Wyrdwend

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

HAMMER AND KNIFE

HAMMER AND KNIFE

Hammer and knife
Speartip and strife!
Terror and dread
The Doomed and the Dead!
Helmet and shield
Warmount and weal
To rise and to stand
The measure of man
A line does unfold, and
Another is drawn
The fields are aflame
The brave still unnamed
Blood black and soiled
Desperate we toil
Lords vomit red
Their flesh cold and bled,
Hammer and Knife
Beaten and sliced!
Arrow and sword
Pierced and then gored!
The grunts and the shouts
The moans and the doubts
The rallies and wounds
Shall we be entombed?
We few as we stand
Our fallen in bands
The calls and commands
They litter the land, yet
Exhausted and spent
None must relent, for
My Hammer and Knife
The Wards of my Life
Still fill both my hands
Shall do what they can,
For I fight to the end
Or to grave I descend…

So this morning after walking Sam (my Great Dane) I was practicing with my warhammer and knife when suddenly the following song came to me as I worked. (Not all of it, but the first couple of stanzas.)

Then, after finishing my practice I went to the west deck of my house, and sat in the sun, and imagined a battle and wrote the rest of the piece.

I will publish it as a poem that my character Larmaegeon composes and sings (so it really a song, but sung without musical accompaniment) for his companions right before they go into a seemingly hopeless battle. For in the scene involved they are ambushed and suddenly surrounded.

So this song will go into my novel series the Kithariune.

Since I am now learning the guitar (see here: Fade Away) and am planning on turning to the lute next I am now considering taking some of the poetic works that Larmaegeon and others compose in the novels and writing out the music to such works as well and including those in the novel too. Along with all of the other supplementary material.

I am rather pleased with Hammer and Knife, but if you wish to comment upon it (if it please you or displease you) then feel free to do so.

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THE FLESH AND THE BOOK

THE FLESH AND THE BOOK

 

APPENDICES, INDEXES, ETC.

Appendices

On the True Size of the Armies and the Battles
On the Great Wars
On Languages and the Variations of Pronunciation
On the Scripts and Writing in Iÿarlðma
On the Art and Architecture of Iÿarlðma
On the Known Lineages and Lines of Descent
On Lifespans and the “Yorluin” (The “Graces” Given)
On the Ancient Eldevens
On the “Great Crafts” (Theurgies and Sciences) of the Eldevens
On the People’s Before (The Pre-Dwelvens)
On the Animals and Creatures of Iÿarlðma
On the Fauna and Flora of Iÿarlðma
On the Climate of Iÿarlðma
On the Lords and Rulers
On the Samarls
On the Eladruin
On the Great Chronologies
On the Histories (Extant and Extinct)
On the Ghans, Folk, People, Races, Tribes, and Nations
On the High Calendars
On the Translations
On the Eons and Epics

Indexes

Poems, Songs, and Verses
References to Other Works in Terra (Our World)
References to Other Works in Iÿarlðma
Important Personages
Great Beasts and Monsters (Oiyluin and the Korreupt)
Geography and Important Places
The Objects

The Marvels and Wonders

The Pre-Dwelven and Pre-Historical Wonders
The Ancient Wonders
The Elturgical Wonders
The Present Wonders
The Prophesied Wonders

The Three Great Myths (Lae-Iÿarl-sel) of the Eldeven Peoples

The Anÿlîsos
The Redelyost
The Earlwé-Iÿarl-Skëma

Magic and Miracle and Science (Theurgy/Thaumaturgy/Technicae and Elturgy/ Sarlementh/Eldarik)

Elturgy and Ilturgy

The War Between Magic and Miracle (Elturgy and Thaumaturgy)

Translations (complete and partial) into English of Selected Eldeven Works

Glossaries

The Wyrdros (The Wyrding Road)

Maps (Antique and Modern)

Other Linkages

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Above you will find a listing of the various Appendixes, Indexes, Glossaries, etc that will be found in my Mythological and Fantasy series of novels about the Basilegate. This material will be supplemental to my novels themselves and will provide the flesh to cover and support the skeleton of the story itself. This will probably be the final form of this supplementary material and with each novel in the series new Appendices, etc. will be added at the end of each book until the last, when all supplementary material will be provided.

Some of this supplementary material is already finished, as a matter of fact a good deal of it has already been finished (in my Notes and Plot Maps), although I may edit and rearrange some of this material into a more refined product. Some of the supplementary material has not yet been finished or has been reworked several times or I have yet to create it.

Although most of this material I have been writing or creating concurrently with the novels themselves.

Eventually, after the novels are written and published, and assuming they are a success, I intend a complimentary books with much expanded supplementary materials but I intend to hand that over to other writers with my notes so that they can write that book while I go on to other works.

If you wish to comment on this material, although it is only an outline, you are welcome to do so.

A special thanks to my daughter Kes who has typed up much of my handwritten notes and manuscripts after my wrist break. Thank you very much baby, your father loves you and you do superb work.

And thank you for the other books and poems and songs and such you have been typing for me as well. You’ve allowed me to proceed apace. And I greatly appreciate that. You’re a superb problem-solver.

HIGH AND LOW FORTUNE – HAMMER, TONG, AND TOOLS

HIGH AND LOW FORTUNE

“You ask me how I know this and I can only tell you what I’ve seen.

High Fortune came upon me like a silent serpent, slithering from behind in such a stealthy manner as to conceal his true intent and to scarcely warrant my attention.

Low Fortune approached me like a titled lord, resplendent all in showy pomp and decorative circumstance, attired in the lofty regalia of finely whispered shadows spun from venomous spider silks.

Low Fortune is, you see my friend, the King of Seeming and the Prince of Cunning Craft yet I advise you eschew his long seducing and ever seductive company. For his court is all fantastic façade and fraudulent fashion and his manner and his manor are both estates of ruin.

High Fortune, on the other hand, wears no glittered crown of kingship nor rankish robes of high office nor encrusted jewels of state, he is as plain of face, as rough-built by effort, and as quiet in nature as if stable bred. Yet if on turning round by chance or calculation you find him standing nearby then reach out your hand quickly and grasp him in so firm a hold that he cannot escape, and never let him go until he promises to bless you as his friend.

Leave Low Fortune, brother, where he dwells, even if he home in temple renown or palace grand, for he is the sure slum-lord of soon-to-be sad misdeeds and the master of all unenviable fools.

Instead set your watch and wait patiently for High Fortune, for one day he will approach you in sly disguise, silent and unannounced, to see what can be made of you if you will ever dare. For he is your steadfast, stalwart, and subtle Friend and the Maker of that Fortune you truly seek.

Low Fortune churns like stormy waves, he ebbs and flows and never settles ought. High Fortune stands alone and trembles not, he shelters and secures all Men of Enterprise.”

from the Kithariune  (link)

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Since the beginning of this year I have been in one of the most productive periods/phases of my entire life as far as the creation of poems, songs, short stories, novels, scripts, and other literary works are concerned. I have recently produced hundreds of pages of new works.
 
Above is a section of my novel series the Kithariune. In this passage the Welsh Bard Larmaegeon is trying to explain the difference(s) between High and Low Fortune to his friend and companion, the Spanish Paladin Edimios. And why he should wait upon the one and avoid the other.
 
Anyone is welcome to comment upon it, of course.

THE LAST TRUE MAN – HIGHMOOT

THE LAST TRUE MAN

Over the weekend I started a new fictional short story. A fantasy of sorts, you might say. This is the first draft. I have made no editorial corrections at all. I thought it would make an interesting experiment for others to see regarding how a short story develops over time and is edited, corrected, revised, etc.

I did not type this by the way. Because of my previously broken wrist my youngest daughter now does most of my typing. (My oldest daughter is already in college.) I write in longhand, she types. I owe her much for that, and I pay her, though it is also part of the life and practical and market skills development section of her homeschooling studies.

Since this story involves a mysterious stranger that the main character entertains and travels with from time to time (I had plotted that into the story from the beginning of my sketches for the work) and a Journey I decided to also link this to the Daily Prompt on WordPress for today

Journey

I will not be posting the entire story here, once it is completed, because I plan to publish it. But the section included here, when I make the necessary editorial corrections and revisions, that I will post later.

The story will also contain within it the poem, He Who Goes Alone. Which I actually wrote for a different purpose but last night I realized fit this story so acutely that I decided to include it as part of the story.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you The Last True Man. (And although he is not really a man, he is True to the end.)

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THE LAST TRUE MAN

He lived alone. Once he had a wife, and a son and two daughters. Only one daughter had survived his thirty-third birthday. By that time he was too badly wounded to care for her and had been made permanently lame. Being unable to care for her properly, and his recuperation taking years, he had given her over to the care of his former wife’s sister. He still saw his daughter and her children occasionally, and treated her kindly though she was often in awe and afraid of him. But she did not know who he truly was. To her, as to everyone else, he was simply the old hermit who almost never spoke.

Now he was eighty-seven. Though he did not appear so, nor did he move like an old man. Nevertheless he was still partially lame from the wounds he had received as a young man. For even in his heart, as in his body, some wounds remained and never fully closed such as those injuries and wrongs that claimed the life of his wife, son, and oldest daughter.

So he lived alone. Alone among a set of ancient weathered, discolored, wan stone and marble ruins. Ruins left by a long dead and vanquished race, all of their works toppled and reclaimed by the forest, all except those he kept as a forlorn home and temple of remembrance. Yet to him it was not forlorn or even a ruin. It was the wreckage of another age he had reclaimed for himself. He who went alone.

The ruins stood beyond the horizon of the village in which his daughter dwelt. Though not far. They did not have to stand afar off for all manner of men shunned those ruins and the surrounding landscape, considering them accursed and haunted. None ventured there and aside from young boys filled with that spirit of adventure and exploration that sometimes overwhelms and possesses them view ever came within close sight, to almost all it was a place more imagined than ever observed.

Except to him. Despite the many pitfalls and the shifting rot and the persistent decay that nature worked upon the ancient place he knew it well and almost completely. He even knew of most of the most desolate and new long buried areas. He also dwelt at peace with all but a few of the surrounding creatures, be they large, small, tame, wild, fierce, or gigantic and fearsome.

His means were simple, his desires few, his quaint and modest satisfactions many in his deserted home, and his dwelling austere. He spent his days wandering, exploring and mapping the wide ruins in which he lived, drawing, sketching, mapping, writing and cataloging all he discovered. Many days he would also explore the nearby forest, visiting or entertaining creatures as they would accommodate him, or he they. At dawn he would pray, at sunset sing. At night he would take the telescope he had fashioned for himself and watch the moon and stars.

Sometimes at night he would also sit long in meditation, contemplation, or within the various memory palaces he had created in his own mind so that he could commiserate with the ghosts of his dead family and friends. In this way he would sometimes slip happily into dream and melancholy would leave him until he again awoke. When it might or might not return to him like an unreliable and unpredictable friend.

Or was friend the right word? Maybe Melancholy was his interrogator of habit, like Death was the companion of his more somber dreams and troubled visions. He was never really sure where he actually stood with the steady companions of his loneliness and exile. He only knew that he knew them well, and that they knew him as he truly was. In the center of his inmost soul.

His most steady companion however was his huge dog which so resembled a small bear in size and shape and appearance that some men took it for a strangely colored and tame bear and nicknamed him “Uroldas” or “Bear-Father.”

He built a dwelling of the old stones of what he surmised to have been the still standing remains of an ancient tower attached to the ruins of what was possibly an old wall or gate mount. Indeed he called it his tower and it was there stories tall, consisting of four levels all together, including the level he had dug underground for storage. His tower was part home, part hermitage, part-forge, (for he also worked his own metals and artifacts) and part observatory, and he named it Caerloron, after his dead son.

Occasionally he was visited at dusk, at dawn, or late at night by a mysterious figure in simple robes and a deep blue prayer shawl who would entertain him, or who he would entertain, and often during such visits they would talk long and in a familiar, friendly fashion. Though none else saw this odd visitor for two reasons; he would never approach if the man was otherwise occupied, and secondly due to the isolation and uncanniness of the old man’s dwelling. Which kept almost everyone else at bay in any case.

The man possessed a strange drinking vessel as well. An almost eerily peculiar cup he had recovered from a trove deep in the city, craftily contrived, decorated with bizarre devices and the cryptic letters of a long dead language. For in the future, many centuries hence it was whispered this cup never went dry, but that was just a rumor yet to be born. As for the man when he had first found the cup he had inscribed it with his name, Aelone. St that time he was still a young man and called himself by his name. in the years that followed everyone else forgot his name, and even who he had once been and so he took to himself, “me.” Or “I.”

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KAL-KITHARIUNE – THOUGHTS ON THE END

KAL-KITHARIUNE

I finally have the ultimate titles for my set of mythic/high-fantasy novels. They shall be called Kal-Kithariune (Or, The Fall of Kitharia). Originally the series was to be called The Other World but I was never really pleased with that. It was only a preliminary and place-holder title anyway.

The Kal-Kithariune shall link back to another myth/history or time epoch called the Kol-Kithariad (or the Rebirth or the Establishment of Kitharia). I have not really decided if the Kithariad will refer to a period of time 300 years prior to the Kithariune (when Kitharia undergoes a Rebirth or Renaissance) or to a period 3000 years prior when Kitharia is first established and founded.

Ideally I’d like to work it out so that the Kithariad refers to the Rebirth of Kitharia, 300 years before its Fall, but realistically I’m having real trouble making that fit and so it may have to refer to the Founding. It may be better to use the Founding as the other reference point anyway, to contrast the Genesis with the Armageddon and End. But I’d prefer the Rebirth. Though that might be impossible.

Kitharia is a both an analogy and a metaphor for America. And all of the Eldeven lands for the West even though the events take place in what would in our world be The Orient (near our Real World Samarkand).

The individual novels in the series will be entitled:

The Basilegate (The Emperor’s Legate)
The Caerkara (The Expeditionary Force)
The Wyrding Road
The Other World (or perhaps Lurial and Iÿarlðma)

The novels will be a tetralogy. Now that I finally have all of the titles, know the plots and endings of all four books, have the languages developed, many of the poems and songs written, some of the maps and illustrations drawn, have hundreds of entries in my Plot Machine and thousands of notes, and about 200 pages of the each of the first two books written I suspect I can complete the entire tetralogy in under 2 years.

This is by far the very most complicated thing I have ever constructed (to date), at least as far as writing goes and that includes a couple of epic poems I’ve written. I first conceived it in 2007 as a single book and I’m sure I have thousands and thousands of hours sunk into it since then. Despite my other workloads.

Eventually I plan to write a set of children’s short stories connected to it and to at least plan out or begin the Kithariad though that will likely have to be passed on to others.

