Friday, November 21, 2014

Hubba Hubba Versus the Stinky Beefy Boy

504_slingrocks
Part One
The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_KindleHubba Hubba, Chirp, Tweet and Squeak were returning from a reconnaissance mission for Herio in The Burgeoning when...
"There are a slew of farmsteads, though," squeaked Chirp as he bounced along in a madAerial Ballet flutter to keep up. "One of them might put us up..."
"That's ground work," chirped Tweet. "We can't ask around from the air."
"Let's just go back now," said Hubba Hubba. "If that's all that's left, we're wasting time. I hate to think of another night of Herio's scorched beans, or nothing at all like last night."
"Couldn't be that bad," tweeted Squeak. "Those folks down there look pretty hard up. A little money would surely get us what we want..."
"Yea?" said Hubba Hubba. "And it could be right risky if they thought Herio was well-to-do. A young fellow by himself?" He clacked shut his beak with a shake of his head. "Someone might try to rob him...or worse!"
"Worse, master?" squeaked Chirp.
"Hey, I remember arrows and meat cleavers and ugly manners of all sorts out of people on the ground who weren't even penniless and desperate. And don't you dare call me master! Aren't we chums these days?"
"Oh I forgot, you being a crow and all..."
"Crow! Well, I can't hide from that, but reminders of the Ugleeuh days give me a headache..." And with that, he collapsed into a headlong fall.
Crows fighting playing_14
"Hubba Hubba!" squeaked Chirp, diving madly after him. "What's wrong? Tweet! Squeak! Help!"
***
crows_japanHubba Hubba opened his eyes to find the ground shooting up to meet him. He began flapping furiously. "Help! Help! Help!" he cawed. "It's too late! Pebbles, I'm sorry!"
Without warning, something strange was under each of his wings. Suddenly he was seeing stars, bouncing and rolling to a rumpled stop in tall new grass.
6358500989_1144c0f094_o
"Oh, I hate being dead," he rattled. "Throb. Throb. Throb. That's my stinking head, but why are my wingpits doing it, too? Say! Why am I thinking?"
"It's not thinking, Hubba Hubba," squeaked Chirp, "It's just you. Now could you please lift your wing? Squeak and Tweet are under here!"
"So you ones are dead too, aye?" he said, letting out a yelp from moving his head to peer under his wing.
"Good grief no!" chirped Tweet, with a ruffle of his feathers. "We're not dead and neither are you!" He gave Hubba Hubba two or three one eyed inspections. "You sure have a knot on your knitty box. What the ding-dong blazes did you fly into up there?"
"I have no idea at all, but for some crazy reason it made me think of Ugleeuh..." And at that very instant he was yanked out of the grass by his neck.
feature-spring-2011-next_gen-header
"Hey!" crowed a stinky beefy boy with a hateful grip, as he sprang into a dancing pell-mell run through the grass. "I got him! I got him! I got him! I got him!"
the-brixton-ona-bags-2-560x379
***
Chirp, Tweet and Squeak shot into the air from where Hubba Hubba had fallen and watched in shock from the top of a big walnut tree as the stinky beefy boy made off with him through the grass. "They'll get away if we don't get moving!" squeaked Chirp as they all dove into the air.
"He'd never let someone make off with us!" tweeted Squeak.
"Let's keep up!" chirped Tweet.
"Hey!" squeaked Chirp. "Somebody tell me how we're going to save him from a grabby boy a thousand times bigger than we are. He'll pull our heads off!"
"Go for help!" chirped Tweet.
"And somebody still has to follow," tweeted Squeak.
"Someone needs to find Herio and bring him here, while the other two of us follow Hubba Hubba," squeaked Chirp. "When we see where the boy takes him, one of us comes back here and the other stays and watches...
"Yea," chirped Tweet. "And hope to the Pit he doesn't get et while we're at it!"
"Don't even think that!" tweeted Squeak.sparrow12
"Just for that, you go find Herio," squeaked Chirp.
Tweet gave a wide-eyed nod and shot away with a bouncing blur of wings.

