“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Three Part Two

The center was in an uproar. Vampires filled the hallways, and scraps broke out between factions who hissed at each other. Everyone seemed to be blaming the vampires that had been on the expedition for Bella being wounded. Werewolves (Munch included) arrived in the already crowded hall, pretending to be the peacekeepers. The situation was tense, and I was just trying to stay out of it.

That meant I was squished up against the wall, Conan on one side and a gang of vampires hissing on the other.

“So who are you?” Conan asked calmly, as if he really couldn’t care less about the fight brewing right before us.

“Chaos,” I muttered viciously, watching as one vampire from the team was being shoved by others. This was bad.

“I’m Kuryo,” Conan said. He pronounced it like Charr had, ‘ gor-ye-o’. I ignored him, eyes on the fight.

“You’re Conan now,” I snapped viciously. Was there a way I could stop this fight? Surely all this wasn’t good for Bella. She was right on the other side of this hallway, beyond those surgery doors…

Two vampires from the team came to the rescue of their comrade, but they got shoved by Munch. Three other vampires added in, ganging up on their blodosucking friends. A howl went up, and even I, disconnected from the hivemind, could feel that someone was about to be punished for what had happened to Bella.

But Bella wouldn’t want this – but what could I do.

Just as I was overthinking that, I saw Munch draw a knife.

“No!” I shouted, lurching out of my huddle against the wall. In two blinks I found myself in the middle of it all, pointing down Munch. “Put that away!” I ordered.

There was that half-second of pure silence where everyone was just as shocked as I was. Munch blinked, then recovered from his shock. “Oh yeah? Says who?” he sneered, lifting the knife in the air.

“Bella wouldn’t want you all to be fighting,” I snapped. “She-”

“You don’t know her!” a vampire shrieked from behind me. “You were here for what – two days?”

I flicked my eyes up to the ceiling to curse, then took a deep breath. “Bella was very clear -”

“You’re not one of us!” shouted the vampire who Munch had been threatening. They pushed me away from them. Hands grabbed me from behind. I wrenched free, only to stumble back into the middle of the blame circle.

A sense of calm filled me. A fight was coming, and I just knew it. Cool, I could make it out alive. Instinctively I drew my dice – and saw that this was the one that Amitabha had given me. And it was 20 side up.

I pocketed it, closing my eyes. “Listen to me-” and an idea struck me. Could I remember Bella’s words?

Could I…

I spoke the words, and they made no noise. Silence fell, the impact sudden and forceful. It was like the sound being turned off on a film.

The air quivered as I spoke, repeating the few words I knew over and over. Bodies slumped, resting against each other. Groans rose. I could feel the artificial peace forcing itself onto their minds, stilling them. Forcing them into docility.

Except one. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Conan watching the scene with a detached interest. He alone wasn’t experiencing the artificial nirvana.

That jolted me out of it. I stumbled my words, and forget them. My last sound was a clearing of the throat, pretending it had been intentional.

The mood shattered. Heads were lifted and eyes blinked as if everyone was just waking from a dream. I clapped my hands.

“Okay, Bella wants us to work together, I’m sure. Who wants to go get the one who shot her? You should be able to hunt her down.”

At this, Conan visibly paled. Not indifferent any more? Well, sucks to be him.

“Bring her back here,” I ordered. “As unharmed as possible, so that Bella can deal with her. How about that?”

There were hisses and shrieks of agreement. Werewolves howled, and the order had been reestablished. The hunters were dispatched and the others let them go. Vampires returned to their duties, clearing the hall.

I let out a deep breath and turned. Conan was still watching, a frown on his face. “What?” I asked, feeling pretty smug. I wanted to rub my victory in his face. See? See? I’m better than you.

“Didn’t know there were two of you,” he said, shrugging as if he didn’t care.

I took that as a compliment. Me and Bella, a team! But I played it calm, pretending to be as disinterested as he was. “I suppose,” was all I said. Secretly, I was hoping this would convince Bella to keep me around.

/////

I don’t know how long surgeries normally take on magical beings, but Bella was not out as the sun set and the hunting teams came back, tail between their legs. Charr had reached a major road and her scent had vanished, they mumbled to me as if reporting for duty. I nodded, then instructed them all to get some rest.

They bowed at me, then left. At my side, I knew Conan had noticed all this. I still felt pretty proud, but somehow guilty as well. Surely Bella would keep me on (I hoped!) and find some way to counter FoxFace’s spells but… Did I really want that?

I shook myself mentally. I had come back from the Pure Lands for Bella. I would save her from herself. I would stay by her side.

Out through the windows, the sun set on beautiful ribbons of pink and purple over the treetops. Conan was still here, and I nastily decided not to send him home. Let him suffer here with me. No comfy chairs for him.

I found myself sitting on the floor, back against the wall. Conan was standing on one leg against the wall for what seemed like hours. What, was he half bird? Stupid guy.

The night stretched on, and on, and on. I rubbed my burning eyes and wished for the comfy bed in the house. I wished for Bella to be okay, by my side, and for us to be together again…

I woke from my sleep by the sudden feeling of Bella. My eyes snapped open and I jumped – and she was right before me, crouching down so we were eye level. Her blue eye was glowing and a large grin was on her face.