Before I start either of those though I just want to complete the Kithariune and then move on to my other novels, such as my sci-fi series The Curae (which will be every bit as big as the Kithariune), my detective novels, and my Frontiers novels, such as The Regulator and the Lettermen. And I want to complete my literary novels such as Modern Man and The Cache of Saint Andrew. Plus I want to finish my epic poem America. And I want to write some scripts. Not just TV scripts but movie scripts. So once I finish the Kithariune it may be a long while before I return to myth and fantasy, such as after my “retirement” (though I don’t plan to ever really retire).

I have however learned much by writing the Kithariune. I now know exactly how to plot out both long, complex novels and series, and much simpler single books. So the learning and research and study period was worth it alone in that respect. And it should both add to the richness of the Kithariune and to all of the other novels I write thereafter.

YESTERDAY – TUESDAY’S TALE

SOME OF WHAT I WROTE YESTERDAY (based either on memory of conversations or events of years past or new experience)

I slapped him on the shoulder in a friendly manner and smiled, but I was deadly serious.

“For God’s sake,” I said, “don’t do that. Don’t be a modern man. Be an actual man. Yeah, it’s always hard, and it don’t pay much most of the time. But at least you’ll be alive. Really alive. And in the end what in the hell else matters?”

from my novel The Modern Man
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It was as quiet and peaceful and warm and sunny a day as I had ever seen in my entire life. And that was fine by me. I had sure seen enough of all the other kinds of days.

from The Modern Man
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He topped the small hills that ringed the border to the north and the west and looked out before him. The blue and the green covered the land so thick that he couldn’t see the ground. Not anywhere.

It was an ocean of grass that stretched out forever, with no shore to be seen.

from my novel The Basilegate (Larmageon describing in his own mind wandering the “Blue-Green Sea” just beyond the borders of Kitharia – inspired by my hike in the forests and across the fields today; everything is in bloom and as thick as blood, especially the grass)
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“My son, as the Lord taught us, you cannot save the world alone. But if you at least set out to try then neither shall you ever fail it…”

from the Basilegate (The Abbot of Studios writing to the Viking Christian convert Drakgarm of Gotar)
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Nothing Works if you won’t.

from the Business, Career, and Work of Man
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There is no sin in seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. The sin lies in either avoiding pain merely to seek pleasure, or in seeking pleasure by inflicting pain.

from Human Effort

WHICH NOVEL WOULD YOU PREFER?

This year I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. And this year I have several good ideas for a potential novel I’d like to write for NaNoWriMo.

However I am trying to solicit the opinions of others on which idea and novel they’d prefer to read. Of the three novel ideas/plots I’ve I’d like to write for this November and that I have personally shown to family and friends so far I have the following results:

13 votes for The Old Man

10 votes for The Cache of Saint Andrew, and

4 votes for The Wonder Webs (all have been kid votes)

So I’d like to ask you, as my readers and internet friends, which novel story would you prefer to read: The Old Man, The Cache of Saint Andrew, or The Wonder Webs?

Right now I’m leaning towards The Old Man but still have a couple of days or so to finally decide. So if you wish to voice your opinion then just let me know. If you want to tell me your reasons that would be appreciated as well.

 

The Old Man – The Old Man is a mixed genre novel/novella consisting of three or four related stories about the same character set in different eras and story genres. In the story the child or children of a deceased man discover some old and unknown recordings which reveal their father in a totally different light and engaged in a fantastic set of secret lives. One section of the book will involve the science fiction genre, another the fantasy genre, another the detective/espionage genre, and the fourth the horror/weird genre. Despite the complexity of the story and the various genres it should be very easy to research and plot.

The Cache of Saint Andrew – The Cache of Saint Andrew is a literary genre novel involving a white man who marries a black woman. Although I did eventually marry a black woman the book is not autobiographical because I first had the idea for the novel in college and began writing it in college and I didn’t marry until I turned thirty, and at the time I began the book didn’t ever expect to marry. The story involves an older established, fairly wealthy white man who marries a younger (college student aged) black woman. The book describes their courtship, marriage, and the things that eventually dissolve their marriage, such as the loss of their first child shortly after childbirth. The novel is called the Cache of Saint Andrew because of the fact that the man, for years, plants secret messages inside the cache of a grave marker at the Orthodox Church of Saint Andrew in North Carolina. The Cache of Saint Andrew is actually the third book I ever started writing and the first one I started writing as an adult, but I put it aside to start my first business. I have replotted it many times but never actually finished it. It will require fairly complex plotting although I already have the main story well sketched out.

Wonder Webs – The Wonder Webs is a young adult book I first started plotting out a couple of years ago in a writing class. It involves a fictional city, park, and zoo based upon Greenville, SC. It involves three main characters, two boys and a girl of late Middle School/early High School age. It also involves a secret “underground world” in which dwell three magical/supernatural spiders who are capable of building “Wonder Webs” or webs that help miracles occur. This book will be very complex to plot because of the characters involved but especially because of the complicated background/world involved, which is multi-faceted.

 

 

 

 

 

THE BLOOD OF TÔL KARUŢHA – HAMMER, TONGS, AND TOOLS

Continuing on with my short story  THE VENGEANCE OF TÔL KARUŢHA and my prior posts on Conan. I have the entire story written (though not typed) and will post it here in its entirety when I get it all typed as an example of my short story writing ability for agents, publishers, and my followers and fans. For now my previously broken wrist makes typing long periods of time problematic and so I pay my daughter to do it.

For previous entries see here: THE FRAGMENTS OF TÔL KARUŢHA

and here: CONAN, BABA YAGA, AND TÔL KARUŢHA

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Conan saw the blood seep from the wound of Tôl Karuţha. Perhaps, he thought to himself, it was a trick of the dark and the nearly moonless gloom of the Ophirian night, but that blood seemed unnaturally dark and uncannily sleek to him. As if it were a slick but soiled oil or possibly even the ichor of some preternatural monster rather than the blood of a mortal man.

A guarded growl erupted deep in Conan’s mind, along with a primitive alarm and revulsion of the supernatural that demanded his future attention. Conan resolved to investigate later, when he had the opportunity to observe closely and without arousing suspicion. If he got the opportunity.

At the moment he was in a fight for his life against ever mounting odds, and for all he knew his erstwhile “ally” could desert him at any moment by showing himself more fiend than friend. For now Conan must slay, or be slain, and so he set about him with a fury and a lust for combat and gore.

In satisfying his lust he would be fully sated, for his enemies met him with equal ferocity and far greater numbers.

Time weighed against Conan. Time and numbers. His oldest enemies. His most dangerous foes.

 

HIGH ILLUSION from THE BASILEGATE

Alatha moved towards Marsippius as he rose. He was naked in the firelight.

When she reached him she examined him closely. Then she took her finger and began to lightly trace some of the many imperfections in his flesh.

“You have been often wounded?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Why?” she questioned.

“Duty,” he replied wearily. “Duty and manhood.”

“It is manhood to be often wounded?”

“In part,” he said flatly. “Any man without scars is no man at all.”

She stared into his eyes. They were dark like hers. Deep Greek eyes, full of inquiry. Proud Roman eyes, full of purpose. But to him her eyes were inscrutable.

“Perhaps,” she said quietly, “a man should be more than his scars.”

He reached up and took her hand, the finger of which still lingered upon the long jagged white line of an old wound on his chest. The wound of a much younger man.

“Perhaps,” Marsippius replied, “you are very wise among your kind.”

He glanced at the fire. To him the flames in the hearth seemed to burn immensely hot, yet almost entirely silent. He wondered if the fuel of this world burned differently.

When he looked back at Alatha she was once again staring deeply into his eyes. But once again he could not read her mind. He started to move forward to kiss her and then thought better of it.

She did not. Seeing his intent she moved forward and kissed him warmly upon the lips.

Then she leaned back slightly and traced her finger gently across the lips she had just kissed.

“There seem to be no scars here,” she said.

“Illusion,” he said. “There are too many to count. They are nothing but scars. So they seem untouched. Yet…” he added, seemingly almost as an afterthought, “there is room still for a few more, if you so wish.”

She laughed quietly.

“What is wish but High Illusion?” she whispered. So she pressed against him and kissed him again.

 

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A scene from my novel The Basilegate.

LADY STONEHEART

THE STONEHEART

 
(I wrote this little ditty back when I first read the Red Wedding and the aftermath. But I never posted it. Until I recently got reminded of it.)

The Wedding bleeds Red
When the Butcher is nigh,
The Maiden then said
It all with a sigh,
“My husband is murdered
My future is dead,
Where nows grows Justice
Or vengeance instead?”
Yet chilled be the mother
Cold is the womb,
Killed be the feasting
Still is the room,
Down sinks the young man
Up the Old Thing,
A Lady of Black Doom
Whose Stoneheart shall ring…

 

STILL NO JOY – TUESDAY’S TALE

STILL NO JOY… BUT GETTING CLOSER

I know it’s very little to complain about, relatively speaking, but as a writer I just had the most frustrating night/morning of my life.

I went to bed about 11 to 11:30 last night, totally exhausted, and then rose again sometime not long after midnight. Ideas for my novel were running through my head, a lot of them, too many to just note on my bedside table notebook and so I went downstairs to my office and fired up my computer.

I then worked from shortly after midnight until 4 AM on nothing but the title of the novel series I am currently writing. I know exactly what each of the four books in the series will be called separately but I’ve gone through several incarnations of the title for the entire series and have never settled on anything that seems to really fit. My latest, or the Working Title for the series is The Other World or The Other Worlds, which fits to a degree, but isn’t entirely accurate or encompassing of what the books are truly about.

I ran through terms and titles after terms and title with still no joy and nothing availed. I felt like I had been awakened with a purpose but everything I thought of remained frustratingly just of reach and meaning.

At almost four o’clock I sat back in my office chair, cold, tired, and defeated. It was kinda like working a scientific experiment and everything I tried got close to a solution, but eventually all iterations failed.

Finally I looked to my left and saw my new copy of the Poetic Edda and thought to myself, of course, “I’ll use a title something like the Eddas,” suggestive, but not all encompassing or limited. Because for a very, very long time I’ve wanted to use a title like the Aeneid, or the Odyssey, which would be perfect if not for the fact that the books are not really only about one character, even Prester John. So I thought, maybe something like the Eddas?

So I began reading one of the Eddas (about Odin testing himself against the wisest giant) and a later one about Thor dressing as a Freya to recover his hammer by deception. But still nothing specific came to me.

 

At last I put the book away because I was too tired to continue, my brain simply wouldn’t function, but I was still too frustrated to give up. So I began asking God to help me title the series with the perfect title, something I’ve done before many times, but everything he seems to show me in language seems just beyond my perception. As if it is something beyond my own language.

At that point I fell into a kind of trance which was almost a blank mind, but not quite. It was like I was sleeping in darkness but all around me, in the background, I could hear voices whispering and saying things but I couldn’t quite make out the words or exactly what was being said. It was more like images trying to take on the form of words than words forming images. And they were all in the background and still hazy or shadowy. When I came out of that finally it was about 5:00 and I still had nothing specific except the suggestion that maybe I should invent the terms and title I wanted in another language, perhaps in Sidhelic or one of the other Eldeven languages.

Then I was struck by the idea that maybe there should be multiple titles for the series, each expressing a different aspect of what the books are about and each from a different viewpoint, but settle upon a single version for publication.

 

So I began developing this idea, one title each, each title being in a different language. Each title expressing a different aspect or focal point for the series. Such as a title concerning:
  1. The Main Character or Person – Jhonarlk, or Prester John
  2. The two (or 3 actually, though you never get to see the Third World, only hear of it) worlds involved, something along the line of the Other Worlds
  3. The Weirding Roads (central to the story and implying much, much bigger things than simply a Road between worlds)
  4. (The Fall of) the Vanished Eldevens – the penultimate event of the series and the seeming point of the entire tale, but not really the point of the tale
and 5. The War of…

 

Only one of these terms will be attached to the books but all of the terms will be spoken of in the books as being different histories covering the same events. And I’ll include little excerpts from these “parallel histories, “ (and I may speak briefly about their authors) each implying a different aspect or idea-set about what really happened and what the tale was really about but I’ll settle on one title for the series. Most of the histories will be in prose or in narrative form, as mine will be, but at least one will be in poetic form (probably the Lay of the Fall of the Vanished Eldevens – English translation, not the Eldeven term) and most of the poems in my series will reference that history as poetic extracts.

But I’ll not write full versions of those histories, only hint at them and include extracts from them and those versions will also have some alternate versions of the events in my book.

 

I’ve therefore, because of last night/this morning written a little author’s introduction to the series.

(The claimed author will not be me, but will be a man by the name of Wyrdlaef, a seemingly very minor character in the books who follows Larmaegeon to Constantinople and then to the Isle of Avalona and after the destruction of the Other World returns to our world and secretly writes his account of these events and hides his books in an Irish monetary which then eventually makes its way back to the Other World. )

The introduction is very rough so far but goes something like this:

“These books recount the history of the Great but Invisible Wars that took place on our world and upon the lost world of Iÿarlðma in the years of our Lord 797 to 835. At that time an ancient and noble but since vanished people fought alongside Man for the fate of the Earth and Heavens and the preservation of their own kingdoms. Great these people were but of what their true nature, like that of man, a created being, or like the very angels in flesh, or like some entirely other thing I still cannot tell, though I lived among them for a long time. Five accounts there were of these events, that I know of, but to my knowledge only my brief and poor and incomplete account remains. But if all were told as it truly happened then, as was said of our Lord, not all of the libraries of the world could contain those accounts for the splendour and wonder of the tale. These books then, my account of these fantastic and horrid events, I call the Fall of the Vanished Eldevens and they speak as well as I am able of the final encounter and friendship between Man and the Eldevens against many ancient evils and monstrosities I still do not understand. For it has been said, with good reason and as I witnessed with my own eyes, that the Eldevens were entirely destroyed by their enemies, wiped from the face of their world, with those small numbers of survivors who did escape driven into the wilds to be hunted to extinction by their remorseless enemies. But I have also heard, from both the seers of that strange people and from the prescient prophets of our own devout holy men that one day, far into an uncounted future, Man and the Sidhs of the Eldevens would once again meet as friends on the shores of yet other distant and undiscovered worlds, and that God would have mightily blessed and enlarged us both. Of that time, if it ever comes, if it is ever true, I shall see nothing, for I shall be long dead and buried. But I hope and pray that my account survives, and that perhaps this prophecy is real. For everyone would be the better for it…”

Wyrdlaef (the Wanderer)

PLOT BOARD FOR THE BASILEGATE – HIGHMOOT

I meant to put this up for Tuesday’s Tale, but work and other things interfered so I’m putting it up here today for Highmoot.

What you see below are the creation materials (or some of them anyway) for my four novels of the Other World, specifically the first in the series, The Basilegate.