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Demonica and Ugleeuh Have Supper by the Sea



castles_fortress_rock_the_hill_castle_on_10_desktop_1920x1080_hd-wallpaper-489720
Demonica's keep had two great towers at opposite ends of the front wall of the castle proper. One of them housed Razzorbauch's great library. The other one served as her private lookout over the vast Orin Ocean to the far off horizons in three directions. In good weather she was fond of having supper on its uppermost storey under a tile roof heldimg_08701
aloft by open Gothic arches on all sides. On this particular evening, she and Ugleeuh sat
across from each other in their crimson dresses, listening to the booming of the surf as the breeze ran ripples along the skirt of their linen tablecloth. She forked two more steaming slices of duck roast onto her plate of sour cabbage from the duck's cavity and looked up at Ugleeuh. "Is something the matter, dear?" she said as she licked her fingertips.
"How do you eat like that after...?" said Ugleeuh, waving aside her own comment with a shake of her head. "Oh, never mind."
"You don't find that a good torture session increases your appetite?"
"Well, Minuet and Bethan were the one who always dressed the chickens..."
"Well. You do look right peaked, now that you call my attention to it, dear. Do Minuet and Bethan lose their appetites for chicken on the days they cut up fryers?"
"Well no..."
"Of course not. They've learnt that what's in the skillet is important enough that gory feathers are of no consequence at all. And the blood on a torture table doesn't matter, either. What counts is that heady sense of power. Madog was on his way to see to your undoing. Now Leeuh, surely you're not about to tell me that the mess in the dungeon overshadowed the orchestration of his deserving end, are you?"
stock-footage-downward-pan-of-arches-over-mediterranean"No Mother," she said with an especially pale swallow. "I rather enjoyed myself. It's quite something how long he lasted..."
"And that's the entertaining part," she said with a happy wave of her knife. "What good would it be if he died first thing?"
"I did enjoy myself, Mother," she said as she picked up her bread to butter. "Could you pass the duck? I'd like some cabbage and some more bird."
"Splendid," she said, picking up the platter. "I believe your appetite is better already."Stone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle
"Oh it is. And I did have fun. But what does torture have to do with sorcery?"
"Oh, not so much with sorcery as it has to do with power. One must enjoy power in order to wield it."
"So now that we're relaxed and powerful, when will you teach me to be a sorceress?"
"Well sorcery does include power," said Demonica as she spread some cabbage onto her bread. "But no more today, dear. Let's just talk and get to know each other."
"Fine. What do you want to know?"
"Well, what did Princess Branwen do to make you go to all that trouble to get rid of her?"
Ugleeuh laughed, rocking back and forth to swallow. "Not a thing," she said. "She was just Ugleeuh_rub_880683_c_medieval_scarlett_red_hooded_dress_costume_adult_ain the way."
"Of what?"
"She was betrothed to Prince Hebraun."
"So?"
"So I've my own plans for Hebraun, if you must," said Ugleeuh with a sullen toss of her raven mane.
"Why you look vexed. I'm only curious about you."
"Yea? Well it would be easier to take, had you any curiosity about me while I was growing up," she said, glaring as she wiped her mouth. "So here you be after skipping my life entirely up to now, pushing at me for a cozy little chat. My appetite's gone. I'm going to bed." And with that, she threw her napkin onto her plate and stood up.
"Touchy, are we?" said Demonica as Ugleeuh reached the stairs.
Ugleeuh slowed as her back stiffened, taking the first step down.
***
Good_Sister,_Bad_Sis_Cover_for_KindleIn Chapter 17 of Good Sister, Bad Sister, Demonica takes Ugleeuh to see Madog, the one who delivered the cat to Princess Branwen. It quickly becomes clear that not only did Ugleeuh murder Princess Branwen of Far, she also caused the outbreak of the plague.




Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps





Monday, November 17, 2014

What Was the Plague?


plague-mask

yersinia-pestis-is-found-most-commonly-in-rats-rome-italy+1152_12960809970-tpfil02aw-5920The plague which occurred in Good yersinia-enterocolitica-CSister, Bad Sister and was referred to in each of the other books of the epic series The Heart of Good_Sister,_Bad_Sis_Cover_for_Kindlethe Staff was caused by Ugleeuh. Ugleeuh had designs on Prince Hebraun of Niarg, who was betrothed to Princess Branwen of Far. remote_image_1331653487She fancied herself such a raging beauty that Hebraun would surely fall for her in spite of her having no peerage, if only she could eliminate Branwen. And she went to a great deal of trouble to do so. She followed the instructions that she found in a grimoire which had long been hidden for everyone's safety.
cache_2416781491
She had to find a young girl infected with Yersinia enterocolitica, with a high fever and plague-doctorrats02_img01bloody diarrhea and pains in her right lower belly and in her joints. It took her some time because the girl also had to have a pet kitten with lice. She put a spell on herself for protection, took the kitten and put it into a basket 514_400x400_NoPeelwith a tight lid lined with linen and said a long incantation which caused a gene substitution that changed the Yersinia enterocolitica to Flea_infected_with_yersinia_pestisYersinia pestis, the dreaded plague. She then arranged for a courier to deliver the kitten to Branwen as a present from Hebraun. Branwen fell ill at once, releasing the pestilence into the countryside.
oil-of-oreganoUgleeuh's Father Razzmorten (who knew none of this) learnt of a cure oreganocalled worrobobo from Ngerrk-ga, an Ngop shaman on the Dark Continent, and set about making it, stopping the plague.

Tom Phipps

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Real Hubba Hubba


Exif_JPEG_420
The nest in this tree is the very raven nest in this story.

