Writing prompt #6 – Black sails of despair

france-1979547_640

Writing prompt #6 – Lovelorn

Osgar stood on the dock, watching the horizon. He heard a snort behind him. “You need to stop this, Osgar,” a rough voice said.

Osgar looked over his shoulder. His cousin Abbas was just out of arm’s reach, hands on his hips. “Why should I?” Osgar asked.

“The fleet was lost. They’re not coming back,” Abbas said. “Besides, you know she doesn’t love you.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Osgar said, feeling a stab go through his heart. “I still want her to come home safely. Not to mention my younger sister is in that fleet, as are your three sisters.”

Abbas scowled. “That’s true, and my parents and I have accepted the fact that they’re not coming back. Your parents have accepted the fact that Echo isn’t coming back. Why can’t you?”

“I can feel it in my soul,” Osgar said. “They’ll be home soon. I just know it.”

Abbas laughed. “Osgar, you traded your soul away long ago for the power to woo women. She’s the only one immune to the power you gained after that bargain.”

“There was no bargain, Abbas. You just don’t have any refinement in your interactions with women,” Osgar said, returning his focus to the horizon. He frowned. “Abbas, does that look like black sails to you?”

Abbas walked up next to his cousin. Osgar could see it in his posture that he was only there to humor him. Suddenly Abbas stiffened. “By the Sea Gods, Osgar. Those are black sails.” Abbas scratched at the scraggly beard on his chin. “But we don’t have any ships out right now.”

“Except for the lost fleet,” Osgar said pointedly.

Abbas turned and bolted back for the village. Osgar continued watching as the ships grew closer and closer. As they drew even with the docks he saw just how much of a miracle it was that they’d even made it home.

Great gaping holes showed in the worn gray wood hulls. The black sails were in tatters, and some of the masts were held together by metal bands. The women on the ships gave a ragged cheer as the men and children came running down to greet them.

Gangplanks were lowered to the docks by most ships. Those that didn’t have one anymore dropped rope ladders. The women abandoned the ships and ran into the waiting arms of their families.

Osgar bit his lip as Nadire, the object of his unrequited desire, limped off her ship. She was followed by Anara, Osgar’s younger sister. Anara saw him and flung herself into his arms, sobbing and shaking.

“It’s okay, little sister,” Osgar said, stroking her hair. “You’re home safe now.” He looked up at Nadire. “Welcome home, Captain Nadire.”

Nadire looked over at him. “Thank you.” She frowned. “Are you Anara’s husband? I don’t believe I remember seeing you before.”

Osgar’s heart broke. “No, Captain. I’m her older brother. I’ve spoken with you a number of times in the village.”

Nadire shrugged. “I speak to so many people I hardly remember any of them.” She strode through the crowd gathered towards the village and, presumably, her house.

Osgar continued smoothing Anara’s hair as his family joined them. His parents were crying, trying to pull Anara into their arms. She released Osgar and collapsed into their embrace. Osgar started crying himself. Everyone thought they were tears of joy, as theirs were. His were the bitter drops of a devastated heart.

Advertisements

Writing prompt #5 – Blood is a prison

arrest-1294142_640

Writing prompt #5 – Captive

Ezras paced around the small tower room. He went to the door and tried it, but it remained locked. He kicked the door a few times but it remained stubbornly intact and the only thing he did was bruise his foot.

He resumed his pacing. How long had he been trapped in this tower? A year? Five years? Ten years? He growled, flexing his fingers. Once again he attempted to cast a spell to blast through everything to get to the stairs. The bindings on his wrists and the chain between them glowed and pain shot through his hands and arms. The spell faltered and died.

Ezras looked down. The scars from all of his previous attempts had protected him from serious harm, though there were the usual blisters forming. He shook his hands, listening to the chain clank, and resumed his pacing.

He went to the narrow window, barely more than an arrow slit in the gray stone wall, and prayed to the gods in what little he could see of the sky. He begged them to curse his sister and her line for the cruelties they’d heaped upon him at the death of his father, the rightful king of Praetoria. Ezras was the heir chosen by their father, but Efrosyni had other plans. No sooner was their father entombed with the rest of the sorcerer-kings of his line when she and her Bloodmancer husband wrested control of the grieving kingdom from Ezras.

Ezras was confined in the tower with only the barest of necessities and a handful of books as company. He’d been sealed inside and left to rot while Efrosyni and her husband polluted the land, murdered the common folk to fuel their power, and destroyed the thousand year legacy of peace and prosperity their ancestors had fought to protect.

Ezras started pacing again, noticing for the first time the smoothness of the wood where he’d worn down the floor from his footsteps. His circuit of the room brought him near the door. To his surprise, he heard voices – unfamiliar ones – outside on the stairs.

He stepped back to the center of the room and waited. He heard a key turn in the lock and the scraping of a heavy metal bar. The door swung open and he found himself face to face with a group of men and women in mage robes, but of a design he’d never seen before.

