I’m here to share myself on the web. To communicate with my family, friends and hopefully readers. I have stories from my life and stories from my imagination.  I believe I have some good stories to tell. Bear with me while I remember and conjure them.

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Politics in Alfheim

The Chancellors chambers

The meeting had started with a debate about the King ‘s establishing the Boar Akarn landskap. Of course, the Traditionalists were against it. Those arguments had taken up the better part of two shadows. Chancellor Alfsson, in the end, had to table that question. The King did not have a deep investment in establishing a landskap there. He didn’t need a recognized landskap to station a small garrison in Boar Akarn. After all, there already was a trade route of sorts there. The additional revenue generated by the increase in trade would soon pay for that garrison’s presence.  The whole debate had been a waste of time.

Chancellor Alfsson wanted to discuss the more significant proposed landskap. The one that was to border the Etunazi hills needed the Hilmir Vorth’s approval. It would never generate the funds that would pay for the garrisons. But that border was unstable and needed a military presence. Under the covenant without a trade route to protect, the King had no authority to station garrisons there.   Since several of the Traditionalist nobles had lands that bordered this region, there should be little debate. Then perhaps they could discuss a few more items and adjourn before lunch. That was not what happened.

Some fool among the Loyalists thought bringing up the Yetann raid was a good idea. Something that Ingofson had purposely avoided. So chaos enveloped the assembled nobles.

“Doesn’t it concern you that the King has fallen under the influence of that redhead?” Hilmir interrupted once more.

“That’s utter nonsense, and you know it. The girl was the victim. Not the perpetrator.” Fra Ulfdot replied.

“I have it on good information that she does not practice magic according to the proscribed manner.” Thane Geirr interrupted.

“Red hair, green eyes are sure signs that she is not Vanier. No, she is Æsir.” Bondi Oxusveiga almost shouted. “And that is proof enough for me that she is a huldra plant.”

“You see conspiracies in the date the maples turn red,” Eldon Alfsson retorted. “And she’s not one of the gods. You’re mixing up the myths worse than those Thor worshippers in Laugar.” Eldon frowned. Most of the time, when he gave that frown, the arguments stopped. To his chagrin, the hysteria in the chamber continued another shadow. He and the King intended this meeting to begin the process that would lead to an orderly Hilmir Vorth. Those reactionary nobles! He stopped mid-thought, best not to brand them so in his mind. He dared not start the name-calling. If he let that phrase dwell in his mind much longer, it would pop out of his mouth at the most inopportune time. No, they were just a small group within the Traditionalists. Best practice jarl Ingolfson’s stoicism.

General Ingolfson sat silently through the whole debate. The huldra were a clever lot. It was not beyond the realm of possibility that this was part of one of their complicated plans. If so, it should begin to unravel soon. What little conspiracies they had tried in Alfheim always died from their convoluted and complex nature. From what he had been able to gather, their plots in the other nations failed more often than not. Of course, most of the stories were old, and the failures might have been covers to hide the successes.

The Toad watched. He had rather enjoyed the chaos. The divisions within the nobles could work to his advantage.

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The little store on West Graham

I must have been somewhere between four and six when Mom took me into the small mom-and-pop grocery store on West Graham Avenue. An older couple ran the place. Once upon a time, I knew the name of the little store. But that’s lost in my past.

Not much larger than my living room, the little store had a chest pop machine standing near the door. First, you opened the lid to see what was available. Then you dropped your nickel into the coin slot. You selected what you wanted and, grasping the top of the bottle, slid it down the track to the front of the machine. There it entered the raceway running across the front until it encountered the exit. You would tightly hold the top of the bottle and, with a mighty heave, pull the bottle up through the gates, which released as your coin dropped into the coin box.

Cluttered about the store was the various items they sold. Near the cash register stood the candy stand. Mom stood facing the proprietor paying for the groceries she had picked out. The little boy who was me gazed upon the display with wonder. That small candy bar looked good. My little hand reached out and took one. I held it in my hand as Mom finished paying. Saying a brief goodbye, we left the store. Mom sat the bag of groceries in the back seat and then helped me into the car.

That is when she saw what I held in my hand. “Where did you get that?” She asked.

“From the store,” I replied.

“That’s not yours.” Came her retort. Then she marched me back into the store, telling me to apologize for taking the man’s candy. I sadly handed the candy back to the gentleman and told him I was sorry for taking it. A smile broke across his face. “It’s alright,” he said. “You did the right thing.” Looking at my Mom with a quizzical expression, he told me. “Here, I’ll give you this one because of your honesty. You were brave to return it.”  I don’t remember the taste of that candy bar. I do remember that not everything I saw was mine to take. And you always paid the store for what they had.

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From the “Tales of the Grey Knight”

Edel surveyed her castle. The repairs were progressing. If they had another week, it would be defensible. With a month more time, it would control the field. She envisioned a ballista sitting on the top of each of the two towers. Her men who had trained on them would be able to defend the gates against all but the most advanced siege engines.

She cried the first time she saw the shambles Drake’s attack had left her home. She remembered the spring her parents had sent her away. She could tell that they were troubled by something, but they did not reveal what gave them both worried faces. There had been ten years of relative peace. The ravages of The Death had subsided, and her parents were rebuilding the duchy. Things were going well.

The day they celebrated her 14th birthday was perfect. Yet only a few days later, she lost her beautiful locks. Elsa had given her hair an adult’s treatment for the first time for that party. It was so beautiful that Elsa barely persuaded her that it had to come down that evening. Three nuns had appeared at the castle. Her parents welcomed them in. It seemed to Edel that her parents were expecting them. What happened next was unexpected. The nuns shaved her head, and her parents forced her to take temporary vows to the nuns’ holy order. That was also when she lost her name. She became Edel. Edel Cuarta when they arrived at the nunnery three weeks later. Cuarta because she was the fourth novice named Edel.

The Mother Superior had a minimal imagination for names. There were five Negra named for their black hair. Several of the nuns and the novices shared Rosa. There were one or two Bella’s and one Princea. Princea behaved as if she expected everyone to bend to her will. Sister Abeta had once let it slip that Princea was the girl’s second name here. One the Mother Superior had bestowed to reprimand the girl for her proud spirit. That rebuke had not changed Princea’s behavior.

She was roused from her memories by someone shouting. “Now, what was Alfred yelling about this time?”

Looking up to the tower where he stood, she saw he was pointing behind her. She turned and spied five or six of Reiter’s horsemen swiftly approaching. In the corner of her eye, she saw count Grey put down the architectural drawings he had was discussing with the master builder. She wondered, what news was these men bringing?

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The Arnarhvall Waterfront

Catherine and Ceri stood near the bow of the King’s barge and watched the Auselfra. The seemingly calm river had become covered with eddies and swirls, giving evidence of the currents once hidden in its depths.  The river narrowed, and for the moment, the curve of its banks hid what was ahead. A short time later, the Bølge Cataract appeared. Cataract was an exaggeration. Even small boats passed through the ripples and waves unhindered. Those waves served as a warning that ahead lay the Rif. The series of cataracts dividing the upper Elfra from the lower.

Matsveir was serving King Awrick and his guests a light luncheon as the river widened, giving the first sight of Arnarhvall. Flags and banners festooned the upper docks, and music drifted up the river.  Arnarhvall was greeting their returning King.

Portions of the ancient walls that once surrounded the city stretched out from the waterfront. Laying past the docks was evidence of where those walls once stood. The city had removed more of the rampart in recent years. This allowed the waterfront to double in size. That and the widened thoroughfare that led to the Risker docks permitted the citizens of Arnarhvall greater access to the products and produce that arrived daily.

A cheer sounded from the crowd that filled the docks near where the King’s barge would berth. Standing in the area that city guards kept cleared was a regal lady. A boy and a girl were at her side.  From a distance, their ages were hard to judge.

When Ceri asked who they were, Catherine responded, “That is the queen, and I believe Prince Ari’s siblings.”

The prince had walked up behind her as she spoke. “Yes, that’s Erling and Hilde. Don’t believe half what they tell you about me.” He smiled. “Erling imagines that I’m off on some grand adventure every time I’m on some diplomatic errand. And Hilde’s worse. She insists that I’m off on some romantic quest. They won’t believe that most of those journeys are boring beyond imagination.”

“This one wasn’t, was it, son?” The King asked as he approached.

“This wasn’t going to be boring before the Yetann interrupted the training. Thankfully, We do have a happy ending.” Ari responded to his father.

“And for that, I’m thankful,” Catherine added.

Catherine noted that Ceri was silent. She always was when some noble or official was near. When she was alone with Catherine or the felag, she filled the place to overflowing with questions or observations.

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How do I say those crazy names?

To show the Dragon’s Spine world is an entirely alien world, perhaps I got a bit creative in the names. They are all based on who the character is. I have liberally named each person from a variety of languages. Gaelic, Welsh, Estonian, Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and others.  Some are real names from those languages, and some are not.

