Sunday, May 28, 2017

really sorry to stop posting Consequences.

HI, sorry about this. I have been busy of late dealing with the closing of Corvallis Press and reclaiming the rights to my books and battling Amazon about putting them up under my name. Hopefully that will be fixed by the end of this month and all 10 books will be available.

IN other news, my agent gave me an urgent call demanding Uncle Burnside be finished and polished ASAP.

Never mind why I'll tell you all if there is good news.

so, realizing I am interrupting your viewing pleasure, I shall resume posting Brunside by Wednesday.

Dee out.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

consequences 57

Silva stood up,  took two steps and landed on her face. While J’pin and the woman laughed Silva struggled onto her knees, brushed the snow from her face and chest and tried to work her way onto her feet. Each time she pushed down iwth her hands they sank. Her legs caught under the ice layer and slid sideways, threatening the health of her knees. Eventually her thrashing about pounded the snow into a hardpack and she was able to slip and slide her way back to the sled.
Obviously the furry lumps were as much help as she was going to get and yes, they were warmer than her previous boots but walking? No. SHe could barely balance. She clung to the wooden rail and caught sight of her Light magic walking stick. She leaned agianst the sled and tried to take a step supported by the stick. THe sharp narrow point immediately plunged through the snow. She drew it back and, holding the stick in both hands fed brillaint daylight into the stick. IN a moment she held two. She touched the tips to the snow and instead of putting her weight on them glared at them and watched as a ridge formed and flared spreading until it was wide enough to prevent the immediate decent of the tip.
Frowning to herself Silva walked about the sled, two broad booted feet, two walking sticks feeling clumsy. Once she was more confident in her steps she looked around, astonished and a little afraid to find herself in the center of a circle of scarf covered faces. She could not tell gender for the coats nor could she assss the emotion of the crowd with their faces concealed.
She pulled herself as upright as she could on the slippery ground. There was a shift in the postions of the heads. It was not, therefore, the walking sticks that caught their attention, or rather it was, but it was more the means by which she created them.
“I am Silva, Master of the element of Light from the True SOuth demesne. HIgh King Eioth has sent me north to repair roads, bridges so that aid from the southern demensnes can reach the people of True North.”
Heads turned but no one spoke.
“Surely you do not expect us to accept this … this festival trickery?” demanded the woman who had brought the boots.
“Grandmother has tested her and believes,” said J’pin.
“I do not. This is foolishness. Why should we give our protection to this … this falsehood. This desception by the elves.” The figure turned to the watching crowd. “This cannot be. We have our own families, our own people to care for and protect. To go north at this time of strange weather will not …”
“Have done!” shouted J’pin. “Ilian re Narka, you are not the matriarch of this clan and like you never will be.”
SIlva tried to remember why the name was familiar then recalled the person who so amused J’pin to tease his grandmother with the threat of marrying.
“This is not festival trickery,” said Silva, lifting her voice a little so as to be heard by all the watchers. She raised one of her walking sticks above her head and concentrated. In a moment it changed shape to become a sword, then the blade became riddles with holes until it resembled lace, reformed as a sword, then a stick and she returned it to rest on the snow. At no time did she touch more than the handle. “Tell me how it was done if not true magic?”
No one stepped forward to examine it, but no one stepped back in fear either.
“I need your help for, in this time of change and great need, there is no one able to do what you do just as there is no one else who can do what I do, change light into magic!”
Silence was her only answer. AFter a moment the people at the edges of the crowd began to drift away. Llian was in the first group to depart and caught up to a few of her fellows and began speaking to them.
Silva sighed as J’pin joined her.
“Do not be disheartened. They have heard you and now they will go talk. Public arguements are considered impolite. Besides,” he pulled down his scarf again so she could see he was smiling, “once grandmother decides it is done.”
Silva glanced toward the sunken tent where Federan was still debating with the old woman. She decided not to worry. Federan had more experience with old women than she. Her last arguement with her mother resulted in a long, frightening silence. Federan’s grandmother loved him and he was, quite, quite lovable as well as being a long time friend of the High King.
With luck…
As she watched Federan emerged and covered his eye with his forearm.
“Ah, and he survived the ordeal,” annoucned J’pin. “I must find you both sun shield’s before you are rendered snow blind.”
“That is possible?”
J’pin nodded and they made their way across the snow to Federan.
After a few steps toward them Federan windmilled his arms, failed to keep his balance and grimaced.
“You must make me a set of those walking sticks, dearest Silva,” he said, coming to his knees and accepting J’pin’s assistance to rise. “But, the good news is that Eioth and grandmother have come to terms. Generous terms on both sides.”
“Good to know, since he is hiring the whole clan.”
Silva straightened. “Is that wise? The danger…”
“Phiff,” J’pin waved a hand. “DO you think we shall abadon them? No, we rarely separate for long. You and Federan will come with my hunting group. We shall move light over the snow, fast, to reach those places where you must work. The clan will follow, pounding down the snow so that those who follow, bring the aid the High King has promised, might follow us.”
“That sounds,” Silva paused then smiled. ”Very wise.”
“We are nothing if not wise, cautious and careful,” said J’pin, “When we are given the choice. As for now, I must gather my hunters together. Sleds will be brought to you. Pack carefully and quickly. Your clothing is not adequate to the weather and travel. Better shall be brought. Also we shall provide tents.”
“My gratitude, friend J’pin,” said Federan. “YOu shall find us ready.”
“To depart in two hours.”
Federan blinked but nodded.
They loaded into the sled for the journey back. Silva worked creating another set of walking sticks for Federan, frowning.
“What distrubs your peace, my dear?”
“Pri and his contigent. I fear they may protest the plans.”
“No matter what they say the agreement with the wanderers was negoatied by Eioth, High King, himself. He will pay from his own funds. We shall declare the decision made and if they do not pack within two hours I shall be happy to leave them behind.”
Silva nodded but continued to worry at her lower lip.
“I like them not at all,” she said quietly.
**
As they both suspected Pri declared he was not bound by the agreement and insisted he, personally, as his uncle’s representative, must negotate. It did not improve his mood that he was ignored by both the True South deligation and J’pin.
Fortunately for Pri Nittel was no fool. In expecation of a good ressult the packing was already completed by the time Silva and Federan returned. J’pin declared Nittel a useful sort of fellow, loudly and before witnesses which pleased Nittel until he saw that the opinion was not shared by all.
**