One of them – a woman who appeared to be in the latter years of her life – gasped. “Prince Ezras?” she asked.

“I am,” he said. “Who are you? How long have I been in this accursed tower? What has happened to my demon spawn sister and that inhuman beast she married?”

The woman smiled sadly. “I’m not surprised you don’t recognize me, Your Highness. The last time you saw me I was only a few years older than you. I am High Magus Sung-Hyun, though when you knew me I was just a Journeywoman.”

Ezras narrowed his eyes as he thought. “Yes, I remember you,” he said. “You were the precocious elementalist with the rare talent for combining two opposing elements.”

Sung-Hyun smiled. “Yes, and that ability – which you encouraged me to explore and embrace rather than hide – earned me my place in the Mage Council, where I’ve been for the past ten years.” Her smile faded. “Your Highness, I don’t know how to say this gently, so I will be blunt. Efrosyni sealed you in here with a mixture of time and blood magic. While you may not have recognized the full passage of time, it’s been sixty years since you were deposed.”

Ezras leaned against the door frame. “Sixty…years?” he asked weakly.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Sung-Hyun said. “Efrosyni, her husband, and her entire line were eradicated only five years after your imprisonment, but even at the end no one would tell us where you were. This tower was invisible to us until a few days ago, when the most recent mage storm tore the last of the old palace down.”

Ezras put his shackled hands to his chest. This was becoming more and more disturbing. One of the other mages motioned to a soldier with them. The soldier struck the chains from Ezras’ wrists. “Sung-Hyun, what are mage storms? The old palace? What’s happened?”

“Come back with us to the council hall and I’ll explain,” Sung-Hyun said, holding out her hand.

“High Magus,” one of the younger mages said, a look of contempt for the disheveled prince. “You have better things to do with your time than to talk to a prince from a bloodline we’re better off without.”

“My time is best spent comforting an old friend and helping him adjust to a world that would never have been if his sister hadn’t destroyed the natural balance of things with her madness,” Sung-Hyun snapped. She turned that same, sad smile she’d worn a moment before back on Ezras. “Please, Your Highness.”

Ezras took her hand, though his heart was heavy. He knew he was trading one prison for another. His sister’s chains were broken, but the bonds of the past and his own blood would weigh him down for eternity.

 

Writing prompt #4 – The curse of immortality

wood-3078772_640

Writing prompt #4 – Eternity

Mysie walked through the streets of the ruined city. Around her the ghostly sounds of children’s laughter, women dickering over things in the market, and men arguing in the inns with their voices carrying even through the din of the other sounds. She instinctively moved out of the way when she heard a cart coming up behind her. She waited but nothing passed her.

She looked down at the ground. No carts would drive across these jagged stones. A mule couldn’t even cross them. She’d had to leave her beast tied to a branch in the forest that was no more that two meters from the edge of the fallen outer walls.

She lifted her head and resumed her slow and steady pace. It didn’t take long to get to her destination. It was a small building, its roof and door long gone. Even the windows had finally shattered, though the last time she’d been there they were still holding on.

She walked in, mindful of the debris scattered all over the floor. She stopped and looked around. Memories showed her a house with pale yellow walls and curtains of a darker yellow cloth. The floor was a rich amber, sanded wood with a dark red and gold rug sitting on top of it. A rocking chair sat in one corner near a well made brick fireplace. A sturdy straight backed chair sat on the other side of the fireplace.

Two happy, healthy children played with their toys on the carpet while a woman sang cheerfully as she fed the baby. The man – their father and the woman’s husband – sat in the straight backed chair whittling a boat for one of the children.

As Mysie moved farther into the house, her foot struck something. She glanced down. It was the boat. It had been painted blue and red before being given to the boy and now the paint was faded and badly chipped. Mysie sank to her knees and picked up the toy. All of the emotions she’d held in check during her progression through the city broke free. She clutched the boat to her chest and sobbed, rocking back and forth.

Her home, her friends, her family – all centuries gone. The last Emperor dead not long after. The Empire had collapsed, leaving the country in shambles and ripe for conquest. What had once been the jewel of the world was now broken up into several smaller portions, all at war with each over for more land and resources.

Mysie cried for several minutes until she had no more tears. When the grief was once again under control she found her eyes and chest hurt. She wiped her eyes on her sleeve. She stood and looked at the boat. She started to set it on an exposed beam. She stopped, looked at it again, and then put it in a pouch on her belt.

Once before, she’d told people the gods had cursed her with immortality. They’d scoffed when she said it was a curse. They could only see the possibility of gaining unimaginable wealth, having as many spouses as they wanted over the years, leaving a large family line behind them, or watching their enemies die. They didn’t know the pain and sorrow she endured as she watched those she loved die while she remained forever young. They didn’t realize the horror of watching endless wars, and the bodies that piled up because of them.

