Monday, May 21, 2018

Spitemorta Loves Gwaelian Hand Gonnes








The great hall had smartly dressed military men standing about everywhere. Spitemorta was ushered past the grand dining table, steaming with roasted hogs and geese, to a chair beside Demonica on the balcony, overlooking a broad jousting field below. Drummers and bagpipers marched around the outside of the field. In the middle of the field stood a full suit of armor, stuffed with sacks of flour on a block of wood. Two rods in front of it stood twenty-one pairs of soldiers. Each pair were readying some sort of iron staff. At a command, the bagpipers stopped, and one from each pair of soldiers pointed his staff at the armor. At the command: "Loose!" the other one from each pair applied a smoldering match to the staff. Each of the twenty-one staves went off with a rolling boom, sending the armor tumbling off the block as thick clouds of blue-white smoke curled into the air.
 
Spitemorta leant forward, enthralled. Directly, four soldiers tramped through the
dining hall to the balcony bearing the armor and one of the iron staves. "What is this
thing?" she said.

"This, Your Majesty, is a hand gonne," said Vortergern, beaming. "It casts these gonne stones, lead balls, six to the pound, faster than the eye can see. Please look at this breastplate, gorget, hauberk and back plate." The soldiers turned the riddled armor all
about so that she could clearly see that the balls had all gone clean through both sides.

"I assume by your demonstration, King Vortigern, that you will be supplying hand gonnes to the troops you are sending me?"
 
"Your Majesty, all twenty-one hand gonnes are amongst the thirty-six going with your troops."

Spitemorta gave a nonchalant nod and turned away to look out over the jousting field again. She was dancing inside. She loved this Gwaelic magic.




















Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps


Friday, May 18, 2018

Herio is Knighted



chivalry
Minuet fought back the urge to take Herio into her arms and beg him to change his mind. "You, my valiant guardian, are to come back to me unharmed," she said fiercely.
"I will, my Queen," said Herio solemnly as he bowed low.
When he stood, Minuet embraced him and kissed him on both cheeks. "You are a right brave young man, but you sally forth on a knight's errand," she said. "Therefore, you must bear with you a knight's title. Kneel before me, Herio."
Astonishment flickered in his eyes as he knelt at once.
Minuet drew Hebraun's sword, raised it before her and kissed the blade. She smiled, eyes brimming with tears as she placed the blade on first one, then the other of his shoulders. "Ymladd yn erbyn drwg...Ymladd dros Niarg...Ymladd dros rhinwedd, marchog," she proclaimed. "Thou a royal knight of Niarg ybeoth. Ryst up, Sir Herio."
Herio stood at once. "You have honored me beyond my wildest dreams," he said, looking at her in wonder. "I will not disappoint you."
"I know," she said as she took Razzmorten's arm. "Now Father, please change Hubba Hubba so that these two brave souls may be on their way."
"Are you ready, Hubba Hubba?" he said.
"You got it, Wiz," said the satin crow looking up from amidst the scrambling brood and Pebbles. Suddenly all eyes went wide as Hubba Hubba ran his ebony beak down some flight feathers and gave himself a thorough shake. "Thanks, Wiz. Ready Sir Herio?"
"Not without us!" squeaked Chirp, winging into the room with Tweet and Squeak in a flurry of wings.
"At least for as far as we can make it by this evening," tweeted Squeak.
"Why that makes my morning!" cawed Hubba Hubba with a shake of his black ruff. "Let's go, shall we boys?" 
"Just a moment before you leave," said Razzmorten. "Herio, Hubba Hubba, Chirp, Tweet and Squeak, this is a little something to bear in mind for the sake of everyone while you're off on this mission: no matter what happens, no matter how tempting, never ever peer into a skinweler."
Ch. 9, The Burgeoning 
(Click on Title or Cover to The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_KindlePurchase at Amazon)



Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Monday, May 14, 2018

As if You can Hear the Trees Scream

They arrived at the edge of Chokewoods just after sunset, feeling relief and dread at the sight of the looming trees. Everyone hesitated, not wanting to enter. Lukus slid off Spark, grabbing his head with a grimace when he lit. Rose dismounted and stood by his side, Sinornithosaurus_magsaying nothing. Lukus turned wide eyes to meet Rose's barely perceptible nod. This was like it was the first time they arrived, in spite of it being a different part of the woods and a different time of day. "Well," she said, jostling everyone by speaking. "Let's get on with it, shall we?" She gave Lukus an abrupt shove and followed him through an opening in the tangle of brush and matted vines. Fuzz, Spark, and Lipperella came immediately behind.
In they went, straining from side to side in hopes of spying some sort of clearing or cave for a place to camp. "If you listen, it's almost as if you can hear the trees scream," said 
Lipperella, in a whisper tinged with awe.
"We thought so the first time," said Lukus. "It's so eerie."
images 2"Indeed," said Fuzz, "But the trees are in fact not screaming, and when their trunks look so grotesque, one's imagination would understandably be thrall to suggestibility."
"So you don't hear anything then?" said Spark.
"I didn't say that, "said Fuzz. "It sounds like far away moans and murmurs in some giant hall, but that must be the wind 'way up in the trees, rather than the trees themselves."2004_1024chapel0005
"Are you sure?" said Spark. "I'm not."
"Well no, but it's the simplest explanation, isn't it?"
"Perhaps, but 'simple' doesn't take Razzorbauch's perversion of the place into account."
"Good point," said Fuzz, as everyone fell into a nervous silence.
"Hey," said Lipperella. "Look up ahead. That could be a clearing." It was. They made a hasty camp by doing little more than spreading out their blankets and deciding how 
they would keep watch. Rose heard no owls at all, only the ghostly murmur and sighs 
echoing from unimaginable reaches off in the timber.
The_Collector_Witch_Cover_for_Kindle








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Albino Troll Kid and the Elves