Saturday, May 13, 2017

consequences 56



Neither of the wanderers responded to this comment and the grandmother examined the lace in her hand, smiling with what Silva read as possessive delight. Perhaps she was pleased to have something no one else in her family owned, but then again Silva had given half of the lace to… oh, to the grandson.
Silva glanced toward that mortal and saw he had come to the same conclusion.
“Should I apologize?” asked Silva.
He shrugged, the movement barely readable under his layers of clothing.
“No matter. She will say and do what she will say and do. Now, at least, she will not be angered by delay.”
“Grandmother, with respect,” said Federan, “what else is required before we make our petition for your aid?”
Grandmother continued to caress the lace and thought.
“Perhaps, grandmother,” said Silva, “You might value speech with High King Eioth. He is awaiting our report and is prepared to pay the fee for your time and service from his personal funds.”
The old woman froze, staring into empty space before relaxing muscle by muscle.
“You… He… He, you have given one to him? He has one as well?”
“He has many,” said Federan, “And delights in this slice of my dear Silva’s magic. It was her first gift to him, the means by which I spoke to him from  the True South when the floods came.  This means of speaking to his friends and the synod and guards and all those working to aid the refugees. You can see, I am certain, how useful it is to be able to speak to a person across distances without that tedious riding back and forth with messages.”
“Yes. Yes.”  She twisted the lace back and forth then turned and whistled. Another pile of rugs and scarves rose from the shadows of the tent and hurried across to take the lace. “J’pin, take off that coat. Minin, sew this lace to the collar of my, and his, great coats.”
The woman vanished back into the smoky shadows. J’pin shrugged off his coat and took it over to her.
“Yes,” said the Grandmother. “I will speak to him if he will speak to me.”
For the first time there was uncertainty in her voice and manner. Federan smiled at her and crossed the chamber to kneel and offer the whisper ribbon bearing the sigil of the High King’s personal name.
She frowned at it then looked over Federan’s head to J’pin.
“Speak to your hunting group. Tell them to prepare to leave within the hour.”
J’pin glanced wistfully toward where his coat lay before pulling up his scarf and leaving the tent. A moment later and he poked his head around the draped fabric.
“Come along, Master Silva. Your clothing, your boots in particular, will not serve.”
Silva glanced back and forth between her husband and J’pin. Federan smiled and waved her on.
Silva gasped when she emerged back into the snowscape.
“That as well,” said J’pin. “You come from the far south. Hot, even in the winter months, or so I am told. You are not prepared for our winter.”
“Not that hot,” said Silva as they stomped through the encampment. And then her foot went through the icy crust trapping her to her knee.
J’pin laughed as he pulled her up.
“Boots will be the first requirement. You will have to learn to walk again. We shall provide the tents, sleds and food. You, the magic.”
“I am sorry for the necessity, taking you away from your family at this time of trouble.”
“Do not worry,” said J’pin, keeping hold of her arm as he half carried her back to his sled. “They will be a day or so behind us. FOr a change, instead of running over the snowpack they will pack down the road to make it easier for those who follow.”
Silva paused to stare. “That is clever.”
J’pin nodded his agreement.
“We do what is necessary. If we must travel swiftly and without leaving a mark, we will. The reverse is also possible.”
Silva decided not to comment on the ‘without leaving a mark’ statement and sat on the edge of the sled. She nodded to the large, oddly shaped creatures, who appeared to be mostly nobbly knees and broad feet, still harnessed to the sled.
“What are they called?”