Immortality was no gift. It was a curse. She screamed to the gods daily to take it away from her. They ignored her and left Mysie to wander the world in misery for eternity.

Writing prompt #3 – A thief’s mistake

coins-2687597_640

Writing prompt #3 – A working-dad desperate for money to feed his family turns to robbery, only to find that he’s chosen a wizard as his victim.

Germanus watched as Jacira cut thin slices of the one loaf of bread he’d been able to bring home that day. His wife had a pinched look around her eyes, evidence of the hunger the entire family was feeling. Jacira stirred the pot where a very thin soup was boiling. It was water, some chicken bones Germaus had scavenged from an inn’s refuse pile, and some wrinkled vegetables he’d gotten at the market for a few pennies.

Lileas and Kiaran staggered up to the table. Germanus wanted to cry. His children were getting weaker and they were dangerously thin. Winter was coming and he feared that none of his family was going to survive the bitter cold.

The food was served and his chilren ate with the ravenous delight of the starving. “Mother, I’m still hungry,” Kiaran said, looking up at his mother with wide green eyes.

“Me too,” Lileas said, her blue eyes full of hunger and pain.

“Jacira, give the children my share,” Germanus said. “I’ll eat at breakfast.”

“Germanus, you were working on the cathedral today. You have to be hungry,” Jacira said.

“I am, but the children come first,” Germanus said.

Jacira refilled the children’s bowls and gave them the other two slices of bread. “You’re right dear, of course. The children should always come first.”

Lileas and Kiaran ate the rest of the food. “Now, off to bed with you,” Germanus said. “You have your lessons in the morning and I don’t want you falling asleep again. Your teacher doesn’t appreciate it.”

The children ran to their beds and curled up under the quilts. Jacira came and sat down across from her husband. “Germanus, this can’t go on,” she said in a soft voice. “The children won’t last the winter, and I’m not sure you and I will either. They’re getting too weak to even go to their lessons. What are we going to do?”

Germanus looked at a small chest in the corner of the room. It contained tools from a long ago life, a trade he’d given up when he met Jacira. Jacira followed his gaze. She turned back to look at him, a stricken look on her face.

“It’s all we have left, love,” Germanus said. “What else are we going to do? Until I can find work that pays a living wage we’re going to continue to go hungry. I won’t see our children die for want of food and warm clothing just because my employer is a skinflint who won’t give his employees more than the bare minimum required by the law.”

“Just don’t get caught, my dearest,” Jacira said. “We won’t survive if you’re in prison.”

Germanus kissed her. “I’m not completely out of practice,” he said. “I won’t get caught.”

Germanus opened up the chest and pulled out items he thought he’d never be using again – lockpicks, a small crowbar, climbing gloves, a rope, a grappling hook, smoke potions, and a set of clothing that vanished in the shadows. He changed into his thief’s outfit and walked through the door into the night.

Germanus slipped from dark patch to dark patch, watching for a likely place to hit. He couldn’t strike out at the ones in his area. The vast majority of those who lived there were as poor as he was.

He moved into the wealthier parts of town. He moved through the alleyways, looking in windows and keeping an eye out for the Night Patrol and household guards. As he grew discouraged by what he found, he peered through the window of a nondescript looking house to see inside a vast treasure trove of unique items that could signify great wealth.

He tested each window on the first floor and found them all securely locked. He glanced up and saw that all of the windows on the second floor were open. He used his grappling hook and climbed up the wall. He checked a couple windows and found one that looked like it led into an empty bedroom. He slipped inside.

He pulled a tiny candle out of his pocket and lit it with a match. The room was plain and unadorned with the kinds of fine things he expected to find. He shrugged, thinking it might have been a servant’s room, and cracked the door a little bit.

The hall was dark and no one was about. Germanus slid out of the room, closing the door silently behind him. He crept along, moving as silently as he could, looking through keyholes and under doors until he found one that appeared to be empty of people but full of treasure.

He pushed the door open and went in. The door slammed behind him and a rope rose from the ground and wrapped around him, pinning his arms to his body. A man dressed in rune covered robes and several heavy looking amulets materialized in front of him. He walked over and retrieved Germanus’ candle before settling into a chair. He steepled his fingers. “Tell me, little thief. Who are you and why have you entered my home uninvited?”

A compulsion so strong settled over Germanus that he knew he was under a spell. “My name is Germanus Calabrese, Master Mage. I’m a mason by trade. My family and I have very little. My employer pays only what the law requires so we are starving. I can’t let my children die, so I took to thieving again to supply us with the money to fill our larder so our children would be able to survive while I looked for other employment.”

The mage scrutinized him closely. “Well, you certainly are close to death. If you’re this way I can only imagine what your wife and children look like.” The mage tilted his head to one side. “No matter how noble your reason, you still were intending to steal from me. What do you think your punishment should be?”