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Actually I have 1200 to 1500 pages of research materials (mainly historical but also containing other materials) for all four novels already, most of it on CD or DVD and on computer files on my main work system. The rest is in hard files, collected notes (post it notes in the big white container that say BOOK I), in my notebooks and sketchbooks, outlines, timelines, etc.

I laid all of that out on Sunday and had my youngest daughter take pictures of it. This week I am taking all of that material, my chapter outlines for the first book (Basilegate), my notes, etc. and transferring it all to my Chapter and Plot Board. You might think of this as a Case Board by which I’ll run the plot and structure of my novels (in this case, the first in the series) as they progress. I already have about a hundred or so pages of the first novel finished, and various sections of all of the novels completed (as first drafts anyway), not counting the various scenes I have sketched out for each of them. My overall aim now is to collate and compile and arrange all of these scenes and what I already have written into a coherent and consecutive and consequential novel storyline, and thereby push on to finish the first novel while simultaneously arranging all of the other serial plots.

In this collection you will see all of my files, notes, the plot board itself (before being arranged), notebooks, research materials (on CD and DVD), some of the maps I’ve created, and the poems, songs, and music I’ve written and arranged to be included in the books/novels.

(You might ask, “Why does he have the AD&D and 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guides as apparent research materials?” Simple, not for the research itself, but because these two books are the best fictional writing guides I’ve ever read. Anywhere and on any fictional subject. If you are a writer and you do not have these writing guides then you really should, they are simply superb and extremely useful for all kinds of story arrangements, including plot arrangements.
You might also ask, “why the harmonica?” Well, because I often like to play the harmonica when I become stuck on some aspect of the story. It helps me think.)

Once I’ve gotten everything fully arranged and up on my Plot Board in proper Order I’ll take a new set of photographs and post those here too. I’ve been working on this novel series for years now, and as a general idea for a decade or more, but I’m finally in a position to push on and finish all four books now. I’m now satisfied that all of my major research and preparation work has been properly conducted and finished and I’m now ready to finish the novels without anymore large-scale or wholesale plot revision. Just minor tinkering at the edges left really, and then the finished writings.

Which is a big relief to me as I intend this novel series to be one of my Magnum Opae (one of my major Life Works – I literally cannot say Magnum Opera as that construction seems wholly silly and inappropriate to me in English).

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THE IRON GATE: PART ONE – BOOKENDS

This is part of a draft chapter from my book The Basilegate (from The Other World novels). Rather than explain or detail the background I’ll just let you read the story for yourself.

This chapter begins at the Iron Gate, winds through what today would be modern Russia and ends along the frontiers of the Byzantine Empire.

But this is only the first part of the chapter.

I will be serializing parts of this novel here, on Wyrdwend. For Bookends.

THE IRON GATE: PART ONE

He passed through the Iron Gate and none bothered to oppose him. Why should they? Death would come soon enough.

He had seen men watching him as he stumbled past them, had noticed them as they studied him, pointing, or whispering to themselves. He had seen the guards; skins burned dark by long life lived outdoors among the frontiers, their flesh the color of fine but sanded clay. He had seen them take notice of him, and realizing that he was alone, and doomed, had seen them finally turn away or gaze on at him in curiosity, but not in fear.

He staggered forward, impelled more by main force and force of will than by any desire to make any kind of camp, or achieve any end, other than the one he suspected lay not long before him. He was a mass of Northern muscle, and in a more carefree age, a mass of unconcern. But not this day. Not this hour.

He was a mass no more, except of wasted flesh, blood-clotted black and clinging to limbs still driven hard, but all a’quiver. His clothes were ragged, and perhaps more threadbare than he. His boots were tattered, consumed with holes by hard wear and patches from long poverty. His cloak was gone, it covered him no more. His helm was likewise long ago departed. His armor, what was left upon him, did creak and hung loose and much abused. His single weapon, his langsax, was chipped and knotted, bent at places, it’s sharpest tip now broken blunt. His skeg axe was missing, already lost a’field from many days before. His sword was shattered, having given its last service long before he himself had been likewise cleaved from himself, run to ground by desperation and long flight at night. His spear had been splintered along the banks of a river he had long traveled, but never heard named. And with it went his last hope of war when he found himself numbered among the doomed of his watch.

His shield had long lasted, but round at the edges it had been burst sharp through the center, till like the timbers of a battered prow it had been smashed to pieces, along with the spine of his arm. At that blow he had staggered, a man drunk with too much of the wine of close combat, and toppling like one of the frigid giants of old he had crashed from the cliff into the gelid waters below. And this, this fall from manly grace and the unnatural fire of a ferocious battle he could not have won, into the cold of the waters from the earth underneath, this had stilled his heart with shock and preserved his life with a flood of harsh ice. But only for a moment.

The cold had slowed his wounds, made blood freeze in his veins, made him sluggish, numbed the bright agony of his broken arm and shattered knee, had helped to staunch the long gash torn through his calf, had wearied his mind so that death approached slow and as bedraggled as he. The river had turned him, tossed him, oriented him away from his companions, and his brothers at arms. Yet deep in the recesses of his darkest thoughts he knew they were no more. Colder even than he. Once men, and large, and well made, trophies now to despoil.

He pulled himself from the waters, a mist of stinking furs and wounded flesh, injury the common lot that ran the entire life-course of his body. He was insensible of the pain of his catastrophe, or perhaps it is better to say that he was nothing but hurt. So much harm inflicted that he could no longer mark any particular pain, but rather pain seemed all he was, and all he wished to end. He tried to stand, collapsed, breathed hard and harshly, his mouth steam rising like that of a newborn calf, his stance no straighter or better. But he grimaced, and would not relent. He stood, and staggered, and felt something rend inside his leg each time his knee did make to support his weight. He shed his cloak as a serpent would his elder skin, in long and frustrating effort, it peeled away from him as if in regret and with the anchored weight of besoaked hide. He grunted. He stuttered. He could not speak, groans his only tongue. He rested, sought to scan the horizon with his eyes, the land having been made flat again by the time the river had disgorged him like a misspent meal. But his vision was blurred, dim, closed in and frozen. It extended no farther than his imagination, and his imaginings were all of darkness, and dread.

The sun made to collapse in the West, behind mountains he could sense in the distance, but not see with his eyes. The warmth of the day, what small comfort it had given, was already fading, his own heat wasted and stolen by the drench of his baptism by water and trial by ice. He made to the tall grass, then fell to the dry ground, rolling and coating himself in the dirt as he could, hoping it would absorb the wet and help dry his shaken frame. A frog scampered by and he caught it with his unruined arm, and tore off its head in his mouth. The cold blood was warmer than his and the skull of the frog he did gnash in his teeth as he chewed. The sound comforted him. He could still eat, and he could still kill. Therefore he could still live if the long night would let him. He found he was hungry, and that the gnaw in his guts did wear hard, and began to grow and inflame, and as it did so, so did his limbs. And the ache of his body was far worse than the hunger he felt. But as he ate he regained some lost measure of hope, and there settled into his mind a new will to press forward. He tore off one of the back legs of his catch, and then the other, eating slowly, watching the night fall. Then he pulled out his langsax from his battered belt, and used the blade to slice open the belly of the frog and he did, as he could stand it, smear the blood and the entrails of the thing onto the deep gash in his calf, and along the break in his arm, where the bone did protrude from the mottled blue skin. For he had been told in times past by the Rus that if he smeared the blood of a beast upon an open wound then the clot of gore would help seal his own cut, and help knit it together and scab it clean. He did not know if this were true or not, but he was full for the moment and it seemed foolish to him to waste the entrails by tossing them aside.

He slept uneasily for awhile within sound of the river, crackling sounds sometimes startling him, as if the ice sheets from further upstream were still washing down and clashing against each other to shatter like frosted glass. The dew came down and reminded him again of the damp that still covered him, causing him to shiver while shards of sweat and frozen drops did run along his back from time to time.
He was cold beyond reckoning, but with the rise of the moon he took once more to stand, and after several tries he regained his feet. He moved West, into the darkness, towards the mountains he had felt in the distance. Towards the land that the Rusmen had told him could not be conquered. Towards the land of the Roman, and the place they called, the City of God

THE BRAIDS OF STRANGULATION AND THE DEAD ROADS – HIGHMOOT

THE BRAIDS OF STRANGULATION AND THE DEAD ROADS

I meant to post this yesterday, for Highmoot, but I was out of the office.

Had an odd dream night before last about a set of murders that woke me up at about 4:00 this morning. In the dream there was a living, malevolent force which, and I kid you not, had twisted the hair of three girls into a weird, almost supernatural looking set of complex braids which I could tell from looking at had been “encoded” in some way. I only saw the partially disentangled braids after the murders had occurred at the various scenes though, so they were altered from their initial appearance. Apparently all three had visited the same salon where the braids had been twisted. Somehow, as the girls slept (all young, in their mid-twenties, and all lookers with no apparent other connections between them) their “braids” had become animated and strangled them in their sleep. All of them however had apparently awakened during the strangulation process. Except for one girl, the braids had slithered down her throat and slowly suffocated her.

Well, upon waking and thinking on it awhile (it was a very weird case and left me with an uncanny and disturbing feeling – you know, like when you’ve witnessed some evil at work and it takes awhile to dissipate) I realized I could use the same idea in one of my Other World novels. So I sketched out the possible scene and here is what I got:

The Samarl of Samarkand (who we would call Prester John) invites emissaries from all of the surrounding people and races to try and get them to ally together (for the first time in thousands of years) against a common enemy and threat he has foreseen. He even openly invites human representatives from the Byzantine empire who have accidentally ended up in his world.

While staying in the capital city and in the palace of the Samarl the ladies of the dignitaries are “attended to” out of courtesy – entertained, feted, etc. including being provided with free clothing for the upcoming counsel (which they are also invited to attend) and having their hair decorated and perfumed. Seven women are invited to be so attended, but one demurs, just out of a sort of uneasy instinct and because her people do not want to be beholding to, and are suspicious of, the Sidh, the Samarl’s folk. On the third night after their arrival all six women are murdered and dead, five by strangulation and the sixth by having been suffocated, all by their own magically woven braids (called Balial – which before this time are considered highly decorative, enchanting, and a sign of great prosperity and Good Fortune). I’ll save the how for both a political and Ilturgical (sorcerous) mystery later in the book.

The woman who refused to be attended survives, of course, but one of the women, the one who had been suffocated by swallowing her own braids, her husband was first killed by his wife’s braid. The murder incident causes a huge uproar in the capital, and a near Civil War breaks out, with some of the represented peoples either fleeing the city out of fear or outright and immediately refusing alliance, suspecting the Samarl or his supporters. A riot breaks out in part of the capital that takes another three days to put down.

This of course has almost exactly the effect that the conspirators behind the episode had envisioned.

But it gets worse. As those ambassadors who have either fled the city or decided against alliance return home they are misled by still more sorcery (Ilturgy) to take “Dead Roads or Dead Ways” (called Iaklits) as their pathways. The Iaklits are actually old and ancient roadways, long abandoned which no one but criminals now use, and even then rarely (because they are considered both useless and haunted), but to the emissaries they seem to be the normal and proper roadways, because of the sorcery and illusions lain upon them.

Upon coming to the still elaborately decorated but partially ruined Chavoeth (a series of ancient bridges that had once crossed mighty rivers) the parties momentarily hesitate and there is a debate. Confused because they don’t recognize the old bridges, but misled by the enchantments and not wanting to turn back they decide to cross. But as they reach the centers of the bridges the illusions fade and the bridges collapse killing many under the rubble but also drowning quite a few in the stinking morasses and fens and pits which the Chavoeth now span. A few survive from each party to tell the tale of both the strangulation murders at Samarkand and of the Iaklits and the traps at the bridges.

None of which has a happy effect upon the efforts of the Samarl (Prester John) to form a Grand Alliance against the approaching enemy.

But all of this happens due to the naiveté of the Samarl and the Sidh, and the other Eldevens (the related Peoples), to understand both what they truly face (they have bred war out of themselves through a long period of unchallenged peace and have become incredibly soft and unsuspecting) and the conspiracy within their own midst. Then rather than recognizing these potential dangers they begin fall to Civil War among themselves completely ignoring the real enemy, both the external one, and the one worming it’s infectious way through their own culture and government.

The Strangulation Braids and the collapsing Bridges and the “Dead Roads” therefore are not just events, they are also underlying metaphors for these facts and weaknesses.

I’m gonna write up a couple of drafts and samples containing basic work-outs of these scenes, maybe starting tonight, but for now I have a nest of wasps to kill and then I’m spending the day with the family.

Have a great day folks.

THE ALLUSIONS OF THE OTHER WORLD

Lately I have been compiling the literary allusions that will appear in my Other World novels and inserting those allusions at the appropriate places in the plot structure of MY books.

My novels will have allusions to many previous works of literature but rarely will I quote or mention by name or source the allusion. Rather I will take the allusionary reference from the original source of literature and rewrite it to fit the events of my own novels, yet, nevertheless, the allusions will be there encoded within the works if you know what to look for or if you are familiar with the passages from the original works.

I will include allusions to the following works, among others:

A Song of Ice and Fire, GRR Martin
Acts of the Apostles
Aeschylus (various plays)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Beowulf
Book of the Fallen
Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis
Elric of Melnibone, Michael Moorcock
Harry Potter, JK Rowling
Icelandic Sagas
Jonathan Strnage and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Kalevala
Le Morte De Arthur, Tennyson
Lyonesse, Jack Vance
Oz Books, Frank Baum
Siegfried
Shakespeare: Henry the IVth, and MacBeth
The Gospels
The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Song of Roland
The Torah
The White Stag
Thomas Covenant Books, Stephen R Donaldson

 

As an example of how I intend to insert such allusions into my own novels here are two illustrations of my process of my process:

The Aenied, Virgil

Original Line: “Sleep! Sweet gift of the gods… It was the time when the first sleep invades languid mortals, and steals upon them, by the gift of the gods, most sweet.”

My Line: “And where will you go now?”

“I would lay down upon the ground and go to my death if I could, but failing that I would go to my dreams.”

“To your dreams? And who will you meet there?”

“I do not know, but this is too much and I must sleep. For I am weary and if God himself finds me in my dreams may he finally gift me with forgetfulness of all I have seen and done. That alone would be sweet and meet to me now.”

The Worm Ouroboros, Eddison

Original Line: “There’s musk and amber in thy speech,” said Juss. “I must have more of it. What mean they to do?”

My Line: “Musk scents your voice with something strong and dank, but amber seals and occludes your real meaning. Speak clearly to me now or I will slice open the rank resin of your speech with my keenest hunting knife and peer into your throat to smell for myself your true intent.”

