Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Waterfall Enchantment

 



My April Character Encounter.  This month, we are supposed to meet our character near a waterfall.  The challenge is: '...see if you can encounter a character who has either a prophecy about him/her, or a character who is a member of royalty. If the character is/has both, that would be great.'

This fit in PERFECTLY with the story I've been working on all month.  But, I'm not satisfied with the way this CE came out, especially the end.  And it's too late to let it stew and rework it.


    I have always felt that there was something enchanting about a waterfall.  I cannot articulate what it is about them that has the power to hold me enthralled.  Every waterfall I have been close to has this effect on me.  Even a waterfall in a picture makes me stop and take a second look.
    Today, my family is on a weekend trip to see the noted S–––– Falls.  We left our hotel after breakfast and with a big picnic lunch in tow, have come to spend the day at the park next to the Falls.  My siblings immediately run over to the playground.  My parents stroll leisurely along a partially wooded walking path.  My two sisters, delighted with the perfect scenery, begin a photo shoot.
    I frown at my sisters' backs.  There is no way I'm sticking around here to be roped into having my picture taken.
    "I'm going down to the water's edge," I call over my shoulder to my sister Billie.
    At the water's edge, I am mesmerized as I watch the swirl of the waters, foaming as they rush in mighty volume over the rocks into the pools below.  Is there any more beautiful sight in nature?
    I revel in the exhilaration the roar of the water gives me, and in the cooling effect of the mist on my arms and face.
    A stick crunches behind me and I turn, stiffening, wondering who has caught me looking like a blissful idiot.
    Surprised, I frankly stare at the young man for a few seconds.  He is unlike anyone I would have expected to be at the park.  It doesn't take much to be taller than me, but he since he stands over six feet, he fairly dwarfs me.  He is dressed in a maroon medieval tunic that comes to his mid-thighs, brown pants and knee-high brown boots.  He wears his hair almost to his shoulders and neatly combed.  A golden circlet sits on his brows.
    He bows courteously, a wide, warm smile softening his face, "Lady Melody."
    Lady Melody?  Oh, yes, it's that time of month again- time for another Character Encounter.  That would mean he is….
    As if he has read my thought, he continues, "Prince Iorwerth of Cambria and Corbenic at your service, my lady."
    I curtsy in reply, "It is a pleasure to see you."
    He turns to gaze out over the waterfall.  "Amazing," he breathes.
    I nod, "Llewellyn would say it was magical."
    He laughs, "That he would."  We are both silent, looking at the water.
    I can feel him glancing sideways at me.  He looks back out over the waterfall, "If I may be so bold, what are you thinking about so earnestly here, my lady?"
    I arch my left eyebrow curiously at him, "What gives you the idea that I am thinking about anything?"
    He lifts his right shoulder in a careless shrug, "The look on your face as you stare into the waters.  It is the same look many of us at Corbenic wear when we go to the waterfalls to think."
    "Fairly hit," I acknowledge.  "You know- just life and all that.  Nothing special."
    He looks as though he doesn’t believe me.  I decide it’s my turn to ask questions.
    “What brings you here today, Prince Iorwerth?”
    “I was at the waterfalls in Corbenic and saw an opening that hadn’t been there before.  I entered it and it took me here, where I recognized you.”
    “What is troubling you that you were at the waterfalls?”
    He is quiet for a long moment.  When he does speak, his voice is husky with emotion, “I have been confronted with the fact that our family will be separating.  When we leave next sevenday, we will not see each other for night unto four months.  We, who have never been apart longer than two sevendays,” his face is grave.
    “I’m sorry, Prince Iorwerth.  It will be very hard for you all.  Less for Rhianon than for you other three, but still hard for her, too.  If there was another way… but there is not.”
    “I am concerned about Seren, as well.  I do not know how she will be received and if it should go badly for her….”  He glances swiftly at me, a charming smile now lighting his face.
    “Could you not at least hint to me of what her reception will be?”
    I shake my head, fighting the urge to grin maddeningly.  “I’m sorry, Iorwerth, but I cannot tell you that.  You will find out at the time appointed.”
    He frowns, “I do not ask for myself.”
    “I know you don’t, but the answer is still the same.”
    He sighs, “I thought as much.  Still, it did not hurt to attempt to discover the future.”
    “One thing I can tell you; it is not the destiny of either of you to die before you have fairly struck blows in battle for the land of Brythonia.”
    He regards me speculatively, “That is extremely vague, Lady Melody.”
    I shrug, “It is the job of an author to be vague regarding spoilers.  All will be revealed in due time.”
    He is about to reply when my brother Dino’s voice calls my name.
    “I’m sorry,” I wave to let my brother know I heard him but stay facing Iorwerth.
    “Do not be sorry,” Iorwerth replies.  “I, too, need to go.  I must return to Corbenic.  There is to be another Council soon and I must be present.”
    “I say again that it was a pleasure to see you.”
    “It was an honor for me to speak with you here,” he bows again.  “Dominus vobiscum.”
    “Pax vobiscum,” I reply.  I watch him out of sight.  He cares so very much about his siblings.  It’s almost tearing him apart to have to let them go.
    Musing, I make my way back to join my family.


Miss Melody Muffin


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Smelliest Job on God's Green Earth

Snippets from my March writing.  Snippets of Story is hosted by Katie at Whisperings of the Pen.


    Esteri looked down at Heka lying on the sofa and frowned at him, “Shouldn’t you get up and do something?”
    “I am doing something,” he grinned up at her.  “I’m resting my bones.  And I’m working on this logic game.  I have five more levels before I’m even with Kajam.”
    “Heka, you’ve been lying there for over an hour.  I think your bones are rested enough,” she told him sternly.
    He pouted, “No they aren’t, Noona.  Don’t you know my bones are different than you humans’ bones are?”
    Circini looked startled and Heka could not resist the temptation to tease, “My sister must not have told you that I’m an alien.”
future Stellumo book


    “And what if it had been an enemy agent?” Sitara demanded.  “Great danes, Heka, it was careless.  CARELESS.  You must remember, every agent is potentially under opposition control.  It is imperative you remember to do the background and security checks,” she sighed heavily.
future Stellumo book


    “I thought you would enjoy seeing the famous Devil’s Waterspout,” he grinned at me as we started out.
    “That would be wicked!” I exclaimed.
    Julius raised his eyebrows but his brown eyes were twinkling.  “It’s probably a good thing Decimus did not hear you say that,” he teased.  “Your brother would be in for it again.”
    I tossed my head, “As if Octavian not using those words could stop me from using them.”
    He laughed, “I think Decimus is still unsure about how to handle a girl who rides and shoots nearly as well as he does and who frankly tells her brother he’s being a dirtbrain.”
    I laughed with him, “My mother did not always know what to do with me either.  She blamed Octavian for corrupting me and for being the reason I would not settle down and be a proper lady.” 
My Brother's Keeper


    After the lecture, we were sent outside to clean the pigpen.  It was one of the worst punishments that our parents ever gave us.  If you have never cleaned out a pigpen, than you cannot know the torture of doing it.  It is truly the smelliest job on God’s green earth.  The four of us, Adora, Sergio, Diego and I, hurried to clean the pen out and then ran to the swimming hole and plunged in, trying to rid ourselves of the awful smell.  Afterwards, we climbed up into the sprawling branches of our favorite tree, the one that overhung the swimming hole, and perched there, talking about the lecture.  We agreed that if we were supposed to be each other’s keepers, then it should include troublemaking schemes, because how else were we supposed to watch over each other?  The purpose of being young was to get as much out of life as we could, and to do that, naturally we would get into some trouble.
Sister's Keeper


    “Adora is one of the cleverest talkers I know,” Lord Delevene said encouragingly.  “If anyone could talk her way out of an execution, it would be her.”
    “Do you have a plan?” Lord Curre asked.
    “Go in, get her out if she is alive, bring the Syndicate to its knees if she isn’t,” my voice was cold and hard.
Sister's Keeper


    “If I didn’t have to stay here, I’d be joining you,” Lord Curre said.
    “Thanks,” Miguel said.  At the moment, my heart was too full for words.
    “None needed,” Lord Curre said.  “Just find her and get her out.”
Sister's Keeper