Germanus met his gaze with no fear. “Do whatever you wish to me, Master Mage. I care not. But give my family the means to survive and I will meet your price.”

“You’re a brave man, Germanus Calabrese. A caring and loyal one too. I could use a man like you in my endeavors,” the mage said thoughtfully. “The work I’d have you doing would be hard, dangerous, and dirty. Your unusual skills would come in quite handy in fact.” He made a complicated gesture with his fingers and the ropes fell to the floor. The compulsion was gone as well. “I will take you into my employment. Your wages shall be fifteen silvers a week. That should be enough to help support your family, to get them into a better place.”

“Thank you, Master Mage,” Germanus said. “I will serve you until the end of my days.”

The mage smiled. “That is good to know.” He stood and walked over to a small chest on a side table. He pulled out a coin pouch and counted something into it. “Here are twenty silver, your first two weeks’ wages. You won’t receive your normal pay for those two weeks as this is a loan against those. This should help your family now, and once you’ve paid back the loan you will be given your normal pay.” He handed the pouch to Germanus.

“Thank you again, Master Mage,” Germanus said, taking the pouch and bowing.

“You will call me Master Berker,” the mage said. “Now, leave and return to your family. I expect you back here at nine o’clock in the morning.”

“As you wish, Master Berker,” Germanus said. He clutched the pouch to his chest as he hurried out of the house. He felt a rush of joy, and a tremor of fear. He didn’t know what the mage would make him do, but now his family would be taken care of and he wouldn’t need to worry about his children starving to death any more.

Writing prompt #2 – The forgotten

marble-2389904_640

Writing prompt #2: A neglected god or goddess attempts to reclaim his or her former glory.

Nadzeya paced around her once glorious palace. She paused and looked at one of the columns. The black marble was cracked and the glittering veins of gold now resembled tarnished copper more than the precious metal.

It was all that Frane’s fault. He’d slipped his priests in to her lands and polluted the minds of her followers. They’d turned against her to join the ranks of his flock. Her temples and shrines were destroyed, the clerics that remained loyal slaughtered, and Frane stepped into her place.

As a result she was trapped in her realm. There were no songs, no souls offering her worship – they had been claimed by Frane as well due to the ancient laws governing the gods – and her power had been diminished to the point where she could barely light the lamps.

She went to her seeing pool, one of the few pieces of magic that still worked for her. She waved her hand over the surface and the world below appeared to her hungry eyes. She watched the various lands, her heart breaking as war after war filled her vision.

She was about to end the spell when she heard soft crying. She frowned and focused the pool in on the sound. It was a woman with several daughters standing beside three graves. The woman was in her elder years. She was clinging to one of her oldest daughters, a plain woman with brown hair and green eyes. She was sobbing as much as her mother. Another of the grown daughters was holding an infant and sobbing as well.

The younger children – Nadzeya realized that some of the youngest most likely belonged to the oldest daughters – were crying and yelling at the graves for their fathers to wake up.

“Mother, where are the gods? Why have they abandoned us?” the daughter with the infant asked. “Why didn’t they save them?”

“Frane abandoned us long ago, when Empress Lilibet made human sacrifice against the law. The priests declared war on her for her heresy. I remember the brutal response from the empress to that. She sent the army in and they ruthlessly slaughtered over half of Frane’s priests. He abandoned us and no other god or goddess has come forward to take his place. We’re cursed by his disapproval as far as they’re concerned and they want nothing to do with his ire.”

Nadzeya smiled slowly. She gathered what was left of her power and reached out to the women. Her spectral form appeared to them. Not all the gods are afraid of him, she said. I will serve the citizens of this land, if you will have me.

“Who are you?” the old woman asked.

I am Nadzeya, Goddess of the Shadows, Nadzeya said. Frane is my mortal enemy and I have no fear of challenging him.

“Goddess, will you help me?” the daughter with the infant asked. She held out her child. He was covered in burns. “He is dying and no healer will do anything.”

Nadzeya knew she had to do something to cement her authority among these women, but she wasn’t sure she had enough strength to do a full healing. She took a deep breath and pulled as much power as she could from the land around her. To her surprise, she was filled with a portion of her former strength. It wasn’t enough for her to fully manifest, but she could do the healing.

She stretched her hands out to the infant. Power flowed from her and surrounded the baby. The blisters vanished and the red bled away from his skin. The child, who’d been whimpering the entire time, fell silent and relaxed. He opened his eyes and smiled at the goddess before closing them again and falling into a peaceful sleep.

He needs rest, but he is healthy again, Nadzeya said with a gentle smile. A hint of excitement filled her. Could this be the start? Would any of these women be her first clerics?