A MAN FIT FOR LIVING

A MAN FIT FOR LIVING

A man fit for living and bound to no thing
Of Grasslands and Dark Earth and Bright Skies he sings
The High Hawks in Heaven his oracles are
The Moon is his Mistress, his Companions the Stars
His axe on his shoulder, hammer in hand
He cuts down the dead things and builds up the land
Plowed earth and clear fields, rivers that teem
Hills built by his hands to climb as he sings
A man fit for living, unbound and set free
Grown from the Good Earth, as tall as the trees,
The beasts of the wild fields all flock to his call
He waters and feeds them, none bound to his thrall
The sun fixed at High Noon, the air full and fresh
He wanders the forests, warm in his flesh
He eats when he hungers, he drinks when he thirsts
Nothing he covets, in nothing finds dearth
Would that all Men in just manner could bring
Forth such a Man Fit for Living, in himself everything

 

Today, when Sam (my Great Dane) and I (and Erika, one of my cats followed us) went for our morning walk in the woods the above lines came to me. I ran it through my head as a song, singing it to myself in order to memorize it until I could get back to the house. I’ll finished it later today, after munch

I may let it stand alone, put in in my new book of poetry, or use this in one of my novels, like The Caerkara. Right now I’m leaning towards putting it in the Caerkara.

HORSE MIGHTY FOR HARM

From the Worm Ouroboros, by E. R. Eddison, which I have recently been re-reading. I love that book and it is, no doubt, one of the greatest books of fantasy/myth ever written. Pure poetry in prose, and often, outright song:

She took the heavy volume with its faded green cover, and read: “He went out on
the night of the Lord’s day, when nine weeks were still to winter; he heard a great
crash, so that he thought both heaven and earth shook. Then he looked into the
west airt, and he thought he saw hereabouts a ring of fiery hue, and within the ring
a man on a gray horse. He passed quickly by him, and rode hard. He had a flaming
firebrand in his hand, and he rode so close to him that he could see him plainly. He
was black as pitch, and he sung this song with a mighty voice–

Here I ride swift steed,
His flank flecked with rime,
Rain from his mane drips,
Horse mighty for harm;
Flames flare at each end,
Gall glows in the midst,
So fares it with Flosi’s redes
As this flaming brand flies;
And so fares it with Flosi’s redes
As this flaming brand flies.

“Then he thought he hurled the firebrand east towards the fells before him, and
such a blaze of fire leapt up to meet it that he could not see the fells for the blaze. It
seemed as though that man rode east among the flames and vanished there…”

THE DAUFIN AND THE EGG?

In my Other World novels the Sidhs use a code word (or the Samarl and his allies do in any case) to describe a being they believe to have existed for a very long period of time using a most unusual method of life extension. (Or possibly it periodically dies and is reborn again.) The Samarl and his allies believe this being to be evil and an enemy.

The word used to describe this being among themselves (so no one else will understand who they are really talking about) is Daufin. The Daufin is typically also identified or represented by a code symbol, as well as a drawing of a mythical beast (which actually exists and is controlled by the code-named Daufin, though few believe it actually exists anymore), and by a code phrase.

The term Daufin is not to be confused with the French term Dauphin though I readily admit that I took the term directly from the French term. And yes, for those who know me well you must be thinking, “French?” As you know I have little interest in modern things French, but in Ancient things and Medieval things French (the Franks for instance, and Charlemagne, and the ancient Romances, and the Gauls) I have great interest.

And I have great interest in the Dauphin, both the one denoting the Medieval prince and the more ancient term I suspect it is derived from, and what that implied. The Dauphin has always fascinated me though I rarely mention it.

In any case before I insinuate the conspiracy surrounding the Samarl and the Daufin too deeply in my novel I have been trying variants on the term, as I actually very much adore the term Dauphin and think it perfect though being French, even if it is early French, it is not linguistically suited to the Sidhs and the other Eldeven peoples of the novels. With that in mind here are a number of variants upon the term Daufin which I might use. If you have a favorite variant or you wish to suggest one of your own that strikes you as particularly pleasing then please leave a comment and let me know. If you want to explain why I’ll be happy to know that as well.

Variants on the term Daufin/Dauphin:

Daughfin

Dolfign/Dalfign

Dalphin

Dahlfin

Dalphang

Dolfang

Daufang (this sounds a bit too Oreintal to me, but given the origins of the Daufin it might serve well)

 

Below is the code phrase (in verse) used to describe the Daufin, and it seems a sort of song, and it is, but it is also a set of codes by which the speaker identifies what he knows about the Daufin. As more is learned more verses are added. It is obviously translated into English from the original Eldeven:

“Arose the Daufin from the seas, as deep and dark as Tântalos
Whose ruin ran the riven world three times round the sunken hosts,
What is this thing, whence did it rise, who sired it or set it loose?
How many times to be reborn, how many mortals yet seduce?
A secret thing crawls in the Egg, the Sun has never seen its face  
When will it hatch next in the world, all other things to then erase?”   

 

The seeming symbol for the Daufin is a mythical beast,  but the symbol for the real Daufin is of a multi-headed sea-serpent hatching from a giant egg along the flooded beach of a sinking island.

 

THE CAREER

Yesterday I spent most of the day writing client reports, preparing presentation materials for a speech, creating new documents for my Business, doing research and so forth.

Whereas I often greatly enjoy my business there are also times I grow tired of it and so today, after lunch, I will spend the rest of the day plotting out the last two novels in my fantasy/Myth series The Other World, drawing maps, and creating materials for by books.

I look forward to this with a great deal of enjoyment.

There are also times I greatly enjoy my Career.

THE ENTITLED TRIBUTARY TALES

These two posts, The Tributary Tales, and Conan, Baba Yaga, and Tôl Karuţha will explain what I mean by the Tributary Tales.

Suffice it to say that over the holidays (in my spare time between Thanksgiving and Christmas)  I made basic, and sometimes quite complicated, plot and character sketches of the Tributary Tales I wish to write.

Below is the new and expanded list of the Tributary Tales I will write and the titles for each story. I’ll post plot and character sketches and the stories themselves as I write them. I’ve made good progress on Tôl Karuţha and on My Battered Heart already, with the second being a graphic novel script, not a short story. The Godzilla story, Rising Son, will actually be a film script not a short story. But most all of the others will be short stories or short novellas.

I will work on these stories and scripts in my spare time, they will not interfere with my business, novel, or non-fiction work.

So, here is my list of entitled Tributary Tales:

THE TRIBUTARY TALES

Tales of the Fictional (or partially fictional) and Mythical Characters that had the most influence on me growing up or that in later life most appealed to me

AeneasThe Flight from Knossos
BatmanMy Battered Heart
BeowulfThe Good King Comes But Once
Cole and HitchThe Ravine Near Ridgewater
ConanThe Vengeance of Tôl Karuţha
DaredevilBlack and Blood Red
Doc SavageSavage Is as Savage Does
GalahadGalahad and the Golden Stag
GodzillaRising Son: The Eternal Ocean is my Womb
HephaestusThe Forging of the Titan’s Chain
Horatio HornblowerThe Jib’s Complaint
Jack AubreyThe American Problem
John CarterThe City Never Seen
John GaltFree is a Four Letter Word
Kirk and Spock (Star Trek original series) – The Battleship Remission
Lone RangerThe Cold Wind at Sunrise

Lovecraftian  – The Secret Grave of Harrow Hill

Merlin The Bones of Old Stone
Nathaniel Bumppo (Hawkeye) and ChingachgookBlood Feather
OrpheusNo Music May Soothe, or perhaps, Tears of Iron
ParsifalThe Sorcerer’s Swan
Philip MarloweThe Crooked Dane
Robin the HoodThe Fletcher and the Fulmen
RolandThe Menhir and the Moor
Sherlock HolmesThe Case of the 12 Septembers
SiegfriedThe Rhine-Wine (of the Black Elf)
Solomon KaneWith Evil Intent
SpenserHigh Roll Her
Taliesin (Taliesin Ben Beirdd) – Sweetly Sang yet Rarely Ventured
TarzanThe Ruins of Khumbar and the Slave Girl
Túrin TarambarThe Piercing of Melkor’s Doom

TOME AND TOMB

I’ve got some really good and interesting stuff up on my Gaming Blog today, including a Greek animated reproduction of the Tomb at Amphipolis.

Tome and Tomb

EĻDEVÅLAËRAŅE – ĦLO’SĶIEŊL

Tome and Tomb

III. Being a Small Section of the Lay of the Myth of the Eldevens – Below is to be found a small section of one of the most ancient versions of the Lay of the Eldeven.

EĻDEVÅLAËRAŅE
THE LAY OF THE ELDEVEN

ĦLO’SĶIEŊL
Before All

Being the Account of the Arrival and of the Old World

Before all there was another Iÿarlðma (another world, another Ghanae). In those days many ancient and wondrous things visited Iÿarlðma from elsewhere, wandering this world and inhabiting it for brief seasons, yet never long lingering. The world in those days was broad, and deep, and untamed, filled with many archaic and dangerous creatures full of strange life. Many things did creep and crawl and did seek out the untrodden secrets of hidden recess which are now long buried beneath the deep mounds of great age. But none with mind and soul, as we think…

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MY EARLY WEEKEND

MY (painfully) EARLY WEEKEND

I am reading a book called Story Physics by Larry Brooks which I am not only finding immensely enjoyable, but enormously beneficial and useful. I’ll discuss that in detail later.

I have also been reading my new Dungeon Master’s Guide, in great detail, page by page, and quite slowly. Again, I’ll discuss that later.

At the library yesterday I got several new books to read: two new Spook’s Apprentice (Last Apprentice) books, The Fury of the Seventh Son, and A New Darkness.

(A New Darkness is supposedly about a female Spook named Jenny – I’m looking forward to reading about a Spook who is a chick, wondering how she will deal with various evil creatures, especially the physically powerful ones. For those who don’t know, these books are written by Joseph Delaney and are my very favorite set of modern children’s books short of the Harry Potter books. Mainly because Delaney’s books are so gritty and down to Earth and even realistic given the fictional subject matter. And to tell you the truth, if I lived in such a world, I’d be a Spook.)

I also got a book entitled Dangerous Women, edited by GRR Martin and Gardner Dozois, and about, you guessed it, dangerous women. I got it primarily because it has a novella by Martin on the death of King Viserys Targaryen, the end of the dragons (in Westeros), and the resulting civil war which led up to the Game of Thrones. I often find the events prior to the Game of Thrones books (such as the Dunk and Egg stories) to be far more interesting than the GOT books. However, it looks as if the book might contain some other interesting fiction on dangerous women as well.

Finally, as far as fiction goes, I got the science fiction novel, The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter Hamilton. I know nothing of it as of yet. However, having recently read Great North Road (also by Hamilton, and which I thought had some very solid police and detective work in it, as well as some fantastically useful futuristic/mundane invention ideas), and the Dark Between the Stars (by Anderson) I am trying to read more modern sci-fi writers. I also got a new 52 Green Lantern Corp graphic novel.

For research materials I got a new lecture series, Singers and Tales (about the history of oral tradition poets and storytellers, such as scops, bards, skalds, etc.) by Mike Drout. Drout is my very favorite lecturer on languages, literature, Anglo-Saxon, poetry, Tolkien, and English.

I got some great books on Venture Capital and Capitalism, a book on career advancement called Trajectory (looks quite useful) and I am almost finished with a book on business and career by George Anders titled, The Rare Find. I have added The Rare Find to my own personal business and non-fiction libraries.

Yesterday I also went to see the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, and I enjoyed it but I will post on that later, not right now.

I plan to post on some of these subjects in detail but for this morning I have a very painful neck and back injury which is also very debilitating. I have had my neck and back injury since Wednesday but it has become progressively worse over the past few days. Ever since I broke my back about every six months or so, especially as the Winter weather turns cold and wet, I will suffer such an injury for about a week or so.

It has taken most all of the natural pain endurance I have to type this post and eat breakfast. So, after I finish breakfast and take a pain killer I may very well spend the rest of the day in bed.

Have a great weekend folks. And a pain-free one.

KILLING COPPERHEAD

This is a draft copy (an advanced draft, third edit) of part of a short story I wrote to accompany my novels, The Other World.

Stories such as this will not appear in my novels but will appear in a  separate set of short story works to accompany or supplement my novels.

In the story the Knight Garend is summoned to a chieftain of the Laėrehl (Lorahn) to discuss the sudden appearance of a creature we would call a dragon, and that the Laėrehl call Nemaljeyhk, or “Copperhead.”

The Laėrehl have never before encountered such a creature; do not know it, or its motives. But having heard of the Knight and his reputation they summon him in to consult upon the creature, and if need be, make a decision upon what to do.

Following the summons the Knight accompanies his escort to the hall of the Laėrehl.

_____________________________________________________

Skłýda-Nemaljeyhk

“Killing Copperhead”

Garend stood before the Konnacht. The rain was almost blinding; cold, bitter, and sharp. The mounts stamped and snorted. Steam rose into the air and the clouds hung thick upon the ground. Neither moved, but then the Konnacht motioned for the foreign man to mount and follow. And so Garend did.
They rode in silence for some unmeasured distance; time being a different affair in the land where diverse worlds do meet at odds. Garend’s escort sat atop his mount as if he had been carved from stone erect. His mount seemed to trudge with heavy effort, but did not slouch or dip to ground with weight of mud or storm.

Garend, by contrast, a man hardened and yet hale through many long campaigns ‘gainst restless foes did nevertheless sink low in upon his horse’s back, bent against the wind and rain, which sometimes drove in sheets, and sometimes drizzled down like mist falling from a boiling pot. But there was no heat in this storm, only an unremitting wash of toil.

Garend’s steed, too, fought hard to slog forwards on, each hoof deep buried by each new plod. The horse seemed to breathe with effort, snorting out each fresh exhalation as if trying to blow away the suspended vapor that lingered on the path. Yet the rain kept on, and where the overhang of huge trees gave shelter, still the mist hung motionless in the air.

By late afternoon the road seemed to widen, formed more solid, and then did part. In its place they came into a clearing, bordered on every side by thick groves of trees, some beautiful, open, tall, and proud, some smaller, gnarled, and thick with branch. The dell upon which they now traversed did seem worked by art, each grimed plod of the mounts upon the seeping earth seemed to plow up dark and comely soils, black and yet speckled with micaled bits of silver and gold. And atop the soil there sat, as if a taělőynd-bird could perch upon a leaf, a shoot of tall and blue-green grass, which when crushed by stride did give off such a fine and perfumed, pungent smell that the beast seemed newly heartened, even above the cold and rain.

The open land was encircled complete by an almost arcane wood and other wilder growth, and was not wide, easily crossed from end to end. But in the center rose a timbered hall, not long completed, so that one could see the joints and new work outstanding from the new formed frame. It was well made, seemly in her draft, pleasing to the eye, and hardily stout of build. The wood was alternating dark and bright, so that sections seemed to glow, and others seemed to sheen with shadow. To the drowned and heavy eye of the enquested man it seemed both to forbid approach, and to invite advance.