Several years ago, when we were teaching on the Navajo Nation and living in a trailer on the Twin Lakes (Ext - Back BEST)campus of Twin Lakes ElementaryTwin Lakes (Int - Hallway2-5) School, a violent thunderstorm blew down a nest of baby ravens from the top of a hackberry tree. Carol grabbed up two of them, walking home from school. The neighbor's dog killed the other two.
3591477901_309f2340a6_z
Carol put them in an open box on the davenport and named the big one Hubba-Hubba, after our character in The Collector Witch, and named the little one Quoth. They were young enough that they were only about three fourths feathered out and Carol had to feed them baby parrot porridge with a teaspoon. And as it was when we raised our Amazon parrot, Carol's background in psychology and mine in ethology made us careful not to read human motivation into their behavior. However we were interested in their inclination toward language, so we began at once treating them as though they harbored the same sort of undeveloped intelligence as a baby human.
cc2
We made no attempt to teach them to talk. That is, we did not endlessly repeat phrases over and over to them nor drill them in any sort of way. What Carol has done every single evening since, before switching off the lights for the night, is spend some time scratching their heads and talking to them.
ravenL0405_468x312It was soon impossible to keep them in the box, so we transferred them to a large plastic P12307407pet carrier with a welded wire door. We kept them on the kitchen table. We handled them frequently and talked to them, but outside of squawks and groans, we heard nothing out of them for better than two months. Soon they began picking out large pieces of their cedar bedding, trimming them and using them as wedges and levers to force open the door of their carrier. Just as we were recovering from the shock of their doing this, one of them declared, "Fuck you!" as they scratched about in their new bed of cedar chips. The other one replied, "Ass hole! Ass hole!"
This certainly stunned us. We had not once heard a single word nor any single attempted word out of either of them prior to this. And neither one of us had ever used language like ravens1this around them. What they could have heard on an isolated occasion or two was one of us telling the other about our day at school, including (we assume) the foul speech of our students. In a few days we were astounded once more when we heard Hubba Hubba say, "Help me get this door open."
This was not at all like parrots. Not only was there no endless practice leading up to the utterance of this sentence, it was as perfectly enunciated as if it were spoken by some human. We began keeping them in a chicken wire pen outside in the daytime. The next time I heard "Help me get this door open," I rushed to the window to find Quoth watching  Hubba Hubba as he pecked in the dirt under the wire gate.
One day I was very upset, tramping about the trailer, raving. As I was calming down, Quothe said, "Tom! What's wrong?"
196570606_fd127bc7eaOver the next very few months, they developed nearly all of the words and sentences given below. However, during the last couple of years we were out west, we seldom heard anything new out of them. During our first year in Kentucky, we discovered Hubba Hubba 15327478giving deliveries where he not only spoke in his own voice, but also talked in Quoth's voice to make replies. Had Quoth quit talking? We were trying to find out when she vanished for good from their pen outside.
Since then, Hubba Hubba takes spells in the late afternoon saying over and over, "Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello..." or, "What's your problem? What's your problem? What's your problem...?" which he articulates as well as ever. He has begun using our names, but they are very difficult to understand, with "Carol" coming out as "Coah" or "Hoh," and "Tom" sounding like "Hom," though "Quoth," which he has said from the beginning, comes out quite well. He asks for food by saying, "Want some," and when we ask him what he wants, he may occasionally reply, "Want some food," or "Want some water."
ee0dd583845e3e9e2f7fd63fae2ec775
Perhaps ravens are best at learning to articulate during some period of readiness, late in their development and any later verbal learning is not something that they're genetically programmed to do as easily. Who's to say? We only have the one bird, and there is very little written on the subject, since any hint that some non-human could possibly have any degree of natural use of true language is still largely regarded as heretical.
Brush Fire, Navajo Estates, Twin Lakes
Here are the words Hub uses. They are not listed in nice columns because of the contrary behavior of this website: a, all, am, are, ass, awk (spoken), boy, Carol (very poorly pronounced), door, food, fuck, get, go, going, good, hello, help, here, hmmm, hole, how, Hub, I, is, matter, me, open, out, problem, Quoth, right, some, that, the, this, to, Tom (very poorly pronounced), want, water, what, you, your.
Here are his phrases: All right.   Ass hole!   Awk! Awk! (spoken, as humans would 24OBOX1-articleLargepronounce it)   Carol! (very poorly pronounced)   Fuck you!   Hello.   Hello how are you? Hello Quoth.   Help me get this door open.   Here's one.   Hey Quoth.   Hmmm?   How are you?   How'r'you how are you? (run together)   Hub.   I'm a good boy. Hmmm?   I'm going to go out the door.   That's a good boy. Hmmm?   Tom. (very poorly pronounced)   Want some.   Want some?   Want some food!   Want some water.   What's the matter?   What's your problem?
Our character Hubba Hubba in Good Sister, Bad SisterThe Collector WitchStone Heart and The Burgeoning is no raven at all, but a double yellow head Amazon parrot with enchanted interludes as a crow, not a raven.
If you've ever had the good fortune to keep a raven or a crow, we'd love to hear about it.
 628x471