Three of the older girls moved forward and knelt before her. “Goddess, we ask that you accept us into your service,” they said in unison. “We will serve you for the rest of our days and spread your word and deeds to the rest of our community and beyond, if necessary. Your name shall be spoken by every lip in our land and you will be revered by all.”

Nadzeya’s strength increased slightly, giving her enough energy to solidify a little more. It wasn’t enough to bring her full body to the human world, but now she could touch them. She put her hands on each of their heads. When she did, their homespun clothing turned into the gold and white robes of her clerics.

Go forth and spread the word of my gospel, my daughters, she said. I will do what I can to help this land, but I need hands here to aid me. The more you can turn to my service and the more who will join your ranks the more power we can bring against the enemies of your ruler and Frane if he should return.

“It shall be as you say, my Goddess,” all three of the young women said, rising to their feet. They hugged their mother and sisters before heading towards a small house.

Nadzeya figured they were gathering supplies for the first leg of their journey. She smiled at the elderly woman. I will watch and guard your daughters, good woman. I will protect them as much as I am able. I will help them find those to serve as their bodyguards so those who would seek to do them harm find themselves stopped and left to face justice.

“Thank you my Goddess,” the elderly woman said, bowing. “You have given us hope when we thought there was none less in this world. We never thought that was possible.”

Nadzeya felt the tug on her soul, meaning she needed to return to her world. You will see me again, my children. She returned to her world, tired but exhilarated. She looked around her palace. The gold seemed to be shining a little mo re and some of the cracks were smaller. A new land, new clerics, and a new chance at regaining her former glory. She laughed. Frane wouldn’t know what hit him.

Writing Prompt #1 – A forger’s painting

people-2557484_640

Writing prompt: A counterfeiter’s coins or a forger’s fake works of art have magical properties.

Sophie sat back, eyeing her work critically. She glanced over at the original her client had given her. She smiled. The copy was perfect. She’d even managed to get the faded paint look, which most of those in her line of work seemed to forget. She laughed at the look on the curator’s face when she told him the million dollar Klimt he’d won at a highly overpriced auction was a fake.

Sophie’s legitimate job was assessing and confirming the value of paintings acquired for the Silverman Memorial Art Museum. The curator – Abel Silverman, great-grandson of the man the museum was named after – was good at business but terrible at judging art. That’s why he relied on Sophie to pass judgment on the paintings brought in by his auction hunters. She thought he’d have done better to hire real art collectors to do the auctions. They at least would have a better idea of what was real and what wasn’t, but he’d ignored her suggestion and was paying his nieces and nephews to do the work for him. It was job security for Sophie, since her second job was sporadic and didn’t always pay that well.

Sophie dipped her smallest brush in the antiqued white paint and dabbed it in the center of the eye on the rather lovely woman’s face. As she made this final touch, the woman blinked and yawned. Sophie sighed and set her brush down. It had happened again. The woman looked at her. “Who art thou, and why hast thou disturbed my rest?” she asked in a hollow, melodic voice. Her face twisted in a mask of irritation. “Do not say that thou art a thief of souls, for if that be true, I will call down the wrath of the Holy Father upon thee.”

Sophie pinched the bridge of her nose. “My lady, I am no thief. My purpose is to preserve and facilitate the further spread of the brilliant art of the past. The only way to do that is to make certain that each painting is duplicated so that it may reach other parts of the world. I speak true when I tell thou that I would never steal the spirit of the artist from their works. That would bring the curse of the artist and, as you so spoke, the wrath of the Holy Father upon me and mine household.”

The woman sniffed. “I am not certain I believe thou, but thou hast not said anything to bring me to the conclusion that thou art a liar,” she said. “Where would thou send me?”

“To a distant land, my lady,” Sophie said, glancing at the clock. “An island kingdom filled with the wealthy elite, who have graciously given me a small commission to ensure that thou art sent with haste and well protected from the rigors of such travel to them.”

“What be the name of this kingdom?” the woman asked. “Mayhap I have heard of it before.”

“My lady, this kingdom was discovered long after thy days on this earth were ended,” Sophie said. “However, if thou dost truly wish to know, the land is called Japan.”

The woman yawned and blinked sleepily. “I think I will rest again. See that thou protects me in a most careful and precise manner. I wish to come to no harm upon my long journey.”

“My lady, nothing – not even the worst storm the sea may throw at thee – will harm thee upon thy journey,” Sophie said fervently. The woman smiled vaguely before settling back into her original place. Sophie waited for another fifteen minutes before poking at the now dry paint. There was no reaction.

She ran her fingers through her curls. That was the part she hated about creating the forgeries. Something always came alive when she put the final drop of paint in place. Most of the time the paintings were benign and she just had to wait until they settled down. But there had been a few where the canvas itself was destroyed by the paintings because of what was shown.

Her cell phone rang, playing the theme for Game of Thrones. She giggled and picked it up. “Sophie, it’s John. That damned painting had better be finished,” a surly voice said on the other end.

“I finished it fifteen minutes ago and it’s already dry,” Sophie said. “Send Alphonse to pick it up. He can also take the original back to the client.”

“Make sure you mark which one’s which this time. The last time the client damn near turned us in for giving her the copy instead of the original,” John said.

“I told you which one was the copy. It’s not my fault you didn’t pay attention,” Sophie said. She heard him take a breath. She cut off the rant she knew he was developing before he could speak. “I’ll put a ribbon on the copy so there won’t be any dispute.”

“You’d better,” John said. “Alphonse will be there in half an hour.” The phone went dead.

“Asshole,” Sophie muttered. She slid the copy into a crate and, as promised, wrapped a long strip of red ribbon around it several times. She tied it off, and then glued the ribbon to the crate so it wouldn’t fall off. She went to the original and put it back in its crate. She set both of them near the front door and grabbed the next crate. She put a new canvas up on her easel. The next painting was waiting and she didn’t have time to waste.

Medical update

medicine-2994788_640

It’s been a long time since I did one of these. I know a lot of you are more interested in my fiction rather than my reality, but this blog isn’t just about my writing. It’s about me, my life, and everything I do outside the writing.

I’m due to go to the vascular surgeon next month to discuss a surgery to reduce swelling on my left leg. My right leg, which is always swollen, is ineligible for the same surgery because I had a DVT (blood clot) in the main vein when I was in my late teens, early 20s. How I didn’t notice – and survived it – I don’t know. But there is scarring in the vein to prove it was there. The surgery basically shuts down the main vein, leaving a lesser vein in charge of blood flow. This reduces the swelling. Because of the DVT scarring, it’s too dangerous to do the surgery on the right leg.

As a result of the swelling, I’m stuck wearing compression pantyhose for the rest of my life. I’m not going into the gritty details, but I actually had to put my surgery consultation off for an extra three months because I kept getting shitty compression hose from Ames Walker (an online medical supply store). I left multiple poor reviews on their site as well as other places online and finally got a halfway decent pair…that ended up with a huge whole in the butt within a week. The legs are in good repair, so I’m still wearing them. I can’t afford to get more. The really good ones run $150+, and that is WAY above my financial abilities right now.

The reason for the three month wait is because Medicare requires three months in the compression hose before they’ll pay for the surgery. It’s the wonderful bureaucracy being arseholes again. But I go see them next month, and we’ll find out when the surgery is and how long the recovery is. And what the recovery will be like.

I’m on a blood thinner now because of a history of blood clots. We did a DNA test and I have the genetic marker for a hereditary clotting disorder. My dad has the same thing. Both of us are on the same blood thinner, which is a newer one that doesn’t require constant blood tests and doesn’t have the dietary restrictions that Warfarin (Coumadin) does. I like it because I’m on a maintenance dose for now. I’ll check in with my hematologist in a year and we’ll go from there.

I’m still dealing with my seizures, but I haven’t had one in almost a year. I’m going to talk to my neurologist about reducing my meds the next time I see him…which is in March, I think. My seizures didn’t start until I got put on the Zyprexa, which has a side effect of seizures. I’m off that med now, and have been for about a year. So now I’m wondering if that was the source of my seizures since I’d never had one before that time.

Going to the mental health side of things, a lot of things have changed there. My original counselor moved to Canada, so I switched to a new one closer to home. I like my new counselor because she specializes in trauma and PTSD. I’ve only seen her a few times, but she’s already been a big help. I also have a new med manager – again, one closer to home – which makes me happy. This is mostly because she’s closer to me. But it’s also because the bitch in Newport wouldn’t listen to me and has caused me no end of trouble. She’s been reported to the state numerous times, and I don’t know if something’s being done now about all of the infractions that were leveled against her.

Between my counselor and my med manager, we’re beginning to wonder if I’m actually bipolar. We tossed around borderline personality disorder, but I didn’t fit the symptoms for that either. One of the things both Adriana and Patricia pointed out was the fact that PTSD could be misdiagnosed as bipolar.

I was 16 when I was first diagnosed, and right in the middle of the worst childhood ever. (Abusive mother, distant father, violent older sister, oblivious older sister, disinterested older brother, and a younger sister that needed constant protection with me being her only protector.) The counselor we went to called my mom in with me so I couldn’t tell him anything about what was really going on. Not that I would have at that point. I was too scared.

He decided I was bipolar II rapid cycling, and put me on lithium. That was the most horrific medication I’ve ever taken. Then he added Depakote. Talk about zombie. I eventually took myself off those meds and my life was chaos for many years. I finally got things sorted out and was put on all sorts of different meds over the years. Finally they settled on Prozac and my anti-seizure meds. They turned me half numb and I had a hard time with some emotions.