Garend paused his mount, and looked askance to his escort, who dismounted and seemed to peer into the hall as if he could gaze through the walls.

“They wait upon us,” the Konnacht said, his voice bereft of any hint of what that truly meant.
Garend turned to look full upon him, but he did not change his mark or measure, but merely remounted smooth and effortlessly. Then they both moved forwards again until they had come near unto the rain-polished black and argent flagstones that paved the path that led to the hall.

There they both dismounted and walked across the flagstone way that led to the doors of bright and milky wood that barred the entrance to within. Garend made to knock at the threshold, but the Konnacht caught his hand in his own to still him. Instead he took a horn, burnished, and trimmed in ashen silver from an unnoticed chain that hung nearby. He blew a note with lingered measure and the doors swung open, as if by some unseen impulse, and the inward firelight and illumined glow did bathe them both with rain-reflected lustre.

Inside a sort of subtle golden casting made the lambence of the place seem worked all by crafted art that seemed unreal to human eye. The fires did burn natural and appeared hot as if true with twisting flame, but the gleam of the light was suffused like the dreaming illuminations dreamt by the blind. The inner workings were clear, and the fittings all trim, the furnishings bright and the walls shaped and painted like wonders. But wherever the folk of the Konnacht sat or stood their shadows seemed hard, and yet did tremble like enfeebled ghosts. And a sort of pall seemed to grow as Garend espied each new thing which seemed to dampen all the gathered glow as if an unfocused dimness ran among the hall that did not blacken, but did oppress with gloom. Garend could not though see any other darkness, and the open, roomless hall seemed as shadowless as the full summer sun at noon.

The Konnacht walked forwards and the soft light seemed to absorb and diffuse him as he strode. Garend made to match him in stride and yet the glow of the space seemed unaccustomed to his manner, and so did seem to stick to his moon painted skin and sheen him like a foreign sweat. They continued on until they came near the far wall, where on the left side of the tapestry covered hall they approached a large and well-made chair of fire-hardened wood, decorated by subtle craft, covered in glyphs and embellished with delicate wares of gem and jewel.

A chief sat upon the seat, his manner brooding, his face fixed and searching.

“Man among us, do you know why you are here? Are you apprised of the nature of your summons?” asked the chief in his chair.

“I am,” replied Garend, without further remark by word or gesture.

“Will you then what is of you best most required?” And the chieftain did stare, and his eyes were fixed and aglow upon the hosted man.

“I will if I may, if such things lay in my power.”

“Do you doubt your arms?” said the chieftain of his kind in a keen, unbending voice.

“I do not, though I have never tested them against such a foe.”

“Do you doubt your will to do this thing?”

“Nay, I doubt not my will, if by that you mean will I falter at the start.”

The chieftain then sat silent, as if turning in his mind some other inquiry of heart he wished to test. But then his brow did knot with reconsideration, and he pursued a different path.

“What then?”

Garend stood silent, uncertain how to answer him. At length though he made reply.

“I know not. I have never done such a thing. I doubt not my arms, if strength of arms can true prevail. I doubt not my will, for my will never fails once turned with real and constant force upon my end… I… perhaps, I doubt my desire. I cannot say more than this for being inexperienced in such affairs, I can say only, in sooth, I doubt, but not enough to turn away.”

The hall was still, but restless in her shadowless gloom. And the chieftain’s eyes did pale like embers fading at the dawn of day.

“So be it.” Then the one upon the throne rose and made a signal for all of the others to gather firm and the doors of the great hall did close and they all made unfastened feast, as if feasts were made of whispered haunts. But Garend watched them all while they ate at uneasy leisure, and he held his tongue unless spoken to, and they likewise held to their own counsel until such time as it was meet. So they feasted, but there was little merriment, and all was quiet among them til they came to contend.

After all of their folk had feasted seven among them took up their jireans with blood-red strings and did play as was their wont, and the music was high and well-made, and yet somber and adrift. And the most skilled among them took from above one of the great hearth-fires the Yolian Harp and hooked it across his wide but slender shoulders and plucked at the shair strings as if he mourned with his hands some unspoken loss.

Then four of their women-folk, after their kind, made chorus, each voice octaved in turn of lead or lament as accord and concord makes true among them. Their song seemed to linger, and then to torse, and turn, running away from itself, and then rejoining in peculiar ways until Garend realized that subtly, almost without notice, they had blended one with another, so that all made the same music, and it was the song of the “Counselor’s Guest.”

‘Asair befirthun ςëlonquar ja-sholestua yaré
Adair nosayth yá-mairstin kiħl,
Megíra lamaŗnosaratĥ
Keikara cönayronǽ laiskõo tiu-khôona nue guare,
In samask yue lahmyst —
Degoli né mae,
Inė samist jyu jihnask
Degolae nìe sae,
Aplu lee-ëfar
Ŷist fareign a’-soon?
Ja-kamos layr ǽblę
Tyrm nahkü-estūhn?

And Garend thought it strange and foreboding that they made that lay, for he had come to tell them what he feared they were least willing to hear.

Then the chief among them, the one of the chair, stood, and all instruments were retired, and the hall fell silent, and there was no sound, and Garend thought that he alone still breathed.

“My people, we come to you today to hear this stranger’s voice, and give weight to his counsel. For he is familiar, after a fashion, with the nature of our concerns. So is as our custom, we will grant him right to speak both first, and last, and we will give credence to his view upon this matter. No matter what he says.” The people listened to their chief and bowed their heads as one in brief acknowledgement of what he spoke. Then the chief turned and spoke to Garend. “Man among us, you are famous even here as being just, and true, and brave. And if the accounts about you are as honest as your mien then we must measure whatever you say here with some solemnity, even if we do so against our own first intentions and against our own fullest wishes… Speak then. And say all that you will, as freely as you would. I am Tairåyrn, chief in this hall, and great of my Ghan.”

“It does not matter how wise or noble in nature you think him. He is still wild, and untamed in nature. I have encountered his kind before in the swamps of fens of my native homeland. They are bred within themselves to kill, and being as they are they are all the less likely to be as you preconceive them. In my lands they are not at home, but being strangers they wander aimless seeking whom they may devour. But I do not conceive that this beast is native or well-disposed to any land, for I think it rather a thing of probable corruption, that whatever it was before it is now by working of things unknown to me a vast and wholly untamed terror. It is Korreupt, and all korreupt are fiercesome, and full of grief.” Then Garend paused as he spoke as if he wished to gather to himself a hoard of potent words by which to well-adorn his speech and thereby truly express the dour visions in his in-most mind.

“The danger of this beast lies not in his thoughts, but in his heart. For he will grind your bones between his jaws, and he will rend your flesh within the thorny and hot cauldron of his dark mawl. He will drink your life’s blood as water and sup marrow from the barrow of bones he has broken among your people. And then, only then, though you may never chance to utter any voice to the despair of your fate, then in your own consideration of your self will you say, ‘The Man was right, and now I and all my folk am murdered because of the pride of our preconceptions.’” And a murmur of shock and discontent ran through the assembly, for the kin of the Laėrehl only speak with due decorum and in a careful and circumspect manner before strangers in their midst, and they were disturbed that anyone would speak to them with such brutal force, and with such rough and unworked plainness. But still others said to themselves, “Can this be actually true, and does sooth proceed for uncouth tongue?”

Then Wyndfuil stepped forward and spoke clearly and true for all his people to hear, for he was unmoved by Garend’s speech, and sought to turn his people back upon their accustomed way. “I do not countenance you Garend upon this matter. For you are merely a thing of war, a man used to sword and battle and conflict. But this creature is not native to your world, as you yourself have thus admitted. You also speak firmly of the Korreupt. But what can you really know of this matter? They are a thing long studied among us, and we know them and their kind well. We know their ways, and his, better than you and we are untroubled. You are strong in arms and dark of word, but you are no prophet fit to pronounce our doom.” And Wyndfuil smiled as he so spake, as if to emphasize the forthright nature of his words, and the people took new heart in their determined course, reassured that what they planned was sure and true. For Wyndfuil was a hunter without peer, and a mighty runner, swift, yet also far moving, and he feared none might catch him in his haste. Among his people his name had become ripe with fame, and he was known as a leader among his people. So he likewise feared no counsel contrary to his aims, and he was sure his words had run as true as he in flight. And so it seemed indeed to be among them that for a long time silence fell like a grey and troubled shroud within the hall while all who were within did well consider both argued sides in quiet thought.

Then Garend answered Wyndfuil, “A prophet, no, you surely speak a’right. I am not for the future; I am man of this day. Yet Gott in Himmel you foolish folk, I have eyes with which to see the doom that does now slither upon you from the ancient ways and in the form of the new-born thing.

You say I am but ignorant of this beast, and of all the other Korreupt, whom you know well. That you have studied such as these, and being well-pleased in your own knowledge of what you have discovered you are confident in both your own strength and in the preparations you have devised form what you know.

Perhaps in this you speak true enough. I have not long sat to watch these creatures. I have studied or pondered on them long. I do not know their most secret and peculiar habits, in this I fully admit to you that your mastery overtakes my own.

Yet what I know is this. I have seen the sorrow made and disgorged by this kind of thing upon all those whom it will make havoc. I have seen the ravage, the wreck, and the rapine. I have seen many folk all torn and bloodied, animals corpsed, consumed, and drained. Have seen the ruin it tends to visit upon all but the most well-defended of homes. I have seen hunters hunted and soldiers scalded, women crushed and children plundered, their parent’s dead and left for worms. You speak true Wyndfuil; I do not know these great beasts in their inmost hearts. And I do not care. But I know what they do. I have studied the remains of their own surest actions. You will be no different when it turns its eye upon you. It will come, and it will come hard and mighty. It will come as confident in its own nature as you are in yours. And it brings you death in fire and sorrow. So, if you are as wise as reputation makes warrant, then think on these things, for wisdom makes a better weapon against doom than the sharpest of arms.” Then Garend broke off and bowed to the people.

“Nevertheless I have sworn my word. I will do what I can to help you in this quest. And when you are all dead, I will bury your scant remains and weep for your great pride. And then I will take up my spear, and my helm and my sword, and I will hunt, and I will kill the Copperhead, the one you call Nemaljeyhk, or he me, and so in either case our tale will go forever unsung. For if he kill me too, then none will ever know what we did, or what we attempted. And if I kill him at the last then what shall it matter? For you will be utterly gone from this world, and to whom will I sing the dirge of your passing?” All again fell silent and many did lean forwards, it seemed, to see if he might speak again. So he did, but only once more.

“Yet still, you may choose wisdom.”

Then Garend did turn from the people and walked from the hall. Having ended his counsel he dismissed further claims. And the night was black, and the wind did moan. For he knew what they would decide.

THE MYTH OF THE WRITER, AND THE FANTASY THEREOF

Last night a friend and I were having a discussion regarding Myth and Fantasy on his Facebook page. Since this is a subject I have much studied and long thought about I decided I would post my reply to his discussion on this page. So here is my summation of some of the more salient differences, and some of the basic similarities, between Fantasy and Myth.
This is in the form of my Facebook page response, of course, but later I will create an essay out of this and related material I have written in the past on the same subjects.

 

SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES BETWEEN FANTASY AND MYTH

To me it mostly depends on if you’re writing Myth or Fantasy.

Myth, such as Tolkien wrote is filled with footnotes and endnotes and much of Tolkien’s myth refers directly to real world history or is a thinly veiled modification of it, just as Classical myth is, e.g.. Homer and Virgil.

The Black Gate is a modification of the Iron Gate of the Byzantines, Rohan was a modification of a real place and people, etc..

If it is fantasy it might also contain heavy historical elements, but they are greatly modified and changed significantly. In that kind of fantasy (swords and sorcery fantasy) magic is more important than myth, the supernatural more important than technology or realism, story more important than history, and character more important than culture (typically).

Tolkien for instance created very realistic cultures and landscapes that were well developed enough to imagine living in, or wanting to live in. Howard, with Conan (fantasy), created heavily modified versions of semi-realistic, but mostly underdeveloped proto-human cultures that few if any would really want to love in. Same with Moorcock (another fantasy writer). A lot of underlying history and myth in both Howard and Moorcock, no real admirable cultures or worlds to live in. No real higher mythic and spiritual content, a lot more grunt-work and gritty adventure and survival.

I follow that same general pattern. I’m writing a mythic series (The Other World) which is a mix of Byzantine realism and the mythos of Prester John. It is also a retelling of the Fall of Constantinople and the founding of America in mythic form. It has a lot of “high, mythic, poetic, and spiritual content.”
I am writing another series of what I call magic and miracles fantasy which is based on what we now know of pre-historic and proto-human cultures, but the emphasis is not on sweeping myths or great cultures, but on personal adventure, and individual supernatural and magical experience.

(And this is paradoxically why poetry and song so rarely appear in pure fantasy, and when it does, it is almost always of very inferior quality – but in myth really good song and poetry is a primary and necessary component – Beowulf and the Iliad are poetic, in Conan real poetry and song are absent. Real Myth is poetic, by nature. Fantasy is prosaic, comparatively speaking.)

In myth magic is tightly controlled and there is little of it, especially overtly. Magic is underground and few can master it. Magic is an elite force employed by an elite few. In fantasy it is usually ubiquitous yet extremely dangerous and likely always out of control, or completely uncontrolled. In fantasy the elite think they can master magic but it almost always it overmasters them. In myth they often can master magic, be it Gandalf or Wotan, though it always has a price for the greedy and unwise. (Such as Fafnir.)

On the other hand, Conan being a fantasy character and a barbarian and a primal man instinctively knows this about his world, he lives in a supernatural and fantastical environment (not a mythic one) , well above his personal pay-grade. The way to equalize magic is not to make it rare and tightly controlled, like in myth, but to avoid it altogether, or destroy it if possible. In myth magic is really a spiritual force, good or bad, and not easily understood or mastered. In fantasy magic is not a spiritual force, but supernatural nitro-glycerin.)

In myth there are also obviously miraculous and apparently fated events. In fantasy fate is what a man makes of himself.

And to me therein lies another of the real differences. In myth, although the characters are very important, the myth is Fundamental. Obviously much bigger things than the individual are at Work.

The myth is what is really being discussed; the characters are archetypes in action.

In fantasy the cultures and the environment are the archetypes, it is the characters being discussed. The individual is what is at Work. The person is in reaction, struggling to bring things under his own control, and usually failing.

In my second series, the fantasy series, the books are about the adventures of Solimar, who is renamed by his god and given a mission to fulfill in the world. So he roams the world seeking to fulfill his mission and understand his supernatural origins, both at birth, and at “rebirth and renaming.”
Solimar, who begins as Soar (So-ar), is really a retelling of the stories of Jacov and of Abram (Solimar’s god, Olim, or Holim, inserts his own name in the middle of Soar’s name to remake him into his representative in the world) in a vaguely Conan like form. Though Solimar is not a warrior but more of a spy, and a Jack of all Trades adventurer, who has become his god’s semi-reluctant and covert Agent.