 Excerpt From Elf Killers
"Isbal! Reina! Strangers!" bellowed the troll as he wheeled and vanished into the adjoining room.
"It talks!" cried Kieran, springing after to let fly an arrow which glanced off a long polished table top and stuck in the far wall.
"Stop!" shrieked a woman, suddenly appearing from the hallway.
"Aunt Isbal!" cried Oisin, letting down his bow. "You're alive!"
"Yes I am. Now don't shoot our troll...!"
"'Our' troll? Who else made it through the massacre? And how would you ever have a troll?"
"Your aunt Reina is who else. Now you heard me about not shooting him, right?"
"How does one not shoot a troll?" said Kieran.
"By being polite enough not to, Kieran!" said Isbal.
"I'm sorry, Isbal. I just saw them kill..."
"Yes. So did I. But this one won't. Come on out Darragh. Come on now."
After a pause, a chair scooted away from the long polished table with a screech on the stone floor as Darragh lumbered out from under it and slowly stood up.
"Now this is Darragh, and I swear he'll not harm a single hair on your head..."
"What's the matter with it?" said Olloo. "I've never seen one with snow white hair before. And what's wrong with the thing's eyes?"
"Shake their hands, Darragh," she said as she gently took him by the wrist and held his hand toward Kieran.
Kieran stepped back as Oisin came forth in his place and took Darragh by the hand.
"How do you?" rumbled Darragh with a beetle browed nod as he pumped out a couple of giant handshakes.
"Carefully, sport," said Oisin with a wary look as he stepped back.
"Meanie. And he meanie, too," said Darragh, wrinkling his nose with a sneer and pointing at Kieran and Olloo
"Well shake his hand, Kieran," said Olloo.
"No!" said Darragh, shaking his head from shoulder to shoulder. "He big big meanie. He dirtybutt stinkerman."
"Well," said Olloo, "there've been moments on the way here when we've thought so ourselves, Darragh."
Kieran bit his lip and kicked Olloo in the ankle.
"See?" said Darragh. "Meanie!"
"So how did you come by him?" said Oisin. "And where's Aunt Reina?"
"Back through the house," said Isbal. "I can see that this will require some refreshments. Let me take you to the sitting room. Come along, Darragh."
Soon they had exchanged greetings with Reina and were all seated comfortably around a tea table in a small parlour. Isbal and Reina disappeared into the kitchen and returned shortly with hot blackberry tarts and tea. "We harvested the blue maidenhair you're about to drink last year right after the massacre," said Reina as she set down the tray with the steaming pot.
"Why do you have it so dark in here?" said Oisin.
"The light hurts Darragh's eyes," said Isbal. "If we don't keep it dark, he'll sleep all day and keep us awake all night..."
"Drum and hoot-hoot, Isbal?" said Darragh as he tumbled onto the floor in front of her and pressed his cheek to her foot. "Please hoot-hoot?"
"That's probably a good idea. Go get the instruments," she said as he sprang to his feet and raced out.
He was back in short order with a field drum and two clay jugs. He set the drum on its side with a bang and reverently nestled the smaller jug in Isbal's lap before plumping down cross legged on the floor with the larger jug. He scooted the drum about until he could touch its head with the ball of one foot. Like a conductor tapping his baton, he shifted about for a moment and got still. Presently he began a brisk tapping of the drum with his foot: pum, pum, pum, pum, pum, pum, pum, pum..
Isbal joined him in time with her jug: foof...foof...foof...foof...
Darragh in turn added a commanding: toofa...toofa...toofa...toofa... so that together they went: foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa, foof toofa... for a very long time. After a spell, it became quite mesmerizing indeed. Suddenly he stopped his jug with a loud thump of his drum: bam!
Isbal continued: foof...foof...foof...foof... until Darragh went: wham! on his drum, sprang to his feet and gave a dignified bow. For a moment, there was not a sound in the room.
At last, Oisin set down his teacup with a clink. "Why, I've never heard the like," he said. "That was quite impressive, Darragh."
Darragh grinned hugely and bowed again and again.
"Darragh," said Isbal, holding out her jug, "why don't you go out and play for a while? I promise that as soon as Reina has the next pies out of the oven, we'll call you in."
"Oh good, good!" he said with a bounce as he gave her a squeeze and took her jug. He scurried out at once with the jugs. He was back immediately for the drum, pausing to stick out his tongue at Kieran. "Bad meanie stinky privy seat!" he rumbled. He gave his chest two good thumps with his fists and tramped out.
"Just what does he have against me?" said Kieran.
"I expect he takes exception to being shot at," said Isbal.
"Nay. He's just a good judge of character, is all..." said Olloo.
Kieran leant aside with a frown and gave Olloo a smack on the back of the head.
"Well, speaking of fighting and dying, if you know what I mean, how ever did you come by Darragh?" said Oisin. "Do you really trust him?"
"So the dear child scares you, does he?"
"Not as much as on first sight. Child? I can see that he sort of acts like one, but he's a good head taller than me and might weigh as much as all three of us."
"He's not an Elf Killer," said Isbal, looking up as Reina returned with another pot, "Well troll he be, but he is indeed innocent."
"How can you call any sort of troll a 'dear child,'" said Kieran, "or innocent?"
"Because that's what he is, Kieran," said Isbal. "Darragh wouldn't harm so much as an insect unless it bit him first.
"You say he's actually a child?" said Olloo.
"Aye," said Reina as she poured tea all 'round. "We reckon that trolls are grown enough to start pestering sows at about eleven. You'd have to bathe him, but you'd see he's not near there yet.
"Eleven!"
"They're pretty short lived. When did you first get giddy over girls, two hundred and ten or two hundred and twenty, perhaps?"
"But trolls are monsters, Reina," said Kieran.
Reina sighed and carefully set the teapot on the marble tea table. "Monsters they be, Kieran," she said. "We were captured, don't you know, along with who knows how many others." She turned a haunted look to Isbal and licked her lips. Isbal took up her hand and squeezed it, but neither of them smiled.
Everyone sat for a moment, stunned by this. "How did you ever...?" said Oisin.
"Oh, as far as we know, we were the only ones to escape their horrible fires. They had so many captives, and were all gone wild with their hellish carousal that they seemed to have no interest in a couple of dried up old gammers. They never even bothered tying us up. They just threw us down in the dirt outside where everyone could see us. We were so terrified that we just stayed right where they put us, doing everything we could not to watch what was going on. We still wake up in the night with horrible dreams..."
"Then a scrap broke out right in front of us," said Isbal. "The big old trollbrutes tore Darragh away from his mother. The moment they took out their sharp flints, fixing to cut him open, she stopped kicking at them and began licking their feet..."
"With her tongue?" said Olloo.
"Yes indeed, all over the tops of them and between their toes, and it stopped the curses from cutting him open. They yanked him up onto his feet by his hair and shoved him at his poor mother..."
"And the instant they did that," said Reina, "I grabbed Isbal and we ran for the brush as hard as we could go. Just after we'd got well out of sight of the fires, the mother grabbed us by the hair and yanked us onto our backs. As we were a-struggling to get up, she shoved Darragh at us and got on her hands and knees and went to whimpering and licking at our feet. Poor Darragh was crying and carrying on too, and she bit him good a couple of times and made him go with us.
"We ran for what seemed like hours, and Darragh stayed right with us, hanging onto us for dear life. When we got back here, we found no one alive and we spent the next several days, burying bodies. We just kept running into them. Darragh kept trying to help us, so long as we didn't go out in the bright sun. He also started in right away, trying to use our words. He won't use trollish..."
"How can you be sure he won't turn on you sometime?" said Kieran.
Reina heaved a sigh. "Well he's not about to," she said. "A few weeks ago, maybe fifty trollbrutes came back here late in the evening and nosed around through building after building for long enough, we thought they'd never leave. Darragh hid us in a passage in the palace that he'd found. He was playing outside when they showed up and the very sight of them terrified him. He was trembling all over and he kept calling them 'monsters,' and we couldn't begin to coax him out of the passage until long after they were gone. He won't ever talk about living with the other trolls, but over time we have managed to piece together that he was tormented by them day and night, and that they were continually threatening to eat him." She clapped her knees with sudden resolution and stood up. "I think the pies must be ready by now."
"Yea," said Isbal. "It might do you some good, Kieran, if you went out and got Darragh. My guess is that he's out in the stable. He won't be far. He's crazy about blackberry tarts..."
"Me?"
"Just go out through the kitchen."
Seeing that no one was about to come to his aid, Kieran sheepishly rose and followed Reina. Beyond a long roofed breezeway, he stepped into an enormous barn like a rough hewed cathedral. "Darragh?" he called. There was no answer. He went from stall to stall along both walls, standing empty in the cobwebs. "Darragh?" Not finding him, he climbed into the mow. Pigeons cooed and strutted along a great timber, high up the far wall. "Darragh? Darragh! Come on! They've got pie!"
"No!" cried Darragh, standing up in the hay. "You dirtybutt meanie!"
"Come on, Darragh! I came out to get you for pie!"
Darragh shook his head from shoulder to shoulder. Without warning, he threw a fist sized rock, taking off Kieran's hat, making him see stars and setting him down hard upon the mow floor. Darragh was standing over him at once. "We even, Dirtybutt!" he cried as he gave his chest a good drumming with his fists. He held out his hand. "Now maybe you no more be meanie."
Kieran took his hand and stood up.
"Now. Any more meanie?"
"No. I came out here to get you for pie."
"Good, good! I like pie."
"Even better than what you ate when you lived with the Marfora Siofra?"
"Boof! Dyrney no eat good things. Dyrney say they'll eat me and say they'll eat me and say they'll eat me. Dyrney even want Fmoo to eat me."
"Are Dyrney the Marfora Siofra? Who's Fmoo?"
Darragh clenched his teeth and his fists and gave an angry shudder as he nodded and hissed through his nose. "'Dyrney' be troll talk for 'people,' but Dyrney no be people. Dyrney be awful, awful, awful, awful monsters."
"Who's Fmoo?"
"Fmoo be my real momma. But 'fmoo' and 'Dyrney' be troll words. I hate troll words. Just Elf words, please? I be Elf now."
"You've got a deal, Darragh."
"Good, good!" cried Darragh, with a thundering leap on the mow floor. "We eat pie."
The heady aroma of blackberry tarts met them as they returned to the parlour beyond the kitchen. "Kieran no more be dirty butt meanie," said Darragh as he scurried up to sit on the floor before the tea table.
"Why, that's remarkable," said Olloo, earning another smack on the back of the head as Kieran took his seat. "We never quite managed."


Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Meri Greenwood Catches Wizard Razzmorten

mud-maid-main_1
It sounded as though the leaves had crunched just a heartbeat after his final footfall, but Razzmorten shook his head and went on.

"Good wizard...!" said a man with green hair, alabaster skin and pointed ears as he stepped directly into his path with a knapsack covered with leaves.
"Hoy!" cried Razzmorten, freezing in his tracks at once. "Meri Greenwood?" He steadied himself against a tree.

"By your aura I have you finally caught," said Greenwood with a flicker of fury in his emerald eyes. "You know that you can not hide that from me. Now tell me at last, wizard, where have you my lover Celeste done hid? Where did you put the Guardians of the Woods?"
????????????????"You've given me a terrible start, but aren't you indeed Meri Greenwood, Dyn Gwyrdd, as we once knew you?"
"As if you did not know..."
"Well I should of course, but I'd expect you to know me every bit as well..."
"And what deceit would you be now a-trying?"
"Well if you once knew me, I doubt that you'd think I had put the Guardians any place at all. I daresay that like most mortals, I've never so much as had the chance to meet them. Would this have something to do with my twin, Razzorbauch?"
Meri took a step forward in the leaves and looked closely at Razzmorten's eyes. He took a step back and chewed for a moment. "Now, you are Razzmorten, ain't ye?" he said, turning aside for a spit.
"Yes..."
"And you can certainly mark ye my word to be Meri Greenwood. And so you are here for to covet your brother's handiwork?"
"Do you actually mean this woods? This was the Forest Primeval? Razzorbauch didn't have nearly enough power to make such a change, the last I knew."
"Then as hit thinks me, sitting over here you will need to be before to you the rest of hit I can for to tell," said Meri as he sat on a nearby fallen tree and gave the trunk beside him a pat.
"Well these blue and yellow creatures," said Razzmorten, taking his seat, "they shot me with a dart and brought me in here unconscious, or I wouldn't be here at all..."
"Dorchadas, my good man, one of your dear brother's enchantments they be, along with smallies and other such things."
"Dorchadas? Are they indeed what they look like? Could they possibly be the giant lyoths from the Dark Continent?
"All but the great daggers for fangs they did have as cats."
"Razzorbauch never had this kind of power. Are you sure Demonica had nothing to do with this?"
"Oh, but the power he now does have," said Meri, "particularly since he not only to get his hands on the First Wizard's Great Staff was able, but indeed on the very crystalimages (1)x Heart of the Great Stone Tree, which the First Wizard with the Staff did use."
"So that's where the Heart came from," said Razzmorten as he stroked his beard. "And in the process, he's kidnapped the Guardians?"
"Nacea, Alvita and Celeste, who was my very lover," said Meri, looking very haunted.
"So you think he's brought them here into the part of the woods which he's changed?"
"I am sorry, but you do not quite see. Hit not just be this part of the woods. He has the whole Forest a-changed. And I must my lover for to find."
"Oh my!" said Razzmorten. A breeze chased through the leaves up in the canopy, though not a breath stirred down where they were sitting. A great grey owl wailed, far, far away through the trees, though this time, he was not entirely convinced that it was an owl at all. “I swear I'd help you if I could," but I'm in a desperate struggle to come up with a cure for the plague which is loose in Niarg and Far.”
“Alack!” said Meri.
oregano"I was cutting Elven hyssop by the southernmost part of the Gulf of Orrin when I was taken by the Dorchadas. Do you know where that would be from here?"
"I do," said Meri, springing to his feet, "and I would delighted to see ye there be, if you do not mind me for to have along."
"Why, I'd be honored," said Razzmorten as he rose and followed him at a brisk pace through the musty leaves. "Now, you've mentioned Celeste, Alvita and Nacea. Wasn't there also supposed to be a Rodon amongst the Guardians?"
"Their brother..."
"Wasn't he one of the Guardians?"
Scan30001
"Yep, save there be a good chance the smallies got him..."
"Smallies?"
"Oh yea. Of them I did mention. More of your brother's work. Bright red nightmares that in the woods in swarms do run..."
Good_Sister,_Bad_Sis_Cover_for_Kindle








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, April 30, 2018

Fire Sprites and Glow Lichens




Fire Sprites Homo sapiens luciferestris L. a diminutive and highly luminescent human whose melanin has been replaced by luciferin, the light producing pigment in fireflies. Fire Sprites glow with such intensity that many who have gotten fleeting glimpses of  them have mistakenly reckoned them to be engulfed in flames, though in daylight their skin is an almost translucent alabaster white. They inhabit the utterly lightless lava tubes of the volcanic formations in the Eternal Mountains of the Eastern Continent. They communicate with one another and with other races of humans almost exclusively with thought projection and extra sensory perception (ESP), reserving their arcane and mysterious language for their singing of eerie aeolian chorals in the echoes of their caverns.
  
In Elf Killers Oísín and Doona and their party escape the marauding trolls by hiding in the tunnels of Ubh Ollmhór, where they are rescued by the Sprites and led through the maze of inky black volcanic passages to the grasslands of the Great Strah on the far side of the mountains. 
The Fire Sprites are actually the ones who originally made what becomes known as the Elven Prophecy about the rise of an evil which will seek to take over the world. This prophecy has a part in The Collector WitchStone Heart, The BurgeoningThe Reaper Witch, and Doom.
  
Glow lichen Cladonia antrolucidus R., is a close relative of the reindeer lichen (reindeer moss) and lives in moist underground caverns. Its fungal symbiont takes up nutrients saprophyticly from the moist cave walls and emits a strong bioluminescence, using the pigment luciferin, which allows its plant symbiont to photosynthesize in turn, releasing sugars to the saprophyte. Glow lichen is common throughout lava tubes in the Pitmaster's Kettles and in deep cavern systems throughout the southern half of the Northern Continent. Luxuriant growths can light up caverns with their greenish yellow ambience at least as bright as artificially lighted rooms.

Glow lichen lights the caverns of the Magic River in The Collector Witch and the volcanic tunnels of Mount Bed in The Burgeoning. It also illuminates the Fairy underground in The Burgeoning The Reaper Witch and Doom.
 
Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps