling form and put a hand to his dark hair. “Your actions and words speak as if I am a king. If I were your ruler, and I took offense to this unexpected summoning, you would serve me for the rest of my days as punishment.” Powl sighed. “But I am neither king nor ruler. I am a servant and a peace keeper, a guardian of the earth. And you have served unwillingly for far too long to be indentured to any creature’s will again.”
Killian, the dark Shifter, looked up as if wounded. His mouth opened in rebuttal, only to close when Powl carved a massive hand through Killian’s long hair. “The lake has mourned the water for a very long time, old friend. They have both kept watch for the day they could be reunited and you could serve the water once more, and the temple you gave up your humanity to protect. Do not be upset, Killian. We know all.”
The trolls grumbled in agreement. No one in Aneris’s party made a peep, too riveted with Killian and the Trolls to utter a single sound. Leaves rustled above, birds shifting closer to the meeting on tangled branches. Fae lanterns hovered, bobbing gently midair. Killian put his other knee to the ground and his hands covered his face.
“Nothing to be ashamed of, old friend—you have played your part. You have served your elders and our mother well. Because of your will to live, you are now free to do the things you have had time to contemplate and dream of. In return we will honor your request, as this summoning was meant to aid you on your journey, yes?” Powl searched his brothers’ eyes to seek approval. The Trolls surrounding Aneris and his fellow warriors nodded. “Rise and tell us what you need.”
On shaky legs, Killian stood, yet still he hid his face beneath a curtain of dark hair. “It is not for me directly. And I need for you to understand I mean not to bring you to battle once we step—”
“Tsk.” Powl hunched over, brushing Killian’s hair out of his eyes. “A battle for the earth on which you stand is not born of peace. Nevertheless, the earth is in peril. As you said not minutes before, if the White King perishes so does the magic that feeds the lands and wills our hearts to beat. Even if the Black King succeeds, what are we to do without our mother and our lands, Killian? What are we, beings who nourish and listen to this home the earth has created, to do without a purpose and a lifespan that exceeds the stars and the moon? It is not a life I would wish on my worst enemy. The loneliness. The longing.”
“What are you saying?” Aneris blurted, and then gasped, backing up in the warmth of Fia’s fiery tail.
“I’m saying, Great Mage, that this is a battle we wish to be a part of, in our way, of course. While we might not directly step into the fire, we can surely command the fire, so to speak.” Powl’s innocent eyes narrowed, and for once Aneris saw the Troll of his Othersider imagination. “You play a great part in this journey as well, Mage. Your name has been whispered in the air for some time now. And even our mother, though she may never admit it out loud, seeks your victory.” Powl bowed his head and winked.
The White Lady, Aneris thought with a smirk. Aneris looked down at the moon embedded in the stone on his sash. It was a little brighter, a bit larger than before. He gulped and looked up at Powl. “So you’ll join us?”
The Trolls smiled. One by one moving back into the trees. Only Powl remained within visual, and the heavy thud of large feet traveling along the overgrown path in the forest answered where the others had gone to. Powl extended his arms to Aneris. The Mage frowned in confusion. But Killian was quick to remedy his misunderstanding. “There is no greater rest than with the earth,” he said. “And you, our leader, need all the rest you can get before the time comes for the unexpected.”
Aneris looked up at Seth. The Red Knight sighed and smiled. “He’s right. You know he’s right.”
“I’ve slept enough, don’t you think? I mean, I was dea—”
Seth pointed an angry finger at Aneris. “Don’t you dare finish that sentence. A Mage is only as good as his preparation. There are no written spells or potions for you here. Your body is your weapon, and your “weapons” are an extension of your body. What will you do if you reach the castle completely drained from this journey, fighting your way through brush and mud in the dark with sore feet and tired muscles? What good will you be to these people, to this land, or to your king?”
Aneris made to spit out a remark, but stopped. He was tired. His back hurt from all the twisting and turning. His feet were sore from all the walking over uneven ground, up inclines, and down craggy rocks in the dark. The more he searched for his abundance of magic, the harder it was to find that golden spark dwelling deep within his belly. With a sigh Aneris surrendered whatever argument he sought to give and stepped into Powl’s embrace.
He was a bit humiliated at the thought of being carried like a child in front of herd of warriors, seeing Fia as a more graceful way of resting up, and Seth’s back as more familiar place to rest his head. But as soon as he was lifted off the ground, cradled in Powl’s muscular yet soft arms, Aneris understood. He smelled the salty cling of ocean spray in the air, although the ocean must have been thousands of miles, if not dimensions away from this realm. He laid his cheek on Powl’s chest where the Troll’s skin was silky, the feel of rubbing his thumb along a rose petal and the scent just as sweet. His body molded to Powl’s arms the same way a grassy plot on a summer’s day was the perfect place to lay around so he could watch the clouds roll by in the afternoon sun.
Powl was the embodiment of peace, of tranquility; a premier spot to be to meditate one’s mind and forget about their surroundings for a moment. The Troll’s soul connected him to the earth, and established a lifeline of energy so that Aneris could fill his cup with dreams, and purge the very ferocity of his future battle with Sylvius. A war to stake claim on the Silver Realm and send the lesser Mage to his death.
All of his flakey what-to-dos and how-to-do-thems were chased away in the basket of Powl’s arms. Aneris’s head lolled to the side so he could catch one glimpse of his beautiful Red Knight before a heavy pull stole his vision and captured his mind so he could whisked away to the Land of Nod.
To be continued…