“Hey,” she crooned, her hands smoothing over mine. “You stayed here?”

“Of course,” I mumbled, reaching to hug her. She slid into my arms and I nestled against her, overflowing with happiness. Her heartbeat thumped from her chest to mine, strong and healthy now. I squeezed her tightly – and saw Conan watching us from not far away enough. He was standing on his other leg now and watched shamelessly.

Bella drew back to hold me at arms’ length. She ran her fingers over my hair. “Your hair is too short,” she murmured and a guilty thrill went through me.

“Yeah,” I agreed, smiling stupidly.

She rose to her feet. “Come on, let’s go home.”

Hand in hand, we walked down the hall together. Butterflies filled me and I couldn’t stop grinning. Even the knowledge that Conan lurked behind us, tailing like a sulking shadow, didn’t down me. Let him be there. I was the one Bella wanted.

“Dreaming of Lights”; Chapter Two, Part Two

Lights glowed up from the creases where the floor met the walls. Blue hued, it made the very air seem cold.

Well,” Master pulled off his fake afro and tossed it aside. His natural hair tumbled down. In this lighting, all that one could see was the deep darkness of his base color, and the jet blue that glistened metallic in streaks throughout. I wanted to clap my hands in glee and touch it. I always wanted to touch his hair. It was a sign of his birth lineage, a sign of his world, of this strangeness, of everything here.

He gave me a stern look. “Are you ready?” Not that now was the time to be un-ready, obviously. But he wanted to be sure I was focused. I nodded, reaching to my hips for my hidden daggers. He returned the nod in silent agreement at my actions and flicked his wrist out. A small handle slid down his sleeve. The moment it touched his palm it unclicked and the sword slid out as if it was unfolding. Though he had explained the minutia of the process to me before, it still seemed like magic. There was no creases in the blade and that samurai sword couldn’t possibly fit within its own handle. Pure magic.

He would tutt and shake his head if he knew I still believed in such things. “The ethereal is not magic,” he would scoff. “It is quantifiable. Measurable. Moveable. We know what it is. Magic is silly.”

Yet even his own eyes seemed like magic to me. What else was I to believe in? Believe in the moment, I had told myself so long ago. Just roll with it.

And so I did. As so many times before, he took the first step and I slid into pace at his side, always just one step behind him. That way I could mirror his every move while still being within reach- a very important thing for us.

It was swiftly put to the basest of tests when we rounded our first corner, again, a left turn. Here the lighting turned a bright orange-hue that beamed down from the top of the walls as if pretending to be normal. Yet there were no bulbs that shed this light. It was a (magic) ethereal sign that we had switched worlds.

I had very little time to acknowledge the lighting however. The hall was suddenly filled with party-goers. As silent as the entry had been, here was chaotic with laughter, the throbs of music that imitated the echoes from out of doors yet was somehow different. And here, no one partied with drinks in hand. The women – for they mostly were women- swirled and danced and laughed loudly with hands at their sides instead of aloft. On their chests hung the black squares, all of them.

A group of five turned towards us, laughing and whooping as they rushed with arms outstretched. Before I could wonder, master dodged to the side and I seamlessly followed. The women swooped by, their fingers skimming past my shoulder. Laughing, they swooped on mindlessly.

As a trailing afterthought that whispered in their wake, master hissed to me. “Beware the black squares. If they touch you, you will become one of them.”

The squares-?” I hesitated. He had quickened his pace. More partygoers swirled around us, and I began to notice strange things. Limbs jutting like spiders’ legs from the squares. Some had eyes that grew and blinked from within the black.

They’re alive,” master muttered as we dodged a man who was walking, laughing and senselessly ambling along. His eyes did not seem to see, but he was grinning madly as if this was the best party of his life. We ducked by his side easily, but the six spider-like limbs that hung from either side of the square reached for us. It’s bulging eyes rolled and the square squirmed towards us as we passed on.

At the end of this corridor, all pretense of normalcy had passed. The house began revealing its true colors, one shade in every turn that presented itself to us.

There were three. The leftmost side was a brilliant orange in keeping with the hues of this hall. To the middle was red. To the rightmost was red. I looked to master. He did not miss a beat.

Orange will be easiest,” he said, deciphering the silent code of colors. And so we took the orange hallway.

As we progressed, there were doors and turns that presented themselves to us. I did not bother trying to understand the rhyme and reason of master’s choices. Were it up to me, we would be hopelessly lost in this madman’s maze within seconds. Left, right, left, – I did not try to keep track. Instead I kept my eyes fixated upon the walls which had now turned strangely desert again. The doors, in glimmering hues that glistened under the brilliant orange lighting, were beginning to shine with spirit-marks. Footprints of the ethereal, master would scoldingly say.

One twist that brought us straight up a flight of stairs, then presented us with another corridor. To our left hung a black curtain, thirty feet long. Master pulled it back.

On the wall, completely covering the wall and beamed down upon by more orange light, was a giant painting. It spoke of oil spills, of lustrous velvety fabrics, and of drinks so desirable it grew moth wings into mouths. It throbbed with life, glistening all over with slumpering life.