I also had issues (THIS MAY BE TOO TMI FOR SOME) with my libido. As in I didn’t have one. Sex happened maybe once or twice a month, not for a lack of trying by my husband. It either hurt or I was so disinterested that he couldn’t get me to even want to try to get in the mood.

Finally, my new med manager decided that maybe – just maybe – I was just suffering from PTSD and that I wasn’t bipolar and didn’t have borderline personality disorder. She thinks that with dedicated therapy a lot of my mood issues will vanish. To that end, she took me off the Prozac I’ve been on for years and put me on Effexor, a drug that takes the edge off of the anxiety that comes part and parcel with PTSD.

It took a few weeks, but a whole new world opened up to me. I could feel again in every situation. I now like to laugh, to play, to move. Walks are more enjoyable. I’m happy again. I’m more active. I have a real desire to improve my health, lose weight, and make myself look better. I want nice clothes (like dresses, skirts, blouses, jackets, etc.), which I haven’t wanted for years. I’ve had a whole personality shift once I was off the Prozac.

Another thing that’s happened (again, this might be too much TMI) is my libido has kicked back in. I’m not nearly as active as I used to be. I’m not in my 20s anymore. But I’ve been enjoying my husband’s company again. That’s another thing that’s changed. My husband and I are getting along better. We fight less, talk more, and can understand each other’s emotions.

The downside to being on the Effexor instead of the Prozac is I’m feeling again and don’t know how to deal with some of these emotions. I lash out when I shouldn’t, I get really snippy at times for no reason whatsoever, and I act impulsively when I’m agitated. I’m having to learn how to deal with all of this stuff again. It’s hard, but worth it because I’m enjoying life even more now.

I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder with a long, fancy name that boils down to “we don’t know what the fuck you have so we’re just giving you a general narcolepsy disorder.” I tend to fall asleep whenever I feel tired, which is usually all day and all night. I’m getting used to it though and I’m finding ways of getting more sleep and/or staying awake during the day.

I’m dealing with a lot of pain these days, but I use pot from time to time to deal with it when I just can’t ignore it. I don’t take pain pills of any kind. The damage OTC pain pills can do to you is astounding and very dangerous. I also won’t take opioids because of the risk of addiction. Speaking of addictions, the pot is actually killing my desire for alcohol too. As a recovering alcoholic I find that to be a highly useful side benefit. I hate smoking, so that’s my last resort for imbibing in the pot. I make cannabutter from one of our crops and make edibles. Those are my preferred method of partaking in cannabis.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll update you when I have my vascular appointment.

Hugs to you all, and may the rest of your week and the weekend be amazing and full of life and laughter.

Writing & publishing schedule update

writing-923882_640

Hi everyone! Normally I publish at 8 AM. I know this. And I’ll get back to publishing at that time soon. I’m just trying to sort out my daily schedule right now so bear with me. I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done during the day so I need to work out how I’m going to do it all.

As the title suggests, I’m altering a few things with my writing projects for this year. First, before I start working on any of my serious novel work, I’m going to do little fifteen minute writing exercises. Just random little drabbles, maybe set in the worlds of the stories and maybe not. But they will be in the genres I write – fantasy and science fiction. I’ll be posting those here on the blog, very similar to what I was posting before I started putting Tiger, Tiger up here.

Now, I do still plan on self publishing a book in June and one in December. Tiger, Tiger will be published in June and Into the Flames will be published in December. I was trying to work on the two stories in alternate months, but it’s just not working. So I’m devoting all my time and attention during my writing times – except for the writing warm up exercises of course – to Lilavati and Manas. I’ve got a lot of work to do and five and a half weeks to do it in. I know I can do it in, but I’m going to be working really hard.

Once I’m happy with Tiger, Tiger – and get it beta read and edited – I’ll get back to work on Into the Flames. I’m struggling with it right now anyway, so restarting it probably isn’t a bad idea.

I’ve also decided to work as a plantser for Tiger, Tiger. I’m going to read through what I’ve got, pick out the main plot and the subplots and post index cards on my wall. Once I do that, I’m going to figure out how I want to address each plot point and just set up some vague notes on how I want to work those points in and weave them together. I’m also going to keep notes on the foreign words I use and the names of places/the meanings of the words because I kept forgetting the name of Lilavati’s home. 😀

So keep your eyes open here for further updates, and watch for Wattpad links. I’d like feedback on the new format and chapters as I post them there, so please leave me comments when I do a link post here.

Everyone have a wonderful day and I’ll see you when I get the next post written. (Hopefully tomorrow…and hopefully it’ll post at 8. XD)

Tiger, Tiger – Part eighty nine

tiger-2406465_640

Manas charged the tiikeri closest to Lilavati. It was thrown back several feet. He whirled around faster than the other could anticipate and slammed into it. The beast flew back to land next to its partner.