Now all of that being said I still think there is plenty of room in the middle. As a matter of fact GRR Martin and his series is exactly that. Half-mythic realism, half-magical fantasy. Half Westeros mythos (and Real World history – Dunk and Egg), and half Dragon-Egg/White Walker fantasy. And you can clearly see how the two separate worlds impinge upon and overlap one another, and you can also clearly see how they are separated by, “A Wall.” (In Tolkien the wall of separation was the frontier of Mordor.)

So if you ask me you can lean towards the ends of the bell curve, or, if you wish, seek the top and the middle.

Plenty of room to roam landscapes in all directions if you so wish.

 

 

THE CHILD IS THE FATHER OF THE MAN

Being both a writer and a man who homeschooled my own children I found this article fascinating, informative, and useful. Maybe you will too.

The education of a best-selling teenage author

November 10

 

When Christopher Paolini was 15 years old, he started writing a novel that eventually was titled “Eragon,” the first in a four-book series that became known as the “Inheritance Cycle.” He spent two years writing and then rewriting the story and a third year traveling around the country promoting the self-published book before an established author, Carl Hiaasen, read it and had it published by Alfred A. Knopf.  How did he manage to do all this and get an education too? In the following post, his mother, Talita Paolini, explains. Talita Paolini trained and worked as a Montessori preschool teacher. She and her husband, Kenneth, homeschooled their two children. Many parents asked Talita for advice, so she recorded the Paolini Method in a series of articles and books. You can read about it here. She currently resides with her husband and children in Paradise Valley, Montana. On her website, the 30-year-old Christopher Paaolini is quoted as saying:

“People often ask how I was able to write Eragon at the age of fifteen. Well, the credit has to go to my parents, and specifically my mom, who is a trained teacher. She started to educate my sister and me when we were very young, first with games and other fun projects and later with more formal lessons. Without her system of instruction, none of our professional success would have been possible. I was incredibly fortunate to have been educated with these methods, and I firmly believe that children everywhere can benefit from them.”

 

By Talita Paolini

When my son, Christopher, was born, I wondered who he was and who he would become. I had no inkling that he would someday be listed in the Guinness World Records as the youngest author of a bestselling book series. At that time, I just marveled at this little human who had joined our family and felt a sense of responsibility at the task before me: to introduce him to the world.

My husband, Kenneth, and I talked to Christopher, read books to him, and sang to him. We carried him in a backpack, so he could watch what we were doing. He expressed great interest in watching me make dinner, peering over my shoulder as I worked, and he loved observing the world on hikes, while perched high on Kenneth’s back. And when he could walk and talk, wow! He explored the world using all his senses and filled our ears with endless questions and commentary. Our daughter Angela was born not quite two years later, and she developed along the same path. She would become a writer as well.

I had been trained as a Montessori preschool teacher. Dr. Montessori’s philosophy emphasizes the cultivation of children’s innate desire to learn using specially prepared materials and freedom of movement, so it was natural for me to offer my children hands-on activities. Not having the resources to buy expensive classroom materials, I looked for ways to teach them using common household items. In addition, I observed my children closely and then found ways to help them learn through art, games, music, and activities of daily life. In town, we counted cars and trees. We talked about the seasons and where we lived on planet Earth. My children enjoyed doing art projects and playing games with the letters of the alphabet, tracing the letters in preparation for writing, and then pointed out those letters around the house and in town. Each week we visited the library and returned with an armful of books.

THE OMENS AND PROPHECIES: THE KEIN, THE KITHE, AND THE KÏTHÊL

THE KEIN, THE KITHE, AND THE KÏTHÊL

Before starting to work on my novel, The Viking Cats, I decided to take Sam for our regular afternoon mile walk through the woods. As we did we came across a large herd of cattle in one of the adjacent fields because a neighbor is clearing the next field for pasture land.

The herd was mixed white and black cattle. When I saw this it gave me an idea for an omen in one of my other novels, the Fantasy/Myth novel of The Other World.

In these novels a series of prophecies and omens appear which forewarn the various nations and characters of what is about to happen, but few pay any attention to such omens anymore. As a result only a small minority of people actually understand and prepare for what is about to occur.

In any case this is the background of this particular omen:

In the other world (Iÿarlðma) there is a tradition among the Sidèhl and the Lorahń (the two most contentious, numerous, and powerful races among the Eldeven peoples) of Symbolic Sacrifice Exchange.

The Sidh and the Lorahn have often fought in the past, usually involving small skirmishes, but in the distant past they fought many bloody and desperate wars leading to great destruction and on occasion even Civil War. So almost 3000 years ago they developed a ritual act of Peace and Fealty through Mutual Sacrifice Exchange.

The Sidh developed a herd of pure white cattle (not really cattle as we think of them, far more massive, powerful, and wild creatures but for purposes of illustration I will use the term cattle) with white eyes and without any blemish or other coloring. This herd is called the Kein, or the Kein-Sidh.

The Lorahn developed a herd of absolutely black cattle with jet back eyes. This herd is called the Kithe, of the Kithe of the Lorahn.

Each folk keep a herd of 300 or so such cattle only for the purpose of the exchange and as an act of peace-keeping and bond-searing.

Every three years, at the summer solstice, the herds are intermixed and interbred. Whatever is produced, regardless of numbers, if it is all it black goes to the Lorahn, if it is all white then it goes to the Sidh. If the offspring are of any other color, blemished, have any other color eyes, or are in any other way not like their father or mother herd then they are given to other folk, such as the Jukarn.

But every now and then, every few hundred years or so, one cow will give birth to a set of Twin Cattle, alike in every way except coloring. One calf will be blood-red in coloring, the other sea-blue in coloring. These twin calves are called the Kïthêl, and they are a powerful omen of things to come.

Almost inevitably one calf will be born with a congenital defect and will die within a few weeks of birth.

If the blue calf dies and the red one lives then it foreshadows a disastrous and destructive war, not necessarily between the Sidh and Lorahn (though that might be the case) but possibly one that will afflict all of the Eldeven peoples. Or the omen may signal an invasion upon the Eldevens by a powerful foreign force or people.

If the red calf dies and the blue calf lives then it foreshadows a terrible plague, catastrophe, or disaster that may well kill large numbers of Sidh, Lorahn, or the other Eldeven peoples.

However, on very, very rare occasion both calves may either be stillborn or may die shortly after birth. In this case there is an ancient but well known prophecy that such an event signals both a terrible war and horrible catastrophe.

But in the novel which I am writing the Kïthêl both live and begin to grow to adulthood as healthy and massive and seemingly tame and intelligent animals, an event that has never before occurred (that anyone knows of) and no-one can interpret what this actually means.

Some assume it testifies to a long period of peace, prosperity, and plenty, others assume it means the collapse of either the Sidh or Lorahn peoples; others have no idea what it might signify.

Actually there is a very ancient prophecy that was written and hidden away, being encoded within another text and even within an artefact, that was proclaimed long before the herds of Kein and Kithe ever existed. It tells of a blue calf and a red calf, born of the same mother, who grow to adulthood and what that prophesies for the future. But none of the characters in the book are immediately aware of this ancient prophecy or even that it exists. Only slowly do the characters become aware of what it is and what it might mean.

Well, I had best return to writing my novel.

By the way, this is a prime example of what a good walk does to stimulate your imagination…

FLIGHT AND FURY

A brief scene of combat between Marsippius Nicea (the de facto commander of the Byzantine special forces team the Basilegate) and a creature he has never before encountered.

This creature had been attempting to ambush Marsippius as he traveled alone through unknown territory but Marsippius observes him first and sets for personal combat.

From one of my Other World novels.

This is the second draft of this scene.

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Marsippius bent his stave so fiercely that the bow seemed to double backwards like the horns of a fresh waxing moon, halving in height while multiplying many times in deadliness. He drew the shaft end all the way back past his furthest eyesight, feeling the soft fletching touch his ear like the passing wings of a fleet bird of prey at the final swoop. His left arm held steady being guided by the narrowing of his sight, the subtle turn of his stance, and the short hold of his breath. The spine of the shaft seemed perfectly still and straight, being of Eldeven make, and nearly perfect in heft and balance, and absolutely square and true in line. It was a killing shaft, an instrument of unfettered war and swift death, and he meant to use it as such, having been trained by the Sidèhl themselves in its best and most effective use. Both stave and shaft had been made for him, and he alone, presented as personal presents for his leal and long service to the Kitharians and the Samarl of Samarkand, and he had high faith in their making and great certainty in their sharpness and surety of purpose.

The creature came on in a rush, howling and growling all at once, its unnatural darkness and emanations of malice preceding it like an angry stormcloud swelled with preternatural fury. It ran in a lope, explosively at each new stride, seeming to leap both upwards and outwards to cover great distances as it moved in a bizarre, uncanny, and unsteady gait. Yet on it came, eerily but surely, 120 feet away, 100 feet away, 80 feet away, 60 feet away, and then Marsippius loosed his arrow. The shaft sped ahead a few feet into the open space before him, quivering and twisting in the air as it too lept forward uncannily, and then the shaft disappeared from sight as if Marsippius had loosed a thunderbolt, and not a crafted shaft of mortal make.

Marsippius saw nothing of the arrow’s flight but the shaft reappeared almost instantly, buried deep within the monstrous folds of fat and muscle that were the thing’s lower belly. It howled anew, grunted ferociously, twisted in its wild careen, fell sidelong with its massive and hairy arms outstretched to try and absorb the blow it would feel as it crashed to the broken ground in a wreck. The black soil churned when it struck, and a cloud of dark debris exploded violently at the impact. The thing rolled catastrophically, filling the air with guttural and awful noises, and screaming unknown curses in an unknown tongue. If it was a tongue, and not the signaled sound of diseased damnation spout out from the ugly mouth of hell. The creature rolled out lengthwise and then stopped moving.
Yet only for a moment.

Then it twisted away from the earth as if the ground underneath offended it, stood to one knee, and ponderously, painfully, used its powerful hands and forearms to rise once more to its monstrous height.

Marsippius bent forward slightly and quickly plucked another upright arrow from the ground where he had placed five more silver shafts before him. He nocked the new arrow, drew once more, and lowered his aim upon the hard gasping but still living thing.

The speed and momentum of its crash and fall had cast it forward towards Marsippius even farther than perhaps its loping run might have, save for the momentary pause as it stopped to rise and examine itself and the severity of its wound. Barely more than thirty feet now separated the Roman soldier from the obscene and unnatural beast – the thing, the monster, whatever it might in truth really be.

Marsippius could see the slick and slimy foam fleck upon its bloody and crusted lips, and a sort of black ichor was seeping from the terrible wound left by the arrow the Roman had shot deep into it. The fall and roll had shattered the Eldeven shaft, leaving only a few splintered shards of dirty debris still protruding from the gape that the crash had made by gouging out an even bigger and more vile tear in whatever this thing called flesh. Marsippius reasoned, or perhaps hoped, that the fall had not only broken the Sidhelic shaft and torn the wound too wide to heal, but had perhaps driven the remaining end of the shaft and arrow head deep into its bowels, therefore assuring it bled to death in time, or eventually killed the creature with a black infection grown from its own foulness and rot.

The creature stood erect again, but then bent forward, heaving to breathe, its dreadful and reddened, bulging orbs fixed upon the Roman like the terrible eyes of venomous serpents spawned in the torture pits of the far Orient. Marsippius could see the thing debating with itself – would it try and close the gap between them as quickly as possible, risking another wound like the terrible one it now suffered? Or would it turn and attempt a reckless and wholesale flight hoping the Roman could not shoot it twice with the same skill and near lethal effect?

Marsippius for his part considered that if he shot again and missed he might not have enough time to make a good third shot before the thing was upon him, and in his own mind he rehearsed his next actions in sequence, as his training and experience had taught him to imagine and prepare for each engagement. First he would fire, and kill the thing or not, he would then draw his Spatha from its sling along his back and await the charge of the monster, hoping that in its fury or desperation he could spy a spot to drive his blade so deeply and true that the shock and force would prevent a counter-attack, and do the thing swiftly to death. In his mind Marsippius was practiced, cold, watchful, and wary, as his years of combat and warfare had taught him to be when faced with great danger, but in his heart he knew that if the creature took him in its grasp it might very well rip him to pieces as a man might pull apart the soft limbs of a roasted hare well before he might hope to kill it.

So the Roman aimed for the center of the beast, at its deep barreled and protruding breast, focusing his attention so absolutely that he saw nothing else but what he imagined to be the misshapen and misbeaten heart of the fearsome creature. Hearing nothing but the ragged breathing of the beast as it struggled to catch its breath and overmaster the agony of its vicious wound. If it came on he would place another shot with all his skill and the full fury of his toxon, and if it fled he would exchange its rounded chest for its flat and wide back as the target of his aim.

Almost as if sensing what he thought the creature turned sideways, making itself a much smaller target than before and momentarily confusing the soldier’s aim. It also almost assured that even if Marsippius hit him squarely, it would likely not be a lethal wound, since unless struck in the head or neck the thing’s cobbled and disordered armor or his thick muscled chest, thighs, or arms would most likely absorb the greater part of the damage of the shot. Marsippius therefore refocused his aim, for he still meant to either partially cripple or hobble the creature, but he now suspected he could not kill it with but another single shaft. He also now wondered if the thing might hope to stand still long enough to exhaust his bow arm, attempting thereafter to dodge or deflect his shaft, then come rushing on with whatever strength it might have left intending to overpower Marsippius in close combat. Again the Roman practiced in his mind what he would do next; fire, draw his blade, await the charge, and strike his best blow, or if the thing avoided his shot and then took to flight, whether to pursue or try to shoot him again as he fled.

Marsippius waited, but the thing shifted not again, and even seemed to calm, to relax, to gain mastery of its breath and pain to such a degree that it seemed to become more inanimate stone than living thing. Marsippius resisted the urge to shoot until he felt both his arms begin to quiver slightly, and fearing that exhaustion at the long draw might weaken him at sword-arm should combat become necessary, he relaxed monetarily, caught his breath, and loosed.

The shaft hummed warmly as it took flight, quivered, sped like a flash of lightning, and disappeared. It seemed to Marsippius that the shaft flew entirely true but the creature was cunningly crooked, or else some unnoticed witchcraft was hard at work as the arrow sped, for the flight went awry and clearly missed its mark. This time Marsippius thought to himself, the thing was ready, and not arrogant and reckless in attack. It now knows I am dangerous, it now will be doubly so.

Marsippius cast his bow aside, reached down and slung his shield to his left, sliding his hand and forearm into the bracings and setting himself for the coming fight. He reached behind him and swiftly drew his Spatha, the weapon of his youth and the ancient heirloom of his command. Having been recently recast by Eldeven art at the request of the Samarl it seemed to both shiver and shimmer in the noonday sun, but the creature came on again covered in grim and grimy gore, hot with renewed fury and bent on unholy vengeance. It met the Roman’s bright blade with a darkness it cast out from itself. If there was to be any further flight, thought Marsippius, then it would be because one of them fled this world entirely and for the very last time.

THE RACES OF EARTH AND IŸARLÐMA – THE OTHER WORLD

Some background on the various folk, people, and races inhabiting my novel series The Other World (the Kithariãd) and how they relate to one another.

 

Human Race – divided into normal human sub-racial groupings. Human beings live on Terra or the Kosmos (Earth) and only by accident (or some would say misfortune or fate) ever visit other worlds, such as Iÿarlðma.

Eldeven Race(s) – divided into several separate sub-racial groupings. These include the Sidèhl, Jükaŗn, Lorahń, Ghêriel, and some say the Avafał and Maştur of Iÿarlðma. Also called the Telwé-Iÿarlðmayn or “Free Peoples of Iÿarlðma.”

Sidèhl or Sidhel also named by men the Caer – Similar in many ways to the Western concept of Elves, but not so much the Tolkien-type elves as mythological elves, the Sidh being an extremely cunning and dangerous group of beings. The Sidh are a noble people but are extremely inscrutable and severe. Highly organized (and some say ruthless) they are considered the de facto leaders and political force among the Eldevens. The Sidh are the natural organizers of the Eldevens. As a result they are the most powerful political and military force among the Eldevens. They are said to be a diplomatic race but are swift to anger and lethal when agitated. In addition it is said that the Sidh are the most naturally gifted of all users of Elturgy (magic) among the Eldeven, yet many of them also are instinctively wary and distrustful of Elturgy. The Sidhel possess extremely sensitive eyesight and can see at great distances. It is also said that some Sidh can see the invisible and some even possess “foresight.” Outsiders often refer to them as the “Wyrd Folk,” or the “Folk of High Dooms.”

Jükaŗn also named by men the Dwelvar – Similar in many ways to Nordic Dwarves, also an extremely dangerous and fearsome people if properly provoked. They also hold generation’s long grudges and occasionally feud violently and bloodily among themselves. The Jukarn are slow to breed and often attempt to hide or segregate their females, who are said to be extraordinarily beautiful and shapely, even if small and fiery, from the rest of the world. Male Jukarn are, however, notorious womanizers of their own females and of the females of other races and many fights and wars have started among them for this reason. The Jukarn are excellent engineers and builders of massive siege engines. They rarely prefer to personally engage in war (for political or non-personal reasons) but are renown as excellent armorers and builders of war-engines. Jukarn tend to be highly intelligent, yet often guileful. The Jukarn are well known for two things, their ability to detect vibrations in their very bones, often providing them with forewarning of approaching disaster or danger, and their extremely keen sense of hearing. Therefore they are often called the “Listeners.” They are also sometimes called the “Blood Folk” for their habit of smearing themselves with a blood red dye for adornment.

Lorahń also named by men the Sylf or Sylvar – a sub-group of the Sidhel and distantly related to them. The Sidh tend to be urbanized and civilized. The Lorahn disdain cities and settlements preferring to live in loose tribal associations (like American Indians once did) and to live off the land, preferring a naturalistic existence. They much favor Elturgy (and naturalistic Elturgy at that) to technology and craft as the Sidhel and Jukarnians do, and distrust collectivism, urbanization, and a reliance upon groups. They value individualism above all else. They are natural Frontiersmen and of all the Eldevens they breed the fastest, live the hardest, and die the youngest, often by misadventure or sheer love of danger. They are however almost totally immune to most diseases. Of all Eldevens they are the most xenophobic, especially towards Men and Sidh. The Lorahn are possessed of two extremely discriminating senses, the sense of smell and the ability to hear. They can often smell faint odors for leagues, having a sense of smell like a bear. Their hearing is so keen that it rivals or even exceeds that of a wolf. Perhaps because of this the Lorahn find themselves most naturally aligned with the Jukarn when it comes to other Eldevens. Many call them the “Green Folk.” Both because of their naturalistic lifestyle and because they can actually cause their flesh to assume a bluish or tan or greenish hue in order to blend into their environments.

Ghêriel also named by men the Gnössom, or Gnömso – a subrace distantly related to the Sidh but much smaller in physical size. Like the Lorahn they prefer to keep to themselves but they are also master craftsmen and builders of small and complicated artifacts. Known for their enormously sensitive and discerning sense of touch. They are also known for being crafty, cunning, hidden, and secretive by nature. The Gheriel folk often produce geniuses of various types. These geniuses however tend to be loners who prefer to work by themselves. A small percentage of Gheriel are born blind yet nevertheless their skin and other senses become so sensitive that they naturally possess a gnosense which gives them an uncanny ability to both understand how things work and to perceive things others cannot. The Gheriel are said by some (although they keep such things secrets among themselves) to be the longest lived of all the Eldeven peoples with some living to be over 1500 years old. Many call them the “Sharp Folk,” or the “Secret Folk.” Some name them the “Gold Folk,” because as they age their skin takes on a peculiar golden hue. It is said by some that right before a Gheriel dies he will turn the color of purified gold.

Avafał also named by men the Eladruin – a Race (the New Ones or the Fallen Ones) or sub-race (depending upon your point of view) that occurs when some member of the Eldeven Race mates and produces an off-spring with some member of a Human Race. Extremely rare as most such matings produce no offspring and even when such a mating is successful the child often does not survive into adulthood. Those that do survive often become extremely wise and trusted advisors and explorers possessing keen senses and a deep curiosity, an active mind, and a restless and searching spirit. They also tend to be a good and noble mixture of the more positive traits of their parents. They are sometimes called the “Gray Folk,” or the “Twilight Folk.” However some Avafal become Balkar or Fallen Ones, bitter outcasts and wanderers, hating and eschewing one parent or another, or both, with a tendency towards lifelong hatred and a desire for vengeance against the people of one parent or another for what they perceive as the supposed injustice of their birth and life.

Maştur – known as the “Black Eldevens,” or the Dark-Haired Elds” even though their skin tends to be very pale to almost albino white or sun-burned reddish in color. Their hair however is usually as jet black as their eyes, the tips of their ears, and the palms of their hands. Unlike the Sidh who tend to usually be near man-sized, or the Jukarn who tend to be short, the Mastur appear in a wide range of heights and sizes, from almost seven feet tall near giants to short four to five foot tall individuals. The Mastur long ago separated themselves from the other Eldeven peoples of their world, taking to the Sea, hence their other nickname, “The Sea-Farers.” Eventually they settled in a single large colony (with nearby smaller colonies) near the North Pole. Some actually live in hollowed out glaciers as hermits and it is also said that the Mastur either discovered a long abandoned and dead city in the arctic that had been built by a vanished race (possibly the Orasta) or that they built their own Capital city and port deep beneath a huge ice-sheet in the Frozen Sea of Ilkfriģ. It is not known whether or not either story is true or merely legend. It is also said that in the arctic that the Mastur discovered a strange form of magic or a weird artefact which gave them control over a weird form of magic they call Ylturgy, or Ulturgy. It is also not known whether or not this rumor has any basis in fact.

Farmarhlýan – Long before the Skëma (the Great Sundering that led to the various races of the Eldeven Folk) there was another group of the Eldeven peoples. The Sire and leader of these Eldevens, Farmarhl, one day stood before all of the gathered Eldeven peoples and said that he had received a Vision and a Dream that told him he must journey East with his people, to follow a Giant Silvered Stag to some new and unknown land. Few believed him until three days later when a giant silvered stag actually did appear and presented itself before Farmarhl. The stag was wild and would allow no one else to touch it except Farmarhl. Farmarhl named it the Yärnalaös, or Yärn (Stag) of the Dawn, and within a week he and his people were following it into the East. For seven years Farmarhl sent riders and messages back to the other Eldevens regarding his people’s progress but in eighth year all messages stopped and no more messengers appeared. The Farmarhlyan have never been heard from again, not in thousands and thousands of years, and no trace of them has since been discovered. They are now only remembered in song and lore and in a few brief and ancient copies of some of their early messages. Some call them the “Lost Folk,” and the “People of the Unseen Dawn.”

Adhařma Race also named by men the Anakös or Yettin – A race of powerful demi-giants who are excellent engineers and architects. These giants are known as the greatest builders on their world and the Eldevens (especially the Sidhel and the Jukarn) often contract with them to build their cities. The Adharmenes are highly intelligent but rather short lived compared to the Eldevens. This race may live to 75 or 80 years before succumbing to death. They also tend to suffer many health problems throughout life (probably due to their size) though they also tend to be enormously tough and immensely strong. However they are often susceptible to disease and injury, taking longer than most other peoples to heal. For this reason the Adharma invented the Harmindir (the Healing Hall) and have become expert healers and physicians. The Adharma practically built the Capital (and many say greatest) City of the Sidh, Samarkand. The Adharma also seem to share an odd an affectionate bond with the Gheriel, despite their enormous differences in size and longevity. They are sometimes called the Keldthŗengs (Walking Towers).

Gabraen Race – also known as the Ekronëv or Renown Ones. This race is a half-brother race to the Adharmenes and although only slightly taller and more bulky than humans they also seem to possess enormous and almost preternatural strength similar to that of the Adharma. Hairy and muscular many consider them coarse in appearance and ungainly in nature. Especially compared to the Sidh and the Lorahn who are considered attractive in appearance and graceful in motion. They are most renowned though for being physically fearless, incredibly tough, and enormously skillful hunters. They are not particularly susceptible to disease and injury but they are a violent and aggressive and forthright race and often die young and in combat. They are however master and spellbinding storytellers and well versed in song and music. Generally though they are disliked by the Eldeven peoples, whereas the Adharma are often admired by and friendly with the Sidh and Jukarn and Gheriel. The Gabraen typically tend to live only to be about 50 years old, and will tolerate the company only of the Adharma, the Lorahn, and some men. The Gabraen as a whole seem to be an outcast race, and to consider themselves as such.

Orasta (the Dawn People) Race – A lost race about whom not much is known except for the ruins of their high and bloody and brutal culture. They were said to have at one time been great explorers and colonizers having explored much of “the Old World,” before the Great Remaking or High Reforging of Iÿarlðma. What eventually happened to them or how they may have been destroyed no one is really sure and even the oldest legends and myths fail to mention their final fate. But not a single body or tomb of their dead has ever been uncovered. Many among the Sidh believe that the Orasta were the nascent forebears of the Eldeven races or that they never actually vanished, but opinions on the matter are hotly debated and disputed. The Jukarn say they were a wholly evil race and the Adharma greatly fear the ruins of the Orasta but will not say why. The Orasta are also called the Meilorein Race (Lost or Invisible Ones) by the Sidh.

 

There are also other obscure and vanished races of Iÿarlðma but little to nothing is actually known of their true natures and cultures by the Eldevens or by Men.

 

 

THE ENGINE OF EVERYTHING

Had a superb idea for a science fiction short story today.

The Engine of Everything.

It’s not what it sounds like. It was an interesting idea to me. It will be part of my God-Technology series.

Of course I’ve still gotta finish The Vengeance of Tôl Karuţha and Scarecrow. A lot of things have been vying for my time lately and slowing me down.

Also last night I began writing a new song, Until She Is No More.

I think it will be a good song.

THE LEXICON OF IŸARLÐMA (THE OTHER WORLD)

Because the plot, story, and terminology of my novel series (The Other World – the Kithariãd) has become so complicated and involved over time I have begun the construction of a Lexicon so that I and my readers may track all of the various languages, neologisms, and terms I have invented for the novels.

It will eventually include all of the arcane and neologistic and specialty terms I use or have invented in Latin and Greek and Hebrew and English as well, but for now I am only compiling those terms I have invented for the various Eldeven languages used in the book.

At this point it runs to 20 pages or so, but I expect it to grow significantly over time and I have yet to alphabetize the lexicon for ease of use. A hard chore but a necessary one.

Eventually I expect this Lexicon to be to my mythopoeiac works something like Alfred the Great’s lexiconographical works were to the Real World.

ALL WORLDS from THE OTHER WORLD

“If all of the pointless and wholly unnecessary suffering in this life were collected into one vast infernal pool of anguish then it would account for the far greater part of all misery ever endured. And entirely drown the world.”

He looked off into the distance as if expecting to see some fast approaching tide of the very Ocean of Woe he had just conjured with his own words. Or perhaps he was merely remembering some far off flood of it he had never been able to forget.

“Which world?” I asked him.  “This world, or the Other World?”

“All worlds, my friend. Every one of them…

THE FRAGMENTS OF TÔL KARUŢHA and other related matters

I think I need a much better Conan-vocabulary.

Howard’s writing vocabulary was much, much different than mine. (My writing and working vocabulary far more naturally resembles Tolkien’s than Howard’s.) Of course I do not want to write my Conan story exactly as Howard would. Howard had a very unusual and heavily-imagined (the kind you almost never hear used in real life) and even stilted vocabulary, which makes his books fun to read (in one sense) but also extremely pulpish and juvenile and self-limiting (in another sense).

I want to maintain the overall uniqueness of Howard’s vocabulary and phrasing without directly imitating him and without the self-limited nature of his construction and terminology.

What I actually want to do is to produce a Conan story that is obviously by me, yet similar enough to Howard’s Conan to be instantly recognizable and enjoyable and fun to read. So whereas I don’t want to directly imitate Howard’s language, I do want to pay homage to it. The same with the way I write Conan himself. There is much to admire about Howard’s Conan but much I would also change or discard or at the very least alter and modify. Sometimes even radically so.

So I am setting out to intentionally do those very things with this story. I think of it in this way, I am writing a Conan Story which one might consider as written by an entirely different chronicler (me) and which stresses certain aspects of Conan’s character and personality but pays little attention to other aspects of his personality. Or even intentionally ignores certain traits.

Still, I think that I need a much better “Conan-vocabulary” to pay homage to the character in the way I wish. I have recently been reading Robert Jordan’s Conan books and his interpretation of the character and find it superb, both in the way he mimics Howard’s vocabulary without becoming stifled and artificial, and as far as his overall interpretation of the character. Which I actually prefer to Howard’s Conan in many respects.

On the other hand I think my story’s plot is actually far superior to most of Howard’s story-plots and may even be superior to much of Jordan’s plottings. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Below are some fragments of the story I have been producing so far. Since I am writing this in the month of October I am not only making this a Conan adventure story, I am also making it a true horror story as well.