Master quickly drew it shut. “Almost there,” he said to me under his breath, so not as to wake the sleeping danger.

I have Twitter!

So, seeing as I recently got an influx of twitter-people looking at my blog, I decided to bite the bullet and, yep, get a tweetin’ account. I’m really not sure how much I’ll use it, but I’m definitely looking forward to meeting more people through it!

So, if you have twitter, follow me at mdaoust245 on twitter!

Other than that, I’m pleased to announce that “My Name is Chaos” is almost done being formatted and edited, and will be published soon on the trusty website Smashwords (where you can find me at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TwoLoveBirds )!

Anyone else have a twitter account? Drop your links, I’d love to have people to follow!

“Dreaming of Lights”; Chapter One, Part Three

I cawed for help. I shrieked. I flapped and flapped and wiggled my butt in the hopes of getting those feathers to do their job. Ingloriously, it made me think of pilates. Clench the buttcheeks! Wave the arms! Automatically, my legs paddled the air as well, and I must have looked like an idiot trying to run through the air.
Careening through the air, climbing up with no hopes of getting down, I found myself looping towards a tower.
Now, I want to take a minute to say that this tower wasn’t painted in brilliant orange with ‘forbidden tower’ scrawled over it. It just – no one went there is all.
It also just so happened to have a gridded balcony, sort of like a safety ramp, all around the top. I aimed for that, figuring I could sit up here until I got help.
With a zoom I careened towards the tower. A side draft of wind nearly bashed me into the tower, and I didn’t so much land as I flew to the floor and stuck my legs out and began to walk. Skittering to a stop, I slammed sideways against the tower’s wall.
Okay, I told myself. Okay. Ouch.
The wind whipped at me and I suddenly seemed to realize just how far I’d climbed. High, in short. Nauseatingly high. And this balcony? Not quite a balcony. More like a thin walkway that you could see through. Very thin.
I mean, it certainly was, what, five crows wide, but to me right then it was like a tightrope. I squished myself up against the wall and felt my heart pound in my throat.
Then I heard laughter. “Very well!” a man cheered.
I nearly jumped out of my skin. Whoa? Someone was here? Where? I looked all around before I realized that the voices were coming from within the building.
Help! I thought. Someone help me!
Feeling like every step was a gargantuan task, I began creeping forward, digging my fingers/claws in through the holes of the grid. Looking up, I crept my way around the corner. There, I poked my head around and up – and saw in through a large window.
Inside, from my bizarrely low angle, I saw Mister Murney and several other men I didn’t recognize. They looked like parents. Filthy rich too. They were pale like glass, wearing crisp white clothes like you saw in the magazines, and were lounging on a sofa. They were all in a sloppy ring, and at the center was someone, who was bowing to each person in turn.

Thank you for summoning me,” the person said in a feminine voice. As they straightened, shudders slid down my spine and all my feathers poked up.
The woman had slick black hair that fell into her face. Her eyes were a brilliant orange. Her features were strange. I couldn’t place her lineage by sight, which was strange. For though she had pale skin paler than I had ever seen, her features weren’t wealthy. There was something familiar to her, like she could have come from my own family. Her suit was an impeccable black and tailored to flatter her in every aspect, but it shimmered and sparkled with sequins like an evening dress. Oh, and she was wearing a little black bowtie.

We expect you to do exactly as we say,” one blonde man was saying.
The woman laughed, a strange and high-pitched cackle. She flipped a hand up and rolled her eyes to the sky. “Of cou-urse!” she laughed. “I just can’t tell you all how excited I am to be here! It’s an opportunity I’ve been waiting for-“
The men interrupted her. Typical. “We have arranged everything. You will be set to work straightaways. And,” this man, whom I could not see, added emphasis to his words. “We expect results.”
Again, that twittering laugh. She planted a hand on her hip and swung a hip out, looking down to her left at where the man must have been seated. “Don’t worry about that! I am the ah, result-maker?” She laughed at her own bad pun.
The men were not amused. Sure, they were smiling, but it was as if they weren’t seeing her. They were seeing beyond, imagining the results they so spoke of.

So!” the lady clapped her hands together twice and up high with a flourish. “Let’s do this!”
There was scuffles of chairs being scraped back. The woman began, in quiet tones that were still so nasally high-pitched, speaking to one member. I saw her place her hand on his shoulder as they walked away.
A door creaked open, and footsteps led away. I held my breath and counted to four. The business meeting was over – and now I just had to go through the window and follow them. Well! With a flap and a hop I propelled myself up to the window.
I smashed unceremoniously into the glass. Green shimmers marked it as being marked with a barrier. No souls could pass through.
With a flop I landed on the grid-like landing. My mind careened, not just in pain. This room was magically locked? How was anyone supposed to get out in case of an emergency? I thought all buildings, per protocol, had to be magically transparent to allow safe evacuations. Maybe that’s why no one came up to this tower. It wasn’t safe!
Curious and just wanting to get a look at what was surely a forbidden area, I hopped up onto the ledge. Inside, there was a dusty room, a dusty coffee table, and a few leather chairs from a few decades ago. I blinked, not even seeing a file folder or trace of the meeting.
Then, fleetingly, it struck me that this was a strange place to hold a parent-teacher meeting, or whatever kind of meeting it was. In an unsafe room, at the top of an unused tower, and in uncomfortable chairs.
Weird, but I had a bigger predicament facing me.