Manas moved over next to Lilavati. He rumbled at her and nudged her with his paw. She grabbed onto his fur and pulled herself up. Leaning against him, she turned to face her mother. “I have no sister-soul. This is true. As I said, I have something far more precious to me than a tiikeri female that would eventually abandon me in favor of producing cubs and leave me to find another partner. I have a husband, a soulbond, a lifemate who will never leave me. He will protect me when he can, give me aid and shelter when it’s available, and love me unconditionally for the rest of our lives. He is cursed, but living with him and his curse are worth every minute of the joy we feel when we’re together.”

Foolish child, Upsana spat. If you wish to be with him so much, you’ll share his curse. Can you abide by that? Be human by day and tiikeri by night?

Manas growled and whimpered, nudging Lilavati with his nose. She wrapped her arms around his neck, breathing in deep the scent of his fur and his musk. Could she do it? Could she accept the same curse he had? The pain would be intense. That she knew. Any child she bore him could be tainted the same way they were. Would it be worth that risk?

Katali, can you hear me? His voice was soft, a mere whisper in her mind.

Sikha? How is this possible? she asked.

Only here have the Grey of the Twelve granted me this gift, Manas said. What does she offer if you don’t take the curse?

Death, Lilavati said. Or a lifetime of servitude to one of these tiikeri. I wish neither of those, for my life is with you and Magda.

Don’t make this choice lightly, katali, Manas said. You don’t know how agonizing it is to shift from human to beast. You don’t know how lonely it is to carry the curse within you and yet walk alone among the world.

Yet I wouldn’t be alone, would I? Lilavati asked. I’d have you.

There was silence for a few heartbeats. You would, he said finally, a hint of something in his voice she couldn’t quite identify. As I have you.

Lilavati turned to her mother. “If I must become a cursed tiikeri by night and a human by day to stay with my beloved, to be the mother to my daughter, then I’ll do it. I’ll take on the curse.” She paused. “Curses can still be broken, mother. My beloved and I will never stop looking for a way to end this.”

Search all you want. You’ll search in vain, Upsana sneered. If your precious husband hasn’t found a way to break it, with all his years of trying, how do you think you’ll be able to do it?

“He didn’t have me to help him,” Lilavati said, smiling fondly at her husband. He was growling at the other two tiikeri who were drawing closer to Lilavati again. “Together the two of us will accomplish great things.”

So be it, Upsana said. She and her tiikeri disappeared.

Pain beyond anything Lilavati had ever felt ripped through her. Every bone in her body cracked and broke as joints separated and reformed. Fur the color of snow erupted from her skin. Stripes the color of her hair spread across her body. She became a saphaida tiikeri, one of the rarest of all. When she finished the change, she was the same size as Manas.

She flopped to the ground, barely able to breathe. Manas waited for her to stand again and the two of them walked towards the exit. They knew they couldn’t leave until they resumed their human forms, so they waited.

Dawn came and once again the agony returned, but Lilavati was prepared for it this time. Once they were in human form, they retrieved their cloaks – the only clothing to withstand the change – and stepped through the portal.

“Ama’ana! Father!.” Magda threw herself off the horse she was sharing with Christel and ran across the distance to them. Lilavati turned slightly so no one could see she was naked and scooped Magda into her arms. “You came back.”

“Of course we did,” Manas said. “Didn’t we promise we would?” His voice was gravelly and judging from the wounds on his body, he too had fought battles against the creatures in the mist.

“Great Lord, Great Lady, we’ll give you a few minutes of privacy,” Ludger said, a sad look in his eyes. “Then we must be on the road. The gate to Phiri Hu won’t remain open for long.”

Lilavati turned to look where he pointed. A great rectangular section of the bleak landscape was gone. In its place was a beautiful green and blue land with a shimmering white castle in the distance.

Manas sighed happily. “That’s home, katali. That’s Phiri Hu.”

Lilavati dressed quickly and took Magda up in front of her on the horse. She told herself it was to make the child happy. In truth it was to give herself something familiar to cling to. “It is unlike anything I have ever seen,” she said, reverting back to the language of the north.

“It’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever dealt with too,” Manas said. “You’ll shake things up and we’ll find ways to compromise. I expect you’ll bring some of your ways to my keep, and we’ll teach you ours so you can become who you’re meant to be.”

Who she was meant to be. It would be interesting to find out just what that meant. She nudged her horse forward through the magical opening. The strong smell of sulfur and rust was replaced by one of wildflowers and fresh bread. “We’re home,” Magda said with a laugh. “We’re home.”

The End….for now

Oops! My apologies

sign-1719892_640

I know I posted that post that said Tiger, Tiger was finished and then I realized something. WordPress ate the final chapter. So I’ll post the final chapter tomorrow. I’m so sorry about that. I got locked out of my blog for some reason and it’s taken me this long to get back in. Again, my apologies and we’ll get you to the end of Lilavati and Manas’ story very soon.

*bows her head in shame*