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This shall be the introductory quote to my Conan short story of The Vengeance of Tôl Karuţha:

“Of all the truly dangerous things in the world the least dangerous is this – a reckless and unwary man. The most dangerous is a crafty and cunning woman.”

Engraven upon the Guile-Stone of Khawarish

*        *        *

Her dark mouth became a bloody and open wound. A demonic and fearsome gash of portentous witchcraft which no human face should have been able to contain.

Conan stepped back in caution and concern, slowly unsheathing his sword in wonder at the sight, but in his heart he yearned not to comprehend how but only to strike. He was already well past any further desire to endure these continued onslaughts of strange sorcery and weird warlockery. Yet although this woman still fascinated him and some part of him deeply pitied her he was also frightened of her as he had never before feared any sorceress or witch. She was simply too unpredictable and too uncanny not to fear.

Something unnatural, disturbing, and horrific hovered around her as if some unnamed, ancient, and uncontrollable god, long vanished, broiled within her.

Suddenly Conan felt cold to his very marrow and he knew immediately that this was no act of nature – not of this world and not of his own. He struggled to breathe, his great chest heaving as if on fire but sluggish as if being slowly frozen by death. His throat slaved to remain open and his escaping breath snaked outwards and coiled like a glittering and ghostly Stygian serpent. Then, with a tremendous crush of agony, he felt the the bone in his lower left leg break apart and he fell like an unbending oak that had been shattered by the unforeseen summer lightning of a still distant but savage storm.

*        *        *

From the man’s appearance he seemed dangerous. Conan was certain of his own prowess but he had long ago learned to never underestimate any other man. Even women, or at least certain women, could be mortally dangerous for they could be crafty, cold-blooded, and quick. Conan therefore had become doubly suspicious for he now faced both man and woman, and both seemed warily guarded and preternaturally unknown.

“Who are you?” Conan asked in the Shemitic language for that was the speech in which he had just been addressed. He knew little of it, but could still carry on a basic conversation in the harsh tones of the tongue.

“I am Tôl Karuţha,” replied the man confidently, but Conan was instantly doubtful for he had heard some of the lore surrounding the name. Back when he had traveled the far reaches of the East. ”And this black wench is Jerabela, of the Kengan tribe of the Kushites. She is my slave and consort.”

Conan did not fully understand every word that had been said, though he understood slave well enough, having once been one. However he did quickly and unmistakably notice that the woman’s eyes had subtly narrowed with both anger and disdain at the way in which the tall and powerful man had named and described her, though she controlled herself with admirable reserve.

Conan studied her as carefully as he could in such a short space of time. She was tall, athletic, lithe, and for a woman powerfully built. Far more powerfully built than most women Conan had ever encountered, save a very few, such as the Pirate Queen. Despite the tan man’s claim she was not possessed of the bearing and comportment of slave, but rather her demeanor was proud and her stance fully erect and alert.

 

 

THE WRATH OF WROTHCHOLIRE

Two nights ago I wrote a poem (As We Age) and then started working on the fragments for The Wrath of Wrothcholire. Wrothcholire is an indestructible sword that appears in my high fantasy writings comparable to Gram and Durandal and Caliburn (Excalibur) in myth and legend.

It was forged of dark red (blood red) meteoritic rock but when finished the blade came out to be black and scored with an odd pattern and design. As far as is known the blade cannot be broken but will bend and flex. It is easy to sharpen and will hold an edge for many combats. Wrothcholire goes all the way back to my teenage years and was my imagined embodiment of the “perfect sword” and “ideal personal weapon.”

Wrothcholire is said (by those who have wielded him, and many famous heroes over several ages have wielded him) to possess a will or intelligence of his own, not that it can speak but rather that it will impel it’s bearer to great anger and fury if it desires the destruction of an enemy.

Wrothcholire (and this is the English name for the Sword, it has many different Eldeven names and names in other tongues) means wroth, or wrath, and choleric, and iresome. It also means, from the root terms, twisted (because of the pattern in the metal), to writhe (because of it’s seeming to writhe like a serpent when angered), and riven.

Wrothcholire is never said to be owned, but rather borne or that it’s user “bears the wrath of Wrothcholire upon and within himself.”

This goes back to when I was a young man and would become intensely angry and dangerous and do things I later deeply regretted. So also is Wrothcholire. Wrothcholire often pushes its bearer to fearsome and even horrible deeds, and sometimes even close to murderous deeds. Wrothcholire is really my own personified Fury, both a source of great strength for me, and probably my greatest lifelong vice. It took me a long time to conquer my own Wrothcholire, and a few bearers over time do tame the blade and they become lifelong friends. Many others Wrothcholire uses as much as they use him.

I have over time written many shorts stories involving Wrothcholire, in which the weapon appears either overtly as itself, or covertly and in disguise, but recently the idea has occurred to me to write some poetic fragments about the blade that I will eventually combine into either recited Skaldic verse or a Bardic song, maybe both. In either case his Lay shall be called, “The Wrath of Wrothcholire.”

So last night I began that. Here is what I first devised:

No voice of life could he (Wrothcholire) engender
Yet Fury burned, a shining beacon
Within his wrath, a terror vengeanced
Yearned to make of his foe’s ending…”

Another stanza,

He writhed, he bled, the foeman fled
An ancient anger soon caught flame
The Whore of Heaven made a bed (or dug a grave)
Of endless night, and brutal shame…

Another set of verses

He brake the Drake
Did slay the Würm
An endless wound that would not heal
Far better had they perished both
Than in such anger ruthless killed…”

The last I composed,

The End of All Illness comes to he
Who in such fury burns so bright
This blade of death, so distant sent
Has pierced my heart, and now I’m spent (or, variantly, my soul is rent)

Wrothcholire is said to be the Blade of Nine Names.

As far as those who know of him he has had Nine Names over time, and I have translated them all into English.

The Nine Names of Wrothcholire:

Wrothcholire (Eternal Fury or Writhing Fury)

The Fell-Black Sword (from its color and twisted pattern)

The Sword of Starless Night (because when it kills it is said to “blanket the foe in a starless night.”)

The Blade of Fury (self-explanatory)

The Brand of Vengeance (also self-explanatory)

Battle’s Beacon (said because it forewarns the bearer that another soon intends to attack, even if the other pretends peace)

The Wound Eternal (said because it typically leaves a wound that will not heal in the foe, or it leaves a wound of anger in the bearer that will not pass)

The Serpent’s Snare (because it is a Würm-killer, or dragon and monster-slayer)

The Whore of Heaven (this is actually an English mistranslation of a Sidhelic name – the Sidhels call Wrothcholire the “Blood-Ore of Heaven” because of the meteoritic fragment from which it was forged, but this was later mistranslated into English as the Whore of Heaven, sometimes the Whorl of Heaven, because of its writhing, and the name stuck by repetition)

The Sword will figure prominently in some of my fictional works, such as my High Fantasy novels and myths.

NIGHT WRITER

Last night, well, this morning actually – at about 2:00 AM I made significant advances on my novel plus I wrote the entire introductory section (freehand – in one of my short story notebooks) of the first draft to my Conan story, The Vengeance of Tôl Karuţha. (Which I will later post or serialize here.)

I was also able to entirely plot out Tôl Karuţha, though that might change if I decide to later add some things. But I am very pleased with the start of the story. I feel the story is very Conanaesque and Howardesque while still being my take on Conan rather than Howard’s. This is the version of the story that shall be a more or less straight out Howard-type Conan prose-story rather than in the style of either a Nordic Saga or a Skaldic rendering.

I really enjoy writing at night and in the early mornings between about 11:00 PM and 3 to 4 o’clock AM. And that is also the period in which I am usually most productive as a writer.

Of course I’ve always worked best at night. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing.

Have a good weekend folks.

Jack.

KURIAL AND EKLANSÖS

Had a really interesting and nice morning at church today. The sermon also helped me make progress on a plot matter for my Other World novels that I’ve been trying to think about how to resolve for some time.

The novel involves Prester Jhon, the Samarl of Samarkand, who (in the novel and contrary to belief back then) does not reside in either Asia or Africa but on an entirely different world which is identical to our world at the time but is not inhabited by humans or animals common to our world. It is geographically and geologically identical, but biologically it is very different.

Anyway, because of the underlying religious theme(s) running through the novels (the Byzantines look to this “Other World” and to Prester Jhon – called John by the Byzantines, to help them fight both the Persians and the Muslims, but Jhon has more than enough deadly threats in his own world to contend with) I’ve been looking to develop a sort of Other World analogue to the Eucharist. Because Christianity, miracles and Orthodoxy all play a role in the Other World as well, and because there is a secret underground movement of Christians in Jhon’s own world. It’s a secretive movement, but it exists, sort of like China’s Christian movement but it is almost entirely underground. Maybe in that sense it is far more like the ancient Christians in the early Roman Empire than in China.

In any case I wanted an analogue to the elements of the Eucharist. So at church today the sermon made me think of some things and I started making notes. This is what I came up with.

The secret Christian movement in the Other World (they aren’t really Christians as we think of it, but it’s as close as I can briefly summarize the concept) develop an analogue to the Eucharist but do so almost by accident. The elements they develop are these:

KURIAL – Kurial is a bread similar in some respects to the Lembas bread of the Elves in Tolkien. But it also shares properties with the Manna of the Exodus and the Eucharist. It always tastes warm when eaten even if it is cold. It is a dark brown bread with white flecks throughout and it tastes somewhat bitter. The word is Eldeven (being derived from the Eldeven linguistic root, uria, for “ground up,” and “of the Earth”) but it also shares roots with the Greek term Kurios (Lord) and Cure (Latin). When Kurial is consumed it inspires trances and mystical visions of God. It fills the stomach, alleviates hunger, and provides sustenance for 4 days (if an entire loaf is eaten). It can also, sometimes, cure disease and speed healing from injury. It provides a great deal of physical energy and strength and occasionally promotes abilities and capabilities in those who have consumed it of an almost superhuman or miraculous nature. Humans (the Byzantines) also call it Maræne, the Manna of the New World.

EKLANSÖS – Eklansös is a golden colored wine (although not a true wine, it is as close as I can describe) which is also thick and both sweet and salty tasting. On occasion it glows if brought into proximity with Kurial. The word is Eldeven, being derived from the Sidhelhic roots lan, and sos, which mean “secret” and “drink.” But it is also related to the Greek terms, Ekklesia, meaning “gathering or congregation” and Angelos, meaning “messenger.” When Eklansös is consumed it inspires numinous dreams and visions and prophecies in one’s sleep. Eklansös will also alleviate thirst for 3 days, helps to prevent or ward off disease, and makes one calm and relaxed and at peace after it is drunk. Usually a single cup or bowl of Eklansös will suffice for these purposes. The Byzantines also call it Soræ which means the Drink or Wine of the New World.

If Kurial and Eklansös are used to fertilize and set a newly planted tree or the seed of a tree then the resulting tree will grow large, strong, tall, and true, and it will be disease free. These trees are called Umman trees. If the tree is a fruit or nut tree then this is called a Thummąn tree, which means Miracle Tree. The leaves, sap, and fruit or nuts of Thummąn trees can be used to produce extraordinary foods and medicines. Umman and Thummąn Trees are extraordinarily long lived and all kinds of life will flourish in and around the tree. But Umman and Thummąn trees will not grow in close proximity to one another. So as far as is known it is impossible to produce an Umman or Thummąn forest.
Also I made some good progress on Eldeven Arts, Crafts and Sciences.

I have divided Eldeven Art into the following categories: Drama, Poetry, and Song, with other Arts being Architecture and Building and Sculpture.

I have divided Craft into these categories: Craft (being almost any type of high-skill craft) and Illumination and Invention.

The Eldeven Sciences are: Eldyll (Earth and metallurgy), Laral (life and natural sciences), and Glośon (what we would call chemistry, though it is really both organic and inorganic chemistry).

THE OMEN

“War does not come often among the Sidhs of Iÿarlðma (Seeds of the World), but when it does it comes large, bloody, deep, and dark. Such a war comes now, and it will either make a ravening and deadly monster of you, or a ruined and desolate monument.”
The Omen of Samarl Jhönarlk (Prester Jhon) to the Sidèhl of Samarkand (the Seeds of Samarkand)

From The Weirding Roads

CONAN AND ME, PART ONE: LANGUAGE, PULP, RACE, AND FICTION

Lately I’ve been re-reading (actually listening to on CD) some of R.E. Howard’s later stories on Conan, such as The Conquering Sword of Conan.

Now every year, usually in the Fall (but at other times as well) or as the weather changes I get a desire to read or listen to Conan, or Solomon Kane, or the stories of HP Lovecraft. Adventure and horror stories. Don’t know why, I just do, it’s sort of a recurring literary theme with me. I associate Autumn and early Winter with adventure, and patrolling, and exploring, and the coming dark.

(I also at this time of year like to read or listen to the radio plays of Jack Flanders or the Green Hornet or John Carter of Mars or Doc Savage or other types of things like that I used to listen to as a kid.)

Now I’ve always liked the stories of Conan (though I have much more in common personally with the character Solomon Kane) as I enjoy a lot of pulp fiction. It’s adventurous, and that’s what I like about it. Adventure stories and pulp fiction tend to roam widely in space and time, and this very much appeals to the explorer and Vadder in me. As well as to the historian in me, as pulp stories are often pseudo-historical and often contain historical and archaeological allusions and references. I wish far more modern writers wrote really good adventure stories, especially for young men and boys, but also even for girls, such as my daughters. Alas, aside from children stories adventure yarns seem a dying or dead art. More is the shame.

But a couple of things have always bothered me about Conan and his adventure stories. One is Howard’s sometimes ridiculous use of inappropriate language, mixing antique, antiquated, and outmoded terms all in the same paragraph or sentence and doing so without a broader context. The same can be said for his general world building tendencies as well, he sometimes mixes wholly inappropriate matters and allusions and settings and events and places and personages together haphazardly and without any logical framework. I know this is part of his Sword and Sorcery Shtick but it can detract heavily from the appeal of the story. As a writer I certainly understand that every writer is at least to some extent a product of his times, and of what is known in his time. As well as a victim of his own his ideas, and a bondsman of his ideas about writing. Finally he is in at least in some sense a slave of his own language, real or invented, and his use of that language. But Howard’s language often descends into “pulp-speech” in a way that is almost an obvious caricature of pulp. In other words his writings become the very caricature of the pulp genre to such an obvious degree that it becomes impossible to read some of his phrasing without saying to yourself, “this story is pulp.” Instead of, “this story is a great adventure.”

True, sometimes his phrasing and language use is clever, even inspired, at other times though it is both simultaneously banal and overwrought. At times like that you easily remember within your own mind, “this is fiction,” and that’s precisely what you want to avoid in fiction writing.

The second thing that bothers me about Conan is Conan’s obsession (in some of his stories at least) with race and tribalism and ethnicities and “groups.”

to be continued…

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