Hey everyone!

I just noticed that there is, indeed, more people on this blog thanks to a shoutout I did to the trans community. That warms my little heart. I love meeting members of the trans community, and I really love sharing my stories with everyone. It makes me smile like a goof whenever I get a comment, like, or a post share. I’ve spent most of my life being very lonely, and writing is my great passion, and so when you smack meeting people and sharing about my novels together, I get super happy! My writing is so close to my heart, it’s hard to put into words. I put a ridiculous amount of thought and meaning into every detail (except for maybe curtains haha) and even when I ‘wing it’, the story bears a lot of meaning for me. So feel free to chat! I’m dropping a summary of where and how to find me online here, for anyone who is curious/interested and wants to get to know me more.

Really, feel free to talk to me, I don’t bite and again, love to discuss my writing. Also, I’m on the lookout for beta readers, so if that interests you, let me know (preferably on facebook so that I don’t lose your message)! Finally, if you like my writing but are too broke to buy the novels I’ve put up on smashwords for sale (and those I will eventually put for sale on amazon), I can send them to you ~ on condition. The condition is that I really would like something in return, like a fanart, an interpretive essay, or something. I like seeing how others see my work, and knowing how much they liked it. Also, I’ve always dreamed of getting fanart so it would be a check on my bucket list! If this does happen, unless you really don’t want it shared, I’ll be posting it to my blog for all to see, which brings me to my final point -> if you are a trans artist of any kind and want to collab, hit me up! Even if you don’t want to collab and just want a shoutout of some kind, I’m glad to help out a fellow trans sibling.

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Trans Birdie Loves You All!!!

My Links:

https://www.instagram.com/twolovebirds245/

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TwoLoveBirds

https://www.facebook.com/groups/569454026857758/about/

https://archiveofourown.org/users/mdaoust245

Another Transgender Character?! Why?

This post is a shameless excuse to just pour my mind out there, and especially to share a quick (only 2 hours lol) sketch I did of a character.unnamed character color.jpeg

I’m never going to say my art is amazing. I do it mainly because it’s fun and it helps me think and sort out a story. But another thing I do to sort out a story is to talk about it, and while talking last time to a dear person, I received a not-quite-eyeroll when I mentioned that this character, due to their identity in the dream, was transgender.

Excuse me? An eyeroll? At me?

Alright, you can eyeroll at some of my more ridiculous ideas. But that my characters are trans? Why? I mean, if someone was to do like Bridget Essex and launch themselves into lesbian novels, what’s the problem? Why can’t I do transgender novels? Aren’t we supposed to write about what we know best?

Here’s why not: transgender people are ‘too bizarre’ for the average person to be able to relate. They’re also such a minority that it’s ‘ridiculous’ to have them constantly be in your stories as main characters.

Well hmph to that idea. I’mma do what I want, but I resent the fact that this idea is out there. I resent that transgenders, because we are a minority, because we are disruptive of the gender norms, we are seen as ‘too much’ for the average person to be able to digest.  I don’t think any kind of person’s existence should be ‘too much’ to be highlighted. For crying out loud, we talk a whole lot about shark deaths, and aren’t transgender people more common?!

On a final note, isn’t it time we discuss transgender folk? We’ve always been here, accepted and given specific roles in so many cultures and places! When is it going to be ‘the right time’ to have a transgender character? When will we be ‘palatable enough’?

Grump.

Mental Illness and Writing – Again?!

One thing that I think is peculiar to me and my kind of weirdness (please feel free to prove me wrong! I’d like to not be the only one, haha) is my relationship with music and writing.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that I get inspiration/messages from my dreams. Well, a similar thing happens with music. I will get a song stuck in my head as a sort of ‘message’. No, it’s not the same thing as just having a song stuck in your head. This kind of ‘stuck in your head’ is obsessive. It carries meaning and weight to it.

Inevitably, or at least quite often, this gets mixed in with my writing process. For example, yesterday I had inspiration for a new story (Yeah!). Today, for the third time, I went to try and begin writing that story. And for the third time, it’s flopping. I want it so bad but no words are coming. One could say it’s not ‘manifesting’.

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Here is the picture I drew today of the future characters!

And yet – I was able to draw the characters, with a certain song playing (and only this song) – The Bells of Notre Dame. As I listened to this song on repeat, I felt like the song was talking to me. I felt like it had a message for me, if only I could grasp it.

But did I grasp it? Not quite, not yet. I feel like I’ve gotten hints but not the whole picture. Maybe more will come when I sit down to write yet again. Definitely, I will be drawing inspiration for it and trying to use it to set the tone/theme of the story. But further than that, it’s hard to put into words what the music ‘teaches’ us in these moments. Certainly I can say some things like ‘focus on this character more than that one’ and ‘there’s probably lots of doom and gloom’ – but how do you explain getting that out of a song? I can’t. I like to just stick the song in a playlist that I’ve made for my writing, and just let the magic happen. I tell myself it’s maybe a sign from the gods. On the worst of days I tell myself it’s nothing.