“The pale one is Kai and the mottled one is Trim.”
Silva blinked at the answer.
J’pin lowered his scarf. “My father told me, we do not name our food. These are my friends, my loyal friends. Others of their kind we raise to eat and trade but those who are named shall not be sold or harvested. You understand?”
“A promise you make to yourself,” said SIlva.
“Exactly so.” He frowned and moved closer. “Does this High King, this Eioth. Does he keep the promises he makes to himself?”
Silva prepared to give her endorsement then paused. This was too important a question to answer without thought. It was also too close to the bone. She didn’t know.
She could remember those heart freezing moments on the training grounds with the rank of elvan archers preparing to shoot not only herself but the Lady Regent of the North West on no better orders than an archivist.
Did the elves of the North West truly accept Halidan as their lady? No matter that she bore the High King’s child… or, perhaps, because she had that child, did they want her to live or die? A half mortal to possibly inherit the North West and the throne. To serve them as Regent?
Fortunately J’pin did not appear disturbed by her hesitation. He waited patiently while she gathered her thoughts.
“Of my own witness I can say, he did accept me before the synod and grant me the rank of Master and adept of my element. There were voices raised against it, saying mortals should not have magic…”
“Should not?”
Silva did not let her frustration with her poor choice of words show.
“And that it would be better my magic be given to an elf, but you know that is not possible.”
“I am pleased with your gift.”
“As is Eioth who thanked me many times for my useful magic and willingness to be of use. AFter my time here I must travel on to other areas of the empire to restore roads and walls, build water reservoirs - for which I am respected and well paid.” Since J’pin did not appear persuaded Silva continued. “I can speak with greater confidence of the High Lady Senoia, the Lady of True South. All my life I have known of her hontesty and eaven handed care for elves and mortals under her care. It was she who accepted those who Chandri drove out. SHe who gives rank and responsibility for ability. The mayor of her capital is mortal as was the father of her beloved grandson. She is caring for my mother, has had her to visit and declared her family after my marriage to her grandson.”
J’pin raised his eyebrows.
“And is giving my mother food, a house and all she needs to care for all the orphans of the floods. “Orphans?”
“Children separated from their family by the disaster. Some who know their parents are dead and those who are waiting, hoping to be reunited. So much caring. We have lived under her care for more than a century, elves and mortals and mixed bloods together. I trust High Lady Senoia as no other. More than my own mother.” That, at least, thought Silva, is the truth. “And she, and my husband, are close friends with Eioth for decades.”
“And by that chain of friendships, you trust him?”
“By that chain, I have hope. Halidan, the High King’s lady, advocates for legal changes to protect mortals. To create equality. She, herself, has suffered injustice and will speak for all, directly to the High King.”
J’pin grunted. Another anonymous figure buried in layers of clothing appeared bearing large furry objects in both arms.
“Boots,” declared a female voice.
“Oh, thank you for saying so,” said Silva. “I thought you were about to put them in harness.”
The woman snorted, not with humor, and turned her back on Silva.
J’pin knelt and unlaced Silva’s fine tooled leather boots, tisking when he saw the two layers of woolen liners.
“And this is what they think will keep you warm?” He shook his head, his fingers moving swiftly as he tucked her feet into a furry bucket.
Silva grunted as the weight dragged at her legs.
“How do you walk in these?”
“Practice.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

consequences 55


"Forgive us, grandmother," said Silva. "My husband has told you the history that frames our quest, now I shall tell you our combined journey. And a little history of my own. My mother is a weaver and Dyer of some note in the true South. I am her journey woman. When I was very young, playing by our fireplace I remember being fascinated by the light and shadow, and the glow that danced on the pavings."
Silva looked down at the floor of this tent was covered by many, many layers of rugs. The glow from the fire pit was diffuse. The haze in the air from the burning resins tangled the light and prevented the formation of those straight lines of light and shadow that she had reached for as a child. If she had been born and raised in this tent city, with this light, she might never have developed her magic.
Her usual technique for dazzling her audience and demonstrating her odd magic was to pick up light from the floor and manipulated until formed a thread, a ribbon, I wrote. In this light she could not do it.
Raising both hands she removed her gloves and rolled back the sleeves until the precious bracelet she had created for herself and Fedoran to mark their marriage was exposed.
"Fedoran, please, lift down one of those lanterns and open one of the sides."
Before Fedoran could move their guide lifted down the nearest lantern and put it across to her. It was a brass lantern smoked glass covers on each side, all carefully locked. Silva assumed it was so it would be difficult for it to start a fire if it fell. The guide unlocked one side with a fingernail and raised a questioning eyebrow at Silva.
Silva lifted her hand toward the light and then touched one fingertip to her bracelet, drawing it away slowly so whole audience could see the formation of a thread stretching from her fingertip to the bracelet. She concentrated and the threat separated. Taking up the thread stretched it between her fingers until it was a ribbon one palm width wide and two hand lengths long. She turned it and twisted it in her fingers and then to depart again. Now it was a stretch of lace, broad and flat and glowing. She concentrated as she drew a fingernail across it and now she had two pieces. She rose and gave one half to the grandmother before taking the guide by the shoulder and walking him back to the doorway.
"Say something into the ribbon," she whispered to the guide. "Something she would not expect you to say."
The man wrapped his hand around the ribbon and spoke so softly that Silva could not hear him. The grandmother obviously did. She rose to her feet shaking her fist at the man.
“You shall not marry Ilian re Narka! You shall not! Not while I live. Not even after I die. SHe is too closely bound to you by blood. You shall marry Karin re Path of the Eperial clan or I…”
The man laughed and laughed.
“Peace Mother, Peace. Our magician asked me to speak words you would not guess and so I did. I shall not marry Ilian. Well do I know her only interest is to take your place once you are gone to eternal light.” He laughed agian. “As if my sister Minhi would permit her ambition.”
The grandmother grumbled and muttered and kicked an uneven section of rugs flat before seating herself again.
"You pulled this out of your sleeve, as has tricksters at market affairs with coins in the mouse and silk behind the ears."
"Try to set fire to it. Try to cut it with a knife. Try to destroy it by any means you choose," said Silva. "I have used light to build braizer, to build uprights for a house, a boat, a bridge. Yes, a bridge, a bridge that spans the river after it passes Hub of Harmony. I have used Light as a sword to cut through flesh and bone. This is my magic, I can hold Light in my hand and create from it what I imagine." Silva waited until the muttering stopped and added, "but it is not Water magic, or a Fire or Earth or Air. It is not Elemental magic. I cannot use it to forge iron…"
"It does not sound like you need iron," said their guide.
"I do not know what I need all that I can do with this Light magic," said Silva. "Until the weather spells broke this last third harvest festival day all I used it for was to spin shiny threats to include in my weavings."
"Third harvest day," repeated the grandmother.
"Exactly so," said Fedoran."This is part of our shared history, the reason for our journey. You can imagine that Chandri was not pleased at the failure of his plots. To have done so much and failed to have achieved the throne must have burned in his soul. We know because he admitted as much at his trial that he used the strength of all the Masters he had called to his banner, as well as the magic raised to honor the elements at third harvest festival, to lay hands upon the weather spells and tear them down."
"The fool," cried the grandmother.
"The murderer," said Silva. "We may never know how many tens of thousands died in the flooding that followed in the true South. Nor do we yet know how many have been crushed to death or frozen here in the true North."
"Those who witnessed the interrogation of Chandri before his trial and during it attest that he did not think that so much damage would happen but he was a fool indeed to tear down the spells and he did not know how to put them back up again."
"Once we were certain he did not know how to correct and repair the spells he was executed for his great crime against the whole Empire," said Fedoran."
"But we jump ahead in our story," said Silva. "When the rain started Fedoran, himself, as Heir to the True South, rode to the great Low lands to warn the inhabitants that the weather spells were gone and we were at risk of drowning in a coming flood. Suddenly there were demands on me that could not be met in the usual manner. My shining threads became shining ribbons that could be seen in the dark and the rain so that lost children could have their names attached to their in the hope that they would be found by their family. Slowly greater and greater demands were placed on my magic until…"
"In the midst of a thunderstorm she built a bridge to replace one that had fallen so that the refugees could escape the rising water, said Fedoran. "I swear to you this is true. I was witness to this magic. I was witness to the growth of her power and her abilities and her unselfish giving of that magic to those in need."
"So you married her or her magic?" asked the guide.
"No, I married her because she is a wonderful, caring person and I love her."

Monday, May 8, 2017

consequences 54

They entered the tent village on their guides heels. He, at least, was steady on his feet which did not slide nor sink below the crust of the snow. Although the outer ring of round, fur covered tents appeared to have been placed with no consideration for another person within that circle all was organized and neat. Wide, well trodden paths wound round and around circling them inwards to a broad, shallow fur covered tent. Smoke drifted out of irregularly placed gaps in the fur coverings giving Silva hope that the interior would not be so bone breakingly cold. 
Their guide walked down a set of stairs carved out of ice and snow and covered with planks of wood and moved a heavy curtain aside. Inside was a small, very small chamber. He waited until Silva and Federan joined him before moving the inner shield. Federan let out a slow breath and released his grip on his sash blade.Silva blinked. Until that moment she had not felt fear. Federan, it appeared, mistrusted the dark room, the unknown peoples. He gave her a half smile while behind his back their guide cast a smirk toward both of them.
“Enter and be welcomed,” came a low, gravely voice.
Silva and Federan ducked under the fabric and emerged in a chamber that was high enough for them to comfortably stand upright. Silva examined the ceiling, the uprights. There were layers upon layers of thick fur, rugs, and other fabrics all supported by an interweaving of narrow curved uprights. Silva frowned slightly, trying to understand their purpose.
“When the snow is heavy,” said the same low voice, “the beams bend instead of resisting the weight. Once the snow is above our roof the snow itself becomes part of the house. An outer shell and we place supports across to further protect us.”
“Although,” said their guide,with a smile, “long before that happens you are walking about on your knees.”
“Better kneeling than crushed.”
The voice came from what appeared to be a pile of multicolored fabric wrapped about with shawls on the other side of a fire pit. The shawls shifted and a face wrinkled and fallen in on itself to resemble a prune rather than a plum. The wrinkles moved in what Silva understood was intended to be a smile. Silva smiled in return.
“It is because some of the citizens of the True NOrth are dying beneath crushed houses and heavy snow that we are sent by High King Eioth…” Silva began.
The old woman waved her to silence.
“High Kings or low lords, they can all wait. It is you we wish to know. Who are you, my girl and what is this magic of yours?” The woman frowned. “And you, elf, may wait outside.”
“He is not elf,” said Silva, “or, at least, not altogether. He is my husband and half mortal.”
“Then the half that is elf may wait outside,” snapped the woman.
Silva folded her arms. “Come now, he is here for me as this one,” she wiggled a finger in the direction of their guide, “as he is for you.”
The old woman glared, trying and failing to intimidate SIlva. So many months of deprivation and the coming into her magic gave Silva strength previously not required. After a moment the old woman laughed and beckoned them closer.
“Very well, my girl, come and tell an old woman stories. I hear such strange things from the south as to confuse me utterly.”

Silva stared at the strange chamber. The air was filled with strangely scented smoke rendering the atmosphere hazy. She glanced up. Above her head was small pottery dishes containing a smoldering resin. As she stepped towards the old woman she realized that it was to counteract the aroma of what was burning in the fire pits. She was aware from her reading at school that in the absence of coal and wood to burn some people resorted to burning animal manure.
She hoped that wasn't used to prepare.
She and Fedoran settled on thick, unyielding cushions beside the fire.
"Have you heard of the events at the Synod this year?" Asked Fedoran.
"I pay little attention to elves and their doings in the normal run of things," said the old woman leaning forward. "But this year I think you may have something to tell me I need to know."

Fedoran settled himself into a storytellers posture. Opening his hands and smiling at his small audience he began, "I hope I need not tell you of the history of Chandri, Lord of the southeast.…"
"That foul beast is not the High King, I beg you, do not tell me so!"
"Indeed, let me comfort you with the knowledge that Chandri is dead!" Fedoran smile broadened. "If you will permit I will tell you how this came about."
"Tell on, husband of Silva, you have caught my interest."
"Over the last few decades, since the water plague, the number of elemental magic users born has declined…"
The grandmother shrugged.
"I am certain," said Fedoran. "That you feel that very little, living as you do, wandering from place to place and depending very little on the goodwill of elves and elemental Masters. But others, in the cities and further south, depend on the elements and their masters for many things. The decline in births worried us very much. To be without elemental Masters was to be without iron, and healing, and the weather magics. Knowing that the number of Masters was becoming less and less, Chandri gathered as many as he could into his service as he could bribe or suborn. Also, as we discovered later, he purchased three girl children from midcourt families and managed to convince all who knew him that he had fathered three children when other families could not claim one."
Fedoran paused to assess the effect his words were having upon his audience. Their guide still remained near the door. Whether to prevent Fedoran and Silva from leaving or any other entering he could not tell.
The grandmother watched him without comment. Taking this as permission Fedoran continued.
"The time of the Synod came and, horror of horrors, some body kidnapped Chandri's daughters…"
The grandmother cackled and clapped her hands.
"Oh, wait," cried Fedoran. "It gets better."
"You know all this for fact. The truth," inquired their guide from behind them.
"In my role as heir to the true south, with my grandmother, High Lady Senoia, I stood in the Synod and was witness to all events."

"Then tell your story. What we do depends on whether we count your testimony as true." The grandmother waved him to continue.
"As soon as the daughters were taken Chandri attempted to have the task of recovering them become a test for choosing the next high King…"
The grandmother laughed again and coughed and apologized for the interruption.
"Of course, I need not tell you the back-and-forth, the arguing, the conniving and plotting that went on. Not all, in fact very few were deceived by Chandri. In fact my friend, and the high Lord of the Northwest, stood up in Synod and accused Chandri of contriving the events, of planning on offering his daughter's hand in marriage to the person who found her, and standing as regent for his underage daughter who would become our high queen as if by being kidnapped and being rescued she would gain the knowledge and skills needed to rule."
He waited patiently for the grandmother to stop rocking back and forth before he continued.

"Everyone knew what he was trying to do. Those of the Synod were not deceived by his nonsense. The sad thing was they and the people were tired of being without a high King and what other test would they all agree to? I should also tell you that about Midsummer this year Eioth, the High Lord of the Northwest demesne, met a mortal woman and installed her as his lady with all the rights and responsibilities of such within his Household."
"Halidan," said Silva. "I have met her. She is an intelligent, well-educated woman. Originally Eioth intended she should care for his library and he respects her greatly."
"Indeed," said Fedoran. "And this is important. While lady Halidan was reading she discovered the cause of the infertility within the High Court elves and told this to Eioth. And here you have the players. Chandri the monster, pretending his daughters had been kidnapped, attempting to manipulate events to raise himself to be High King. And Eioth who, when his lady told him of the cure and the cause, announced in Synod all the facts, freely. When the other High Lords were given a chance to compare the two elves the acclaimed Eioth and declared he must be High King. In an astonishing event, Chandri's daughters appeared without warning in the middle of the Synod Hall. With the emotions standing high Chandri found himself in a situation where he must acclaim Eioth instead of being crowned himself."
"All this is interesting to the elves. How does this apply to the question that I asked, which is what magic does Silva have?"