Tom Phipps

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yann-Ber Meets Rotten Mouth



Temple_Ewell_Geo___Dragon_pc__TN
Yann-Ber awoke stiff and cold amongst a forest of rotted barrel staves beside the middenstead of a tavern. He was surprised that he had fallen asleep whiling away the afternoon. Moving around was arduous, so when he had felt that he was where it would be convenient to be after dark, he had sat down to spend his time until nightfall. It was now fully dark and the waning moon gave very little light, but that was to his liking. He struggled painfully to his feet and slowly found his way around to the front of the tavern where he hoped to find leads to the wizard.
He stood in the shadows near enough to the street that he could make out the name, DSC03671.JPG.opt388x631o0,0s388x631"Black Dragon" on the sign bearing a relief carving of a dragon that hung out over the street in front of the door.In a short time that seemed like a small eternity to him, one of the patrons staggered out into the street. There was no doubt that the man was quite drunk.
"Good sir!" called out Yann-Ber, as he limped out of the shadows. "I was wondering if you could tell me where I might be able find this fellow I'm a-looking for?"
The drunk stopped short and swayed as he squinted into the darkness. "Well, doggone it!" he called out, as he jerked at his own posture. "Who the ding-dong blazes is there? Show yourself and maybe I can."
"Sir," said Yann-Ber, coming closer. "There's a fellow, maybe you could help me find..."
"Well, damn!" declared the drunk in a tone that sounded like recognition. "Damned if you don't sound like someone who just got off the boat from Head. Now Head! You don't say. So, you're from Head?"
"Actually I am. You're quite observant." Yann-Ber had started to hide his face with his hood, but now he could see that the fellow was in such a condition that he wouldn't be having problems with appearances. "My name is John. John James. I'm right sorry to trouble..."
"Hey. Now tell me. Are you from Head?"
"Yes, as I said..."
"Really? You're from Head? Well damn."
"Yes, I just..."
"You got a funny name for a Headlander. John?" The drunk was now steadying himself with a fist full of Yann-Ber's sleeve. "Hunh! John James. Ought to be Padrig or Remont. Hey, how come you ain't Jakez?"
"Very well, you're right, I could be called Yann Jakez in Head, but right now I'm searching for a wizard by the name of Razzmorten..."
"Whoa! Now you don't fool around...Jakez. Now you just go right to the top."
"Well, I'd certainly like to. I understand Razzmorten lives in Niarg, but I have no idea where. Have you any idea, good sir?"
The drunk grabbed Yann-Berr's other sleeve as well. "Hain't nobody here 'bouts who don't know whoRazzmorten be," he cackled through rotten teeth with breath that would have scared the old sow.
"Then," said Yann-Berr, when he dared breathe again, "you know where I might find him?"A_005_34_Tavern
"Ah! Well sir," said the drunk, reaching under his filthy shirt to scratch his sallow melon of a belly, "been having a hard time thinking straight without a dram or a pint, you know. Scarcely knew which way home was when I came out here..."
"That's not hard to imagine, Rotten Mouth," thought Yann-Ber. "So then," he said, speaking out grandly. "How would a pint inside suit your memory?" He glanced at the door of the Black Dragon and wondered if they could make it in to a dark corner without the clean and proper going crazy at the sight of them. Rotten Mouth was already happily staggering his way back into the tavern.
Rotten Mouth found a table in a far corner at once. Directly an obese tavern maid came by, squinting at them as though she'd prefer dealing with the pair of them at the end of a old_medieval_wino_metal_star_by_duster132-d4il9yemanure fork, but she took their order adroitly and returned right away with two pints of light dry mead. Rotten Mouth seized his and guzzled it half down before wiping his mouth on his sleeve and speaking: "Razzmorten is the king's father-in-law. He lives in the tallest tower of Castle Niarg."
Yann-Ber immediately slid his mead across the table to Rotten Mouth and stood up, carefully adjusting his hood before wending his way out. Outside the doorway, the wind had picked up, rocking the tavern's sign. Dry leaves skittered along the street. He remembered seeing the castle due west in the daylight. He made straight for it in the darkness, determined not to let his tortured legs so much as pause until he got there.
Yann-Ber meets Rotten Mouth in Ch 8 of Stone Heart, third book of The Heart of the Staff.Stone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle






Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Monday, November 10, 2014

Who is Yann-Ber?



Palaces-of-Europe01
Yann-Ber is born a prince, the eldest son of Azenor of the House of Dark, the emperor of Head (Pennvro) and the Dark Empire. He is a bright and prodigal child, doted upon by hisMeeting-Place-Nov03-D4267sAR father and destined to sit on the throne. He grows into a dashing and handsome young man who marries Princess Yuna of the House of Egg (Vi), who by astonishing luck happens to be his childhood sweetheart. Mere weeks into his marriage, the sorceress Demonica casts a spell on him, taking him away from her.
castles_fortress_rock_the_hill_castle_on_10_desktop_1920x1080_hd-wallpaper-489720Demonica is shrewd and ruthless, an heiress of a vast fortune in mines. For generations, she has manipulated the throne of the Dark Empire from the shadows by providing ships, arms or mercenary armies at opportune moments, keeping it perpetually indebted to her. She marries Yann-Ber hoping to eventually sit on the throne.
In spite of his dependency upon her, Azenor fears Demonica and disinherits Yann-Ber. Demonica regards Yann-Ber with cruel disdain from that moment on. She eventually catches him with another woman and casts a crippling spell of boils upon him, and sends him out on desperate forays to find the Great Staff of Power. He eventually locates it in Stone Heart, only to have her reward him by promising that he will die after another year of horrible torment from the spell.
Scan10035
Yann-Ber sets out for Niarg at once to find the wizard Razzmorten. Perhaps he can undo her curse.
Stone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle






Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Friday, November 7, 2014

Demonica and Spitemorta Have Lunch: Part 2


"That was fun, Grandmother," said Spitemorta, pausing to count the severed fingers and toes which she was picking up from the floor of the rocking coach, all about the mutilated body lying between their feet. "It was particularly entertaining, freezing his throat and jaws. He never peeped, but do you suppose Merfyn noticed his kicking?" She flung a toe out the window and bounced with glee when she saw it land in a woman's bread basket. "I can just see her now: 'My word! I have a toe in my bread basket!'" She rocked back and forth with laughter, slapping her knee.
"I didn't know you had a sense of humor, dear..."
"Here!" shouted Spitemorta as she leant out the window, launching her double handful of digits at a woman who caught them in her apron, only to collapse in a faint.
"I see we are at least managing to pass the time," said Demonica.
"Well, I had to throw out the fingers," she said, sitting back into the seat with a bounce. "And what shall we do with the body, Grandmother, leave it on King Theran's doorstep on our way out of town?" 
"Hmm...crude and pointless, I think," she said as she began studying the blood soaking her clothes. "No, let's just pitch it out alongside the road once we're out of town.Theran wouldn't know who left it, unless you went to the trouble to make it plain to him somehow. But I can't imagine wanting Theran so upset by our visit that he forms an alliance with Niarg for protection, can you?"
"He wouldn't dare! Oh, all right. I see how he might."
"Say. Be a good girl and clean up, would you?"
"What?"
"You've got the Staff. Everything's positively soaked. We wouldn't want Merfyn to open the door for us and run away."
"Oh," said Spitemorta as she took hold of the Staff. "Say no more Grandmother." At once the blood was gone from their clothes and from the inside of the coach.
Demonica leant out the window. "Merfyn!" she hollered. "This is far enough. Get down from there and help us throw out this carcass!"
"Whoa!" called out Merfyn with a jingle of harness and a squeal of brakes. They listened to him scuffle down and hop onto the gravel with a crunch and click the latch. He threw wide the door and drew a breath, catching himself at the sight of the body and the two of them studying him from head to toe to see how he was managing.
"Why he's the one I helped in a few hours ago, isn't he?" he said in in a polished and dutiful tone as his hands trembled. "Uh, was he any trouble?"
"Not in the least," said Demonica. "In fact we found him surprisingly entertaining, considering his condition when we picked him up."
"Well. I'll declare. That's a..." he stammered, utterly at a loss for bearings.
"Well Merfyn?" said Spitemorta.
"I see you did indeed say carcass," he said, pausing to take a couple of furtive glances out and about. "So I reckon you also said..."
"Yes, Merfyn, throw him out. And 'help' actually means you do it."
"Oh yes, Your Majesty. I certainly shall. It's just that there are still houses, if ye know what I mean, and this being a foreign place and all..."
Demonica stepped out of the coach. "There's not a soul in sight, Merfyn," she said, as if she were coaxing a wary child to relieve himself in the bushes. "Now, get this kaoc'h ki du out of the coach, and drive straight back to Goll."
He grabbed the body by an ankle and a wrist and drug it out into the ditch to return at once to hold the door for Demonica to climb aboard.
Demonica motioned for Spitemorta to step out with the Staff. "We're staying, Merfyn. You drive straight back to Goll, this minute."
Merfyn blinked in confusion. "Yes, but..."
"Go!" barked Spitemorta.
 ***
Excerpt from Ch 37, The Burgeoning


Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps