Monthly Archives: January 2017

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 17 – You don’t see me.

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I’m running on a lack of good and restful sleep at the moment so today’s warm up is decidedly shorter than yesterday. And I’m not surprised that Jaidee decided this quote was for her, enjoy!

You don’t see Me

In the centre of the flame, she danced. It was a real flame but bigger than she stood and the heat of it burned nothing around it. Not even her.

She spun, she leapt high and crouched down. The flame followed her, it flickered as she twirled. It was truly magical to watch her dance. And then with a thump of the drums, and her foot, the song ended and the flame went out.

The room was plunged into darkness but not silence, as applause erupted from all. Eyes searched for her in the sudden darkness. Lamps were lit again but the stage was empty.

The infamous bard had vanished in the darkness.

Kelsen was on his feet instantly, alert to any danger. It would be just like Jaidee to get herself into trouble so easily.

“Damn woman attracts it,” Kelsen muttered as he effortlessly navigated the crowd so he could get into the back rooms of the tavern.

Jaidee was being helped to a table in the kitchens by two of the staff. She was pale and barely able to stand up, let alone walk or dance again.”

“For the love of the Ancients, what have you done to yourself, woman?”

“There are many women in here, Kelsen. Perhaps if you used a name one would know to respond.” There was a hint of reprimand in Jaidee’s tone, but only a hint. She was too weak to even tell Kelsen off adequately which only furthered his worry.

“Jaidee, this is not the time. What have you done?”

“I danced.”

“I have seen you dance many times, it never causes this to happen.” Kelsen extracted the bard from her helpers and swung her up into his arms.

“You almost sound worried.”

“Almost? And here I thought I was clear, foolish woman. You should not have done the flame dance for these people.” The dance was also known as the Dance of the Dragon Queens and it was forbidden in their realm.

“Who said I did it for them?” Jaidee replied.

“What do you mean?”

Silence greeted Kelsen’s question, Jaidee had fainted. He let out a frustrated sigh, almost glaring at her. But he held her gently as he carried her from the tavern and when they were out of sight of any curious eyes, he ported them back to her forest home.

He lay her down on her bed and looked down at her. She risked too much and for no purpose. Those people did not even realise the great gift they had witnessed. Why had it weakened her so much? Why was her power so depleted?

When she woke, she would explain, even if he had to extract it from her. Thankfully, his means of convincing her to be truthful with him would be pleasurable for them both.

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Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 16 – He Who Seeks

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I never know quite where the Muse will take me when I begin to write but today we went back to Ancient times and Eistoria, who you meet at the very beginning of City of the Wiccad Episode 1: Beginnings. (Small plug here, go and buy it and read it if you haven’t already and all things will make even more sense.) But for now, enjoy this ancient story.

She Who Seeks

He lived in a cave, which in these times was nothing so unusual. He lived there to be away from people. They called him the Hermit but he never turned away a traveller who climbed his mountain and came to him seeking knowledge.

He had much to share.

Most thought him just a crazy old man, but as Eistoria climbed the mountain she knew he was more than that. He was like her, a keeper of stories. A keeper of truths.

In the first part of this journey, Eistoria had travelled to the temple where the oracle Asteria waited. In raptured bliss, Asteria had given Eistoria the vision she sought. To change the High Story she had to find the old Wise Man and he would tell her how.

 

“Is it today then, the day that I die?” The old man asked as Eistoria crested the cliff to stand on the flat before his cave. He seemed calm but sad, so very sad like his heart had been broken in ways that could never be fixed.

Eistoria wondered what he had lost. But she was not here for his story.

“No, this is not your last day, far from it,” Eistoria said, trying to reassure the ancient man. He was not reassured but he did not look unhappy that he thought he was to die. “My soul shall find yours again, it has been seen by the priestess Asteria. And as you draw your last breath my life shall truly begin.”

“Then it is not today?”

“I am sorry, it is not.”

“I had hoped.”

“I am sorry, Ki’Enel.”

“No more, I am Kien now. I shine no more.”

The old man walked into the cave and Eistoria quickly followed. She had never been in the presence of an Ancient before and for all he said he did not shine, his soul was bright yet.

He gestured for Eistoria to sit and she found a place on a pile of soft furs near the small fire. It burned without smoke or touching the wood. A magic that was rarely seen in any realm now.

But she was not here for that story.

“The First Age will end and magic will wane. The veils between the realms will firm up and danger will stalk the world as it has the realms. I have been called…”

“The Wiccad rise again,” Kien said. He smiled and it was so sad.

“They have risen before? I have no stories…”

“The Wiccad began to rise and were defeated before they could act. In her memory, I will aid you, however I might.”