    “It’s the air of Corbenic,” Llewellyn said.  “It’s magical.”
    Seren reached over and kicked him.
    He scowled at her, “Well it is!  Nowhere else do people sleep so wholesomely.”
    “That does not make it magic.  It has a perfectly logical explanation,” Seren took a bite of her muffin.
    “Yes, yes, I know.  The forest air, the mountain air, the water... I’ve heard it all several times.  But it is a much more boring explanation than magic.”
    “Less misleading though,” Seren countered.
    “Seren and Llewellyn are back to arguing.  All is right with the world again,” Iorwerth declared with satisfaction.
Venit Hora




Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Resurgam

It's time for Chatterbox again!!!  This month the topic is resurrection.  I had fun writing this- actually, it just wrote itself this afternoon.  It was one of those times when you feel like you are merely holding the pen in your hand and something else is guiding it to write the words.

To learn more about Chatterbox or to join in, visit THIS POST on Rachel's blog.



    “Hurry Llew!” the girl ran down the hall and peeped through the half-open door into her brother’s bedroom.  “It’s story night you know.  We do not want to be late!”
    “I’m coming, I’m coming!  If I ever get these boot laces untangled and fastened properly,” Llewellyn grumbled.
    “Do you need some help?” a voice asked from behind the girl.  Alexias, second son of Anax Arimathe of Corbenic, pushed open the door and walked over to Llewellyn.  He bent down and made swift work of untangling the laces of the troublesome boots.
    More footsteps came down the hall and another voice asked, “Ready for dinner and stories, Seren?”
    Seren turned and smiled adoringly up at Philippon, youngest son of the Anax and her secret favorite of the three brothers.
    “Yes sir!  Lord Zosimus’ stories are wonderful.  Do you know what story he will tell tonight?”
    “No, I don’t.  I was going to ask him earlier, but he was grumpy, so I didn’t.”
    Alexias, coming out of Llewellyn’s room with his hand on the boy’s shoulder, snorted.  “He was grumpy because you messed up that report and he had to spend an extra forty-five minutes showing you how it should have been done.”
    Philippon shrugged dismissively, “Details, details.”
    Seren and Llewellyn grinned at each other as the four of them began walking to the dining room.  Philippon was more often in trouble than out of it.
    “I’m so glad we’re old enough to join the story nights now,” Llewellyn said.  “It seemed like we were never going to be ten.”
    “You are growing up so swiftly,” Alexias looked down at the head of curly brown hair that reached the top of his stomach now.  “It was only a few months ago you came to live here.”
    “It was past two years ago,” Seren objected, twisting around to look at Alexias.  “We were seven.  It just seems like months to you because you’re an elf.”
    Philippon snickered and Alexias grinned at Seren, his eyebrows raised teasingly, “Thank you for reminding me.”
    She giggled.
    “Looks as though we are just in time,” Philippon said as they neared the dining room.  The Lord Officials of Corbenic were passing into the dining room and that meant the Anax and Anassa were not far behind.
    Seren and Llewellyn skipped over to their seats on either side of Iorwerth, their elder brother by two years.  They stood respectfully behind their chairs, as did everyone else in the room, waiting for the Anax and Anassa to enter and take their seats.
    After dinner, the whole company filed into the Great Hall and sat down.  As usual, Iorwerth, Seren and Llewellyn sat with their adopted brothers on a tapestried couch.  Llewellyn was next to Alexias, with Iorwerth between him and Maron and Seren between Maron and Philippon.
    Lord Chancellor Zosimus walked to the storyteller’s place at the head of the room, between two of the large fireplaces.  He cleared his throat and the light chatter in the room quieted instantly.
    “Last story night, you heard the story of the Crowning of Arthur.  Today, you will hear of the Fall and Rise of Arthur.”
    Seren wrinkled her brow and looked up at Philippon, “Why did he say it like that?” she whispered.  “Isn’t it proper to say Rise and then Fall?”
    “That isn’t the way this story goes, Seren,” Maron told her in a low voice before Philippon could reply.  “Listen and you will understand.”
    “Arthur was truly a great king and you all know from other stories of how his skillful leadership ushered in the Golden Age of Brythonia.  It was indeed a golden age.  Peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land.  Trade and friendship flourished between all of the realms of elves and men.  The Knights of the Round Table, the Paladins of Cambria and the Trefoil Knights of Cornoval stood ever ready to ride to the aid of those in need, whether rich or poor, old or young, male or female.  The valkyrs rode throughout the land on their fleet alacorns, bringing justice and helping the kings.”
    He paused and sighed, “But alas, sin still remains in our world and thus greed, jealousy and hate were not dead.  Mordred had brooded long on his imagined wrongs until he had become a bitter, angry man bent on vengeance.  He began to plot rebellion.  At this crucial time, Arthur, not suspecting his cousin for a moment, left for the duchy of Joyeuse to confer with Lancelot and settle some misunderstandings between them- misunderstandings that were about their wives.”
    “It was while Arthur was away that Mordred saw his chance and seized the day, usurping the throne and declaring himself King of Cymru.”
    Seren and Llewellyn leaned against Philippon and Alexias and closed their eyes as the story went on.  They had heard this part before.  Arthur and Lancelot hurrying back to find the city of Camelot barred against them and Mordred’s adherents on the walls.  The king going into hiding with his loyal knights, Roland and Mark gathering their armies and hurrying to Arthur’s aid and then the disastrous battle of Camlann where Malduc appeared and unleashed his Shadows for the first time.  Even the elven armies, hurrying to join Arthur, could not stem the tide of defeat and Arthur, Rolando, Mark and the Brynhildr all died that day, under the blazing sun, surrounded by the bodies of their knights and valkyrs who had fought to the last to protect their liege lords.  Mordred, too, died on Arthur’s blade.  The weeping of the widows and hundreds of fatherless children when the news came back of the death toll.
    Zosimus’ voice was subdued as he spoke of Queen Guenivere’s retirement to a nunnery with her young son and daughter, of the widows and children of the dead knights and kings going into hiding and finally of Arthur’s burial in Escalot, by the lake of Ynys Afallon.
    “Though Arthur was buried that day, it was not the end of him,” Zosimus voice rose and now it resounded through the hall.
    Eagerly, Seren and Llewellyn sat up.  Here was the part they had never heard before.
    “The Doctis and the surviving two elven reges convened in council at Corbenic.  The Magister Mysta and Magister Videntium told of a vivid vision that had come to both of them three times each in the weeks since Arthur’s death.  A vision bright with hope for the future, for they prophesied that in Brythonia’s hour of greatest need Arthur will rise again.  The Knights of the Round Table will rise with him, as will the Kings of Cornoval and Cambria.  And with King Rolando on his left hand and King Mark on his right hand, the knights of all three kingdoms behind them, and aided by the valkyrs, Arthur will sweep to final victory over the Shadows.”
    The room was silent.  Anax Arimathe rose and faced the audience. “We wait for that glorious day.”  He nodded to Zosimus, “Thank you, my friend.  A good night to you all.”
    Solemnly the listeners dispersed, the spell of the story lingering over them.
    Philippon leaned over and kissed his little sister, “Maron will take you all up to bed tonight.  Alexias and I must report to the Lord Marshal.”
    Maron scooped Seren up and carried her upstairs, Llewellyn and Iorwerth walking one on each side of him.  At the door to Seren’s room, Maron set her down.  She put a hand on his arm before he stood up.
    “Is it true?  Or is it just another legend?”
    Iorwerth and Llewellyn crowded in, eager to hear their brother’s reply.
    Maron’s throat tightened as he looked at the three of them.  Little do they guess how true it is.  “It is true, little ones, very true.  The day will come when Arthur will rise again.”
    “I hope I’m here to see it,” Iorwerth threw his shoulders back determinedly.
    “Me too,” Seren and Llewellyn chimed.
    Maron kissed Seren gently on the forehead and stood up.  Putting a hand on the shoulders of the boys, he said softly, “So do I, little ones.  So do I.”
    He turned and led Iorwerth and Llewellyn down the hall to their bedroom.

    And in the Hills of Llanuwchllyn, a twelve-year old boy who had heard the same story that night from his father, gazed up at the stars and located his favorite constellation, Excalibur.



Miss Melody Muffin