But it is something. And I wish I knew what. I wish I knew whether this was a symptom of paranoia or a hallucination, or whether it was a sign from the gods.

Because, the thing that’s miserable in all this, is that music used to really be a source of hallucination for me. It used to speak to me, drive me into ecstatic states, and always felt like it was on the verge of being a language in my head. So is this just a leftover from those experiences? I hope not.

If anyone has similar experiences, I’d love to hear them, really.

 

A Success!

SO! Ladies and Gentlemen and folks in between! I switched up my medication from late at night to early morning and guess-freaking-what?! I had a dream. Three of them, to be exact. One of them was yummy trippy novel material, one was spiritual, and one was maybe short story material.

So what’s my point? Well the point is that I was super motivated, thinking I could merge the first story idea with another sci fi novel I’m working on. The long and the short of it is that no, the stories decided not to merge. BUT- drumroll- I finished the story I was working on!

Y’all -> I finished Kuryo’s trilogy! At least the rough draft, clocking in at about 160,000 words, is DONE as of half an hour ago!

I couldn’t be much more excited! In the past 24 hours I’ve had a publishing offer (which I don’t want to jinx), fresh story material, and now I’ve finished a series’ rough draft! YAY!

So I’m actually short on time right now, so I won’t introduce you to Kuryo or his series, but trust me -> it’s an exciting one!

 

Chapter Three!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that chapter three of Adelaide and Shadow’s story is available to be read either below or at the link on the page 🙂 Enjoy and do let me know what you think!

Chapter Three

War had commenced. And, inadvertently, so had the soiling of the pants. For the Denerspellians who had eaten too many treats were now beginning to fall ill to the effects. The army marched off into the hillside, far enough to be away from catapults and arrows, but close enough to shout insults and pull their tongues at the castle. The Denerspellian flag was planted and the land claimed for all Denerspell. Then latrines were built before camp was set, as many a stomach was grumbling and faces were clenching in pain. The prince, munching on what was supposed to be a peach but what actually was a soggy turnip, began wondering what was this mysterious ailment that was striking at his soldiers.

Night settled, and patrols were sent out to fetch food from the peasants. What they found was plenty of peasants willing to exchange food for trinkets from ‘beyond’ – and very grumpy fairies.

“We found a whole lot of them!” the commander bellowed as he burst into the prince’s tent.

The prince sat up from where he had been slumped in his chair. His expression had brightened strangely, but at the sight of was was being tugged in, he returned to being bitter.

“Fairies?” he said bitterly as he crossed his legs. “We already have one. How much more glitter do we need? Do you want us all to sparkle?”

“Let us go!” said the fairy chieftain, outraged at the rope that had clumsily been looped around her waist. “We have come to speak with you!”

“Why does everyone insist on talking so much?” the prince groaned. “I hate talking.”

The commander thought this as a chance to raise himself up in the ranks. “I agree! Slash slash stabbity is much more fun!”

The prince pressed his face into his palm, peering out between his fingers. He was not impressed. In the back of his mind, he made a note to demote the commander a rank or two.

The Fairy marched forward, tossing off the rope magically and kicking aside the commander. “Why did you not invade the castle?”

“That is none of your business,” the prince said coldly. Then, as villains are wont to do, he began explaining himself so that his plans were laid bare. “There was a trap. They opened the doors for us.”

The Fairy chieftain blinked repeatedly. The prince crossed his arms sourly. The commander imitated, thinking that his promotion would be soon.

“But the frogs!” The Fairy wailed.

The prince smirked. “Need help with something?”

The Fairy chieftain’s eyes narrowed. Behind her, the other fairies frowned and shuffled their wings in uneasiness. Was their chief going to make a pact with such a villainous figure? He wore black and red! He had long black hair! He had taken their messenger prisoner! He seemed quite villainous.

“I would speak with you alone,” said the Fairy Chief finally. The prince smirked.

“As you wish,” he said, waving out the commander and the other fairies.

The minute the curtain-like panel to the tent was closed, the fairy laid down the law, so to speak. “Now let me be clear with you, you little sprout,” she said while pointing a delicate finger between the prince’s eyes. “You would not be here without our help! It is thanks to us, and that poor messenger you’ve put in a cage, that you did not become a pile of warts in that blabbering marsh!”

“And I am so grateful,” the prince said without a shred of graciousness. He pushed aside the faries’ tiny hand in his much larger one.

The fairy snatched her hand back and prodded him between the eyes. “You are going to do exactly as I say! Invade that castle! Get! Rid! Of those! Frogs!” And with every of those words she prodded the prince again between the eyes.

The prince scowled and pushed her hand aside once more. “And what if I do not?”

The fairy drew herself up, hovering a little above the ground. She drew upon her majesty and made herself look as imposing as she could. “Then I will call upon the Fire Lady to come and rout you out! And then I will summon the Dark Queen of the Mountain elves – and she will pulverize you!”

The prince winced. “Alright. Fine. Have it your way. How am I supposed to get inside that castle?”

Wings fluttering in disdain, the fairy straightened imperiously. She looked the prince over. True, she reconsidered, now that the foolish prince had not taken the castle by surprise the frogs might be wary and prepared…

“I will show you a secret passage,” she said.

The prince could not help but grin. “A secret passage?” he repeated nastily, leaning forward in greed.

Night fell upon Farfadel, quaint and troublesome. For many of the folks of the land, the buzzers and bumblers and blitzers who magically roamed about on wings of magic, things were now lighted by way of the moon – and by way of the Denerspellian torches. There was quite a lot of these torches set up all around their hasty camp.

“It’s as if they want us to know that they are there,” muttered the seasoned (in books) commander within the Farfadelian castle. He stood upon the ramparts, squinting his eyes at the Denerspellians and chewing upon a straw.

“Sir, you do not need to squint,” said the guard beside him. “They are plainly visible.”

“I will squint all I want to!” snapped the commander before striking a pose that he thought made him look like a mysterious and dangerous soldier. It gave him a strange hunch and made everyone else correct their posture. “Aye,” the commander monologued, impressing himself with his own knowledge “why, they’re up to something.”

The guards knew better than to answer, but many a snarky responses came to their minds and were shared later on in the night. For now, they sucked in their breaths and were forced to listen to the commander’s dramatic hero’s monologue.

“Why, here we are!, they cry out. Come and get us,” he said, leaning dramatically onto the rampart and nodding to himself. “And we shall. We shall.”

There was a healthy moment of pause wherein the commander wondered what his next thoughts were. When they came to him he was once again impressed by his own intelligence and clever tactics. “Tommorrow, at the crack of dawn, we will burn their battering ram before them! It will be a symbolic act of defeat! Yes, yes,” and he nodded to himself. Then he continued his terrible monologuing, waning and waxing on about the perils of siege warfare, and how every soldier had to be stout and – well, stout (the commander did not know all that many words, you see) and how everyone had to have “a stiff lower lip!”.

The soldiers groaned. They rolled their eyes and pretended to keep watch.

It was a terrible thing, really, for if they had actually kept watch instead of merely pretending to, they would have seen something interesting.

What they would have seen was a shrouded series of figures leaving the back of the Denerspellian camp. They were led by a figure holding a bird cage before itself, the bird cage glowing slightly through its hood-like cover. A tiny hand pointed the way through the folds that covered the cage. If one had looked closely, they would have had shivers down their spine at such a nasty and sneaky sight!

But of course, the Farfadelians did not notice, and their commander talked on and on into the night. Amongst the Denerspellians, a similar problem was happening, but in the inverse. It was the soldiers who could not be hushed, or more appropriately their stomachs.

“This is a stealth operation!” hissed the Denerspellian commander, just before his own stomach groaned and his bowels quivered and clenched. He grimaced, one eye growing larger than the other. The revenge of the honeycakes, it was being called.

The beautiful prince, of course, was having no such problem. He snuck on ahead stealthy and agile like a panther while the miserable captive fairy pointed the way. What way were they taking? Why, a mysterious way that led into the castle’s very cellar.

It was a way that led them winding through the valley, and into the Forbidden Mountains. It wound them round and round tree trunks and cairns and through little foot paths – all until they reached the gaping maw of a cave.

There, the hand pointed within. “This will lead you to the royal cellars. Climb the stairs, and seize the castle!”

“I know what to do,” hissed the prince. He glanced quickly over his shoulder to be sure his soldiers still were there. They were, and miserably so. They were grimacing, holding their tummies, and doing their best to put a chipper expression on a very miserable situation for all of them. The prince, thinking they were all just a lazy bunch of bums, set the bird cage down. As he did, the fairy jumped for joy.

“Freedom!” she squealed, shaking her tiny fists into the air. Silently, she also cried out “No more turnips!” for that was all that was being fed to her. That and barley meal. But the turnips were far worse than the barley meal was.

But the prince cruelly laughed. “No freedom for you!” he said spitefully. Then, stooping before the cage, he added. “You’re too useful!” Then, straightening, he called out to his men. “Someone stand watch over the fairy! The rest of you- with me!”

And he, rather bravely, led the way straight into the mouth of the cave. I say bravely, dear reader, for who knows what could have been in that cave? It could have housed a dragon! It could have housed golems and ghouls and given everyone the gout! It could have been the secret lair of a witch!

But alas, the fairy had led them true, as fairies were wont to do (unless, of course, you frustrate them, in which case they will play tricks upon you).

And so it was that the prince led the way into a perfectly empty cave. There was a handful of rats, a bit of bats, and even a cornucopia of cockroaches. But there was nothing really worth slaying and retelling. Instead, the prince lit a torch that illuminated his face in ghastly shapes. It made his soldiers recoil at the sight of him.

“This way,” he said eagerly, and he led on.

The soldiers, faint of heart and lacking in bravery, took a moment to reconsider. Did they really want to do this? But then they thought about how far he had led them- and they decided to follow him some more. After all, they muttered to each other, he was the first prince to lead the Denerspellians true through the marsh! He must be a true hero!

“If we go along, we will be heroes too,” they thought, hoping to leech some of his glory and power for themselves.

Oh, how wrong they were. The prince never shared anything.

But enough blabbering (I am not a marsh). Onwards, dear reader, let us follow them!

The cave was dark. The cave was dank. The cave, dear reader, was full of humongous spiders and bats! It twisted and turned, it writhed and grovelled through the bowels of the earth, and at some point it became a flight of stairs slipping and tripping everyone straight down. There was moss and lichens along the stair that cackled and hissed bad wishes at them as they made their way down. The moss, why, it even tried to blow out their torches!

It was a most terrifying descent for many a soldier- but not for the prince. He, as villains were prone to do, ushered his second in command to his side with a curling of the finger.

“This moss,” he said as the commander tripped to the prince’s side (for the prince was walking fast down these treacherous stairs!) “it is very much like the marsh we crossed. In that it talks.”

“Well yes, your highness! How observative of you!” praised the commander, still hoping for a promotion. The prince gave him the stink eye, not caring for hollow praise today.

“When I am King of all the lands, remind me to delegate permits for talking if one is not a human. That way all these marshes will have to say proper things, or they will not be allowed to speak!” Those last words he said to the moss most crossly, causing the marsh to shrivel and shrink from his presence.

But as soon as the prince had gone a few more steps the moss pulled its tongue at his back.

“Sire, your highness and majestic majesty,” the commander prattled, banging and clattering after him, “how will these marshes be given permits? And what ought they to say?”

“Encouraging things,” muttered the prince under his breath “that, and the time of day. Think of it. Wouldn’t it be useful? That way whenever you are traveling you will know the time of day and when supper is.”

The commander nodded, thinking indeed that it was always good to know when supper was.

“That, and they should tell you where you are if you ask-”

“You’re in a tunnel!” shrieked the moss.

“Only if asked!” snapped the prince most bad-temperedly, arguing with the wall. “And they should use proper titles and honorifics!”

“Your blathering high’n’up!” wailed the moss. “Your bamboozling bluffityness! Your turnip-eating snarfittysnarf!”

“Argl!” the prince snarled, shoving his torch at the stone wall. With a yelp that most pesky cluster of moss jumped up and crawled away to the ceiling. There it pulled its tongue at the prince and made ‘bla bla bla’ sounds.

With a huff the prince continued his walk, descending down down down, and arriving at a little gateway. It was not much, just a tightening in the tunnel where a curtain of roots and lichens hung like a curtain.

“Are you going to talk back to me too?” the prince asked the lichens and roots most snippily.

“No,” said the roots, shaking themselves to the side and out of his way.

“Good,” the prince muttered before passing through.

What the prince entered was a tiny room, round and earthen, with a sign on the wall that said ‘forest that way’. Before the sign was a flight of crooked and cranky wooden stairs leading up.

A most terrible feeling settled in the prince. No, it was not the revenge of the honeycakes. It was the revenge of the stairs. For now he was realizing that all those stairs that they had walked down – would have to be walked up now to get into the castle. And then presumable down and up again on their way out.

“Oh bugger it all,” he muttered as he stomped forward and up onto the stairs. “Come along, you louts!”

“Huzzah!” cheered the soldiers, for ‘louts’ was a rather encouraging insult in Denerspellian talk. It was a kind insult, and they, unlike the prince, were not exactly realizing that stairs meant more walking. They just thought they were finally within the castle.

Mercifully, the prince was stout, the prince was strong, and he was fuelled by something far stronger than his soldiers were, apparently (turnips and barley is rather good for the constitution).

For he alone made it to the top of his stairs. He alone, bad tempered and sore, reached a small door atop these cranky and crooked stairs. He alone stood there, looking back on the flight after flight that descended down, filled with aching and sore soldiers who were suffering attacks of the honeycakes.

“Why do I even have soldiers?” grumbled the prince.

“Bla bla bla!” shouted the moss from down under.

“Bugger it all,” muttered the prince as he turned and stomped through the door.

Now, fate being fateful and all that good stuff, the prince was rather lucky to not have had his army with him just then. For when he stepped through that door he was instantly in a rather large wine cellar.

Well, that in itself wasn’t particularly lucky. What was lucky was that after he left the wine cellar, climbing still more stairs (“fudging stairs” he muttered angrily under his breath) he met very few Farfadelian guards.

For, gentle reader, a great deal of the guards had been posted out of doors and upon the walls. For “This is war!” the commander proclaimed, and thereby he insisted that every able-bodied soldier be up and about and doing soldier-y stuff. Like keeping watch.

Those who were lucky enough to be indoors were busy making fun of the commander, and being pleasantly warm on this chilly night. They did not particularly pay attention to what they thought was another unfortunate being sent out of doors.

But, alas, the prince was a prince. His armor was black and dastardly as his soul, and his hair was long and flowing and spreading the scent of his shampoo all around himself.

“Stop right there!” shouted the first set of guards that the prince reached in the corridor that the cellar let out onto.

“Bugger off!” said the prince, in a terrible mood now on account of the mosses and stairs. And with his good hand, he clouted them both about the head and knocked them unconscious.

Then on marched the prince.

Up and up he marched, up and up more stairs, then up and up until he could smell the stench of frogs.

“Ah ha!” he said to himself, poking his head out of a door.

“Ah?” said the series of Farfadelian guards that were guarding the rooms of the princesses.

“Ah?” echoed the rows of tiny frogs that were guarding the room of their King’s bride-to-be.

“Hah!” said the prince, throwing his torch forward first. It exploded across the floor, giving him the element of surprise.

“Oh goodness!” said the guards as all their fancy trappings and fringes threatened to catch fire. They jumped and jostled, banging around and creating quite the havoc as they tried to put out this fire.

“Rubbit rubbit!” squealed the frogs, hopping this way and that away from the sparks.

Without uttering an evil catch phrase or even an evil laugh, the prince lurched forward into action. Whump! Whack! Whop! He knocked the guards unconscious. Then punt! Punt! Punt! He kicked the little but extremely annoying frogs out of the way.

Let it be noted, dear reader, that the torch did not catch fire to the floor. It had been magically treated so as to not catch fire, on account of a bad-tempered visit from the Fire Lady one yonder day. Due to this, the torch and sparks merely smoldered and stewed on the floor before dousing themselves off to sleep.

But in the moment, the prince did not care about that. He wouldn’t have cared if the whole castle had burnt down! “Hah!” the prince said, taking a moment to look over his disaster with a gleeful glimmer to his eye. But then there was a creak.

“Whatever is the – oh!” said the youngest and fairest princess as she opened the door to her bedchamber.

The prince drew his sword and poked the pointy end towards her. “You are coming with me!” he ordered.

The fair princess was so mortified she might as well have fainted. The prince seized her by the wrist and dragged her out. Then, holding her and still pointing his sword at her, he knocked on the other door (there was three in total, dear reader). “Out you come!” he barked. “Or I will slay your sister!”

And out came one princess, the eldest. “Oh my!” she shrieked. “Guards!” And then she looked down at the unconscious guards on the floor. “Guards?” she moaned.

Then the evil prince kicked on the last door. “Out with you too!” he barked.

The third door opened. The middle princess presented herself. She, too, was in her nightgown, but now she was drawing a traveling cape over her shoulders. “Goodness,” she muttered dryly under her breath as she glared down the prince. But then her eyes alighted on the unconscious frogs, and she sneered.

The prince then jostled and pushed the princesses before him, waving his very pointy and sharp sword at them. And so in this way he forced them down stairs upon stairs upon stairs and all the way down into the cellar. There he forced them through the door and down more stairs where his soldiers were now recuperating and groaning from their honeycake attacks.

Meanwhile, alarm horns were beginning to be blown. Unconscious guards had been found! The princesses were missing!

“This! Is! WAR!” a certain commander was heard bellowing.

“Oh goodness!” squealed the oldest princess. The youngest one, completely overcome by everything, fainted against the wall.

“Oh bugger it all!” said the prince. And so he brushed his long locks of hair out of his (very handsome) face, and he scooped up the middle princess in his arms. “Carry them!” he ordered to his soldiers before darting down the stairs.

And so, in a mad dash, he rushed headlong down down down the stairs. Then up up up the stairs with the moss wailing at him that he would never make it.

“You’re too slow!”

“Walking funny, eh?”

“My uncle walks faster!”

And all sorts of nasty things, that moss said.

The princess, for her part, said not a word. She clung to the dastardly prince’s neck and was silent the entire rush with the army through the tunnels.

Finally, the prince burst up out of the tunnels, well ahead of the rest of his army (they were all rather slovenly even in their fright).

“Oh no!” squealed the fairy at the sight of the kidnapped princesses. “But you were supposed to defeat the Frog King!”

“Bah!” said the prince. “Point the way back home!”

“But but,” and the poor fairy began having a fit as she saw the rest of the army returning with even more kidnapped princesses. “What have you done?”

“What did you think I was going to do?” snapped the prince. And he drew his sword and pointed it at the cage. “Point the way to the camp!”

Shaking with fright, the poor fairy did as she was told.

mushroom adelaide

The Great One- Character Reveal!

adelaide sketch.jpeg

I don’t want to get ahead of my story here, as I’m not sure if they’ve featured in what I’ve shared on this blog yet, but I finally drew a picture of them that I like! I’m so excited that  had to share it!

This character, also known as ‘The Great One’ is the baddest of all the badasses in Farfadel. They totally kick butt. And I don’t like them because of their power, but because of how they grow with their power. They learn to tear down their own blockages and move on, growing ever more.

Which is probably why I’ve made ‘The Great One’ a recurring character in many of my Farfadel novels. Considering that I’m sitting on a total of four unfinished Farfadel  novels, that’s a lot of echoing for one character. But hey- they deserve it!

Now I’m not telling you who they are… I’m going to let you stew on that mystery for a moment or two. But suffice to know that they’re an important character. If you can guess who the character is, you uh, get a virtual cookie? Let me know what you think!