“Please, tell me what happened.”

“You are not here for that story,” Kien reprimanded her gently.

Eistoria sighed. It was true. “I am here for the story now. I must change it and I fear I am not so powerful as to change so many stories and blur the truth of history. A weight falls on me and I fear it will crush me and the Wiccad will be lost before they begin.”

“You are strong enough. In her memory, I will aid you.”

Eistoria knew who he spoke of. The Daughter of the Dragon Queens that he, and many others, had once loved before tragedy took her. How Eistoria longed to hear the story from his lips. He who was there. He, the greatest of the Bards.

But she was not here for that story.

“Together we can weave the magic to change the story. It will take much from me and when we are done you must leave this place and never look back. Do not tend to me, simply leave and go to your library.” Kien rose from his seat and went to one of many wooden trunks that ran along the west wall. From inside it, he drew out a small pouch made of soft goat hide. He moved back to his seat and reached toward Eistoria.

Eistoria took the bag from his open hand and immediately began to loosen the strings.

“Before you open it, let me tell you what will happen when you place that stone in your hand.”

Eistoria paused and waited.

“The stone will feel as though it burns you. Your skin will not blister but a mark will be left on your skin. It will not be a pleasant sensation. But all magic comes with a cost and this shall be part of the cost for the change that you wish to make.”

Eistoria looked at the pouch and then back up at Kien. She knew that there would be a cost, and this seemed like one she would be willing to pay. “I am willing.”

“You have visited an oracle. Do you know much else of the cost?”

“I do know the cost. Not just of the magic I seek to control but the cost of the end of the Age, and the cost of the Wiccad.”

“And?”

“And my soul will see yours again, though I shall no longer be as I am.”

He nodded and gave Eistoria a sad smile.

“Often the cost of greatness in the world is the lives of those who will stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. When we are done, take this stone to your library and you will find a place to hide it away. Within this stone will be the truths that have been hidden and lost to the fog of time. So long as the stone remains hidden the stories will be protected.

“So be it.”

Eistoria took the stone from the pouch and felt the heat immediately. A flame danced in the heart of the red stone. Eistoria had never seen a gem like this before.

“Hold it tight and we will begin. All you need do is pour your will into the stone. Tell it the stories that must become truth. When we are done, you leave and do not remain. Give me your word.”

“I swear on my soul and the stories of the Wiccad. I shall do as you say.”

“Then we shall begin.”

Kien placed his hands on Eistoria’s and closed them around the stone. The pain flared like flames were dancing around her hands. Kien’s eyes changed colour and became as a beast.

Eistoria tried not to be afraid, but it took long and painful minutes before she could begin to speak. Her words were stuttered, to begin with, fear and pain clouding her mind but soon she found the power beyond the pain. She closed her eyes and she began to speak.

“Mnemosyne the Mother of the Muses had only nine daughters. History shall not know of Eistoria, not as the Librarian of Athens. Not as the Keeper of the Stage. Eistoria shall be struck from the High Story and be known no more. Megea, sister of Medea, Megea of the Magissa and chosen first of the Wiccad, Megea shall slip from the High Story and may her story be scattered among the truth of others who remain known. May the memory of her never be truly forgotten, hidden in the Mythos of the High Story but her name shall be removed except for when it falls from her own mouth and those bound to the Wiccad…”

The new stories were woven in the flame lit cave and it took hours for Eistoria to speak the words she was guided to say. Her mouth dried and her throat ached but she kept speaking until her voice was a hoarse whisper and then she was finally finished.

She opened her eyes and looked at Kian. He looked haggard and far more ancient than he had when she had met him at the cave entrance. He slumped, his hands slid from hers and she reached for him.

“Go.”

His command was barely audible and Eistoria was reluctant to leave him. It seemed he had paid the greater cost of this magic they had woven between them. But she had promised that she would leave and her duty was to the Wiccad now. She had sworn on the stories of the Wiccad and she would not cause this to have been for nothing.

The stone still ached in her hand but it did not burn as much. When Eistoria moved it she saw the mark that she had been left with. A circle shape upon her palm with a flame in the centre. The lines looked like tiny writing all linked together.

But she could not dwell on that now.

“Thank you, my soul shall see you once more, I hope on that day you forgive me for what must happen.”

Kien did not reply and Eistoria was certain he was no longer conscious but she could not stay and tend to him. She had sworn it.

So, the keeper of the stories made her way back down the mountain. She fell more times than she could count in her exhaustion but she kept going.

At the bottom, a horse and cart waited. One of the Kyrdian’s of Hermenes, a man named Damanos, waited in it. He was tender with her and still grumbling that she had not let him assist her at all in her endeavours. He drove them back across the land to reach the library. The trip took weeks and Eistoria found herself with fever for much of the time. In her delirium, she repeated the words of the stories she had changed. Her guardian protected her and cared for her the whole journey.

When they reached the library Eistoria was too weak to even climb the stairs so Damanos carried her.

“Take me to the centre of the library where the statue of Owl rests.”

“Yes, Ria.”

He carried her there and then helped her open a long-forgotten space in the base of the statue. It had been made many years ago, and yet fit the stone and pouch perfectly.

“And now I take you to the healer. Our tasks are not yet done, my little bard,” Damanos said, the great fighter touching her face so gently. “You must not die yet, Ria.”

Eistoria nodded, her end was not yet. Though she had seen it would come very similar to now, Damanos would hold her in his arms and tell her that they were not done yet.

On that day she would be, but that day was not yet and she had much work still left to her with the Wiccad, just as Damanos had much to do with the Kyrdian, as they worked to keep the world from darkness as the First Age ended.

“Take me to the healer and find Megea, please. Tell her it is done. The narrative has been changed.”

 

Peggy Restored – Moving Forward

Fan Fiction set after Captain America – Civil War and After Peggy Restored

 

 

“You kissed my niece?”

Peggy stood with her arms crossed over her chest, and though she stood far shorter than Steve she seemed to dwarf him in her anger.

“I…I panicked. I didn’t know what else to do.” Steve was a fairly pale man but all colour fled from his face as he stood before Peggy. He wasn’t sure he had ever seen her more furious. Not even that time she had shot at him and his shield.

“So you decided the best thing to do was to kiss my niece?”

“I didn’t want to blow my cover. Your cover. It was a dumb choice, I didn’t mean to make you jealous, Peg.”

“Jealous? Jealous! Steven Grant Rogers, this is not about me not liking you kissing another woman. This has everything to do with you giving hope to a girl who has been half in love with the concept of you since she was four years old.”

Steve opened his mouth and closed it again. It was clear he hadn’t thought of that. Peggy moved her hands to her hips and was about to open her mouth again but there was a movement in the doorway that drew her attention.

“That. That…you’re…but…what…”

“Hello, James.” Peggy’s ire melted away as she moved to embrace her old friend.

Bucky’s confusion was heightened because this was not the first time he had seen her this year. He had snuck in to see her when his memory was returning, and he had been so distraught to find hers failing.

“Peggy. But…” He shook his head. “I shouldn’t be surprised but…

“But you are surprised. It seems we three are very hard to kill. In my case, Tony and Vision would not accept my passing. But given the method, well, it has been a very well-guarded secret what happened.”

“Tony?” Bucky shot Steve a look that spoke volumes.

“He won’t betray her. Neither will Vision.”

“Are you sure?”

Peggy nodded, “They will not betray me. Tony is doing what he must for more than the obvious reasons, though I cannot excuse what happened on your last encounter, or a number of other things that have transpired.”

“I’ll reach out, Peg. See if I can’t make peace. For your sake as much as anything,” Steve offered and watched as Peggy’s attitude towards him softened.

“Thank you, Steve.” Peggy moved back to Steve and he took her into his arms.

Bucky getting a goofy grin as Peggy pulled Steve down to kiss her.

The three moved to the couch to talk. They discussed how the rescue mission had gone, Peggy had been at the lead of it, as much as Steve had tried to argue against it. Then Steve explained about Bucky’s plan in Wakanda with the aid of T’Challa.

“I might have an idea that could help, James.” Peggy never called him Bucky like the rest, or rarely, and Bucky never seemed to mind. “I think it might help, a twofer as they say.”

Peggy got a smile on her face that both men still recognised.

“Peggy?”

“Let me talk to her first, just in case the answer is no but given how it might help both sides, I have faith. I wouldn’t want to get your hopes up, though.”

Bucky nodded and smiled. He had no idea what she was talking about.

It seemed strange to have the three of them together again after so many years. To look at them you would think only a few years had passed but by their eyes, you could see the truth of all that had happened since the last time they had been together.

It had been two nights before the tragic train fight. They had been working alongside the resistance and had spent the afternoon getting a dozen children to a waiting plane that had winged them to freedom. The three friends had withdrawn from the rest of the commandos to enjoy a bottle of bourbon. Steve and Bucky could barely get tipsy any longer but there was comfort in taking the drink, Peggy had barely touched the bottle. She had not really liked the taste then.

Still, they were happy to drink together in the blacked-out room, taking a breather from the intensity of war. Steve and Peggy were known to be sweethearts and Bucky had spent much of the evening teasing. Steve had looked downright murderous when Bucky had asked Peggy to dance. Peggy had smacked Bucky up the back of his head and then kissed Steve. There had been so much laughter that night. The next time Peggy had been alone with Steve there had been no laughter, no teasing. Bucky’s death had changed Steve, but it did bring him and Peggy even closer together.

Now they all had second chances. With complications. They were outlaws. A modern day Robin Hood with his Marion and his Merry Men. Bucky had his complications from his time as the Winter Soldier. And Peggy had her own complications from the Infinity Stones that had restored her.

But they were together and on the same side once more.

“You two should spend the night and leave for Wakanda in the morning. I should be able to follow within a day.” Peggy leant her head against Steve’s shoulder.

“Peg, I have to ask. Will you tell Sharon the truth?”

“Not yet. It puts her in too much danger. When this fall out from the accords has come to a resolution and order has been restored, then I will tell her. Though it pains me to keep it from her.”

“And what about Tony?” Bucky asked. He was sitting sideways on his chair letting his arm drape down the side, out of sight. “Are you sure Tony can be trusted to keep your secret safe?”

“Though neither of you were around to see Tony and I, there is a strong bond that is very different from what I had with Howard. I was Tony’s Godmother and he can be trusted with this. Even if he is lost in hatred and grief. He can be trusted.”

Peggy was worried about Tony. His PTDS seemed to have worsened and she worried how bad it would become now he knew about his parents. She would have to hope he could forgive her for her part in the deception, they simply believed it was better that he did not know. It was above his clearance and could do him no good. She could only hope that he would keep her faith but she was concerned, no matter what she said to Steve and Bucky.

Of Vision, she had no concerns. He was where he had to be. And the part of him that was Edwin would never betray her.

The two men were appeased by her assurances and soon all were ready to retire for the night. Bucky hugged Peggy, his one good arm around her so tight it felt as strong as his other arm. He saluted Steve and then wandered off to find a guest room to claim as his own.

Steve followed Peggy to her bedroom. Though there was still plenty to talk about, neither were keen to talk. They chose instead to be in each other’s arms with nothing of the world to distract them from each other.

They both knew all too well how precious these moments were.

 

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 15 – Fighter

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Always loved this song since it came out, so it made sense the Muse would find a strong scene to run with. Not so far back in time this time, 1940’s, and a story that I’m dying to find the time to write. But there is much to do before this truly comes to life. In the meantime, enjoy

Fighter

The Church was meant to provide sanctuary, it was meant to be a safe place. But this war did not discriminate between the sinner and the saints. It did not take pity on the weak and the innocent.

The soldiers were just following orders and because of it, everyone would be killed.

“Elizabeth, please, we have to hide.”

“You go to the children, and whatever you hear, do not come out.” Nobody at home called her Elizabeth but they were not at home and she had been separated from the others. It was just her now to protect these women and children that had been left behind.

She could hear the trucks now, she could hear the men with their guns and their orders. The men with nothing good left in their hearts.

Just following orders. Who would want to live and kill a child as payment? No, she would rather die than follow these orders but man was ever a selfish creature. Landscapes changed with time but it seemed the soul of mortal man did not.

“Go!” She yelled and pushed the young nun back towards the church. The nun gave a final backwards glance and went. There was no hope in that look. Only fear.

Elizabeth could not blame her for that.

The resistance would come. The others would come. She had faith that they would not be far behind her now. This is what their elite team was trained for.

These men would find out why her code name was Fury.

Fury would begin with fear or at least a pretence of it. She felt no fear, even if she was to find death. She would die with honour in her heart. She felt only that fury for what these men had done and what they would do.

Orders? That was no defence.

They smelled of blood and sweat and excrement as they arrived and approached her. There were jokes, they would not think she spoke the mother-tongue. But she did and the fury grew.

No man should wish that on a woman, on another.

“Please, do not hurt me.” She begged in flawless French.

They continued to advance.

“S’il vous plait. S’il vous plait.”

They understood that, and some found the pleading amusing.

The fury grew.

A soldier stepped close to this tearful woman and took her by the wrist in a firm grasp. The words he spoke to her did not require translation, the look in his eyes said enough.

The fury grew.

“You should not have said that. You should not have come here.” She spoke English now, and this it seemed he understood or perhaps he simply understood the change in her. “You have new orders. Go to hell.”

His eyes widened but any cry for help he might have made died on his lips as she went for his throat. She did not wish to drink from him, she just wished to end him. And she did, he dropped, blood gushing from his wound as he gurgled.

She pounced upon the next soldier and he screamed.

The air filled with the sounds of gunshots and screams.

She just had to keep them from the children and the women until back-up arrived. They were not far away now.

A bullet tore through her arm but she did not let it slow her down.

She had a duty to stand up against evil. She had a duty to fight against tyranny. She did not do this because she was following orders, she did this because it was right. And when people stopped doing what they knew was right out of fear, then evil won.

The men were dying and she found a final soldier cowering in the truck. He was little more than a child, he was unblooded and terrified.

And she spared him.

Because it was right.

She did not let him near to his radio, though. She might have spared him but that did not mean she had to trust him. And so they sat in a heavy silence as she waited for the others to arrive.

They were not far behind.

“Mother Mary, love.” Her husband spoke with pride in his voice as he surveyed the carnage. “You might win this war for us without the need for the allies.”

“I can’t be in all places at once. Even Meggie isn’t that powerful.” She laughed and let Edwin hug her. Her attention only straying from the young soldier once he was in the hands of the resistance.

“He’s not a killer, yet,” she said and the Frenchman nodded and led the boy away.

“You do realise that you could have been killed.” Edwin chided.

“I’m hard to kill.”

“And you’re injured,” Edwin led her to the medic to have the bullet removed so she could heal smoothly.

She leant her head against his shoulder and tried to ignore the pain. Even a Child of the Night could feel pain.

Edwin sighed and squeezed her against him. “I wouldn’t have been able to talk you out of taking on a whole squad even if I’d been here, would I?”

“No,” she replied. “This is my duty, to stand against those who would harm the innocent. It is not a duty I will shy from. Not while injustice remains in the world. I have a duty, we all do.”

 

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 14 -Lovers entwined divine

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A haunting song that could only lead to a haunting tale. Sometimes it’s hard to do these without giving away spoilers of things to come in the books but I do my best. Back in time again we go, enjoy.

Lovers entwined divine

 

“We might only have this night.”

“Then we love with all that is in us until I see you again. I will see you again?”

“Not with these eyes perhaps but I will find you.”

“You swear it?”

“I swear it.”

She took his blade and pierced his thumb and then her own. She mixed their blood and marked their foreheads. An ancient promise, the magic in the blood.

He kissed her fiercely. The fates were cruel and again and again, they were ripped apart. This time, at least this time they remembered the past and they pleaded for a future. A future where they could love each other, where they could stay together. A future where she was not hunted and he was not taken.

This present was not that future, they both knew it. Those who pursued them were too close to them now and there was no escape. A great ocean lay at their backs and soldiers approached from all directions. He would fight, fight until he had no fight left in him. She would fight, she would try to flee, but they both knew how it ended. How it always ended.

“To love me is danger and pleasure but your love is my only treasure. I will wait for you. I will search for you.”

She stood and unlaced the ties that held her dress together at the shoulders and it fell to her ankles leaving her bathed in nothing but the waning moonlight. He was quick to remove his own clothes but left his sword close. They did not know how much time they had and he would have need of it before the sun rose, that much they knew.

“I will wait for you, I will come for you. I swear it, my shining one.” There were tears in his eyes now, he was not happy to be lost to her so soon after they had found each other. After they had remembered each other. “My Queen. My goddess.”

She smiled at him and at the memory of other lives, of other times he had called her goddess and kissed her. He did so again. His lips claiming hers with an almost bruising force.

He called her goddess and then he would be gone. The fates would see to it.

But they had tonight.

“I bind myself to you again, my soul and heart are yours,” She spoke ancient words of promise and union.

“I bind myself to you again, my heart and soul remain yours,” He replied as he slowly lowered them down onto the rough blanket that would be their bed this night.

“I give myself willingly.”

“I give myself willingly.”

There were no words after that, none were needed.

A wind rose up, whipping around them but never touching them. For these moments the very elements would give them privacy, would keep all who might harm them at bay. It was a gift of the cruel fates, there would be a balance. Good for the bad. And there would be bad.

At sunrise, the soldiers came, led by a man who would never feel anything but hate for them both. A petty man who had taken more power than he was entitled to and still wished for more.

The two lovers stood side by side. He lifted his sword and she wielded the magic she wished to be free of.

Many lay dead when the battle was finished. She wept over the body of her beloved, his blood soaking her body.

“I will find you again,” She promised and then they came for her.

When they were done with her she would not remember as she had. Her body and mind would be broken again. This was her curse and her punishment.

At least this time she knew why. At least this time the daughter of the Dragon Queen remembered.