Take, for instance, The names of the Pyris who appear in the story are welsh based. Pryis is a plural word. A single individual would be a Rizi. So Brac is a Rizi whose name comes from the word free.

For the reader, there is no wrong way to pronounce these strange names. We probably could not pronounce any Yetann word correctly anyway. Our mouths are made so different from theirs. Each region and species will pronounce them differently. Perhaps the way you say them is with a Dzwerc accent. DZ is pronounced similar to TZ in hertz or spritz. The Dzwerc all themselves, Tz wreck

Cu Lain can be heard pronounced as Cool ain, Cool lain, K’lain. His preferred rendition of his name is Ka lain. Short ‘a’ sound with a brief pause before the lain.

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Bare’s Den on Spotify

So I found a service that working with WordPress will read my posts for Spotify. Here is a link

Spotify – Bare’s Den | Podcast on Spotify

See hwat you think.

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A scene with a question

I have a scene ending with this paragraph. The problem is. At one time I knew what the secret was. Now Karl won’t tell me what it is. Any ideas? I tried interrogating him. He remained silent. Like most immortals the Green Man can be stubborn.

Karl tiled his head. He looked at Ceri perched on the edge of her seat, trying to grasp the wonders Catherine and he were discussing. He considered what to tell them. What would be safe to reveal? He knew what he was about to say would not travel past Catherine. Ceri was another matter. She would not intentionally pass secrets. She had survival smarts for the streets of Torion. But not the fairy tale that Alfheim appeared to her to be. Asking her to leave so he could share secrets with Catherine would needlessly harm her.

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Verin – Newborn

I need to work on the sequel to “In the shadow of the Dragon’s Spine”. But no. the one two three books in what I’m calling the “Vengeance” set of stories is disturbing me. That’s the story I’m telling today.

Raja sat outside the door, shivering. The cold winds of winter blew through his coat as he waited, as tradition required, outside while Ema gave birth to their first child. She had assured him that it was a male kit. How she knew he did not understand.

She roared once more in agony! That shattered his resolve. Standing, he shook off the snow and turned and opened the door. It would be easier to carry the shame of breaking tradition than to ignore his mate’s cries.

Ema was squatted on the floor, holding a bedpost for support. She looked up at him with a defiant glare. Slamming the door behind him, he strolled over to her and knelt beside her. Another contraction gripped her, and her free hand found his shoulder. Her claws pricked his skin through his thick coat. A growl rumbled in her chest. Then it passed, and she addressed him. “If you must be here, be of some use.” She took a deep breath, knowing a contraction could come at any moment. “Pull that pot of water from the fire. The water’s too hot.”

Before he could rise, her hand tightened again. Another growl escaped her lips. Then she pushed him away with enough force that he toppled over. She chuckled before she roared, “Hurry!” as her voice lost all meaning.

He pulled the pot from the fire and saw a towel floating in it. He realized that Ema intended to use the towel to clean the kit after its birth. He used a meat hook to pull it from the boiling water. His eyes cast about for someplace to hang it as a stream of water escaped. There! She had a drying rack standing near the fire. During the summer, they had smoked their meat on it. Now it served to cool the towel. No sooner had he lain the towel on the rack than she roared again. He turned just in time to see his kit spill from his mother onto another towel she had laid beneath her.

Her hands moved over the squirming child deftly. She moved her hand over its mouth and nose, clearing them of obstructions. Then she lifted it to a teat and encouraged their new male kit to nurse with a sigh.

A few minutes later, Raja determined that the wet towel was cool enough to clean the kit. As Ema wiped her boy clean, she grunted, and the afterbirth passed. According to custom, she wrapped the towel the kit had landed in around it. Ema then dropped both into the cooling water. Crawling onto the bed with her kit, she indicated that he should move the pot to the fire once more.

 Raja pulled the blankets over her and the kit. Then he turned to complete the task she had given.

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Reviews

Dear friends and family. If you’ve read “In the Shadow of the Dragon’s Spine” Please give it a review on Amazon. Thanks

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The politics of Alfheim

Politics has invaded my story. It is not American politics but the strange politics of a noble assembly that exercises some control over the purse strings. And a King who generates much of the income by protecting the trading network. I’m not sure I want to go down that path. It adds some texture to the story but will it carry the plot forward. Up till now, I’ve been pleased with the flow. But now, well, I’m wondering if I should abandon this subplot.  Do I leave it in the background? Or do I struggle through? Guess these are my monkeys, my problem.

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